Barco Debuts F70 Projector

The newest projector in the Barco line up is the F70, which derives from its projectiondesign heritage. This is a single chip “4K” DLP projector which uses a WQXGA (1920 x 1200) chip set with a pixel shifting optic. This is a 5000 lumen model with a laser phosphor engine and high ANSI contrast.

Barco says one of the questions they need to address with a pixel shifting projector is the real resolution on-screen. They have apparently teamed up with Immersive Display Solutions to evaluate the on-screen resolution. But what is different about their tests is that it was done with blended and warped tested patterns on a curved screen. (Insight Media plans to write more about these test results and other projection image shift issues in an upcoming white paper).

The F90 was launched last year at I/ITSEC and the F70 was developed as an upgrade to the F55. The FS70 model adds a 740nm IR LED to allow night vision goggle operation using a separate input for this channel. Both the F70 and FS70 can operate at 60 fps at 4K resolution and at 120 fps using the native WQXGA resolution.

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The F70 and FS70 are purpose built for the simulation market. What does that mean? For one, it means the projector must be very rugged to withstand the abuse it may experience in motion platforms. As a result, Barco has fitted the projector with a protective metal casing. Secondly, the projector needs to be long lasting as downtime is expensive. The move from lamps to laser phosphor is a huge step in this direction. The projector feature a Constant Light output mode that under drives the lasers in the beginning (so less than the rated 5000 lumen output) and increases drive current over time to maintain the same light level. Using this feature and a much lower light level of perhaps 2000 lumens, operational lifetime of the source can reach 60K hours, which ss significant. The consequence is that you have to over specify the laser to get the long life, but that may be a very valid trade off for many applications. Also, these projectors can operate 24/7.

Barco’s unique and proprietary Single Step Processing (SSP) technology allows all image processing for 4K UHD − including warp, blend, gamma and color – to be calculated in a single operation. Performing this procedure in a single step produces a much higher overall image quality, with a sharper image and fewer artifacts and less latency.

The ability to run the projector in a native 120 fps mode is also interesting for simulation as this greatly reduces image blur. Such capabilities have been demonstrated for several years in this market but have not been widely adopted because nearly all of the content delivered via the Image Generator (IG) is designed to run at 60 fps. Moving to 120 fps means adding a second channel at increased costs – a move few have opted for.

However, Barco seems to think this may change a bit going forward. They are starting to see more IGs with 120 fps native capabilities supported by new GPU cards like the Nvidia GeForce 1080 that can drive 4K at 120 fps and costs less than $1500.

Barco F-series projectors are said to be very popular in this market and the company highlighted a number of booths where the projectors were being used. In its own booth, Barco showed three F70s illuminating a cylindrical dome screen setup provided by 3D Perception, using CAE’s Medallion-6000 IG to show off its 4K UHD capabilities under the theme of “Redefining the limits of Reality.”

Other booths using F-series projectors included the CAE booth, Immersive Display Solutions booth, Air National Guard Trainer Development and 3D Perception. – CC