Texas Instruments was led into developing a 4K imaging device after Regal’s announcement in 2009 to install projectors from Sony Electronics. While such an endeavor would seem to be a massive undertaking, once the decision was made, TI brushed it off as not such a big deal. It had already developed its Pico DLP chip for mobile applications, whose mirror size conveniently enabled a 1.3″ 4K design. Presumably, using the Pico fabrication line, TI would be able to develop a 4K chip in short order.
The claim appears to be true. TI’s first 4K wafers were successfully fabricated in June, ahead of schedule by TI’s own report. At last report they were still working on glitches, but no doubt these will be solved.
Impressively, the 1.3″ design will fit into the form factor of the 2K 1.2″ design, enabling use of the same optical path as the 2K projector. This is the reason that TI’s licensees can offer upgradable projectors. It looks to be that TI is on schedule to deliver a 4K light engine to its licensees later this year, which could lead to marketed 4K DLP projectors 1st quarter next year. Sony’s clock is ticking.