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Carl Zeiss presents VELVET projector shows darkest night

At the International Planetarium Society meeting in Chicago, Carl Zeiss presented a novel type of video projector which by far surpasses the contrast offered by all existing projector solutions. The new VELVET projector has been designed for use in planetarium domes and other dome theaters. It is based on the DLP chip technology from Texas Instruments, and while projectors from other manufacturers feature a contrast ratio of only 30.000:1, the new projector achieves a ratio that is larger by a factor of 83, i.e. 2.500.000:1...

PRESS SUMMARY

Visit the Carl Zeiss Planetarium technolgy websiteDuring the International Planetarium Society meeting in Chicago in early July, Carl Zeiss presented a digital projector which far surpasses the contrast offered by all existing projector solutions. It is the world's only DLP®-projector to provide a totally black image background. While projectors from other manufacturers feature a contrast ratio of only 30.000 : 1, the new instrument achieves a ratio that is larger by a factor of 83, i.e. 2.500.000 : 1.

Innovative optical technologies from Carl Zeiss have enabled this enormous contrast enhancement. They rule out the possibility of scattered light, and therefore the formerly unavoidable gray background. With VELVET, Carl Zeiss has developed a digital projector, the technical parameters of which were previously considered to be unattainable.

The VELVET projector developed and built by Carl Zeiss has been designed for planetarium domes and other dome theaters. It is based on the DLP® chip technology from Texas Instruments.

In Chicago, planetarium directors from all over the world expressed their enthusiasm about the image quality: the blackness of the background makes white text appear like fluorescent writing, and objects seem to float in the room. Furthermore, the BrilliantColor™ technology from Texas Instruments, which mixes six colors instead of only three, ensures a high degree of colorfulness.

Unlike the total blackness achieved by VELVET, practically all standard projectors provide a gray background. Therefore, an image frame always remains visible. For dome projection, several partial images are put together to form one large image, with the image edges having to be blended into each other. With VELVET, these edges are completely invisible for the first time.

Digital all-dome projection is increasingly finding its way into planetariums, supplementing the shows provided by traditional, opto-mechanical planetarium projectors. For the very first time, VELVET meets a wish which planetarium operators have long voiced: video projection is able to superimpose the optical night sky without impairing its brilliance. Astronomical objects such as gas nebulae and galaxies appear to be embedded in the pitch-black depths of space. However, the special benefits of the projector can also be utilized in other applications, e.g. with simulators.

A major benefit of the DLP® technology is image stability over thousands of operating hours. While in other technologies color saturation and contrast decrease after only a few thousand operating hours, the DLP® technology displays defined color behavior and therefore almost constant image quality.

The technology of VELVET projectors has been particularly designed for use in dome theaters. The lamp housing, which is independent of the projector, permits the installation of various lamp types with various performance features. Inclined installation positions of the projector do not influence the service life of the projection lamp. For brightness adjustment of the projectors in a multichannel system, the lamp is controlled instead of the video signal, once again leading to improved image quality of the multichannel projection.

The VELVET projectors will be available in early 2009.

Additional information: Visit the Carl Zeiss Planetarium technolgy website
July 12, 2008
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