SXRD vs LCOS, SED, DLP, LCD - review and comparison of Sony HDTV and Blu-ray

SXRD vs SED, LCOS, DLP, LCD review
compare SXRD vs DLP, SED, LCOS, LCD SXRD from Sony has raised the bar on home theater high definition flat screen performance - do not pass Go, head straight for 1080p, and hook up Blu-ray Hi Def DVD. Qualia technology trickles down ...
by Adrian Biffen 
Systems Administrator
AeroHOST Web Systems
March 28, 2006
  Bulletin: RollerTrol™ Automation Systems is Launched!  
  • We have been busy making and selling roller blinds and projector screens for some time, and we have decided to start selling the components at so others can do the same.
  • Take a look at our online store for tubular motors and other associated products - make your own custom shade or screen size that fits your room perfectly! We also have special motor kits that work with x10 automation systems.
  • While you're at it, check out our tubular motors with built-in radio controllers. When used with our multi-channel remotes, you can control the screen AND blackout blinds with a single remote!
  End Bulletin: RollerTrol™ Automation Systems  

SXRD front and rear projection TV (RPTV) technology sets a new standard

Sony has used their SXRD technology in their high end Qualia projectors for some time, but recently this display technology has been made available for the wider consumer market of home theater. SXRD is their acronym for Silicon X-tal Reflective Display, a reflective liquid crystal imaging device for use in projectors, which achieves a panel contrast of over 3000:1 with full HDTV resolution of 1920Hx1080V (1080p). It differs from LCD technology in that light is reflected off the surface to create the image, instead of being passed through it like conventional LCD projection (reflective vs transmissive).


SXRD vs LCOS, SED, DLP, LCDI often see people searching for 'SXRD vs LCOS' or 'compare SXRD to LCOS vs SED', but this technology actually IS Sony's rendition of LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon). You could think of LCoS as the broader generic term for this type of display technology; the main point being that the reflective liquid crystal 'shutters' are controlled, on a pixel by pixel basis, by the base layer of silicon transistors underneath. Like the DLP chip in my BenQ projector, it is a reflective device which theoretically never deteriorates due to heat. 

At this point, Sony has created a powerful adversary to the DLP system, but the new 1080p DLP chips have arrived too (see our review on 1080p LED DLP sets). Also, keep an eye on the similar LCoS projectors from Canon (see our Canon SX-50 review), and the upcoming SED technology from the Toshiba/Canon alliance (see our SED article). They may not have quite as much much resolution as the Sony products, but they are much less expensive.

The high picture quality exhibited by SXRD is due to the large number of pixels in the image area of the device, accomplished by minimizing the size of each individual pixel and the space between pixels. This results in a chip with 2,000,000 pixels with a pitch of 9um (center to center distance between pixels), and a gap of 0.35um (1 um = 1 micrometer = one millionth of a meter = really really small). So far, this represents the world's smallest inter-pixel spacing, thus enabling full HDTV resolution @ 1920Hx1080V, in a 16:9 widescreen format. The actual image area measures about 3/4 inches across (diagonal).

Two other important points about the design of this chip: it produces a picture with a high contrast level of 3000:1, and a rapid 5 milli-second response time (1 millisecond = 1/1000 second). The response time is an important factor regarding its ability to handle fast motion content on the screen.Qualia SXRD front projection VPL-VW100 Although the new Sony chips have a much improved response time, they are no match for DLP chips which have a response time in the micro-second realm (1 microsecond = 1/1,000,000 second), with no motion lag (see the new DLP 1080p chip). The new SED technology from Toshiba/Canon also has excellent response time.

Motion smear affected br response time SXRD DLP SED LCD

Response time is an industry standard that specifies the total time that it takes a pixel to make a transition from black to white. Some manufacturers publish an average of the rise and fall times instead of their sum, which makes them appear to be twice as fast as they really are. Be careful when considering response time specifications, and check to make sure you know which method is being used. The picture on the left above ('other') exhibits motion smear as a result of poor pixel switching response time; it is a fairly extreme example of an older LCD screen. You are unlikely to see that much smear on any of the newer screens, but remember, specs don't always tell the story, the proof of the pudding is in the picture. 

Previously only available in the $30,000 Qualia series, the SXRD chip is available in the front projection VPL-VW100 (left). Sony-Grand-WEGA-SXRDWith an enhanced dynamic iris system, it is said to have a contrast ratio boost to 15,000:1). 

The SXRD technology is also available in the new Grand WEGA SXRD (right) rear-projection microdisplay television series, with screen size ranging from 50" to 100" (KDS-R50XBR1, KDS-R60XBR1, KDS-R70XBR1, KDS-R100XBR1).

There is also a new SXRD rear projection TV model (right); Sony Qualia 006 (KDS-70CQ006) SXRD LCoSthe Sony Qualia 006 (KDS-70CQ006). This Qualia 006 model series has much the same specifications as the Grand WEGA KDS-R70XBR1. 

AS we move on into the decade, the HDTV home theater systems just get better and better, with more bang-for-your-buck value every day. The SXRD systems from Sony certainly fall into the top performer category, and I look forward to see how other companies such as Toshiba and Canon respond to the challenge.

*  *  *  *  *

This series of articles is designed to help you get through the complicated process of choosing and setting up an HDTV home theater system. It is part of our overall website, which is about the X10 home automation system that uses the A/C wiring in your home - you don't need to run any wires. (for complementary home automation products such as lighting control and motorized blinds and shades, see our home automation DIY kit article) Here's a brief topic summary of these home theater articles, with direct links:
Article# Topic
1 HDTV Definitions and terminology used in home theatre systems
2 HDTV news from Jan 2005 Las Vegas CES show
3 HDTV remote control consolidation issues
4 DLP projector decision: My reasons for purchasing
5 BenQ DLP 6200 review -projector setup process
6 HTPC: using home theater PC for DVD display
7 DVD software player review: watch DVD on your PC
8 Upsampling DVD player vs HTPC - comparison with Zenith DVB 318
9 Sony HDRHC1 Handycam review: widescreen high definition 1080i camcorder
10 Wireless video sender solves the 'extra tv' problem
11 SED Toshiba-Canon HDTV display review - the flat panel HDTV race heats up!
12 Canon SX 50 Realis LCoS projector review - first 3 chip LCoS projector under $5,000
13 Optoma H78DC3 'DarkChip3' DLP projector review - first 'Dark Chip3' DLP projector under $4,000
14 Xbox 360 review: best buy for game play online? - Windows Media Center Extender
15 Play Station 3 vs Xbox 360 - Sony and Microsoft Compete for gaming market
16 SXRD vs SED vs DLP - Sony raises the HDTV bar with Qualia and Grand Wega series
17 LED DLP light engine from Samsung vs SXRD, SED - 1080p resolution arrives
18 HD DVD vs Blu-ray: We review the new Toshiba HD DVD players (HD-XA1 and HD-A1)
19 H.264 AVC: High Definition advanced codec for movie downloads and HDTV Online


For the sake of clarity, here is a repeat of some acronym and terminology definitions relating to the various display technologies, used in the other table below to compare the various screen types:

TLA Three Letter Acronym
HDTV High Definition Television. The highest quality video picture available in Digital TV. In the U.S., the 1080i and 720p resolution formats in a 16:9 aspect ratio are the two acceptable HDTV formats. Regular NTSC analog TV is 480i.
HTPC Home Theater Personal Computer. The use of a PC as a processing and source control platform for a home theater system.
RPTV Rear Projection TV. The type of home theater screen system where the image is projected onto the back of the screen. Can be DLP, LCD, CRT projection technology.
Lumens An ANSI Lumen is a measurement of light radiation or brightness. A 3,000 Lumen projector creates a brighter picture than a 2,000 Lumen unit. The ANSI prefix is a standards designation (American National Standards Institute).
Nits Plasma and LCD manufacturers use this term to define the brightness of their screens. Another term for Nits is Candelas per square meter (Cd/m2). One nit = 0.2919 foot-lambert. Nits includes an area definition, unlike lumens, so you can't simply divide by Watts to establish a Nits/watt spec.
480i 720p 1080p resolution measurement in lines, p for "progressive scan", i for "interlaced scan". Conventional TV (e.g. 480i) is interlaced whereby the screen is scanned twice by alternate lines that are interleaved (interlaced), whereas HDTV (e.g. 720p) can scan all lines sequentially (consecutively or progressively).
DVI HDCP Digital Visual Interface technology with High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection. Developed by Intel Corporation, HDCP is a specification to protect digital entertainment content through the DVI interface. The HDCP specification provides a transparent method for transmitting and receiving digital entertainment content to DVI-compliant digital displays. Some products, such as set-top boxes and DVD burners will require this connector. Even if you have a HDTV set-top box, if it lacks the DVI, your signal may be degraded.
HDMI High Definition Multimedia Interface. Like DVI, HDMI is another digital interface, and from what we saw at CES 2005, it may become the universal standard. Developed by Sony, Hitachi, Thomson (RCA), Philips, Matsushita (Panasonic), Toshiba and Silicon Image, the High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) has emerged as the connection standard for HDTV and the consumer electronics market. HDMI is the first digital interface to combine uncompressed high-definition video, multi-channel audio and intelligent format and command data in a single digital interface.
SACD Super Audio CD uses a new recording technology called Direct Stream Digital. DSD records a one bit digital signal at a sample rate of 2.8 million times per second, 64 times higher than conventional CD's. 
NTSC Existing color TV standard developed in the U.S. in 1953 by the National Television System Committee. NTSC vertical line resolution is 525 lines/frame and the vertical frequency is 60Hz. The NTSC frame rate is 29.97 frames/sec.
CRT Cathode Ray Tube - venerable old style picture tube
PDP Plasma Display Panel, plasma is a physics term for an electrically charged gas
LCD Liquid Crystal Display, same as laptop screens
TFT Thin Film Technology, a type of LCD
DLP Digital Light Processor, a reflective light switch chip developed by TI. Has a very fast response time - no motion lag
TI Texas Instruments Corp., original manufacturer of DMD's and DLP's
DMD Digital Micro-mirror Device - chip for DLP technology by TI
DNIe Digital Natural Image enhancement - chip for optimizing video picture quality, by Samsung (used in their DLP units)
LCoS Liquid Crystal on Silicon, reflective light switch
SXRD projection Silicon X-tal Reflective Display: Sony's incarnation of LCoS technology. Sharp picture, no pixelation, very high resolution, reflective system won't burn out picture element, "no moving parts" design usually incorporates 3 imaging chips for primary colors, instead of color wheel.
SED Surface conduction Electron emitter Display by Toshiba/Canon
FED Field Emission Display: New technology from Sony
OLED Organic Light Emitting Diode display: new technology from Seiko-Epson
D-iLA Direct Drive Image Light Amplifier, LCoS chip developed by JVC
QXGA high screen resolution of 2048 x 1536, attained by D-iLA chip
DCDi Directional Correlation Deinterlacing (a de-interlacing method to eliminate jagged edges (jaggies) along diagonal lines caused by interpolation, developed by Faroudja corp. An important feature to look for, this Emmy® award winning technology was once only available in products costing $20,000 or more, and is now available in numerous products costing well below $2,000
aspect ratio ratio of screen width to height. An aspect ratio of 4:3 is conventional TV and 16:9 is HDTV (and film)
3-2 pulldown a method of film-to-video conversion
twitter and judder   terms describing film conversion related artifacts
anamorphic lens   a special lens that compresses the pixels of a 4:3 screen into a 16:9 format, and allows a projector to use the full brightness of the display, without black bars above and below the image. Must normally be removed for regular 4:3 viewing.
SDE  Screen Door Effect is a term used to refer to the visible pixel structure on a screen.
YADR! Yet Another Dang Remote! A common exclamation heard from people who just bought their third or fourth home audio/video component. And then there are further unmentionable expletives when you find out a component isn't supported, or it's just too complicated to program everything in?? Maybe it's time to read about our experience in the remote control review article.

The following table provides a quick comparison of the display types; "pixelation" refers to the ability to see individual picture elements (pixels) at normal viewing distances (note that all the types below can contribute to the YADR index). Please note that these products are being constantly improved and not all manufacturer's models may be subject to the disadvantages listed below:

CRT conventional
picture tube
Cathode Ray Tube: very sharp and bright, high contrast ratio, good picture view from side, low cost, handles regular analog NTSC channels well, no moving parts heavy and bulky, limited in size to about 36", picture can fade 
CRT projection
low cost, large screens possible, no moving parts heavy and bulky, limited viewing angles, visible raster lines, mis-convergence can be a problem, picture can fade over time 
LCD flat screen panel Liquid Crystal Display: bright, sharp picture, light and compact, can hang on wall, solid state, no moving parts picture can fade over time
LCD projection fairly bright, large screens possible, sharp picture, no moving parts display can fade due to heat damage to organic compounds that some manufacturers use in the LCD, projector bulb can fail
PDP Plasma flat screen panel Plasma Display Panel: bright picture, light and compact, can hang on wall, wide viewing angle, no moving parts, handles fast motion really well expensive, some pixelation, display can burn out.
DLP projection Digital Light Processor: bright, sharp picture, high contrast, no  pixelation, reflective system won't burn out picture element, very fast response time - no motion lag. possible visual "rainbow" artifacts on single chip versions caused by spinning color wheel, projector bulb can fail
LCoS projection Liquid Crystal on Silicon: bright, sharp picture, no pixelation, very high resolution, reflective system won't burn out picture element, "no moving parts" design usually incorporates 3 imaging chips for primary colors, instead of color wheel. projector bulb can fail
SXRD projection Silicon X-tal Reflective Display: Sony's incarnation of LCoS technology. Sharp picture, no pixelation, very high resolution, reflective system won't burn out picture element, "no moving parts" design usually incorporates 3 imaging chips for primary colors, instead of color wheel. projector bulb can fail
SED panel display Surface conduction Electron emitter Display: very bright picture, very high resolution, can hang on wall, very high contrast ratio, can be viewed from any angle, no moving parts, handles fast motion really well expensive at first, not available yet
FED panel display Field Emission Display: New technology from Sony, properties are similar to SED expensive at first, not available yet
OLED panel display Organic Light Emitting Diode display: new technology from Seiko-Epson expensive at first, not available yet

For high speed database hosting, visit our sister our sister company AeroHOST

Home | What Is x10 | Activehome Pro | x10 Software | Lighting | Appliances 
 SmartPhones | Home Theatre | Heating | Water | Security | Audio/VideoContact

Copyright © 2001-2013 Software For Homes