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DLPC6401: recommend a video processing front end , and how to get which eye (left, right) is currently processed by the DLP Controller chip to be displayed?

Part Number: DLPC6401
Other Parts Discussed in Thread: DLP4501, DLP4710, DLP3010, DLPC350

I need a video processing front end to support input from the relatively new HDMI 2 standard.
The requirements are
1) Support of 1080p signal at 60Hz
2) Support of 1080p signal at 120Hz (this is why HDMI2 is needed)
3) Ability to downscale 1080p to native resolution (1280x800)
4) Support of old-school HDMI 1 3d decoding would be nice (side-by-side 60Hz to upscaled 120Hz) but not necessary

Any decoder chip recommendations?

I know this question is not about a TI chipset but there's basically nowhere else to ask for recommendations.

Second question has to do with getting the frame index or rather which eye frame it is for a 3d video to feed that data to a ir led for syncing with shutter glasses.

The DLPC6401 Programmer's Guide has a paragraph on this but it couldn't be any more vague for me:

There is a case where a 3D integrated circuit can convert some 3D signals such as convert some 3D signals into 120-Hz signals the DLPC6401 can accept. However, DLPC6401 does not automatically know which frame is for the left or right eye. The sequence for 3D has two sub-sequences, one for the left eye and one for the right eye. The user needs to connect left and right sync signal to one of the GPIO pins in DLPC6401. Please see Section 6.7.5 for more details about which pin is free to use and how to configure it.

This paragraph raises this question.

For the receiving device such as shutter glasses which is usually synced with an IR led, is the syncing (providing of the eye index) done by the video/3d processing front end chip, or one of the pins of the DLPC6401 chip provides the current eye index?

Because the paragraph says the user "needs to connect left and right sync signal to one of the DLPC pins" but doesn't say what for. The DLPC6401 doesn't need to know what eye the frame is for itself, besides resending that data via a pin to a circuit which blinks an IR led, or similar. 

  • Hello thanks for using the E2E forums! I understand that you are trying to build a system that uses the DLPC6401 that can display 3D video. I recomend you reach out to one of our design partners that had developed systems and light engines that operate with the DLPC6401 and .45" DLP4501 DMD. You can find them at this link:

    If you are looking for an out the box EVM to evaluate DLP's 3D video capability please see our DLP3010-G2 and DLP4710 EVMs .

    Hope that helps!

    ~Danny W
  • I'm in contact with all of them. None of them provide PCB designs that can be used, nor existing PCBs that can work.
  • Hello,

    I understand you are facing some difficulty evaluating the 6401 platform. I wanted to raise a possible issue you might run into in the future if you are attempting to develop with this platform on without a third party. The software required to operate this chipset is configured specifically for each optical engine, so it is only available through our OEM (3rd party) partners . Here are some links that might help:

    ~Danny W
  • The chipset is available for purchase separately, not sure where you got that info. Again, these companies do not offer a reference design. Reference design is on your website but without a video processing frontend with the above features. EVM does not include a reference design file either.
  • Hello,

    I understand the parts are orderable directly from Texas Instruments, but there is no reference software for the DLPC6401 available publicly on 

    Can you help me understand what you are trying to achieve as the end goal? This will help me further support you. 


    ~Danny W

  • We need the most basic thing one can want for controlling a DMD: a board. The partner companies do not provide a board unless you buy in bulk, then some of them offer to design and manufacture a board as well.

    They only provide
    1) optical engines without any board
    2) "EVMs" using one of their optical engines with closed-source boards that all they can do is accept a video input.

    There is a reference design using this DMD on your website but from the limited documentation it appears it doesn't have a standard video input such as HDMI on it and if we want to add we need to design our own board.

    We just want to design our own DLP board.
  • Excellent,

    Thank you for clarifying. I understand what you are trying to do. Are you attempting to make this into a commercial product? Also have you evaluated the DLP4710 or DLP3010 EVM platforms?

    ~Danny W
  • Those are very different DMDs with different characteristics unsuitable for my purpose.
  • You are correct about the DMDs being different, but if your goal was to achieve 3D video they have that functionality. Also, have you looked at the LightCrafter4500 EVM? It user a very similar controller and the same type of DMD. It also has a reference design that includes a front end.

    ~Danny W
  • They are different, maximum lumens with 720p DMD optical engines is too low and the size requirements with the 1080p DMDs are too big. WXGA is the sweet spot. There is a consumer 3d ready pico projector using this DMD called "AAXA P700" and I'm sure few others out there, so it is possible but you got to help developers start from somewhere.

    You said "there is no reference software for the DLPC6401 available publicly on" but there apparently is.
    The documentation is also there, I just asked for a clarification of one paragraph from the manual.
    The issue is lack of documentation on getting started with a video backend. There are some pages written in 2013 but they appear outdated as claim HDMI2 is not supported which is unsurprising as HDMI2 in 2013 was not so popular.

    Lightcrafter 4500 besides using slightly different DMD appears to be using the DLPC350 DLP controller, not DLPC6401.

    The board reference design for this DMD on your website I linked to is useless without documentation.

    The EVM from Anhuaoe is useless for answering the questions I have about using this DMD and controller and video backend (it does not support 3d).

    As mentioned before the Chinese third parties YongOptics, iView, Anhuaoe and Anhuaoe partnered AAXA only offer optical engines with no documentation or board designs unless you order in bulk (1000+) and their EVMs are pretty useless besides testing the performance of their optical engines. They can provide a flash image for the controller chip sure, but none have provided a board design file.
    This is besides the point possibly but they also have very strict NDA policies with company stamp requirements and evaluation periods which together with bulk order requirement for custom board design is extremely unfriendly to smaller developers, to the point I may have to consider going with non-TI LCoS systems. I really wish I don't need to as I've wasted too much time negotiating with these optical companies and doing research and DLP visually is slightly better.

    At this point I'm going to respectfully ask you to ask someone else to step in and help, you clearly are trying to help and thank you for that but again with due respect I think you'll agree you lack the expertise in this area. If you disagree then I apologize but then please provide answers, because in my opinion some info you provide is incorrect or incomplete as shown above and some questions haven't been answered to far.

  • Hello,

    Thank you for your thoughtful and thorough reply. I realize you have spent much time working on this, and I am glad you appreciate the picture quality of DLP technology. I will be happy to get someone else on this thread to help you, I just want to clarify a few things. As I mentioned in my direct message to you, if you provide me your email address and company information I will be happy to have someone directly contact you about this application. My guidance was and is intended to help save you possible issues later on in your development. 

    You said "there is no reference software for the DLPC6401 available publicly on" but there apparently is.
    The documentation is also there, I just asked for a clarification of one paragraph from the manual.

    You are correct there is a user interface program (GUI), but I did not see the Firmware required to operate the DLPC6401 controller. 


    I will have someone else comment on this thread or feel free to respond to my direct message.


    ~Danny W

  • I'm sorry I didn't get your direct message. If you have it in your Sent folder could you resend please? Maybe I didn't get it because I noticed and accepted your friend request only now.
  • This issue will be resolved via direct message.

    ~Danny W
  • Sorry to say but I haven't received any message.

    Also, a question, can the DLPC6401 do downscaling of a 1080p 120Hz signal to WXGA? Because if the video frontend ic does it it will do it for a rectangular pixel grid, not diamond grid arrangement and that will introduce artifacts.
  • The DLPC6401 has a max pixel clk of 150MHz so it cannot support 1080p at 120Hz. If you downscale 1080p with your front end send it WXGA , the DLPC6401 ]should have no problem converting it to to Diamond

    ~Danny W
  • Issue is is there any frontend that can downscale to a diamond grid arrangement? If there are displays besides DLP that use this method of pixel arrangement than possibly but if no then no idea what to do then
  • The controller will handle the conversion to diamond. You should send it regular WXGA video data.

    ~Danny W
  • If you send a square pixel data in the same resolution to a diamond pixel display you are going to lose detail/resolution because of artifacts from not being able to map 1:1 from square to diamond arrangement. with 1080p you can't get a perfect map either but at least it downscales from a higher resolution so looks much better.
  • Hello!

    You are welcome to try both. The controller will do complex video processing to optimize picture quality either way. I do not foresee a significant loss in picture quality in this scenario, especially if your front end is down-scaling from 1080p to WXGA anyway.

    ~Danny W