Up until now, projectors have supported HDR but not Dolby Vision. The usual explanation for this is the incredible variability that you find with typical projection installations, different screen sizes and screen types make it highly unpredictable what the final image produced by any particular projector will actually be like.
But, this unpredictability is not the case with UST (ultra-short throw) projectors. This is because these projectors utilize specialized ambient light rejecting screens designed specifically for ultra-short throw applications. Ultimately, a UST projection system behaves quite predictably, and this is where Dolby Vision as an advantage over plain-vanilla HDR10. To understand why we first have to look at what Dolby Vision does.
Dolby Vision possesses a technical advantage over HDR10 in the sense that it supports a higher bit depth, 12 bits versus 10. It is also mastered to higher peak brightness, 4000 nits instead of the typical 1000 nits for HDR10. However, since there are no 12-bit consumer displays, this is not really relevant to today’s content. Moreover, Dolby Vision utilizes dynamic metadata that allows the content to be rendered in a manner that best fits the capabilities of the display, as opposed to the static metadata, one-size-fits-all approach of HDR10.
The benefit here is that you can make the absolute most out of any given display when dynamic metadata is in the mix. This is the capability we are interested in, since transforming HDR so that it looks good on a projector can be tricky, but it is certainly possible that a UST with Dolby Vision would offer the best translation.
The first projector to offer Dolby Vision is the Laser Cinema 2 by Xiaomi. to be honest, it looks to have only modest specifications for a UST projector, with 113% rec 79 coverage and 2400 ANSI lumen brightness. This model is not available in the US or North America, in fact, it is currently only available in China, but will likely see global distribution in the future.
What matters here is it represents the first sighting of Dolby Vision being applied to a projector that can actually benefit from it, and because of the way they work, it’s no surprise that it is a UST.
This weibo thread for this projector is in Chinese, but there’s a series of graphics that tell the story: