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Large-format Projectors

Jan 25, 2012 10:36 AM, By Mark Johnson

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Large-format projectors, or large-venue projectors, are the NASCAR racers of projectors. These are projectors with some lumen horsepower behind them and built for performance; bright, powerful, and able to project large-scale images for entertainment, meetings, command and control, simulation, and myriad other applications requiring a large image. Across the board, these projectors are capable of displaying HD images and some are even 3D ready. Of course there are a few different imaging systems to choose from including LCD, 3LCD DLP, BrilliantColor DLP, and D-ILA LCoS, with some representing incremental advancements to existing technologies. Each exhibits its own pros and cons, but all are proven technologies nonetheless. Some manufacturers are incorporating onboard processing into the projectors to facilitate using multiple projectors for edge blending or tiling for an even larger display area.

Total cost of ownership (TCO) is an important aspect to consider in a projector. The cost of replacement lamps represents a substantial part of ongoing expenses over the life of a projector. The bulk of these projectors use at least two, if not four, lamps to achieve the high brightness levels required for this category. Most offer an eco mode, short for economy mode, which effectively reduces the overall brightness but extends the lamp life. You might also see the word “eco” used elsewhere on the product literature where it has another meaning entirely–in this instance referring to the ecology and the manufacturers' efforts to be environmentally responsible.

Filter maintenance is essential to keeping the electronics cool and airborne contaminants out of the imaging systems and as such also factors into TCO. And manufacturers have addressed it by developing extended life filters, auto-advancing filters, and some even offer filter-less operation with sealed optical engines. Additionally, projectors are becoming more energy efficient requiring less power to attain their rated brightness. And while many can run off 100 to 240V via auto-switching power supplies, some do require 220VAC to operate.

We’ll be looking at models capable of producing 5000 lumens or greater.

Barco FLM HD20

Barco FLM HD20

The Field

The 20,000-lumen FLM HD20 three-chip DLP projector from Barco features 1920x1080 resolution. The FLM HD20 utilizes a sealed optical engine that helps prevent environmental contaminants from degrading the image. Additionally liquid cooling is employed, which also helps to keep noise levels down. Included is projector toolset software that provides basic control and diagnostics as well as other features. ScenergiX software provides edge-blending capabilities.

BenQ SP920P

BenQ SP920P

BenQ’s dual-lamp SP920P provides native XGA resolution (1024x768) and 6000 lumens of brightness and can project a diagonally measured 4:3 image size of up to 300in. (16:9 aspect ratio selectable). The projector features HDMI (v1.3) and DVI-D inputs along with component, S-Video, composite and analog RGB, and utilizes a DLP BrilliantColor light engine.

Christie DHD800

Christie DHD800

The single-chip, dual-lamp DLP Boxlight PRO7501DP produces 7500 lumens with a native 1024x768 (XGA) resolution. The PRO7501DP provides a projected image size of 40in. to 500in. with projection distances from 3ft. to 80ft. The projector features a filter-free design and Dual Lamp Switching technology cycles from one lamp to the other to ensure balanced use and extend lamp life.

Canon’s LCD LV7590 provides 7000 lumens of brightness and features an auto-advancing filter system and native XGA resolution (1024x768). Five optional lenses are available. Additional features include Auto Picture Control, Auto Lamp mode and a variety of Image Mode settings. An optional Network Imager allows for remote management over an Ethernet-based network.

The Christie DHD800 features 1-chip DLP light engine technology and provides full HD resolution (1920x1080) with 8000 lumens of brightness. Estimated lamp life is up to 2000 hours in Normal Mode (3000 hours in Eco Mode). The projector features user changeable color wheels, edge-blending capability, auto-switching lamps, and mechanical shutter (light dowser).

Dukane ImagePro 8950P

Dukane ImagePro 8950P

Digital Projection’s Titan Quad Series include the WUXGA Quad 3D 3-chip DLP projector. Four high-intensity discharge 400W lamps provide a light output of 16,000 lumens. The native resolution is 1920x1080. Input connectivity includes composite, S-Video, HDMI 1.4, component, and DVI. The main and sub DVI inputs can be used to support dual-pipe 3D connectivity.

The Dukane ImagePro 8950P LCD projector delivers 7500 lumens (6000 in whisper mode) and features XGA resolution (1024x768). Six different lens options provide an image size from 40in. up to 700in. A mechanical shutter enables a blank mode. The filter life is 10,000 hours. Signal inputs include component, S-Video, composite, HDMI, DVI-D, and RGB.

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