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Large-venue Display Systems

Feb 16, 2010 12:00 PM, By Trevor Boyer

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During CES, Epson introduced its brightest large-venue projector model to date. The PowerLite Pro Z8050WNL offers 7000 ANSI lumens, a step above its cousin the Z8000WUNL, which offers 6000 lumens. If resolution is more important to you than brightness, however, the older Z8000WUNL (1920x1200 native resolution) trumps the newer model (1280x800). Both models offer 5000:1 contrast ratios, dual lamps, and are liquid-cooled. Six different lenses are available, including a rear-projection option. According to Epson, the two 3LCD projectors can be installed up to 30 degrees off-axis horizontally and 10 degrees off-axis vertically.

The LCD panels and polarizers in the Hitachi CP-SX12000 (1400x1050 resolution) output 7000 lumens and are made of inorganic, UV-resistant materials, resulting in a longer operating life, the company says. The Projector Management Application (PJMan) loaded in the CP-SX12000 allows users to monitor and control multiple projectors over a LAN. A network bridge (serial pass-through) allows users to send RS-232 commands to the projector via the Ethernet commands pass-through, enabling control of external devices such as TV tuners and visual presenters.

Hitachi also offers the CP-WX11000, a large-venue projector that provides 6500 lumens and WXGA resolution (1366x800). Its aspect ratio of 17:10 matches that of today's most popular widescreen laptops. The CP-WX11000's 2500:1 contrast ratio and mechanical iris are controlled automatically to ensure the ideal image contrast and depth perspective during both bright and dark scenes.

If more brightness is needed, stacking is an option. According to John Glad, a product manager with Hitachi, the wide lens shift common to the company's projectors makes them suitable for stacking. "With our lens shift," he says, "we can either stack or put side by side and achieve the same results."

The InFocus IN5534 large-venue projector features DLP DarkChip liquid-cooled DMD technology with InFocus' own implementation of BrilliantColor. The projector has a brightness of 7000 lumens, WUXGA (1920x1200) resolution, and motorized lens adjustments for flexibility during installation. InFocus touts the IN5534's legacy analog inputs as well as its comprehensive digital connectivity. Embedded wired and wireless DisplayLink ensures hassle-free plug-and-project connectivity over USB. Moreover, PC-free playback is possible via a standard USB stick with the InFocus LitePort.

The Mitsubishi XL6500U shines at 5000 lumens in XGA (1024x768) resolution using three 1.3in. inorganic LCD panels. The projector's lamp is rated at 4000 hours when operated in lamp life-conserving Low mode. The XL6500U offers electronically controlled zoom, focus, and lens-shift adjustments in fast and step modes.

Last August, NEC released its NP4100W projector, a WXGA wide-aspect-ratio DLP design rated at 5500 ANSI lumens. Five optional bayonet-style lenses are available. The NP4100W's Eco mode decreases fan noise and increases lamp life by up to 50 percent for a 3000-hour lamp life. Quick Power Off technology protects the lamp during cool down. A sealed, dust-resistant optical system enables better picture quality and reduces maintenance. An optional six-segment color wheel is available on the NP4100W for applications requiring especially rich color saturation. The NP4100W can function as either a dual- or single-lamp projector.

Slightly less bright than the NP4100W are NEC's stackable 3LCD projectors. Put two together, however, and you're well over 7000 lumens at the low end. The NP3250, NP3250W, NP2250 and NP1250 offer brightness ratings of 5000, 4000, 4200, and 3700 lumens respectively. NEC uses a camera and software system to align the stackable projectors' images. "This system allows all convergence data to be stored on the projectors," says Rich McPherson of NEC, "which means no matter what source you connect to the projectors, it will be bright and converged. Other systems require external hardware to do this."

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