Lamp-Free Projectors at InfoComm

Lamp-Free Projectors at InfoComm

The projection world is seeing a trend toward “Solid State”, or lamp-free projection– using LED phosphors and/or Laser light as the light source, in place of a conventional mercury lamp. This trend is in ample evidence at the InfoComm show this week in Las Vegas, with products on demo from Casio, Panasonic, Optoma, BenQ, and more.

Just announced for the first time at InfoComm this week, the Panasonic PT-RW330U, uses a LED-light source DLP engine, and outputs “above 3,000 lumens” according to Panasonic.We’ve seen some lamp-free projectors over the past several years (including the Christie Digital MicroTiles video cubes that use an LED-light source with DLP technology that when introduced fall 2010 were the first real introduction of a product for the commercial AV market that featured a lamp-free projector). But at InfoComm 2012 we’re seeing a quantum leap in features from solid state DLP projectors (DLP is the only variety of lamp-free light engines for projectors beyond the “pico” category. Last year there wasn’t really anything beyond 2500 lumens in lamp-free projectors for front projection. But this InfoComm there is a new crop of projectors that are pushing the limits upward.

And Solid State projection is not just for data projectors. According to Pacific Media Associates, the mainstream projector market for WXGA models is forecasted to grow by 35 percent over the next two years. To meet this demand Casio America, Inc. is expanding its lineup with two new WXGA Pro Series DLP projectors; the XJ-H2600 and XJ-H2650. The new Pro projectors, featuring Casio’s LASER & LED Hybrid Light Source and a 3500 lumen output, will be exhibited at Casio’s booth (#C5020) at InfoComm. Casio’s LASER & LED HYBRID Light Source combines blue laser light and a fluorescent element to generate a high output of green light– traditionally the hardest color to bump up in a lamp-free configuration. The bottom line: a solid state unit that lowers a projector’s total cost of ownership and maximizes investment.

Optoma is showing at InfoComm 2012 (booth # C5621 ) its all-new EcoBright line of lamp-free, virtually maintenance-free DLP projectors, that also use a hybrid engine, with two LEDs and one laser. The EcoBright ZW210ST (WXGA resolution) and EcoBright ZX210ST (XGA resolution) embrace the new Solid State Illumination (SSI) technology that delivers increased life while eliminating the need for expensive replacement parts and service, while reducing power consumption and waste. Both new Optoma short throw projectors deliver 2000 lumens of brightness with a contrast ratio of 80,000:1. LED/Laser systems display a wider color palette, and project images with vivid colors which often seem brighter than the specifications. With Optoma’s SSI technology, users will experience no light degradation over the lifespan, so colors remain constant over the entire life of the projector.

BenQ is showing its new mercury-free blue core light engine DLP projectors at InfoComm (booth # C6026 ): the LX60ST and LW61ST. Designed to offer color accuracy with an ultra-high 80,000:1 contrast ratio, the blue core light engine utilizes a laser light source rather than a traditional mercury lamp. The result is up to 20,000 hours of reliable brightness, complete elimination of lamp replacement costs, and a 90-percent reduction in light source power consumption. In addition, BenQ’s blue core light engine-driven SmartEco Advanced technology optimizes the units’ light source systems to deliver good brightness, longer life, and high-energy efficiency. The units feature instant on/off to save time on warm up and cool down, in addition to manual brightness level adjustment to accommodate different classroom environments.

The newest entry into the lamp-free projector for general use (classroom and boardroom) category is from Panasonic. Just announced for the first time at InfoComm this week, the Panasonic PT-RW330U, uses a LED-light source DLP engine, and outputs “above 3,000 lumens” according to Panasonic. They unit is not shipping today, but Panasonic told me at InfoComm that it will be shipping in January 2013.