Innovations in commercial projectors have been moving toward the use of solid state light sources for the past few years as the technology is able to produce the required lumens for pro integrations. The biggest developments have been in the combined use of LED and laser illuminations.
Casio was first on the scene to offer the first viable model a few years ago and continues to break barriers for light output by using red and blue LEDs with a green laser. Not only is the laser green, but the technology brings some green benefits including the elimination of the traditional lamps which need high voltage making them inefficient. These energy hogs run at high temperatures with short life spans. Replacement bulbs are costly and need regular replacement. Traditional lamps also have the danger of mercury which can be costly for disposal and create a legal liability down the road.
Panasonic LED projectors taut the lower maintenance requirements with the ability to run four or five years with only an occasional cleaning. Another bonus with lower heat and inherently robust design is the ability to install these solid state projectors in unique orientations such as portrait.
Even with all the benefits of being ‘green’ and efficient, solid state projectors do have a weakness because of the hybrid light source between lasers and LEDs. As the light sources decay over time it has been noted that the green light source tends to decay faster than the others appearing more as a blue or yellow hue over time. In some designs, this will be a critical factor and some manufacturers have already started to find solutions.
Manufacturer BenQ has moved away from the hybrid light sources going with a pure laser diode illuminated light source. Having a single light source ensures a more standard decay with no one source lasting longer than the others. Panasonic’s answer has been to engineer a sensor which allow for automatic color balance maintenance over the life of the projector. Most models offer an average of 3,500 lumens although Sony announced a 4,000 lumen class at ISE 2013 in January. Panasonic promises to announce a 5,000 lumen model in the next year.
As manufacturers race to raise the lumens and image quality, the lifetime seems to be peaked at 20,000 hours. A number which still stands to be proven even with some companies offering a 10,000 hour guarantee.
The energy saving and efficient performance of solid state makes it a welcome alternative to traditional LCD and DLP projectors. Integrators will benefit from these new LED projectors which offer longer lamp life, installation flexibility, lower maintenance requirements, while retaining their digital networking and AV control capabilities and adding enhanced features supporting multi-unit edge blending for video wall displays.
If you still support those old LCDs in your installation, we do offer replacement lamps. Not sure what the part number is? Our handy lamp finder will figure it out for you and take you right to the page where you can buy it.