Thankfully, this is no longer the case, due to the rapid growth in popularity and increasing accessibility of projector systems for all budgets. Offering a range of impressive benefits with few considerations, projectors are now the perfect centrepiece for the ultimate home theatre system.
The most obvious, and potentially the most important, feature of modern projectors is their size. Many home theatre enthusiasts are concerned about distorted viewing and blurred pixels, but modern projectors provide images just as clear and crisp as televisions, all while delivering a picture that could be double or triple the size. This feature alone ensures any home theatre can provide an immersive experience and cinema-quality viewing.
One common concern for those considering projectors is ambient lighting, which can in some circumstances wash out the image and reduce the overall quality of the picture. However, for home theatre owners with a love for 'cinema conditions', curtain-closed viewing only adds to the sense of immersion while watching your favourite blockbusters. Another plus is the reduction of eye strain, which is suffered by some television owners due to the brightness of the screen and the smaller screen size.
Believe it or not, projectors can also help home theatre owners save space. Although often considered an item designed exclusively for larger homes, modern projectors can easily be mounted to a ceiling, and retractable projector screens can be smoothly tucked away, so even the smallest space can be use to its full potential. Televisions, on the other hand, require a dedicated space that's often difficult to alter, and thus completely dictates the use of the room.
Finally, projectors offer excellent value for money when compared to their television counterparts.
No fewer than 42 countries were represented at the yearly event, and last year nearly 200 million people viewed the event, making the Eurovision Song Contest one of the most watched events in the world, providing a perfect stage for Barco to promote its innovative projectors.
To provide the video projections on the stage, Barco supplied 13 HDQ-2K40 projectors, all of which were equipped with XLD 8-5.5 lenses. Of these, 10 were combined with the MMS-200 moving mirror system, which allowed the positioning of images in multiple locations. Two further HDQ-2K40 projectors were used for video mapping, and one unit was used to visualise special effects. Two Barco FLM-HD18 and four Barco HDX-W20 projectors were also used for audience monitors.
This isn't the first time Barco has worked in partnership with the Eurovision Song Contest. In 2013, the event was powered by a total of 60 Barco projectors, and in 2014, 16 HDQ-units were used.
Gerben Van den Berg, the vice-president of sales for EMEA entertainment and corporate at Barco, said of the partnership: “Needless to say, we’re delighted to be the technical event supplier for Eurovision once again. Every year the show designers do their utmost to raise the bar and create a show that amazes, moves and inspires. We’re really proud to help them bring their impressive designs to life.”
It’s been just a month since the Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2016 conference in Amsterdam gave companies the chance to show off the latest projection tech in the home cinema, education and business sectors.
ISE has recently cemented its reputation as the destination of choice for international AV and systems integration professionals. Around 1,100 exhibitors attended the week-long conference.
There was a huge range of gear unveiled at the show, which saw around 65,000 attendees over the course of the conference, from the latest envelope-pushing products to rather weird and experimental product designs that may hint at the next big thing in projector technology.
So, without further ado, here is a breakdown of the top five new projectors that were launched in Amsterdam at this year’s ISE event.
Panasonic took home the Best of Show award for their latest laser projector. The PT-RZ570 utilises a 1-chip DLP for WUXGA resolution and a four-segment Quartet Colour Harmoniser colour wheel and produces 5,200 lumens of brightness.
Lucy Meredith, a Field Marketing Specialist at Panasonic UK, said of winning the award: “A combination of technologies results in picture quality that exceeds that of competitive lamp-based projectors, making text and graphics clear and comfortable for students to view.
“The PT-RZ570 does strengthen our line-up and it’s great to see such innovation being recognised with this award.”
Optoma’s 4K projectors
While showing off an impressive racing simulator at their booth, Optoma unveiled two prototype 4K projectors, one of which employed a lamp-based design with a new 4K TI chip, while the other was an LED laser-based design featuring the same chip
The hospital’s new system was installed by Saville Audio Visual, after the existing analogue system was deemed out-of-date, overly complex and inflexible. The old system used 4:3 aspect ratio displays. In addition, there were no HD components, nor HDMI inputs or BYOD capability.
Requirements for the new system included brighter screens, better placed repeaters and it needed to be much easier to control.
Rob Hill, Saville Audio Visual’s Regional Technical Manager, said: “Key elements of the improved facilities included the introduction of an AMX control system and a 6,600 lumens Christie HD projector, plus 55-inch high definition NEC repeater screens. These are complemented by a zoned DSP digital audio system and a versatile Barco ClickShare wireless collaboration package.”
To build a system that was both easy to use and able to accept multiple inputs, the installation team employed a Kramer switcher scaler, which automatically adjusts the output to match the input format and resolution. Repeater displays were then configured to use the switcher’s HDBaseT output.
All lectures at the Education Centre lecture hall are now presented in 16:9 aspect ratio and controlled via an AMX Modero-X touchscreen. An audio loop amplifier was also installed to improve the accessibility of lectures and presentations for students with hearing difficulties.
Simon Reynolds, Deputy Head of Voice Services at Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This contemporary installation by Saville Audio Visual has provided a much needed, professional lecture suite with HD capabilities and vastly improved audio facilities; the use of ClickShare as a means of sharing multiple sources simultaneously has transformed the space into
Recent product announcements from some of the world's best known and established projector manufacturers have mainly focused on the release of laser projectors. To some, this signals the start of a new era in projection, but to others whispers of lamp technology advancements suggest this familiar feature of modern projectors is yet to reach its peak.
To try to answer the question of where manufacturers are likely to focus their attention in the future, the experts at ProjectorPoint have explored some of the recent product releases and identified the potential intentions of some of the world's leading projector brands.
A well-known name in the technology industry, Casio has encouraged rumours of a laser revolution after introducing a new range of seven affordable LampFree projectors.
Certainly a significant investment in laser technology, the new additions to the Core Series lineup of industry-leading laser projectors have been designed to suit almost any budget, offering WXGA and XGA resolution to both home and corporate environments.
According to Casio, the laser range offers a lifespan of up to 20,000 hours while removing the need for lamp replacement and reducing electricity consumption, suggesting the total cost of ownership is significantly better than that of lamp projectors.
Although an equally well-known name and a leader in projection technology, Canon has opted to pursue new advancements in lamp technology rather than jumping ship to lasers.
During this year's ISE event in Amsterdam, Canon unveiled the latest additions to its popular XEED installation projector range, including
Projector manufacturer Barco has launched a brand new F90 series of 4K DLP laser phosphor projectors for the pro AV and events market.
According to Barco, the new models have been designed for installation within corporate and commercial settings, including boardrooms, auditoriums, visitor attractions and large venue concerts. In fact, Barco has announced that the projectors offer quality images that are even suitable for use in theme park dark rides.
Offering up to 13,000 lumens of brightness, the brand new Barco devices have been created using solid-state laser-phosphor light sources, combined with an advanced design that uses cooling technology to extend operation time to up to 40,000 hours.
Virtually maintenance-free, the two new laser projectors remove the need for lamp changes, reducing overall costs for users while still delivering an impressive image quality of up to eight million pixels.
In order to create images capable of being used in commercial environments, the two new laser phosphor projectors are also equipped with a number of high resolution lenses from ultra-short throw range up to long throw range, each of which provides a wide lens shift range. This flexibility enables users to adapt to almost any projector configuration and create an impressive display that any venue manager would be proud of.
Carl Rijsbrack, VP Events at Barco, said: “By expanding our projector fleet with a 4K, laser phosphor unit, we’ve also made a significant move in
The Rise of Laser Light projection
Developed based on innovative laser light source technology, many of the brand new projector devices on display at ISE 2016 indicated an upcoming move away from traditional lamp-based projectors in favour of a Solid State Light (SSL) laser light source. Although each brand offered its own justification for the change, there were very few who failed to embrace the allure of this year’s ‘must have’ technology.
The self-titled leader in lamp-free projection, Digital Projection took advantage of the laser technology buzz to launch its brand new HIGHLite Laser II, which has been specifically designed to transform large venues using an impressive 13,000 lumens of brightness, which will keep going for up to 20,000 hours.
According to Digital Projection, the replacement of traditional lamp technology with SSL laser technology allows venues to enjoy exceptionally bright images for longer, offering a lower level of brightness decline and better overall brightness uniformity. The brand also argue that their dedicated series of laser projectors eliminates almost all costs related to the projector, removing the need for lamp replacement and significantly reducing the overall cost of ownership.
Respected projector manufacturer NEC has also jumped on the laser light source bandwagon, using ISE 2016 as a platform from which it could launch its brand
According to Barco, the two new models will provide cinema and film exhibitors with the capability to offer audiences superior image quality at a lower cost, while still achieving simplicity.
As part of the launch, Barco has also announced that it has become the first manufacturer to introduce an 18,000-lumen laser phosphor projector for cinemas, which offers a brightness three times as intense as any other laser phosphor projectors currently available.
Compared to lamp-based projectors, Barco argues that laser projectors offer significant costs savings through more efficient cooling systems, which enable projectors to achieve an operating life of 30,000 hours at 50 per cent light output, resulting in reductions in electricity usage of up to 50 per cent.
In a statement, VP cinema at Barco Stijn Henderickx stated that the company's expanding portfolio of laser projectors will make it easier for exhibitors to harness the benefits of laser-illuminated projectors, regardless of screen size, theatre size or budget.
A lower cost alternative to Barco's premium 6P flagship laser range, the new laser phosphor range is a middle-budget option for exhibitors hoping to significantly reduce costs while providing their audiences with superior image quality, according to Mr Hendrickx.
“Now is the time to switch to laser. By selecting laser projection, exhibitors invest in the future," said Wim Buyens, senior VP of Barco’s entertainment division. "Following the digital cinema conversion, we’re proud to spearhead the transition from lamp-based to laser-illuminated projection by offering the widest range of laser-illuminated projectors in the industry.”
Barco laser phosphor projectors
Projector manufacturer Barco has unveiled its smallest ever projector: the DP2K-6E.
The latest creation to come from one of the world's leaders in digital cinema projection is said to boast the same quality, reliability and power but in a much smaller case. Due for commercial release by October 2015, the projector is suitable for screens up to 7.5 meters (24 feet) wide.
Not only is the DP2K-6E super compact but it also claims to be the quietest projector available on the market - it is purportedly twice as quiet as any other model available. It can be easily mounted onto a wall or ceiling and is also said to be very simple to maintain as the two UHP lamps can be replaced without any fuss.
Stijn Henderickx, vice president of digital cinema at Barco, said: “The newest E-series projector brings the acclaimed Barco image quality to the smallest theatres in the industry.
“We offer the most complete range of DCI-compliant digital cinema projectors available, providing our customers with a perfect match for every cinema screen – from the smallest to the most high-end cinemas. That’s one of the reasons Barco is market share leader in cinema, with over 50,000 digital cinema projectors installed in the field.”
The projector was unveiled at CineEurope 2015, which is running from 22 to 25 June in Barcelona, Spain.
The Barco DP4K-60L laser projector has been selected to be installed at a cinema in Denmark.
Digital cinema pioneer Barco's device was picked for the main premium large format (PLF) screen of Nordic entertainment company Nordisk Film Biografer's new multiplex in the Field shopping and entertainment centre in Copenhagen.
The new cinema is set to open in August and the Field is due to become one of the largest shopping centres in Scandinavia when it is completed.
Wim Buyens, head of entertainment at Barco, explained that the Barco DP4K-60L is the world’s brightest cinema projector.
He pointed out that it also features "unprecedented" 4K image quality, as well as contrast ratios that "result in laser-sharp 2D and 3D images".
Mr Buyens added: "What’s more, the built-in Barco Alchemy Intelligent Cinema Media Processor combines media server, cinema processing, storage and security functions in a single, on-board module.
"The module is the first on the market to enable the projection of 4K content at 60 fps and show 3D movies in full 4K resolution with only one projector."
Lars Jørgensen, executive country manager at Nordisk Film Biografer, said the partnership with Barco at the Field complex is being built on a "shared love of cinema".