Laser Projectors: What Are They and Are They Any Good?
Today’s tech industry has developed something of a reputation for developing new technology just for another excuse to ramp up the prices. There’s been some concern that projector manufacturers have taken this angle with laser projection. But we don’t think so.
They’re not right for everyone, but laser projectors have some huge benefits over old lamp technology. We’ve delved in to the differences between the lamp and laser technology to bring you our top three reasons why you need to believe the hype.
Let’s start with picture quality. The main visual benefit of laser projection is that laser light sources offer better colour accuracy – often called a wider colour gamut. In addition to the colours themselves, laser projectors offer better brightness uniformity and lower brightness decline over the lifetime of the projector vs. projection lamp counterparts. Furthermore, a laser light source is more controllable which means that laser projectors often feature higher contrast than lamp-based projectors.
Some people are focused on brightness as a laser projector benefit, but we believe it’s not just about creating more light. Laser projectors create a better quality of light. The light released from a regular lamp-powered projector is unfocused and scattered. Imagine shining a torch against a wall – the closer you move to the wall, the more focused, sharper and brighter the light becomes. Lasers can create that sharp clarity of focus, regardless of distance. The result is a sharper picture and better colours than often appear brighter than their spec sheet would insinuate.
At the very top end of laser projection, some models even feature three different light sources, red green and blue which means that the unit creates the colour that it needs.
The bulbs in a lamp projector start out by creating white light. But in order to control the colours that are being projected, and thus create an image, most of the colour here has to be filtered out, in order to create red, green and blue – the primary colours.
A digital laser need only input the specific wavelength and the desired colour is achieved automatically. It optimises all the energy that would otherwise be wasted and uses it to create extra brightness.
For many people, the big barrier to investing in a laser projector is that it’s undeniably a step up in cost when it comes to the initial outlay. But we see it as a long term investment. With a lamp projector there are regular maintenance costs and of course the cost of replacement lamps that really start to add up when you look at the lifetime cost of ownership.
Laser projectors on the other hand, require little to no maintenance at all. These light sources have an average lifespan of 20,000 hours without any need to replace the bulb, or any other part of the setup. By comparison, projector lamps will typically last between 3,000 and 6,000 hours. Based on the lower end of this estimate and you’re looking at 7 lamp changes in the 20,000 hour lifetime. In some cases where the operating environment isn’t ideal (dust, heat or moisture) lamps could fail under this estimate too and the replacement lamps themselves aren’t warrantied extensively.
Lamp projectors also need regular cleaning and filter changes. The filter is designed to stop dust and general dirt from inhibiting the function of the projector’s technology, but this will need regular maintenance in order to keep the device operating at its best.
That’s yet more operational costs of AV engineer time, and an awkward bit of downtime that not all projector owners can afford. For large auditoriums, boardrooms or lecture theatres therefore, a laser projector is ideal.
Our final big win for laser projectors is their efficiency. This isn’t just about lowering energy use; it also offers practical benefits. A lamp projector takes a while to reach the optimum operational temperature as it basically warms up. Laser, on the other hand, will get going at the instant touch of a button.
This might not seem like an important distinction, but those precious minutes here and there spent waiting for the projector to warm up do eventually add up. For your business, wasted time is inefficient – and in an auditorium or presentation, it sometimes just isn’t even an option. Many laser projectors have flexible brightness adjustment too, so you can also save money by dialling this down in darker environments.
We’re pretty confident that laser projector technology is going to dominate the industry for some time to come. If you want to get started with your own laser projector today, then have a look through our fantastic range of models.