Projectors with laser light engines have been around the cinema space for a while now, but the technology is now starting to find its way into other commercial applications – including indoor signage and indoor projection mapping.
NEC has introduced a single-chip DLP 8,000-lumen laser projector it says is the first of its kind in this market category. Normally, DLP projectors have bulbs that run very hot, can’t run constantly and don’t last more than a few thousand hours before they need replacement. So using projectors in 16/7 or 24/7 jobs is expensive and labor-intensive.
NEC’s new PX803UL (rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?) has a laser light source that is rated for 20,000 hours, and will probably run almost maintenance-free for four to five years.
The cool laser light engines also require less energy than hot-running bulbs, which means lower operating costs. And they are mercury-free, unlike projector bulbs.
The PX803UL delivers a wide array of features tailored to fit customer needs, including the ability to rotate the projector 360 degrees or use it in portrait applications. The capability to adjust picture controls and geometry allows the projected image to be tailored to customer preferences and stored in memory for continual use. Helping customers address their needs even further, the PX803UL provides a new constant brightness mode that creates a stable brightness while not degrading the image. When used in conjunction with the edge blending feature, it ensures a uniform picture over the life of the projector.
The new PX803UL uses the same lenses as the existing lamp-based PX Series projectors. This allows current users of the PX700W/PX700W2, PX750U/PX750U2 and PX800X/PX800X2 an easy upgrade path to SSL projection without the need to purchase additional lenses. Additionally, the new UST lens with a 0.38:1 throw ratio creates new installation capabilities for the PX803UL.
Besides traditional industry sectors like higher education and corporate, the PX803UL projector opens up opportunities for applications in simulation, network operations centers, digital signage, houses of worship, oil & gas, utilities, transportation, manufacturing and entertainment. Without a predefined working area as found with large-screen displays, content developers can let their imaginations run wild in determining what customers will see.
“The high reliability, high-durability laser model is an appealing new option for digital signage and other market applications that haven’t used projectors before,” says Richard McPherson, Senior Product Manager of Projectors at NEC Display. “Because the PX803UL projector is the first of its kind in this market category, it gives industries the opportunity to remain ahead of the curve in terms of projection.”
Non-cinema laser projectors have been around for a bit, but for the most part the output has been more in line with the kinds of projectors you’d find in boardrooms. From what I’ve read, it looks like 5,000 lumens is where the commercial wants to be in terms of minimum brightness.
The things cost a couple of bucks, however – with a minimum advertised price of $16,999 USD. They come on the market next month.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.