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Large meeting room projectors: wider choice, better value

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Digital Projection’s M-Vision Cine 930 is said to bring budget-sensitive applications a large-screen, lamp-based imaging solution – with the option of a lase lightsource in a sister model.With the ability to blend, warp and blend the image and to map it onto a huge range of substrates and objects, some of the latest projector releases represent outstanding value. AV News look at the choices available to customers for 6,000 – 12,000 lumen projectors with some of the latest releases.

The market for powerful, large meeting room projectors is in an interesting place right now. Not only is there the lamp v. laser issue, there is a structural change in the industry. Vendors traditionally focussed on the consumer sector are moving up the brightness range, to the ProAV sector, while the traditional ProAV brands have their sights set on the growing mid-range market.

No-one, to our knowledge, has quite had the chutzpa to say: “That’s it – no more lamps.”, and frankly there is little incentive to do that right now. While both lamp and laser can achieve the technical objective, it is factors like the upfront price that still often determines customer choice.

Parallel technologies

As long as the current position persists, and failing some dramatic external action on the use of mercury in lamps, the issue of price will continue to be the key determinant for the foreseeable future. Consequently, vendors are continuing to develop products on parallel tracks, using both lamp and laser lightsources.

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Vivitek’s DU8190Z is a WUXGA laser light source projector with 10,000 ANSI Lumens of light output.

For example, relative newcomer to the sector Vivitek, announced, at the recent InfoComm, that it will launch two new large meeting room laser projectors, the DK8500Z and the DU8190Z, to market in the next few months.

Both the DK8500Z and DU8190Z feature laser light sources which offer the now standard 20,000 hours operational life. For the venue manager, this is a tremendous advantage, offering both power and positioning flexibility combined with durability and ease of use. Where the units are installed in locations that are difficult to access, laser’s minimal maintenance overhead is an obvious benefit. Their mercury-free designs also ensure that they are environmentally friendly solutions, and, in some venues, that is a big issue/

The DK8500Z offers 4K/UHD resolution and 7500 ANSI Lumens brightness. The DU8190Z meanwhile is a WUXGA laser light source projector with 10,000 ANSI Lumens of light output. The brightness capabilities of the new models is complemented by a range of professional features. Designed for easy installation, both projectors offer motorised lens shift and Lens Position Memory functions. There are 8 optional interchangeable lenses, ranging from 0.38:1 to 5.31-8.26:1 throw ratio. With built-in edge-blending, warping and portrait mode projection with 360-degrees, it’s fair to describe the new models as truly versatile projectors.

The new projectors join a portfolio that already features an existing laser model, the DU7090Z, seemingly tipping Vivitek’s provision for larger meeting environments and applications into the laser camp – but that’s not the whole story. In addition to the new laser projectors, Vivitek has release a new dual lamp projector, the DU6771. Intended for large meeting rooms and other venues where brightness and installation flexibility is a key consideration, the DU6771 offers a brightness of 6,500 ANSI Lumens, and WUXGA resolution with a 3,000:1 contrast ratio. Uptime for mission critical roles, including meeting facility hire, is assured with dual-lamp technology.

Other features include interchangeable lenses and advanced display technologies. The motorised zoom, focus and lens shift features allow for easy adjustment and movement. Furthermore, image adjustment is made easier with 4-corner and keystone corrections. HDBaseT allows for digital image and control signals to be sent up to 100m over one single network cable, making installation cost-efficient and straightforward.

Value proposition

The entry of new players into this sector of the market, and responses from the established vendors, has done much to improve the value proposition for end-users. Vivitek’s dual lamp projector, for example, has an ex VAT list price of £3,690 (and a street price of £2,700-ish ex VAT), which is remarkable value for a mission-critical piece of kit. This compares with the prices of comparable laser phosphor models; the 6000 lumen DU7090Z lists at £ 6,168.00 inc VAT and has a street price of £5,140.00 ex VAT (AV Partsmaster)– but, no replacement lamp costs. Street pricing for the 10,000 lumen DU8190Z stands at £ 9,278.00 ex VAT (again, AV Partsmaster) and while the price of the 7500 lumen DK8500Z  might be of more interest in this comparison, it hasn’t yet been announced.

When the range is complete and fully available, it will a useful addition in this sector. Holger Graeff, General Manager EMEA, Vivitek, said of the recent additions to his projector portfolio: “The introduction of the DK8500Z, DU8190Z and DU6771 once again sees Vivitek setting new standards in image quality, performance, quality and value for money. These latest additions to our line of large venue projectors utilise the latest technologies in order to offer an unparalleled user experience. With a projector to suit every budget and requirement, our new large venue projectors slot in to our ever-expanding portfolio, offering the quality and performance associated with the Vivitek brand.”

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Laser phosphor illumination in the GS models produces 10,875 ISO lumens of brightness. Christie BoldColor Technology employs blue and red laser diodes as well as a patented optical chamber, video processing and specialised software to produce enhanced colour and saturation.

 

Provision in the large meeting room sector is such that we have seen one of the leaders in this sector, Christie added to its GS Series at InfoComm, with new 10,000 ISO lumen models featuring HD and WUXGA resolutions and with the company’s new BoldColor Technology. The new Christie DHD1075-GS and DWU1075-GS 10,000 ISO lumen laser phosphor projectors combine many of the features from the Christie HS Series, including more powerful grid-based warping and blending with Christie BoldColor Technology, all in a compact form-factor.

With both projectors, Christie continues to ensure that sophisticated, high brightness projection is accessible to the more budget-conscious user at a low cost of ownership. Whether used in fixed installations or event staging, the DHD1075-GS and DWU1075-GS are durable, rugged and built for extended, heavy use over a period of many years while delivering super-quiet operation and a powerful, vivid presentation every time.

Single-chip performance

Improvements in the value proposition have been achieved by building on the performance of single-chip architectures. “Significantly more advanced than original GS models, we’re taking 1DLP to higher levels of brightness, and image quality using Christie BoldColor Technology,” said Miles Donovan, senior channel development manager EMEA, Christie. “From business to staging events and beyond, the Christie 1075-GS projectors deliver all-around premium performance and reliability in high-usage environments.”

“Christie created a solution that not only enriches colours at high-brightness levels in laser phosphor projection, but we also do this without the traditional image retention,” Donovan added. “Customers will get powerful, built-in warping and blending capabilities to create seamless, multi-projector displays, backed by industry-leading warranties and service.”

Laser phosphor illumination in the GS models  produces 10,875 ISO lumens of brightness. Christie BoldColor Technology employs blue and red laser diodes as well as a patented optical chamber, video processing and specialised software to produce enhanced colour and saturation and, it is claimed, more lifelike visuals when compared to typical laser phosphor projectors. According to research by Christie, 78% of survey responders indicated ‘colour fidelity’ as one of the most important factors when buying a projector. In the corporate environment, the ability to achieve identity guidelines and colour references is an important requirement.

Compact and lightweight for easy transportation and handling, both projectors blend easily into their environment and thanks to the camera-based stacking, blending and warping, can be quickly aligned with other projectors. Featuring two HDMI inputs and one HDMI loop out, DVI and 3GSDI, both projectors ship in the summer of 2017 with a three-year parts and labour warranty.

Innovation

Christie BoldColor effectively enables the company’s new laser releases to achieve or exceed the comparable visual standards from a new technology, satisfying users of legacy solutions, the problem of colour fidelity is common to all vendors in this highly competitive sector. Optoma, for example, has developed a technology it calls MultiColor Laser for the launch of the 8,200-lumen ProScene projector and subsequent models.

Being the first to feature MultiColor Laser (MCL technology), WUXGA ZU850 achieves superior colour rendition through an additional red laser.  Together with the blue laser, this red laser is said to enhance the colour performance to deliver striking and rich lifelike images with exceptional detail.  Designed to deliver consistent brightness and advanced colour fidelity, the ZU850 forms part of Optoma’s DuraCore laser range.

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Being the first to feature MultiColor Laser (MCL technology), WUXGA ZU850 achieves superior colour rendition through an additional red laser.

Head of Visual Systems Solutions, Justin Halls at Optoma Europe, commented: “We are confident that the ZU850’s superior colour performance is a direct result of Optoma’s MCL technology, reproducing the best reds imaginable. The ZU850 joins our elite range of DuraCore laser projectors with multiple lens options making it suitable for all types of venues. Aside from the excellent reliability and performance, it will soon pay for itself in savings over traditional lamp-based projectors with virtually zero maintenance required.”

Featuring an airtight optical engine that has been independently certified as IP6X, this latest ProScene ‘fit and forget’ model offers spectacular versatility and reliability.  Designed for continuous 24/7 operation, it supports 360° flexible installation and, with 100 variable power and luminance settings, is described as perfect for simulation, live events and almost any challenging environment.

Brightest 1-chip

Earlier this year, Digital Projection announced what it claims is the brightest available 1-chip projector. Digital Projection’s M-Vision Cine 930 is said to bring budget-sensitive applications a large-screen, lamp-based imaging solution – with the option of a lase lightsource in a sister model.

Enlisting dual 465W High Intensity Discharge lamps, the M-Vision 930 contains the illumination muscle to enliven even the brightest of rooms. In professional venues such as auditoriums and Houses of Worship that regularly contend with high levels of ambient light, the M-Vision 930’s brightness ensures the audience will experience the message with the saturated colours, bright imagery, and dark area detail that your customer intended.

With accelerated contrast performance and active 3D capabilities with up to 144Hz refresh rate, the M-Vision 930 offers features normally associated with high-end 3-chip DLP systems at a single-chip price point. The brightness and 6-segment colour wheel produce an image quality and brightness unrivalled in the single chip projector market. Dual HDMI 1.4, DVI inputs enable the latest high-speed video delivery. HDBaseT connectivity further augments the M-Vision 930’s input options, allowing for the transmission of uncompressed High Definition Video over a CAT5e/6 LAN cable.

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Digital Projection’s M-Vision Cine 930 is said to bring budget-sensitive applications a large-screen, lamp-based imaging solution – with the option of a lase lightsource in a sister model.

 

Imaging versatility is described as a key deliverable with the M-Vision WUXGA 930, with Edge Blend and Geometric Correction included as standard features. Impressive installation flexibility, by way of a complete suite of professional lenses offering throw ratios from 0.84:1 to 4.00:1, is yet another critical feature within the new display.

For those committed to a future based on laser, Digital Projection has also produced a laser-powered variant of the M-Vision projector. The M-Vision Laser 18K is also a single chip DLP projector with an impressive 18,000 lumens output and 10,000:1 contrast ratio. The M-Vision Laser 18K brings budget-sensitive applications a large-screen imaging solution and near 3-Chip performance at a 1-Chip price point. Venues contending with ambient light, as well as applications needing a powerful yet budget-conscious large-format imagery solution, will directly benefit from the M-Vision 18K’s ample light output.

Perfectly suited to all applications where high brightness is required, no feature has been overlooked. DisplayPort accepts frame rates up to 60 Hz and HDMI 1.4 for Side by Side, Frame Packing & Top Bottom 3D formats. Finally, Motorised shift, zoom and focus across the whole lens range offers flexibility and ease of setup.

Moving to 3-chip

In the interests of economy, most of the affordable models in this comparison use a single chip architecture. With other vendors, you have to look at 3-chip models to meet the venue owners wish list of features, which might include interchangeable lenses for positional flexibility, a specific light output and a laser or lamp lightsource.

This year’s InfoComm launched by Panasonic, for example included PT-RZ21K 3-Chip DLP SOLID SHINE Laser Projector Series and the ET-D75LE70 3-Chip DLP Fisheye Lens model.

We have to go back to the 2016 InfoComm, to see Panasonic’s ultra-compact 1-Chip DLP laser phosphor projectors. Again aimed at exhibition, staging, signage, control room, education and meeting room applications, the projectors are the PT-RZ970 series (three models up to 10,400 lm (Center)), the PT-RZ770 series (two models up to 7,200 lm(Center)) and the PT-RZ660 series (two models up to 6,200 lm(Center)).

All the projectors have airtight and dust-resistant optical drives which eliminate the need for filters and lamp replacement, extending maintenance-free service life to up to 20,000 hours. Hartmut Kulessa, European Projector Marketing Manager at Panasonic, said:

“Precision white balance, natural colour reproduction and outstanding brightness are enabled by hybrid wheel technology, featuring a robust phosphor wheel and a quartet colour harmoniser colour wheel. This maximises colour reproduction whilst reducing energy loss from the light source.”

“Energy efficient 10,000:1 contrast is achieved with digitally modulated dynamic contrast that controls light output frame-by-frame according to image requirements. Multi-projector sync now interlocks network-connected projector’s dynamic contrast and shutter functions, a new feature for Panasonic.”

Moving on

If manufacturing costs of laser phosphor models continue to fall and the R&D overhead is amortised over larger quantities, it is perhaps inevitable that the futured of the large meeting room projector is entirely laser based. Whether this situation will come about inn one year, two years or five years is hard to forecast, making current purchasing decisions extremely hard to make. As current lamp-based models near end-of-life there will be some bargains out there which might be hard to resist.

Vivitek DU6771BX dual-lamp projector

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Vivitek’s DU6771: The dual-lamp technology, interchangeable lenses and advanced display technologies are designed to ensure a bright, high definition digital image with full colour saturation.

Over the 10 years (next month) of its existence, the Vivitek portfolio has been extended to display, digital signage and collaboration products in categories as diverse as consumer and ProAV. Activity at the high-end includes partnering with parent company Delta on cube-based video walls and the launch fo a new range of installation projectors. Here, AV News asses Vivitek’s new dual lamp installation projector.

Intended for large meeting rooms where brightness and installation flexibility is a key consideration, the DU6771 offers a high brightness of 6,500 ANSI Lumens and WUXGA resolution with 3,000:1 contrast ratio clear and sharp images.

Before we go into detail, let’s look at the rationale behind this product. First why would a customer want a dual lamp projector? If your customer is, for example, a conference centre, the projector is a mission critical device. With dual lamps, the presentation will continue, even if a lamp fails. with the remaining lamp. Some dual lamp projectors offer 24/7 capability, for example in digital signage applications, where lamp relay mode allows each lamp the time required to cool between duty cycles. Finally, installation space is still a consideration and dual lamp technology can often offer more compact and space saving designs and lower weight than the laser models now popular in this sector.

That is not to say that the DU6771 is any particular lightweight, or slight of form. For a street price (AV Partsmaster) of £ 2,699.00 ex VAT you get a lot of projector for your money. The DU6771’s chassis and case is sharply designed and manufactured and would look solidly professions in any installation context. With the central interchangeable lens and side mounted controls, the DU6771 is convenient to use in both table-top and ceiling mounted configurations. While not excessively heavy for this class of projector, we would recommend installing the unit with a colleague.

Set-up

Installation flexibility is assured with the choice of eight interchangeable lens options with a quick touch lens release design for easy removal and reinstallation. The motorised zoom, focus and lens shift features allow for easy adjustment and movement. Furthermore, image adjustment is made easier with 4-corner and keystone corrections. HDBaseT allows for digital image and control signals to be sent up to 100m over one single network cable, making installations cost-efficient and straightforward.

Installation proved to be straightforward and the projector was up and running in less than 10 minutes. For situations where the project is to be used in a variety of locations. A Lens Positioning Memory (LPM) feature enables up to 10 user assigned settings for lens position, lens shift, focus, and zoom. We ram our test in the largest room available to us (5 m x 6m) the room was undergoing restoration and so the usual blackout blinds were not available – unfortunate in the first half oj July when almost every saw full sunshine.

No matter, because the projector’s 6500 lumens of brightness was more adequate to deal with difficult ambient light. The colour performance of the unit’s six segment colour wheel was really good, producing both accurate and pleasing colour with only minor tweaks to the standard settings.

Conclusion

With Ethernet, RS-232 and infrared controls plus Crestron RoomView certification, the DU6771 is well specified for both enterprise and institutional applications, with the dual lamp providing peace-of-mind needed in mission-critical roles. All of this for an ex.VAT price of less than three grand represents outstanding value.

 

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Installation flexibility is assured with the choice of eight interchangeable lens options with a quick touch lens release design for easy removal and reinstallation. The motorised zoom, focus and lens shift features allow for easy adjustment and movement.


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