Has the Projector World Gone Wide?

[ This is a re-post from our September Projector People Post Business Edition Newsletter ]

Aspect Ratios

We’ve been talking a lot about new $999 entry level home theater projectors lately. But projection innovation is not limited to the home theater frontier. Business projectors now include more brightness for less cash, broader feature sets on entry level projectors, and a big trend towards adding affordable widescreen technology. Wider aspect ratios have been making their way, slowly but surely, into the world of business presentations, churches, schools, and other large venue applications. But what are the advantages of widescreen technologies for business? Is it time to convert for business too?

Why Go Wide?

As home televisions have been stretched to 16:9 resolution, viewers are becoming more and more used to the widescreen image. Back at work, the 4:3 image is starting to look a little square. But there are more reasons than familiarity to change your perspective. Here are just a few :

  • Meatier messages – More words and characters bullet point
  • More image in tight spaces – Particularly offices with 8-foot ceilings and 3-foot tables
  • Waste less image space when used with widescreen laptops
  • 4:3 images still work nicely in the 16:10 frame so older tools don’t have to be replaced
  • Widescreen weekend – Crossover projecting for weekend HDTV projection fun

If any of these benefits appeal to you, then you will also be happy to know that your selection of 16:10 (and 16:9) products has been increasing, slowly but surely, each year. Price points have also been reduced as competition increases in the widescreen space.

Some Well-Priced Widescreen Business Projectors

  • NEC NP500WS – $849* [ WXGA (1280 x 800), 2100 lumens, short-throw lens, 7.3 lbs. ]
  • Sanyo PLC-WXE45 – $1395 [ WXGA (1280 x 800) resolution, 2000 lumens, 7.5 lbs. ]
  • NEC NP3151W – $3,499* [ WXGA (1280 x 800) resolution, 4000 lumens, wireless capable ]
  • Mitsubishi WL6700U – $7995** [ WXGA (1366 x 800 pixels) resolution, 5000 lumens ]
  • * Prices are after rebate.
    ** Additional discounts may apply.

Find more here with our Projector Finder tool!

As always, if you have more questions about 16:10 projectors, or any projectors, call us today

Projector People at Infocomm 2008 – Day Two

More Cool New Stuff : PP at Infocomm 2008

More from our Projector People team on the showroom floor at Infocomm 2008. Again we should have photos and more information in future posts. Whenever possible we will link to other tech sites covering the technology too.

What if They Made a Projector without a Lamp?

new PhlatLightLED

DLP technology from Texas Instruments asked, and answered, the question of a lampless projector at this year’s Infocomm trade show. The new technology utilizes LED technology (version called PhlatLight Light Emitting Diode has been used in LCD TVs) in place of the DLP color wheel and mirror and light engine. Instead of a spinning red, blue, and green color wheel, there are RBG LEDs which plus rapidly to create the color.

The new product is the first of its kind with a regular sized chassis, but many new projectors using LED technology have been released for cell phones and so-called “pocket” projectors.

So what are the benefits? For starters, you could kiss the $200 – $500 cost of a replacement lamp goodbye along with any of the hassle of caring for it. That is good news for consumers who might have been hesitant to incur future costs after the purchase. It may also mean a dramatic increase in consumers choosing projectors as a primary display source, as the lamp life would be comparable to that of LCD and plasma TVs. Also, as we have seen with the pocket projectors, the lamp lack also allows for smaller footprints and even more portable opportunities. The fan will also not be required to cool that hot lamp, which means nearly silent operation and less energy consumption.

But wait, there’s more! With the new LED-based DLP technology, the color space possible for a projector is increased beyond that of traditional lamp’d projectors up to 50%. That’s a big benefit for the folks in the DLP camp, since color has been one area where they have been consistently challenged by 3LCD.

Are there any drawbacks to this new technology? Well for one, it’s new. So even though you won’t pay to replace the lamp, there will probably be a premium to pay initially. It’s not yet available to the general public yet, and won’t be for a while. And some reporting on the scene mention the color is not quite “lifelike” and has a bit of a red haze.

“But what about brightness?” you may ask. A good question, since previous LED projectors were in the 25 – 100 lumen range. The latest incarnation on the tradeshow floor is said to be very bright. TI claims a brightness from 500 – 1000 lumens, which was once considered a benchmark for home theater projectors. However, newer products are typically upwards of 1000 lumens. So, brightness is an issue that will probably need to improve.

But hey, nobody’s perfect on their first go. Texas Instruments says they will begin by focusing on Home Theater projection, since here is less brightness required and expects to have products released by manufacturer partners by the end of 2008. Watch us here for more updates on this potentially groundbreaking technology.

[ read more from PCWorld ]

Coming Soon from Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi HC4900

{ updated } Replacing the top selling HC4900 will be the new HC5500. What’s noteworthy about the HC5500? To start, the Mitsubishi HC5500 is reported to produce just 19db of fan noise, which is a nice improvement for home theater enthusiasts. It also has true HD 1080p resolution and a suggested retail price around $2495.

[ photo: Mitsubishi HC4900 projector ]

{ updated } The new projector is scheduled to be released in or around July 2008.

[ read press release ]

How Much Does it Cost to Go Wide?

Our projector PI’s has been looking for industry trends to share, and one point of interest has come to light. As more people begin adopting widescreen technology in business, either in their lapotop computers or high definition displays at home, the question arises, how much more does one have to spend to go widescreen?

So how much more will you pay for widescreen resolution over an equivalent 4:3 model? About $200.

That’s all for now! But stay tuned for more from our roving reports on the floor at Infocomm 2008!