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Technology Showcase: Corporate Projectors

Today's business projectors squeeze clever features into smaller packages.

Technology Showcase: Corporate Projectors

Apr 13, 2009 12:00 PM,
By Jay Ankeney

Today’s business projectors squeeze clever features into smaller packages.

BenQ MP522 ST

The projectors being used in corporations today reflect the realities facing our society. They are being squeezed by cost-conscious purchasers, improved by vibrant competition, wrestling with requirements meant to keep our environment clean, and generally improving in quality every year.

The corporate-projector arena has been robust in the past. TFCinfo—a market-research and publishing firm that analyzes specific distribution channels of the advanced display market segment—reports, “We are estimating about 566,000 units of U.S. business front-projector sales generating about $598 million in revenue in 2008.” As you would expect, it is anyone’s guess what the future will hold considering the general downturn in our economy, and no market-research firm wanted to make a firm prediction.

In January, TFCinfo released its Projector Brand Customer Perception and Preference Study 2009, which found that Epson, Panasonic, Sharp, and Sony were the most-improved brands overall compared to last year. InFocus and NEC tie at the No. 1 spot as the most-considered brands for purchase in large corporations and are among the top three in other key market segments. Epson saw the most improvement in 2008 in large corporations. InFocus and Panasonic posted the largest gains in consideration in small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Sony came in most improved among small offices/home users. And Sharp was the brand that showed the most improvement over last year in both the education and government segments.

Although projectors for corporate installations seem to be the last bastion of the 4:3 screen, the popularity of 16:9 or 16:10 laptop computers has generated a rising call for widescreen projectors to match their images. Many people would like to purchase WXGA-resolution screens, which generally have a resolution of 1355×768—although specs may vary. There is also an increasing interest in resolutions up to WUXGA (1920×1200) to fully match the 16:10 laptop displays or to leave room for a tool bar when showing 16:9 images.

However, with our budgets being squeezed by the economy, most corporate planners will probably be sticking with their current XGA resolutions (1024×768) and letterboxing widescreen presentations to fit on them.

Since projectors are being used for more purposes than ever before, another major trend is to equip them with more I/O options, such as multiple HDMI ports and burgeoning Wi-Fi capabilities of several varieties. That way more departments can use projectors, especially mobile projectors, to suit their diverse presentation requirements.

To make these projectors more user-friendly, we are seeing more short-throw lenses on models designed to hug the wall behind the presenter. This eliminates shadows on the walls and keeps the person that is holding the clicker from being blinded by the light.

Although corporate installation projectors that are destined for boardrooms, meeting areas, or training centers have traditionally been considered to require 3000 lumens to 4000 lumens so they can be seen in ambient light, the pro AV industry is seeing a trend toward value-priced models in the 2000-lumen-to-3000-lumen range. These projectors, in addition to costing less to purchase, require less electricity to operate. Just as people are putting on sweaters and turning down their thermostats, corporate presenters may be closing the curtains and dimming the lights in their projector rooms.

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Technology Showcase: Corporate Projectors

Apr 13, 2009 12:00 PM,
By Jay Ankeney

Today’s business projectors squeeze clever features into smaller packages.

Barco CLM R10+

This reflects the growing interest in emphasizing green technologies such as eco operational modes that trade output luminance for longer lamp life. This has been prompted in part by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), which began its development in 1994 under the inspiration of Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Senior Scientist Robert K. Watson. LEED is a green-building rating system now administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit coalition of building-industry leaders. LEED certification allows a corporation to take advantage of a growing number of local- and state-government incentives for environmentally safe engineering.

For cradle-to-grave environmental protection concerns that could affect the future choice of projection systems for corporate installations, there is also the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive adopted by the European Union in 2003. WEEE is intended to reduce electronics waste from surplus electronics in land fills, including up to 38 separate chemical elements, to make equipment manufacturers financially responsible for their products at the end of their lives. This is a proposal also referenced under a policy known as extended producer responsibility (EPR). Many U.S. environmental watchdog groups are urging official adoption of WEEE standards. California has already lead the way with the 2003 Electronic Waste Recycling Act. The act placed an electronic-waste-recycling fee on all new monitors and televisions sold to cover the cost of recycling. Large-screen plasmas are already in the sights of green activists. Will projectors be far behind?

The reality is people are no longer impressed just by the novelty of having a projector in a presentation room. They want reliability, quiet operation, ease of setup and use, a predictable overall cost of ownership, and lower power consumption along with environmental considerations. Even portability is receiving greater interest because although fixed-installation projectors are still the norm, many budgets can be stretched if the display device can be moved from room to room. Fortunately, projector manufacturers have responded with innovative designs and an ever-widening variety of projector offerings, many boasting some frankly clever operational features. Here is a look at some of the most interesting projectors being offered now and in the near future for corporate installations.

Introducing the first high-brightness WXGA (1280×800) super-close DLP projectors, 3M has brought out its SCP740 and SCP717 short-throw projectors. The 3000-lumen SCP717 features BrilliantColor technology‚ DVI-D connectivity‚ two computer/component RGB inputs, an RJ-45 Ethernet connection, and an integrated wind-tunnel design to minimize heat and fan noise. Like its brighter brother, the 2600-lumen SCP740 benefits from 3M’s patented Vikuiti technology, which allows larger images from a shorter distance. It also comes with a WEEE card (EMEA).

3M also offers the corporate world its MPro110 handheld projector boasting an LED light source and, uniquely in this class, a VGA connection. With the MPro110, you can give Microsoft PowerPoint presentations with an image size of up to 50in. (diagonal) in your cubicle.

In recent years, Barco has been concentrating on single-chip and 3-chip DLP projectors outputting 8000 lumens and more, which makes them appropriate for large corporate lecture halls and training centers. At this level, Barco now has two products to choose from: the CLM R10+ with SXGA resolution and its sister, the CLM HD8, which provides full HD resolution (1920×1080). The new CLM HD8 has an 8000-lumen light output, and the compact CLM R10+ has a 10,000-lumen light output. The combination of DLP technology, sealed optics, and a high-density filter ensures that they will deliver superb images year after year without expensive and time-consuming maintenance.

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Technology Showcase: Corporate Projectors

Apr 13, 2009 12:00 PM,
By Jay Ankeney

Today’s business projectors squeeze clever features into smaller packages.

The BenQMP522 ST, which puts out 2000 lumens and features XGA resolution, is designed for installation in small spaces and requires only a half-meter of projection distance thanks to the special aspherical lens adopted by BenQ. The MP522 has two remote IR control sensors, one in the front and one in the back—so the presenter always gets an instant response from the projector. The BenQ MP727 has a chip that can present UXGA resolution from its native XGA design, puts out 4300 lumens, and features a 3500:1 contrast ratio. The MP727 has built-in color-management technology that provides independent control of the six colors’ (RGBCMY) hue, gain, and saturation levels.

Canon Realis SX800

At the beginning of this year, Canon introduced the Realis SX800, the latest advancement in its line of Realis multimedia projectors. Featuring a 3000-lumen output and a contrast ratio of 900:1, the new SX800 provides an affordable alternative for XGA (1024×768) users seeking to upgrade to a higher-resolution SXGA+ (1400×1050) projector. The SX800 employs Canon’s own next-generation 0.55in. LCoS reflective LCD panels as part of Canon’s proprietary Aspectual Illumination System (AISYS) optical engine, which nearly eliminates the screen-door effect—a faint grid pattern sometimes seen in transmissive LCD projection.

Canon would also recommend its top-of-the-line Realis WUX10, which is the world’s first WUXGA-resolution (1920×1200) widescreen multimedia projector using LCoS technology. The Canon Realis SX800 and WUX10 projectors include unique Canon user-friendly features such as Off and Go, which allows users to pack up quickly after a presentation by simply unplugging the power cord. They also boast autosetup functions for focus, keystone, signal inputs, and screen color correction; an RJ-45 Ethernet port; and a built-in network interface for centralized control and monitoring of multiple projector units.

The six models in the M series of projectors from Christie Digital Systems make up a flexible and efficient family of 3-chip DLP projectors built on a dual-lamp, mercury platform with feature-rich functionality for flexibility of use. Christie’s M series projectors include the DS+6K-M at 5000 lumens, the HD6K-M at 5100 lumens, the DS+10K-M at 9300 lumens, the HD10K-M at 9500 lumens, and two Christie Roadster models with stacking and rigging for road-worthiness. These include two resolutions: SX+ (1400×1050) and HD (1920×1080), and all HD models in this series offer a motorized yellow-notch filter for improved reproduction of skin tones, richer color depth, and more natural-looking images in their video display. At the highest brightness level of 9500 lumens, the projector draws a maximum power of 1320W, making the M series the brightest and most efficient on the market in its class. Christie is a leader in supporting environmentally safe projector design.

With a brightness of 2500 lumens and 1280×800 WXGA resolution, the Dell1609WX DLP projector is designed for 16:10 presentations. The 1609WX reduces cost and maintenance with a lamp life up to 4000 hours in quiet-running Eco mode, and its modular design simplifies replacement. The versatile 1609WX offers extensive connectivity options including dual VGA, which enables a seamless transition between presenters that reduces downtime between presentations. It also has DVI-D, S-Video, composite video, component video via VGA, and RS-232 connectivity options. Since it weighs only 4.95lbs., the 1609WX is easy to carry or mount so it can provide the flexibility of front and rear projection.

Digital Projection Titan 1080p-500

The Digital Projection twin-lamp Titan 1080p-500 is built around the latest in 1080p 3-chip DLP technology to produce 6000 lumens and 2000:1 contrast. The Titan 1080p-500’s seven standard inputs accept nearly all video and computer formats including HD-SDI and HDCP-compliant DVI. The Titan’s sealed optics and user-selectable Xenon color mode give it a lamp life of up to 3000 hours. Digital Projection’s CoolTek engineering delivers the highest lumen performance with the lowest thermal (BTU) and noise-level output.

From Eiki, the LC-W5 LCD projector—capable of 6000 lumens at 90 percent uniformity—is built with LCD panels that deliver a 2000:1 contrast ratio at WXGA (1366×800) resolution, making it compatible with normal and widescreen input resolutions up to UXGA and 1080p. The LC-X85 3LCD model is 7000 lumens bright at XGA resolution and includes one DVI and five BNC inputs among its professional input configurations. Eiki’s EIP-WX5000 projector puts out 5200 lumens from 3-chip DLP imaging technology to deliver a seamless high-contrast image.

The best-selling projector brand worldwide, Epson, would suggest its PowerLite G5000, which offers XGA resolution, 4000 lumens white light output, and 4000 lumens color light output at a 1000:1 contrast ratio. The G5000 features Epson’s latest 3-chip LCD optical engine to deliver enhanced color and detail without a spinning color wheel so there’s no possibility of rainbows or color breakup. It includes a closed-captioning decoder, which makes presentations accessible to viewers with hearing impairments. It makes the G5000 one of a few projectors that comply with section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires a decoder for every projector that comes with a built-in tuner.

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Technology Showcase: Corporate Projectors

Apr 13, 2009 12:00 PM,
By Jay Ankeney

Today’s business projectors squeeze clever features into smaller packages.

Hitachi CPX3

Designed for widescreen-format laptops and imaging applications that use 16:10 aspect ratios, the HitachiCPX3 3LCD projector offers 1280×800 WXGA resolution. The 2000-lumen, 3.9lb. CPX3 also offers a wide-angle lens, which allows the projector to be used close to the screen with no obstructions. The CPX3 features a new remote control with My Source and volume functions. The CPX3 also offers closed captioning and input naming, which lets users customize the names of the projector’s input sources. In the same line, Hitachi’s CPX4 3LCD projector comes with Wi-Fi connectivity.

For greater brightness, Hitachi’s CP-WX410 3LCD projector presents widescreen capability and full connectivity. The CP-WX410 offers a 16:10 aspect ratio, 3000 lumens brightness, and optical zoom. The CP-WX410 also features a side-mounted hybrid filter that provides extended filter life thanks to a 2000-hour filter-cleaning cycle.

The InFocusIN3108 widescreen DLP projector boasts 3500 lumens and a 2000:1 contrast ratio and features a built-in InFocus Dynamic Messaging System (DMS), which allows for instant onscreen display of messages. This WXGA native (1280×800) projector also comes equipped with the InFocus LiteSwitch instant on/off feature—which, along with DisplayLink content-over-USB connectivity, allows fast and easy setup. The InFocus IN3108 also offers a nifty LiteTouch control panel, which stealthily disappears under a sleek high-gloss finish when the projector is not in use, and assignable audio that lets the presenter sync any audio source with a selectable video input except, of course, those coming in over HDMI. Combined with HDMI, VGA, composite video inputs, and a wireless-ready port for LiteShow II Wireless, the IN3108 will project from any video source or wireless computer.

Known for its higher-resolution, higher-contrast projectors, JVC has released its new 10-megapixel 4K/2K Direct-drive Image Light Amplifier (D-ILA) projector, the DLA-SH4K, which provides four times the resolution of full HD. The projector’s chassis achieves a 65 percent reduction in size compared with conventional projectors in its class thanks in part to JVC’s latest 1.27in. D-ILA devices and a new optical system that features an 825W xenon lamp to generate a light output of 3500 lumens. Two DLA-SH4Ks can be stacked for increased light output, and the projector can be inclined up to a ±90-degree tilt angle and has a horizontal lens shift of ±25 percent and vertical shift of ±50 percent, which enables flexible installation. The DLA-SH4K includes dual-link DVI-D input terminals that accept a wide variety of input resolutions in addition to the RS-232C and USB connections and an Ethernet interface that enables installation and adjustment from web browsers.

Mitsubishi XD3200U

Mitsubishi has recently released two new high-brightness installation DLP projectors, the XD3200U XGA (1024×768) and the widescreen WD3300U WXGA (1280×800), each with a new virtually sealed color wheel that helps prevent dust accumulation. This new color wheel design, along with an improved cooling-duct path, allows both the WD3300U and XD3200U to operate at a low 26dBA noise level (Low mode). In addition, both models include a new lamp-drive system that reduces the overall deterioration rate of the lamp, resulting in an estimated lamp life of up to 4000 hours in Low mode. Starting with these two models, Mitsubishi is greening its projectors with energy-efficient, long-life lamps; lead-free solder on all printed circuit boards; digital user manuals; and use of recycled paper in printed materials and packaging.

Silicon Optix HQV technology produces improved video processing in the NEC WXGA (1280×800) NP3151W projector, which features a 4000-lumen output and a remote desktop connection that allows the projector to connect to a networked computer. The NP3151W can provide up to 3000 hours of lamp life in Eco mode. The NEC NP600 is a value-driven projector with dual computer inputs, including DVI-I, which makes it easy to quickly switch between presenters. It even has a Virtual Remote (DDC/CI) to control the projector over the VGA cable directly from a computer without the need for additional control cables.

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Technology Showcase: Corporate Projectors

Apr 13, 2009 12:00 PM,
By Jay Ankeney

Today’s business projectors squeeze clever features into smaller packages.

Like the NP3151W, NEC’s value-driven NP600 provides up to 4000 hours of lamp life in Eco mode, where it puts out 70 percent of its normal 3500 lumens, and its complete line of optional bayonet lenses allows for quick and easy lens changes. Both NEC projectors boast an auto power-on feature, which means connecting a laptop’s VGA cable turns them on. Used in combination with the Virtual Remote feature, you can still use the projector if the dedicated remote is missing from the conference room.

Optoma Technology

Entering into the short-throw projector arena, Optoma Technology has released its EX525ST, which can present a high-resolution image as large as 100in. diagonal from as close as 4ft. from the wall. The optical system incorporates an aspherical lens element that can provide a throw ratio of 0.6:1. The EX525ST features the latest Texas Instruments DLP chipset and uses Optoma’s BrilliantColor technology, letting its 200W lamp provide an output of 2500 lumens and a contrast ratio of 2500:1. Optoma’s EX525ST also boasts extensive connectivity options such as DVI, VGA, S-Video, composite, RS-232, USB, and RJ-45. It can be installed by itself or used with interactive whiteboard technology.

Panasonic is proud that its PT-F300 series projectors’ optical blocks maintain a high level of performance over time because of the use of inorganic materials in the LCD panels and polarizers. The PT-F300 series features Panasonic’s Daylight View 5 technology, and a high-performance optical system is combined with a high-efficiency 250W UHM lamp to deliver a high brightness of 4000 lumens (PT-F300NT and PT-F300) or 3500 lumens (PT-FW300NT and PT-FW300). Panasonic’s original Multi Projector Monitoring and Control freeware allows the user to control and monitor up to 1,024 projectors via LAN from a remote location.

Available for the first time just this month is Panasonic’s new projector lineup featuring the PT-DZ6710/DZ6700 with WUXGA resolution for widescreen images, the PT-DW6300S with WXGA resolution, and the PT-D6000S with a peak brightness of 6500 lumens. They all come with unique features such as such as the RGB booster, which provides vivid color reproduction and high brightness, and the auto cleaning filter, which eliminates the need for filter maintenance for a full 10,000 hours.

Although not providing as bright an illumination output as most corporate boardroom projectors, the LED light source in the new Plus VisionPL-105S Taxan projector means the lamp never needs to be replaced. Its 20,000-hour light-source life is the equivalent of seven to 10 normal lamps. DLP technology in the PL-105S provides a crisp image with a 1400:1 contrast ratio, and its optional high-gain screen effectively brings the brightness of the PL-105S up to 400 lumens. In addition to the computer and audio inputs, a USB port has been provided for playback of moving images, static images, and sound without a desktop or laptop.

The high-end F32 series from projectiondesign is intended for graphically demanding visualization applications where image quality and reliability are key requirements. The F32 series features WUXGA, 1080p, or SXGA+ resolution options with unique color-matching and calibration tools in RealColor with intelligently adaptive and active cooling of the entire system. The F32 series is also available in special versions for 3D stereo display by using Infitec Wavelength Multiplex Imaging, which lets a set of two projectors show passive 3D stereo for small or large groups. A significant benefit of using F32s with Infitec stereo technology is that the filters can be deactivated by remote control so that switching from 3D to 2D in the middle of a presentation is easy.

The new Sanyo 3LCD PLC-XTC50L has the benefit of being able to automatically switch between two lamps to prevent the interruption of the projector’s use in extended use. This dual-lamp system provides up to 6000 hours of use, and Sanyo’s exclusive PJ-Net manages a lamp-switch timer to change lamps every 24 hours for 24/7 applications. To further provide high reliability and easy maintenance, the PLC-XTC50L is equipped with Sanyo’s exclusive Active Maintenance Filter (AMF), which detects air blocks or clogs and then scrolls to the next clean filter. Vertical/horizontal lens shifting and keystone correction allow the PLC-XTC50L to be used in nearly any location. With 5000 lumens and an 1100:1 contrast ratio, the PLC-XTC50L offers a wide selection of connections including DVI-D with HDCP; D-Sub 15-pin; BNC 5-pin type (Y, Pb, Pr, or RGB); composite (RCA); and S-Video mini-DIN 9-pin.

Sharp PG-D3750W

Sharp has targeted its PG-D3750W DLP projector directly at the corporate installation market with its WXGA (1280×800) native resolution and 3700 lumens. In addition to a wide complement of inputs and outputs—HDMI, DVI-I, RGB/component, S-Video, composite video, stereo audio, and outputs for stereo variable audio and RGB loop-through—the DLP light source is in a sealed system with a filter-free design. Sharp’s PG-D3750W comes with anti-theft features including a LAN monitoring function, reinforced-metal security bar, metal security plate (for use with ceiling bracket), and optional heavy-duty security-cable kits to be used with Sharp ceiling brackets.

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Technology Showcase: Corporate Projectors

Apr 13, 2009 12:00 PM,
By Jay Ankeney

Today’s business projectors squeeze clever features into smaller packages.

Sony has invested a lot of resources in developing an inorganic alignment film and new LCD materials to be used in high-temperature polycrystalline silicon (HTPS) thin-film transistor (TFT) LCD panels for its energy-efficient BrightEra projectors. The reflective LCoS-type LCD device Sony calls Silicon X-tal Reflective Display (SXRD) provides AV projectors such as its VPL-FE40 model with enhanced picture quality and high durability, which are welcome in corporate installations. With SXGA+ (1400×1050) native resolution and 4000-lumen brightness, the Sony VPL-FE40 comes with two RGB HD D-Sub 15-pin inputs, one RGB/component with five BNC connectors, and one digital RGB/component HDMI input. The VPL-FE40 offers network control via RJ45 10BASE-T/100BASE-TX. The lamp is accessible from the side of the projector, and the filter is accessible from the front for easy maintenance.

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Getting friendly with a corporate projector can’t get much easier than with the ToshibaTLP-X200U because it features a human voice that guides a presenter through its setup, operation, and even password protection. Its 27 voice commands even announce maintenance warnings when needed, such as, “The lamp life is ending, so please replace the lamp.” The TLP-X200U also comes with unique multiscreen capabilities to produce even larger images by linking up to four projectors. Toshiba’s TLP-X200U also benefits from autosetup and quick power shutdown and wireless (IEEE 802.11b/g) and remote networking capabilities. It has a USB port for PC-free presentations and an HDMI port to bring in high-definition playback sources. The projector features 3000 ANSI lumens of brightness, XGA resolution (1024×768), Toshiba’s unique Natural Color Enhancer5, and up to 2000 hours of lamp life—which can be extended to 3000 hours in Eco mode.

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