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Tech Roundup: Projectors 2022

While LED and other flatscreen technology sometimes get the spotlight, development continues in projectors, sometimes with an eye towards value, clarity and ease in the corporate and education spaces, sometimes with an emphasis on dramatic or unique imagery for entertainment, or blistering refresh rates for gaming.

In February, Barco announced an expansion of the G-series with two new projectors. The Barco G62 projectors for fixed installs are brighter at 11K and 13.6K lumens. With higher bandwidth, HDMI2.0 and 3D SYNC, the new G-series family members are now also 4K compatible and deliver sharper 3D images. They can operate as stand-alone units or as part of a multi-channel blend. The compact G62 models are available in both black and fully white models.

In May, BenQ added two new large venue laser projectors to the BlueCore range, the BenQ LU9750 (8500) and LU9800 (10K) designed as a more affordable option to digital cinema projectors for demanding applications. BenQ claims the LU9800 as the first 10K-lumen, color-accurate laser projector with 95% Rec. 709 color coverage for under $15,000. Both are WUXGA (1920 x 1200) native resolution. BenQ also claims maintenance-free, flexible design with the company’s fully enclosed IP5X-certified laser engine that is IP5X-certified — the same IP certification earned by smartphones and watches. Dynamic installation options such as 360-degree rotation and portrait applications allow projection onto ceiling, walls, floors, or angled signage. Additional features include motorized zoom, focus, horizontal/vertical lens shift, and customizable memory. Both are compatible with Crestron, AMX, and PJ Link LAN-based control systems for convenient system integration with various third-party components. When there is no LAN infrastructure, they also can be supported over RS-232 up to 15 meters.

The Canon XEED 4K6021Z is a compact, lightweight high brightness, native 4K laser projector, with dual Display Port connectivity. A LCOS laser delivers 6,000 lumens of brightness at 4K 10-bit 4:4:4, while still weighing in at 19kg. Despite the high brightness, Canon says its projector has been packed into a lightweight body, meaning it’s suitable for flexible installations. Using Canon’s LCOS reflective panel technology, this device claims a very high aperture ratio with virtually no gaps between pixels to create fine, detailed images free from the ‘lattice effect’, particularly useful for museums, design, and creative installations. A simple spigot lens fitting is compatible with seven interchangeable lenses, including the RS-SL07RST 4K standard zoom lens, which offers 1.76x motorized zoom and +/- 73% vertical lens shift. This lens can project images up to 600 inches and can even project onto curved surfaces; maintaining focus in the center of the image when peripheral focus has been adjusted. The XEED 4K6021Z can be installed in any 360-degree orientation, which, combined with its compact size, is ideal for challenging or creative environments.

In September, the next generation of the Christie HS Series 1DLP projectors debuted. Ranging in brightness from 15,750 lumens to 23,650 lumens, the new models feature enhanced color performance with new Christie BoldColor+ technology. The DWU15-HS, DWU19-HS, and DWU23-HS are 15,750, 19,150, and 23,650 lumens respectively. In addition to three new HS Series models, Christie also introduced the DWU1400-GS, a new 14,250 lumen GS Series 1 DLP projector featuring Christie RealBlack, which delivers 4,000,000:1 contrast. The DWU19- HS and DWU23-HS models support passive polarized 3D out of the box, and all models include onboard Christie Twist for warping and blending and are compatible with Christie Mystique.

The Digital Projection E-Vision 4000 4K-UHD is a 3,300 lumen 4K HDR projector. Key to this new model is a 500,000:1 Advanced Black Contrast feature for low-light environments, eliminating brightness and contrast tradeoffs that are common for this price point. Further, Digital Projection says the E-Vision 4000 4K is the only 4K laser DLP at this price point.

In April, Epson announced the Epson EB-PU 2100 and 2200 Pro Series interchangeable lens projectors. The range offers 13,000, 16,000 and 20,000 lumen options; the new lineup includes what Epson calls the world’s smallest and lightest 20,000 lumen projectors—EB-PU2220B and EB-PU2120W—which are 60% smaller and 50% lighter than their predecessors. The new compact, ultra-lightweight, WUXGA 3-chip 3LCD projectors join Epson’s existing Pro Series interchangeable lens line-up. Epson’s 4K Enhancement Technology is incorporated. The new line carries installation features for live events, including liquid cooling for enhanced longevity and reliability, 3G-SDI input and output to accommodate daisy-chaining and long cable runs, along with a mechanical shutter to help protect the projectors during laser light shows. The projectors also feature a hermetically sealed optical engine for high dust resistance and a filter-less cabinet for lowmaintenance operation. Additionally, Epson’s new optional PixAlign camera attaches to the projector with stacking assist function, tiling assist for edge blends, color calibration, and screen matching. The projectors also pair with Epson’s extensive lens family, including a UST .35 lens with a unique zero offset design, for added flexibility during installation and when projecting in tight spaces. The projectors are equipped with NFC functionality and a built-in configuration app as well as Epson’s other pro control and monitoring tool.

The 4K-ready Maxell MP-WU8101 l0K laser projector is designed for digital signage applications as well as large lecture halls, conference rooms, auditoriums, and museums. The MP-WU8101 projector comes 4K ready— designed with 4K signal input on HDMI, HDBaseT, and Display Port input terminals. Available in both black and white and with 360-degree rotation installation options, up to 12 projectors can be combined and are supported with features such as the Projector Blending Tool 3 and Edge Blending and Warping for large and curved surfaces. The MP-WU8101 laser projector comes with Perfect Fit 2 to ensure that projection edges are independently lined up for each display. Additional standard features such as Wireless Presentation Compatibility allow for transitions between presentations while eliminating close shared spaces and touch points.

The Optoma ZU920TST is a 9800 lumens WUXGA fixed lens, short throw laser projector designed to deliver lifelike visuals. Designed to accommodate complex installations, the ZU920TST features a unique fixed, telecentric lens design with full motorized lens-shift and 1.6x motorized zoom and focus, as well as a 0.65:1 short throw ratio, delivering the same flexibility of interchangeable lens solutions at affordable price-points. Offering the features and benefits of its predecessors, including high brightness, color precision, and quiet operation, as well as 4K and HDR compatibility, the ZU920TST is an ideal mid-range solution for a variety of professional environments and applications such as short throw digital signage, edge-blending, projection mapping, simulation, and immersive installations.

Panasonic’s 1-Chip DLP laser projector line-up includes the Panasonic PT-RZ790 Series for museums and exhibition spaces and the Panasonic PT-FRZ60 Series for high school and university classrooms. A clear, bright display in a well-lit classroom and minimal noise are essential for an ideal education environment. Similarly, exhibition designers use natural or tailored lighting to enhance their displays, and require quiet projection to welcome visitors into a calming atmosphere. The Panasonic PT-RZ790 Series and PT-FRZ60 Series 1-Chip DLP laser projectors are engineered for these environments, serving high-visibility images under lights with almost no noise. Additionally, Panasonic’s 3-chip DLP laser SOLID SHINE projector line-up includes the Panasonic PTRQ35K (4K) and PT-RZ34K (WUXGA) with their light, compact designs (up to 60% the size of the current comparable projector) and improved cooling systems; Dynamic Digital Control counters red-laser sensitivity to temperature by digitally regulating light output and operating parameters of a dedicated cooling system. The projectors are suitable for live events in stadiums and theatres, as well as a range of projection mapping applications. This new product also includes improved cooling systems.

In June, the Sharp/NEC PE456USL launched to accommodate tight rooms, specifically in museums, golf simulators, corporate offices, and higher education classrooms. This new compact addition to Sharp/NEC’s PE Series provides a short-throw, 4,500-lumen high resolution projection with minimal shadowing and a 20,000-hour life. As with all of Sharp/NEC’s laser projectors, the PE456USL is backed by an industry-leading 5-year warranty which includes Instacare, Sharp/NEC’s replacement program. Also included is NaViset Administrator 2 software, designed to provide remote management and network-based control.

In October, Sony announced what the company calls the world’s smallest WUXGA 3LCD laser projectors. The Sony VPL-PHZ61 and VPL-PHZ51 are designed for a wide range of corporate, education, museum, entertainment, and simulation applications. The 6400-lumen VPL-PHZ61 and 5300 lumen VPL-PHZ51 are compact and easy to install on ceilings in meeting rooms and classrooms with a +55% vertical shift, the widest in the fixed lens models. With the incorporation of Sony’s Reality Creation real-time signal processing, mapping, and analysis technology, the projectors support 4K60P input for compatibility with 4K video sources; Reality Creation enhances overall sharpness, resolution, and quality of the imagery, whether pictures, graphs or text. Additionally, the projectors require no converter when being used with other 4K equipment to simultaneously project 4K content and support the “Deep Color” of HDMI and the HDCP2.3. The new Ambiance feature automatically measures the room’s brightness using an ambient light sensor, and further calibrates the Bright View, color gain and Reality Creation settings accordingly. Auto Power On and data cloning for multiple unit installs are additional features.

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