The front projection has been a critical element of the audiovisual industry for decades. Even in recent years, as flat screens have become more prominent and more popular, projection still has a solid foundation in the industry.
Over the years, one aspect of projectors has remained constant: lamps. However, a few years ago, projectors with solid-state
sources began to enter the market. And what used to be an expensive technology has recently emerged as a viable option.
As of early 2016, lamp-free projectors are a central focus of almost all projector manufacturers, and solid-state projection has emerged with the option of 4K UHD resolution and digital audio.
A basic understanding of projection is essential to understanding the difference between conventional and solid-state projection. Traditional projectors rely on one or more lamps to produce light. Steps are then taken to convert this light into an image.
LCD, single-chip DLP, and 3-chip DLP are three common styles of light processing. Rather than going into the details of these technologies, we can simplify things by saying that overall image quality is better as you go from LCD to one and three chips.
Instead of using a lamp to produce light, modern projectors use a solid-state source. Let us look at different types of solid-state projectors.
The LED projector has been around for a while. While it has the advantage of a life cycle of approximately thirty thousand hours, it also has a wide range of brightness. The vast majority of LED projectors have around a thousand lumens, all of which are suitable for use in a closed room.
Hybrid LED / Laser projectors use a combination of LEDs and a laser diode. They are usually expensive. Hybrid LED and laser projectors typically have around three to four thousand lumens.
Laser phosphor is a new technology and is the cause of the recent boom in laser projectors. Laser phosphor projectors use one blue laser that shines on the phosphor wheel that produces yellow light. The blue light passes, and yellow light shines on the wheel, making red and green colors.
Laser phosphor projectors typically have between five to thirteen thousand lumens of brightness, making them ideal for corporate, educational, and professional use.
RGB laser, also known as a direct laser projector, is used when extreme brightness is required. This technology uses three individual lasers, one each for red, green, and blue. These can provide brightness greater than twenty-thousand lumens and typically have cost into six figures.
The number one advantage of a solid-state projector is that you never have to change a lamp. Most laser phosphor projectors are rated for twenty thousand hours of use until they reach fifty percent brightness.
Comparable lamp-based projectors are generally rated for two to three thousand hours of use.
A solid-state projector will cover the cost of nine to ten sets of replacement lamps and the labor cost involved in replacing them. This is significant savings.
Traditional projectors typically take more than a minute to reach full brightness and about half to turn off. Heating and cooling the lamp can cause anxiety and frustration during a busy day. Models without a lamp take about ten seconds to reach full brightness and almost eliminate this problem.