Projectors are a terrific solution to get a large image at a reasonable price because the cost of videowalls are still too high for the average buyer. There have been two recent advances in projector technology: First, the transition from analog to digital, and second, the addition of laser technology to take the place of lamps. There have been many technological advances for projectors which include making projectors brighter, lighter weight, and quieter, but these fall short in comparison to the impact of the first two. You can find a laser projector and a lamp-based projector with relatively the same features for just about any application, but how do you know which one is best for you?
According to myprojectorlamps.com, there are two types of projector bulbs that are most common in projectors: ultra-high pressure mercury vapor lamps and metal halide lamps. Projectors separate out the lamp's light into red, blue and green light, mixes it together into the right order using DLP, LCD, or LED chip technology, and then shoots the light through a lens to the screen creating an image. Panasonic says in their Laser-LED Whitepaper that, “Projector bulbs have a limited life expectancy varying, according to manufacturer's' recommendations, between 1,500 hours to 6,000 hours. Manufacturers recommend that a bulb is no longer functional and must be replaced when its brightness falls to 50% of its initial output”. This means that if we have a projector that is specified at 6,000 hours, it will last about 250 days if left on 24/7. This also means at 3,000 hours the bulb is at 75% brightness of what it started at.
Laser projectors, instead of using lamps to create light, use blue laser diodes to create light. That light is then sent through a spinning wheel that separates the colors. Now that we have our three primary colors; red, blue, and green, that light can then be turned into an image using chip technology and sent to the screen. Some higher-end projectors will have three separate lasers to create the red, green, and blue color within itself. Most laser projectors will last for 20,000+ hours which is over 2 years running 24/7, or about 7 years running 8-hours a day according to digitalprojection.com.
When it comes to price, the lamp projectors are less expensive out of the box. So why would someone want to pay more for a laser projector? There are three main reasons people choise laser projectors over the lamp projectors: 1. You never have to pay to replace the laser diodes like you do with bulbs. 2. Loss of brightness over time is much less with lasers compared to lamps. 3. Most laser projectors will last longer than the technology supporting it.
Laser projectors are typically quieter because they run at a lower temperature and need fans less. Laser projectors turn on and off much quicker as well because there is little to no time needed for them to warm up and cool down.
Projectors are by far the most cost-efficient way of getting sizable images. Lamp and laser projectors are both great solutions and both have their pros and cons. Understanding how you will be using the projector is a good first step into finding the right one for you. Purchasing a projector can be an exciting and stressful time, so taking a little time to do some research and talking to your Tempest Sales Rep will go a long way to taking much of the stress out of purchasing a projector.