Last week in Display Daily, I touched briefly on relatively high-output LED projectors for mainstream front projection. While rear-projection may be nearly dead as a consumer product, multiple companies at InfoComm were showing their LED-based rear-projection cubes for control rooms and similar applications. Two of these companies (Barco and Planar) were introducing them as new products.
Insight Media Analyst
Christie Digital Systems was there with several sizes of SXGA+ and WUXGA, LED-based cubes, along with two UHP-based cubes, which were set up in a 2 x 1 array side-by-side with a LED-based array. Frankly, the UHP cubes didn’t look nearly as good as the LED units. The LED-based cubes were introduced at NAB earlier this year and were covered in detail in the May issue of LDR.
Eyevis was also showing their line of LED-based cubes. Models included 67" and 60" cubes with HD resolution and 50" and 70" cubes with SXGA+ resolution. These cubes had been introduced at ISE in Amsterdam in January and are all shipping now. The projectors in their cubes all use LEDs from Luminus Devices. Heiko Schaich, Technical Director at Eyevis, expects control rooms, which normally operate 24/7, to continue to use cubes rather than tiled direct-view displays in part because they have no burn-in or memory effect.
Barco introduced its line of LED-based rear projection cubes at InfoComm in Orlando. Barco’s LED-based projection series consists of the rear-accessible OL and front-accessible OLF video cubes. Both are currently available in 50" and 70" screen sizes and have full-HD resolution (1920×1080). In addition to long life and large color gamut, the systems show no color-breakup compared to lamp and color-wheel based DLP systems.
The OL and OLF video walls have been designed for entirely maintenance-free operation over several years, with a guaranteed LED lifetime of 55,000 hours and a 5-year service-free runtime. The embedded Sense6 sensor technology provides brightness and color stability over time and across the entire video wall screen. In addition to the new OL video wall series, Barco will maintain its current OV-D2 product line of DLP-based rear-projection systems for applications beyond the current capabilities of LED technologies.
Meanwhile, Planar Systems also introduced LED-based rear projection cubes as a new product at InfoComm. These cubes are part of the established RP series of products. These all have SXGA+ (1400×1050) resolution and use a single 0.95" DLP microdisplay. These 4:3 cubes are available with image diagonals of 50",
67" and 80". The LED option has been added to existing light source options that include 100 and 120 watt UHP long-life single lamp and dual lamp auto switching systems. The 100W lamp is said to last 10,000 hours and the 120W lamp 6,000 hours. The LEDs, on the other hand, are said to last 50,000 hours, which would be over 5.7 years of 24/7 operation. The Planar equivalent of Barco’s Sense6 is called SiFi, for Set it and Forget it. This technology is said to provide "optimum performance in data-driven display wall applications."
LED-based cubes are clearly better for the end users as the cost to replace and maintain UHP-based products is high. This will affect the replacement business of system integrators who may not embrace the change, but will have to live with it.
For more details on these LED-based rear projectors, see the expanded version of this article in the July issue of Large Display Report. In the same issue will be additional information on LED-based front projectors intended for mainstream applications.