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Large-venue projectors: top 10 models

There’s little consensus among manufacturers as to what defines a projector as a ‘large venue’ model: here we have a selection that spans a brightness range from 5,000 to 32,000 lumens, and weigh anything from 6kg to 100kg, reports Ian McMurray.

Smallest 30,000+ lumen projector

The new five-member UDX large venue projection platform has just been launched by Barco. With combinations of 4K and WUXGA resolution and either 32,000 or 22,000 lumens, the company says that the UDX is by far the smallest integrated cooling 30,000+ lumen projector available. Customer feedback was, Barco notes, fundamental to its design.

Driven by a 30,000-hour laser phosphor light source that gives it significant installation flexibility and featuring 3-DLP technology, the UDX platform also implements ‘Pulse’, Barco’s new low latency 4K electronics subsystem, making it suitable additionally for broadcast and live events. It supports the TLD+ lens range, which offers a lens shift of 130° up and down, making it an attractive option for existing Barco rental and staging customers.

Dual lasers deliver 8,000 lumens

The LU9715 from BenQ is an 8,000-lumen WUXGA resolution projector driven by single-chip, dual-colour wheel DLP technology and a dual BlueCore laser light source rated at 20,000 hours or 45,000 hours in eco mode. With a claimed contrast ratio of 16,000:1 (100,000:1 when Dynamic Black functionality is used), the LU9715 also offers support for a range of eight all-glass lenses.

Three picture modes – bright, presentation and cinema – are available to optimise the on-screen image.

The projector features a liquid cooling system for superior reliability in 360º and portrait installations, and is suitable for 24/7 operation. As well as providing HDBaseT, 3G SDI, D-Sub, HDMI, BNC, DisplayPort and RS232 connectivity, the LU9715 makes provision for IT management to monitor and control the projector via the LAN.

Projector combines 4K resolution, 20,000 lumens

Christie says it has designed the Boxer Series to give customers choices and performance upgrade paths, minimising initial outlay and longer term cost of ownership. Among the range is the Boxer 4K20, a 4K resolution, 20,000-lumen 3-DLP technology projector.

With four mercury lamps for failsafe operation, the Boxer 4K20 features Christie Twist technology for inbuilt warp and blend functionality, while the company’s TruLife processing is said to maximise image quality. A high bandwidth multi-input card (HBMIC) provides versatile connectivity, with preview capability and fast syncing or switching between inputs. 4K 60Hz over a single cable and direct fibre input is possible for up to 10-km runs when used with a Christie Link transmitter.

At 73kg and rugged in design, the Boxer 4K20 is designed to be easy to transport.

Smaller, lighter weight

Designed for professional, simulation, visualisation, signage and large-screen applications where image uniformity is a critical concern, the Digital Projection INSIGHT Dual Laser projector delivers 27,000 lumens at 4K resolution with a native contrast ratio of 2,000:1. Its weight of 100kg, the company says, is around 40% of that of competing 4K projectors.

The INSIGHT Dual Laser is 3D-capable, offering both sequential and dual pipe formats. Dual flash processing and dark time insertion are said to offer greater flexibility and comfort when projecting in 3D, and the system can be synchronised for active glasses.

Featuring Digital Projection’s ColorMax technology for accurate matching of projectors in tiled or blended applications, together with scaling and edge-blending, the INSIGHT Dual Laser can be controlled via the Projection Controller PC Application, enhancing its accessibility and ease-of-use.

Offering 360° flexibility

A member of the EB-L1000 series of eight projectors designed for corporate and higher education applications from Epson, the EB-L1505U is a 12,000 lumen WUXGA resolution 3LCD projector. Native contrast ratio is 2,000:1. It also features what the company calls ‘4K enhancement’. Laser-illuminated, with a custom mode that can mean 56,000 hours of operation, the EB-L1505U is equipped with an inbuilt camera for accurate image calibration.

Thanks to vertical ± 45° and horizontal ± 30° keystone correction and a new range of motorised lenses, including optional ultra-short throw (UST) lens, the projector benefits from 360° installation flexibility, allowing it to be placed virtually anywhere. Connectivity includes stereo mini jack audio in (3x) and out; HDBaseT; BNC in; HDMI in; DVI in; VGA in/out; Ethernet (100 Base-TX/10 Base-T); RS-232C; and HD-SDI.

Projectors are filterless

Said to be the first filter-free laser projectors – and thus reducing the need for ongoing maintenance, minimising downtime – the NEC PA803UL and PA653UL feature a fully sealed optical engine that allows brightness to remain high without the risk of dust-based ingress and image degradation.

The two projectors deliver 8,000 ANSI lumens and 6,500 ANSI lumens respectively, and are designed to give highly flexible installation possibilities with 360º positioning support in any direction. The projectors also feature motorised zoom and focus and interchangeable lens options. Resolution in both cases is WUXGA, and this is backed by 4K60Hz image signal processing and Rec2020 colour conversion.

The PA803UL and PA653UL are designed for commercial and professional environments such as museums, meeting rooms and high-end education as well as the rental sector.

Two lamps provide flexible operation

The WU1500 dual-lamp WUXGA projector is the brightest in Optoma’s ProScene range, delivering 12,000 lumens. It features twin lamps that can be operated together to deliver maximum brightness, or alternatively the ‘lamp relay’ function can be used to alternate between individual lamps, effectively doubling the interval before lamp replacement is required. In the event of lamp failure, the projector can continue operating on the remaining lamp, providing an additional level of resilience.

Capable of being installed at any angle over a full 360° range along its horizontal axis, enabling floor and ceiling, the WU1500 can also operate in portrait mode. Its flexibility is further enhanced by the availability of a range of six lenses, all of which feature motorised zoom and focus. HDBaseT connectivity is also provided.

Brightest projectors in the range

The brightest projectors in the Panasonic range, at 31,000 lumens, are the recently announced PT-RZ31K series with laser phosphor illumination. Described as being exceptionally compact and with a lightweight body, they feature WUXGA and SXGA+ resolution together with the company’s proprietary SOLID SHINE laser technology which is designed to deliver long lasting bright and immersive pictures with 24/7 continuous operation without colour degradation.

The range is compatible with Panasonic’s existing 3-Chip DLP projector lenses, allowing operators to utilise lenses in their inventories.

The units’ Real Motion Processor uses frame-creation technology, which Panasonic says reproduces extremely smooth video images with minimal motion blur. They also benefit from an airtight optical block and hermetically sealed dustproof image devices.

The laser light source also allows for flexible installation, with vertical, horizontal and tilting 360º projection.

Designed with installers in mind

Featuring the company’s SuperColor and SonicExpert technologies for colour and sound enhancement, the ViewSonic Pro8530HDL delivers full 1080p resolution and 5,200 lumens of brightness. Other members of the Pro8 Series include models with WUXGA and WXGA resolution.

All feature vertical lens shift, 1.6x zoom, a sealed engine, and horizontal/vertical keystone correction with 4-corner adjustment. They also come with PortAll, an enclosed HDMI-MHL connection compartment that supports streaming media from wireless HDMI dongles/MHL connectors and also fits HDBaseT set modules like ViewSonic’s HB10B transmitter/receiver.

According to ViewSonic, the Pro 8 Series has been developed with installers in mind, with features including a tool-free bilateral opening top cover, 4-in-1 power button, centred lens, power cable locking system and a rear cable cover.

Connectivity includes four HDMI inputs, VGA, S-Video, RCA, Ethernet and RS232.

Eight lens options available

Developed, the company says, for locations that need power and positioning flexibility combined with durability and ease of use, Vivitek recently expanded its growing family of large venue projectors with the launch of the 7,500 ANSI lumen 4K resolution DK8500Z. Featuring DLP technology with BrilliantColor, the DK8500Z uses a laser light source to deliver 20,000 hours of maintenance-free, environmentally friendly operation.

The new projector offers motorised lens shift and a lens position memory function. Installation flexibility is maximised by the availability of eight optional lenses ranging from 0.38:1 to 5.31-8.26:1 throw ratio. These, together with built-in edge-blending, warping and portrait mode projection with 360º, make the DK8500Z appropriate for a wide variety of installations.