The LED Projector VS. Digital Light Projector
Why an LED is a Major Improvement
There has been an important innovation in projector technology. In the past, a large format projector used a bulb or a lamp. This technology was developed in the late 80’s and created a way to show large projections relatively easily. The Digital Light Projector, or DLP, was used for a long time but had its limitations. The equipment was expensive to purchase. Also, the lamp would need to be replaced periodically, which wasn’t cheap either. Because it used a lamp, the device would run hot and was prone to overheating. Lastly, stray light would wash out the display and make it hard to see. Today, we have Lampless LED projectors.
The rude fact of life for conventional projectors is that their lamps burn out after approximately 3,000 hours of use, and start to dim out even sooner than that. The inevitable remains: all projector lamps eventually need to be replaced. At $100 – $500, the cost of bulbs alone can dwarf the original cost of the projector after only a few years.
The potential of the lampless projector replaces a traditional high-pressure bulb in favor of semiconductor illumination engines that never need to be replaced.
The life of an LED light source is seriously spectacular. Even with an average of 40 hours of viewing per week, an LED projector can run for an impressive 10-25 years, which is longer than the expected life of the product itself.
On top of doing away with the hazardous mercury that is often found in a conventional projector lamp, these next-generation projectors take a new approach to creating the projector’s beam. They not only run cooler, but they require less electricity to power them. They also reduce maintenance to nearly zero. After a slow start, these devices are improving to the point where they are now ready for a variety of business, educational, and theatrical uses.
Projectors that don’t use lamps come in all shapes and sizes. In addition to their early use in ultraportable projectors, there are now models for mainstream, boardroom, large-venue and even rear-projection devices.
Lamp-free illumination comes straight out of the physics lab. Rather than creating light from a hot filament, LED lighting engines work by corralling and manipulating electrons below the surface and forcing them to emit light at a specified frequency. They are built in cleanrooms, similar to where memory and processors are manufactured. Since there is nothing to wear out, they have rated lifetimes of at least 10,000 hours of use. Some can go for as long as 100,000 hours. That adds up to a decade or more of expected use and is often longer than the life of the rest of the projector.
For a Home theater, viewing starts at 80 inches. This allows the home theater to come as close as possible to recreating the big theater experience. A darkened room is essential to maintaining the viewing integrity of a projector, and more so with a DLP. This can be difficult to achieve in a home setting. Top quality DLP projectors offer great reproduction value. Stray light will still cause viewing problems. However, an LED projector isn’t impacted as much because they offer more color depth and heightened light intensity. This means that the display won’t disappear each time light enters the room.
An LED projector will offer thousands of hours of useful life. Cooler operating temperatures make for increased efficiency.
When planning a home theater, the goal is usually to recreate an experience. If you are into high-quality sound, you want a system that will offer the experience of a concert hall. If you are a movie buff, the standard is set by movie theater technology. Pairing an LED projector with the right projection screen and the right surround sound will create the ultimate experience in ways that were incomprehensible until recent years.