The single most important point when buying a projector for your World Cup system is not to make price your only consideration and accidentally buy a data projector in your excitement. These are really only good for presenting text and graphics – not video – so forget them.
Cinema projectors use a number of imaging technologies to generate a picture, each with its own peculiar advantages and disadvantages. For each flavour, the pros are enhanced – and the cons diminished – as you progress upwards in price.
You need to choose the machine that suits you, so it’s worth talking to someone in the know, which is where a specialist AV dealer can come in. Make sure you audition your shortlisted models so you can check operating noise, picture detail and colour accuracy; how inky the blacks are and how bright the whites.
LCD projectors work by shining a light through three coloured (RGB) panels, are very bright with really saturated colours and have a lot of extra features. The cheaper models don’t produce deep inky blacks, but this is largely addressed in models with offer a ‘dynamic iris’-like feature (see below). The better models integrate some form of 100Hz processing to improve performance on fast action scenes – just like LCD televisions. Full HD models can be picked up for around $1600, with highly spec’d models costing up to $4000.
Many mid-priced projectors now employ three LCD imaging chips – each with 1920 x 1080 resolution. This provides better colour accuracy, brightness and contrast than single-LCD projectors.
A DLP (Digital Light Processing) projector uses millions of microscopic mirrors to reflect light through ‘colour-wheel’ filters. They’re usually quiet, have superb colour accuracy and uniformity and need virtually no maintenance.
A single chip DLP projector, Benq’s W1000 has 2000 ANSI lumens, 3000:1 contrast ratio and sells for a dollar shy of $2000.
They’re not as bright as an LCD projector, and while budget models start at around $1600, the average price is $2500. Expect to pay over $5000 for a really good one. This is likely to use three DLP chips and no colour wheel, meaning it doesn’t produce the distracting ‘rainbow effect’ (flashes of colour in the corner of your eye) that single chip models with colour wheels can. If this type of artefacting is visible to you during your auditions, scratch single-chip DLP as an option.
LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) projectors tend to be more expensive than LCD and DLP models, which are an older technology. Prices start at around $3500 for a full HD model.
LED projectors are based on LCD or LCD technology but use using LEDs as a light source. While this approach has been common for some time in micro-sized data projectors LEDs are now working their way into home theatre projectors. Like LCD televisions backlit by LEDs, the projectors offer a very bright picture with high contrast. They less power and, with some lamps rated at 30,000 hours, vastly reduced operating costs.
The high performance Runco Q750 combines DLP imaging technology with LED lighting. There is no lamp to replace, power consumption is low and switch-on is instant, with no standby or warm-up period). It costs from $20,000 (excluding installation).