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ProjectorCentral Announces InfoComm 2019

Best of Show Awards

infocomm-award-2019

If you just dropped into the 2019 InfoComm pro A/V trade show from another planet and took a snapshot of the projector landscape, you couldn't be blamed for missing that a revolution has just taken place. New laser-driven models in virtually every lumen class are spotlighted on the show floor, and if any of the 18 or so manufacturers in Orlando are introducing any traditional lamp-based projectors, they're sure not crowing about it. What's remarkable, of course, is not that we're seeing laser projectors, which have been around now for five or six years. But what is new is that they have gone in these last couple of years from being an expensive oddity to a potentially bread-and-butter, go-to solution for pro A/V integrators and their clients. And why not? In the commercial sector, the cost savings associated with low-or-no maintenance solid-state light engines is far more attractive than in the home theater segment, and it was only a matter of time until the lumen counts climbed up and the prices dropped down in that lucrative middle-brightness range. That time seems to have arrived.

You'll see this reflected in our first-ever ProjectorCentral InfoComm 2019 Best of Show Awards. The products below, culled from submissions made to us prior to the event, were selected for recognition by our editorial staff based on a variety of factors. Cutting-edge technology, always in evidence at InfoComm in the large-venue/high-lumen segment, made for some easy calls. But we also studied the mid-priced and lower-budget categories where most of the projector business gets done. It is here that a unique feature or form factor may differentiate one product over another, or where a low price point suggests a bargain that can resonate for integrators all year round. Nor have we ignored the screen manufacturers, where another revolution—this one in ambient-light-rejecting screens—is simultaneously assisting the transformation of the projection industry.

As we celebrate our 20th year as "The World's Largest Projector Resource™," it's an honor to recognize the following vendors and products with our ProjectorCentral Infocomm 2019 Best of Show Award. (Eligible products included those that either shipped for the first time in the year prior to the 2019 InfoComm, or are expected to first ship in the six months following.)—Rob Sabin, editor-in-chief

WINNERS


Casio XJ-S400UN Best of Show Award Infocomm 2019
CASIO
XJ-S400UN
DLP Laser/LED Projector

Target Markets: Education/Classroom, Business Enterprises

Price: $1,949

Lots of general-service projectors try to claim a place in the classroom, but few have a design so targeted at educators or so elegantly executed as Casio's XJ-S400UN. As the flagship of Casio's new Superior Series, it starts with the company's 20,000-hour LampFree Hybrid Laser/LED light source delivering a bright 4,000 lumens in a remarkably small and lightweight form factor. But it's the inclusion of the company's Education Solutions "ES" operating system that separates it from the pack with a plethora of well-thought-out conveniences and sharing tools for teachers and students in today's IT-centric classrooms. Throw in sharp WUXGA resolution, an unusually flexible 1.7x zoom, and an affordable street price under $2,000, and it's obvious why the XJ-S400UN was an easy pick for a ProjectorCentral InfoComm 2019 Best of Show award.

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Christie D4K40-RGB Best of Show Award Infocomm 2019
CHRISTIE
D4K40-RGB
3DLP 4K Laser Projector

Target Markets: Large Venues, Sports Facilities, Domes, Planetariums, Theme Parks, Rental/Staging

Price: N/A

It would be hard to overstate what Christie Digital has accomplished with its laser-driven D4K40-RGB. Its monstrous 40,000-lumen brightness with more than 90% of full Rec.2020 color space, 5,000:1 full on/full off contrast, and a maximum 120 Hz frame rate in 4K are remarkable, and makes this projector a serious draw for concert venues, sports facilities, domes, planetariums, and theme-parks who put true value on image quality for visitors. But Christie also figured out how to squeeze that performance into a single chassis projector said to be the smallest and lightest in its class by far, coming in at less than half the weight of its nearest competitor. It doesn't get much more cutting-edge than this.

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insight-4K-duallaser1 - Kyle G
DIGITAL PROJECTION
Digital Projection INSIGHT 4K HFR 360
3DLP 4K Laser Projector

Target Markets: Visualization, Visitor Attraction, Engineering, Entertainment

Price: Systems starting at $100,000+

Digital Projection's pioneering INSIGHT 4K HFR 360 specialty projector comes with an extraordinary list of capabilities. Designed to handle signals with up to a 360 Hz frame rate, it is the first projector to actually allow up to three users to simultaneously share an immersive 3D experience at full 4K/60 Hz resolution from a single unit. This includes the ability to head-track each viewer to 6 degrees of freedom (6DOF) measurements and change the view accordingly for each as they move to create one-of-a-kind collaborations. Unlike conventional virtual reality experiences, users are not cut off from the viewing environment and remain able to see one another and interact. You can even add a second projector and double the number of unique 3D experiences to six. But it's the ability to deliver sharp, 4K images for multiple users from just one projector—via up to six, 60 fps 4K signals delivered sequentially through a single DisplayPort input— that opens new possibilities for businesses, museums, theme parks, and others.

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SilentPartner_Closed - Terry Coffey
DRAPER
Silent Partner
Projector Enclosure

Target Markets: Corporate, Higher Education, Residential, Auditorium, Boardroom/Conference Room

Price: $10,724 to $14,703 depending on model

The push toward higher and higher brightness for virtually all ambient-lit commercial, house of worship, and education environments brings with it increased demands on a projector's cooling system, which leads to—you guessed it—more fan noise. Draper's Silent Partner projector enclosure addresses this issue for noise-sensitive spaces like museum exhibits, classrooms, home theaters, or other locations where a powerful projector may need to be mounted a short throw distance from the screen and share an intimate space with viewers. By cleverly combining acoustic isolation foam, a noise-killing winding airflow for exhaust, and a thermostatically controlled fan, the Silent Partner reduces projector noise by 20-25 decibels.

Draper Silent Partner-cross-section

Three different models handle projectors from 5,000 to 15,000 lumens, and come with lockable doors to prevent tampering and provide easy access for service. Granted, not every installation needs one, but when you do, having a Silent Partner to back you up may be the saving grace.

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EK-350U beauty lerft 2 - Steve Rubery
EIKI
EK-350U
3LCD HDL LED Projector

Target Markets: Higher Ed, Rental/Staging, House of Worship, Simulation, K-12 Classroom

Price: $2,749

The low-maintenance and cost benefits of solid-state laser and LED light sources are widely recognized, but as the demand for more lumens has climbed, LED has been largely left out of the party due to traditionally low brightness and concerns about color quality. By utilizing the cutting-edge Philips Colorspark HLD LED technology combined with reliable 3-chip LCD imaging, EIKI's EK-350U offers up a punchy 4,500 lumens with good color in a surprisingly compact and cost-effective package with a 25,000-hour lifespan. Along with its even brighter sister model, the 5,500 lumen EK-355U, it represents a glimpse of what the next generation of LED could mean for the projector industry.

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SakerTensionCG5D_FOP - David Rodgers
ELITE ProAV
Saker Tab-Tension CineGray 5D
Motorized Projection Screen

Target Markets: Classrooms, Conference Rooms, Training Facilities, Hospitality, Custom Install Home Theater, other Medium-Large Venues

Price: Varies based on size

ALR (ambient-light rejecting) screens combined with today's new generation of high-brightness laser projectors are poised to revolutionize both commercial and home theater projection. However, a scarcity of flexible ALR screen materials that can repeatably withstand rolling and unrolling have limited the options for both enthusiasts and commercial clients. With the introduction of the Saker Tab-Tension CineGrey 5D motorized projection screen, Elite ProAV joins a select group of suppliers with a retractable ALR solution. CineGrey 5D is a 1.5 gain "CLR" (ceiling-light rejecting) material that negates overhead light that commonly washes out the image in commercial or ambient-light home theater applications, and is ISF certified for its ability to maintain a neutral D65 white point and color accuracy. It's built from a durable 0.35mm thick PVC substrate with a silver-gray textured reflective surface and tinted diffusion layer that's been engineered to suffer no damage to the optical elements with repeated rolling.

Draper_Silent_Partner_2019 - no lid760
ALR material vs. matte white, same lighting conditions.

The Saker Tab-Tension casing, meanwhile, is an established Elite offering that uses a pair of tensioned cords down the vertical sides of the screen to insure a flat surface. The Saker Tab-Tension CineGrey 5D is available in 100-, 120-, 135, and 150-inch sizes and is a welcome and rare addition to today's ALR screen options.

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LIGHTSCENE_100_LT_ANG - Gurpreet Bhoot
EPSON
LightScene EV-100
Accent Lighting Laser Projector

Target Markets: Digital Signage, Retail, Museums, Hospitality

Street Price: $2,499

One look at Epson's EV-100 (or it's black-styled companion, the EV-105) is all it takes to know why it's a ProjectorCentral InfoComm Best of Show award winner. Most folks would mistake this innovative projector for a track spotlight, but it's actually a 2,000 lumen WXGA laser projector that's been specifically designed for digital signage or projection-mapped experiential displays in museums, retail, hospitality, or other environments. Besides fitting in without broadcasting to patrons that it's a projector, the EV-100 affords an amazing depth of creative opportunity to transform spaces: Epson describes examples that range from the projection mapping of clothing on blank mannequins to pitching tonight's special house cocktail with moving graphics right on the bar top. Epson has built some unusual capabilities into the EV-100 in service to its purpose, including the aforementioned projection mapping, the ability to project visual playlists from an HDMI connection or SD card, edge-blending for using multiple projectors to create wide displays, and the ability to drop overlay effects on top of your content—such as placing a stylized window frame above a video of a blue sky with passing clouds. A spotlight function with various shape and color effects is also on board. There's nothing else out there that's quite like the Epson EV-100.

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Epson Pro L1070U
EPSON
Pro L1070U
3LCD Laser Projector

Target Markets: Large Venue, Higher Education, Corporate, Signage

Price:To Be Announced

Epson's Pro L Series of large venue laser projectors covers several model lines representing brightness values from 6,000 up to 25,000 lumens (with 30,000 lumens coming soon), sold with or without Epson's "4K Enhancement" 1080p-pixel shifting technology and with or without a lens. The new L10 series, of which the Pro L1070U is the flagship, offers up six options in the 6,000-to-7,500 lumen range in XGA, WXGA, and WUXGA resolutions, and they are Epson's most compact interchangeable-lens laser projectors to date. The L1070U features 7,000 lumens with WUXGA native resoution plus 4K Enhancement for compliance with 4K signals and apparent resolution that approaches or exceeds native 4K. Epson offers 10 compatible lenses, including a new periscope-style ultra-short throw option with a 0.35 throw ratio and running all the way up to a 10.11 throw. Along with the extra detail assured by the 4K Enhancement and Epson's Super-resolution technology, image quality is supported with Rec.709 color space and and a 2.5 million:1 dynamic contrast rating. Helpful installation features include built-in edge blending for joining images from two projectors and image warping for projection on curved or irregular surfaces. A more unusual plus are the playlist and overlay features that allow the creation of playlists that can be accessed via the projector's USB port, and to electronically insert color or shape filters over the image to create more arresting visuals.

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moverio-assist_hero_16x9-r3 - Sharon Sumrit
EPSON
Moverio Assist
Remote Assistance Solution

Target Markets: A/V Integrators, any company that fields service technicians to remote locations

Price: Smartglasses start at $699, Per-Minute-Subscriptions start at $29.99

Though Epson's Moverio Assist is not exactly a projection product, the company earns recognition here for an enterprise offering that breaks new ground and brings a previously unattainable benefit to A/V integrators or other small business that send out service technicians. The company's Moverio smart glasses superimpose the equivalent of an approximately 85-inch display in front of the wearer and integrate a front-facing camera and two-way audio. They've been in use for several years by companies that have developed their own apps for everything from eye-in-the-sky drone flying to interactive museum exhibits and subtitling support in public theaters—as well as for remote assistance applications for field techs, where the use of smart-glasses instead of tablets or phones allows for true hands-free support. What's new here is a turn-key, all-in-one universal hardware/software solution that Epson is offering up to small businesses, a previously under-served market. The cost? Two models of Moverio smart glasses are available at $699 and $1,199, and subscriptions to use them with the Moverio Assist cloud-based software platform are sold online on a per-minute-of-use basis, with a basic 600-minute plan priced at just $29.99.

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MP-WU5603_front-up_1808 - dmd.info@hal.hitachi.com
MAXELL
MP-WU5603
3LCD Laser Projector

Target Markets: Higher Education, Classroom Education, Corporate, House of Worship

MSRP: $5,999
Street Price: $3,999

Maxell's MP-WU5603 falls squarely into an emerging segment of high-value, high-resolution WUXGA laser projectors in the mid-to-high brightness range, and offers both solid execution and a few distinguishing features. It begins with a low-maintenance, long-life laser-phosphor light engine, which goes beyond the usual 20,000 hours to stretch to up to 50,000 hours in the projector's Long Life 2 mode should your environment allow for lower brightness than the rated 6,000-lumen spec. Image quality is bolstered by a three-chip LCD architecture for equal white and color brightness and an absence or rainbow artifacts, as well as two proprietary technologies: Accentualizer, which processes the picture to enhance sharpness, gloss, and shadings; and an improved version of the company's High Dynamic Contrast Range (HDCR2), which improves shadow detail and color saturation to account for high ambient light (and helps brings rated dynamic contrast to 1.5 million:1). There's a flexible 1.7x zoom with up to 56.5% of vertical lens shift; in our recent hands-on Road Test, the lens sacrificed only 4% of the projector's full brightness at the longest telephoto setting, a remarkably small penalty for a lens of that range. For multi-projector installations you get a cloning feature (supported by a free app) that allows you to easily copy settings from one projector to another. Presentations from PCs or mobile devices is supported via wired LAN or wireless dongle, and presenters can control the projector using the mobile app. An auto turn-on feature fires up the projector when it sees a live input—a nice plus for classroom use. In short, Maxell has thought of just about everything you'll want for a bright, general purpose projector for ambient-light viewing, not to mention a generous 5-year/20,000 hour warranty.

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PX1005QL - Patrick O'Connell
NEC
PX1005QL
4K DLP Laser Projector

Target Markets: Education/Classroom, Business Enterprises

MSRP: $30,000
Street Price: $24,000

While unboxing the 64-pound NEC PX1005QL for an upcoming review, I reached for the terms I've often used in the past when describing the world's best audio amplifiers: dense, overbuilt, made to last, and very powerful. Simply put, this is just a 10,000-lumen, 4K resolution, laser-driven workhorse designed to withstand the rigors of large-venue or corporate use on up to a 24/7 basis. The 3840x2160 resolution (single-chip XPR DLP) allows for sharp images for simulator or CAD/CAM use, or the simultaneous display of up to four 1080p HDTV images for command-and-control monitoring or multi-faceted business or classroom presentations. Built-in edge-blending capabilities are on board if you need to mate it with a second projector, and there's built-in stacking correction to combine up to four projectors for a 40,000 lumen picture. NEC offers eight different lens options for virtually any required throw from 1.5 feet to as far away as 179.5 feet. Setup controls allow full cornerstone correction, as well as geometric correction for projection onto curved surfaces and into corner angles. Both 360-degree orientation and portrait mode projection are supported. In other words, there are very few environments, content requirements, or mounting challenges that the PX1005QL can't handle. Once installed, you can count on up to 20,000 hours of laser life, and a whole bunch of money saved not replacing traditional lamps.

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Optoma P1-4K TV_01 - Areany Tolentino
OPTOMA
CinemaX P1
All-In-One Home Entertainment System

Target Markets: Consumer Home Theater

Price: TBD

Optoma announced and demonstrated this ground-breaking home theater solution at CES in January and is featuring it at InfoComm, though a firm ship date and pricing haven't been announced. As an all-in-one, laser-driven, ultra-short-throw 4K DLP entertainment center, the CinemaX P1 is on the leading edge of a trend that could bring big-screen front projection to an entirely new class of consumers who would never endeavor to install a traditional projector and sound system. Mated with an appropriate ambient-light-rejecting screen, the P1—with its built-in soundbar designed by Optoma sister company NuForce—can take the place of an everyday TV, but at image size that would be cost-prohibitive in a flat-panel. And I mean big: with its 0.25 lens, the P1 will throw up to a 120-inch image from just a few inches off the screen. With 3,000 lumens of brightness and an expected 2 million:1 dynamic contrast rating, it should be well equipped to handle both moderate ambient light and dark-room viewing. Furthermore, the P1 will have an onboard Android-based web-streaming platform and is expected to be compatible with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands. For stepping outside the box with a new kind of box, Optoma easily earns a ProjectorCentral InfoComm 2019 Best of Show Award.

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ZK1050_04_300dpi - Areany Tolentino
OPTOMA
ProScene ZK1050
4K DLP Laser Projector

Target Markets: Higher Education/Large Venue, House of Worship, Digital Signage, Staging/Entertainment

Street Price: $23,999

Several new high-resolution laser projectors appearing at InfoComm earned our respect for pushing brightness into the double-digits at lower price points. The ProScene ZK1050, Optoma's newest and most powerful laser projector, supports this trend, offering up the expected visual impact of 10,000 lumens delivered with 4K UHD resolution from its 1-chip DLP XPR design and a 2,000,000:1 rated dynamic contrast ratio (with Optoma's Extreme Black technology engaged). The MultiColor (MCL) laser light source (blue and red laser diodes) helps deliver bright, rich colors, with the projector achieving 100% of the Rec.709 HDTV color space and reaching beyond into the DCI-P3 space; the ZK1050 also offers up HDR10 compliance as well as 1080p 3D compatibility. Laser-life can be as long as 30,000 hours in the projector's ECO mode. Of course, there are a raft of installation features including a choice of six motorized zoom lenses offering throw ratios as small as 0.85:1 to as large as 10:1, and zoom range from 1.2x to 1.8x. Vertical and horizontal lens shift (lens dependent), four-corner and keystone correction, built-in edge-blending, are also on board.

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PT-RQ22_1519657439_7612 - Sophie Rubin
PANASONIC
PT-RQ22KU
4K+ 3DLP Laser Projector

Target Markets: Rental/Staging, Entertainment, Large Venues, Auditoriums, Education, Museums, Houses of Worship

MSRP: $124,999

The "+" after the "4K" in the product description for Panasonic's PT-RQ22KU isn't a typo. This 3DLP projector starts with three 0.9-inch WQXGA DLP imaging chips (2560x1600) then employs pixel-quadrupling to achieve up to 5120x3200 resolution, putting a total of just over 49 million pixels on the screen. If that's not advanced enough for you, have a look at some other specs: 20,000 laser-driven lumens with a hermetically-sealed, filter-less light engine that can go 20,000 continuous hours without maintenance; 20,000:1 full on/full off dynamic contrast ratio; 240 Hz max frame rate for sharp motion rendering; and what is said to be the smallest and lightest form factor in its 4K/20,000-lumen product class. And we haven't even gotten into the Detail Clarity Processor 5+ next-generation video processing to further improve image clarity. Panasonic says it has responded with the PT-RQ22KU to "the growing demand in R&S, live events, theme parks and other large-venue applications for high brightness, 4K-resolution projectors." We'd say they've done that well with this impressive, cutting-edge design.

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vmz50_white01-2_1544502831_174 - Sophie Rubin
PANASONIC
PT-VMZ50U
3LCD Laser Projector

Target Markets: Education, Corporate, House of Worship

Price: $4,499
Price: $2,499

Panasonic's PT-VM60 series, with five models covering 4,500 to 6,000 lumens rated brightness in WXGA and WUXGA resolutions, represents the company's latest thinking on affordable laser projection for the growing mid-brightness range. With all sharing the same unusually compact and lightweight chassis of approximately 13.75 x 15.75 x 5.25 inches and just under 16 pounds, they are designated as portable; the 5,000-6,000 lumen models are claimed to be the world's smallest laser projectors in their brightness class.

The PT-VMZ50U—WUXGA with 5,000 lumens and a $2,499 street price—proved in our recent review to be a top performer of extraordinary value. Image quality was excellent, showing well-balanced color and good contrast (rated at 3,000,000:1, full on/full off dynamic). The 1.6x zoom lens with a 1.09-1.77:1 throw-ratio, generous lens shift range (+44% vertical, ± 20% horizontal), and 360-degree orientation provide generous placement flexibility. Other thoughtful features include support of up to 4K/30 Hz signals for display at the projector's native resolution, and an optional Daylight View function that reads ambient light with a sensor and adjusts brightness, contrast, and gamma accordingly. The PT-VMZ50U is a highly recommendable projector with enough punch to serve most well-lit classrooms and conference rooms.

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PJR250 Heavy Duty Projector Mount with PAP250-NEC1 - Beth Gard
PEERLESS-AV
AV PJR250
Heavy Duty Projector Mount

Target Markets: Rental/Staging, Large Venue

MSRP: $563 (adaptor plates extra)
Street Price:$246 (adaptor plates extra

Most projector installs utilize some kind of universal mount, but for high-brightness, large venue projectors of substantial mass, poor weight distribution can make for a difficult if not downright dangerous installation process, and eventually lead to sagging over the long term that can effect the image. Peerless-AV answered the call for something better with its PJR250 heavy duty mounting system, which includes a highly adjustable, low-profile mount for projectors up to 250 pounds and dedicated mounting plates for some of the most popular high-lumen projectors from Christie, Barco, Epson, NEC, and Panasonic. The custom mounting plates for each model insure that, after a straightforward "Hook-and-Hang" to place the projector on the mount, it remains suspended with its center of gravity perfectly aligned. As a result, even minor adjustments of its position can be made without a fight from the projector. This approach also eliminates the need to mess with time-consuming spider legs to fit the mount to the projector, and for rental and staging situations that require frequent swaps, it's an easy matter to unhook one projector and hang another. For those big, cumbersome projectors, the PJR250 is an elegantly simple and thoughtful design.

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Solo Pro 2 Commercial - Skyler Meek
SCREEN INNOVATIONS
Solo 2
Motorized Projection Screen

Target Markets: Consumer Home Theater, Higher Education, Corporate A/V, House of Worship, Large Venue

Price: Varies by size and material

Not much more than a year ago, Screen Innovations broke new ground with its original Solo motorized screen, which featured the smallest cassette ever offered to that date. They've quickly followed it up with the Solo 2, offering a truly impressive list of features. It starts with an even more compact cassette design that's 17 percent smaller; just 2.8 inches square for screens up to 106-inches diagonal. Larger screen sizes are also now offered: while Solo tapped out at 100-inches diagonal, Solo 2 adds sizes up to 160 inches. A variety of 12 designer colors is available—anything from an unobtrusive white or warm white up to punchy Ferrari Red or Orange. You can even mix different body and end-cap colors.

3-solo-pro-feature - Skyler Meek-760

Notably, two key innovations have been carried forward from the original Solo. First, the company's patent-pending lithium battery-powered motor option is a wonder; it recharges with the simple attachment of the charger cable to a magnetic port on the cassette and runs up to two years on a single charge. It's available for screen sizes up to 120-inch, along with both a 24-volt low-voltage option or AC power depending on the screen size. Also carried along is a choice of materials that includes a rollable version of SI's Short Throw, which is specifically designed for UST projectors. That combination of a battery operated motor and UST specialty material opens up the big-screen projection option in all sorts of spaces where it would otherwise be prohibited or discouraged by the required hidden cable runs. For pushing the envelope once more and continuing to broaden the home and commercial markets for front projection with Solo 2, SI earns our respect and an InfoComm Best of Show Award.

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vplgtz240_3q_2018-04-09_01-Large - Robin Hoffman
SONY
VPL-GTZ240
4K SXRD Laser Projector

Target Markets: Commercial/defense flight simulators, simulators for special training applications, small planetariums, small domes, CAVE systems, virtual reality, other visualization scenarios.

MSRP: $34,000

The VPL-GTZ240, at 2,000 lumens, is intended to be a more compact and affordable companion to the VPL-GTZ280, which offers a range from 2,000 to 5,000 lumens on a larger chassis. This new model shares the same packaging as Sony's SXRD home theater laser projectors and a few other specs, including native 4K resolution from a trio of SXRD chips, good native contrast (rated 16,000:1 for the GTZ-240), support for HDR and 3D (with a built-in RF emitter), and a 20,000-hour laser light source. But some special features make it unmistakably a simulation projector, including Smear Reduction to reduce blur on fast-motion scenes, with two black insertion modes of 25% and 40%. The projector boasts a low transport delay of 23.4 ms and support of up to a 120 Hz frame rate. There's also a mode for use of night vision goggles, and the projector will withstand the rigors of a motion base. Two interchangeable lenses are available, including a 1.27 to 2.73 zoom and a short throw zoom with a 0.80 to 1.02 ratio. Sony's addition of the VPL-GTZ240 should help serve a broader portion of the simulation market with the benefits of LCoS imaging and laser projection.

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vpl-fhz75,70 - Copy JPEG - Robin Hoffman
SONY
VPL-FHZ75
3LCD Laser Projector

Target Markets: Midsize corporate, education, houses of worship, museums, entertainment

Price: N/A

Sony is now on its 6th generation laser projectors and claims longer tenure in this market segment than any other manufacturer. In the 6,500-lumen VPL-FHZ75 and its companion model (VPL-FH70, 5,500 lumens), the company is emphasizing superior picture quality based on, among other things, the use of newly-developed high-contrast LCD imagers and inclusion of Reality Creation scaling and sharpening technology developed originally for its consumer display products. But what's unique here is a new "Intelligent Setting" feature that goes beyond traditional color mode presets in customizing the projector's use to its target markets. Sony has relied on its long-term experience in laser projection, along with careful research and feedback from customers about how its products are used in the field, to hone the image for four different environments: Meeting/Classroom, Museum, Entertainment, and Multiscreen (for color-matching multiple projectors). Seven different parameters are adjusted based on the needs of these spaces including light output, brightness, fan noise, contrast, color, image detail, and the need to preserve the longest-term usage. For example, in a museum install, low-noise and long-term use are prioritized along with color accuracy; for the classroom, emphasis is placed on low-noise but also high-brightness and extra detail at the modest expense of some color accuracy. As a result, installers have more finely honed presets from which they can simply set-and-forget or use as a close starting point for tuning. It's a novel and potentially time-saving approach.

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ViewSonic-LS900-WU_left_hires - Joey Lee
VIEWSONIC
LS900WU
DLP Laser Projector

Target Markets: Higher education, houses of worship, enterprise/business

MSRP: $5,499
Street Price: $3,499

With 6,000 lumens of rated brightness, ViewSonic's new LS900WU impresses us as just a solid projector that could help spread the benefits of laser to budget-stressed mid-to-large venues at a good street price. It's WUXGA high-definition resolution will be more than sharp enough for most applications, and its relatively compact size and reasonable weight (approximately 14x6x17 inches, 24 pounds) make it a versatile player for temporary installations. That functionality is also served by a 1.65x optical zoom lens offering up a 50- to 300-inch image size and a throw range of 4.0- to 24.4 feet, while other install features include vertical and horizontal lens shift and keystone, four-corner correction, 360-degree orientation, a portrait mode, and a built-in HDBaseT receiver for cable runs up to 200 feet with a compatible transmitter. A pair of on-board speakers can even provide audio in a pinch in smaller venues. All told, the LS900WU is a value play that's worth a close look.

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ViewSonic-LS700-4k_left - Joey Lee
VIEWSONIC
LS700-4K
4K DLP Laser Projector

Target Markets: Home Theater, Business/Boardroom

Street Price:$2,199

While laser seems to be rapidly taking over the commercial projector space, its trickle down into the home theater arena has been, to date, even less than a trickle. Sporadic models have appeared at typically premium price points, but budget projectors with a laser engine have been largely absent from the landscape. That's starting to change. With the new LS700-4K, ViewSonic offers up a tidy home theater projector that doubles easily as a small business projector and delivers both 3840x2160 UHD resolution and a 20,000-hour laser light source, all for the low street price of $2,199. (A similar 1080p version, the LS700HD, is available for $1,399!) The basics are all here: a 3,300 ANSI lumen brightness spec, 3 million:1 dynamic contrast rating, HDR10 compatibility, ViewSonic's SuperColor technology (which relies on color wheel design and dynamic lamp control to optimize color brightness and gamut). There's a switchable Rec.709 filter that allows users to adjust for higher brightness for business use or wider gamut for home theater content. Motion interpolation is on board, and gamers will appreciate the fast 16ms lag time. There's a modest (but useful) 1.3x optical zoom that provides a throw range of 4.9 to 28.8 feet depending on image size; a 100-inch diagonal falls between approximately 8 and 11 feet from the screen. A pair of integrated speakers also helps out with presentations. The LS700-4K looks like a tasty little package for an unusually sweet price.

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Vivitek_DK10000Z_Black_Left_Hero - Ed Gurr
VIVITEK
DK10000Z
4K DLP Laser Projector

Target Markets: Large Venue, Higher Education, Rental/Staging

Price: To Be Announced

Vivitek's DK10000Z joins the ranks of some similarly-spec'd InfoComm Best of Show winners by virtue of its wow-factor combination of 10,000 ANSI-lumen brightness, 4K (3840x2160) resolution, and a long-life 20,000-hour laser-phosphor light engine with an air-sealed, filter-less design that requires virtually no maintenance. The image from its Texas Instruments 0.66-inch DLP XPR chip incorporates TI's DarkChip3 and Brilliant Color technologies for vibrant colors and deeper blacks; dynamic contrast is rated at 100,000:1. Advanced calibration tools are included to fine tune the image as well, including gamma settings and RGB color management settings. Among the flexible set-up tools are a choice of eight lenses, with most offering generous vertical (-33% to +64%) and horizontal (-14% to +24%) lens shift. Keystone correction, along with 360 degree and portrait mode orientation are provided, as are built in edge-blending and warping for projecting on curved or other irregular surfaces. The DK10000Z is expected to be available sometime in the 3rd quarter.

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Vivitek_DH3660Z_Front_Top_Angel - Ed Gurr
VIVITEK
DH3660Z
DLP Laser Projector

Street Price: $2,499

Target Markets: Sports Bars & Restaurants, House of Worship, Conference Rooms, Classrooms, Home Theater

Another solid value-play joins the ranks of our InfoComm Best of Show winners in the Vivitek DH3660Z, a single-chip 1080p DLP projector that powers up to a bright 4,500 lumens from a 20,000-hour laser light source for $2,499—making it an excellent low-price, low-maintenance option for its primary target markets of sports bars and conference rooms. The 1.5x zoom accommodates a nice range of throw distances; a 120-inch diagonal image requires about 12 to 18 feet, and there are both vertical lens shift and keystone correction available. Other features include 360-degree orientation and portrait modes, and there's a built-in speaker for conference room use. Integrated network monitoring and management solutions include Crestron RoomView, Extron, AMX SSDP and Telnet. Compact size and weight (15.5 x 3.3 x 4.9 inches; 15.4 pounds) places the DH3660Z into the realm of portability, a potential attraction for weekend warriors seeking a big, punchy image (up to 300 inches) for a backyard movie night. And did we mention it's Full3D compatible?

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Comments (2) Post a Comment
Mike B Posted Jun 12, 2019 7:18 AM PST
Surprised the LG HU85LA wasn't mentioned?

Also, the vast majority of the projectors are not for Home Theater use. I understand large venues and classrooms are a big market but not my market

This is a good write-up though and hopefully some of the technology (not the prices) will soon enter the home theater market
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Jun 17, 2019 9:10 AM PST
Mike, LG did not show any projectors at this show so their new laser UST projector was not eligible for recognition. InfoComm is very much for the commercial A/V industry.

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