Panasonic goes Lamp-free
Today at the Infocomm trade show in Las Vegas Panasonic unveiled four new conference/installation projectors featuring a lamp-free LED/Laser Diode light source with an estimated life of 20,000 hours. These single-chip DLP projectors are the industry’s first 24/7 duty cycle projectors to feature lamp-free design.
The flagship units are the PT-RZ470 and PT-RZ430, designed for professional system integration. They include features such as edge blending and color matching for multi-unit installation, and they are 3D ready. Both of these are rated at 3000 lumens and 20,000:1 contrast. The primary difference between the two is that the RZ470 has 1920x1080 resolution, and the RZ430 is 1280x800.
Less fully featured and at lower price points are the PT-RZ370 and PT-RZ330. These are intended for free-standing use in applications where capabilities like edge blending and color matching are not required. They are also rated at 3000 lumens, with a lower contrast rating of 5000:1. The RZ370 is 1920x1080 and the RZ330 is 1280x800.
All four models feature Digital Link with HDBaseT technology which allows HDMI and other uncompressed video signals, audio signals and control commands to be sent via a single Cat5e/6 LAN cable, greatly simplifying installation. They are compatible with Crestron’s DigitalMedia 8G+, Extron’s XTP Systems, and AMX’s DGX Digital Media Switchers. They all have lens-centered design, a 2x zoom lens and vertical/horizontal lens shift to make placement as easy as possible.
The industry’s first LED/laser light engine was introduced by Casio in a series of 5-lb. portable products designed for the mobile presenter. The first generation Casio units did not fare well when it came to stable lumen output or color stability over the life of the products. In these more robust installation models, weighing 22 lbs, Panasonic believes the stability issues have been resolved and that users will see consistent lumen output and color fidelity over the entire life of the light engine. This remains to be seen of course but if Panasonic has achieved its objective, this represents a step forward in performance not only in LED/laser engine design, but over conventional high pressure lamps as well.
Pricing on these units has not yet been established as they are not ready for shipment. The RZ330 is expected to commence shipments in November, and the other three are slated for January/February 2013.