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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.

Evan Powell
Editor

Reader Comments(14 comments)

Posted Jun 13, 2012 10:26 AM PST

By Jim Small

Getting rid of those expensive, short life span lamps and replacing them with LED equivalents are the best step in affordable projector design yet. Hopefully the technology will be fully replacing lamps within a couple of years, before I need to buy my next projector.

Posted Jun 13, 2012 12:17 PM PST

By mark

I agree getting rid of the expensive and unstable lamps will be a major improvement in the industry, with the juxtaposition of the 4K standard coming soon the future looks very interesting

Posted Jun 13, 2012 7:51 PM PST

By Jimbo

Evan,

Hi, do you have any insight if other firms will be introducing new projectors with a lamp-free LED/Laser Diode light source and available for the Home Theater Market?

Thanks!

Posted Jun 14, 2012 1:14 PM PST

By chris

This is a game changer. Yesterday, I setup my 4th LG HW300T. I am simply amazed at the image from this compact LED projector.

Worry free LED lamps, coupled with zoom and lens shift features are critical to the future success of projectors in the mass home market. The final determinant of success will be price. Within five years it is possible that flat panel displays will be will become a memory like CRTs. (Epson are you ready to play?)

Posted Jun 18, 2012 3:42 PM PST

By Syed

It would be nice if Panasonic include 4K resolution in RZ470 which has every capabilities and some to qualify as a hometheater projector. If price is reasonable I am jumping on it.

Posted Jun 18, 2012 7:26 PM PST

By Gary

Please God, no more lamps ... Nothing is worse than the 4,000 hour listed life, ending after 600 hours. And that's what happens time and time again.

Posted Jul 1, 2012 9:02 AM PST

By Vampyr

I agree that Led/laser is a MONSTER leap in breaking Projectors out of the niche market we are currently in (most major retailers only have 4 projectors to choose from). But I also would like a future where projectors are at least half of what Bestbuy (eg)would sell in their stores, but I am more happy that Panasonic has joined the HdbaseT company list. That isn't even shown on the HdbaseT website yet. I would LOVE to see HDMI die as you can buy 1000 feet of cat6 cable for $110.00 dollars and put your own ends on it for another $8 plus a 40 crimping tool that is $158 for a cable that can run 7.1 dtsma 3d, power, gigabit LAN all on one cable. I dare anyone to find a 300' HDMI cable For under $1000 dollars. Oh wait 50 feet is the max for HDMI without a booster every 50 feet plus another HDMI every 50 feet... You get the idea.

Posted Jul 9, 2012 11:17 AM PST

By gary

Does anyone know why the Panasonic LED unit is listed as "industrial" vs. being able to be used in the home? Will it work fine for home use?

Posted Jul 14, 2012 2:01 PM PST

By adam

can these be installed on there side?

Posted Jul 20, 2012 3:02 AM PST

By Jake

I hope that they have found a good color LED. Usually LEDs have too high kelvins to give a decent whites.

Posted Jul 20, 2012 7:41 PM PST

By Reuben

I'm looking forward to the price, many of us in the eyefinity community use software to edge blend 3 projectors together. I am intrigued to see how Panasonic has it built in.

Posted Oct 9, 2012 12:37 PM PST

By Pablo

I spoke with Crestron about the HDBaseT input and I assume the following goes for all Digital media CAT systems - Control commands will not necessarily be deciphered by the HDBaseT input on the new panasonic projectors. Crestron's DM video is more complex than just plain HDBaseT. Crestron breaks the HDBaseT and inserts the control commands and re-wraps the HDBaseT signal to send. The Room controllers or receivers then strip the analyze the HDBaseT signals and strips the control commands and passes video. The panasonic HD port will not necessarily do this so a seperate control cable will more than likely need to be run. I am hopeful this will not be the case and the Rep was just wrong but it does sound logical. Hopefully one day all projector manufactureres will make common controls for every projector but lets be real.....

Posted Oct 10, 2012 10:47 AM PST

By Pablo

Panasonic gave a demonstration of the new projector (PT-RZ470) and the new Digital Link" interface/switcher box (ET-YFB100). Although not yet ready for release, both units exceeded my expectations. They explained they are still tweaking color issues primarily in the yellow and red color space. The entry level models should be available in December while the professional series should hit in Jan Feb timeframe. The crispness of the image was impeccable. Amazingly after an hour of usethe projector was emmiting cold air from it's vents.

Posted Oct 10, 2012 10:52 AM PST

By Pablo

I retract until further notice and/or testing. Panasonic has assured me the control commands executed from Crestron/AMX/XTP will control the projector. It seems every manufacturer using HDDBaseT has received one of the LED projectors for testing.

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