Is UHD really 4K?

Resolutions

With any new technology, the terminology can be baffling. And resolution terminology can be the most confusing of all!

Resolution is simply the number of pixels in an image. The higher the number of pixels, the greater the resolution and the better the image quality will be.

 

Resolutions are as follows:

  • UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) pixels
  • WUXGA (1920×1200) pixels
  • Full HD 1080p (1920 x 1080) pixels
  • WXGA / HD Ready (1280 x 800) pixels
  • XGA (1024 x 768) pixels

 

Optoma 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) projectors provide four times as many pixels as Full HD 1080p. That’s 8.3 million on screen pixels (3840 x 2160) bringing greater realism to every scene with increased depth and light and shadow detail for a truly immersive experience.

They use a 4M pixel chip but Optoma UHD 4K projectors do not pixel shift in the same way as the 3LCD ‘4K enhanced’ projectors from Epson and JVC.

To get your head around this, let me give a simple overview of how each technology works.

A projector using 3LCD technology splits the white light from its lamp into three colour beams and directs each to their own LCD panel to create the image to be projected.

At the heart of every Optoma projector is a DLP® chip. Developed by Texas Instruments, this chip has millions of microscopic mirrors, each measuring less than one-fifth the width of a human hair and each corresponding to one pixel on the final projected image. A spinning colour wheel made up of coloured segments is placed between the light source and the chip. The mirrors are then turned on and off perfectly in time with the right colour – allowing the projector to display a total of 16.7 million different colours for a fantastically vibrant, life-like picture. By using mirrors rather than LCD panels, DLP projectors are shown to have better pixel alignment and therefore show a sharper image.

DLP chip

Optoma’s 4K UHD projectors use a chip with over four million mirrors and deliver two discrete pixels for each mirror. The inherent fast switching speed of the DLP chip and Texas Instruments’ latest XPR™ technology allow the projectors to display the full 8.3M pixels to the screen from this 4M pixel chip. This happens so fast that the eye blends them into one image.

The ‘4K-enhanced’ 3LCD projectors from Epson and JVC use native HD 1080p chips (1920x1080). To achieve ‘4K-enhanced’ they project a 1920x1080 image, then on the next refresh of the chips a second 1920x1080 image is off-shifted diagonally and overlaid onto the first. The total number of addressable pixels in this process is 2x (1920x1080) = 4.15 million - half of the 8.3 million in a native 4K signal.

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) defines 4K UHD resolution as 3840 x 2160 or greater than 8 million addressable pixels. For projection systems, 4K and 4K UHD resolution should be defined by the on-screen counting of pixels or the ability to see greater than 8 million dots.

With the full 8.3 million on-screen pixels, Optoma’s 4K UHD projectors meet the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) requirements for 4K UHD and CTA High Dynamic Range (HDR) compatible display standards.

Among the smallest 4K projectors on the market, Optoma’s 4K UHD projectors set a new benchmark in performance.

 

The pros and cons of a projector over TV

A projector can give you amazing gaming experience and a true cinema-like feel at home – but what are the pros and cons of choosing one over a big screen TV?

Pros

Size This is a major reason to go projection! Actors on TV look larger than life. Hang on a second – they ARE larger than life. Filling your entire field of view creates a completely absorbing experience.

Viewing a standard TV of 37 inches from the average sofa distance of nine feet, your eyes just cannot see all the detail in a 1080p image. Blow that up four times to 100 inches and you can see each strand of hair, every blade of grass. And this is where the benefit of 4K comes into play. A larger image benefits greatly from the added resolution. At that distance most people will see pixels on a 150-inch 1080p image, but not with 4K.

As seen on the graph below, at nine feet from the screen anything bigger than a 65” image will look better with 4K. Optoma projectors can produce images up to 300 inches.

 

 

Easier on the eyes You may think having such a large screen may hurt your eyes. Actually, it's the opposite. Filling a larger percentage of your visual field, and with less overall brightness, a big screen is actually more comfortable to watch and, just like in the cinema, the picture is also more immersive.

Space and setup Projectors can be used anywhere there is a power source, a flat surface and enough space. They are light and portable to be taken around to a friend’s house for a gaming session or an outdoor film night. A TV is less flexible to pop under your arm and take to your mates!

 Projectors can be ceiling mounted or simply placed on a table or shelf – and you don’t have to have a screen. You can project straight onto a plain wall. If you do want a screen - these come in all shapes and sizes. They can hang on the wall or be retractable, where the screen disappears into the ceiling or you can get a portable one that you simply pull up.

Short throw and ultra short projectors are ideal for gamers as these create a large image from very close to the screen or wall. Gamers are therefore behind the projector ensuring no shadows are cast across the image.

Cost

Projectors are, on the whole, cheaper than comparably sized Full HD TVs. Getting a TV larger than 100 inches currently costs around £30,000 (if you can find one to buy). Getting the same screen size and equivalent picture quality could cost as little as £500 with a projector.

Audio

Most home projectors have a built-in speaker – perfect to plug and play. And if you want to connect to an external sound system, you can with the audio output. 

Wireless connectivity

Optoma projectors can also work wirelessly up to HD quality using the optional WHD200.

 

Cons

Light

Light can be a problem if the screen or wall is subject to direct sunlight. But Optoma’s bright home entertainment projectors are designed to be used with the lights on. And the darker the room, the more vibrant the image will be. 

Lamps

Nearly all home projectors are lamp-based. Like any lamp-based light, these will eventually need replacing. How often will depend on how much use the projector has had and putting the lamp in Eco mode will greatly increase the lifespan of the light source from 5,000 to 8,000 hours*. Based on a 20 hours a week that equates to around 5-8 year’s use. 

Expectations

After getting a projector all your friends' TVs will seem unbearably small.

 

Upsize that tiny TV; go projection!

A projector doesn't have to cost a lot of money, nor is it difficult to set up.  Interested? Read our blog on choosing the best projector for you

 

 

* Figures based on expected lifespan of the HD142X lamp

Dust is everywhere

All electronic products are exposed to airborne dust throughout their lifetime.

This is not generally a problem for most consumer products but for professional applications, such as museums or attractions, where projectors need to operate around the clock, the build-up of dust particles can potentially compromise the quality of the image projected, affect the overall performance of a projector and shorten its lifetime.

 

Dust-sealed filter-free design

Optoma’s ProScene laser projectors are precision engineered with a unique optical dust-sealed, filter-free design that prevents dust and dirt affecting the system. The projectors need very little maintenance as there are no filters to remove and clean, therefore minimising downtime for the venue.  In addition, Optoma’s ProScene DuraCore laser line-up all come with an IPXX independent dust resistant certification.

 

What is an IPXX certification

An IP rating stands for ingress protection and basically states how well the equipment is protected from dust or liquids.  The IP code, published by the International Electrotechnical Commission, rates the degree of protection given by the electrical equipment casings against dust or water. The standard provides consumers with more detailed information than vague marketing terms such as ‘dustproof or waterproof’. Independent Ingress Protection tests are conducted in accordance with IEC 60529.

 Optoma ProScene ZU850 laser projector

ZU850 gets top marks for dust resistance

We recently sent our 8,200-lumen ZU850 laser phosphor ProScene projector to an independent IP test lab. The researchers placed the projector in a dust chamber and exposed the unit to airborne circulating dust for 8 hours at 25 °C ± 10 °C.

On completion of the test the black unit was caked white with dust but was found to be dust tight with no dust passing through the airtight optical engine and functional operation unaffected.

The ZU850 was awarded the highest classification of IP6X – which offers a completely dust free protection for the device.

 

 

Brilliant benefits with optoma warranties

When buying a projector, people rightly focus on the spec of the projector and choose a model that is suitable for how and where it will be used, the brightness of the room etc.  If you haven’t bought your projector yet and would like a few tips, take a look at our earlier blog: Choosing the right projector

But did you check the details of the warranty? Yawn. Boring? Not at all!  There are some brilliant benefits that come with the standard warranty from Optoma.  


All Optoma projectors are designed for continuous 24/7 operation. We are one of the only brands in the industry to offer this across our entire range.

5-year colour guarantee
We are so confident that your image colour quality will remain as good as on the day you bought it that we guarantee it for five years.  FIVE YEARS!

Oops - cut the power – no worries
Most Optoma projectors have ‘Direct Power Off’. Cutting power to these projectors suddenly will not damage or shorten the lamp/laser or projector lifetime and will not affect the warranty. Phew.  

Lamp warranty
Our standard warranty for ProScene models includes a 12 month lamp guarantee. This is included free of charge with no additional cost.

Non-standard installation
Projectors are usually installed horizontal to the floor - either ceiling mounted or placed on the desktop. But some installations need the projector to be turned on its side to create a portrait image or point straight down to the floor/up to the ceiling. Many of our professional projectors support these orientations, known as 360 degree and portrait mode. These projectors can be used in non-standard orientations without invalidating the warranty.

Bespoke warranties for professional installations
We can tailor warranties on our ProScene models to meet specific needs including support, preventative maintenance, extended warranties, swap units, de-install/re-install warranties.

And you thought warranties were dull!  

You can read full details of our standard and extended warranties on our website.

The wide world of edge blending

You want to get an extra wide image across the wall - then you’ll probably need to combine two or more projected images to make a single seamless image. This is called edge blending.

The images are firstly overlapped and then visually joined together using an edge blending processor/software, such as the Optoma Chameleon GB-200.  Once these are blended, it is imperative the projectors do not move. If they do, your edge blend will come out of alignment.

So, before you start there are a number of factors to consider.

•    Partition walls, mezzanine floors and suspended ceilings are not ideal environments as they are subject to movement and vibration.
•    Large open spaces such as exhibition halls may get air movement, which may affect alignment.
•    Long mounting arms will amplify any movement so should be avoided.
•    Content resolution needs to match that of the projected resolution. Content with a resolution dissimilar to the combined native resolution of the blended projectors will make set-up more complex and cause the image to be stretched or distorted.
•    Have a minimum overlap percentage of 20% and avoid text on the overlapped areas.
•    Avoid people touching the projectors.  Can visitors reach the installation? Would cleaners or contractors on site knock the projectors?

Further help
Take a look at our handy guide.

Or to see a step-by-step video tutorial of edge blending using the Chameleon GB-200 visit the Optoma EMEA YouTube channel:
•   Manual blend of two or more projectors
•   Auto blend for two projectors

Why Amazing Colour creates vibrant, long-lasting and accurate colours

 

Optoma announced this week the integration of Amazing Colour technology into its latest projectors. The combination of advanced colour technology and multiple settings in all Optoma projectors, from entry level to high resolution, creates precise, true-to-life colours which do not fade.  

Outstanding colour precision
Optoma projectors deliver accurate sRGB/ Rec. 709 colours for true-to-life visuals. This provides precise detailed images with more realistic and natural looking colours. Perfect for business presentations, education, films and photography - where detail really matters.

Tailored visual experience
Equipped with multiple display modes, Optoma projectors give users the freedom to choose the best setting for the content. Each mode has been fine-tuned by Optoma’s colour expert team to ensure superior colour performance.

Superior detail
Optoma projectors deliver high ANSI contrast. This means the projector is far superior at differentiating between dark and light content within the same image - providing crisp, intense and saturated colours.

Colour guarantee
Optoma guarantees colour will never fade on its projectors so users can enjoy consistent colour performance for years to come.

Multi-colour processing technology
DLP® BrilliantColor™ technology raises the bar in colour performance and picture quality. This multi-colour processing technology provides a wider colour gamut, making it possible to produce over one billion colours. It supports the continuous processing of RGB (red, green, blue) colours along with yellow, cyan, and magenta. This gives realistic colour reproduction, particularly evident in skin tones.

Amazing Colour technology offers better colour performance to match any application or environment – whether for business, education or home entertainment. For more information on Optoma Amazing Colour technology, visit: www.optoma.co.uk/Amazing_Colours and watch the Amazing Colours video

Laser-phosphor technology: science fiction now science fact

Laser-phosphor technology is advancing rapidly. But what is it, what are the advantages of this technology and for what applications is it best suited?

There are many advantages of lamp-less laser-phosphor light source technology.  For example:
•    There is no lamp and therefore maintenance requirements are minimal
•    Brightness is more consistent than lamp-based projectors, which are subject to brightness fluctuations as the lamp is used (brightness decay) and replaced
•    It is quieter due to higher efficiency and so less requirement for cooling
•    Colour reproduction is brilliant
•    Due to the solid state light engine, the projector is able to operate in unusual positions, including portrait and downward projection

As a result of these benefits, laser-phosphor projectors are ideal for venues where ceilings are high and the projector is fairly inaccessible for maintenance, such as university lecture theatres, digital signage applications and museums/professional installations where usage hours tend to be higher and there are accessibility/maintenance restrictions.

It is also ideal for quieter environments such as smaller meeting rooms or those with low ceilings.

With such a wide choice of projectors – lamp-based, LED and laser - it is important to look at the application and venue to ascertain whether a laser-phosphor projector is the best solution.

If the projector is needed for lengthy usage with minimal downtime or the projector would be fairly inaccessible after installation, then this may be the best option.  

Also if colour accuracy is important, it may also be the best choice – although the colour performance of lamp-based DLP projectors varies with the type of colour wheel used. Some, like Optoma’s EH7700, provide colour wheels options so the colour performance and brightness can be tailored to the application – so it is important to look at all factors.

Optoma has recently expanded its range of laser-phosphor ProScene projectors with the 6,000-lumen ZU650 and the ultra-wide short throw, ZH300W.

The technical bit
Unlike the laser beams you may have seen in Bond films, no raw laser light is emitted from the lens of the projector.  So how does it work and what is the difference between laser and laser-phosphor projectors?

With a pure laser - the red, green and blue light from three laser diode arrays (one each for red, green and blue) is combined then passed through an optical diffuser. It is this diffused light that is used to illuminate the projector’s DLP chip and produce the image.
 
A laser-phosphor projector is slightly different in that it uses one blue laser.  This blue light is diffused and used as the blue light component to illuminate the DLP chip. The blue laser is also used to energise a phosphor wheel that emits yellow light. This is then split into its red and green components and used to illuminate the DLP chip.

How 3D glasses work

When considering a purchase of a 3D TV or Projector, people often neglect to research what type of 3D technology their prospective purchase uses.

Here at Optoma we thought we’d break-down the two 3D glasses technologies available and give you a run-down on what each technology is called and what they do to produce a 3D image.

3D glasses work by displaying a different image to each eye. Our brain then merges each image into one, but with 3D characteristics. This, in turn, “dupes” our brains into thinking that it is seeing an image in 3D, so it creates an image with depth for you.

3D-enabled TVs and projectors work by receiving a 3D signal that gets encoded and sent in a few different ways. The TV or projector has a decoder that takes the 3D signal and shows the left and right eye information as one image that looks slightly blurry when viewed without 3D glasses. The image is an overlapped image of the left and right eye signal. When you wear the appropriate glasses, they separate each image to the corresponding eye to deliver a 3D image.

 

Types of 3D Glasses

There are two types of 3D glasses – Passive Polarized & Active Shutter. Both achieve their 3D visuals in a different way.

Passive Polarized glasses look a lot like sunglasses, not unlike what you get when you visit the movies. They are lightweight and have ample space to accommodate normal glasses underneath if the viewer requires them.

The TV or projector has a special filter that polarizes each line of pixels. This filter makes the odd lines on the screen only visible to the left eye, and the even lines only visible to the right. Your brain then interprets the image as a 3D image. Without the glasses, the image looks normal. One caveat to this system is that the image is not full 1080p as it halves the amount of pixels visible.

Active Shutter glasses use batteries and a transmitter that syncs with the rapidly moving shutters for each eye with the on-screen display.

The 3D image resolution is the same as the 2D image displayed on the same screen. This is because the left and right eye images are shown in sequence rather than at the same time. The 3D glasses sync with the TV or projectors refresh rate to sequence the images that produce a 3D image to the viewer.

 

Optoma 3D Glasses

All of the projectors we produce at Optoma are active 3D. They can however be converted to passive 3D if required with the use of a silver screen and a passive 3D filter.

At Optoma, we manufacture two different types of Active 3D glasses:

ZD302 – These glassed incorporate DLP Link™ technology which use line of sight to the screen to produce a 3D image. If you look away and then back to the screen, the glasses will display a very slight stutter as they re-sync with the projector.

ZF2300 – These 3D glasses use RF (Radio Frequency) technology to sync with the projector. RF synchronization eliminates any potential sync issues and many glasses can be paired to the same projector. As these glasses need an RF emitter to function you will need a “ZF2300 starter kit” that includes an emitter and a pair of glasses.

Projecting the future of retail

We are just back from the Retail Design Expo where we were showing off our projection solutions to retailers from across the UK.  With our partners Projection Artworks and Texas Instruments, we wowed visitors with projection mapped displays using Optoma’s LED and laser DLP projectors on sportswear, luxury goods including watches, technology products and FMCG.  

Projection mapping allows digital content to be applied on or around physical products or spaces.  Research has shown this makes a 41% increase in sales when compared to stores without projection.*

Laser and LED DLP projectors are now a cost effective retail display option. Projections can be daylight visible and maintenance costs for bulbs replacement have been eradicated through LED and laser technology which can provide an astonishing 20,000 hours of impressive, virtually maintenance-free operation.

Optoma's laser and LED projectors

Optoma projectors use DLP technology pioneered by Texas Instruments. This uses millions of mirrors to produce high quality imagery which does not suffer colour degradation over time, as sometimes experienced in other projector technologies.

The event saw UK debut of DisplayMapper that is set to change the face of retail.  DisplayMapper is the world’s first cloud-based, projection-mapping, content management and projector control system which has made global, scalable retail projection rollouts possible. Having created retail projection showstoppers like Harrods’ Faberge installation, Projection Artworks developed DisplayMapper for retailers that want to recreate this type of next-generation ‘magic’ on a smaller and more affordable scale. 

Retailers also saw a new dynamic solution for stores that can sweep marketing messages and imagery across their shop floor, wall and ceilings.  The Mirror Head from the Dynamic Projection Institute comprises a high-tech mirror that is digitally operated and can move either rapidly or slowly to project pictures, videos and text onto any surface.  

Tom Burch from Projection Artworks, Justin Halls from Optoma and Rob Hollands from creative agency Anthem hosted a session at the event’s main theatre to challenge ‘flat panel thinking’.  They shared how a recent POS retail experience installed in a major supermarket stimulated customer engagement and increased sales. 

*Based on Asda/Nestle trial in 10 stores Q4 2015

ISE 2016: OUR BEST BITS IN A NUTSHELL

We’re back from ISE. Thanks to everyone that came to see us during the four-day show. For those that missed the event, we thought we’d do a round-up of the best bits.

 World’s first 4K LED HLD was the star of the show

People were fascinated by the world’s first 4K LED HLD projector on our stand – not just because they could see all the components that make up a projector through the clear casing (which was really rather cool) – but because the colours in the projected image were pretty spectacular.

 This demonstration, produced in partnership with Texas Instruments and Phillips, showed the colour performance and accuracy that is produced from DLP projectors. It is no wonder that 80% of cinemas throughout the world use DLP projectors because of their image quality and colour accuracy!

Our second 4K demo showed a prototype ultra-high definition (UHD) display using the single-chip DLP design. This delivers more than eight million pixels to the screen with the millions of mirrors in the DLP chip capable of switching over 9,000 times per second. Impressive stuff!

PureTech Racing simulator was a blast!

The F1 full motion racing simulator from PureTech Racing proved to be a real crowd-puller. It combined ultra-realistic motion generation with a seamless curved display projected from three ultra mobile LED ML750e projectors.

Loads of visitors (including Optoma’s own James Fitzgerald) spun off unable to complete a full lap where others mastered the corners and chicanes and shrugged off the G force to put in very respectable lap times. 1st prize each day was a pair of Optoma NuForce BE6 wireless Bluetooth earphones, 2nd prize NE800M earphones and 3rd prize NE750M earphones. Winners* were:

Tuesday 9 February

1st Taco van Sambeek (1:10.276)

2nd Günter Lemberger (1:10.554)

3rd Dario Stancich (1:13. 824).

Wednesday 10 February

1st Dario Stancich (1:07.138)

2nd Liudas Vastakas (1:07.306)

3rd Matthew George Wilson-Taylor (1:09.676)

Thursday 11 February

1st Alex Germanis (1:08.060)

2nd Giuseppe Ferrarelli (1:09.438)

3rd Andika Pratama (1:10.102)

Friday 12 February

1st Dario Stancich (1:07.852)

2nd Lorenzo Savadori (1:09.374)

3rd Kasper Rasmussen (1:10.628)

 

Projectors going where flat screens couldn’t possibly follow!

There were loads of great ideas for retailers to create eye-catching displays.

Dynamic Projection Institute’s Mirror Head took the imagery from Optoma’s new ProScene ZU650 laser-phosphor projector and swooped it around visitors’ feet - grabbing their attention and literally stopping them in their tracks.

Super-size digital signage was created from two stacked 12,000 lumen projectors to create a 24,000-lumen ultra-bright 5 x 3.5 metre display that would be capable of continuous 24/7 operation. You’d never get a flat panel that size around a corner!

But it was the daylight-visible window displays and interactive product showcases that really captured people’s imaginations. Projection Artworks, the UK’s leading pioneer in projection-based retail solutions, showed off its Display Mapper software that applies animated content onto and around products - proven to generate greater engagement and sales to the shop floor. Virtual popcorn spilled out and down the stand and a watch came alive with geometric lines marching across its face.

Now, you can’t do any of that with an LCD flat screen!

Chilling out in the home zone

Visitors took a much-needed rest on our comfy sofas to watch live demonstrations of the ultra short throw projector, the GT5500 and the award-winning HD28DSE projector, which is engineered with DARBEE Visual Presence™ technology.

In this home zone they could also see Optoma’s expanded range of NuForce audio products including a new super-small DSD DAC and headphone amp - the uDAC5 – which was unveiled on Monday.

Please DO touch the exhibits!

People were invited to have a play with the finger touch interactive displays in the corporate and education area of the stand. At one point there were more than 20 people at the board writing their names, drawing cartoons and happily doodling.

The ultra-wide imagery came from Optoma’s new ultra-short throw laser-phosphor ZH300UW projector. Using a solid-state laser-phosphor light engine instead of traditional projector lamps, produces a brightness of 3,000 lumens and eliminates the need for any replacement lamps.

ISE 2016 took place 9-12 February at the RAI Exhibition Centre in Amsterdam. Optoma’s partners include:

BRD Simulation Racing Technology/ PureTech Racing. BRD is well known within the motorsport industry for the credibility of its award winning simulator technology. For more than 20 years it has researched, designed developed and produced a constantly evolving range of motorsport simulation tools for the motorsport industry and advanced simulator racing centres. www.puretechracing.com

Dynamic Projection Institute develops innovative media technology for architecture, design, fashion and arts. Its key products are the Mirror Head and the MDC, Media on Demand Control, Media Console. www.dynamicprojection.com

Projection Artworks is the UK’s leading pioneer in projection-based retail solutions. With more than ten years’ experience in projections both large and small, it specialises in daylight-visible window displays, interactive product showcases and innovative POS concepts. www.projectionartworks.com

Texas Instruments is a global semiconductor design and manufacturing company. It pioneered DLP® technology, which is used in all Optoma projectors. This uses millions of mirrors to produce high quality imagery which does not suffer colour degradation over time, as sometimes experienced in other projector technologies. www.ti.com/dlp

Philips integrates technologies and design into people-centric solutions, based on fundamental customer insights and the brand promise of “sense and simplicity.” Philips ColorSpark HLD LED projection system lets you see everything on the screen in sharp definition and clear colours. Its new technology emits four times the light of current LED technology, making the screen up to three times brighter while still keeping brilliant colour performance. www.philips.com/newscenter

 * Drivers with more than one top three time during ISE won one prize only.