LED - the rising star for businesses

Early adopters of new technologies can often be found in the corporate sector, especially when it comes to AV.  And a technology currently leading the way within the corporate market is sub 5mm, Narrow Pixel Pitch (NPP) LED, which now holds 58% of the corporate LED signage market.

Why has it seen such growth? Because LED provides high brightness, high impact displays, even in high ambient light environments .  This makes it ideal as the main display in a boardroom or auditorium or the atrium welcome in the lobby.

But it is not just the brightness that makes these displays the corporate high flier:

Making a big impression

LED displays produce glorious imagery with incredible depth of colour and detail – even in bright boardrooms – guaranteeing presentations look impressive.

 

LCD screens can only reach around 100” in size – and even then – they are incredibly expensive, heavy and impractical to install.  LED displays are modular in design, so can be as large as you need.  These are made up of slim panels to create a seamless display with no bezels disrupting the image.

Optoma’s QUAD LED display has the simplicity of a single LCD screen but is larger (130”), proportionally lighter, easier to install but still gives the ‘wow factor’.  Its unique pre-build process reduces the installation complexity and means this can be operational in just a couple of hours with less downtime for the business and a lower overall total project cost.

Each LED screen is made up of individual surface mount diodes or SMD (sometimes referred to as a package). Within each SMD there is an individual red, green and blue diode which makes each SMD work as an individual pixel that is the building block for all display devices. A full HD screen is made up of over two million individual pixels.

Optoma’s QUAD LED display is at the forefront of LED screen design, pioneering a 4-in-1 (four pixels in one package) SMD layout. This unique design creates a high-quality image with extremely wide viewing angles and a very flat finish. The design creates excellent black levels along with the added benefit of a robust front face less prone to damage.

ErP compliance

Corporate environments need to ensure equipment is ErP compliant and draws less than 0.5W in standby.  QUAD FHDQ130 is one of the few LED displays that can achieve this. 

No image retention

Unlike other technologies, LED does not suffer from image retention so static information can be displayed with no risk of image burn.

Low maintenance and reliability

Requirements of display products used in corporate environments often include a low maintenance solution, efficient running costs and operating temperatures. Optoma LED displays are highly reliable, designed for 24/7 usage, built from high quality parts down to component level, providing a low maintenance solution with a lifespan of over 100,000 hours or around ten years.

Silent

It is especially important in a corporate setting that displays are quiet to not distract audiences from the presentation or meeting. LED displays provide this visual focus without distraction.

Multiple mounting solutions

LED displays can be fitted on a framework, freestanding or wall mounted.  The LED modules can be fixed directly onto a suitable wall using wood or plaster screws without a mounting frame but a simple, lightweight frame option is available if needed. Optoma’s QUAD LED display comes with both a wall mounting bracket and hanging brackets.

 

LED displays are the natural choice for display technology in the corporate space.  They are bigger, brighter, while being reflection and bezel free.  They perform well in large environments with high ambient light. 

 

CASE STUDY

Read how software developers, Serif, created a striking space in its headquarters in Nottingham with a 4m wide LED display as the central focal point together with audio and conferencing facilities. Read more here.

Inspired by Cannes? Create your own film festival

The idea of having a home cinema might sound like something only the Cannes Film Festival guest list might have in their home, but these days it’s something we can quite easily bring into our own homes. To indulge your inner movie buff, a home cinema can be created affordably without having to miss out on any of the cinema essentials - making it easy for you to plan and host your own film festival.

Over the last few years home projectors have become brighter, more cost-effective and available in 4K UHD resolution. The increase in brightness in home entertainment projectors means they can be used with lights on rather than having to watch films, sports and TV shows with the lights down low. This is why many homeowners are choosing these as an alternative to having a TV as their main viewing device. 

 But if you haven’t got a projector installed in your home – don’t despair.  There are many excellent portable projectors that are perfect for impromptu film nights.  All you need to create your at-home film festival is a blank canvas in the form of a spare bedroom, dining room or maybe a loft space that’s being converted that has a plain, ideally white, wall.  From here, you’ll simply need to add the essentials and you’re set for watching films to your heart's content.

Read on for a no-nonsense, step-by-step guide to creating your very own home film festival.

Deciding a theme

First things first: decide on a theme for your film festival. Are you creating this for your little one’s birthday or to keep the kids occupied on a rainy day, a night in with your friends or a favourite film genre you want the room to reflect? We love the idea of designing the room with a particular genre in mind, to add an extra experiential element to the movies you’ll be watching.

Once you know who the home film festival is for, you can decide on what you need to keep the audience happy. For example, if it’s a night in with friends watching your favourite films from a particular era, genre or actor, it makes sense to invest in a mini fridge where you can store a few bottles of wine. This will provide welcome accompaniment for your Mamma Mia marathon sing-along, while you snack on an adult-friendly buffet.

Alternatively, if the room is designed for your kids to watch Disney classics back-to-back, you’ll want to make sure you’ve stocked up on Disney-inspired sweets, cakes and biscuits, and cartoon-themed cups for soft drinks galore.

Picking the projector

It’s far more exciting and immersive to watch your favourite films when they are a supersize 100” image projected on the wall rather than on the TV. 

A multi-use occasional table is perfect as a platform for a short throw projector during the film festival, or positioned at the end of the sofa for easy access to your tipple or to pop your coffee while it’s cooling down.  Short throw projectors can be placed at around one metre from the wall to achieve a 100” image whereas ultra short throw projectors can achieve a 100” from as little as 33cm!

 

Optoma offers a huge range of home projectors in a variety of resolutions, brightness and throw. If it’s for the kids and they’re likely to want to keep the lights on in the room, our UHD51ALVE 4K UHD resolution Full 3D home projector is the ideal choice.  

Creating a comfy seating area

No cinema is complete without the perfect viewing environment. Whether you’re getting comfy on the sofa in the living room or using a collection of big cushions to make a seated den area, it’s vital to make sure you and your fellow festival-goers enjoy a good level of comfort.

If you’re using the living room, think about any adjustments you could make to dial up the comfort factor. The addition of lights that can be dimmed would create a welcome cosy atmosphere, while some extra tables around the seating area for drinks and snacks will mean treats are never far from reach.

Providing a well-stocked treat station

A trip to the cinema is not complete without popcorn, sweets, nachos, fizzy drinks and other tasty treats - so it goes without saying that you’ll need to go town when it comes to your treat station. You might want to go all out if you’re having a night in with your friends and add some hot snacks to the mix, like pizzas or finger food.

Selecting a film lineup

Choosing which films you’re going to watch is an important piece of the puzzle.

You might choose to watch the films via a DVD collection you’ve stocked up on in advance, or, alternatively, you may have a list of films you’d like to stream online through an on-demand provider such as Netflix - either way, get prepared and pick what you’re watching well ahead of time so the film festival itself can be a seamless experience for all involved.

Film festivals are an ideal way to get everyone together in the name of a shared love of cinema - especially if you’re partial to a movie franchise marathon, covering an epic series such as Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings.

 

To whip up the ultimate at-home event, sort out your equipment, edibles, comfy seating and, of course, the all-important viewing agenda, and you’ll be set for an unforgettable film festival in the comfort of your own home.

 

How to choose the right projector

One of the most common questions we get asked here at Optoma is ‘how do I know which is the best projector for me?’

Buying a projector can be a confusing business with its own world of jargon and acronyms* but the key is to ask yourself the right questions.
 
How will you use your projector?
Is it mostly for showing presentations and slide shows, watching films or playing games? Would you like to watch 3D?

This will help you to identify what native resolution you require and the ports/connections and accessories you will need.  

Native 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. Projectors have the following native resolutions: SVGA (800 pixels high x 600 pixels wide), XGA (1024x768), WXGA/HD Ready (1280x800), 1080p (1920x1080) and 4K UHD (3480x2160).



So, if you are looking to use the projector to mainly watch DVDs or Blu-Rays® you would probably chose a high resolution 1080p or 4K UHD projector with HDMI input.  If you need the projector for business presentations, you might choose a more basic SVGA or XGA projector.  

How big is the screen/image that will need to be projected and what is its aspect ratio?
The bigger the screen, the higher the native resolution you will need. Aspect ratio is dimply the ratio of image width to image height. This could be widescreen (aspect ratio either 16:9 or 16:10) or more square, like old-style televisions (aspect ratio 4:3).
•    SVGA and XGA projectors have a 4:3 aspect ratio
•    1080p and 4K UHD projectors have a 16:9 aspect ratio
•    WXGA projectors have a 16:10 aspect ratio

How far from the screen would you like to install the projector?
If the projector is to be permanently sited you will need to calculate the throw ratio to ensure the projected image fills your screen. A projector's throw ratio is defined as the distance that a projector is placed from the screen divided by the width of the image it will project.  If you know the screen size but are unsure how far back to site the projector, you can use the given throw ratio to calculate where the projector needs to be installed.

Optoma’s short throw projectors can be installed very close to the screen.  Its mobile, desktop and home entertainment projectors must be sited further back.  We have a distance calculator on our website that will help.

How bright is the room where will the projector be used?
Can the lights be turned down/blinds shut? This will determine the ambient light in the room and how bright the projector needs to be.  The brighter the room, the brighter the projector will need to be.  Brightness is measured in lumens.

And finally, is the projector for home or business?
Home: Consider whether you would like built-in speakers or will you be connecting the projector to external speakers.

For home cinema and gaming you will need a high resolution projector to ensure the contrast and picture quality is crystal clear.  So, ideally a 4K UHD or 1080p projector.

For gaming, check the projector’s ‘input lag time’ which is the time it takes for the projector to produce an image. Latency in games can be crucial and a few milliseconds can mean the difference between shooting the enemy and being shot. A lower lag time will improve your gaming experience.

Business:
Where will the projector be used? Does it need to be light and portable for off-site meetings or installed in the boardroom?

This will help you to chose between mobile or ultra mobile, desktop or installed projectors.

For basic Powerpoint presentations SVGA and XGA projectors are good all-round cost-effective projectors.  

Boardrooms and larger meeting rooms might need a larger screen and a higher resolution projector – so a WXGA projector may be a good option or if you need greater detail a 1080p or 4K UHD projector would be ideal.

For those looking for a projector to install in a much larger space, such as an auditorium or exhibition, a professional AV projector may be what you need, such as Optoma’s ProScene range.

*There is a helpful glossary on our website to help make sense of this world of aspect ratios, lumens and throw ratios.

www.optoma.co.uk

Calculating screen size and projection distance made simple

So, you’re thinking about getting a projector and want to know where the projector needs to be to fill the screen or to get a certain size image.  Or you know exactly where you want to install the projector but don’t know how big the image will be at that distance. No problem! 

Introducing the Installation Triangle

 

If you have any two dimensions on the installation triangle – you can calculate the other one. 

So – taking our UHD40 4K projector as an example.  This has a throw ratio (TR) of 1.2~1.59:1

If we want a 100cm wide screen – we multiple the screen width by the TR = projection distance of 121cm~159cm

If we know where we want to place the projector (ie 121cm back) and want to calculate how large the image would be – we divide the distance by the TR which gives a screen width of between 76.1~100cm (depending on how much you zoom in the image).

If you don’t know exactly what model you need but know your screen size and where the projector needs to be – you can calculate your TR.  This will help you to narrow down which models would fit your room.

 

But put that calculator away!

Optoma has a brilliant distance calculator on its website that does all the hard work for you! Simply put in one dimension and the calculator will do the rest. 

 

Where you place the projector is an important part of choosing the right projector

Short throw and ultra-short throw projectors can be positioned very close to the wall and still provide a big image on the screen. The benefits here are no shadows and they tend to be brighter by being closer to the screen or wall.

Normal or standard throw projectors sit further back and tend to mounted on the ceiling and above/behind where you would be seated.

 

 

Top Tip

If are thinking of placing your projector on a shelf near to the ceiling – don’t.  You would need to tilt the projector which would distort the image shape.  Install the projector under the shelf rather than above -  ideally with a universal mount.

 

 

How 3D glasses work

3D can be an exciting immersive experience.  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.

 

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. 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. A downside to this system is that the image is not Full HD 1080p as it halves the amount of pixels visible.

Active Shutter glasses syncs with the rapidly moving shutters for each eye from 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 projector's refresh rate to sequence the images that produce a 3D image to the viewer.

 

At Optoma, we recommend two different types of Active 3D glasses to use with our Full 3D projectors:

DLP Link™ technology glasses 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.

Radio Frequency glasses use RF (Radio Frequency) technology to sync with the projector. RF synchronisation eliminates any potential sync issues and many glasses can be paired to the same projector. These glasses need an RF emitter to function.  

 

Full 3D vs 3D ready

If your projector is Full 3D it can play 3D content from a DVD player or games console - you just need the glasses.  If the projector is '3D ready' - it is still possible to watch content on 3D but you would need additional equipment including a PC with quad buffered graphics card and professional 3D software through which you would play the content.  This is not recommended for general home use.

 

Create a spectacular Christmas display

Are you dreading the annual tussle with the tangled ball of Christmas lights?  We are too!  So we have put together some suggestions on how to create a stunning seasonal spectacle with a twist.

 

Project onto your windows

Simply line your windows with tracing paper, a frosted shower curtain, a thin cotton sheet or frosted film and you have a screen to project your decorations.  This could be a Christmas tree, a festive greeting or even an elves workshop!

       

 

       

For the 2018 Gadget Show Christmas Special presenter Jon Bentley showed how to create a magical Christmas display by projecting AtmosFX digital decorations onto the Gadget Show house windows.  We used a £3 shower curtain from Dunelm Mill and beamed the elves workshop via our ultra short throw Full HD HZ40UST laser home entertainment projector. AtmosFX creates digital decorations with fun and entertaining animated characters and stories for Halloween, Christmas, Valentines Day and other special occasions.  Watch again on My5: www.my5.tv/the-gadget-show/season-28/episode-9

 

Don’t get the needle

If you are fed up schlepping in the tree from the garden centre (or loft) and spending hours arranging baubles – why not project your tree or decorations

    

 

            

Optoma helped Craig Charles projection map his Christmas tree and create a snowy scene on a mirror, using the GT1080Darbee short throw Full HD projector and Optoma’s Projection Mapper app, for the 2017 Gadget Show Christmas special.  Watch again here: www.my5.tv/the-gadget-show/season-26/episode-10

 

Project decorations straight onto your house

If you have a shed or a friendly neighbour opposite, you could project your Christmas lights straight onto your house.  This avoids battling with blown bulbs and just needs a bright projector, images or animations to project onto the house and somewhere secure under cover where you can place the projector.  Your house would be the envy of the neighbourhood!

     

Richard Ayoade, showed how to do this in the Gadget Man Guide to Christmas when decorations and animations were projected directly onto the Gadget Man house. 

 

Have a very merry 4K Christmas

More films, TV and sport will be broadcast in 4K this Christmas than ever before. Bring a cinematic experience to your home and enjoy your favourite festive flicks in 4K.  Join the 4K party this Christmas!

 



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.

The UHZ65, UHD60, UHD550X and UHD65 all use a 4M pixel chip.  The latter 4K UHD models - UHD40 and UHD51 use a 2M 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 with over four million mirrors (UHD60, UHD65, UHZ65) deliver two discrete pixels for each mirror. UHD40 and UHD51 deliver four 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 these pixel chips. 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