Optoma UK

Insight, commentary and discussions on the AV and projection industry, with the odd ‘how to’ article thrown in for good measure

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.

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.

Projector technology now has greater connectivity than ever


Projectors have progressed so much since the distant days of dusty acetate sheets on OHPs.  They now have the technology to display from the latest devices and can project a super-sized 100-inch picture on a screen or wall from just a metre away.

As well as computers, set top boxes, Blu-Ray and DVD players, you can now project straight from mobile phones and tablets, stream content from Roku, Apple TV and Google Chromecast, share photographs and video directly from cameras and camcorders, present straight from a USB stick and connect to the latest games consoles.

But it is not just the connectivity that has improved, they are designed to simply plug and play – dispelling the myth that projectors are difficult to set up.

When choosing a projector, you should look at which devices you would like to connect it with.

Multiple HDMI ports make it easy to switch between sources at the touch of a button.

MHL allows a projector to be turned it into a smart display by connecting a smartphone or tablet with a single cable to play games, stream videos and share photos on the big screen.

USB Plug and Play allows presentations to be viewed straight from a USB stick.

Most projectors have optional wireless.  This uses a WiFi dongle to allow you to connect and display presentation materials wirelessly from a laptop, PC or Mac and mobile device.

Full 3D projectors can display true 3D content from 3D Blu-Ray players, 3D broadcasting and the latest generation games consoles.

Many Optoma projectors have powerful built-in speakers which save you the cost and time of installing external speakers.  But you still have the option of connecting to external sound systems through the audio output if you want the cinema quality surround sound.

The projector is not just for offices and schools.  You can get a super-size screen at home to play action-packed games or watch TV shows, live sports and movies.  And with the short throw option allowing you to place the projector so close to the screen, it is suitable for small or large rooms.


Non-genuine lamp modules are a fire risk


A few months ago, Optoma issued a warning for customers to be vigilant against non-genuine lamps.  Since then we have had a few more reports of these lamps and our technical team has seen how potentially catastrophic the consequences of these could be.

Buying a lamp can be confusing as there are a number of companies claiming to sell genuine original lamps.  These companies base their claim to be “genuine original” based on the logic that the light bulb alone is the same as in an Optoma lamp module.

However, a lamp module is made up of two parts – the bulb and the bulb holder. It is important to ensure that both the bulb and bulb holder are Optoma originals.  The bulb holder is the key to performance and safety.

We have observed the damage caused to projectors which have been fitted with non-genuine lamp modules, even those with “original” bulbs.  This includes internal lenses that have melted due to incorrectly fitted UV filters, some of which have shown to have substandard coating within the non-genuine lamps modules. This substandard coating allows UV rays to enter the optical engine and DMD Chip, burning the optics (pictured above).

The technical team also found internal cables to be of poor quality and an incorrect length.  Having wiring too tight could cause a hot spot within the lamp housing and would be a fire risk.

Another concern with non-genuine lamp modules is the material used for the rubber shield at the rear of the lamp modules. Testing shows these modules could not only do irreparable damage to the projector, but could also potentially cause a fire in the office or home.

The non-Optoma lamp modules may be cheaper in some cases but this is often due to cheaper components that have not been rigorously tested inside the projectors.

We strongly recommend that customers fit only Optoma lamp modules into Optoma projectors and check that they have a genuine lamp module. Lamp modules supplied by Optoma and its authorised distributors are designed and tested to work specifically with its projectors, ensuring the highest quality performance and longevity.

Customers can check that lamp modules are genuine by visiting www.optoma.co.uk/lampgenuinecheck.aspx 
Alternatively, you can email the UK-based customer service helpline on service@tsc-europe.com or telephone 01923 691 865.

All genuine Optoma lamp modules carry a tamper resistant sticker (see below). If your lamp module packaging does not carry this sticker, or the seal is broken or damaged, it may be a fake.



Another thing to consider is that repairs resulting from damage caused by a non-genuine copy lamp module would not be covered under the projector’s warranty.

Further testing will continue.

While students skip off for summer holidays, schools and universities start their busy maintenance period


With the sun shining and summer around the corner, Property and Facility Managers at universities and schools are gearing up for their busy annual maintenance period.  Part of this involves installing new classroom equipment.  

Increasing pressure on budgets makes it more important than ever to take all factors into consideration when replacing existing projectors or installing new projectors.  

Our blog looks at the key things to consider when choosing a new projector for schools:

Cost: Schools and other education venues are often under pressure to choose the cheapest equipment but this is not necessarily the best deal.  Property Managers need to look at the overall cost of ownership which includes the projector, ongoing maintenance, energy saving features and lamp life. It is a false economy to choose a cheap projector that needs regular costly lamps and maintenance.

Maintenance:  What maintenance will be needed?  Does the projector have filters that need regular cleaning? DLP® (Digital Light Processing) based projectors have a dust-sealed, filter-free design that prevents dust and dirt from affecting the system.  This means the projectors need no maintenance as there are no filters to remove and clean.

Replacing projectors: If you need to use existing fittings, check the new projector’s throw ratio.  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. For existing fittings, you just need to check the throw ratio of the new projector enables you to install this at the right distance and screen size.  A zoom increases the flexibility in installation.  Optoma offers a wide choice of projectors that will fit into your existing fittings.

The room: When choosing a new projector you’ll need to consider the room size and ambient light levels.  Optoma has a handy guide on its website to help schools identify the brightness they would need for a small or large classroom, lecture theatre or auditorium.

Warranty and support: What is the warranty on the projector and lamp? If the projector goes wrong – what support will the supplier give to schools?  Check if the warranty is ‘return to base’ or ‘DE-RE’.  Optoma offers a DE-RE warranty on many of its education projectors. The DE-RE warranty means the projector will be replaced and re-installed in the unlikely event it is found to be faulty, giving real peace of mind to schools that they will not be without their vital equipment.  In addition, Optoma’s dedicated UK-based helpline will provide customer support to answer questions and queries on projectors.

Performance: Will the image quality be consistent?  DLP® technology uses millions of mirrors which produce higher quality images and does not suffer colour degradation over time, as sometimes experienced in other projector technologies. Optoma is so confident that the image colour quality of its projectors will remain as good as the day you bought it, that it offers a five year guarantee.

Other features: Check which additional features you need.  Many projectors can be managed and monitored remotely through network control. This will alert you when lamps need to be changed and automatically powers down projectors at the end of each day to save energy and lamp life.

Do you need interactive capabilities in your projector which enable students to participate and learn together by making any projection surface an interactive one.  Consider whether you would like built-in speakers, 3D or wireless capabilities, which allow teachers to present wirelessly from a PC or mobile device.

Security: What anti-theft features does the projector have? Optoma projectors have a Kensington Lock Port that enables schools to attach a lock for added security.  Some projectors can also be password protected for added security.

Optoma manufactures projectors with a wide range of resolutions, brightness and throw ratio including standard throw, short throw and ultra short throw and some with a interactivity features. Short throw and ultra short throw projectors can project a 100” image from as little as 0.4 metres from the screen.  This is ideal for small rooms where there are space constraints or classrooms /training venues where the presenter is at the front and wants to avoid creating shadows.

It offers a complete solution to its projectors with wall mounts and a full range of accessories. Its Visualisers enable teaching staff and students to share work with the whole class.  The microscope adaptors allow tiny objects to be seen by the whole audience.  It is also possible to capture and save images from what the Visualiser captures either as photographs or as a video.  

Find out more on Optoma’s full education range.

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 (1280x800) and 1080p (1920x1080).

So, if you are looking to use the projector to mainly watch DVDs or Blu-Rays® you would probably chose a high definition, high resolution 1080p projector with HDMI input.  If you need the projector for business presentations, you might choose a more basic SVGA 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 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 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 definition, high resolution projector to ensure the contrast and picture quality is crystal clear.  So, look for a 1080p or WXGA 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 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

Welcome


Welcome to Optoma UK’s very first blog!

This will be updated regularly with insight, commentary and discussions on issues and events relating to the projection industry.

With articles relating to Pro-AV, home cinema, gaming, education and business, we will showcase new developments, share ideas and stimulate debate around projection technology. We hope the result will be an entertaining, useful blog that will find its way on to your favourites tab.

We may occasionally feature guest blogs to capture some of the thinking from other professionals in the field. Whether it is sharing practical advice, a research update, a great resource or simply an observation, we hope there is something for everyone. Watch this space!

If you don’t already know, we’re on Twitter and Facebook where we regularly post news and occasionally the odd competition.

We would welcome your feedback and input. If you have things you’d like us to talk about in our blog area, please contact us with your suggestions, feedback or questions.