Optoma UK

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

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

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.

How to create an amazing 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 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. 



Project onto your windows

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 to your neighbours or Santa in his sleigh.

Software design company, Reason, wanted to create a Christmas display on their windows which could be seen by people passing their offices in Spitalfields, London.  It showed Santa skimming over the rooftops on his sleigh.



Don’t get the needle

If you are fed up schlepping the tree in from the garden centre (or loft) and spending hours arranging baubles – why not project your tree?  All you need is a plain wall and an image of a tree to project.  You could make decorations and place these strategically on the wall or have a pre-decorated perfect tree as your projected image.


Who knew projectors could be so much fun?

And of course you can just use your projector to enjoy your favourite festive flicks and create a cinema feel in your home the whole family can enjoy!




How to create an outdoor cinema in your garden

With the summer festival season upon us, it is a great time to have an outdoor cinema in your garden.

Many of the major music festivals such as Glastonbury, Reading and Proms in the Park are televised.  So, with a super-size screen and a projector, you could bring the festival feel to your garden.

Or you could screen the latest blockbusters and create your own film festival with friends and family.

So what do you need?

If you are looking to use the projector to mainly watch DVDs or Blu-Rays® you would probably choose a high definition, high resolution 1080p projector with HDMI input.  You will need the projector to be fairly bright.  Home entertainment projectors are suitable for use with some ambient light so would be ideal for a garden cinema set-up.

You will obviously need sound for your film or music festival.  This can be from the projector’s built-in speaker or by connecting the projector to your external speakers.  You will need to check your chosen projector has Audio Out.

And you will need a screen. You can be creative and use a sheet stretched over goalposts or the washing line, project straight onto the house (if it is light-coloured) or you could get a pull-up screen.

It is really easy to simply plug and play with an Optoma projector.  You can connect any of your devices straight into the projector including your DVD player, set top box or streaming devices such as Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick, Roku or Apple TV. Check the projector has the necessary input port for the source device with which you wish to connect.

You can leave your source device (such as your DVD player) in the living room and connect a wireless device, such as the WHD200. This allows you to stream Full HD 1080p content direct to your projector wirelessly.  This cuts out messy cables and means you can leave your DVD player connected in the living room. 

Our great garden cinema guide has some brilliant ideas for setting up your own outdoor cinema including seating, screens and BBQ recipes.  You can even win £250 High Street Vouchers when you send us a picture of your own garden cinema.


Are you ready for the revival of video?

Like the resurgence in interest for vinyl records, video tapes could see a revival according to reports.

 

After the first video cassette recorder (VCR) went on sale at Dixons in 1978, demand for VCRs fell due to the rise of DVD players in the 1990s.

 

But the past few years have seen a huge influx in VHS collectors according to Daily Grindhouse.  Video collectors say films made for VHS look strange when cleaned up for higher-definition DVDs. They prefer the grainer quality of the VHS format, in the same way a vinyl collector might speak about the warmth of a record’s sound.

 

“These are movies that feel too cleaned-up on DVD and Blu-ray, as if they were never meant to look that good. Watching them on VHS is closer to the way the director intended it to look,” Dan Kinem, a VHS collector, told Collectors Weekly.

 

People wanting to reminisce with their old films on their trusty video cassette recorder (VCR) will need a projector to create the full cinema experience.  But modern-day projectors don’t always come with the inputs needed to connect with the older VCR technology.

 

VCRs would not have a HDMI output that can connect to the HDMI inputs in most modern projectors. It is more than likely you will need to use either the composite or S-video ports. 

 

So, if you want to dust off your video classics, you will need to choose a projector carefully to ensure that it has all the inputs that you need.  The Optoma HD36 is a good option as it is bright, has fantastic picture quality but, more importantly, has the plethora of inputs to ensure it is compatible with all devices – both modern and historic.  These include composite and S-video.

 

Composite video cables have a small, metal-tipped plug (also known as a RCA plug) which is usually yellow.  S-Video cables have a slightly larger plug with a series of small, delicate-looking pins jutting out of each end.  If the VCR is really old, it may have a SCART output for which you can get SCART to composite adaptor or cable.

 

You will also need to connect sound from the VCR to the projector via a set of stereo RCA plugs.  These are usually red for the left channel and white for the right.

 

Those that remember, and still have, laser disc players which played vinyl analogue video - the forerunner to DVD - will most likely need to use the SCART to composite adaptor to connect to the projector. 



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.


4K is worth the wait...

4K in its simplest form is just ‘Ultra High Definition’. It’s twice the vertical and horizontal resolution of 1080p with four times as many pixels. Fundamentally it means it will eventually change everything including programme production as the next technological evolutionary advancement. However, currently there is very little that is actually produced in 4K. HD digital television is transmitted at 1080i (interlaced) or at 720p (progressive) resolution.

So what does this mean for projection?

It is inevitable that 4K is the future but as of yet the current cost of such technology, combined with flaws in capacity, outweigh the benefits that it currently offers due to lack of content. Historically, transmission resolution takes a very long time to adapt across a global scale. In SID Display Week’s recent report (volume 21, no25B), HD as a concept was initially clear in the early 1990’s but the first HD television set didn’t hit the shelves until 1998 and only really took off around 2009-2010.  The report also cited that following this trend and taking into account other advancements in technology, the critical time for 4K will be around 2019-2020 and commercially by 2023.

As 4K goes increasingly more mainstream so will 4K production. This means all the flaws it currently faces will eventually be resolved and 4K content will be more readily available. One huge problem  currently is the sheer size of bandwidth (per second) that is required being near 100 Megabits and even 1 Gigabit, meaning that streaming content on current technology just isn’t viable.

Another issue surrounding such new technology is the price. It’s a bit like when the first 3D TVs were launched. Everyone wanted the new latest technology craze and prices were well in excess of £2,000, now you can pick one up for just a fraction of the price. The same thing can be said about 4K, especially in terms of projection. In the current market you would be looking at around £8,000 to acquire a worthy 4K projector, with the high end models being around the £80,000 mark. This is a very bold purchase as the technology will develop and, following every other new craze, the price is likely to fall tremendously over the next 5-7 years or so.

Ultra HD would of course be better received than 3D partly because up-scaling can look great on UltraHD TVs. It’s not news that higher resolution images are simply better, although some people think Increasing the resolution makes motion blur more obvious and prominent. This is where DLP will have the advantage over LCD TVs and projectors because, traditionally motion blur is minimal.

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 [email protected] 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.

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