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.

 

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.

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

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!

 



Stacking made simple


Ever more installations and exhibitions are choosing to stack projectors to generate a higher brightness.  Our blog looks at the benefits of stacking and how to do it.

Why stack projectors?
When a project needs greater brightness there are real benefits in stacking projectors. Stacking overlays images using multiple projectors to produce a higher brightness.  This has added benefits of reducing the overall cost of installation and increasing reliability.  

A single projector of equivalent brightness is generally more expensive and bulkier.  Stacking therefore enhances portability with smaller, lighter units which are easier to transport and install.  It improves reliability (if one unit fails, the second unit will still work) and it allows scalability with the ability to add more projectors if higher brightness is required.

What would I need to stack projectors?
Stacking can be achieved using a GEO board, the HQView processor range or the Chameleon GB-200 image blending and warping processor.

The GEO board is exclusively compatible with the Optoma EW865 and EX855 projectors, which are ideal for a side-by-side stacking setup due to their innovative airflow design.  The HQView range and Chameleon GB-200 are compatible with any projector.

Simple stacking
Simple stacking uses two projectors and overlays a master image with a larger second image, reduced in size to match the master.  This does not need a stacking frame and could use standard ceiling mounts. It needs just one GEO board, HQView processor or Chameleon GB-200.  

At ISE 2014, Optoma demonstrated simple stacking using two 6,000-Lumen EW865 projectors to project HD video content at 12,000 lumens.  Stacking projectors in this way significantly reduces the complexity and cost of a 12,000-lumen solution.

Advanced stacking
Where additional clarity and sharpness are critical, there is the added option for advanced stacking.  This gives sub-pixel control of the alignment of both images with up to 289 individual points of adjustment on each projector.  This uses warp grids via a PC tool and is possible with either the HQView range or Chameleon GB-200.  
 
Optoma provides a range of edge blending, stacking and mapping solutions, tailored to the exact requirements of each project.  Find out more about Optoma’s ProScene solutions.