Optoma UK

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

Warranties just got interesting!

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

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.

Kitting out your boardroom: saving money in the long run



With the onward advancement of technology and the increase in expectations, a flipchart and pen simply doesn’t cut the mustard for business meetings any longer.

Technology now allows us access files, work collaboratively on screen and stream data wirelessly.  Upgrading your meeting room technology can seem like a costly investment but making meetings more effective can have big payoffs in terms of increased productivity and more efficient group collaborations.

Is your business taking advantage of the tools that it could be using that could save you money in the long run?

BYOD
What is becoming increasingly expected of businesses is for visitors and clients involved in meetings to be able to bring in a device (whether it’s a tablet, laptop or smartphone) and connect seamlessly to your display equipment. It is important that the projector in your boardroom or meeting rooms can accommodate this.

Working together
New interactive functionality in projectors allows several people to work simultaneously on the screen without using a pen. It is easy to annotate on the projected image, open Microsoft office files or web browsers and interact with the content without even touching a computer. 

This ability to work collaboratively on documents and presentations in meetings is a real asset to companies.  The work can be saved to a computer and distributed to participants and non-attendees after the meeting.

Conferencing
Conferencing equipment is essential for companies that regularly meet with people in different geographic locations.  Face-to-face meetings remain important but installing conferencing equipment gives you and your clients the possibility to slash travel costs and staff travelling time.

Around 1.8bn hours of Skype video calls are made each year with an increasing number of these coming from business conferences and video meetings.  Data conferencing lets you share text, images and data in real time. Videoconferencing uses telephone or data lines to transmit audio and video. A projector allows you to share content in your meeting on a super-size screen.  A large flat screen display would cost significantly more than a projector to achieve the same image size.

Going wireless
Using tablets and mobile devices as the interface between the presenter and the on-screen presentation is becoming ever more popular. Whether it’s controlling a slideshow, pulling up and manipulating data or simply used as a script/prompt for reference data, tablets are changing the boardroom and improving the way we conduct meetings.

Most projectors now have wireless functionality to stream data from mobile devices using wireless HDMI devices such as the Optoma WHD200 or Google Chromecast or Optoma’s mini WiFi dongle. 

Future proof your investment

It is important to future proof any investment in equipment.  Review the inputs and outputs you might need. Look at what sources you are using now but also what you might want to use in the future.  Most new computers and laptops have HDMI outputs enabling Full HD 1080p resolution.  Multiple HDMI inputs in your projector allow you to switch between sources easily. 

There is a growth now in HDbasedT functionality.  HDBaseT not only allows data to be sent over a much greater distance than HDMI but can also carry HD video, audio, ethernet, power and control on a single cable.  This significantly cuts down the number of cables needed for a typical business installation.

Optoma has a range of business projectors that have wireless, interactive and HDbasedT functionality.  Most have internal speakers avoiding the cost of installing external speakers.  They also include audio output if an external sound system is required. 

Most of these can be controlled remotely with full support is provided for Crestron, Extron, AMX, PJ-Link and Telnet LAN protocols. Once installed, the projector can be monitored and controlled over LAN.

Kitting out your boardroom is not just about impressing customers – it also makes financial sense.  It can save time and money by reducing off-site meetings and installing future proofed equipment in your boardrooms gives your team the tools to work more effectively.

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.