Projector Reviews

NEC NP-PA653UL Projector Review – Special Features 1

NEC NP-PA653UL Projector Review – Special Features 1: Maintenance-Free, 4K Capable, 3D Capable


This projector is virtually maintenance free (no lamp or filters), so the first time you will be maintaining it is when you take it down to replace it for being outdated. That makes it a smarter alternative if, say, you’re mounting the projector 30-feet-or-so in the air as you would in some churches and lecture halls. With a lamp-based model, you’d have to get a giant ladder out every so many thousands of hours to change out that lamp. That maintenance is a significant long term cost with lamp based projectors!

Perhaps the biggest news about this NEC projector and its siblings, is that the PA653UL (and friends) offer a “sealed light path.” That’s a phrase that DLP projectors have been using for two decades, but NEC claims these are the first 3LCD projectors to have a sealed light path.

The main point of a sealed light path is that no dust can get in to the light engine and end up casting a shadow on the image. 3LCD projectors have been susceptible to those mildly annoying dust blobs. Infrequent, but not totally rare. Mind you, it’s never perfect, even “sealed” DLP projectors have managed to develop a dust blob, Art encountered that once in a DLP review this past year.

Since it’s a laser light engine, its lifetime is really long – 20,000 hours, as I mentioned on the first page. Even if you used this projector five hours a day, 365 days a year, you’re still looking at a lifetime of just over ten years. By then, we’ll be well onto 8K and, more likely, much higher resolution than that. You can see how the projector will become outdated before that light engine goes out.

I mentioned in the first sentence of this section that there are no filters. There’s a reason for this, and a good one! The PA653UL has a completely sealed light tunnel, which pretty much eliminates the need for filters.

4K Capable

The NEC NP-PA653UL is 4K capable! We’ll be seeing a lot more of this in these commercial-grade projectors over the coming years. With such large displays, the 4K feature will help make presentations and other content look extra sharp and impressive. With a 4K UHD player, you can project documentaries, engineering drawings, and other high resolution content. This is a pixel shifter – it’s not true 4K, but looks pretty close. It’s got a remarkable image when projecting 4K content.

Now, your other content that doesn’t come from a 4K UHD player/disk will have some limitations. When projecting 4K content from a computer, your image will be only as good as the resolution of the display. I’ve got an iMac that does HD (1920 x 1080), and an Ideapad (word processing laptop that can’t do anything sophisticated). That laptop has a 1366 x 768 display. That’s more pixels than standard HD (1280 x 720), but still a far cry from 4K.

Since you’re reading about a 4K capable projector, it’s likely that now, or in the near future, you see a need for using a high resolution in your applications. There are a number of industries where high resolution is important – universities, engineering, science and architecture, or anywhere that there’s “modeling.”

You’ll likely have 4K displays for these applications, but how do you achieve 4K when projecting presentations, photos, and videos shot on a 4K-enabled device such as an iPhone, or tablet? There are a few options – the MultiPresenter Stick, and projecting content from a USB drive. That eliminates the issue of display resolution. I talk about PC-Free Presenting on the following page.

3D Capable

The PA653UL is 3d ready! That means you can project 3D content from a computer, as well as educational 3D films from a player, if need be. Just combine a 3D emitter (plugged into the 3D Sync output on the projector) with active shutter glasses. The 3D glasses do not come with the projector, but NEC offers optional 3D glasses and emitters from XPAND. You can’t watch 3D without that emitter, so make sure you do pick one up in addition to any glasses you want to buy.