Projector Reviews

NEC NP-PX1005QL Laser Projector Review-Special Features

NEC NP-PX1005QL Projector Review-Special Features-Laser Light Engine, Native 4K UHD Resolution, Geometry Correction Tools, Edge Blending

Laser Light Engine

The NP-PX1005QL uses a laser light source along with a phosphor wheel instead of a conventional lamp. Perhaps the most obvious advantage that a laser light source has over a traditional lamp-based projector is the life of the light source – NEC claims 20,000 hours of laser life for the PX1005QL. As with a lamp-based system, the life rating is the point where 50% of the brightness has been lost. NEC says this model can be used for 24/7 operation and those 20,000 hours equate to about 2 1/2 years of continuous operation. While NEC rates the life of the laser light source at 20,000 hours, it does not say if that’s when operating in normal or Eco power mode.

Another advantage is that the image quality should be more stable over time than with lamp-based projectors. The PX1005QL uses a sealed light engine so there should be no worries about getting “dust blobs” which can impact the projected image.

There are three modes to adjust the brightness output of the laser light source:

  • Normal – 100% brightness with maximum fan speed
  • ECO1 – Reduces brightness by 80% while reducing the cooling fan speed. This setting reduces power consumption and audible noise
  • Long Life – Reduces brightness by 50% while reducing cooling fan speed as well. This further reduces power consumption and audible noise.

In addition, the laser engine brightness can be adjusted from 20 to 100% in 1% increments. The brightness usually decreases with usage; when the Constant Brightness Mode is engaged, sensors inside the projector measure brightness and automatically adjust the light output to maintain constant brightness throughout the life of the light module. Light Mode settings can be quickly accessed by press the LIGHT button the projector’s chassis or the ECO/L-SHIFT button on the remote control.

Native 4K UHD Resolution

The NEC NP-PX1005QL utilizes Texas Instruments latest DLP (0.66”DMD) chip to deliver native WQXGA (3840 x 2160) resolution. The projector can also accept signal up to 4K@60P.

Several comparable installation projectors are pixel shifting WUXGA (1920 x 1200) units. Combined with good image processing, Pixel Shifting can do a very nice job emulating the original 4K content. Pixel shifting fires each pixel twice by shifting the location by 1/2 pixel diagonally. Small type and fine details that can’t be discerned on a basic WUXGA (or 1080p) projector can often be resolved with pixel shifting. It is enough to make a real readability difference on CAD, engineering and scientific drawings, renderings, and anything else demanding max detail. In many situations, the content lacks the detail required and is viewed at a distance where the difference between 4K and pixel shifting cannot be perceived.

It is only when you do a side-by-side comparison between a true 4K projector versus a 2K pixel shifting projector using highly detailed content that the resolution difference is truly noticeable. While pixel shifting 2K projector can accept the projector’s native resolution is only 2.3 MP, it won’t be as sharp/detailed as a true 4K projector (8,8 MP resolution).

The images below show the resolution difference between the NEC NP-PX1005QL and WUXGA projector utilizing pixel shifting for comparison when native 4K content is displayed.

A 4K DLP projector offers more resolution, however they cannot match a Pixel Shifting 3LCD projector when it comes to color saturation, contrast, and black level. You can find a few high brightness 3LCD installation projectors that offer 4K resolution, but they cost much more than comparable native 4K DLP models. For example, a Sony 4K 3LCD laser projector with 8,000 lumens retails for $60,000 while a 4K DLP laser projector with 10,000 lumens, like the PX1005QL, cost about 1/3 of that amount.

So how do I choose between a native 4K DLP projector like the NEC NP-PX1005QL or a pixel shifting 3LCD projector? To make a wise decision you must factor in your budget, what you are watching and from where you are watching it.

Geometry Correction Tools

While there are powerful software-based projector mapping solutions, the NP-PX1005QL has several Geometric Correction adjustments built-in. The Cornerstone adjust makes it easy to precisely correct keystone errors by making the top, bottom, left or right side longer or shorter to make the image rectangular.

The Warp adjustment lets you correct image distortion caused by projecting an image onto a column, sphere or curved surface while the Horizontal Corner/Vertical Corner corrects issue when projecting on a 90-degree corner surface. These tools are useful for concerts, museums and other digital signage applications. While these adjustments can be done via the PX1005QL menu, NEC also offers a software program called Geometric Correction tools so you can make the adjust quickly and more efficiently via a laptop.

Edge Blending

If you need more light output or want to utilize multiple projectors to display a larger, wider aspect image, the PX1005QL is equipped with Edge blending to make that goal easier.

By utilizing Edge Blending, you can split an image over multiple projectors and display it as one large image while reducing the hard transition from one projector to another. Under the EDGE BLENDING sub-menu, you can fine-tune the blend’s starting position and the width of the blended area. In this sub-menu there are also BLEND CURVE and BLACK LEVEL adjustments to fine tune brightness and black level of the overlapping areas to make the blend even less noticeable. The result is an image that looks seamless, like it’s being displayed by a single projector.

The laser light engine offers a significant advantage over a bulb-based system in a long-term projector installation. If multiple lamp-based projectors are used, not only would the bulbs fail regularly, they will dim at different rates, causing color and brightness shifts. You would need to replace all the bulbs each time one failed to ensure similar characteristics and some additional calibration would probably still be required to produce ideal picture quality.

For Edge Blending application, laser projectors make for the ideal solution. Unfortunately, it’s not practical to fully test the PX1005QL projector’s Edge Blending feature in my test room but based on the available adjustments and the tradeshow demos I have seen, it looks like an easy-to-setup, capable solution.