Posted on February 8, 2021 By Phil Jones
NEC P506QL 4K Business Projector Review – Special Features: 4K Compatible, Laser Light Engine, HDBaseT, DICOM, NavViSet Administrator 2, Flexible Mounting
While 4K projectors are common in home entertainment applications, there are also many ways they can be utilized in auditoriums, museums, theaters, classrooms, and sanctuaries. They are great for displaying high-resolution video, artwork, and photos that require a maximum amount of detail.
The P506QL utilizes a Texas Instruments 2nd generation DLP (0.47″ DMD) chip to reproduce perceived 4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160) resolution. I use the term “perceived” because a 4K DLP chip does not actually have 8.3 million mirrors. Hence, the projector utilizes pixel (mirror) shifting to deliver the perceived sharpness of native 4K. These micromirrors’ response time is so fast that each one can be quickly wiggled back and forth to form extra pixels on the screen.
This approach works very well because it is tough to see a difference in resolution when comparing a 4K DLP projector to a native 4K LCD/LCoS model for an average viewing distance.
Since the P506QL is a single-chip DLP projector, you will never have any convergence issues that could occur with a 3LCD projector so that the image will remain sharp throughout the projector’s life without periodical adjustment. The projector can also accept signals up to 4K@60P via its HDMI and HDBaseT Inputs.
Like all other DLP projectors, the P506QL has a sealed light path to protect the optics from the dreaded “dust blob.” Having a sealed light path prevents dust particles from settling inside the light path and obstructing the projected image.
I have used a 4K display for several years, and the additional resolution has really helped my productivity. The ability to display multiple documents or web pages simultaneously at high resolution would be useful in many business and education applications.
The P506QL 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 light source’s life – NEC claims 20,000 hours of Laser life for the P506QL. As with a lamp-based system, the life rating is 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 Laser light source’s life at 20,000, it does not say if that’s when operating in Normal or Eco power mode.
There are three modes to adjust the brightness output of the laser light source:
Also, the laser engine brightness can be adjusted from 30 to 100% in 1% increments. Brightness usually decreases with usage, so the constant brightness mode automatically controls the output from the light module according to the usage time to maintain constant brightness throughout the laser light engine’s life.
HDBaseT lets you run video and audio for distances of up to 100 meters (about 328 feet) over a low-cost CAT5e/CAT6 wire and supports resolutions up to 4K. The format can also transfer IR and RS232 control signals as well.
While the support is built into the P506QL, you will need the optional HDBaseT transmitter to implement it. The cost savings of using HDBaseT instead of a long HDMI cable can be significant, making it a very compelling feature for many installations
In addition to the usual Picture modes, NEC has included a DICOM Simulation mode intended to display images approximating the DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communication in Medicine) Part 14 Grayscale Standard Display Function used with B/W medical imaging (such as X-rays). This mode optimizes black/gray/white detail with a custom gamma curve. DICOM Simulation mode is intended for use in a classroom for teaching purposes.
Once you have connected your projector to your network, NEC offers NaViSet Adminstrator2 software program, which can be used to monitor and control the P506QL projector. This free software solution is designed to simplify the control, monitoring, and management of multi-display installations. You can use this feature to adjust many of the parameters and settings on an NEC projector or flat panel from a remote location. The user also can monitor the projector’s status and receive email alerts automatically if a device reports a diagnostic error or if a setting has been changed.
The P506QL also supports Crestron Roomview, AMX Beacon, and PJ Link for completely interactive control. The bottom line is the NEC P506QL has excellent support for networking with good support for presentation and control applications/services.
The P506QL is suitable for commercial applications such as digital signage and other applications requiring something other than the image’s traditional landscape orientation. The unit can be installed universally at any angle. Tilt-free, roll-free, and portrait installations are supported. The projector can be rotated freely (360°) to point up or down depending on the installation requirements and can be rotated and installed on its side to create a portrait image.
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