When it comes to projectors, there is no one-size-fits-all, so it is critical to find the right projector to meet the specific project and end user’s needs. Size, brightness, and mounting location are just a few of the considerations when choosing the proper projection unit. Whether your project is in a house of worship, concert venue, large lecture hall, classroom or meeting room, this article, sponsored by Panasonic Connect North America, will go into detail on how to select the best laser projector for your specific application.
Panasonic Connect is one of the few projector manufacturers that offers 3LCD as well as 1-Chip DLP™ and 3-Chip DLP™ solutions. This means that they have the breadth and depth of products that meet the needs of nearly any venue or customer application. Each of these display technologies has unique benefits, so offering all 3 types ensures that Panasonic has the perfect solution for any need. Panasonic Connect is known for their exceptional engineering and technology in addition to the services and software to bring your project, no matter how ambitious, from concept to reality.
A/V experts recognize that Panasonic projectors deliver stunning image quality. And while that is certainly important, A/V system designers and integrators are also concerned with factors like reliability, installation, connectivity, lens options, and setup and control software. This article covers image quality, as well as key technologies engineered into Panasonic projectors to ensure superior performance and deliver compelling visual experiences.
When it comes to image quality, A/V pros should be looking for life-like colors that bring images to life. Panasonic offers a wide range of high-performance DLP-based and 3LCD-based 4K or 4K-ready projectors that offer outstanding image quality, for every situation.
DLP or 3LCD?
When looking at a Panasonic projection system, which technology do you choose? First, let’s talk about the different types of DLP projectors in their lineup. Panasonic offers both 1-Chip DLP and 3-Chip DLP projectors. While 1-Chip DLP models can deliver great picture quality, higher brightness capability and superior color reproduction may be reasons to step up to a 3-Chip DLP model, depending on your application.
Regardless of which technology you choose, both offer outstanding reliability. Panasonic has models that use completely sealed dust-resistant optical blocks, and when combined with SOLID SHINETM laser light sources, results in up to 20,000 hours of maintenance-free operation.
Panasonic offers several 1-Chip DLP models with brightness ranging from 5,000 lumens to 12,000 lumens. They are available in various resolutions, including WUXGA, Full HD and 4K. Since 1-Chip DLP projectors utilize a single DMD chip optical block, this results in a very compact chassis.
However, a single-chip DLP projector utilizing a mechanical spinning color wheel could result in some "rainbow effect," but utilizing a multi-color LED-based, and laser-based light source eliminates the need for the spinning color wheel, which minimizes this effect. To learn more about a single-chip DLP projector with RGB LED, check out our review of the Panasonic PT-LRZ35U.
3-Chip DLP is widely regarded as the superior display technology for image quality, longevity, and reliability. DLP projectors can reproduce deep blacks and a more accurate white balance than LCD projectors. And they can better support the higher color gamut needed to maximize the picture quality of 4K and UHD, as well as for High Dynamic Range material.
Panasonic 3-Chip DLP laser projectors are available in brightness levels of up to 50,000 lumens while still being some of the most compact projectors in their class. A 3-Chip DLP projector is the ultimate choice for applications where massive brightness and absolute color accuracy are critical.
Panasonic also offers 3LCD Laser projectors in various resolutions and brightness ranging up to 16,000 lumens. 3LCD projectors can often produce higher color brightness levels compared to many 1-Chip DLP projectors and avoid color breaking—the misalignment of primary colors at the image edge.
Panasonic 3LCD laser projectors are designed for low maintenance operation with contrast performance that rivals the very best DLP projectors. Precise modulation of the projector’s laser light further improves a Panasonic 3LCD projector’s dynamic contrast.
These projectors produce an equal amount of color and white lumens resulting in brighter, richer, and more vibrant-looking image quality. 3LCD projectors overcome potential color distortion commonly referred to as the “rainbow effect” by assigning one of three LCD panels to red, green, or blue, eliminating the need for a color wheel. Panasonic 3LCD laser projectors are often the smallest and lightest in their class, capable of delivering outstanding quality at approachable pricing.
SOLID SHINE Laser Light Sources
A laser projector’s light source has a major impact on image quality. Panasonic SOLID SHINETM Laser projectors utilize powerful solid-state laser diodes and heat-resistant phosphor wheels to achieve high brightness, outstanding image quality, and long life. Panasonic laser projectors also include a Dynamic Contrast feature which regulates light-output frame-by-frame or scene-by-scene according to image requirements, increasing the projector’s dynamic contrast.
While SOLID SHINETM light sources used in Panasonic 1-Chip laser DLP projectors are blue laser phosphor-based, Panasonic’s Rich Color Enhancer for the PT-FRQ60 Series laser projectors is a color optimization feature that can adjust color-wheel timing depending on picture mode to deliver richer, more accurate colors.
Rich Color Harmonizer
Rich Color Harmonizer for PT-RCQ10/RCQ80 projectors exceeds the limits of conventional 1-Chip DLP™ image quality with a new color-filter design and proprietary processing that expands the ratio of red light used to create the image. Rich Color Harmonizer is designed to deliver a more accurate white balance for natural skin-tone expression, smooth gradation, and intense vivid colors.
We have reviewed several Panasonic Laser projectors in the past, including the PT-RCQ10 and the PT-FRQ50, and we have been quite pleased with their color reproduction.
For applications that demand maximum brightness and color accuracy, Panasonic also offers multi-channel SOLID SHINETM laser projectors. For example, the multi-channel laser engine PT-RQ50KU combines red laser and two different wavelength blue lasers operating at different wavelengths and can produce nearly double the light output as a similar-sized 26,000-lumen PT-RQ32KU 4K projector. In addition to being brighter than the PT-RQ32K, the color gamut coverage of the PT-RQ50KU has been increased by 114%.
Most professional applications demand absolute reliability. Panasonic projectors offer several notable features designed to maximize the life of their units, help avoid repair or replacement, and turn on every time without diminishing projection quality.
If low maintenance and maximum reliability are important, then a projector with a laser light source is the obvious choice. The laser light sources utilized in most Panasonic projectors have a rated 20,000 hours for half brightness even while operating at full power. However, in many dark environments, such as museums or control rooms, full power probably isn’t necessary, so the laser lifespan can be even longer. Panasonic SOLID SHINETM laser projectors offer various operational modes depending on series/models to help you find the ideal blend of brightness and longevity.
Multi-Laser Drive Engines
Panasonic laser projectors utilize Multi-Laser Drive Engines to ensure reliability in real-world conditions.
What this means is that the laser diodes are grouped into multiple laser modules. If one diode in a module fails, only the laser diodes in the affected series are bypassed. The remaining diodes continue to operate, so the projector maintains close to full brightness. In the case of many other laser projectors, if a laser diode fails, the entire module shuts down, resulting in a dramatic loss of brightness. The Multi-Drive Laser Optical Engine adds an invaluable layer of insurance and peace of mind when image presentation must not be interrupted.
Dual-Drive Laser Optical Engines
For really demanding applications, like continuous 24-hour operation, select models feature a Dual Drive Laser Optical Engine, which includes two discrete light sources that group laser diodes into modules. A fail-safe laser-light-source redundancy circuit ensures minimal reduction in brightness and color uniformity in the event of laser diode failure—ideal for mission-critical applications.
Brightness also decreases gradually and in a linear, rather than an exponential fashion (as is common with lamp-based projectors) over its 20,000- hour maintenance-free life. If there ever is an issue, there is also an included Information Monitor function which informs the operator if problems arise. This notification displays the specific fault, which then helps the technician get the projector back up and running as quickly as possible.
Two things that can reduce the life of any projector are dirt and heat. Laser projectors from Panasonic are engineered with sealed laser drive and Filter less cooling system or dust-resistant optical engines and Eco filters which eliminate the need to clean or replace filters and further extend the unit’s life.
The DMD optical blocks found in the Panasonic DLP laser projectors are sealed. This makes these models a great solution for reliable 20,000 hours operation.
Highly efficient cooling systems help regulate the projector’s internal temperatures ensuring stable operation. Select models have direct liquid-cooling systems which ensure dependable operation in temperatures of up to 50° C (122° F) while also reducing operating noise. Models like the 50,000-lumen PT-RQ50K include a filter-less cooling system reinforced by a newly designed finless radiator that improves cooling efficiency by as much as 30 % over previous implementations. A smaller and more efficient cooling system is one of the reasons why PT-RQ50K is the lightest and most compact projector in its class.