NEC was my first meeting at InfoComm. They had some very interesting new projectors, which got my show off to a good start.
Let's start wight he present. I've got an NEC M322W just sitting here waiting to be reviewed. This is a recently announced projector that we tried to bring in, in time for our annual Education Projector Report, but they didn't start shipping in time. Ours arrived in late May. Too late for the report.
Well keep an eye out for that review, which should publish in July. It is a small fixed install/portable projector, very suitable for schools and businesses. The M322W and its sibling are DLP projectors. Resolution is WXGA, it has a 10,000:1 contrast ratio and boasts 3200 lumens. Using all of its "eco" tricks lamp life can be extended to 8000 hours. More on the M series below.
What got me excited though its hat NEC told me that there will also be a higher res version of the M series projectors coming out "later this year." It's called the M402H but pricing is not yet available. Here's the scoop on the M402H: 4000 lumens, native 1080p, 2 HDMI inputs, advanced networking, a massive 20 watt speaker system, and lamp life up to 8000 hours! Because we're doing the M322W, we probably won't review the higher resolution one, rather make the next NEC review a projector from a different series. Still, we'll let you know more about it when it is ready to ship. It may well be a great projector for university classrooms, multi-purpose rooms, and large conference rooms.
And that brings us to NEC's announced 6000 lumen laser projector, featured at InfoComm. They had an interesting setup at InfoComm. They had this PX602UL mounted "sideways" projecting a "portrait" image that was much taller than wide - which is not uncommon for digital signage applications. Of course, you can use it in the usual landscape mode as well. This high resolution projector was sporting WUXGA 1920x1200! We will definitely want to review this one!
The PX602UL is a laser/phosphor solid state light engine. If I got the scoop straight on the projector, it relies on a blue laser, some of its light hits phosphors that glow yellow. Add yellow and blue, and voila: you have a white light source. NEC rates their light engine at 20,000 hours, and says that by that time, it will have lost about 50% brightness. (Note, lamps in traditional projectors are rated the same way: A 4000 hour lamp is normally down 50% in brightness by that point.) NEC lets you run at maximum brightness, or in an Eco mode, or you can have it maintain the same uniform brightness throughout it's life but it will be less than 6000 lumens full power when new.
The PX is designed to operate continuously - aka 24/7 if desired. It produces a pretty massive 6000 lumens according to NEC. The projector offers a selection of optional lenses, and offers a card slot system that allows additional capabilities to be added. One such card provides HD-SDI, which lets one run a hi-def video source up to 328 feet (100M) over coax. That's a great feature for those needing to project live video, such as in Houses of Worship! NEC mentioned HDBaseT, which lets you run HDMI long distances using CAT5 or CAT6 cabling. I'm not sure whether HDBaseT is standard or one of the card options. I'll know when we get formal data sheets, and more product info.
The PX602UL is scheduled to ship in October (2014), and it's a projector we plan to review! It looked very good displayed at the show.
All considered it's a high brightness, high resolution projector with a long life solid state light engine, lots of smart networking, interchangeable lessees, and plenty of other capabilities. As is not surprising for a commercial type projector of this class, it is not inexpensive. Anticipated cost is $19,999. Whether street prices will be that high is unknown.
Finally, back in February, we reviewed NEC's UM330W, another recent addition to their lineup. New at InfoComm, NEC demonstrated the ability to use two of them interactively, side by side, creating one very widescreen interactive area. The projectors can produce a seamless image across the two projectors. Mind you, the image may be continuous, but we aren't talking edge-blending where color and brightness are also matched so that no one can tell it's two images. Guess what? That's just fine for interactive use! Besides, projectors with edge-blending tend to be relatively expensive. The UM330W is still $1299 as it was when we reviewed it.
There might have been a few additional models introduced, but I spent almost all of my time with NEC's product manager focused on the "laser" and the M series. In addition to the new M322W we're reviewing - which is the only new widescreen M projector - there was also the M402X (a 4ooo lumen XGA projector), the M282X (a 2800 lumen XGA), and the M322X (a, you guessed it, 3200 lumen XGA projector). Educators in particular will like the built-in 20W speaker system in the M class, as well as the extremely long lamp life, 3D capability including Blu-Ray 3D support, audio out, USB viewer for "PC free," and optional wireless LAN.
NEC's news provided an impressive start to my day.