Dual Lamp Projectors
Grant Clauser, Technology and Online Editor at Electronic House, recently posted an article titled “Home Theater Projector Tips for Multipurpose Rooms.” The basic premise is that projectors aren’t just for man caves or dedicated theater rooms, but can be used very effectively in what we’ve traditionally called a family room but what a lot of integrators are now calling media rooms, multipurpose rooms or hybrid entertainment rooms.
The article makes three suggestions for optimizing the projector experience in a less traditional projector room. The first two are about placement. In a dedicated theater room, the room is built to accommodate the projector, so placement isn’t an issue. In a family room, it may be difficult to find a good spot for it, so you have to be creative. A long throw lens and lens shift capabilities could come in really handy.
“…long throw projectors can help overcome design or placement complications. In a dedicated home theater, with the lights off, it doesn’t matter as much if the projector is hanging from the ceiling in plain sight. But in a room that’s also used for other family gatherings, an out-in-the-open projector is an eyesore. Projectors with long throw lenses allow the unit to be installed against (or even inside) a far wall, out of the way.”
“…lens shift (both vertical and horizontal) can be important in a multipurpose room. Architectural features (walls, windows, fireplaces, columns) can make ideal placement difficult, so mechanical lens shift can help … get the projector targeted properly.”
We’ve talked about the article, or similar posts, before. But one point we haven’t spent much time on is the third suggestion: dual lamp projectors. Since it is much harder to control ambient light in a multipurpose room, high light output is key. The brighter the room, the brighter the projector needs to be. In a dark room, the projector should ideally do 16 foot-Lamberts. By comparison, LCD and plasma televisions can do much, much more, with some LED models capable of 80 foot-Lamberts and higher. The article recommends at least 40 foot-lamberts for a multipurpose room that may have ambient light issues.
Since your projector specs will use lumens, not foot-Lamberts as their brightness specification, the article suggests taking 20-30 percent off the number, then divide it by the screen area for a foot-Lambert number that’s closer to accurate, but still not perfect. The distance to the screen and screen gain also has an impact on that number. To overcome this, they recommend using a dual-lamp projector. This allows you to run a single lamp like a traditional projector at night or when the room is dark, but run both lamps for a brighter picture during the day.
We haven’t spent much time on dual lamp projectors on the show because they are harder to find, especially for DIY installations. They tend to be specific to the custom install channel and are usually quite expensive. But for those contemplating a rear projection setup in a room where you may not be able to control the ambient light, projector brightness may be the thing holding you back. So we decided to take a look at Amazon to see what options were available for DIY. We found two. Both from NEC. Both affordable. Neither of them great options.
The truth is, dual lamp projectors are difficult to find. The ones we were able to locate by consulting the Google, models from Christie, Benq, Epson, etc. were either discontinued or otherwise unavailable.
NEC NP-PX700W2 WXGA DLP Dual Lamp 7000 Lumen Integration Projector
Buy now: $4999
NEC NP4000 XGA DLP Dual Lamp 5,200 Lumen Projector
Buy now: $3999
Posted by The HT Guys, October 17, 2014 4:52 AM
About The HT GuysThe HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.
Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.
ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.
Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.