Let me talk DLP vs 3LCD tech for a few paragraphs, then I'll return to more regarding using projectors in Higher Education. When I normally write about these two techs, I tend to ignore the high end of DLP – which are the 3-chip designs that really established DLP technology as leading technology. For more than a decade, we’ve all watched the Academy Awards, AKA “the Oscars,” with Texas Instruments (the inventor and supplier of DLP chips) proudly promoting that the show uses 3 chip DLP projectors!
3-Chip DLP’s are the real high-end folks. The chips themselves (and the projectors) are available in resolutions up to native 4K. 3-chippers are well known for the richest colors, high native contrast and no rainbow effects. They are physically large, and sometimes even liquid-cooled. Every time you go into a typical movie theater, you are watching on a 3-chip DLP projector. Impressive. Interchangeable lenses is a standard option on virtually every 3-chipper out there. We’re not going to focus on those 3-chippers here, as price-wise, they are above our pay grade. But they are at the top of the food chain, even if single-chip DLPs and 3LCD projectors are nipping at their heels in terms of features and performance.
Suffice to say that Panasonic has a really large lineup of 24 DLP laser models starting at 10,000 lumens and going up to 50,000 lumens. Stack two of those big ones for 100,000 lumens! Do check out the building images – those are mostly arrays of 3-chip Panny projectors.
3LCD projectors use 3 LCD panels (also called chips by some), and typically offer far lower prices than 3 chip DLPs, drastically lower, is probably more accurate. As a result, we are seeing more and more 3LCD activity especially in the lower brightness ranges of laser projectors – from about 5,000 lumens up to about 15,000 lumens. 3LCD models go brighter still, but only recently, as they are now competing more with the “heavy metal” DLPs.
Commercial laser 3LCD projectors include “affordable lasers” as well as many installation types with large choices of interchangeable lenses. One advantage of 3LCD is that they draw less power per lumen of output. As a result, for some installations, you can get, say, a 15K 3LCD projector that runs on 110 volts, while anything that bright with DLP is normally 220 volts. Running on 110 can be a real plus especially in equipping classrooms in ancient classrooms in older universities (like the Ivy League schools). Of course, there are real dollar savings too, if you are talking about a school district’s entire fleet of projectors and the electric bills they run up. No color wheels in 3LCD projectors means no seeing rainbows - the rainbow effect - which affects a small percentage people when viewing single chip DLP projectors. Finally, 3LCD projectors are known for producing as many color lumens as white ones, while most single-chip DLPs have significantly less color lumens.
Below, I take a few paragraphs to describe Panasonic’s new PT-VMZ60 Series projectors (named after its flagship model). There are Panasonic’s five new 3LCD laser projectors in this series of affordable lasers, including the VMZ50 we recently reviewed and won, not one, but two awards from us!
Single-chip DLP projectors consist of almost half of the affordable projectors sold, but are even more widely used in commercial projectors including laser projectors. We’re just starting, however, to see 3LCD commercial laser projectors over 15,000 lumens. (More announcements, than shipping models, so far!) By comparison, there plenty of extremely bright single-chip DLPs out there, and have been for more than a decade.
Panasonic currently offers 14 single chip laser projectors with at least 6,500 lumens (up to 12,000 lumens) all with interchangeable lens options! And 6 more single-chip laser projectors with zoom lenses, but no alternative lenses. (That does include a four announced but not shipping yet, as of this article’s publication.) Point is, if you need a laser projector – or fifty, for a particular job, they should have you covered. (And, that’s not even counting the big 3-chip DLPs!)