Is Laser Right For You?
Is Laser Right For You?
Is Laser Right For You?
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The Laser projector is all the rage right now.
The Laser projector is all the rage right now. Everyone seems to want one, but not everyone is 100% convinced that the seamingly large investment it takes to acquire one is the right move, at least not right now. To steal a line from prescription drug commercials, how do you know if laser is right for you? In my opinion, it comes down to how high of a value you place on dependability and peace of mind.
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The most significant advantage of laser projectors is that they are lamp-less
The most significant advantage of laser projectors is that they are lamp-less and therefore virtually maintenance free. A laser projector engine will give you approximately 20,000 hours of operation before any maintenance will be needed.
That’s about two and a quarter years’ worth of dependable operation if you ran it 24/7/365. Since projector lamps typically only last about 2000 hours, that means you would replace a lamp approximately 10 times during that same 20,000-hour laser engine lifetime.
Of course, lamp changes mean temporarily taking the projector out of service
Of course, lamp changes mean temporarily taking the projector out of service, and we all know lamps have a knack for blowing out at the most inopportune times. Monetary cost aside, that adds up to a lot of downtime and frustration over the life of the projector.
Getting the kind of dependability and peace of mind that a laser projector can provide requires an up-front investment though. How much of an investment? Let’s do the math…
Numbers don’t lie. If you can afford the upfront investment,
Numbers don’t lie. If you can afford the upfront investment, you can expect to make your money back 2 or 3 times before the laser engine reaches the end of its life. By then, I’m betting you’ll be ready to upgrade to something new and won’t bother to go through with replacing the laser engine.
Another important aspect to consider is brightness decay.
Another important aspect to consider is brightness decay. Brightness decay of a laser projector occurs linearly while brightness decay of a lamp-based projector occurs exponentially. Starting from the first time you fire up a lamp-based projector, the brightness that the lamp outputs begins to decrease.
Eventually, your 6000 ANSI Lumen projector might only be kicking out 3000 ANSI Lumens worth of brightness, and that will occur well before the lamp completely gives out. Meanwhile, a laser projector with the same number of hours on it might show little to no perceptible change in brightness. The bottom line is if maintaining a consistent level of brightness from one use to the next is of critical concern, then laser is the way to go.
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There are a couple more advantages of laser projectors you may want to consider.
There are a couple more advantages of laser projectors you may want to consider. For one, they are more energy efficient since it takes less power to operate a laser engine than it does to power a traditional projector lamp. Lamps also exude significantly more heat than a laser engine, so you’ll need less cooling, and that means less fan noise with laser. And finally, lamp-based projectors need time to warm up after you power them on, whereas laser projectors are practically instant on, giving them major convenience points.
So, what’s the down-side to laser? Laser projection technology is still fairly new, making it expensive with limited options. Manufacturers are racing to ramp up production to meet demand as well as to expand their laser portfolios though. Over the next few years, prices will begin to come down, and there will be an ever-increasing range of feature sets and brightness levels to choose from.
My advice? If you can afford to make the leap to laser now, do it. You are pretty much guaranteed a significant return on your investment. If you are on a tight budget though, and just can’t come up with the scratch right now, don’t fret. Manufacturers are showing no signs of letting up on production of high-quality, lamp-based projectors anytime soon. In fact, dual-lamp projectors can offer some degree of the dependability and peace of mind you are looking for. How? Many dual-lamp projectors have a fail-over feature which automatically switches the projector to single lamp mode when one lamp fails, avoiding the hassle of the projector going down entirely. As long as you keep a couple extra lamps on hand, you’ll greatly minimize inconvenience and worry.
So, what do you think? Is laser right for you?