Is a laser projector the next logical step?

Movie theaters and IMAX are still going strong, but we are also seeing a strong interest to watch at home the same movies they play at such venues. With the possibility to easily stream some of the latest content, such as Stranger Things on Netflix, Game of Thrones on HBO and so on, we get more and more good reasons to stay at home and watch the little screen.

This little screen is actually getting bigger now with the possibility to use a projector.

However, projectors didn’t pick up much market share for several good reasons and in order to perform at its best, we need to provide an image that is both bright, sharp, that displays an extensive color range, and ideally lasts for as long as the paint on the wall.

 

 

Let’s just see from how far we’ve come to get to where we are now with laser projectors.

CRT Projectors

The initial CRT projector was in fact a CRT with 3 tubes.

These 3 tubes are mostly extinct because you couldn’t use them in a bright room and they were susceptible to last only 1000 hours before the images started to burn the inside of the static tube.

Lamp based projectors

The second generation of projectors was much better: they were brighter and lasted longer. It’s the one that we mostly see now.

Depending on the type of imaging chip being used, the light coming from the lamp, mirrors or color wheel, has to pass through or reflect off the imaging chip, which produces the picture you see on the screen.

Here come laser projectors

Major laser is the latest technology available and offers by far the brightest, longer lasting and sharpest image on the marker.

Laser projectors use either three distinct laser types (red, green and blue) together, or blue lasers to interact with a phosphor. The phosphor absorbs the blue light, and then radiates a bright, broadband light. Since the blue light is converted in this process, a separate blue laser is added, which is then mixed with the newly-formed broadband light from the phosphor to create white light.

Depending on the application, red or even green lasers can be added to the phosphor light. After this, the rest of the projector imaging system is basically the same as a lamp projector.

Did you know that the total output power will be over 1 kW from the light source? Not for house usage of course, but instead for the ones we’ll see in movie theaters. Of course, it will be highly diffused, which makes it not harmful for the vision, and they can use our very own laser power meters (or beam dumps) to gather the total light that is emitted.

Because the technology boasts a very long lifetime, it can be easier to monitor the projector optical power with a power detector such as UP19K-15S-H5-MT, a small, sturdy power meter that picks 1 or 2% of the total source power to yield an analog signal that allows the technicians to monitor the beam power to ensure quality and most importantly, the safety of the viewers. Some users may also set up an alarm system if the power is too high using the signal that is generated from the detector.

One of the benefits we’ll get from a laser projector is the 3D potential of it. Lasers can easily be polarized and can therefore be much more efficient at increasing the light transmission from 3D goggles from the 50% we have now to 90%.

How they achieve this perfect polarization? By knowing better the shape of the laser beam, which is something that is also achievable with Gentec-EO products, namely the Beamage series.

This what I call a brighter future.

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Charles Dumas
International Sales Director
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