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New colour performance standard will revolutionise projector purchase

August 2012

The release of a new international standard for measuring the colour brightness of projector images will revolutionise the way teachers, serious gamers, businesses and home theatre enthusiasts assess their projector purchases from now on.

Overall picture quality has been the primary consideration in projector purchases for at least the last 10 years, according to a long term survey conducted by TFCinfo, a strategic market research and publishing firm.

“The new standard for Colour Light Output proves once and for all that not all projectors are equal when it comes to colour picture quality,” said Bruce Bealby, Epson’s Business Manager, Visual Imaging.

“From now on the Colour Light Output of a projector should be the primary consideration when assessing projectors because that gives consumers the best indication of the colour quality of the image from that projector.”

The Society for Information Display (SID), a highly respected, global professional organisation dedicated to the development of the display industry, released in June its 563 page International Display Measurement Standard (IDMS) which sets out standardised measurement methodologies for displays, including projectors.

After extensive research and evaluation SID concluded that a colour performance standard is scientifically valid and relevant for the display industry and included the methodology for assessing colour performance of projectors in the IDMS for the first time. This measurement tool (referred to by SID as Colour Light Output) provides consumers with a specification to evaluate colour performance, a critical aspect of image quality.

“When projectors were introduced 20 years ago they were primarily used with text based black and white images or static colours in graphics. White light output - known as brightness - was thus a useful tool for assessing picture quality at that time,” said Bruce.

“However projectors now are more often used for showing realistic moving full colour images in movies, sport, concerts, games and TV shows in the home; in full colour lesson content, videos, animated content and live content from camera feeds in schools and universities; and for full colour presentations, training videos and remote video feeds in business.

“Colour Light Output -a measure of the colour quality of the image - is now the most important factor that buyers should look at when making a projector purchase, and 3LCD projectors deliver the best colour image quality by far.”

When applied to projectors with the same rated white light output but different projection technologies the new SID standard shows that 3LCD projectors consistently output each colour at the same intensity or brightness as white light. However some other projector technologies output each colour down to as little as 26% of their rated white light output.

“When you are expecting the best colour image possible from your projector you would be very disappointed to find that colours are only 26% as bright as the rated white light output or brightness of that projector,” said Bruce.

Historically, projector manufacturers have relied on basic traditional industry specifications to educate the market on their projectors and differences. Three specifications are typically provided to evaluate a projector’s performance: resolution - which measures detail, brightness - which measures white light output in the absence of an image, and contrast ratio - which measures the difference in light intensity between black and white on a standard pattern. None of these specifications informs the consumer about the colour performance of a projector.

More than 60 million projectors have been sold since the technology was first launched about 20 years ago. Rapid innovation has produced projectors that can now deliver ultra-large screen high quality High Definition full colour 3D images fed wirelessly from a content source, applications that can feed and manage content to projectors wirelessly from smartphones and tablets, and ultra-short throw interactive projectors that have revolutionised teaching and learning in schools and universities.

For at least the last ten years Epson’s 3LCD projectors have consistently held the largest share of the global and Australian markets. All Epson projectors state their rated Colour Light Output as well as the White Light Output in the specifications. For 3LCD projectors the two specifications (measured in lumen) are always identical.

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