Laser projectors have become a hot topic as of late, and for good reason. Solid state projectors, meaning they have a lamp-less based light engine, have so many benefits that they should be a part of the conversation, if you're in the market for a new projector. But if you're looking for a medium or large format projector, laser phosphor-based projectors are quickly becoming the go-to projector choice for five key reasons:
For projectors over 8,500 lumens, or for larger DLP projectors, lamps can cost as much as $2,500 per lamp
Lamps are easily the least enjoyable part of owning a projector. First of all, lamps always go out at the worst time, and are rarely easy to get to. Ever been at an event where a lamp goes out right before or during the event?
Talk about a nightmare!
But if you've never had the pleasure of a lamp going out at a critical time, everyone knows replacement lamps are expensive. For even a basic projector, you're looking at replacement costs averaging $500 per lamp. For projectors over 8,500 lumens, or for larger DLP projectors, lamps can cost as much as $2,500 per lamp, with multiple lamps per projector that only last 2,000 hours. To be conservative, let's say you operate your projector for 30 hours per week and your lamp costs $500 per lamp.
30 x 52 = 1,562 hours per year
1,562 times over five years = 7,810 total hours of use
7,810 divided by 2,000 = 4 replacement bulbs over the life of the projector
Assuming you'll carry a spare lamp, you can expect a $2,500 investment over the life of a lamp-based projector, where a laser-based projector has no lamp, significantly decreasing the long-term cost of ownership. And if your projector is a dual lamp projector, you save $5,000.
Projectors with Low Maintenance
Depending on your environment and weekly hours of use, a projector filter should be cleaned at least every three months, totaling four times per year, or 20 times over a typical five-year life span. Assuming you must rent a lift or scaffolding to get to your projector, it can cost you $200 to 300 each time, plus the hours you spend moving chairs to get to the projector. By the time you setup, take the filter out, get it cleaned, get it put back in, and put everything away, you've invested at least an hour for filter cleaning (and if you're moving chairs and renting lifts, it's at least two). Let's say your time is worth $25 an hour, over the life of the projector you're investing a minimum of $500 in labor just to clean your filters.
Laser-based projectors don't generally have filters, so this too is 100 percent savings and because you won't forget to clean your filters (or decide it's not worth the hassle), so your laser-based projector is going to last longer.
Instant Image For Services
Ever have someone accidently unplug your projector during a portable event, have a quick power outage during a service, or simply forget to turn on your projector five to 10 minutes before your meeting starts? Lamp-based projectors can take three to five minutes (or longer) to warm up to full brightness, which feels like an hour when everyone is staring at you waiting for the image to come back.
With laser-based projectors, warm up time is a thing of the past. You get an instant image on power up and full brightness in 30-60 seconds.
Longer Life for Church Projectors
Manufacturers tout a 20,000-hour lifespan for most laser-based projectors, with a decrease in brightness beginning to become noticeable at 10,000 hours. Let's conservatively say the effective lifespan for a laser projector is 12,000 hours. With a lamp-based projector, while you'll see a noticeable decrease in brightness in the first year or two of operation, the industry says the average lamp-based projector life-span is five years. Based on 30 hours per week (or 1,560 hours per year), five years of projector operation equals 7,800 hours. Our 12,000-hour life expectancy of the laser-based projector gives us an additional 4,190 hours (or 2.7 years) of operation. We find most churches run projectors in the 6,000-8,000 lumen range, which puts an average lamp-based projector cost at roughly $7,000. To evaluate the cost savings of our additional laser-based projector life, let's take $7,000, divided by five, to get a per year cost of $1,400, which means our additional 2.7 years of life on the laser-based projector will save us $3,780.
Laser Projectors Give Consistent, Quality Picture
If you use haze in your room, or simply have a dusty environment, I'm sure you've noticed the image quality of your projection get less bright and less clear since you've owned it. One of the key wins of laser-based DLP projectors are that they have sealed, solid state optics, so there is no way for dust or dirt to enter the projector and degrade the quality of your optics. This is a big topic for LCD projectors, as their open optics tend to be quite susceptible to image degradation from dust and haze, with many manufacturers taking the step to include provisions in their warranty to void it should your projector be subjected to haze or excessive dust.
It also means that five-year life span may not be achievable, meaning replacement could need to happen earlier than expected. In a production environment, sealed optics provide better images over longer periods of time, even in tougher environments, which will keep your projector running and in good shape.
I can continue to tell you about the better quality image, brighter output, and increased longevity, but most of our points have included significant cost savings so we should take a look the potential savings of a laser-based projector.
Cost savings breakdown:
Savings Amount Saved
Bulbs Savings $2,500.00
Filter Savings $500.00
Extended Life Span $3,780.00
Total Estimated Savings $6,780.00
Better quality, longer life, and cost savings over the life of the projector mean now is a great time to look at solid-state projectors