Oklahoma Church Upgrades Pair of Projectors with Laser

With the difference in the out-of-the-box cost between laser and lamp-based projectors continuing to shrink, the investment by Bethany Church on two Sony VPL-PHZ10 projectors proved worthwhile.

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. – With a student center that was built just four-and-a-half years ago, Bethany Church found it needed its first equipment upgrade since, to replace a pair of lamp-based projectors in the space.

The center, which hosts weekly student services and one adult service each Sunday, needed the upgrade because, as noted by Bethany worship pastor Joshua Riggs, “We had bulb projectors before, but (two of them) just died and I was not happy with them.”

If you are interested in learning more about using projection inside of houses of worship, check out the following session, "Getting Church Projection Right – Lessons Learned from Projector Experts," slated for the WFX Conference & Expo on November 15 in Orlando.

While one of the three lamp-based projectors they had been using was repurposed to handle a small screen for lyrics, the other projectors required changing, with one displaying red lines, and the other suffering a shattered bulb.

While Riggs recognized the benefits of transitioning the other two from lamp-based to laser projectors, the transition wasn’t immediate, as he explained that the church went with “using TVs for about six weeks, so that we could get the funding in place,” after which the projectors were installed.

After those six weeks, two Sony VPL-PHZ10 laser projectors were set up and mounted to the worship space's ceiling in just four hours in the student center, less than a month ago. In addition, the church was able to handle the install in-house, opting to complete the install without an integrator. For a church that typically has around 400 attending their Sunday services, thanks to the install having been handled so quickly, it meant that no services needed to be rescheduled or cancelled.

Aiming to simplify the projector configuration within their system, Riggs found the VPL-PHZ10’s available connections, particularly for HD-BaseT, meant that “one less component could go bad, by going straight in,” using a binary matrix, from the two projectors, to a Matrox TripleHead2Go.

Following the install, Riggs said that there were no surprises, aside from the picture quality of the Sony projectors exceeding his expectations. In addition, he noted that “our senior pastor was so enthusiastic (as was the tech team and staff, with the quality of the picture of the VPL-PHZ10), that he said we need to get some for the other building,” which houses the main worship space.

The students first had an opportunity to work with the new projectors during a student service on Oct. 10, and then the following Sunday, during an adult service in the space.

As Riggs noted, one of the aspects he noticed with the Sony projectors were that, “they produce a much better image, compared to what the bulb projectors could.”

What made the switch to the Sony projectors a worthwhile one for the church, he added, was that the new projectors were laser-based, and that “the price (for each projector) was almost identical to the bulb version.” And the significant difference in lifespan was key, in that for each of the new projectors, each has “a 20,000-hour life, which is like 20 years, based on how much we use our projectors, while those with bulbs, it’s like 2,000 to 2,500 hours, or 3,000 hours (before one has to change a bulb).”

The church, which has been in existence for 55 years, also found additional savings by opting for laser projectors, he explained, because of reduced maintenance costs, in part a result of self-cleaning filters in the new units, as well as no longer having to contend with the added heat that the lamp projectors emitted, cutting down on the corresponding air conditioning costs.

Other savings have been achieved in not needing to set up scaffolding or lifts to regularly access the mounted projector for periodic maintenance or the swapping out of bulbs, as previously was the case. As noted by Riggs, the upfront cost to purchase a laser projector now means that, “I will never buy another bulb projector, with the (laser projector) price continuing to go down. The company that sold (the Sony projectors) to me, they said every projector will be laser in five years, and that they won’t make bulb projectors by then, because the price (for laser projectors) has been going down by so much.”

In the weeks since the projector was first installed, Riggs said that “we haven’t had to make any adjustments (to the setup), as we took our time on the install, so it worked correctly, right from the beginning.”

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