House of Worship Projector Guide: What you should know before you upgrade

The use of projectors in Houses of Worship (HoW) continues to skyrocket, but so does the proliferation of new projection technologies and capabilities. To help our HoW friends make sense of these new amazing choices, we’re providing this helpful guide to provide clarity on your next projector purchase.

The projector market has seen impressive changes and growth as manufacturers push the limits on projection technology. From sub-$800 portable projectors for small meeting rooms to 60,000 lumen laser projectors projecting at 4K, keeping up with the projection trends and the surrounding marketing hype can be confusing, as everyone’s needs are different.

Each HoW has a unique set of challenges when it comes to audiovisual technology. What you do have in common with other Houses of Worship are some shared pain points when it comes to projection. Because we hear from our customers day in and day out about the unique challenges of portable venues, high-brightness rooms, and the need for better quality projection, we understand that these technology purchase decisions are important for you. At Full Compass, we de-mystify the technology to make sure that you have not only the projectors you need today, but have an upgrade path for the future, too.

Every projector has a native resolution that is able to display a certain number of pixels. The benefits of higher resolution projectors for houses of worship are improved clarity of text, graphics, and videos for every seat. In technical terms, the audience members furthest from the screen are called the “least favored viewers”, but by combining high-resolution with higher brightness, every seat is a good one.

Some common resolution terms:
4K resolution is 4,096 x 2,160 pixels
WUXGA means 1,920 x 1,200 pixels
High Definition (HD) is 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

For most of our house of worship clients, WUXGA is more than enough resolution for the majority of their video projection needs. Some of our largest clients in extremely large video venues have chosen 4K both to ensure great images on extremely large screens and to future-proof their video upgrade path.

To find out which resolution is best for your venues, our house of worship market specialists will help guide you through questions that create the best possible outcome for your venue and your budget.

Over the years, projection has improved and innovated to create a variety of projector types. But the biggest changes have been in the light source. Today, lamp-based projectors have become standard and continue to provide good value for long lifecycles. Generally speaking, lamp-based projectors are still the most economical and will continue to be a staple of projection for some time to come.

There have been a number of light sources including lamps, LEDs, and lasers. There are advantages and trade-offs with any technology, so we’ve included a helpful primer to clear the clutter from the marketing hype.

From single lamps to dual-lamp to even some quad-lamp projectors, there’s a huge variety of lamp-based projectors to fit just about any application. The differences here the quantity of lamps (more lamps for better operational redundancy) and the type of lamps. Generally speaking, UHP lamps are the longest-lasting lamps for projectors.

Today, LED-based light sources in projectors are not bright enough for installations. Instead, they are found in very small, portable projectors.

LCD/laser hybrid
Lasers are the light source and LCD panels provide the Red, Green, and Blue primary colors for creating images.

LED/laser hybrid
Combining the LED to help with secondary colors, this is an affordable combination of technologies found in many of the lower-brightness laser projectors.

Laser Phosphor
These projectors use laser light to excite a phosphor on a ‘phosphor wheel similar to the color wheels used in DLP projection for high brightness (white) and high color brightness. This requires only one type of laser (typically Blue) and the phosphor wheel creates other color combinations with other blue lasers.

Direct laser/phosphor hybrid
Higher-end direct laser/phosphor hybrids use 3-chip systems of phosphor wheels and dichroic mirrors to create exact Red, Green, and Blue colors combined in a prism, similar to the DLP 3-chip projection systems, but with lasers as the light source.

Direct laser
At the high end, these are extreme brightness laser projectors using a direct laser system that illuminate the screen without needing intermediary phosphors. It is now possible to achiever over 60,000 lumens with this type of laser projection.

About those laser lifetimes: The 20,000-hour figure assumes an auto-dimming duty cycle of 5% of projection time at 100% brightness, 85% of time at 85% brightness and 10% of time at 5% brightness.

Also, the rapid on/off capability is a differentiator for lasers, which do not require the ‘warm up’ or ‘cool down’ cycles of lamp-based projectors. It is not uncommon for a laser projector to be on and running in less than 10 seconds!

So which projectors are right for your different HoW venues? We can help with that question by having our specialists connect with you to understand your budget, venue sizes, and projection locations. Quite often, the solution centers around if your venues need a certain projection lens or a minimum amount of brightness. With our deep expertise and large inventory of all projector types, we’ll make sure your next projector purchase meets and even exceeds your expectations.a

Before you buy your next projector, spend a few minutes with our House of Worship experts to help guide you through the unique challenges and opportunities for your unique needs.

To get started, we’ve included four different projectors that showcase the best combination of technologies we’ve covered in this article. We think these projectors represent some of the best values for many of our clients.

  • Optoma ProScene WU150
    This fully-featured projector offers 12000 lumens and is built for demanding professional applications. Receive a FREE motorized lens and 2 FREE lamps with your purchase for a limited time!
  • Panasonic PT-RZ770LWU
    With Panasonic’s award-winning SOLID SHINE Laser drive at its heart, this 7200 lumen projector delivers unfailingly brilliant pictures in a broad range of venues.
  • Epson PRO-L1405U
    Delivering 8000 lumens, this large-venue projector combines a laser light source and 3LCD technology for powerful, uncompromising images.
  • Sony VLP-FHZ65/W
    Utilizing Sony’s Z-Phosphor projector illumination technology, it provides a brightness of 6000 lumens and 10,000 to 1 contrast ratio.

As a bonus, we’ve also included, with permission, a helpful projection screen size and brightness calculator guide from our friend and renowned HoW market consultant, Anthony Coppedge. You can download this extremely illuminating (pun intended!) free PDF here:

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