I wandered into the screening room at the 3LCD booth yesterday. Happening inside was a presentation by a representative from Lumita, a research, consulting, and product dev firm that focuses on color science. Earlier this year the firm put out a report that proposed a new metric for projectors: color brightness.
The 3LCD consortium has touted this report for obvious reasons: the color wheels of 3LCD projectors do not incorporate a white light section. DLP models do have that section. So though white light certainly pumps up a projector’s ANSI lumens count, it would do nothing to enhance a projector’s “color brightness.”
From the press release that accompanied the report: “If both the white illuminance (brightness) and color illuminance (color brightness) are equal, the projector will accurately deliver the proper energy to the primary colors of red, green, and blue exactly as they are in the source video signal.” That source video signal is of course purely RGB. And so are LCD projectors — and their color brightness and traditional brightness counts will be equal. But not so for DLP projectors, with their white and sometimes yellow sections of color.
The demonstration inside the screening room pitted two completely uncalibrated projectors with similar ANSI lumens specs and similar price tags. The 3LCD model (Epson 822+) certainly projected brighter, more vibrant colors than its DLP competitor (BenQ MP622). The Lumita rep asserted that even if the two projectors were properly calibrated, the DLP model still would not have been able to reproduce the colors accurately from the source images because the BenQ’s color wheel simply does not correspond to the strict RGB of the source signal.
But is color really that important for customers of affordable business projectors? Mike Anderson of 3LCD said that if a projector displays a company’s corporate logo with the wrong colors, kiss that model goodbye. I wouldn’t have expected a presentation sponsored by 3LCD to highlight any of that technology’s accepted flaws (screen door effect, anyone?), but on its own terms the presentation was extremely compelling.