Front projectors are the most cost-effective way to get a really big HD image on a wall. One complication is that they use tiny arc lamps that need to be replaced every few thousand hours. Not only is it expensive, but it’s also a nuisance… especially if your projector is mounted on the ceiling. Rear projection makers have replaced the lamps in some models with solid-state light sources that should last for the lifetime of the HDTV.
Now, a front projector design has arrived that also uses a solid-state light source. At CEDIA 2008 in Denver, Delta Electronics has demonstrated a 1080p DLP projector that uses high-brightness LEDs to create the image. This not only eliminates the traditional lamp, but also gets rid of the color wheel and shutter that is required for a single-chip DLP projector. Instead, the individual red, green, and blue LEDs can be fired separately to create a full color image. This greatly reduces the part count for the total design. And the LEDs have a rated lifespan of 20,000 hours or more.
Delta is an ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) that creates designs that it then builds under contract for other brands. At present, no announcements have been made about when the projector will be available as a product, or other details such as performance specifications or possible pricing. Still, it’s an interesting development that could help make front projectors more appealing for home installations.
Added 9/4/08: Insight Media’s Display Daily reports that the Delta design has a 700 lumen rating — no great shakes by today’s standards, but suitable if you can dim the ambient lighting in the room — and that it is expected to be marketed under the Optoma and Vivitek brands. You can see a demo of the projector at TI’s DLP Web site.