Last month, Christie released some spectacular new projectors at InfoComm in Las Vegas: the Roadie 4K25 and Roadie 4K35. These rugged 4K projectors, huge monsters in size, produce images that are unreal. Christie also released the new GS series of Laser Phosphor 1-Chip DLP projectors, which are groundbreaking in their own right.
The GS series clocks in at 5,000-5,400 lumens, depending on the resolution you pick, putting it just within range of something useful in the entertainment industry. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see this technology get brighter and brighter in the next few years so that it starts to take a real piece of the entertainment projector market. The GS projector comes in three flavors, HD (1920x1080), WUXGA (1920x1200), and WXGA (1280x800). The HD is 5K lumens while the other two are 5,400.
This is the first laser projector released by Christie and it runs on a 1-chip laser phosphor projector. Christie is far from the first player in the laser projector market, but their technology seems much more solid than what else is out there. When you look around at today’s laser projectors, you find some with 3-chip, three lasers, a red, green, and blue, giving more brightness and a better color gamut, but the sophistication isn’t there yet for this technology. Some laser projectors add blue or red LEDs to boost certain aspects of color output while losing some color depth, and some use LCD technology instead of DLP. The new GS series is the first to use 1-chip DLP, which allows for greater contrast. The coloring inside the projector is quite clever. The blue laser emits blue light, but red and green are still needed. The laser then shines through a phosphor wheel (hence the name), making the laser yellow. This yellow light can then be split into red and green, giving you all three primary colors.
The projector gives you a 20,000-hour life which, depending on the comparison, is more than 20 times the life of other Christie lamps. You also don’t have to replace the filter on the projector. This doesn’t make the projector maintenance-free (there is still routine cleaning), but you don’t have to mess with the projector nearly as much. It also comes in a compact form, since the laser technology doesn’t require a crazy amount of space. This exciting technology is still in its infancy. While this version won’t fit a ton of applications for us, the versions that can are just around the corner.
At the other end of the spectrum are products that are absolutely ready for our industry: the Roadie 4K25 and 4K35. These behemoths are stunning. They are about 5' long, 2' wide and almost 3' high. They come as either 25K or 35K lumens. The standard inputs are Dual 3G HD-SDI or Twin DisplayPorts. Optionally, you can add Dual Link DVI or Twin HDMI. Like other Christie projectors in this range, the typical suite of warping and blending tools, such as Twist, are built in. The projectors are standard at 60Hz, but can be upgraded to operate at 120Hz.
But enough about the gears and guts. Wow, is the image beautiful! Looking at the screen at InfoComm was like looking through a window. Remember the big jump in image quality when HD first came out? I always thought, surely, the jump to 4K won’t be as exciting. I was wrong. The color depth of these projectors combined with the resolution of 4K is actually breathtaking. I can’t wait to see how these are used in the entertainment industry.
These weren’t all of the new products debuted by Christie. They also released new Velvet panels that are a remarkable 1.875mm pixel pitch in their densest flavor, and some new LCD Panels. Needless to say, their booth drew many admirers.