Projectors with a hybrid LED/laser light source isn’t new (companies like BenQ, Mitsubishi, Optoma, and Panasonic make them), but one that uses a pure laser light source is. Today, Sony has launched the VPL-FHZ55, an installation projector that not only uses a pure laser light source (blue laser, to be exact), but sports 3LCD imaging technology. (For those unaware, LED/laser projectors from other players typically use 1-chip DLP tech.)
On paper, the VPL-FHZ55 has some pretty impressive specs: 4,000 lumens (both white and color light outputs), WUXGA resolution (that’s 1,920 x 1,200 pixels), and lens shift function. Of course, being a 3LCD projector, Sony is touting higher brightness and a more vivid color image, compared to the other DLP-based projectors. The laser light source implementation also comes with its own set of unique advantages not found on projectors using mercury lamps, and one of which is a very long lifespan. The VPL-FHZ55 offers 20,000 hours of operation with Auto Light Dimming mode enabled (1,500 to 3,000 hours is the norm for mercury lamp-based projectors), so constant maintenance isn’t required. The laser projector is also well suited for projecting in vertical mode - again, something that mercury lamp-based projectors aren’t good at.
Other features of the VPL-FHZ55 include a l.6x zoom lens (manual zoom and focus), (almost) instant on/off (startup time takes just about 6 seconds), low power consumption (for example, when there’s no signal input, it’ll dim the light source to near 0% of original brightness), picture-by-picture, DICOM simulation, and compatibility with various control systems like those from AMX and Crestron. And with built-in edge blending, multiple VPL-FHZ55s can be used to create one large seamless widescreen image. Input-wise, it has 5BNC, DVI-D, HDMI, in addition to mini D-sub, S-Video and composite video.
Aimed at academic institutions, corporate, medical, and public sector organizations for applications such as digital signage, the Sony VPL-FHZ55 has a suggested retail price of S$7,999, and comes in either a black or white chassis. It’s expected to go on sale in August.