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Event Coverage

Epson launches 25,000-lumen EB-L25000U 3LCD laser projector; aims to make significant inroads into the high-brightness segment

By Ng Chong Seng - 10 Oct 2016

Epson launches 25,000-lumen EB-L25000U 3LCD laser projector; aims to make significant inroads into the high-brightness segment

 

Making a super-high-brightness statement

At a press conference in Indonesia today, Epson has officially launched its brightest projector, the 25,000-lumen EB-L25000U, for the ASEAN region.

To quickly recap, first announced in February this year, the Epson EB-L25000U is a 3LCD projector with a crazy-high white and color brightness of 25,000 lumens. It uses a laser light source, and is part of Epson’s first 3LCD laser lineup that also includes models in the L1000 series, such as the EB-L1100U, L1200U, and L1405U that I’ve covered in August.

Like the L1000 series, the EB-L25000U can be viewed as yet another proof of Epson’s determination to make inroads into the rental and staging market. A lucrative space with strong existing players like Panasonic, the new laser lineup also fits right into the company’s ‘Epson 25’ growth strategy, part of which is to expand significantly in the high-brightness segment and achieve a 40% projector market share in the ASEAN region by 2020. (Some figures: Epson has 29% share in FY15, but with just 16% in the >4,000-lumen pie.)

Of course, with 25,000 lumens, the EB-L25000U is even better suited for large venue applications, including concert halls, giant exhibition rooms, and outdoor signage. Because of its sealed optical engine design and laser light source, the EB-L25000U is capable of up to 20,000 hours of virtually maintenance-free operation, including 24/7 use for applications that require continuous projection.

Also noteworthy is that despite Epson’s domination in the 3LCD and business projector market (34% share worldwide in Q1 ’16), when it comes to using laser as a light source in projectors, it’s a latecomer. (Fellow Japanese projector makers like Casio, NEC, Panasonic, and Sony, and lately, Canon, have all dabbled with laser one way or another.) Epson admits it too, but stresses the delay was due to it wanting to overcome brightness stability and color issues that so often plagued early laser projectors.

As a result, and along with Epson’s obsession to be a vertically integrated manufacturer, you can expect to find quite a number of proprietary tech in the EB-L25000U (as well as the L1000 series). For example, part of the projector’s longevity and reliability can be attributed to its newly developed inorganic HTPS (high temperature poly-silicon) LCD panel and inorganic phosphor wheel. Both are important for maintaining color purity, especially when they’re up against the higher light and heat outputs from the new light source. And to keep it humming along at a safe thermal limit, the EB-L25000U uses a combination of liquid and air cooling to keep key components in the sealed laser and optic chambers cool.

And speaking of which, calling it a laser light source isn’t exactly painting the whole story: the light actually comes from a laser “bank” that’s made up of several laser diodes. This is key to EB-L25000U hitting its blinding 25,000-lumen brightness, and is why you won’t get a black-out screen if one diode conks out.

Apart from the proprietary laser light source and 3LCD image generation process, the EB-L25000U is by all other accounts a high-end installation projector. It sports a WUXGA (1,920 x 1,200) native resolution, but features an image quality boosting tech that accepts 4K (and HDCP 2.2) input signals and improve on 1080p ones. For the latter, it’s not merely software interpolation; each pixel is able to physically shift half a pixel diagonally to "double" the resolution and generate a better pseudo-4K image.

Additionally, while the EB-L25000U still weighs a back-breaking 65kg (without lens), it's comparatively lighter than the 3-chip DLP-based, 31,000-lumen Panasonic PT-RZ31K, which weighs 79kg.

3G-SDI is onboard, too. A digital input that uses a locking BNC connector, it works great with 1080p video framerates, and can run to lengths of 300 meters, something that’s common in large venue projection where the projector is mounted far from the source. But 3G-SDI doesn’t have enough payload for 4K, so if and when Epson decides to release a native 4K laser installation projector (it’s only a matter of time; Epson already has 4K-ready lenses), I expect to see it upgrade this spec to 6G-SDI. Of course, if you want HDMI features on top of audio and video, like EDID, CEC, or Ethernet, the EB-L25000U supports HDBaseT as well.

In case you missed it, most if not all these features that I’ve just covered also apply to the EB-L1000 laser projector series, and vice versa. And that means features like 360-degree projection (including a portrait mode), advanced edge blending and color management system, auto image calibration with a built-in camera, eight optional interchangeable lenses with powered lens shift and lens memory, and compatibility with integration tools like Crestron RoomView, AMX, Extron XTP, Control3, and DMX Art-Net lighting control systems, plus an emulation mode for basic control of other projector brands are all available to EB-L25000U users.

The Epson 25,000-lumen EB-L25000U 3LCD laser projector will be available in Singapore soon (pricing to be announced later). It's backed with a 3-year warranty or to 20,000 hours, whichever comes first.