Projector Lamps

Guide to Projector Lamps

The Projector Lamp, otherwise known as the a projector bulb, is a replaceable part of the projector that needs to be maintained according to the lamp life of the projector, which averages between 1,000 and 2,000 hours. It is easy to calculate the cost of projector lamp replacements by determining how long it will take to reach X amount of hours of lamp life. Depending on whether you’re using a hi-watt bulb or low-watt bulb, projector lamps range upwards of $300. You get more life based on how much power your lamp is using. Projector lamps become quite an expense over time.

Projector Lamp Technology

Lamp technologies such as Metal Halide Lamps, were invented from studying the electrical discharge of a lightning bolt, and continue advance for the specific requirements of the projector. High Intensity refers to the magnification of electrical discharge.

Ultra High Performance, or UHP

High color rendering and a life time of over 10,000 hours. This UHP technology sends electrical discharge between electrodes in an environment of a high pressure Mercury vapor cloud.

Xenon Arc Technology

Very common for movie projectors and a similar technology to UHP, Xenon Arc Technology can be seen in IMAX Theaters with its extremely high spectral distribution and high luminosity. Instead of using Mercury in UHP technology, Xenon gas is the medium between electrodes and under a pressure of around 300 atmospheres.

NSH Technology

A common technology for home theater projectors and business projectors, without the problems of flicker or intermittence, this Ultra Violet lamp illuminates a consistent brightness with a projector lamp life up to 6,000 hours.

P-VIP Technology

A type of metal halide lamp that is very high luminance and long lasting performance, this is used for video projectors.

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Epson PowerLite 1985WU Projector Review

The Epson Powerlite 1985WU is one of a new breed of affordable high brightness projectors suitable for medium and larger venues.  100″ screens even in bright rooms handled well.


There used to be a time, not very long ago, when if you needed  say 4000 lumens (twice what was typically used in auditoriums a decade or so ago), you spent a small fortune on a projector that was not only bright but loaded with features, including very expensive interchangeable lenses (and lens shift), that many people who needed the brightness did not require.  In fact, typically a long or short throw lens for one of those projectors still costs more than this new Epson projector.

That’s the point of the Powerlite 1985WU, which is the flagship of Epson’s 1900 series, and highest resolution projector at 1920×1200 – WUXGA!  If maximum placement flexibility isn’t a requirement, this projector may be just right.  It still has advanced networking and an impressive list of capabilities.


OK, enough about all the different models in the series.  Here’s a list of the key major features of the Powerlite 1985WU beyond the usual brightness and resolution already mentioned:

  • Wide range Zoom lens:
  • WiDi, and Miracast (see Special Features section), screen mirroring
  • MHL on HDMI for streaming from MHL compatible devices
  • Split Screen (two sources)
  • Auto Fit let’s the projector resize the image to fit your screen
  • DICOM simulation for observing medical films such as X-rays, CAT scans, etc., meeting training level display requirements
  • Wireless and advanced Wired networking, including remote monitoring, push notifications…
  • Moderator and PC Free – connect with up t0 50 devices, display up to 4 simultaneously for real collaboration
  • 2 year warranty with two years of rapid replacement program

MiraCast and MHL

Epson not only offers MHL on one of its two HDMI inputs, but goes a step further and offers Miracast built in to its wireless capabilities.  Let’s talk Miracast first.

Miracast is first, a certification process for peer to peer wireless.  If a projector (as a display device) has Miracast, it can display what the source screen displays.  It does this wirelessly from devices that also support Miracast.  Note that Miracast supports only certain protocols, so it doesn’t work with all or most peer-to-peer solutions out there.  But, in most cases, two Miracast devices should work together.

There are resolution limits.  Officially Miracast will stream up to 1080p (1920×1080) just a little less than the maximum native resolution of this projector at 1920×1200.  Miracast also supports audio up to 5.1.

Think this way.  We’re used to communicating wirelessly in many cases over a local WiFi network.  MHL is an example of that.  Take an MHL source – such as some of the Android tablets, and they can, using your home wifi, talk to, a display that supports MHL, such as this Epson Powerlite 1985WU projector.

ist of Features

The Powerlite 1985 WU is loaded with many features, some major, some minor.  Here I will list a large number of them.  A sentence or paragraph will be found in the Menus section for many of them, when viewing the appropriate menu in its comment area.  Some need no comment.

  • Auto Iris for improved black level performance (two speeds)
  • Color management system both Grayscale and individual color calibration controls available
  • Gamma adjustments – 5 preset, plus custom
  • 8 Preset modes including Dynamic, Presentation, Theatre, DICOM etc.
  • Many audio inputs, audio output
  • 2 Noise reduction levels
  • Overscan
  • Fine or Fast image processing
  • Split Screen – two sources at once – equal sized
  • Non-laser Pointer built in, controlled by remote
  • Closed Caption
  • User Logo
  • High Altitude Mode
  • Auto Source Search (or manual)
  • Define which audio to output
  • Multi-screen control brightness and color correction
  • Scheduling of Use, Power/Standby, Dates and Times
  • Screen Mirroring

PC Free Presenting

The Powerlite 1985WU offers basic PC Free presenting by way of an onboard media player.  The 1985WU supports image files and PDF, but is not as extensive as some, as it does not support Microsoft Office formats.   Of course you can convert Powerpoint type presentations to a series of JPGs, and many other “documents” into PDFs to use the media player. That said, this is a projector that can work wired or wirelessly with smart devices, do screen mirroring, etc.  So, while you may not be able to pop in a word document off of a USB thumb drive, your options likely include viewing it wirelessly from your computer, or tablet of phone, or in some cases, via wire.

Easy MP Software (free) for Command and Control

Epson’s Easy MP software has been around for perhaps a decade, maybe longer, as a way to control the projector from software on your computer.  Although not as sophisticated as some of the advanced command and control protocols such as Crestron RoomView, it does handle the basics rather nicely and has a good feature set. The Powerlite 1985WU is, however, also compatible with Crestron RoomView and some other advanced systems, as might be found in a school district or corporate HQ.  Even without those, however, the projector does support features such as email notifications of status.  (Letting the IT folks know that the lamp has failed, or other problems or certain uses.

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BenQ W1080ST 1080p 3D Home Video Projector

BenQ has released a pair of full 3D 1080p projectors that are just perfect for home video or home theater. The W1070, reviewed earlier this year, has a conventional 1.3:1 lens and some vertical lens shift. The BenQ W1080ST, on the other hand, has a 1.2:1 short throw lens and no shift. Both projectors offer excellent 1080p video performance, high light output, great color, and an affordable price.

The W1080ST is a great projector for home theater or home video on a budget, but its low input lag and short throw lens also make it a good option for video games. If you’re a gamer looking for an affordable way into the big screen experience, the W1080ST might just be for you.

The Viewing Experience

As a short-throw projector, the W1080ST has a slightly different setup procedure than most conventionally-lensed projectors. As such, they require a different kind of setup and fit in a different sort of room.

Here’s an example. The BenQ W1070 would throw a 120″ diagonal image, which is a perfectly reasonable size of image for that projector, from 10′ to 13′ 1″ depending on zoom. The W1080ST will throw the same sized image from 6′ to 7′ 3″. In other words, the W1080ST requires about half the throw distance of its conventionally-lensed sibling, making it ideal for tight spaces and small rooms.

We set up our W1080ST on a coffee table, but quickly discovered that the projector has almost no upward throw angle offset. The bottom edge of the image is more or less level with the centerline of the lens. As a result, a coffee table placement may be too low for some people, largely depending on the height of the table in question. If you own a particularly low table, consider a ceiling mount, which will place the image higher up on your wall and make your audience more comfortable. Ceiling mounts require more work than coffee table placement, but modern ceiling mounts are not especially difficult to install. Just be sure to measure all distances several times before you start drilling holes.

A word about screens. Our testing environment uses a 1.0 gain Stewart Studiotek 100, but with a projector like the W1080ST a 1.3 to 1.5 gain screen would be closer to ideal. A slight amount of positive gain will reflect more light back towards the audience and result in less scatter. When a projector throws its image at such an extreme angle, like the W1080ST, a little bit of screen gain helps to keep the image looking bright and even. That said, don’t go too heavy on the gain or you’ll end up with hot-spotting.

As for the picture, it is very clear clear that the W1080ST isn’t just a repurposed business projector. The picture is bright, high in contrast, and full of well-saturated, accurate color. The projector is razor sharp across the entire image, though this depends heavily on proper setup — if you’re seeing blurriness in the corners, try fiddling with the projector’s position until it goes away. 3D is likewise clean and clear, with no noticeable crosstalk or flicker when watching our test clips.

Key Features

Short throw. Short throw projectors are nothing new, but short throw projectors being used for home theater are relatively recent. These projectors are useful in rooms where a traditionally lensed projector takes up too much room and can be ideal for table placement in temporary setups. This also makes them great candidates for portable use, especially when they include a speaker as the W1080ST does.

For gamers, the W1080ST allows you to sit closer to the screen without getting in the way of the projected image. This is especially helpful when using a motion-sensitive system like the Kinect or Wii, where body motions are part of the game’s input. A short-throw lens makes the W1080ST behave more like a television or computer monitor and removes some of the projector-specific setup concerns that gamers often run into.

2D Image quality. The W1080ST has a lot going for it when it comes to the actual image on screen. The projector’s three main precalibrated image modes are all useful in some way, and those who want further customization will be pleased to hear that the W1080ST supports ISFccc calibration to unlock the projector’s ISF Day and ISF Night image modes. Using the projector’s various image modes, it is not hard to tailor the projector’s image to the viewing environment in order to create a picture that is bright, vibrant, and life-like.

Full HD 3D. The W1080ST’s DLP link 3D system, which runs at a brisk 144Hz, is capable of displaying full 1080p 3D content from broadcast or Blu-ray disc. The DLP Link system uses light pulses between frames of the projected image to synchronize the viewer’s active shutter 3D glasses. The system is low in crosstalk and had no visible flicker during use, but DLP Link is disliked by some videophiles because it is the only 3D sync system to mess around with the actual picture on screen. And while DLP Link glasses are inexpensive compared to other 3D glasses, they also lose synchronization more often due to their reliance on direct line-of-sight communication with the projected image.

Long life. Like the W1070, the W1080ST’s lamp is rated to last 3,500 hours in full power mode and 6,000 hours in Eco or SmartEco mode, far beyond the typical lamp life for this class of projector. This allows you to purchase fewer replacement lamps (assuming, of course, that the manufacturer’s specs are accurate) and spend less money on maintenance.

Onboard speaker. With a 10W speaker built in, the W1080ST carries its own sound along with it. Now, a single 10W speaker is not a replacement for a real sound system, but several other projectors in the W1080ST’s price range either offer dinky 2W speakers or no sound at all. When you’re looking for a quick and dirty option, the W1080ST at least has volume going for it. And even at 80% of max volume, the speaker did not distort or sound particularly tinny.

Color wheel. The W1080ST shares the W1070’s fast 6X speed RGBRGB color wheel. This does two things: one, it almost completely eliminates rainbow effects for most viewers; and two, it keeps the W1080ST’s color light output at 100%. The artificially boosted screaming-bright highlights of many inexpensive DLP projectors are nowhere to be found, and in their place are rich, accurate colors in perfect balance with the rest of the image.

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Acer H6517ST Review

Acer H6517ST Review
1080p Short-Throw DLP Projector for Home Theater

These days, home theater projectors are finding their ways into all kinds of places they haven’t gone before. For many years, projectors absolutely had to be installed in very dark rooms, but brighter projectors and ambient light rejecting screens mean that you can put a projector just about anywhere now. But even with that restriction out of the way, most projectors do require quite a bit of space in the form of throw distance if you want a decently large picture.

Enter the Acer H6517ST. This tiny 1080p projector boasts 3,000 lumens, so you can use it in rooms with windows and ambient light. Its defining feature, though, is an ultra short throw lens that can project a 100″ diagonal 16:9 picture from less than four feet of throw distance. If you’ve ever dreamed of putting a home theater into that tiny spare bedroom, the Acer H6517ST is definitely worth a look. Selling for less than $800, the H6517ST will fit your room and your budget.

The Viewing Experience

Firing up the H6517ST for the first time gets you a bright, vibrant picture that’s bigger than you’re expecting. That’s because the projector’s ultra short throw lens can display a huge picture from a very short throw distance. This is a huge benefit to folks with small rooms, as it means they can enjoy the prime benefit of home theater projection – really large screen sizes – without an equally really large room.

I can personally see the appeal of the H6517ST. When I got married, I was living alone in a 2,300 square foot house that was far larger than I needed. I was renting this house because of a huge 18 foot by 12 foot room that was just perfect for home theater use. Since I work with projectors, I need that kind of space, but it also meant that we had two spare bedrooms, an office, and a dining room that didn’t see much use.

My situation is somewhat unique, obviously – I don’t get to pick one projector and stick with it. But if home theater is a priority for you, you’ve probably found yourself looking at your home and evaluating it in terms of how well a projector will fit the space. The Acer H6517ST gives you a lot more flexibility when it comes time to pick a room for your theater, and might just mean more dedicated theater space instead of sticking the projector in the living room just because it’s large enough.

As for the quality of the picture itself: In most ways, the H6517ST is a typical entry-level home theater projector. The picture is vibrant and crisp, with plenty of shadow detail, a reasonable black level, and out-of-the-box color that could use some fine adjustment but is at least in the ballpark. However, extreme lensing like the super short throw found on the H6517ST usually comes with some sort of trade-off. In this case, the image loses a touch of sharpness in the corners unless you have the projector set up to be dead-on square with the screen, and brightness is less uniform than a comparable projector without a short throw lens. Other than that, you sacrifice very little to get a projector that fits in small spaces.

Key Features

Ultra short throw. The H6517ST is tailor-made for small rooms thanks to its ultra-short throw lens. With a throw ratio of 0.5:1, you can put up a 100″ diagonal image from 3′ 8″ (about half of the image’s 87″ width). The lens is fixed focal length, so there’s no zoom; you adjust picture size by moving the projector towards or away from the screen. As such, mounting should be done carefully, and this projector works best on the ceiling or a low table near the screen.

Native 1080p. The H6517ST is inexpensive, so it doesn’t have a ton of fancy features. But one thing it doesn’t compromise on is resolution. With the H6517ST, you get real-deal native 1920×1080 full high definition. This is ideal for Blu-ray movies and other high-quality HD sources, but even lower-resolution source material will look great scaled up to HD. High resolution is especially important on a short-throw projector, because you’re probably going to be sitting closer to the screen than you would on a long-throw projector.

Bright image. The H6517ST’s high light output is enough to overpower some ambient light, and that means you can use it in rooms that aren’t blacked-out bat caves. However, if you’re going to be using the projector in a room with windows or direct sun, it’s best to pair it up with an ambient light rejecting screen. Some of these screens are made specifically to work with short throw projectors, so it pays to shop around.

Portable theater. The H6517ST weighs just over five pounds, so it’s entirely possible to pack it up and take it with you. The projector comes with a soft carrying case for just this purpose. Its onboard speaker, at 2W, is a little cheesy, but it’s better than nothing at all – and it’ll get the job done if nothing more powerful is available.

Long lamp life. Manufacturer lamp life estimates are just that – estimated – and lots of factors influence how long a lamp actually lasts. That said, the H6517ST’s lamp life estimate is 4,000 hours at full brightness and 6,000 hours in Eco mode, meaning the lamp should last a good long time. The lamp is relatively low wattage, as well, which (though this isn’t definitive) seems to contribute to lamp longevity.

Connectivity. The H6517ST has two HDMI inputs, and one of those also features Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL). MHL allows you to use streaming and mobile devices such as the Roku Streaming Stick without running a separate power connection – the device draws power from the projector. Combined with the H6517ST’s portability, this gives you a highly portable self-contained theater that can put a giant image on the wall from only a few feet of throw distance.

Almost silent. In small rooms, fan noise can be a big bother. Luckily the H6517ST has a very quiet fan, so even running at full power in its brightest mode the projector produces little more than a whisper of audible noise. What noise does exist is more of a low whoosh of air rather than a high electronic whine, so while you might hear the fan running, it never rises to the level of distraction.

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Epson PowerLite 955WH Projector Review

Projector Epson PowerLite 955WH is a higher-end model in Epson’s Powerlite 9xx series of classroom projectors.  While Epson markets the PowerLite 955WH as a classroom projector, but it would also be suitable for use in many business/conference room applications.

This model has a native 1280 x 800 (WXGA) resolution with a 16 x 10 aspect ratio. With discounts available for education institutions,  the PowerLite 955WH is a cost effective solution for schools, or businesses, needing a bright projector with good color accuracy.

The PowerLite 955WH projects a sharp image that is bright, while providing good colors and offering a lot of performance for the money.

Epson offers other models in the Powerlite series that feature similar WXGA resolution as well as models with lower XGA resolution. We previously reviewed the entry-level XGA resolution PowerLite 97H as well as a previous generation WXGA resolution model Powerlite 99W.  Both of these projectors received out Hot Product award so it not too surprising that the PowerLite 955WH also proved to be an very good performer and also earned a Hot Product award.


Projector Epson PowerLite 955WH is a compact classroom projector offering a very bright image and features well suited to the typical classroom environment.  It projects a very sharp image, with its native 1280 x 800 resolution, and offers picture modes providing good color accuracy.   While the PowerLite 955WH is not a pico or pocket class of projector, it is a compact unit making it easy to move between classrooms (or conference rooms), when it has not been permanently mounted.  With a relatively long 5,000 lamp life (in normal mode and up to 10,000 hours in Eco mode), it provides an economical solution for the education market.   The PowerLite 955WH is one of the higher-end models within Epson’s PowerLite 9xx line of classroom projectors that starts with the entry-level model PowerLite 97H, with XGA resolution and a rated 2700 lumens of brightness.


  • Offers a bright image with 3200 rated lumens, in brightest mode
  • Very sharp image provides excellent text readability for business/classroom presentations
  • Excellent video scaling performance
  • Picture Modes offered with good color accuracy suitable for displaying video and photos
  • Moderator function supports split-screen display with content from up to 4 networked video sources
  • Wired networking built-in and optional wireless networking
  • Can be controlled and managed from networked PC using supplied software
  • 1.6x zoom lens along with keystone correction provides very good mounting flexibility

Network Based Functions

The Powerlite 955WH comes with an optical disc that contains network related software plus additional software is available from Epson’s web site for several network enabled functions including:

  • EasyMP Network Projection software sets up your computer for network projection
  • EasyMP Monitor software (Windows only) lets you monitor and control your projector through the network
  • EasyMP Multi PC Projection software allows you to hold interactive meetings by projecting the computer screens of users over a network
  • EasyMP Network Updater software (Windows only) allows you to update firmware for a projector over a wired LAN.

The Powerlite 955WH is also compatible with Crestron RoomView(TM) network monitoring and control systems.

Moderator Functions

The PowerLite 955WH supports a “Moderator Function” that Epson describes as:

“Multi-PC projection and Moderator function allows up to 50 devices to connect over a network and then select up to 4 to project simultaneously.”

As illustrated below, this allows the teacher/moderator to select the content to be displayed from up to 4 devices (i.e., PCs, MACs or mobile devices), from a maximum of 50 connected devices.   The network connect can be either wired or wireless, with the optional wireless adapter.

Epson 955WH-Moderation Function

PC-Free Slide Shows

A flash drive can be plugged into the projector’s USB connector to display photos, slideshows and videos without having an attached computer.  The projector’s remote includes the buttons needed to navigate through the photo slide show or video.  This can be useful when the projector is being used as a portable unit for doing a quick setup for hassle-free presentations.  The PowerLite 955WH supports the basic types of photo files (i.e., jpg, bmp, gif, and png) as well as avi video files.  While some other business or education projectors may support more file types for PC-free presentations, such support for Microsoft Word/Excel/Powerpoint files, this projector’s more limited file support should be adequate for most education or business applications.

Support for Mobile Devices

Projection of content from iOS or Android devices is supported when the the optional wireless network module, $99 accessory, is installed on the projector and when the mobile device has installed the free Epson iProjection app.

MHL Support

MHL is essentially mobile HDMI.  The Powerlite 955WH supports MHL devices on its HDMI #2 port.   MHL is relatively recent, so it may see a lot more capabilities down the road.  To be effective, since MHL supports video, audio, and command and control, a projector really should have its own sound system, which the 955WH does (with a mono speaker).

Some phones and tablets, as well as all kinds of other smart devices are being designed with MHL.

Instant On and Direct Power Off

This is an not a common feature for a lamp-based projector.  While Epson refers to “instant on” it is really more of a quick turn on.  Also the projector turns off the cooling fan very soon after powering off the projector.  This feature allows the projector to be connected to a electrical circuit that can be switched to turn the projector on or off.


  • very sharp display with good focus over the entire image
  • very little color fringing visible on displayed text, even when viewed up very close and none visible for normal viewing distance, indicating  good alignment of LCD panels and also good optics with a low level of  chromatic aberration
  • excellent readability of text and presentation graphics
  • excellent scaling from higher resolution inputs down to the native display resolution
  • can display photos, videos, or slide shows directly from a USB flash drive
  • high light output (~2000 lumens) possible even in modes with good color accuracy and even brighter modes available
  • multiple Epson projectors can be controlled and managed from a central computer using the supplied software
  • moderator software allows classroom collaboration with the display of the content from up to 4 devices (e.g., laptops or mobile devices) using a split screen display  (requires optional wireless network adapter to enable use with of mobile devices)
  • presentations can be controlled via a mobile Android or iOS device (requires optional wireless network adapter)
  • content from mobile devices can be directly displayed by the PowerLite 955WH (requires optional wireless network adapter)
  • very good reception coverage of the IR signals from the supplied remote control enabled by the projector having IR receivers on both the front and rear panels
  • built-in 16 watt speaker, with higher than average volume levels possible, and a microphone input provide good audio capabilities for use in a moderate size class room or conference room
  • has both vertical and manual horizontal keystone correction adjustments for when the projector cannot be positioned at the ideal location relative to the screen.
  • long lamp life with up to 5,000 hours in normal mode and 10,000 hours in eco mode
  • competitive pricing, especially with Epson’s discount available to schools


  • remote can be difficult to operate in a dark room, since it has no backlight
  • dust filter that must be maintained
  • a relatively high black level and a modest contrast ratio means this projector is not the ideal choice for critical video viewing (such as might be desired for a film arts class) in a darkened room with good light control.
  • moderately high fan noise level when operated in normal mode

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