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What is the Best Laser Projector for a commercial Golf Simulator – BenQ, Epson, or Sony?

  • BenQ
  • 2022-03-15

If you are considering a Golfzon, Trackman, Full Swing, or an About Golf simulator for a commercial golf simulator setup, you will want a high-powered commercial-grade projector to ensure the best experience.  There are three major categories to evaluate the models from BenQ, Epson, and Sony when choosing a projector in a commercial golf simulation environment:

 

·         Imaging Technology

·         Color Accuracy

·         Maintenance Costs

Common Features

All three brands have models equipped with a regular throw lens that enables you to mount the projector well behind the hitting area.   Most of these projectors also have WUXGA resolution as well, while BenQ is the only brand that offers a true 4K UHD resolution for operators looking for the most immersive experience. 

 

Factor #1 – DLP or LCD Imaging technology?

For a high brightness projector, there are only two imaging technologies used by major manufacturers in the projector market - DLP and LCD.   The third technology, liquid crystal on silicon or LCOS has been recently pulled from the digital cinema market by Sony due to its inability to hold color under prolonged exposure to lasers. According to Futuresource, DLP is now used by nearly twice as many brands as LCD.  

 

There are three key advantages to using BenQ’s DLP technology in a high brightness laser projector for a commercial simulator:

·         No Color Decay – DLP chips are guaranteed to last over 100,000 hours and won’t turn yellow over time.  This is backed by Texas Instruments – and the fact that only DLP chips are now used in high-powered laser projector commercial cinemas – where color accuracy is regularly checked.  Just like in the digital cinema market, maintaining a perfect image on the screen is an important factor for high-usage commercial simulators.

·         High Fill Factor – the mirrors on the chip fill over 97% of the pixel - removing the “screen door” effect where you can see the pixel lines.  

Non-DLP vs DLP

·         Sharp image – DLP only uses one chip – so you don’t have fuzzy images if the colors in a three-panel LCD system become misaligned.  Some LCD models can fix this issue from the menu – as you can see here – but many models do not have this menu selection.

 

Factor #2 - Color Accuracy

Just because a color is “bright” doesn’t mean that it is accurate.  Color accuracy is not measured by brightness, but by “color space”- a standard set of colors targets defined by the display industry.  There is a great deal of information available on how to measure color accuracy on all types of displays – including projectors.  

 

For golf simulators, television broadcasts, and movies, Rec. 709 is the standard color space for delivering higher resolutions for home video.  This ensures that difficult to reproduce colors – such as skin tones, company logos – and for golf simulators – grass – have the same color on the screen as in real life.  For projectors, you will want to look for a projector that specifies 90% or above to ensure that the bent grass greens at Torrey Pines look realistic, the trees at Bethpage Black have the right colored leaves, and the sand traps look like they have been properly groomed. 

Color accuracy becomes even more important if the operator wants to show a television feed on the simulator screen.  A projector with Rec. 709 specs ensures that those watching the last few holes of the Masters see Augusta National’s azaleas in spectacular color. 

 

Factor #3 - Maintenance

Both the BenQ, Sony, and Epson laser projectors have a laser life span of 20,000 hours at full power.  But both the Sony and Epson models require the use of a paper filter to keep dust out of the projector. The Epson has detailed instructions (9 steps) on how to clean the filter with a vacuum cleaner.  The BenQ is the only commercial projector without a “clean filter” warning light that goes off whenever the projector has to be cleaned.

The best alternative to cleaning messy paper filters is to eliminate them.   The BenQ laser projector alternatives seal the projector light engine and certify it using the same industry-standard IP5X dust test that is used on sports watches.  For Golfzon, this third-party validation ensures that your commercial simulator bays won’t be impacted by dust.

 

Factor #4 Zoom Ratio and Lens Shift

All three high brightness projector models have zoom lenses and horizontal and vertical lens shifts.  The throw ratios are quite close between the three models, but the BenQ model has the highest amount of vertical and horizontal lens shift so you can accommodate different mounting locations for your projector.

Comparison Table

Here you can see that while all the projectors below are high brightness and WUXGA resolution, the main difference is around the imaging architecture and color accuracy.  Typically, DLP projectors are more expensive than LCD projectors due to their proven ability to withstand high brightness environments and certified long life of the imager.  The BenQ has a higher lens shift than both other models – with a similar zoom ratio for easy placement in a commercial simulator. 

 

Besides a more accurate picture – the BenQ projector offers commercial operators lower operating costs due to its sealed light engine, which eliminates the hassle of filter cleaning, and peace of mind knowing that the image will not turn yellow after long-term exposure to laser light.

High Brightness lumen laser projectors

Epson L530U

BenQ LU935

Sony VPL-PHZ50

BenQ LK952

High Brightness lumen laser projectors

Resolution (pixels)

Epson L530U

WUXGA

2.3 Million Pixels

BenQ LU935

WUXGA

2.3 Million Pixels

Sony VPL-PHZ50

WUXGA

2.3 Million Pixels

BenQ LK952

4K UHD

8,3 Million Pixels

High Brightness lumen laser projectors

Imaging Technology

Epson L530U

3 LCD Panels

BenQ LU935

One DLP Chip

Sony VPL-PHZ50

3 LCD Panels

BenQ LK952

One DLP Chip

High Brightness lumen laser projectors

Rated Lumens

Epson L530U

5000 Lumens

BenQ LU935

6000 Lumens

Sony VPL-PHZ50

5000 Lumens

BenQ LK952

5000 Lumens

High Brightness lumen laser projectors

Color Accuracy

Epson L530U

Not Specified

BenQ LU935

92% of Rec 709

Sony VPL-PHZ50

Not Specified

BenQ LK952

95% of Rec 709

High Brightness lumen laser projectors

Maintenance Requirements

Epson L530U

Clean or Replace Filters per  Warning Messages

BenQ LU935

None –

IP5X Certified Dustproof

Sony VPL-PHZ50

Clean or Replace Filters per Warning Messages

BenQ LK952

None –

IP5X Certified Dustproof

High Brightness lumen laser projectors

Lens Throw Ratio

Epson L530U

1.35 – 2.20

BenQ LU935

1.36-2.18

Sony VPL-PHZ50

1.26:1 - 2.02:1

BenQ LK952

1.36-2.18

High Brightness lumen laser projectors

Lens Shift

Epson L530U

Yes

V: ±50 %; H: ±20 %

BenQ LU935

Yes –

V: ±60 %; H: ±23 %

Sony VPL-PHZ50

Yes –

V: ±55 -33 %; H: ±15 %

BenQ LK952

Yes –

V: ±60 %; H: ±23 %

Want to Talk to A Golf Simulation Projector Expert?

BenQ has trained staff that can provide you with the tools you need to find the perfect golf simulator projector – within your room constraints and budget. Just give us a call – or send us a message with your room dimensions and we will make sure your projector fits in your room – and the latest specials we are running on golf simulator projectors. Or call us at 888-818-5888.