What Kind of Projectors Do Movie Theaters Use?

People will do all sorts of things to pamper themselves on a Sunday. You know, Sundays are the days that you take for yourself away from work and away from everything that stresses you, to just unplug, get back in your game and charge for the week ahead.

One of these activities may very well be going to the movies. Now, haven’t you ever thought how were these pictures fused together and shown on that humongous screen? The answer to that is projectors, a relatively small device that projects light on a screen. That is the essence of what we are going to discuss today.

In March 2002, Disney, Paramount, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal, and Warner Bros. Studios collaborated to form the Digital CinemaI Initiatives, or more commonly known as the DCI. The purpose of this venture is to place and apply certain specifications and standards for the projectors used to show movies that have cost millions of dollars to produce and will bring in millions of dollars, hopefully!

A Little History

Now the very first completely successful film projector was invented by the Lumiere brothers in 1894. This is the projector that you might see in films where there is a dual-reel system. Later on, they were replaced by platter systems, which were a little bit easier to use. They shifted from the carbon arc and could play an entire movie without interruption.

The peak of their popularity was in the late 1970s, and they went on until the digital age, which took over due to its higher resolution reaching for 4K pixels giving a much much better picture. The digital age arrived around the 2000s and began to take significant leaps in the early 2010s.

The 4 Different Kinds & Brands of Projectors Do Movie Theaters Use

1. Sony – SXRD

Sony - SXRD

Sony has always been a pioneer in the world of technology; surely you can remember the feel of your very first PlayStation and the tons of CDs you bought for it. Up till now, the PlayStation is still evolving with Sony, and the same can be said for its projecting technology, SXRD. This technology offers the truest 4K that you can ever see, we are talking 4096×2160 pixels that’s nearly 9,000,000 pixels for each of the three colors. That is something that you cannot even see with a microscope.

What does SXRD stand for? Silicone X-tal/Crystal Reflective Display. It offers you never witnessed before contrast and fantastic speed with which it goes from one frame to the next. All of that is achieved through an ultra-thin liquid crystal cell gap that can shift and appear so fast between any empty spaces that might happen.

Another plus is that Sony has thought about and effectively eliminated the ‘’screen door’’ effect. This is typically caused by the presence of transistors that need to be hidden mostly behind inactive areas amongst the pixels, that, of course, does not exist in the laws of Sony.

Just a little note about the DLP technology and how it works. Simply, it relies on hinge-mounted microscopic mirrors that can reach up to 2 million in number. When these guys are supported by a digital video/graphics signal, a light source, and a projection lens, they reflect this image onto the screen.

2. Barco – DLP

Barco - DLP

Barco here aims for and achieves variety with its product. While controlling the market in the Middle East and Asia, not only does it offer a wide range of products suitable for your break rooms, your auditoriums, and your meeting rooms, but, in every category, there are subcategories. As for our subject today, which is the cinema industry projectors, Barco has three types of projectors up their sleeve. Laser illuminated, lamp-based cinema projectors and postproduction projectors. Also, later on, when we will learn about 3-D cinema, you’ll find out that Barco has also contributed to that technology.

Now, the difference between the two subcategories of DLP projectors, the laser-illuminated, and the lamb-based ones is that with the latter, you have higher susceptibility too high maintenance. Over time, the lamps will die and need replacement, and that can be a lot of effort, time, and money. However, the laser doesn’t die-out, the former ones won’t need that kind of high maintenance. According to Barco, their products enjoy an unmatched level of detail and contrast.

3. Christi – DLP

Christi - DLP

Christie has enjoyed the privilege of being the oldest and the one having control over the united states market for cinema projectors for a long time. Christie DLP boasts exceptionally high levels of brightness, hitting up to 20,000 lumens and reaching resolutions of 4K UHD. With such features, you might think that they will need high maintenance, take up too much electricity or cost an obscene amount of money. However, all these claims are untrue.

Christie has come up with several lines of projectors, all tweaked and tailored to suit your every need, including ones that are suited for the cinema industry. This means that they have tried as much as possible to cut down on maintenance and electricity, as these two aspects can be quite costly to any movie theater. One more thing is that Christie did not skip on the 3D marathon; it has designed its own model that we will discuss later on.

4. NEC – DLP

nec dlp projector

Although it is relatively new in the world of cinema projectors, NEC has proven that it is a worthy competitor because it played on an aspect that may have been missed or forgotten by its peers. That is the size of the projector; when you are an owner of a movie theater, it’s really annoying when you have to specialize in a massive room for your projector.

So, NEC has released a line of compact projectors that are smaller in size, more comfortable to handle and maneuver. Also, they have not forgotten about durability; their products can easily give you up to 20,000 hours of work without any hassle from lamps as, like some Christi models, they are powered by a laser.

3D Projectors

Barco has released a line of projectors named Galaxy, and these projectors have been top-of-the-line since they came out. The thing is with each and every model you have something new to look for. The one we’re looking at right now is the galaxy NW7 projector, this guy sports 3-D and simulation, and has been used for simulated fast jet training, so that tells you the degree of excellence achieved by Barco.

Nevertheless, they have used several technologies in order to reach such a positive result, including the Xenon Lamp technology and the XDS Control Center plus the ability to produce 7000 lumens with a resolution of 1920×1200.

Chrissy, however, has control over the entire United States, this has allowed its Mirage Series of projectors to be the most installed in the world. Christie claims to have it developed enough to be the perfect fit for all 3-D requirements that could ever be present in any theater. It goes along with Blu-ray 3-D video, PS3, and several other gaming consoles.

Some models are powered by conventional lamps, some by Xenon lamps and others are powered by laser; this gives you a great variety to choose amongst in order to suit your needs and budget.

Final Thoughts

Movie theaters have been a large part of our lives for so long, an outing to the movies is a delightful way to spend time with your family, your friends or even by yourself. So, knowing the technology behind it and maybe even some of the physics and brands must be interesting.

These companies continue to evolve by day; every time you go see a movie, it’s much better than the one before. That may be because of the movie production industry, which is in a whole other place right now, and it could very well be due to the quality of the projector sitting right behind you.

Leave a Comment