The Classroom Has Changed. So Has the Projector.


Casio LampFree

While the classroom has changed, so has the projector. Lamp-based projectors of yesteryear have downsides: They’re bulky. They’re expensive. After only 2,000 to 3,000 hours, they’re at half the brightness. They need constant maintenance. They run hot. Then there’s the issue of mercury; the lamps in projectors leak toxic mercury in the landfills they often, unfortunately, end up in. We could go on. With its LampFree projectors, Casio, a leader in educational technology, has helped make the lamp projector a thing of the past.

Back in 2010, Casio’s brilliant alternative was to just eliminate the need for the lamp. Completely. Now in its tenth year of production on the hybrid LED/laser-based, high-brightness projector technology it pioneered, Casio remains a leader in market share. It has sold more than a million LampFree projectors globally over just one decade.

That’s One “Superior” Projector

Today, there’s a huge opportunity for designers, dealers and educators to choose technology that nurtures collaboration and active learning. How can they do it?

An obvious place to start is the focal point of learning in the classroom — the projector. Perhaps a less obvious place to start — with Casio. That’s because Casio, even with its stellar reputation, has mostly been known for its work in K-12 building top-performing projectors for XGA and WXGA resolution. Higher-education environments, however, need WUXGA.

Casio made it happen. Casio’s newest iteration (its eighth version) of LampFree introduced in January 2019 is called the Superior series, and it has helped Casio accomplish its goal of breaking into universities. Two of the Superior models include classroom-focused wireless collaboration solutions that make active learning in the classroom (that critical thing we mentioned at the start of this article) possible.

Lamp-Based, LED-Based or Laser-Based?

The answer is none of the above — or, at least, none of the above on their own. Casio’s hybrid LED/laser light source uses a red LED and a laser light for blue and green. That means it produces more lumens per watt (and more lumens per dollar) than all-LED or all-laser projectors.

Casio marketing manager Wayne Borg shared that, in the past, the higher-ed lamp-based projector standard was 5,000 lumens with WUXGA resolution.

“But after only a year or so of use, the lamp had reduced the brightness down to 4,000 lumens. Previously, integrators needed that extra cushion of 1,000 lumens to ensure image quality as time went on,” Borg said.

Casio is breaking the myth that 5,000 lumens is still the standard need in schools.

“With LampFree and lasers/LEDs, the standard is now 4,000 lumens — that’s because you don’t need the lamps and you don’t have to worry about the brightness deteriorating. Plus, a lot of universities don’t even need 4,000 — many classrooms can easily use 3,500 or less,” Borg added.

Casio LampFree product family

Here’s why LampFree hits the sweet spot of price and efficiency:

  • Long lifespans. Casio LampFree projectors average 20,000 hours. That’s 10 to 15 years of high brightness in the classroom, even with them running at a constant seven to eight hours a day over a 185-day school year.
  • Reduced electricity costs. Casio LampFree projectors use 30-50% less electricity than comparable laser projectors. Over time, you’ll see a reduction in utility bills totaling hundreds, even thousands, of dollars a year on electricity alone.
  • Minimal labor/maintenance costs. Without filters to clean and lamps to replace, labor costs are minimal. If maintenance is needed, Casio is ready: Under standard usage, its LampFree warranty is three years for parts/labor and up to 6,000 hours on the light source; the Superior, Advanced and Ultra Short Throw models are covered for five years and 10,000 hours for the education channel.
  • Competitive pricing. A projector under $2K for 4,000 lumens is as good as it gets today. Most 4,000-lumen projectors are well over this price point.

All models in the Casio Superior line are built to 4,000 lumens of brightness, 1.7x manual zoom/focus, and native 1080p (16:10) aspect ratio. Based on specs, universities will be particularly interested in the XJ-S400U and XJ-S400UN models.

Total Cost of Ownership

As Casio’s WUXGA solutions are at such a competitive price point, we want to talk more about cost. When purchasing a projector, you’ve got to look at the total cost of ownership (TCO), not just the initial price. TCO includes repair and maintenance fees, the cost of parts like expensive lamps and filters and energy use. You’ll spend a hundred or two more per LampFree projector (apples-to-apples with a similar product), but over time, the cost for LampFree will be significantly lower.

That’s largely due to the fact that the majority of Casio LampFree projectors that have been deployed since 2010 are still operating, have never been serviced, and have not seen a significant loss of brightness.

In fact, according to Casio, less than 1% of LampFree projectors come back for service during the warranty period, and that’s a conservative figure. Imagine the time and money Casio has saved clients just based on this figure alone.

The Future (Solid) State of Projectors

All the pieces are in place for LampFree to succeed in higher ed, with critical selling points of reliability, image quality, wireless connectivity and price. Casio is challenging the old saying that you can have it fast, inexpensive or good (pick two): It does all three.

Still, today, one of the top selling points for LampFree is the same as it was 10 years ago — it eliminates the lamp, easily the biggest pain point for installers and projector users.

For more information, request a demo or get in touch with Casio here.