Title: Types of Laser Illuminated Projectors (LIPs) – Evolution, Tradeoffs and Trends
Author: Bill Beck, aka “The Laser Guy” – with contributions and assistance from LIPA members, past and present; industry pioneers, colleagues, and friends…and several great editors!
The objective of this article is to provide industry participants and observers a framework with which to view the history and evolution of Laser Illuminated Projectors (LIPs). This evolution spans over three decades, although most current movie-goers and projector users know little or nothing about it.
The article attempts to answer big questions like: why did it take so long? What were the major technical challenges? What were the business and external cultural challenges? What is the status of LIP Development? And what are the trends impacting different types of LIPs? The narrative follows the two major technological tracks, namely, Red-Green-Blue lasers (RGB) and Blue Laser-pumped Phosphor (La-Ph), that evolved independently at first, but then synergistically converged and now provide a broad foundation for future innovation and continuous improvement.
Since commercial introduction over 10 years ago, “Laser”, both RGB and La-Ph technologies have grown rapidly, displacing lamp illumination. Laser is truly the “4th generation” of Cinema Projector light and the end of “lamp changes” for all kinds of projectors.
Like many transformational new technologies, it took a very long time for Laser to equal and then surpass lamp illumination in terms of performance and lower total cost of ownership. But as many now have done both, LIPs will continue to grow as the dominant light source for projection.
The article was originally released on 8/31/22 to members only. LIPA is now making an updated version available to the public to help recognize and highlight the contributions that its members have made to the industry and its key role in Laser Safety and regulatory reform. We encourage all to share the article and its extensive Glossary of Technical Terms with colleagues in their various areas of endeavor.
Disclaimer: The author does not represent that all dates, data, and details are precise, but that they are true to the general story line. Photos, diagrams, charts, and captions are for illustrative purposes only and are not meant to endorse or promote any product, technology, or approach.