Lamp and laser projection compared


All projectors do a similar job – letting audiences enjoy bright, beautiful images. But inside there’s a choice of light technologies, both with their own merits. Conventional lamp-based projection is still a great choice. And now it’s joined by the latest projectors with a long-lasting laser light source.

What’s the difference?

For decades, projectors have exclusively used a powerful lamp as their light source. More recently, they’ve been joined by projectors using a long-lasting semiconductor laser light source. Laser is rapidly gaining popularity, and today you’ll find both technologies being used in a wide range of applications, from corporate environments and education to visitor attractions and visual simulation.

Which is brighter?

It’s not simply the case of one technology being brighter than another. Many of our projectors are available as corresponding laser- or lamp-based models, both offering exactly the same brightness and similar features in the same chassis.

Which gives best picture quality?

There’s no discernible difference in picture quality between the two technologies from your audience’s point of view. Every Sony projector – lamp or laser – delivers richly-detailed, high impact images with excellent colour and contrast.

Which lasts longer?

The reliable laser light source in our projectors offers an impressive operating life of up to 20,000 hours. Conventional lamps, in comparison, require more frequent replacement. However, advanced Sony technology extends the lamp life of our latest projector models to as much as 10,000 hours (depending on model) – an impressive achievement for lamp technology.

Which needs less maintenance?

Laser is the very attractive options here. The light source effectively needs no maintenance during its operating life. So it’s a great choice for projectors that are permanently installed in inaccessible or hard-to-reach locations.

Which is cheaper?

The initial hardware cost of a laser projector is typically higher than a corresponding lamp-based model. Balanced against this, laser’s near-zero maintenance needs cut labour costs significantly over the lifespan of the projector. Factor in the cost of the replacement lamps themselves – with none required for laser – and total lifetime ownership costs for laser look extremely attractive.

What if I’m only using the projector infrequently?

Lamp could be the best bet if you’re not using the projector heavily. For applications where the projector is only being used for an hour or two each day, the reduced initial hardware costs of lamp make it a better value option in many applications.

Which starts up quicker?

While lamps can take a little while to reach optimum operating temperature, the solid-state laser benefits from near-instant start-up. It’s an advantage in business meetings or classrooms where you can’t afford to waste time and risk losing your audience’s interest.

Explore our projectors

Brilliant image quality, with a choice of lamp or laser to suit every application.

Find out more >