At InfoComm, BenQ promoted its “SmartEco” technology, which automatically adjusts a projector’s lamp settings based on the ambient lighting and the nature of the content being displayed. This innovation can extend the projector’s lamp life from 4,500 hours to about 10,000 hours, BenQ said, while reducing power consumption up to 80 percent. It will be available on the company’s M Series and S Series projectors beginning this month.

Hitachi offers a similar lamp power control feature, called ImageCare. In previous Hitachi projectors, there were two power options, Normal or Eco mode. Eco mode drops the power by 35 percent, which dims all images. While this saves power and extends lamp life, users might miss some details on images that need to be projected brighter.

ImageCare adds an Intelligent Eco mode that allows the projector to sense dark and bright projected images, automatically lowering the power by 35 to 70 percent accordingly. There is also a Saver mode that drops the power to the lamp by 70 percent if the projected image doesn’t change within a predetermined amount time, much like the screen saver on a computer.

Canon’s AISYS technology, short for Aspectual Illumination System, is a lighting engine available in all of the company’s REALiS projectors. It creates a very compact light path that reduces power consumption up to 25 percent when compared with similar models from other manufacturers, Canon says.

Casio was the first company to introduce a “lampless” projector back in 2010, using a hybrid LED/laser “solid state” light source designed to last 20,000 hours (about 18 school years) and eliminate the need for costly lamp replacements. Now, many other AV companies have followed suit—and at InfoComm, several companies introduced lampless models of their own.

Sony unveiled a lampless projector, the VPL-FHZ55, that uses a laser light source to achieve 4,000 lumens of color light output and deliver up to 20,000 hours of maintenance-free operation, the company says. The VPL-FHZ55 offers WUXGA resolution (1,920 by 1,200 pixels) and will be available in August.

Though it wasn’t present at InfoComm, Acer America—better known for its computers and tablets—also has announced a hybrid laser-LED projector that lasts up to 20,000 hours. Acer’s K520 offers 2,000 lumens in standard mode and a high 100,000-to-1 contrast ratio, the company says. It supports 3D technology and sells for a suggested retail price of $1,599.

Mobile video capture

As video plays an increasingly important role in education, another key development to emerge from InfoComm 2013 is the ability for students and educators to capture video from a smart phone, tablet, or other mobile device and upload it into a lecture capture system, a cloud-based video platform, or even a live video production stream on the fly.