Church Production

Street Price: $9,995 ($10,490 with lens)

Review: Digital Projection E-Vision Laser 6500 Projector

This 100-watt blue laser projector has a light source rated to last 20,000 hours—or roughly 25 years if it’s used for 15 hours a week. In other words, except for its air filter, which will require periodic cleaning, it’s a maintenance-free projector.

By Brian Nadel
November 7, 2016 4:35 pm EST

Topics: Video,
Tags: production, projector, review, video,

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The Laser 6500 is a quick-change artist when it comes to swapping lenses.

The Digital Projection International (DPI) E-Vision Laser 6500 will seem like a breath of fresh air for mid-sized houses of worship searching for the right projector. It not only has a maintenance-free lighting element that will never need a lamp change, but the E-Vision Laser 6500 delivers super-sharp HD images that jump off the screen.

It’s about as advanced as a projector gets these days, but at 9.0- by 18.5- by 20.4-inches and more than 50 pounds, the E-Vision Laser 6500 is a lot of projector, and it’s on par with Canon’s LX-MU800Z. So you’d be well served by having a couple people on hand to install it.

Projector Specifics

Instead of a traditional high-pressure lamp that might last for 2,000 hours, the Laser 6500 starts with a 100-watt blue laser. It’s aimed at a spinning phosphor wheel that converts part of it into yellow light, which is divided into red, blue, green and yellow segments by a rotating color wheel. The different colored beams are bounced off of a 0.67-inch Digital Light Processing imaging chip, and on to the projector’s output lens.

The best part is that the lighting source is rated to last for 20,000 hours, or roughly 25 years if it’s used for 15 hours a week. In other words, except for its air filter, which will require periodic cleaning, it’s a maintenance-free projector.

It delivers pinpoint sharp 1,920 by 1,200 resolution with uniform color. DPI specs the projector at 6,500 lumens with a contrast ratio of 5,000:1. Like other laser-based projectors, the Laser 6500 is flexible in how and where you install it. It has six attachment points underneath for ceiling hanging and a pair of adjustable feet up front if you want to use a table, shelf or nook. It can use 110- or 220-volt electric current.

The best part of the Laser 6500 is that it can be set up at any angle, including straight down. You do need to leave 20 inches of clearance on all sides for cooling, though.

The Laser 6500 is a quick-change artist when it comes to swapping lenses. It takes about a minute to remove the old one and snap in a new one; a large button up-front locks the lens in place. DPI sells five lenses for the Laser 6500 that range from ultra-short throw to long throw models to suit different church geometries. They are each a bargain at between $495 and $1,495. I used the $495 standard throw lens that has manual focus and 1.25X zoom.

Happily, the Laser 6500 doesn’t have to be set up exactly in front of the screen because its lens shift mechanism can compensate by moving the image 50% up-down and right-left. It’s not powered and you’ll need to adjust the image shifting with the pair of knobs on top of the projector’s case.

There’s also keystone correction that can compensate for up to 25-degree horizontal and 30-degree vertical angles. It’s easier to use the Laser 6500’s built-in four-corner procedure, which takes and two minutes to get a sharp rectangular image.

The projector has a generally efficient menu system, but two of the three sections each have Advanced categories that are a hodgepodge of settings. You can quickly get to the Laser 6500’s seven projection modes that include Bright, Presentation, Game, Movie, Vivid, sRGB and Dicom Sym. If you don’t like how they look in your room, you can go a level deeper and create two of your own presets that allow you to adjust things like the color temperature, saturation, tint and sharpness.

On the other hand, the Laser 6500 lacks a high-performance video processing chip or a slot to put in a dedicated board. It does have an effective video noise filter, though. The projector can handle 3D projection.

With its control panel on the side of the projector, the Laser 6500 has the distinct advantage of allowing you to work on installing, adjusting or troubleshooting it without having hot exhaust air blowing in your face. On the other hand, it’s basic and only has a power switch along with buttons for selecting the Source, opening the Menu, navigating and Entering an item. It lacks a power cable lock, but has a nice assortment of seven built-in test patterns for both color and grayscale tweaking.

While the remote has thoughtful amenities, like a laser pointer and backlighting, it can’t remotely adjust the focus and zoom. In addition to dedicated buttons for each input, it has a volume control and a handy Blank button. Its range of 35 feet can be made irrelevant if you use a long audio jumper cable to connect it to the projector.

You may not even need to do this because the Laser 6500 can connect to your facility’s wired network and works with Crestron RoomView and JPLink control software. Once you know its IP address, you can also use the Web browser software on a connected computer to see what its settings are and take control. Unfortunately, DPI doesn’t offer a Wi-Fi option for the Laser 6500.

The ports on the Laser 6500 are next to the control panel for convenience while setting it up. In addition to a pair of HDMI connections (one of which can work with MHL-enabled phones and tablets), the projector has inputs for DVI-D, VGA, BNC and Composite video sources. You can also play video from a HD Base T source. It also has a VGA-out port as well as a 3-D synchronization connection.

There’s a USB connection for service as well as RS-232- in and -out for controlling the projector. If your church, temple or mosque has a powered screen, the Laser 6500 has a 12-volt trigger circuit. It does without an optional cable cover, though, so everything is visible to the congregation.

Unlike many projectors in its class, the Laser 6500 has audio, including three separate inputs. Its pair of 10-watt speakers get surprisingly loud, but are no substitute for a room-wide sound system.

Practicalities & Parting Thoughts

I set the Laser 6500 up with a variety of inputs including a live digital video feed, an iPad, Microsoft Surface tablet, Blu-Ray player, and a Gefen eight-way HD video switch. The projector took 36.2 seconds to start up, less than a minute to fully warm-up, and 16.0-seconds to shut itself off.

DPI specs the projector to put out 6,500 lumens, but—happily—it hit a peak of 7,610 lumens in its Bright mode. You probably don’t want to use it for anything other than text because it has a bluish green garish tint to it. Using the Presentation mode reduces the output to 6,160 lumens and has better color balance, while still being bright enough for most auditoriums.

Its focus was just about perfect from corner to corner, but the right side was slightly brighter than the left. Its exhaust grille in the back never exceeded 101-degrees Fahrenheit, and it was quiet compared to others with just 41.6 dBA of fan noise.

At full blast, the Laser 6500 uses 593 watts, and if you use the projector for 15 hours a week and electricity costs 12 cents per kilowatt hour, it has ultra-low operating expenses of $56 per year. This is a small fraction of traditional projectors in its class.

At $9,995 ($10,490 with its lens), the E-Vision Laser 6500 is one of the least expensive laser-powered projectors in its class, and provides the satisfaction of knowing that your days of climbing a ladder to change a lamp are finally over.


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Digital Projection Inc.

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