Rather than a traditional high-pressure lamp, the PX602UL has a powerful blue laser that not only runs cooler but has a rated life of 20,000 hours.

Does never having to change a projector lamp sound too good to be true? Well, it is with NEC’s laser-based PX602UL.PX602UL

A quick quiz: which audio-visual chore do you hate the most? If you’re like me, it’s climbing up a long ladder to do the annual ritual of changing the projector’s lamp. While it might only take 10 or 15 minutes, it is a task that you’ll never have to do again with NEC’s PX602UL mid-sized projector.Rather than a traditional high-pressure lamp, the $13,500 PX602UL has a powerful blue laser that not only runs cooler but has a rated life of 20,000 hours. That’s more than two years of continuous operation and nearly 13 years of use for 30 hours a week.

A Closer Look

Inside the projector, the laser’s blue beam is transformed into white light via a phosphor disc, color wheel and a series of lenses and mirrors. The beam goes through a four-segment color wheel to separate it into its component colors, bounced off of the PX602UL’s Digital Light Processing (DLP) imaging chip and through its output lens.At 35 pounds, the PX602UL requires two people to carry and install it. It measures 8.5- by 19.1- by 20.2-inches, although the lens sticks out of the front by another few inches. It comes in white or black to suit the décor of different houses of worship.There’s a compact control panel on the side as well as LEDs upfront for Power, Status, Light and if it’s overheating. Underneath, the PX602UL has six ceiling bracket mounting points, but the projector can also be aimed from a shelf or nook with its single rear and two adjustable front feet.The heart of the PX602UL is its 0.67-inch Texas Instruments DLP imaging chip that delivers ultra-sharp 1,920 by 1,200 resolution images. NEC also makes the less expensive PX602 WL, which delivers 1,280 by 800 resolution.Regardless of which one you get, the PX602 projectors are two of the most versatile and adaptable projectors available. They can create a portrait mode image, aimed at any angle and have keystone compensation for horizontal (up to 40-degrees) and vertical (up to 30-degree) correction.


If the geometry of your room isn’t quite square, the PX602 can shift the projected image down 10% or as much as 50% up. It can also move it right or left by 30%.The PX602 can be also controlled from its capable remote control. It runs on a pair of AA batteries and if its 35-foot range isn’t enough, you can use an audio jumper cable. The remote’s keys are backlit, making it ideal for adjusting a projector in the dark.The remote has selections for focusing, zooming, changing the source and bringing up the projector’s menu. In addition to a shutter for killing the projector’s beam without turning it off, there’s an AV mute key.While the projector’s connection panel in the back doesn’t have a snap-on cable cover to hide the warren of wires, there are an ample variety of ports. They include BNC connections as well as a DisplayPort, HDMI and VGA computer input. There’s an HDMI-out port (for setting it up with another display) as well as Ethernet and RS-232 (for controlling the projector).

Networked Digital Video

If you’re looking to consolidate cables, the PX602 UL’s wired LAN port can work with the HDBaseT digital video standard, which routes audio, video and control signals over a standard Cat 6 cable, which is probably already in your facility. To use the online interface, just point a browser window at its IP address. Once you’re connected, you can adjust the basic parameters, volume and which source is active.As sophisticated as the PX602 UL is, it does without the ability to use Wi-Fi wireless connections and the projector can’t use NEC’s Wireless Image Utility for sending items from an iPad. It does deliver 3-D imaging, although the congregation will need to wear those funky glasses.

In addition to its cutting-edge 10-bit scaling chip, the PX602 has a sophisticated noise reduction circuit. It can also work with a wide variety of OPS video-processing boards as well as project onto circular and curved screens. For those who want to push the projector to its limits, the PX602 UL can be ganged with three others to produce a 50-foot 4,096 by 2,160 composite image or stacked to pump out up to about 24,000 lumens of light.

It not only lacks audio but—as is the case with projectors in its class—requires purchasing a lens that suits the geometry of the venue. NEC has six to choose from that range from 0.8 to 5.5 throw ratios, which let the PX 602 UL be used in anything from a close-up rear projection behind the choir or a long-throw across a temple’s length. All have powered zoom and focus and can create images from 4 to 25 feet. They add between $2,875 and $4,100 to the PX602’s price tag.For my evaluation, I used the medium-throw $2,875 NP35ZL lens, which has a zoom ratio of 1.25X. Installation takes just a few seconds. Just remove the projector’s cowling, insert the lens and rotate it about 15 degrees until it snaps in. After putting the cowling back on, it’s time to power up.The rest of the PX602 UL’s set up was equally straightforward. It has a white-on-black test grid pattern that can help aim the projector’s beam, although I would have liked to see other test patterns, such the color ramps that Canon’s Realis WUX400ST provides.

PX602 Real World Tests

The projector is warrantied for three years, although with a 20,000-hour light engine, I would have expected it to be extended by a few years. NEC’s PX602 UL is at the upper end for mid-range projectors today. But, that difference should pay for itself over time because buying and installing replacement lamps and air filters will become a thing of the past. In fact, the more you use the PX602 UL the cheaper it gets.

While the good news is that you won’t have to climb a ladder ever again to change lamps, you’ll still have to go up to dust it off every now and again.


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