Online Extra: Product testing at the GCN Lab

Art Moser preps the product<@VM>Carlos Soto records data<@VM>John Breeden completes testing

Lab technician Arthur Moser carefully unpacks the DLP projectors for review. Each projector is inventoried to ensure that no components are missing.

GCN's Lab undergoes a multi-step process to determine the quality of technology commonly used in government, as well as to test the claims of manufacturers. What follows is a photo essay illustrating steps in the process.

[IMGCAP(2)]Because all projectors must be tested equally, Moser assures that distances between the lens and the target are carefully measured and recorded.

[IMGCAP(3)]Each projector is burned-in for exactly 10 hours before any testing begins. According to the GCN lab, projector light levels tend to drop after 10 hours, then remain relatively stable for hundreds of hours. Lab technicians must first understand the particular technical qualities of each product they test, before undergoing actual testing protocols.

GCN Reviewer Carlos Soto carefully records the size, weight and external features of each DLP in the review.

[IMGCAP(2)]Each projector is set identically before testing commences. Sharpness and brightness must be identical to ensure a fair trial.

[IMGCAP(3)]Peripheral devices are also evaluated, like the relative size and functionality of remote controls used with projectors.

GCN Lab Director John Breeden removes his ring before performing tests on projectors. Lab technicians must be careful to remove all shiny objects so as to avoid polluting the testing process.

[IMGCAP(2)]GCN Lab Director John Breeden puts on his dark room suit, which absorbs all ambient light. The only source of light or reflection in the room is the projector being tested.

[IMGCAP(3)]Once the light in the room has been purified, lumens are measured at the center of a mostly white image and at the corners. A light drop of less than 100 lumens from center to corner is not noticable by the naked eye, Breeden says.

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