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Say laser to someone and they’ll probably imagine the Death Star blowing up a planet. But these days if you’re watching Star Wars on a projector it might be a laser creating the image.

A laser light source has a number of key advantages over the lamps projectors have traditionally used since the Lumiere brothers first pioneered the idea of the cinema over 100 years ago.

For a start, lasers can be incredibly bright without generating huge amounts of heat, so they require less cooling than lamps, which means reduced fan noise.

Lasers also have significantly longer lifespans, lasting up to 20,000 hours rather than a lamp’s 3,000 hours. To put that in perspective, you can watch a film a day for the next decade on a laser projector and the image won’t dim or degrade in the way it will with a lamp-based beamer.

Brightness, long life and consistency aren’t the only benefits of a laser light source, because it’s also capable of delivering purer and more saturated colours. All of which makes a laser projector ideal for today’s HDR content with its wider colour gamut and brighter highlights.

If this all sounds too good to be true, there is a catch: laser projectors currently carry a premium over their lamp-based alternatives. However, prices are falling all the time, and once you factor in benefits like not having to buy a replacement lamp (which aren’t cheap), it might be time to trip the laser light fantastic.