FDA Could Loosen Regulations for Laser Projectors in Theaters

The president of the Laser Illuminated Projection Association (LIPA) recently spoke at the Hollywood Post Alliance Tech Retreat, and reports say that the FDA’s varience requirement for the use of laser projectors in movie theaters, may be loosening.

This is good news for both the projector and movie industries. Laser projectors would deliver a brighter picture, which is especially important for 3D movie viewing, and at the same time reduce the theater’s power consumption.

LIPA has been urging regulatory bodies to lower requirements for laser projectors,  pointing out that laser light sources “emit almost identical radiance” as the Xenon lamps currently used in digital cinema projectors.

The LIPA president went on to say that the  international standards body – International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) – “is well on its way to redefining what a laser projector is,” meaning that laser projectors would no longer be considered a laser emission device. Instead, they would fall under lamp regulation, possibly as early as spring, he said.

In the U.S. this classification would eliminate the need for a variance to use a laser projector, and so LIPA is encouraging the FDA to quickly adopt the IEC revision when it is completed.

PMA Research has been following the Digital Cinema projection market since it’s inception, and in developed markets the percentage of theaters that have converted to digital cinema projection is quite high. At this point in time, early adopters are potentially ready to upgrade, and laser projection would likely be a welcome option.