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Picking the Ideal Projector

If you are looking to invest in a presentation system, there are typically two routes you can go. Those routes being either digital displays (TV, monitors, etc.) or using digital projection. Projectors make viewing content much easier for all sized audiences and are used in a variety of settings such as boardrooms, lecture halls, various sized classrooms, etc. If your business or organization is in the market for a projector, there are a many different things to consider when finding the perfect projector for you. Take a look at the following options and see which one fits best for your current situation.

 

TYPES OF PROJECTORS:
In term of uses and features, projectors usually fall into one of the following categories.

Short Throw Projectors
Short throw projectors understand the big picture…in small spaces. That’s the big picture when it comes to short throw projectors, projecting a big image in small, tight spaces without having to worry about shadows getting in the way of the projection or the light from the projector getting in the eyes of the presenter. The projector sits atop a designated projection surface (a whiteboard for example) and projects the image downward. The projector itself only extends about a foot or so away from the wall it is mounted to. These types of projectors are ideal for smaller settings such as the common classroom or huddle rooms. The term “short throw” comes from the short throw ratio which is the distance from the projector to the screen compared to the overall size of the screen. Since most short throw projectors are on the relatively inexpensive side (compared to other projectors featured below), there are some drawbacks. One drawback to these projectors is the limited placement flexibility. Most projectors have a fixed lens and no zoom whatsoever and usually have a fixed offset, which is the distance the top of the projector has to be in compared to the bottom of the projection screen. Resolution is also quite limited. Most short throw projectors do 720p and a select few doing 1080p or more. The projections are also going to be less bright, going up to only about 3,000 lumens (a lumen the unit in which brightness is measured, the more lumens the brighter the projection will be) and the contrast of the image will also be less compared to other options. Regardless, short throw projectors are the ideal solution for small, cramped spaces especially if you really have no viable options to locate a projector. An added benefit of using a short throw projector is that you can incorporate an interactive whiteboard as the projection surface. This interactive whiteboard then functions as a large touch screen for what the projector is displaying, obviously an appealing incentive when leaning towards a short throw projector.

Meeting Room and Larger Venue Projectors
If you have the space and a larger audience where short throw projectors are really not what you’re looking for, you need to move up the food chain. The next levels of projector can be easily classified by their features/spec and more importantly the setting they’re used in. Let’s talk about projectors that you’d commonly see in meeting rooms and also in larger classrooms. These are perfect for presenting content such as PowerPoint slideshow presentation in a classroom or spreadsheets and sales report in a business environment. Meeting room projectors are commonly mounted, hanging from the ceiling and project an image onto a wall mounted or ceiling mounted retractable screen. These are the ideal solution for a space with a larger audience compared to the smaller intimate audience that you’d find in space with a short throw projector. These start to see a bump in price given the higher quality and better features. Meeting room projectors are brighter than your average short throw projector utilizing anywhere between 3,000 to 5,000 lumens. These projectors commonly have HDMI connectivity, USB compatibility, built-in memory as well as networking capabilities.

Large Venue Projectors
The larger your audience, the more powerful projector you will need. The next level of projector is most notably used in auditoriums, houses of worship and other various large gathering settings. Large venue projectors have the best resolution available in terms of projection with either XGA or 1080p resolution. These projectors have additional optional lenses that alter the range of projection so the placement of what is being projected is perfect. Due to the many uses of this projector, these are commonly shipped without lenses allowing you to select the perfect one for your situation. As far as brightness goes, these projectors utilize 6,000+ lumens, a significant step up from the previous projectors we’ve talked about already.  In order to project in front of a large audience, these projectors need a significantly larger throw ratio commonly 1.49 – 3.02. (For the sake of comparison, an average short throw projector’s throw ratio is anywhere between 0.49-1.00.) The significant reach and optional lenses coupled with many of the same features from meeting room projectors bump the price up of these projectors quite a bit, but if your situation calls for one of these, a large venue projector could be just what the doctor ordered.

Other Considerations:
In addition to considering what type of projector is best for you, you also need to keep in mind the obvious. When using any type of projector you need to think about lighting. It does not matter how many lumens of brightness your projector is pushing out, if you have any ambient light in the room, it will most likely wash out your image. This is a general drawback to any and all projectors. Also, when considering the overall cost of ownership you need to keep in mind having to replace the UHP lamp, which is where the projection comes from. These UHP lamps lasts a few thousand hours generally, but after they go out they need replacing and that costs a few hundred dollars to do so. However, this can be avoided when using laser projectors and you’ll find out more about what we are talking about with our next blog.

 

Still considering a projector? If so, what type suits your needs/wants the most? Which one presents the best solution for your current application? Let us know in the comment section below. If you are looking for more information or need to be pointed in the right direction, one of Pentegra’s engineers would be more than happy to help you determine which projector is the best fit for you.

 

Any questions? The experts at Pentegra Systems are waiting to hear from you.
Call us today at (630) 941-6000 or visit us online at www.pentegrasystems.com!

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