Choosing The Right Multimedia Projector For Your Requirements by Stuart Nicholls VisionX Audio Visual Pty Ltd.
Multimedia Projectors Are Fast Becoming The Essential Presentation Partner! Approximately 48,000 units will be sold by the close of the 2004 calendar year That’s a 27% increase on 2003
Three Main Multimedia Projector Categories Micro Portable Portable/Installed Fixed Installation Weigh between 2 & 5kgs, up to 3000 Lumens Most popular category in the education market Greater level of features & connectivity so they can be installed Price Range = $2000 to $4500 ex-gst Weigh over 5kgs, brightness from 2500 to 10,000 lumens Installed into Auditoriums, Halls & Lecture Theatres Price Range = $4500 to $140,000 Weigh Under 2kgs, extremely small footprint Usually DLP projection technology Brightness to 1500 lumens Price Range = $3000 to $4000 ex-gst
What Can I Project Through My Multimedia Projector? Projectors can be connected to a broad range of products to deliver large screen presentation. Computer & Video Sources Fixed PCs & Laptops via VGA leads DVDs, VCRs, Digital Set Top Boxes Cameras – via composite video, s-video, DVI or component video Wireless! Should I Consider It? Currently 802.11b Cannot handle any motion well (Active PowerPoints) If presenting static PC files, then it is fine
What is Aspect Ratio? Aspect Ratio is the relationship of the horizontal dimension to the vertical dimension. Most projectors used in multimedia applications project an image in a true 4:3 Aspect Ratio. They can also project images in a 16:9 Aspect Ratio, but this leaves black bars above and below the image with only 75% of the native panel resolution used. When a native 4:3 projector projects a 16:9 video source, 12.5% of the usual image height is lost. 4:3 16:9 Sources displayed in a 4:3 Aspect Ratio PC Current Analogue Free To Air Television Most analogue video sources from devices like cameras Sources displayed in a 16:9 Aspect Ratio High Definition Digital Television DVDs Native 16:9 projectors are typically used in Home Cinema applications whilst native 4:3 projectors are most commonly used in commercial/educational environments.
What is Lumens & How Many Do I Need? Luminous Flux is the total amount of light coming out of a light source, such as a projector. The unit measure is a “Lumen”. The higher the number of lumens shown, the brighter the projector is. Often you will see a projectors lumens light output stated as “ANSI Lumens”, the ANSI simply means ‘American National Standards Institute’. When this standard is shown, it let’s the consumer know they are purchasing a projector that truly provides the light output stated. 0-1000 Lumens1000-2000 Lumens2000-3000 Lumens These projectors need to be used in dark or dimly lit rooms with little or no ambient light so the image does not get washed out. Home Cinema projectors are usually in this lumens range. These projectors are used in boardrooms, training rooms and classrooms where lighting can hopefully be reduced somewhat to maintain the screen image. These projectors are bright enough to handle most ambient room lighting. They are also found in larger environments with larger audiences as they can illuminate a larger screen without much loss of image quality.
Resolution Available Native Projector Resolutions SVGA (800 x 600 Pixels) XGA (1024 x 768 Pixels) SXGA (1280 x 1024 Pixels) UXGA (1600 x 1200 Pixels) Most currently available projectors will project a resolution as high as UXGA. Naturally this is done using compression technology and reduces the quality of the image. When purchasing your projector, take care to ensure that the stated resolution is the native resolution. It is recommended that the consumer purchase a projector that matches the source resolution they typically will be displaying. Native XGA resolution projectors are currently the most popular in the market place. The price of a projector approximately increases between $1000 and $1500 when stepping up from an SVGA projector to an XGA projector. This difference effectively doubles when stepping up from XGA to SXGA.
“The salesman tells me DLP is the latest technology & it is the best! Is this correct?” Not necessarily! DLP & LCD Projectors have individual strengths and weaknesses. It really depends on what application you are predominately using your projector for. Benefits of DLP (Digital Light Processing) Projection Technology Typically high contrast ratios, much higher than LCD (Truer Blacks) Smaller projectors due to single chip technology Reduced pixilation DLP projectors are mostly found in the Home Cinema & Micro Portable end of the market Benefits of LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) Projection Technology Superior colour saturation Sharper images, particularly on data/text More light efficient, LCD projectors have much higher lumens than DLP LCD projectors are typically found in commercial applications
Other Key Features To Consider Lamp Life – Good multimedia projectors will have a lamp life of 2000-3000 hours with the projector having an optional ‘Eco mode’ to reduce brightness by 20% when not required. The cost of your typical multimedia projector lamp is between $500 and $1000 inc-gst. It is important to note that several manufacturers only cover the projector lamp with a 3 or 6 months warranty. Low Fan Noise – High fan noise can be distracting and irritating when presenting in smaller environments. Good projectors range between 28dB & 34dB. However, the brighter the projector, then naturally the higher the fan noise as more cooling is required. Image Keystone & 3D Reform – Every current projector in the market has Keystone correction. Keystone distortion takes place when the projector is not perpendicular to the screen. Keystone correction allows the vertical sides to be digitally adjusted to correct a warped image. The relatively new 3D Reform technology takes keystone correction a step further by allowing the user to adjust the horizontal edges. This allows a presenter to place the projector off centre, particularly useful in classroom environments. Contrast Ratio – Is the grades or steps between pure white and pure black. Whether purchasing a DLP or LCD projector, always look to get projectors with higher contrast ratios. A high contrast gives truer blacks and greater image detail.
Installing Your Multimedia Projector The first question always asked is “How big should my screen be and how far back does the projector need to be?” The most common projector screen size is 100” ( 203cm x 152cm, 4:3 Aspect Ratio). To project an image this size, most projector models will need to be 3-4 meters back from the screen. A projector lens throw calculator for all models can be found at www.projectorcentral.com
Points To Consider When Installing Where & what am I mounting my projector to? A standard projector mount costs approximately $500 inc-gst. What level of security will I need? Do you require a simple kensington lock or a fully enclosed security mount? How many PCs do I wish to connect? Will I need a switcher or do I have enough VGA ports on my projector? Have I allowed for a VGA buffer? A Quest VGA 1:2 Line Driver/Splitter costs approximately $220 inc-gst. Will I have external connections for video sources? If so, how will I provide sound reinforcement? A multimedia projector provides limited sound reinforcement, usually only a couple of watts. How will I control the projector? Am I using the remote or am I going to install some kind of integrated control solution? A basic low cost JED T460 Projector Controller & T461 Attenuator costs approximately $1500 ex-gst installed.
Oh! And last of all. Negotiate the best price possible & pray you will actually get the budget to go ahead with it all.