Commercial Sound and Video Systems
Published: Feb 10, 2014

Which Projector Do I Need?

One of the most common pieces of technology used in the professional AV industry today is the video projector. These units can be critical components of boardrooms, classrooms, training facilities, meeting rooms, auditoriums and even in Churches & Temples. Today projectors are feature rich and very diverse and choosing the right unit for your specific application can be difficult.

To simplify this process here are three basic (but important) specifications to look for:

1)      Brightness: Projectors today are becoming ever brighter and sharper.  Where an ultra-bright projector a few years ago was 2000 lumens, most units today (for corporate environments) can be 4000 to 6000 lumens.  Brightness is important but can be costly, it is also not the only specification you should be concerned with.  If the room is bright and very well lit 5000 to 6000 lumens should be considered.  In the average meeting space application with controlled lighting (no direct Sunlight on the screen) 4000 to 5000 lumens should be sufficient.

2)      Resolution: The newest trends are towards HDMI interface with DVD players, Laptops and Teleconferencing devices.  HDMI may very well replace the old VGA standard in the years ahead (perhaps sooner rather than later).  But HDMI inputs on a projector do not mean that the unit can provide the full resolution quality that one may expect.  Especially since most people are watching TVs at home that has a True HD (1920 X 1080) resolution.  If the image is important to your presentations look for a minimum of a WXGA (1280 X 720) projector.  Of course, a better choice would be SXGA (1280X1024) or the goal for HD at WUXGA (1920X1080) would be even better.  Keep in mind this resolution rating will have a substantial impact on the cost of the unit, but will also affect the quality of the presentation.

3)      Contrast Ratio: A less well known yet still important spec for any video display device is Contrast Ratio.  The higher this number (1000 or 3000 or greater) the better the image quality on your screen.   Contrast ratio in its simplest form is the ratio of the light reflected from an all-white image and an all-black image.  So a projector with a 3000:1 contrast ratio means that the white image is 3000 times brighter than the black image. The higher the contrast ratio, the more detail you can see on the projected image whether its numbers, pictures, graphs, text, or video. Contrast is what makes it possible for us to see the subtle shades of colors.  So good contrast is all about seeing the details.

There are many other specifications and features that can be of value to review, but these three will give you a solid foundation for making the right choice to achieve the desired end-result.  Who isn’t looking for the “biggest and brightest” but often budget will dictate what we will finally purchase.  Of course, the most critical decision you can make will be choosing the right A/V vendor to install, replace or otherwise handle your sound and/or video needs.  Relying on a trusted resource provider in A/V can save you and your company a lot of money, time and most importantly embarrassment…

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