Three C’s of Choosing a Projector

Not a month goes by that someone doesn’t ask me to give them advice on picking out a projector for their sanctuary or classroom. Of course, I’m happy to help when and where I can, but it’s also a tricky question. No two rooms are alike and no two projector placements are alike. There are so many things that go into what projector to get and where to put it. But I ran across this article recently that may be of help to you and thought I’d repost it for any and all who may be interested. Enjoy!!

Brandon

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You’re going to need to consider more than resolution,
brightness and bulb life when picking a projector.

By Mark Coxon

We’ve all heard of the three “Cs” of choosing a diamond — cut, clarity and color (*actually there are four C’s- cut, color, clarity and carat weight – brandon*). Some of you may not be as well-versed in the three “Cs” of projectors. Many think of resolution, brightness and bulb life as the trinity of projector stats, but I propose we look at the following.

Control
How a projector is controlled can play a major role in a successful installation. In some environments, depending on the classification, RF communications are banned, IP control cannot be run through the secure network and even IR cannot be used for control in rooms with windows. This leaves few options, and the most relevant is RS-232. If you want to standardize on a unit for these environments, pick one with RS-232.

RS-232 has its advantages in education as well. The learning curve for the operator, most likely the teacher, is decreased. They don’t have to worry about line of sight or ambient light affecting the control signal, as they may if the system uses IR control. One thing to note, however, is that not all control ports are equal.

I worked in a school where the district provided Extron Pole Vault as the source and control system and NEC projectors. This proved to be a problem. The NEC projector used RS232 protocol for commands, but had a round DIN style connection for control and not the standard trapezoidal, 9-pin DB9 jack for the cables that Extron includes in its kit. The net result was buying $70 adapters for 40 classrooms. It cost the school $2,800 that could have been spent elsewhere if they had purchased projectors with the right control inputs.

Cooling
Considering that heat is the most destructive factor in projector bulb and power supply life, cooling methods should also be considered. Knowing where the intakes and exhausts are on units can be key in making sure they are well-suited for the job at hand.

There are units that can be installed vertically to shoot downward at a table. With the aid of eBeam, the unit can turn a tabletop into an interactive map for learning U.S. capitals or planning a siege on a tyrannical dictator. Projectors that have front exhaust and rear intakes would do miserably in this scenario. The heat would come out the front, rise and finally be sucked back, causing a heating nightmare. That being said, such projects are good for horizontal installations where units need to be pushed to the rear wall without effect.

Color
Color accuracy may be the last thing you’re concerned about. However, there are some teaching scenarios where color can be extremely important. For instance, companies like Canon have projectors that adhere to Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) standards that give accurate grayscale reproduction. This is essential in teaching someone how to interpret results of an MRI, CT scan, or even the results of sonar being used to determine where subterranean oil reserves may be located.

A school for graphic design, film editing and production will have similar concerns about full color spectrum.

Posted on June 13, 2015 in IFR Project Review

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