Expert Guide to Buying a Digital Projector For Education Or Business

Buying a digital projector means focusing on seven key points that give a
price and performance comparison across brands.

The problem is manufacturers try and muddy the market by making comparison
difficult.

Before considering any projector, make a mental note of what the digital
projector will do for your business or organisation, where it will be used
and the budget.

This sets parameters for the reseller that lets them make sensible
recommendations.

For each digital projector, cross-compare these seven key points by award
points out of 10 for each category that should give one or two products
that meet the specification required:

Resolution

The higher the screen resolution in pixels is reflected in a higher digital
projector price. Match the projector to the place where it will be used and
what will be displayed.

PowerPoint presentations in small rooms or classrooms are generally fine at
a low resolution.

Brightness

These depend on the light output, measured in lumens. A projector output of
less than 1000 lumens may not give a clear image. Presentations in rooms
with bright lighting left on probably need a high-performing LCD projector.

Contrast

Contrast is the ratio between the lightest and darkest areas of an image.
Look for a ratio of 400:1 or more to get a balanced image.

Portability

If a projector is static, weight doesn’t matter, but if someone has to
carry the equipment around together with leads and cables, a lightweight
model in a tough case is better. Portable digital projectors can weigh in
at less than 5lbs, but less weight can come with a heavy price tag.

Connectivity

Check out the devices that need an input on the projector and make sure the
model has the right jacks and plugs plus a couple spare. Consider the
computer that will input as well – is it a Mac or a Windows machine and
will the digital projector’s software and/or drivers run on it?

All these factors have to be considered to make sure a projector delivers
maximum usability.

Lamp life

Replacing digital projector lamps is expensive. Look for a machine that has
a listed lamp life of 2000 hours and any power saving options as extras
like lamp management features to extend lamp life.

Warranty

Other key points that affect price are projector and lamp warranty. The
longer and more comprehensive the warranty generally pushes the digital
projector price up.

Don’t forget to check out the support that’s available from the reseller
and the availability of spare lamps.

If the cost is much less than expected, find out if the projector is
cheaper because it’s an end-of-line and whether a new model is due.

Should the price come in more than expected, the digital projector could be
a new model with early takers paying over the odds so the maker can reclaim
R&D costs.

Lastly, don’t make a quick decision – ask the reseller to provide a range
of choices and request a demo in the room where the digital projector will
be installed if possible.

Steve Hine tests and reviews cutting edge digital signage,
videoconferencing equipment and related software and hardware for Smarter Interactive , a leading UK audiovisual consultants

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