Should Businesses Buy a Projector Or an LCD Display?

With the price of large (>32″) LCD displays decreasing rapidly and new
functionalities being added to LCD displays, does it still make sense for
businesses to buy a projector vs. an LCD display?

Some of the variables to consider when evaluating this question are product
quality, price, picture quality, screen size and other such considerations.
We discuss these and other factors from a typical business organization
perspective. Read other articles and make your informed judgement.

Product Life: LCD TVs or displays typically have a backlight life of 30,000 to 60,000
hours (ie, if you have the display on for ~6 hours every day, the backlight
will last for 16 years). Even then the backlight can be replaced in most
LCD displays. A projector bulb typically has a life of 2,000 hours.

Price Considerations: A basic projector can be found for INR 25,000. However, if the projector
is going to be used for video conferencing or board room presentation, a
high resolution, good contrast ratio and saturated colour projector would
be required. The cost of such a projector is close to INR 1 lakh.
Thereafter, you need to factor in the prices of projector bulb and
projection screens. A typical projector bulb needs to be replaced almost
every year or two with bulbs costing Rs 20,000+ per bulb. We have added
these costs over a five-year period to compare a projector vs. an LCD (see
chart below). With 46″ LCD TV or display costing around Rs 135,000 – Rs
150,000 and dropping, price becomes less of an issue when considering
whether to buy a Projector or LCD display

Figure: Total Cost of Ownership Comparison for Projector vs. LCD Display

Basic Device capital cost for projector is INR 70,000 and that of an LCD
display is INR 150,000, Projector Screen Capital Cost (Wall Mount Screens
INR 5-15K) is INR 10,000, Consumable cost of the projector is 20,000 x 3 =
INR 60,000, Consumable life of a projector is 2,000hrs and that of an LCD
display is 60,000hrs and the Cost of Ownership of a projector is Rs.140,
000/- and Rs.150, 000/- for an LCD display.

Assume: 5years of usage @ 5hrs a day ~ 6600hrs of use. This translates to 4
lamps in 5 years requiring the customer to buy 3 lamps in addition to 1
supplied with machine.

What is clear from the above figure is that a Full High Definition 46″ LCD
Display is, at best, only marginally costlier than a XGA Projector of
~2500AL. Additional costs of low screen installation costs and lower device
loss costs are purely additional.

Picture Quality: Projectors such as a DLP or LCD projector use glass panels to combine red,
green and blue colours to create the image. When sitting close to screen,
the viewer can see the different colours at the borders of an image, aptly
described as the rainbow effect. The rainbow effect takes away from the
image quality and can give headaches. High-end projectors have been able to
reduce the rainbow effect, however the problem still remains and these
high-end projectors cost more. LCD TV or LCD displays do not have rainbow
effect issues and the quality of the picture is good at close range.

Rather, projectors cannot compare with the picture quality for an LCD
display. The vividness of the colours, the contrast ratio, the colour
saturation and image sharpness are much better for an LCD display than a
projector. When viewing a projector image, especially in ambient light, the
viewer has to dim the lights or close the curtains unless the business has
purchased an even more costly higher lumen projector. Not true with LCD
displays, as the brightness and colour quality are much better.

Viewing angles used to be an issue with LCD displays but this issue is no
longer true. Most LCD displays can be viewed from up to 176 degrees.

Dead or Stuck Pixels Projectors can suffer from dead pixels and LCD
displays can suffer from stuck pixels. Both dead pixels and stuck pixels
result in white spots in the projected image. However, the manufacturers of
both technologies have worked hard to minimize such issues and in most
cases they provide warranty against such issues.

Screen Size: A common thought is that screen size is not an issue for most projectors
as the thinking is that the projector image can be made larger by moving
the projector away from the screen. This is not true as the image quality
deteriorates as the image becomes larger. With projectors, most buyers opt
for maximum optimized projector image sizes from 76-inches to 120-inches
and the actual working normal projection image used is much smaller. Today,
if businesses need a large LCD display in the maximum projector image size,
a wide variety of competitive LCD displays can be found in this range.

Portability: Projectors are easy to carry and move around. For a business this could be
a value-add or a drawback. LCD displays are durable and can be moved
however they are not as light as projectors.

Power Consumption: Projector power consumption varies more from unit to unit, with brighter
conference projectors requiring more power than smaller portable
projectors. It is hard to compare the two technologies on this performance
parameter.

Connectivity: Most LCD displays have more number and different types of ports than
projectors. As a result more types of devices can be connected to an LCD
display than a projector.

Other Value-Add Features : New features are appearing in LCD displays that could be quite valuable
for businesses. For example, touch screen features on LCD displays allow
for LCD displays to be used as digital whiteboards where the data written
on the display can easily get captured electronically in a text document.

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