Great Computer Projectors Make for Better Presentations
Almost everyone can identify with the fear of giving a bad presentation. To make matters worse, expectations of presenters have risen drastically. Audiences are no longer satisfied with black and white slides and washed-out color images. Nowadays, audiences are visually stimulated by multi-media presentations as projectors for computers have become more advanced.
Fortunately, creating interesting presentations does not have to be an entirely nerve-wracking experience. One way to improve your overall presentation is by using an LCD computer projector. LCD projectors combine the functions of an LCD panel and an overhead projector into a single unit. The majority of LCD projectors are both Mac and IBM compatible and come standard with nifty features such as remote control, stereo, and video projection capabilities.
Using programs such as Microsoft PowerPoint, computer projectors let you project presentations directly from your PC. In addition, they are ideal tools for presentations that require live computer screen shots, such as demoing a web site to a group of clients or instructing employees on the uses of a particular computer program.
Choosing an LCD Projector
Lamp brightness The type of LCD projector that you choose will greatly depend on the room settings that you plan to use the projector in. Generally speaking, the brighter the room, the brighter the projector lamp that you will require.
Lamp brightness is calculated in ANSI lumens, an industry standard measurement. You'll want a lamp with a minimum of 300 ANSI lumens for presentations that take place in relatively dark rooms. However, don't settle for less than 500 ANSI lumens (750 if it’s a large auditorium) if you need to keep the room well-lit so that the audience can take notes.
Resolution Another factor to consider is resolution. This refers to the number of screen pixels that can be displayed by the LCD system. In order to get the sharpest image, you'll need to choose a system that can project the highest resolution that your computer can support.
Only a few years ago VGA (640x480 pixels) was the standard. Today, many laptops now feature SVGA (800x600) and XGA (1024x768) as their standard resolutions. Many projectors can also project higher or lower resolutions by expanding or compressing the picture, but these methods will somewhat degrade the image.
Portability Finally, portability should be at the top of your checklist if you plan to take your presentations on the road. LCD computer projectors currently range from just under eight lbs. to as much as 60 lbs. If you're a road warrior, I suggest that you stick to a projector of less than 15 lbs. No one wants to be dragged down by an LCD projector while running to their connecting flight.
Leading manufacturers include Epson, Hitachi, Sony, Ricoh, Canon, and 3M. Depending on the brand and specific features, projector pricing can range from $290 to $20,000 (and up). But within that field, you’ll find a wide range of options available in terms of cost.
Current price ranges include:
- Expect to pay around $6,000 to $8,000 for a portable LCD projector that supports true SVGA resolution.
- Most models, except for those at the very low end of the range, will have a rated brightness of at least 2500 to 3000 ANSI lumens. For these models you can expect to pay at least $700, and as much as $4,000.
- Resolution is another factor that drives up cost. Though 1280 x 800 will be fine for some people in smaller settings, decent presentations require at least 1920 x 1080, for which you’ll pay between $1,600 and $7,500. Top of the line in terms of definition right now is 4K, with a resolution of 4096 x 2160. Models produced by Sony and Christie Digital retail for around $18,000 and $121,000 respectively.
- And finally portability: powerful little projectors, like those produced by Sanyo and Optoma, weigh less than 7 lbs and are just slightly larger than an egg carton. They offer 2000 to 2300 lumens and a resolution of 1920 x 1080, currently costing between $1,000 and $1,500.