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Education Projector Buyers Guide

Choosing the right projector for your school.

What brightness level do I require?
What Resolution is right for me?
How portable should my projector be?
What do the PC Free and Wireless features mean?
Is there anything else to look for?
What projectors do you recommend for educators?

What brightness level do I require?
Brightness with all digital projectors is universally measured in ANSI Lumens. The brightness level required in a standard size classroom can range considerably, depending on the screen size and ambient light. Traditionally a brightness level or 2000 ANSI Lumens is sufficient for a decent screen size in an artificially lit room. Your viewing environment will be a major factor in determining how bright your projector must be. A lower brightness can still be used, however the ambient light in the room may have to be lowered or the screen size reduced to ensure a clear image.

Required brightness levels will vary depending on ambient light and screen size. In larger rooms (ie The school hall or a large lecture theatre) where a large screen size is required (120"-200" diagonal) 3000 Lumens or more is recommended to ensure the image does not look faint or washed. Keep in mind that brighter projectors also tend to use more power, are louder, and can be relatively heavy (3-6kg). Small & Portable projectors are available, however these rarely exceed 3000 Lumens.

What Resolution is right for me? [top]
A Native Resolution is essentially a measurement for the number of pixels being projected. The most common measurements for education projectors are
SVGA - 800x600
XGA - 1024x768

When using your projector for detailed images/graphs, where small fonts are being used, or when a large screen size is required, we recommend an XGA native resolution. An XGA resolution will project more pixels and therefore a more detailed image than its SVGA alternative. For a basic presentation or video projector, that will not be projecting onto large screen

sizes, a resolution of SVGA will be quite suitable. You may notice some pixelation or grid squares when using a SVGA projector on a large sized screen (over 2 metres in width).

How portable should my projector be? [top]
With advancing technology, projectors are now smaller and more portable than ever before. Many new projectors weigh in at only 1kg and take up less room than a notebook computer. Currently the bulk of education projectors weigh in at approx 2-3kg with the the portable versions weighing 1-1.9kg. Many hall or lecture theatre projectors weigh in between 5-8kg, however these are difficult to move and therefore should be permantely fixed or mounted.

Smaller or more portable projectors are perfect for professors, teachers, and teacher aides that require to move the unit to several different locations a day. Tradionally more portable projectors have had less features and inputs however new releases are proving that even the smallest of projectors can still offer a high level of usability. This can be seen in Epson's EMP-1715 projector that weigh's 1.7kg but still manages to offer PC Free and Wireless connectivity all inbuilt.

What do the PC Free and Wireless features mean ? [top]
PC Free and Wireless functions are two relatively new technologies to be found with presentation projectors.

PC Free allows the unit to project a presentation, image or some video files without the need to connect a computer or any other AV device. The correctly formatted files can be loaded onto a USB flash drive or SD Card, which is then connected directly to the projector. (Please check the PC Free inputs before purchasing, some PC Free projectors only offer a USB input while others only accept a memory card). The projector can only read some file types and therefore a standard PowerPoint presentation must be correctly formatted. Software comes with these projectors that can do this for you. PC Free is a great option for teachers that have many sessions or presentations a day and do not wish to carry around both a projector and a notebook computer.

Wireless connectivity allows the projector to connect to a computer without the need for cabling. If your notebook has a wireless feature you can log into the projector using the Wi-Fi feature. If you have an existing Wireless LAN your projector can be connected to this allowing easy connection from virtually any connected computer.

Is there anything else to look out for? [top]
Before you begin your search for a projector, it is important to know exactly what you wish to use your projector for. Are you planning on using it solely for presentations? Or will you be taking it home in the evenings for some home movies? This can become a factor especially when selecting a DLP or LCD projector. LCD have traditionally been more popular for businesses with better colour reproduction and accuracy, however the newer DLP technology has a much higher constrast ratio making it better for multi-use (movies & presentations). If you plan to use your projector for many movies, especially in a dark room, a DLP unit is recommended.

Another feature to be aware of is Keystone correction. When a projector is placed at an angle to the wall, the screen is no longer square. Most projectors offer Keystone correction that will correct this however there are limits on the amount of correction 15-30 degrees.

What projectors do you recommend for educators? [top]

We have included our recommended units in the "Top 5" which you can view by clicking through to the different categories:



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