How to Choose the Right Projector for Your Business
Whether you want to update your conference/meeting room AV setup or impress your venue visitors with stunning visuals –a projector could be your best solution. But how to pick the right one? This guide gives the answer!
Types of Modern Projectors
The first step is to choose the technology that your new projector will use – which primarily means, the way it produces light.
There are three main options on the market today: lamp, LED, and laser projectors. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of each of these types.
This type of projector has been used for decades. It uses a powerful light bulb as a light source. Lamp projectors are affordable and offer high image quality. They are relatively easy to set up and use.
However, there are some drawbacks as well:
- Light bulbs have a limited lifespan – typically 2000-4000 hours; a replacement lamp can cost up to a few hundreds of dollars.
- It takes time for a lamp to warm up and start producing the highest quality picture.
- Lamp projectors require more power to run and generate more heat. They need internal fans to cool the system, therefore some of them may be quite noisy.
These projectors use an LED source of light that lasts much longer – up to 30,000 hours. They are also the most compact ones, so if you are looking for a portable solution, look no further. LED projectors are energy-efficient and need virtually no maintenance.
Of course, there still are some downsides which other video conferencing equipment does not have:
- They have a lower brightness output than other projector types. Using an LED projector in a room with plenty of ambient light may not be a great idea.
- LED projectors are typically more expensive than lamp projectors. There are some very cheap LED models on the market but be careful with the cheap ones. You get what you pay for.
This is the newest technology that offers unparalleled brightness and image quality accompanied by energy efficiency, a long lifespan, and no need for maintenance whatsoever. There are only two disadvantages:
- Laser projectors are the most expensive.
- They tend to be larger and heavier than other projector types.
Projector Specifications to Focus On
Now that we learned the difference between projector types, let’s discuss the technicalities. There are three main aspects that directly affect the quality of the projected image:
- Throw Ratio
- Contrast Ratio
- Native Resolution
Let’s address throw ratio first as it will have an impact on any projector you purchase or rent.
Wouldn’t it be frustrating to buy a projector with perfect image quality and find out that you cannot use it properly? That’s could happen if you don’t pay attention to the throw ratio.
This term describes the relation between the throw distance and the image width. In other words, how far your projector must be placed from the screen to produce the desired image size.
Let’s say you want to project a 100-inch image. With a throw ratio of 1:1, you will need to place the projector 100 inches away from the screen.
With a 1:1.5 ratio, the projector must be 150 inches away. So, if you want to use a projector in a small room, you should ensure that this model’s throw allows it.
Now that we pointed out the importance of throw ratio, let’s discuss projector specs that directly affect image quality.
This is the most important and probably the most confusing one out of all video conferencing equipment. Typically, brightness is measured in lumens. Unfortunately, not all lumens are equal. Different manufacturers use different measurements to get those numbers as high as possible hoping to trick consumers into buying their products.
If you don’t want to fall victim to such deception, there is a simple rule to follow: the only reliable unit of measurement is an ANSI lumen. If a manufacturer does not mention ANSI lumen brightness in a projector’s spec list, you should ask yourself if you really want to take this chance.
Now you know what to look for, but how exactly bright do you need your projector to be? Typically, you should look for as much brightness as possible for your budget. Moreover, the brighter the ambient light is, the more brightness your projector will need to compensate for it.
Typically, for business use with ample ambient lighting, your projector’s brightness should start at 2500 ANSI lumens. This means that an LED projector most likely won’t fit your needs – those are typically less bright than that.
This figure indicates the difference between all-white and all-black images produced by a projector. 5000:1 ratio means that white is 5000 times brighter than black. The higher this ratio, the more detailed image you will see.
However, just as in the case of brightness, different measurement systems mean drastically different numbers which make it hard to correlate with the actual image quality.
The contrast ratio numbers can get ridiculous with some manufacturers claiming it to be over 3,000,000:1 depending on how they count it. Don’t fall for these numbers: they have nothing to do with real life.
The only way to know for sure is to look at the actual image quality of a projector you want to buy – and/or read and watch reviews where experts measure the real contrast ratio.
This spec describes the resolution of an image produced by a projector. The higher the resolution, the sharper the picture.
However, for office use, you probably won’t need a resolution higher than Full HD (or 1980×1200 if you prefer a 16:10 aspect ratio). So, there is probably no point in overpaying for a 4K or even 8K projector.
Illuminating Your Projector Choices
Pardon the pun, we couldn’t resist. Now that you know all the main characteristics to look at, we hope that it will be easier for you to find a perfect projector to buy. And don’t just take our word for it.
By the way, buying is not the only option – you can rent a projector from us as well! Our experts will provide you with the best video conferencing equipment that will cover all your needs for a reasonable price. Call us now 800-668-4988