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How to choose the right projector


These questions will help determine the specifications for brightness, resolution, lens type, and projection distance. These specifications, in turn, will help determine how many projectors and where to place them.

Clayton Brito*

Choosing the right projector is a lot like buying a car. We know how much we can spend, what we need it for, and some of the different models we'd like to value. But here's where things get tricky: once you've examined all the available features and options, which model is the most suitable?

The same goes for display technology: how do you choose the projector when there are so many options? Here are some tips when selecting your next projector, taking into account your budget, space, environment, and what you want to achieve with your equipment.

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1. Size the space
How much ambient light is there in the space where we want to place the projector? What are we going to project onto and how far will the projector be from that surface? Are there any obstacles in the space that prevent the light from the projector from passing through? How far away from the projected image will the audience be?

These questions will help us determine the specifications for brightness, resolution, lens type, and throw distance. These specifications, in turn, will help us determine how many projectors we need and where to place them.

For example, the closer the audience is to the screen, the higher the resolution required for the image not to appear pixelated. If space is limited, an ultra-short throw (UST) lens is very important, as it will allow us to position the projector close to the screen and still get a big, bright image.

2. Managing more than one projector
After evaluating our project and space, we'll have an idea of how many projectors we need. Setups with more than one projector, often referred to as a matrix or multi-projection system, require some additional considerations, such as the size, shape, and type of screen or surface, and whether the projectors will be stationary or mobile.

Warping and blending and automated alignment software ensure that the image displayed by the multi-projection matrix looks seamless and looks the way you want it to, whether you're projecting onto a building or moving projectors for a live event. It is important to visit the websites of the different manufacturers to see if their computers offer these softwares.

3. Evaluate the content
What kind of content are we going to project? Spreadsheets and presentations, detailed, colorful images, or dynamic, vibrant videos?

Color fidelity is more important as the sophistication of the content increases. A projector that improves colour rendering will ensure that colours look balanced, uniform and accurate, and that content looks true to life. Pure RGB laser projectors display the widest color gamut available, and colors closest to what we can see.

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RGB is the only projection technology that can achieve approximately 98% of Rec. 2020. And Rec. 2020 produces 75.8% of all colors the human eye can see compared to 53.6% for DCI-P3 and 35.9% for Rec 709. In other words, Rec. 2020 delivers more than twice the color of Rec. 709 and 41% more than DCI-P3.

proyectoresHowever, not all situations demand the same level of color accuracy. It all depends on the subtle nuances and requirements of the application and the content we are going to display. So, if we're just projecting a presentation, spreadsheet, or video content, then the Rec. 709 and DCI-P3 color gamuts offered by laser projectors are likely to meet our needs and help the content look great.

4. The Price
We know that cost is a priority, but you have to look at price as a starting point, not the finish line. Whether it's a 1DLP or 3DLP projector, total cost of ownership should be a factor when making a decision. Energy efficiency, projector quality, maintenance schedule, replacement cost of consumables such as filters, and the lifespan of the light source can all influence the total cost.

By calculating power needs and thermal load or energy efficiency, we can begin to determine our infrastructure needs and running costs, which can help offset the purchase price. Since laser projectors and pure RGB laser projectors are much more efficient than traditional lamp-based technology, they are less expensive to operate, which is something to consider if you want to replace old lamp-based equipment.

Another consideration for our investment is the lifespan of the projector. Laser projectors offer 20,000 hours of reliable operation before reaching 50% brightness, while the lifespan of pure RGB laser light sources is at least 25% longer.

5. The right projector isn't always the biggest
To find the best solution, considering a manufacturer's full range of projectors will help us find the most affordable and best value option for our budget and make sure it's the right equipment for the job.

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Size and weight won't take precedence over image quality or functionality of your device, but they can influence your decision. If we need a projector that is easier to move around or there is limited space, then we may want a smaller, lighter one. The combination of a compact form factor and the ability to use the projector in any orientation (not all projectors can do this) will allow us to precisely place it where it is needed for optimal screen coverage and performance.

6. What about noise?
If your audience is away from the projector, you probably don't need to think too much about the noise level. But what if the projector is nearby? No one wants to distract the audience's attention or add to the noise that's already in the room, so the sound level of the projector is part of our decision.

What does this mean in terms of noise? 30dBA is considered a very quiet noise level, while 40dBA equates to a low library sound.

7. Support & Service
When choosing a brand, the manufacturer's reputation and commitment to support and service is key. We need to know if we can count on the brand for the entire life of the projector to ensure a quality experience.

In the end, the key is to find a projector that offers everything you're looking for without spending more on unnecessary extras or spending too little and sacrificing features. Ultimately, the right projector is the one that best suits our application and budget.

*Clayton Brito is director of Christie's Enterprise division in Latin America.

Richard Santa, RAVT
Author: Richard Santa, RAVT
Periodista de la Universidad de Antioquia (2010), con experiencia en temas sobre tecnología y economía. Editor de las revistas TVyVideo+Radio y AVI Latinoamérica. Coordinador académico de TecnoTelevisión&Radio.

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