An audio and visual projector offers several advantages for business meetings and presentations. Projection technology is popular for its cost-effectiveness, and it’s capable of producing images with a diagonal as long as 300 inches. Projection systems are also compact, require little work to install, and are durable enough to hold up over the long haul.
There are a variety of audio visual projectors to choose from, which means there is an ideal solution available for every conference room.
What features should businesses look for in an AV projector?
AV projectors are a visual medium, so things like resolution, aspect ratio and contrast ratio are important, but there are bigger picture considerations to address. For example:
1. Networkability – Modern projectors, like almost all AV technologies, function optimally when they are properly networked. Once they are, the projection system can be easily maintained and controlled remotely. Networkability also allows users to send content to the projector, so remote team members can contribute to a presentation with their own content.
2. Interactivity – Some of the most accomplished projector brands, like EPSON, offer interactive projectors. Interactive projectors can be used with most flat surfaces to create an interactive workspace, so people can walk up to the wall or dry erase board and interact with the projected image. Interactive projectors can be used to annotate or draw, and multiple users can interact with the technology at once.
Interactive projectors are typically the least expensive interactive whiteboard option. If your company could use interactive technology, a projector system may be a way to test it out without committing to a major hardware purchase.
3. Standard or short throw? – The difference between a projector with a standard throw and one with a short throw is the distance the projector must be from the screen. In a typical conference room, a standard throw projector will need to be several feet away from the screen to create a large enough image for people to comfortably see. This can be a limiting factor in some meeting spaces, where there isn’t several feet of space to spare. Further, standard throw projectors often have issues with shadows, due to the distance between the projector and the screen.
A solution to this problem is opting for a short throw or ultra-short throw projector instead. These projectors are built with a special lens apparatus that allows for closer placement to the screen. This can help with shadows and provide a solution for smaller conference spaces.
What specifications are important in an audio and visual projector?
An audio and visual projector is designed for visual communications, so you’ll need to pay attention to each one’s specifications. Here’s how to read a projector tech sheet:
1. Resolution – Resolution is a critical factor where image quality is concerned, and the higher the resolution, the better. Resolution described how many pixels a particular image is made out of, and is presented using two numbers. The first is the number of pixels arranged horizontally, and the second is the number of pixels arranged vertically. As these numbers rise, so does the projector’s ability to produce large, clear images.
High resolution is a must, so consider WUXGA (widescreen ultra-extended graphics array) projectors, which can output at 1920×1200.
2. Contrast ratio – A projector’s contrast ratio describes the difference between the brightest whites and the darkest shades of black the technology is capable of. Contrast ratio is described as, well, a ratio, so if a projector offers a 10000:1 contrast ratio, that means it outputs whites that are 10,000 times brighter than its darkest blacks.
Contrast is needed to produce vivid colors, and the greater the contrast ratio, the easier it is for people to tell individual colors and brightness levels apart. A projector with low contrast, for instance, will appear washed out or lifeless in spots.
3. Brightness – Brightness is listed in terms of lumens, which is a measure of light intensity. The larger the number, the brighter the projector—and the projector’s brightness will have a massive impact on how it performs. A projector that’s not bright enough will appear faded or washed out, especially when ambient lighting is present in the room. A projector that’s too bright may be uncomfortable for people to view in low light.
Projectors designed for conference rooms sit between those two extremes, with brightness levels that tend to vary between 3,000 and 4,000 lumens. At this brightness, the projector will look its best under dimmed lighting, but will still be easy to discern under full lighting.
4. Aspect ratio – Aspect ratio is either listed as 16:9 or 4:3. A 16:9 aspect ratio means that there are 16 units of length for every 9 units of height, so the image is presented in the shape of a rectangle. This is the standard aspect ratio for most modern displays, but some projectors still output with a legacy 4:3 ratio, which looks more like a square. Issues can arise if the source aspect ratio doesn’t match the projector’s, so most businesses choose projectors with a 16:9 ratio now, as it’s the standard format for HD content.
An audio and visual projector will drive more engaging, more productive meetings. A reputable AV integrator can help provide valuable insight into which projector brands and models will work best long term.