As time dwindles down for schools to spend their remaining budget dollars, many technology directors are looking to acquire new projectors for their district. With the vast number of different projectors on the market today, finding the right projector can be an overwhelming task. Nichole Hembree, BoardShare’s director of business development, recently spoke with Anthony Cusmano, one of BoardShare’s partners at Touchboards, to find out more about what projectors he recommends for different classroom setups. Anthony is a product specialist and projector guru who has helped thousands of educators find the right projector for their classroom.
Nichole: “What are some important factors to consider when looking at different projectors?”
Anthony: “One of the most important things to consider when it comes to projectors is class size. The larger the class, the larger the projected display should be.
“Another important factor to consider is the projector’s lumens, which is the measurement of how much light the projector can produce. Many teachers want to be able to keep the lights on when they’re presenting at the front of the classroom so that students can see the notes they’re taking. The most common question I receive is ‘what projector is bright enough and has a clear enough display to use while the lights are on?’. If you want to keep the lights on when using your projector, you want to ensure that you purchase a projector that is no less than 3,000 lumens. I typically suggest purchasing a projector that falls anywhere within the range of 3,000 to 4,000 lumens.
“Projectors for large classes will typically require a projector with higher lumens so that all of the students can clearly see the image. If your projector is too bright, the picture clarity can be drastically reduced. I wouldn’t recommend a projector that is over 5,000 lumens.”
When the Scientist Presents by Jean Luc Lebru mentions that projectors with a high-intensity brightness can result in eye strain and headaches when used in a darkened room.
In addition to classroom size and lumens, educators should consider whether they want a short throw or standard projector. Projectors are categorized by the distance the projector needs to be from the screen to create an image size of 100 inches. Compared to standard projectors, short throw projectors can be placed much closer to the screen and still create the same size projected image. A short throw projector can typically be placed 3 feet from the screen, while an ultra short throw projector can be placed a mere foot and a half from the screen.
Nichole: “How do I know if I should use a short throw or standard projector?”
Anthony: “I typically recommend short-throw or ultra short throw projectors for most educators that I speak with. In my experience, short throw projectors give an overall better performance than standard projectors, and have a higher picture quality. These are also ideal if you’re considering pairing the projector with interactive whiteboard technology. Because short throw projectors reduce shadowing, you can use them with the lights on, and you also can have a bright display without having too much of a glare.
“Short throw projectors can cost anywhere from $700 to $2,000. The Hitachi CP-AX2505 Ultra Short Throw LCD Projector costs around $1,000; however, this projector has bulbs that last a long time and are much cheaper to replace than most other projector bulbs.”
Nichole: “Considering the price of the projector bulbs is so important when factoring it into overall budget. What other projectors do you recommend for schools on a tighter budget?”
Anthony: “Schools that do not have a great deal of money to spend need to consider the cost of replacing the projector bulbs. High-end projectors often have bulbs that are costly to replace. The ideal projector will have a projector bulb that lasts about 4000 to 5000 hours, and does not deplete budgets when it comes time to replacing them. Short throw projector bulbs often cost around $150 to replace. The Hitachi projector I mentioned earlier has replacement bulbs that cost about $50, which will save a school a great deal of money in the long run. The Optoma X341 Multimedia Projector is another low-cost projector that maintains its value over time.”
Anthony also recommended the Vivitek D554 for schools with less money to spend, as it is “a great entry-level projector”. It has a limp life of approximately 5000 hours, and the replacement lamps can be purchased through Touchboards for $172.50.
It is clear that, when it comes to choosing a projector, there is no shortage of available options. Taking the time to research different pros and cons for each projector type can be incredibly beneficial in the long run, and save money for your school. Although there are many different projectors on the market, the projectors most typically recommended by Anthony Cusmano are:
Vivitek D554 – cost-effective projector that has a lamp life of 5000 hours.
The Optoma X341 Multimedia Projector – low-cost, lightweight standard projector, and is great for schools on a tighter budget.
The Hitachi CP-AX2505 Ultra Short Throw LCD Projector – low-cost short throw projector that offers inexpensive bulb replacements.