Projectors have certainly come a long way from the old click-by-click slides. Today’s high-tech devices are a major tool for bringing presentations to life and impressing clients with high-definition capabilities for stills and video.
Whether you’re looking to upgrade or are entering the world of presenting PowerPoint, videos, and other company materials to an audience, here is a guide to selecting the right projector for your business needs.
Choose Your Projector
The first step in selecting a projector is to know what will best fit your needs. Is space a problem? Do you need a projector that you can move to different locations? Do you have a room dedicated to entertaining clients or holding business meetings? There are three main categories projectors fall into:
- Overhead projectors: This is the projector everyone grew up with. The overhead projector is becoming somewhat of a dinosaur due to computer technology. The overhead projector displays static images on transparencies. These transparencies can be written on and erased as you present. These projectors are useful if you want a more direct interaction with your audience through live writing, and they can be purchased for less than $200.
- Portable projectors: Like laptop computers, portable projectors have slowly become the product of choice when it comes to functionality and usability on the go. Portable projectors now offer the same dynamic capabilities of fixed projectors and, for the most part, are easy to set up with few cables and connections. However, always keep in mind that you will also need a projection screen, a cost you may need to consider along the way. The projectors themselves range in price from a few hundred dollars to $1,000-plus. Other things to think about when purchasing are size, weight, and, most importantly, connection options.
- Fixed projectors: As with portable projectors, fixed projectors have made enormous leaps and strides when it comes to presenting content in rich and full media formats. Fixed projectors are great for big boardrooms or a place where one wants to entertain and impress clients. Although they can be costly, ranging anywhere from $900 to $11,000-plus, fixed projectors are the best way to give the highest quality presentations possible.
Choose Its Features
After you’ve decided on the type of projector that best fits the needs of your company, it’s important to know how it works from the inside out:
- Brightness: A projector’s brightness is measured by the lumens it produces. The more lumens, the brighter the images will be. Keep in mind that larger images also require more lumens to project clearly. Standard projectors range around 1,000 to 1,200 lumens and will do a good job for standard presentations; but if you’re going to be presenting on a grand scale, it’s better to go with a projector with a higher lumen output, something around 1,800. Also keep in mind that the more light you have in the room, the more lumens you’ll need and vise versa for a darker room.
- Contrast ratio: A projector’s contrast ratio is its brightness over room light, a measure of the projector’s blackest black and its whitest white. If you plan on doing standard still image presentations without a lot of detail, a projector with a 300:1 contrast ratio will do fine. If you plan on presenting high-quality images and video, a projector with a contrast ratio of 400:1 and higher is your best bet. As of now, there is no industry standard for measuring a projector’s contrast ratio; one manufacturer may claim a 400:1 ratio, but its competitor, with the same contrast ratio, may produce a better picture.
- Resolution: The resolution of a projector is much like your computer monitor: the greater the resolution, the more information that can be displayed on the screen. The standard display resolution for basic presentations is 800×600. However, if you want to present in greater detail or have animation in your presentation, you’ll want to go higher than 800×600. Also, look for features such as SVGA, XGA, and SXGA. For simple, higher-quality presentations, SVGA is sufficient. If you’re looking for more advanced and higher-quality projections, consider going with XGA. For super high quality, look at SXGA.
- Weight: If you’re always on the go, weight (and size) is going to be a major factor when considering what works best for your needs. Many projectors come in as light as the 2-pound range. These are often categorized as mini projectors. These portable projectors allow you to walk into any meeting and quickly project your presentation. The latest modern marvel is pico projectors. These tiny gadgets let you connect not just with your laptop but with the gadgets in your pocket such as your phone or other media-playing device. Pico projectors can fit in your pocket and can easily project images of 100 inches. Understand, however, that this small package does give way to fewer lumens and other features.