Magazine article New Zealand Management

Lighter & Brighter: The Data/video Projector Marketplace Continues to Be One of the Most Competitive and Potentially Confusing Sectors for Buyers. E-Office Shed Some Light. (Data/video Projectors: E.Office)

Magazine article New Zealand Management

Lighter & Brighter: The Data/video Projector Marketplace Continues to Be One of the Most Competitive and Potentially Confusing Sectors for Buyers. E-Office Shed Some Light. (Data/video Projectors: E.Office)

Article excerpt

A good projector can make or break a presentation. However, narrowing down the right model for your needs can be somewhat of a challenge--it is wise to seek advice. In 2002 data/video projectors are continuing down the lighter, brighter pathway. Brightness has levelled off around the 1200 ANSI lumens mark for the mass market, but has stretched to 2200 ANSI lumens and beyond in the higher end of the market. In fact, you can go all the way to 12,000 ANSI lumens if you have the finances (and the need!). Remember that a brighter image generally means that room lights can remain on and the image is still clearly visible.

New technology has also allowed projectors to shed weight, and weight is often the method for categorising the different models:

* Micro-portables weigh less than two kilograms (the lightest is currently 0.9 kilograms!); range from 600 to 1000 ANSI lumens; and generally offer DLP technology (Digital Light Processing).

* Ultra-portables weigh between two and five kilograms; run to 2000 ANSI lumens; and offer such features as automatic keystone correction, sRGB compliance, automatic light detection, and more.

* The portable category varies from five to nine kilograms; 1500 to 3700 ANSI lumens; and offers DVI inputs, lens options, and mostly LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) reproduction.

Obviously for the traveller, a smaller, lighter projector is preferred, although there may be some trade-off in connectivity and brightness. Weight is not a major factor for boardroom systems, however factors such as lumens and noise level probably are.

Native resolution has now swung in favour of XGA (1024 x 768 pixels), although SVGA (800 x 600 pixels) still appeals to the price conscious buyer and regular PowerPoint user. The latest generation of projectors also offers more accurate colour reproduction from laptop or PC images.

While SVGA may be perfectly adequate for the bulk of presentations, Glenn Wright, product sales manager for Toshiba distributor Monaco Corporation, explains that there are times when it won't measure up. "If your boardroom sessions are all about Excel spreadsheets in six point font, or you need to scrutinise the detail of an F-16's wing section, then SVGA resolution probably won't do the job."

Julian Lefebvre, from Mitsubishi distributor Melco New Zealand, also puts up a strong argument in favour of XGA. "Since all PCs from 1998 onwards have native XGA resolution, users should be investing in projectors with the same resolution." He also points out that XGA models are now around the same price as SVGA machines were just two years ago.

Aside from brightness and lightness, projectors have also developed in terms of wireless connectivity. Bluetooth and other communication technologies are cutting the reliance on cables, which is good news for users who have trouble working out what goes where.

CHOOSING A DATA/VIDEO PROJECTOR

When shopping for a projector, look for simplicity of use and ease of set-up, and never, ever buy from a brochure. Choosing between XGA and SVGA is largely determined by the material you'll be projecting (eg PowerPoint videos or detailed spreadsheets), and your brightness requirement depends on the level of ambient light available. It's better to err on the high side. Remember that image quality will be reduced if the data projector has a lower resolution than the data input source.

Sony New Zealand product manager Dave Clark cautions buyers on the subject of brightness and contrast. "Quite often the truth about these two factors is easily distorted. There are many ways to measure contrast ratios and many manufacturers can find ways to publish figures that would not be representative of everyday situations. There are also many ways in which brightness can be measured." Clark recommends a demonstration under all light conditions before making a decision. He also advises buyers to choose a brand they know and trust, and is supported locally. …

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