Most companies have conference rooms with a projector already set up and ready to use, but there are many factors that are different among the various projectors on the market. Projectors are also coming down in price, making projectors available for home use. If you have the chance to purchase or recommend a projector, then understanding these differences can help with your decision.
There are two technologies used in most projectors today-DLP and LCD. DLP projectors use a mirrored chip to focus the projection, resulting in projectors that are lighter and smaller. DLP projectors are more mobile and generally sturdier than LCD projectors. LCD projectors use three liquid crystal panels to create a projection. These result in a brighter beam that shows up more clearly across a large room. Figure 36.6 shows a sample DLP projector available from Dell, Inc.
Figure 36.6: Projectors can project a computer image onto the side of a wall so an entire group can view the presentation.
If you intend to use the projector in a room with windows that can let in some external light, then look for an LCD projector that has a brightness value of at least 800 lumens and a DLP projector with a brightness value of at least 1000 lumens.
Each projector has a recommended distance range that the projector can handle. If the distance between the screen and projector is larger than this recommended distance, then you may want to consider a different unit. Trying to use a projector beyond its recommended distance results in an image that isn't clear or in focus.
It is also important to check the resolution that the projector supports. Projectors that support higher resolutions can display more details. For television viewing, an SVGA resolution of 800 × 600 is sufficient, but for connecting to a computer or for high definition (HD) video, a resolution of 1024 × 768 (XGA) is required.
In addition to resolution, watch for the aspect ratios that the projector can handle. Standard aspect ratios for television and standard video are 4:3, but widescreen movies have an aspect ratio or 16:9. If your projector doesn't handle widescreen, then you may be stuck watching movies in standard format.
The final option to check when looking into projectors is the connection method. Common connectors for projectors include standard RCA, S-Video, and component video connections. If you need to connect to a computer, look for a projector that has a monitor port that can connect to a computer. Some projectors require a converter to convert the analog video signal to digital.