Sound business sense

Research has shown that background music while working improves business productivity – so it makes sound business sense to get a decent pair of earphones.

MusicWorks commissioned research that analysed productivity in the office when listening to one of four musical genres.

It found that listening to music has a positive effect on workers’ productivity - radically improving speed and accuracy of tasks such as data entry, proof reading and problem solving skills.

When listening to a selection of different genres, classical music was found to be the most effective for improving the accuracy of tasks and resolving everyday mathematical problems, with participants achieving a 73% pass rate.

When listening to pop music, 58% of participants completed data entry tasks much faster.

When proof-reading, dance music had the most positive impact, with participants increasing their speed by 20% compared to proof-reading tests undertaken with no music at all. Dance music also had a positive effect on spell-checking, with a 75% pass rate, compared to 68% when no music was played at all.

Whether listening to music while at work or on the daily commute; watching films on a flight; or just making calls from the mobile, business people can get better sound quality with Optoma Nuforce’s new NE750M and NE800M earphones.  These ultra-lightweight earphones offer a substantial upgrade from the standard earphones that come with smartphones or music players.

Both earphones come with a range of earbud sizes to ensure a snug, slip-free fit that minimises ambient noise and provides the best possible sound quality. This also makes them ideal for taking to the gym after work.

That all makes sound business sense.

* The experiment required 26 participants to undertake a series of on-line tasks 5 days in a row. The tasks were slightly different each day, but always included spell checking, equation solving, maths word problems, data entry and abstract reasoning tasks. Each day participants were either asked to listen to a playlist as background music (genres: dance, ambient, classical and pop) or not listen to music.

How to create an outdoor cinema in your garden

With the summer festival season upon us, it is a great time to have an outdoor cinema in your garden.

Many of the major music festivals such as Glastonbury, Reading and Proms in the Park are televised.  So, with a super-size screen and a projector, you could bring the festival feel to your garden.

Or you could screen the latest blockbusters and create your own film festival with friends and family.

So what do you need?

If you are looking to use the projector to mainly watch DVDs or Blu-Rays® you would probably choose a high definition, high resolution 1080p projector with HDMI input.  You will need the projector to be fairly bright.  Home entertainment projectors are suitable for use with some ambient light so would be ideal for a garden cinema set-up.

You will obviously need sound for your film or music festival.  This can be from the projector’s built-in speaker or by connecting the projector to your external speakers.  You will need to check your chosen projector has Audio Out.

And you will need a screen. You can be creative and use a sheet stretched over goalposts or the washing line, project straight onto the house (if it is light-coloured) or you could get a pull-up screen.

It is really easy to simply plug and play with an Optoma projector.  You can connect any of your devices straight into the projector including your DVD player, set top box or streaming devices such as Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick, Roku or Apple TV. Check the projector has the necessary input port for the source device with which you wish to connect.

You can leave your source device (such as your DVD player) in the living room and connect a wireless device, such as the WHD200. This allows you to stream Full HD 1080p content direct to your projector wirelessly.  This cuts out messy cables and means you can leave your DVD player connected in the living room. 

Our great garden cinema guide has some brilliant ideas for setting up your own outdoor cinema including seating, screens and BBQ recipes.  

 

Are you ready for the revival of video?

Like the resurgence in interest for vinyl records, video tapes could see a revival according to reports.

 

After the first video cassette recorder (VCR) went on sale at Dixons in 1978, demand for VCRs fell due to the rise of DVD players in the 1990s.

 

But the past few years have seen a huge influx in VHS collectors according to Daily Grindhouse.  Video collectors say films made for VHS look strange when cleaned up for higher-definition DVDs. They prefer the grainer quality of the VHS format, in the same way a vinyl collector might speak about the warmth of a record’s sound.

 

“These are movies that feel too cleaned-up on DVD and Blu-ray, as if they were never meant to look that good. Watching them on VHS is closer to the way the director intended it to look,” Dan Kinem, a VHS collector, told Collectors Weekly.

 

People wanting to reminisce with their old films on their trusty video cassette recorder (VCR) will need a projector to create the full cinema experience.  But modern-day projectors don’t always come with the inputs needed to connect with the older VCR technology.

 

VCRs would not have a HDMI output that can connect to the HDMI inputs in most modern projectors. It is more than likely you will need to use either the composite or S-video ports. 

 

So, if you want to dust off your video classics, you will need to choose a projector carefully to ensure that it has all the inputs that you need.  The Optoma HD36 is a good option as it is bright, has fantastic picture quality but, more importantly, has the plethora of inputs to ensure it is compatible with all devices – both modern and historic.  These include composite and S-video.

 

Composite video cables have a small, metal-tipped plug (also known as a RCA plug) which is usually yellow.  S-Video cables have a slightly larger plug with a series of small, delicate-looking pins jutting out of each end.  If the VCR is really old, it may have a SCART output for which you can get SCART to composite adaptor or cable.

 

You will also need to connect sound from the VCR to the projector via a set of stereo RCA plugs.  These are usually red for the left channel and white for the right.

 

Those that remember, and still have, laser disc players which played vinyl analogue video - the forerunner to DVD - will most likely need to use the SCART to composite adaptor to connect to the projector. 

 

 

Projector technology now has greater connectivity than ever

Projectors have progressed so much since the distant days of dusty acetate sheets on OHPs.  They now have the technology to display from the latest devices and can project a super-sized 100-inch picture on a screen or wall from just a metre away.

As well as computers, set top boxes, Blu-Ray and DVD players, you can now project straight from mobile phones and tablets, stream content from Roku, Apple TV and Google Chromecast, share photographs and video directly from cameras and camcorders, present straight from a USB stick and connect to the latest games consoles.

But it is not just the connectivity that has improved, they are designed to simply plug and play – dispelling the myth that projectors are difficult to set up.

When choosing a projector, you should look at which devices you would like to connect it with.

Multiple HDMI ports make it easy to switch between sources at the touch of a button.

MHL allows a projector to be turned it into a smart display by connecting a smartphone or tablet with a single cable to play games, stream videos and share photos on the big screen.

USB Plug and Play allows presentations to be viewed straight from a USB stick.

Most projectors have optional wireless.  This uses a WiFi dongle to allow you to connect and display presentation materials wirelessly from a laptop, PC or Mac and mobile device.

Full 3D projectors can display true 3D content from 3D Blu-Ray players, 3D broadcasting and the latest generation games consoles.

Many Optoma projectors have powerful built-in speakers which save you the cost and time of installing external speakers.  But you still have the option of connecting to external sound systems through the audio output if you want the cinema quality surround sound.

The projector is not just for offices and schools.  You can get a super-size screen at home to play action-packed games or watch TV shows, live sports and movies.  And with the short throw option allowing you to place the projector so close to the screen, it is suitable for small or large rooms.


1080p for business: don’t compromise on quality

Five reasons why you shouldn’t compromise when it comes to the quality of your business presentations.

Keep the attention of your audience
Brighter, clearer and sharper imagery will help you to keep the attention of your audience.*

The right price

Technology has developed so much that your business can have the perfect picture quality at an affordable price.

Project quality

Low resolution projectors will not be as crisp and clear as high resolution 1080p models. Projecting the highest quality imagery will reflect the quality of your business and your brand values.

Go big
The higher the resolution of the projector, the bigger your imagery can be.  This means you can have big, bright picture performance with vivid colours in any boardroom, meeting room or office space.

Easy connectivity

New 1080p business projectors use the latest technology ensuring easy connectivity, the ability to present wirelessly and compatibility with other technologies such as Google Chromecast.


*Optoma is 100% confident on the quality of bright vivid imagery from its 1080p business projectors but cannot guarantee the content of presentations is not dull.

Non-genuine lamp modules are a fire risk


A few months ago, Optoma issued a warning for customers to be vigilant against non-genuine lamps.  Since then we have had a few more reports of these lamps and our technical team has seen how potentially catastrophic the consequences of these could be.

Buying a lamp can be confusing as there are a number of companies claiming to sell genuine original lamps.  These companies base their claim to be “genuine original” based on the logic that the light bulb alone is the same as in an Optoma lamp module.

However, a lamp module is made up of two parts – the bulb and the bulb holder. It is important to ensure that both the bulb and bulb holder are Optoma originals.  The bulb holder is the key to performance and safety.

We have observed the damage caused to projectors which have been fitted with non-genuine lamp modules, even those with “original” bulbs.  This includes internal lenses that have melted due to incorrectly fitted UV filters, some of which have shown to have substandard coating within the non-genuine lamps modules. This substandard coating allows UV rays to enter the optical engine and DMD Chip, burning the optics (pictured above).

The technical team also found internal cables to be of poor quality and an incorrect length.  Having wiring too tight could cause a hot spot within the lamp housing and would be a fire risk.

Another concern with non-genuine lamp modules is the material used for the rubber shield at the rear of the lamp modules. Testing shows these modules could not only do irreparable damage to the projector, but could also potentially cause a fire in the office or home.

The non-Optoma lamp modules may be cheaper in some cases but this is often due to cheaper components that have not been rigorously tested inside the projectors.

We strongly recommend that customers fit only Optoma lamp modules into Optoma projectors and check that they have a genuine lamp module. Lamp modules supplied by Optoma and its authorised distributors are designed and tested to work specifically with its projectors, ensuring the highest quality performance and longevity.

Customers can check that lamp modules are genuine by visiting www.optoma.co.uk/lampgenuinecheck.aspx 
Alternatively, you can email the UK-based customer service helpline on [email protected] or telephone 01923 691 865.

All genuine Optoma lamp modules carry a tamper resistant sticker (see below). If your lamp module packaging does not carry this sticker, or the seal is broken or damaged, it may be a fake.


Another thing to consider is that repairs resulting from damage caused by a non-genuine copy lamp module would not be covered under the projector’s warranty.

Further testing will continue.

While students skip off for summer holidays, schools and universities start their busy maintenance period


With the sun shining and summer around the corner, Property and Facility Managers at universities and schools are gearing up for their busy annual maintenance period.  Part of this involves installing new classroom equipment.  

Increasing pressure on budgets makes it more important than ever to take all factors into consideration when replacing existing projectors or installing new projectors.  

Our blog looks at the key things to consider when choosing a new projector for schools:

Cost: Schools and other education venues are often under pressure to choose the cheapest equipment but this is not necessarily the best deal.  Property Managers need to look at the overall cost of ownership which includes the projector, ongoing maintenance, energy saving features and lamp life. It is a false economy to choose a cheap projector that needs regular costly lamps and maintenance.

Maintenance:  What maintenance will be needed?  Does the projector have filters that need regular cleaning? DLP® (Digital Light Processing) based projectors have a dust-sealed, filter-free design that prevents dust and dirt from affecting the system.  This means the projectors need no maintenance as there are no filters to remove and clean.

Replacing projectors: If you need to use existing fittings, check the new projector’s throw ratio.  A projector's throw ratio is defined as the distance that a projector is placed from the screen divided by the width of the image it will project. For existing fittings, you just need to check the throw ratio of the new projector enables you to install this at the right distance and screen size.  A zoom increases the flexibility in installation.  Optoma offers a wide choice of projectors that will fit into your existing fittings.

The room: When choosing a new projector you’ll need to consider the room size and ambient light levels.  Optoma has a handy guide on its website to help schools identify the brightness they would need for a small or large classroom, lecture theatre or auditorium.

Warranty and support: What is the warranty on the projector and lamp? If the projector goes wrong – what support will the supplier give to schools?  Check if the warranty is ‘return to base’ or ‘DE-RE’.  Optoma offers a DE-RE warranty on many of its education projectors. The DE-RE warranty means the projector will be replaced and re-installed in the unlikely event it is found to be faulty, giving real peace of mind to schools that they will not be without their vital equipment.  In addition, Optoma’s dedicated UK-based helpline will provide customer support to answer questions and queries on projectors.

Performance: Will the image quality be consistent?  DLP® technology uses millions of mirrors which produce higher quality images and does not suffer colour degradation over time, as sometimes experienced in other projector technologies. Optoma is so confident that the image colour quality of its projectors will remain as good as the day you bought it, that it offers a five year guarantee.

Other features: Check which additional features you need.  Many projectors can be managed and monitored remotely through network control. This will alert you when lamps need to be changed and automatically powers down projectors at the end of each day to save energy and lamp life.

Do you need interactive capabilities in your projector which enable students to participate and learn together by making any projection surface an interactive one.  Consider whether you would like built-in speakers, 3D or wireless capabilities, which allow teachers to present wirelessly from a PC or mobile device.

Security: What anti-theft features does the projector have? Optoma projectors have a Kensington Lock Port that enables schools to attach a lock for added security.  Some projectors can also be password protected for added security.

Optoma manufactures projectors with a wide range of resolutions, brightness and throw ratio including standard throw, short throw and ultra short throw and some with a interactivity features. Short throw and ultra short throw projectors can project a 100” image from as little as 0.4 metres from the screen.  This is ideal for small rooms where there are space constraints or classrooms /training venues where the presenter is at the front and wants to avoid creating shadows.

It offers a complete solution to its projectors with wall mounts and a full range of accessories. Its Visualisers enable teaching staff and students to share work with the whole class.  The microscope adaptors allow tiny objects to be seen by the whole audience.  It is also possible to capture and save images from what the Visualiser captures either as photographs or as a video.  

Find out more on Optoma’s full education range.

Stacking made simple


Ever more installations and exhibitions are choosing to stack projectors to generate a higher brightness.  Our blog looks at the benefits of stacking and how to do it.

Why stack projectors?
When a project needs greater brightness there are real benefits in stacking projectors. Stacking overlays images using multiple projectors to produce a higher brightness.  This has added benefits of reducing the overall cost of installation and increasing reliability.  

A single projector of equivalent brightness is generally more expensive and bulkier.  Stacking therefore enhances portability with smaller, lighter units which are easier to transport and install.  It improves reliability (if one unit fails, the second unit will still work) and it allows scalability with the ability to add more projectors if higher brightness is required.

What would I need to stack projectors?
Stacking can be achieved using a GEO board, the HQView processor range or the Chameleon GB-200 image blending and warping processor.

The GEO board is exclusively compatible with the Optoma EW865 and EX855 projectors, which are ideal for a side-by-side stacking setup due to their innovative airflow design.  The HQView range and Chameleon GB-200 are compatible with any projector.

Simple stacking
Simple stacking uses two projectors and overlays a master image with a larger second image, reduced in size to match the master.  This does not need a stacking frame and could use standard ceiling mounts. It needs just one GEO board, HQView processor or Chameleon GB-200.  

At ISE 2014, Optoma demonstrated simple stacking using two 6,000-Lumen EW865 projectors to project HD video content at 12,000 lumens.  Stacking projectors in this way significantly reduces the complexity and cost of a 12,000-lumen solution.

Advanced stacking
Where additional clarity and sharpness are critical, there is the added option for advanced stacking.  This gives sub-pixel control of the alignment of both images with up to 289 individual points of adjustment on each projector.  This uses warp grids via a PC tool and is possible with either the HQView range or Chameleon GB-200.  
 
Optoma provides a range of edge blending, stacking and mapping solutions, tailored to the exact requirements of each project.  Find out more about Optoma’s ProScene solutions.

Welcome


Welcome to Optoma UK’s very first blog!

This will be updated regularly with insight, commentary and discussions on issues and events relating to the projection industry.

With articles relating to Pro-AV, home cinema, gaming, education and business, we will showcase new developments, share ideas and stimulate debate around projection technology. We hope the result will be an entertaining, useful blog that will find its way on to your favourites tab.

We may occasionally feature guest blogs to capture some of the thinking from other professionals in the field. Whether it is sharing practical advice, a research update, a great resource or simply an observation, we hope there is something for everyone. Watch this space!

If you don’t already know, we’re on Twitter and Facebook where we regularly post news and occasionally the odd competition.

We would welcome your feedback and input. If you have things you’d like us to talk about in our blog area, please contact us with your suggestions, feedback or questions.