One of the most common questions we get asked here at Optoma is ‘how do I know which is the best projector for me?’
Buying a projector can be a confusing business with its own world of jargon and acronyms* but the key is to ask yourself the right questions.
How will you use your projector?
Is it mostly for showing presentations and slide shows, watching films or playing games? Would you like to watch 3D?
This will help you to identify what native resolution you require and the ports/connections and accessories you will need.
Native resolution is simply the number of pixels in an image. The higher the number of pixels, the greater the resolution and the better the image quality will be. Projectors have the following native resolutions: SVGA (800 pixels high x 600 pixels wide), XGA (1024x768), WXGA/HD Ready (1280x800), 1080p (1920x1080) and 4K UHD (3480x2160).
So, if you are looking to use the projector to mainly watch DVDs or Blu-Rays® you would probably chose a high resolution 1080p or 4K UHD projector with HDMI input. If you need the projector for business presentations, you might choose a more basic SVGA or XGA projector.
How big is the screen/image that will need to be projected and what is its aspect ratio?
The bigger the screen, the higher the native resolution you will need. Aspect ratio is dimply the ratio of image width to image height. This could be widescreen (aspect ratio either 16:9 or 16:10) or more square, like old-style televisions (aspect ratio 4:3).
• SVGA and XGA projectors have a 4:3 aspect ratio
• 1080p and 4K UHD projectors have a 16:9 aspect ratio
• WXGA projectors have a 16:10 aspect ratio
How far from the screen would you like to install the projector?
If the projector is to be permanently sited you will need to calculate the throw ratio to ensure the projected image fills your screen. 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. If you know the screen size but are unsure how far back to site the projector, you can use the given throw ratio to calculate where the projector needs to be installed.
Optoma’s short throw projectors can be installed very close to the screen. Its mobile, desktop and home entertainment projectors must be sited further back. We have a distance calculator on our website that will help.
How bright is the room where will the projector be used?
Can the lights be turned down/blinds shut? This will determine the ambient light in the room and how bright the projector needs to be. The brighter the room, the brighter the projector will need to be. Brightness is measured in lumens.
And finally, is the projector for home or business?
Home: Consider whether you would like built-in speakers or will you be connecting the projector to external speakers.
For home cinema and gaming you will need a high resolution projector to ensure the contrast and picture quality is crystal clear. So, ideally a 4K UHD or 1080p projector.
For gaming, check the projector’s ‘input lag time’ which is the time it takes for the projector to produce an image. Latency in games can be crucial and a few milliseconds can mean the difference between shooting the enemy and being shot. A lower lag time will improve your gaming experience.
Business: Where will the projector be used? Does it need to be light and portable for off-site meetings or installed in the boardroom?
This will help you to chose between mobile or ultra mobile, desktop or installed projectors.
For basic Powerpoint presentations SVGA and XGA projectors are good all-round cost-effective projectors.
Boardrooms and larger meeting rooms might need a larger screen and a higher resolution projector – so a WXGA projector may be a good option or if you need greater detail a 1080p or 4K UHD projector would be ideal.
For those looking for a projector to install in a much larger space, such as an auditorium or exhibition, a professional AV projector may be what you need, such as Optoma’s ProScene range.
*There is a helpful glossary on our website to help make sense of this world of aspect ratios, lumens and throw ratios.
With the onward advancement of technology and the increase in expectations, a flipchart and pen simply doesn’t cut the mustard for business meetings any longer.
Technology now allows us access files, work collaboratively on screen and stream data wirelessly. Upgrading your meeting room technology can seem like a costly investment but making meetings more effective can have big payoffs in terms of increased productivity and more efficient group collaborations.
Is your business taking advantage of the tools that it could be using that could save you money in the long run?
What is becoming increasingly expected of businesses is for visitors and clients involved in meetings to be able to bring in a device (whether it’s a tablet, laptop or smartphone) and connect seamlessly to your display equipment. It is important that the projector in your boardroom or meeting rooms can accommodate this.
New interactive functionality in projectors allows several people to work simultaneously on the screen without using a pen. It is easy to annotate on the projected image, open Microsoft office files or web browsers and interact with the content without even touching a computer.
This ability to work collaboratively on documents and presentations in meetings is a real asset to companies. The work can be saved to a computer and distributed to participants and non-attendees after the meeting.
Conferencing equipment is essential for companies that regularly meet with people in different geographic locations. Face-to-face meetings remain important but installing conferencing equipment gives you and your clients the possibility to slash travel costs and staff travelling time.
Around 1.8bn hours of Skype video calls are made each year with an increasing number of these coming from business conferences and video meetings. Data conferencing lets you share text, images and data in real time. Videoconferencing uses telephone or data lines to transmit audio and video. A projector allows you to share content in your meeting on a super-size screen. A large flat screen display would cost significantly more than a projector to achieve the same image size.
Using tablets and mobile devices as the interface between the presenter and the on-screen presentation is becoming ever more popular. Whether it’s controlling a slideshow, pulling up and manipulating data or simply used as a script/prompt for reference data, tablets are changing the boardroom and improving the way we conduct meetings.
Most projectors now have wireless functionality to stream data from mobile devices using wireless HDMI devices such as the Optoma WHD200 or Google Chromecast or Optoma’s mini WiFi dongle.
Future proof your investment
It is important to future proof any investment in equipment. Review the inputs and outputs you might need. Look at what sources you are using now but also what you might want to use in the future. Most new computers and laptops have HDMI outputs enabling Full HD 1080p resolution. Multiple HDMI inputs in your projector allow you to switch between sources easily.
There is a growth now in HDbasedT functionality. HDBaseT not only allows data to be sent over a much greater distance than HDMI but can also carry HD video, audio, ethernet, power and control on a single cable. This significantly cuts down the number of cables needed for a typical business installation.
Optoma has a range of business projectors that have wireless, interactive and HDbasedT functionality. Most have internal speakers avoiding the cost of installing external speakers. They also include audio output if an external sound system is required.
Most of these can be controlled remotely with full support is provided for Crestron, Extron, AMX, PJ-Link and Telnet LAN protocols. Once installed, the projector can be monitored and controlled over LAN.
Kitting out your boardroom is not just about impressing customers – it also makes financial sense. It can save time and money by reducing off-site meetings and installing future proofed equipment in your boardrooms gives your team the tools to work more effectively.
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.
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.
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.
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.