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Projection Roundtable

Nov 17, 2008 12:00 PM, By Jay Ankeney

Experts from The Briefing Room sound off about current trends emerging in the corporate projector industry.

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Mitsubishi XD211U

How do you determine which output resolution to look for?

Barco: That’s dependant on sources available now and into the future. How many Picture-in-Picture windows are to be displayed concurrently and what resolution is required to do this while not degrading quality of image? With the advent of HD in the home, this quality is expected in the meeting room or church auditorium. Barco is shipping the LX-5, a 10-megapixel projector whose native resolution is 4096x2400. This allows for 4 WUXGA sources to be simultaneously shown, unscaled in native resolution.

Canon: If you’re showing PowerPoints or graphics, then something like an XGA resolution is fine. If you’re looking to display content that has more detail, then SXGA+ would be a good way to go. Today, a lot of new installations tend to be widescreen, so to accommodate a full 16:10 aspect-ratio picture, you would want to use a WUXGA-resolution (1920x1200) projector.

Christie: If video is shown, then standard-definition vs. high-definition signal sources will require different minimum projector resolutions—for example, XGA (1024x768) vs. 1080p (1920x1080). If data is being displayed, then the data source needs to be considered and matched for best image performance. Lastly, the distance that the audience is situated from the screen needs to be considered, because too low of a pixel count will mean the viewer will see a highly pixilated image. For example, an HD (1920x1080) display has over 2.6 times the pixel density as compared to an XGA (1024x768).

InFocus: When choosing the output resolution, we have to take a look at our source content that will be used today and over the months to come. If the projector's primary mission is to display video, then you must take a look at what types, HD or SDTV? If it is going to be a multipurpose application where video and computer data will be shown, a high resolution such as SXGA+ or higher can be used to display all the sources natively without any scaling.

Panasonic: We would advise an end user to consider the need of their projection requirements to determine the output resolution. For example, edge-blending capabilities, which are found in Panasonic’s PT-DZ12000U, can help churches or other large venues with their output resolution by blending images on multiple screens without any additional equipment.

What kind of connection is required to accommodate different source inputs and which do you find most useful?

Barco: A huge recommendation would be to always put a scaler/switcher on the front of the projector or display, especially if there are any unknown sources that may be connected such as a guest’s laptop, for example. Brighter projectors often mean larger screens, and if the scaling of the source to the native resolution of the projector is not good, then the image quality issues become very apparent. Good scaler/seamless switchers can be purchased for under $5,000 and they can very well handle most resolutions and aspect ratios to the native resolution of the display device.

Canon: Today, projectors tend to have a control system and really only one cable running into the projector in order to minimize cost. Usually, you run one cable to the projector, and then in the back, you have a controller box made by a manufacturer of AV equipment; every device will connect directly to this controller. This controller will actually scale or select the input, so you really don’t have to worry about the projector when it comes to cabling.

Christie: Although analog RGBHV and 15-pin VGA connectors are still very commonly used, many are starting to favor the image quality from digital connections like DVI.

InFocus: The most versatile connection is the 5 BNC input. When implemented correctly, it can display almost any analog source. Since it is used on all major signal switching and routing hardware, it allows direct connections between the products—no adapters or breakout cables needed. There is also the security of it being a locking connector.

Projectiondesign: This is dependent on how you interconnect your source material to the display. Our preference would be DVI or high-resolution BNC for ease of connectivity and maximum bandwidth.

SIM2: Most new sources can be easily managed with HDMI due to the fact that we have a proprietary fiber-optic-based remote-input box. In some cases, HD-SDI sources are to be preferred due to the inherent nature of the source or the existing cabling network of the installation.

Sony: For computer signals, analog RGB is the most economical to use, but DVI/HDMI inputs provide a simple digital interface for systems that come equipped with those connections. For HD, HD-SDI is the easiest to use, but DVI/HDMI connections are becoming prevalent on certain playback devices as well.

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