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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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ISuppli says sales for conference-room projectors will rise from $513,755,000 in 2007 to $725,256,000 by 2012.

What considerations should be paramount when choosing a conference room projector?

3M: Enough lumen output (true ANSI), excellent connectivity (especially Ethernet and USB), minimum resolution of XGA, ease and flexibility of installation (our short throw/off-axis technology is a nice benefit), total cost of ownership (including lamp and life-cycle reliability), and finally, low acoustical noise.

Christie: When choosing a projector for a conference room, the following should be considered: ambient light, contrast ratio, screen size and location, budget, lens options, and lens-shift capability.

Hitachi: The size of the room and size of the screen always need to be considered, because this will help determine what brightness you need from the projector. If there are any obstructions in the room, you could go with an ultra-portable projector, but those models are typically not as bright. As with large-venue applications, connectivity and maintenance are important criteria. Obviously for Hitachi, the growing adoption of 3LCD display technology is an exciting development. We’re also looking forward to seeing further development of wireless technologies for projectors.

InFocus: Options that allow the flexibility to accommodate a variety of room configurations. These include the availability of optional lenses, assignable audio, and an extensive choice of video connections.

Panasonic: For projector solutions in conference rooms, one should consider the distance between the projector and the participants and ambient operating noise. The projector solutions from Panasonic include a liquid cooling system that cuts down on the noise, allowing for fewer distractions during a presentation.

SIM2: More and more, conference rooms are also dedicated to multimedia content sharing, and with the broadening of high-definition sources, to remain limited to a standard low resolution/high brightness compromise could be a costly constraint. Scalability and installation longevity seem to be the keywords now for system integrators and their customers.

What light source are you using today, and what do you think about using LED or lasers as a light source? Generally, what technology trends do you find most interesting in conference-room projectors?

3M: Today, we are using high-pressure mercury lamps (best lm/watt efficiency). The future is certainly going to migrate to LED technology, but it will take some time for maturity. 3M is working on various LED technology programs that will eventually get the lumen efficacy good enough for the mainstream market.

Canon: LEDs in lasers today don’t offer enough light, although they’re reasonable for very small portables and in areas where you have a limited amount of light. In a corporate boardroom or meeting room, where there might be windows or the lights may be on for note-taking, an LED laser projector would not be bright enough for this application. You would probably have to stay with mercury-type lamps, or the standard lamps that are used today.

Christie: LED still has to expand its range in brightness to meet the needs of a conference room. We will see the most growth for LED in home-theater markets. Laser is still a large unknown, with many challenges including FCC approvals for front projection.

Hitachi: Hitachi uses Metal Halide lamps. LED and lasers are a thing of the future. There is lots of research being done regarding both LED and lasers. The problem is that LED does not produce enough light yet for conference rooms or large venues. With lasers, there will have to be some standards set before they become a reality.

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