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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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Canon: If it’s a small room, a flatpanel display 50in. or 60in. might satisfy your needs. In some of the bigger conference rooms where you need a larger screen size, you’ll need to take a look at the cost of getting a large-screen display. If you require a screen of approximately 100in., about 6ft. wide, a projector that will display those specs will cost less than $10,000. If you were trying to get a flatpanel display to cover that same area, it would probably cost you about $80,000. So, in that sense it really depends on the size of the screen. If it’s a small room, a flatpanel may be just fine. If it’s a bigger room, then you need a projector, which would be the right choice based on cost.

Christie: In small conference rooms where a large image typically isn’t required, flatpanels compete because of price and familiarity with the technology as well as the “sexy” factor that plays to the emotions of a buyer. However, if a 3000 lumen to 5000 lumen display is required, then a screen size 8ft. diagonal (or above) is required to accommodate the higher brightness levels. This puts flatpanels outside the realistic size and price range for most conference-room installations.

Hitachi: For a while, large flatpanel displays offered some competition, but the issues of affordability and long-term reliability have led most users back to projectors. Even as prices fall, projectors are still more affordable than flatpanels.

InFocus: Flatpanels have had a run at being used in smaller conference rooms and group meeting places. I think the user base is finding out that with the resolution and size (less than or equal to 60in.), they do not lend themselves to easy collaboration in groups of four or more. Once you are three to four feet away, it’s hard to impossible to read the content.

Mitsubishi: In smaller conference rooms that have 60in. or smaller screens, flatpanels are definitely considered a strong alternative to a projector. But in bigger rooms, such as auditoriums, flatpanel displays are complementary to projectors as auxiliary displays. Flatpanels complement our projectors, where in some environments both a projector and flatpanel are offered as visual presentation aids. In general, a projector is a visual presentation aid that offers much more flexibility when compared to a flatpanel display device since it provides much easier portability from conference room to conference room. A projector also has a lower overall cost-per-square-inch, meaning that you can get much larger images for a lower price.

Panasonic: We are finding that flatpanels do compete with our projector solutions. This is typically the case in small room applications. In small rooms, one may choose a flatpanel because a projector just can’t be supported. Also, some of Panasonic’s projectors that do not include HD capabilities cannot be supported by those small rooms that may include HD cables and components.

SIM2: When mid-dimension screens and high brightness are important, flatpanels become more competitive. However several other issues are now entering the equation, aside from the color and picture quality required in some applications. One of the most important is the “green factor.” Power consumption and environment preservation clearly indicate, for example, that projectors are better when compared to large-screen flatpanels (especially plasmas).


ISuppli expects compact business projectors for sales and presentations will dip from $688,763,000 in 2007 to $667,782,000 in 2012.

What considerations should be paramount when choosing a compact business projector?

3M: Overall size/weight and performance are key. We call it the lumen efficacy/cubic centimeter equation. 3M is now working on a new technology that gives us the best solution using LED technology. Instant on/off features and low acoustical noise are also key elements for success.

Hitachi: Determining whether you need a short-throw or long-throw projector is important. Easy maintenance, reliable performance, and connectivity also need to be taken into account. If you’re planning on traveling, you’ll need a projector that’s durable enough to be carried around.

InFocus: In this format, two considerations predominate—portability and ease of use. To that end, InFocus is the only projector manufacturer to offer DisplayLink USB connectivity between the PC and our IN1100 or 3100 series projectors. This eliminates the need for a VGA cable, as well as the need to remember which function keys to push on the PC. Embedded software on the InFocus projector takes care of all the synchronization. We believe this will save up to 15 minutes of every meeting by eliminating the guesswork associated with setting up the projector.

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