Buying a Data Projector

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There are a lot of factors to consider when purchasing a data projector. Projector research can take a long time, there are plenty of data projectors for sale and there are quite a few data projector reviews around and it can all get very confusing. The two main decisions that need to be made to get you on the right track are...

"How bright should my projector be?" and "Which projector resolution is best for my needs?" Of course there are many other important things to take into account, otherwise we could have one simple multimedia projector buying guide that would suit everyone! But as long as you cover these two important questions, then knowing which projector to buy is made a lot easier...

Body - Brightness



How important is brightness? Brightness is one of the most important factors when it comes to choosing the correct projector for your needs. Brightness of projectors is measured in ANSI lumens. The average brightness for an entry level model these days is about 2000 lumens. 2000 – 2500 lumens is usually bright enough for most applications where there is some light control (e.g. Dimming lights, blinds or curtains that can be partially or fully closed). If you are projecting in an environment where you are unable to control the lighting such as large halls, bright classrooms or offices etc, then you really want to be looking at a minimum of 3000+ lumens of brightness. Often the difference in price from going from 3000 to 4000 lumens is not that great and often worth the extra dollars. In portable projectors, the maximum brightness that’s usually available is about 4500 lumens.


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Body - Resolution and Ratio


Resolution & Ratio

The resolution of a projector is determined by the number of horizontal and vertical lines that are displayed on the projected image. For example, a projector that has a resolution of 1024 x 768 (XGA) means there are 1024 horizontal lines and 768 vertical lines. These very thin lines create pixels (the tiny squares which are formed from this grid of horizontal and vertical lines). These tiny dots, or pixels, are what makes up your picture! So generally speaking, the more dots that make up your image, the sharper and clearer the image will be. A bit like digital cameras, a 10 megapixel camera will always take a better quality image than a 2 mega pixel camera.

Traditionally most computer monitors are set to an XGA resolution (1024 x 768). That’s why you will find that the majority of data projectors have a native resolution of 1024 x 768, designed to match the majority of computers. However, as technology is moving along at such a rapid rate, you will find that most computers and laptops these days are coming out with widescreen monitors. This means that the resolutions do not have the 4:3 aspect ratio anymore, instead offering widescreen aspect ratio’s with resolutions like 1280 x 800 (WXGA or Wide XGA). This is gradually becoming a lot more popular as the widescreen market takes over. The advantage is using a widescreen resolution and monitor/projector, is that you can actually fit more on the screen. If you can imagine a almost square box that has 1024 horizontal lines and 768 vertical lines, then you added another couple of hundred lines horizontally and a few more vertically, then you will be fitting a lot more on your screen.

The most common resolutions in data projectors are XGA 1024 x 768 and WXGA 1280 x 800. Its best to select a resolution that will suit most of your needs. There are also other resolutions available, higher and lower, but these are usually used when special requirements are needed. Feel free to contact us for a recommendation on the right projector. Also keep in mind that when buying projector screens, you need to make sure it’s the same ratio as your projector.

There are plenty of other factors to consider like contrast, projector brightness vs contrast, different inputs, size, weight, projector lamp prices etc, so feel free to contact us for some help in making the right decision.

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