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Topic: Wireless portable digital projector
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Joined: Oct 3, 2012
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Hello,

I am looking to replace a portable digital projector (NEC LT 35) that my church uses. The replacement lamp on it is dimming out and I feel like it is going to die soon.

We are interested in a portable projector that has the following:

-3,500 - 4,000 lumens needed due to us projecting in various locations (high ceilings with daylight and halogen lighting, various halls and meeting rooms, etc.)

-Keystone correction. We project on an angle (projector screen placed on a 45 degree angle) and the Keystone is a HUGE issue with us. I know Epson makes projectors with the button for the horizontal keystone correction that slides and corrects the trapazoidal effect. The NEC LT35 had automatic keystone correction, but it is not working for us. Maybe the units have better digital keystone correction.

-1024x768 XGA resolution at a minimum. Not sure about UXGA.

-Wireless Projector - Not sure if the technology for wireless projectors is out there yet, but it would be nice to have. Please let me know if videos can be projected wireless as well. If cost is high, a wireless adapter may be considered with a unit that doesn't have wireless capabilities.

-Budget: $1,000-$1,800.

-LED vs. LCD vs. DLP technology. Debating which provides best lamp life.

-Aspect Ratio: Need a projector can can handle widescreen laptops (16:9) plugging in as well as normal 4:3.

-Portable projector (we will not be ceiling mounted, so the weight is important for traveling) and we set-up and tear-down every other Sunday.

-Warranty for projector and bulb is important

Not sure if this is the place to post these questions, but if you can let me know of some options, I would appreciate it.

Thanks for your help!

JC
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Forget lamp warranties. They are 90 days, and you should plan accordingly.

Stop talking about 1024x768 - 4:3 is dead. Get a widescreen projector of some sort. 1280x800 is very common for a reasonable price.

If you are doing serious angling of the projector, then no projector will properly correct for that much angle. Usually it is about 15 degrees of keystone correction maximum. Keystoning also destroys image quality, especially on cheaper projectors.

Wireless is pretty silly for yoru application. It just isn't reliable enough for a live situation to be what anyone should be using. Stick with a wired connection and it will also bring the projector price down. While some may claim wireless, full motion video just isn't going to happen or look good unless it is wireless HDMI that is built in. Still, it would NOT be reliable enough for commercial work.

This is the list...
http://www.projectorcentral.com/projectors.cfm?g=1&hide=0&st=1&mfg=&p=500&p=2000&w=&r=&br=&ll=&t=&db=&dt=&c=&ar=Wide+%2816%3A9-10%29&dvi=&pjl=&pjw=&pjh=&td=&i=d&is=&sort=brt&sz=15

I would take a close look at the Panasonic...
http://www.projectorcentral.com/Panasonic-PT-VW430U.htm

It has lens shift, a decent zoom range, and keystone correction which should provide a fair bit of flexibility in your setup.
AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology consultation during the build and installation process in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
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Thanks for the quick reply. Agreed on your points. The PT-VX430U is one I’m considering. Also looking into Panasonic PT VX-400NT as well.

1280x800 WXGA resolution it is! I guess it’s better to have a projector with same (or better) resolution to keep up with laptops resolution nowadays

Lumens: Debating if I should go up to 5,000 lumens. We just need a projector that works well in ambient lighting. Is there a significant difference between 4,000 vs. 5,000 lumens (apart from cost)?

Wireless – I was looking into a wireless built-in projector for two reasons:

(1) I occasionally have two users (two separate laptops) who need to project an image. Rather than pulling out the VGA cable and switching back and forth, I figured having a unit that is wireless would solve the issue, since they can just switch in and out. The other solution is to look into a unit with dual VGA ports or yet just get a VGA switch or KVM Switch for the two users.
(2) The other reason is so that the user doesn’t have to ‘sit next’ to the projector. I understand there are longer VGA cables to use, but not having to connect would be ideal, since it will just be mostly PowerPoint slides.

BTW, we won’t be playing full length DVDs or lengthy video (i.e. movie-nights), but I get your point on Wireless HDMI. I guess wireless projectors were meant for ceiling mount units for accessibility?

Do you think getting a wireless adapter later on is worth it? They seem to be in the $200 range, no?

What are your thoughts on this model by Epson - Powerlite 1945W? (4200 lumens, 3LCD Technology – is this better than DLP, LED vs. LCD?)
Epson seems to be one that markets a Keystone Correction slider feature for both horizontal and vertical correction. This unit also has something called Image Adjust and Screen Fit to fix the trapezoidal image I face I set up every time. This model also has two VGA Ports.

What is exactly is lens shift? Vertical and Horizontal shifting of lens, so you don’t move the projector at all? Is this feature meant for ceiling-mounted units?

Aspect Ratio: I need a unit that can work with widescreen laptops and regular laptops plugging in. Will getting a 16:10 or 16:9 aspect ratio projector only work best with a widescreen laptop? We usually only project PowerPoint slides (don’t want the slides being ‘stretched’) and occasional video clips.

Also, is the distance to the projector screen and size of screen important to factor in when purchasing a projector? I don’t think I need a short throw projector, btw

Sorry for the q’s and even more sorry it they’ve been addressed before. Is there a way to PM you questions?

Thanks for your help!!

-Rookie

===========================

Quote (AV_Integrated on Oct 3, 2012 1:11 PM):
Forget lamp warranties. They are 90 days, and you should plan accordingly.

Stop talking about 1024x768 - 4:3 is dead. Get a widescreen projector of some sort. 1280x800 is very common for a reasonable price.

If you are doing serious angling of the projector, then no projector will properly correct for that much angle. Usually it is about 15 degrees of keystone correction maximum. Keystoning also destroys image quality, especially on cheaper projectors.

Wireless is pretty silly for yoru application. It just isn't reliable enough for a live situation to be what anyone should be using. Stick with a wired connection and it will also bring the projector price down. While some may claim wireless, full motion video just isn't going to happen or look good unless it is wireless HDMI that is built in. Still, it would NOT be reliable enough for commercial work.

This is the list...
http://www.projectorcentral.com/projectors.cfm?g=1&hide=0&st=1&mfg=&p=500&p=2000&w=&r=&br=&ll=&t=&db=&dt=&c=&ar=Wide+%2816%3A9-10%29&dvi=&pjl=&pjw=&pjh=&td=&i=d&is=&sort=brt&sz=15

I would take a close look at the Panasonic...
http://www.projectorcentral.com/Panasonic-PT-VW430U.htm

It has lens shift, a decent zoom range, and keystone correction which should provide a fair bit of flexibility in your setup.

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Quote (greenlight07 on Oct 4, 2012 10:44 AM):
Thanks for the quick reply. Agreed on your points. The PT-VX430U is one I’m considering. Also looking into Panasonic PT VX-400NT as well.

Absolutely not. Do not look at 4:3 projectors. DO NOT DO IT! 4:3 is dead. It's been dead for years, but projector manufacturers are to dumb to know this!!! It would be an incredibly bad decision to get any 4:3 projector. Stick with the VX430U or similar.

Quote (greenlight07 on Oct 4, 2012 10:44 AM):
Lumens: Debating if I should go up to 5,000 lumens. We just need a projector that works well in ambient lighting. Is there a significant difference between 4,000 vs. 5,000 lumens (apart from cost)?

You should plan on a minimum of 80 advertised lumens per square foot of screen space. So, a 8'x5' screen (about 110" diagonal) is 40 square feet, or a minimum of 3,200 lumens. More is better in this case. So, you can get about 50 square feet of screen space with a 4,000 lumen projector and be happy, and about 62 square feet with a 5,000 lumen projector. Brighter is just better, but you can't count on manufacturers to really live up to light output claims.

Quote (greenlight07 on Oct 4, 2012 10:44 AM):
(1) I occasionally have two users (two separate laptops) who need to project an image. Rather than pulling out the VGA cable and switching back and forth, I figured having a unit that is wireless would solve the issue, since they can just switch in and out. The other solution is to look into a unit with dual VGA ports or yet just get a VGA switch or KVM Switch for the two users.

Yes, get a VGA switch. They aren't terribly expensive and give you the connectivity you need.

Quote (greenlight07 on Oct 4, 2012 10:44 AM):
(2) The other reason is so that the user doesn’t have to ‘sit next’ to the projector. I understand there are longer VGA cables to use, but not having to connect would be ideal, since it will just be mostly PowerPoint slides.

Get a long VGA cable.

Let me be very clear on this: WIRELESS SUCKS!!!

It just isn't ready for prime time yet, and if you are in there to do important presentations in any sort of critical application, then you absolutely must have a hard wired connection to the projector if you expect it to work. Wireless often gets stuck with about a 10-20 foot range, then it can be spotty, it can't handle full motion, or full resolution, but most of all, just like wi-fi, it can't randomly drop out and be affected by other RF devices.

So, a wireless setup that worked perfectly when you set it up, may completely fail to work when you have a auditorium full of people with cell phones and other electronics in their pockets emitting RF interference.

You are not at all alone in wishing for it, but good wireless is pricey. Not $200 pricey - more like $2,000 pricey. JUST for the wireless aspect. At your budget, your money is far better spent on getting a solidly reliable projector, then add on wireless at some point if you really want to try it out, with an understanding that it likely won't work well.

Quote (greenlight07 on Oct 4, 2012 10:44 AM):
What are your thoughts on this model by Epson - Powerlite 1945W? (4200 lumens, 3LCD Technology – is this better than DLP, LED vs. LCD?)
Epson seems to be one that markets a Keystone Correction slider feature for both horizontal and vertical correction. This unit also has something called Image Adjust and Screen Fit to fix the trapezoidal image I face I set up every time. This model also has two VGA Ports.

Epson makes decent stuff. Panasonic makes better stuff. Epson will not stand up as well to the vigors of travel compared to Panasonic in my experience. But, they are both good projectors.

Quote (greenlight07 on Oct 4, 2012 10:44 AM):
What is exactly is lens shift? Vertical and Horizontal shifting of lens, so you don’t move the projector at all? Is this feature meant for ceiling-mounted units?

Lens shift is described in the FAQs, but it basically allows you to shift where an image falls on the wall/screen without tilting the projector or needing to use lens shift. The Panny combines lens shift along with keystone correction.

Quote (greenlight07 on Oct 4, 2012 10:44 AM):
Aspect Ratio: I need a unit that can work with widescreen laptops and regular laptops plugging in. Will getting a 16:10 or 16:9 aspect ratio projector only work best with a widescreen laptop? We usually only project PowerPoint slides (don’t want the slides being ‘stretched’) and occasional video clips.

Widescreen projectors work with any laptop. You typically have control to stretch the image if necessary to fill the widescreen, or to have it narrow if that works best. The output of the laptop can be set a number of different ways to provide the best results.

Quote (greenlight07 on Oct 4, 2012 10:44 AM):
Also, is the distance to the projector screen and size of screen important to factor in when purchasing a projector? I don’t think I need a short throw projector, btw

It is as important as it is. Most projectors operate in a similar range, and the Epson/Panny both have 1.6x zoom range lenses with similar throw distances.

For a 120" diagonal image, the Epson will do it from 11'8" to 19'. The Panny will do it from 10' to 16'2" - so a bit closer from lens to screen. But a lot of crossover distance in there.

Your distance needed is not something I can determine, and generally short throw or ultra-short throw projectors are a bad idea.
AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology consultation during the build and installation process in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
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Thanks again for your quick reply! Much appreciated.

What is your take on Connectors? VGA vs. DVI vs. Composite vs. S-Video vs. Component vs. HDMI. I noticed that the newer laptops have an HDMI port as well as the newer projectors. Is it true that an HDMI extender is needed for cable running more than 16-32 feet due to signal distortion? Is it also true that an additional AV Receiver is needed to split the audio signal to a sound system when using an HDMI cable?

Finally, is Contrast Ratio an inflated number like the brightness rating from manufactures? What would be your recommendation for my set-up or better yet, which contrast ratios to avoid?

Thanks!



Quote (AV_Integrated on Oct 4, 2012 1:17 PM):
Absolutely not. Do not look at 4:3 projectors. DO NOT DO IT! 4:3 is dead. It's been dead for years, but projector manufacturers are to dumb to know this!!! It would be an incredibly bad decision to get any 4:3 projector. Stick with the VX430U or similar.

You should plan on a minimum of 80 advertised lumens per square foot of screen space. So, a 8'x5' screen (about 110" diagonal) is 40 square feet, or a minimum of 3,200 lumens. More is better in this case. So, you can get about 50 square feet of screen space with a 4,000 lumen projector and be happy, and about 62 square feet with a 5,000 lumen projector. Brighter is just better, but you can't count on manufacturers to really live up to light output claims.

Yes, get a VGA switch. They aren't terribly expensive and give you the connectivity you need.

Get a long VGA cable.

Let me be very clear on this: WIRELESS SUCKS!!!

It just isn't ready for prime time yet, and if you are in there to do important presentations in any sort of critical application, then you absolutely must have a hard wired connection to the projector if you expect it to work. Wireless often gets stuck with about a 10-20 foot range, then it can be spotty, it can't handle full motion, or full resolution, but most of all, just like wi-fi, it can't randomly drop out and be affected by other RF devices.

So, a wireless setup that worked perfectly when you set it up, may completely fail to work when you have a auditorium full of people with cell phones and other electronics in their pockets emitting RF interference.

You are not at all alone in wishing for it, but good wireless is pricey. Not $200 pricey - more like $2,000 pricey. JUST for the wireless aspect. At your budget, your money is far better spent on getting a solidly reliable projector, then add on wireless at some point if you really want to try it out, with an understanding that it likely won't work well.

Epson makes decent stuff. Panasonic makes better stuff. Epson will not stand up as well to the vigors of travel compared to Panasonic in my experience. But, they are both good projectors.

Lens shift is described in the FAQs, but it basically allows you to shift where an image falls on the wall/screen without tilting the projector or needing to use lens shift. The Panny combines lens shift along with keystone correction.

Widescreen projectors work with any laptop. You typically have control to stretch the image if necessary to fill the widescreen, or to have it narrow if that works best. The output of the laptop can be set a number of different ways to provide the best results.

It is as important as it is. Most projectors operate in a similar range, and the Epson/Panny both have 1.6x zoom range lenses with similar throw distances.

For a 120" diagonal image, the Epson will do it from 11'8" to 19'. The Panny will do it from 10' to 16'2" - so a bit closer from lens to screen. But a lot of crossover distance in there.

Your distance needed is not something I can determine, and generally short throw or ultra-short throw projectors are a bad idea.

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