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Topic: Help Needed - Multi-Use Projector
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Joined: Apr 5, 2017
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Help .. my head is spinning after spending days/months researching various projector manufacturers, models and specs! Would love to have some specific recommendations!

I'm trying to find a projector that meets the following criteria:

- Can be used in medium room (30 people) to large room (100 people) with ambient light. Mostly for educational/presentation use. Will be moved on a rolling cart.
- Compatible with PC and MAC
- PC-less functionality nice to have. (USB plug and play)
- Wireless access for iPhone, tablets and Android nice to have with ability to mirror display and colors
- Different screen sizes range from 6 feet wide to 9 feet wide. Some screens drop down from ceiling, some are portable and will be on floor.
- Distance to projector will range from 6 feet to 25 feet.
- Projector will be on cart or table.
- Speakers. 10W
- Keystone shift and lens shift are nice to have.
- Microphone input would be nice, but not critical.
- Good for presentations (PowerPoint)
- Excellent color rendition, replication and resolution for photographs
- Good video (don't need home theater quality)
- 16:9 aspect ratio, but ability to support other ratios (4:3, 16:10) depending on source.
- Budget: no more than $3,500 Target would be no more than $3,000
- Ideally, at least 5000 lumens (white and color)
- Contrast ratio: at least 5000:1; 10000:1 or better would be nice
- 1920x1200 resolution that can be resized smaller if needed.
- Easy to set up for non-technical users (different people will be using it)
- Durable, good quality. Would like the projector to last for at least 7 years. To be used 2 - 3x a week
- Leading vendor who can be expected to stay in the projector business. Excellent customer service and technical support.
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Projectors are like computer monitors. Don't ask them to do more than show an image and play back some audio horrendously. They aren't mixers or computers, or smart phones, or anything else. That adds cost which only 10% of users may use while increasing the price for everyone. They have wireless options on some (not all), they have PC-less capabilities on some, but not all.

In almost ALL cases, hooking up a single cable from your source to the projector works. Everything else can really be cumbersome and confusing to end users because they have to connect to networks, find a new device that they may not know how to connect to, or navigate through projector menus that they know nothing about.

This is the list I would work with and refine:
http://www.projectorcentral.com/projectors.cfm?g=1&hide=0&st=1&r=16&br=4000-7000&c=&w=&ar=&db=&zr=&wt=<g=&ll=&mfg=&p=500&p=3500&wr=&dt=1.0.0&t=&pjl=0&pjw=0&pjh=0&td=&is=&i=d&tr=&tr2=&oop=1&sort=pop&sz=15

4,000+ lumens and under $3,500 with 1920x1200 resolution (which is 16:10 aspect ratio).

I would lean towards the Epson and Panasonic models above most others. Sony is decent but has so-so customer support from most reports. Epson support is supposed to be excellent.

A model like this is really designed for long term use and quality with both a solid zoom range (1.8x), lens shift, and keystone correction...
http://www.projectorcentral.com/Epson-PowerLite_5535U.htm

Epson also has a nice site with refurbished and warrantied projectors:
https://epson.com/Clearance-Center/Projectors-for-Work/c/cc302?q=%3Aprice-asc%3AdiscontinuedFlag%3Afalse%3AinStockFlag%3Atrue%3AProjectors+Facets%2CResolution%3AWUXGA+Full+HD+widescreen%3AProjectors+Facets%2CBrightness+Range+Lumens%3A5%2C000+-+5%2C999%3AProjectors+Facets%2CBrightness+Range+Lumens%3A6%2C000+-+7%2C999&text=#scrollTgt_onRefresh
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 so much for replying so quickly and for all the great information!!! It was very helpful!

A number of the models/manufacturers on your list were ones on my medium list, so it looks like I'm on the right track.

I appreciated your comments about keeping it simple and not worrying about the bells and whistles(e.g. PC-less, microphone). Plug and play with PC (Windows)& MAC computers is very important, though. Also with Android and iOS smartphones, iPods, and tablets.

Do you have any thoughts about Hitachi? I had one model on my Medium list.

How about Christie? I heard a rumor that it was built on top of the Hitachi projector line, but couldn't verify it.

Since we will have a wide variety of people, and devices (mostly Windows or Apple laptops or notebooks of different ages) using the projector, it seemed to me that having a projector that can support multiple aspect ratios makes sense (e.g. 16:9, 4:3) instead of just one aspect ratio (16:10). Does that make sense to you?

What do you think of wireless functionality, since some models have it and some don't?

I've been focusing on WUXGA for the resolution, but should I consider WXGA? I'm concerned with technology for the future and thought WUXGA might be a better way to go, but it limits me in finding a projector that can support multiple aspect ratios. Most of our projector use will be by various different groups using it for meetings, demos, and presentations (PowerPoints, photographs, and, occasionally, instructional videos or YouTube videos.) Accurate color rendition and image clarity is important for our photography and art clubs.
[Edited by FoxRun on Apr 6, 2017 at 7:58 PM]
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Quote (FoxRun on Apr 6, 2017 7:31 PM):
Plug and play with PC (Windows)& MAC computers is very important, though. Also with Android and iOS smartphones, iPods, and tablets.

Understand that video and data are different things. Most tablets don't actually have a video out connection. They can't connect to any TV in your home or any devices except through wi-fi and special receivers like AppleTV or a ChromeCast. But, most of those devices do offer 'Device To HDMI' converters.

Using a proper HDMI adapter will allow any and all devices to typically work with any projector and resolution is almost never an issue. Mac, PC, cable TV, Roku, Blu-ray, etc., all use standard resolutions on a HDMI connection which any modern 1920x1200 projector will be compatible with.

Quote (FoxRun on Apr 6, 2017 7:31 PM):
Do you have any thoughts about Hitachi? I had one model on my Medium list.

How about Christie? I heard a rumor that it was built on top of the Hitachi projector line, but couldn't verify it.

I'm not terribly familiar with Hitachi. I would make a point to avoid DLP if they are using DLP technology, but don't know specifically which model you are looking at. I'm not in love with Christie as they tend to rebadge other manufacturer's products all the time. Why not just buy from someone who actually knows how to build a product? Panasonic and Epson are almost always category leaders for me, especially at your price point and budget.

Quote (FoxRun on Apr 6, 2017 7:31 PM):
...projector that can support multiple aspect ratios makes sense (e.g. 16:9, 4:3) instead of just one aspect ratio (16:10). Does that make sense to you?

All projectors support multiple aspect ratios. Just like your TV at home does. 2.35 movies, 16:9 HDTV, or old 4:3 standard definition television. Projectors support multitudes of input resolutions, but the output (1920x1200) is constant. It just may have black bars on the left/right or top/bottom. So, you don't need to think about this.

Quote (FoxRun on Apr 6, 2017 7:31 PM):
What do you think of wireless functionality, since some models have it and some don't?

Wireless is extremely hit or miss. It is almost always confusing to the end user to use.
ie: Plug HDMI cable from your device into projector, power on projector. See image.
OR...
Power on projector, connect projector to existing wi-fi network, or establish it as a local hotspot for wireless streaming. Turn on computer, open wireless settings on computer and connect computer to wireless device, if you can find it. Now enable wireless secondary monitor function of computer, if you can find it. Don't play any videos as the wireless connection is not fast enough to support that.

Wireless, in my experience (not merely my opinion), does not deliver satisfying results to end users and is not acceptable for situations in which reliability and quality matter.

Quote (FoxRun on Apr 6, 2017 7:31 PM):
...but it limits me in finding a projector that can support multiple aspect ratios.

No, it doesn't.

Quote (FoxRun on Apr 6, 2017 7:31 PM):
Accurate color rendition and image clarity is important for our photography and art clubs.

LCD projectors are the way to go to ensure the best color saturation in rooms which are not designed properly for theater presentation. White walls, white ceilings, light colored flooring, poor light control, etc.
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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Quote (AV_Integrated on Apr 7, 2017 1:44 PM):
Understand that video and data are different things. Most tablets don't actually have a video out connection. They can't connect to any TV in your home or any devices except through wi-fi and special receivers like AppleTV or a ChromeCast. But, most of those devices do offer 'Device To HDMI' converters.

Using a proper HDMI adapter will allow any and all devices to typically work with any projector and resolution is almost never an issue. Mac, PC, cable TV, Roku, Blu-ray, etc., all use standard resolutions on a HDMI connection which any modern 1920x1200 projector will be compatible with.

I'm not terribly familiar with Hitachi. I would make a point to avoid DLP if they are using DLP technology, but don't know specifically which model you are looking at. I'm not in love with Christie as they tend to rebadge other manufacturer's products all the time. Why not just buy from someone who actually knows how to build a product? Panasonic and Epson are almost always category leaders for me, especially at your price point and budget.

All projectors support multiple aspect ratios. Just like your TV at home does. 2.35 movies, 16:9 HDTV, or old 4:3 standard definition television. Projectors support multitudes of input resolutions, but the output (1920x1200) is constant. It just may have black bars on the left/right or top/bottom. So, you don't need to think about this.

Wireless is extremely hit or miss. It is almost always confusing to the end user to use.
ie: Plug HDMI cable from your device into projector, power on projector. See image.
OR...
Power on projector, connect projector to existing wi-fi network, or establish it as a local hotspot for wireless streaming. Turn on computer, open wireless settings on computer and connect computer to wireless device, if you can find it. Now enable wireless secondary monitor function of computer, if you can find it. Don't play any videos as the wireless connection is not fast enough to support that.

Wireless, in my experience (not merely my opinion), does not deliver satisfying results to end users and is not acceptable for situations in which reliability and quality matter.

No, it doesn't.

LCD projectors are the way to go to ensure the best color saturation in rooms which are not designed properly for theater presentation. White walls, white ceilings, light colored flooring, poor light control, etc.

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