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Projector Recommendations?

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August 18, 2008, 08:43 AM
Projector Recommendations?
I am looking for a projector (mac friendly) to use for boardroom meetings & Rotary meetings (I don't want to have to turn off the lights). Someone once told me that high lumens & bulb life are important. $1000 Budget...

This message has been edited. Last edited by: lorelei,
August 18, 2008, 10:34 AM
James R. Cutler
I have been recommending the Epson PowerLite 77c 2200 Lumen Multimedia Projector. It is easy to use, has some resistance to mishandling, reasonably bright, will handle 16:9 as well as 4:3 aspect ratio, and has a nice case.

Your budget should cover the projector and a spare bulb. And, perhaps, an inexpensive wheeled suitcase what would carry both the projector and a laptop with cables and extension cord.


August 18, 2008, 03:42 PM
George Little
I agree with Mr. C, I use the 77C and have been really pleased with the performance. I've used it for presentations for 200 people with excelent results. You can usually buy it at Office Max or Staples for about $100.00 off list. Comes with a soft carrying case and works well.

Experience is what you get when you were expecting something else.
August 19, 2008, 11:42 AM
Thank You Smile
August 19, 2008, 01:49 PM
Chuck M
If I might add a few recommendations, I think you'll be more satisfied with your decision.

First and foremost, decide what you are trying to do, and then find solutions for solving the problem(s). In other words, determine your needs. Don't buy a pig in a poke - which is what 99.99% of people do.

Your satisfaction will depend on how fussy you are, or how fussy you become. Some people become sensitized to good and bad projection systems. Some of your audience may already be that way.

To make the best purchase decision takes some work and thinking. A simple recommendation from friends will not necessarily work. It might work - but there's a greater than 80% chance it won't work.

Also, I think it's a very difficult time to buy a projector, because the hardware (computer and projector hardware) is in such great flux. DVI and HDMI connections will change soon. Color depth will change soon. HDTV will change soon.

Some major considerations to think about are:

1. As simple as this sounds, most buyers mess it up. Buy on a credit card, so you can return the
projector with fewer problems. It is difficult to test a projector with your Mac before you
buy to determine if it "syncs" with your computer. Quite a few don't sync. Avoid embarrassment among
your coworkers and peers for making a costly mistake. Most stores charge SIGNIFICANT restocking
fees for opened boxes today. You may want to try contacting someone other than a discount or online
store for this purchase. K-L-A Labs in Dearborn, or Roscor in Farmington Hills come to mind,
but I'm not sure if they'll let you return merchanise. Buy from someone who will support you. You
might also want to try contacting the local or regional reps for a demo projector or loaner for
a test before you buy. In other words, don't buy something that doesn't work. This takes work.

2. What type of media are you going to be showing, and how do you want the media to appear. If it's for a boardroom (as in a Company with demanding directors who are paying for it), you'll want a better projector (+$4000) and not necessarily a portable projector. I personally would sacrifice weight for color rendition under ALL circumstances. Different types of media require different aspect ratios, and different color hardware. While LCD's have GREATLY improved over the last 5 years, they're generally considered the least accurate in rendering color. The internal electronics affect image rendition to a large extent, but you simply don't find LCD's in professional situations due to the lack of displayable colors.

More to point on media types:

How do these documents, movies, and photos look on the projector you're buying? Where do you want the black bars
to appear in the cropped image?

LCD's are fine for documents - but not very good for movies and photos that require accurate color. DLP's would
be a better choice, but only if the color rendering hardware (in the projector) is pretty good. Use ColorSync
in your Mac as the rendering engine where you can (TV, video, and movies have no ability to be color controlled
accurately). Buy a projector where you can "shut off" its internal color management. (Most salesmen won't know
how to do that - you'll need to call tech service before you purchase.)

3. The room situations should be considered very carefully. Perceived brightness varies a lot, depending on
room darkening curtains, the gain of the screen, projector brightness, and where people are sitting in a room.
Don't even begin to trust the published specifications on projector brightness. The numbers cannot be compared.
Projectors must be compared side-by-side if possible, but that's difficult.

Learn the gain of the screens you'll be showing media on - it varies immensely, and affects how bright the
images are. Also, different screens have different coloration -
some are gray or silver, and not only white. Room color (like in a dark brown paneled boardroom) will affect
the color you see on the screen for movies and photos. The distance from the screen is VERY important. You
may need an interchangeable lens in a auditorium or large room to "throw" the light further if you can't
set-up near the screen. If the projector is mounted low and the screen high, you will probably want an OPTICAL
keystone correction feature. [ Don't buy an electronic keystone correction feature. ]

4. You won't find this bit of advice on the Internet or at Circuit City, but my understanding is that
digital projectors need a true earth ground. You can very easily blow a $400 light bulb in one of
these projectors. Lacking that, they should be run on a UPS, but always with surge protection. You might
also want to investigate how easy it is change a bulb, should you blow one. Some bulbs are very
difficult to change, and may even cause you warranty problems if you change the bulb yourself.

5. You may need some extra hardware to tie the projector into a speaker (audio) system.

6. Don't forget to include the cost of a screen, UPS, extra light bulb, remote control, wheeled carrying
case, DVD player, and other necessities in your cost estimate. Component DVD players (like Sony or Onkyo)
generally are poor at best in playing DVD's. As strange as it may seem, $39 Wal-Mart DVD players can
play more disks than the expensive console players. Computer DVD drives have an even greater disk
compatibility, but brand, model, and firmware are very important for good image rendition. You'll
need to update the factory firmware. You'll need to determine how important a USB port or other
ports are in your projector. Be careful here, since this is one area that's in great flux. Buy ports
for what's coming in the near future - not what happened 5 years ago.

7. Most people underestimate the importance of a good screen. There are many kinds.

8. Most "off the shelf" projectors have some dead pixels, according to my sources. If you want perfect,
factory-tested, special-run projectors, you may need to purchase from a company like Boxlight.

9. It's difficult to tell what kind of picture electronics you're buying, but one method is to watch
movies (Blu-ray DVD and standard DVD via a DVD player) for picture artifacts. Better DVD players
will minimize ghost images (especially around edges, like text), JPEG artifacts, and pixel noise.
If you test with a player, you can replay difficult to render sections to evaluate your projector.

If you find these terms and decisions bewildering, you may want to visit some websites:

Good luck. I think it's very easy to make a poor decision here. It's more difficult to make a good decision,
one that won't be obsolete in 6 months. Don't forget, HDTV arrives in 6 months.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Chuck M,
August 19, 2008, 04:56 PM
George Little
Waaaay too much information Chuck. While I agree with your facts I got the impression that Lorelei was not in need of a $3000 projector. I've used quite a few different projectors of various prices and for a Board presentation the 77C is a good choice. Now if we need something that will do HD or movies than your advice is perfect. So - Lorelei, - your choice.

Experience is what you get when you were expecting something else.
August 22, 2008, 11:11 AM
I bought the 77C for the company I work for (I needed it fast for a funeral)... thanks for ALL the advice. I will definitely take Chucks advice when I purchase one for my personal/professional needs in the future. Smile
August 22, 2008, 11:05 PM
George Little
Well lorelei, maybe you would give us your evaluation and if it was adequate for your application. Thanks in advance.

Experience is what you get when you were expecting something else.