Projectors Considered: Large Venue Projectors 1

We wish to thank Epson America for sponsoring this year’s Best Classroom Projectors report.


Large Venue Projectors Considered

Large Venue Projectors
Projector Model Image Overview Review Specs Type
ASK Proxima E1655U  ask-e1655u Overview Review Specs Standard throw, Wired networking
Epson PowerLite 1965  epson-1965 Overview Review Specs Standard throw, Wired networking
Epson PowerLite Pro G6900U  epson-g6900wu Overview Review Specs Standard throw, Wired networking
Sony VPL-FHZ55  sony-fhz55 Overview Review Specs Standard throw, Wired networking
NEC PE401H  nec-pe401h Overview Review Specs Standard throw, Wired networking

ASK Proxima E1655U

ASK Proxima is back.  Proxima has had a long history, from being one of the first US projector companies, then bought by InFocus.  Later it was sold to ASK out of Norway (part of Tandberg).  Currently ASK Proxima is part of Shenzhen ACTO Digital Video Technology out of China. For industry buffs, it seems ASK’s Parent acquired technology and, perhaps manufacturing plants from Sanyo, after Sanyo’s purchase by Matsushita (Panasonic, et al.) But let’s focus on the projector.  The E1655U-A is a larger venue projector using LCD technology, and claiming 5000 lumens, and actually measuring even brighter.  It is a true WUXGA projector (1920×1200) which means it can display 1080p natively!   Warranty is a solid 3 years parts and labor.  This ASK Proxima projector offers multiple lenses, but the basic configuration with liens has a motorized1.6:1 zoom lens, with a $5999 MSRP.  Street pricing is considerably lower, and competitive. The ASK Proxima E1655U-A offers capable  networking, however, is not quite as sophisticated in features (no Crestron or AMX compatibility) as some others.  This makes it a better projector where advanced networking such as push notifications are not required.   Unlike much of the reasonably priced competition, the ASK Proxima E1655U’s lens functions are motorized. An excellent choice for a small auditorium or multi-purpose room.  In university settings also a very viable choice, if the projector’s networking meets the school’s requirements.

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The E1655U-A has less expensive siblings with lower resolutions, as you would expect.  Although list price is on the high side, ASK Proxima advises that they provide dealers room for some moderately hefty discounts for Education. This projector should be suitable for small auditoriums and larger classrooms typical of those in universities.  Wired networking is a standard feature however, the projector is not Crestron or AMX networking compatible, which simply means it doesn’t have some of the extra fancy features such as push notifications.  When reviewed it was found to be very capable, with especially good image quality.

Epson Powerlite Pro G6900WU

Heavy metal.  6000 lumens, WUXGA – 1920×1200 resolution which means it can project 1080p natively, this projector is up for handling the largest university classrooms, and auditoriums.  A selection of six interchangeable lenses guarantees it can be placed in almost any room and there’s plenty of lens shift.  Advanced networking, including Crestron and AMX compatibility means that network administrators have full control, right down to monitoring, powering up or down, and pushing notifications to the projector.  The projector supports closed captioning, of course. 3LCD technology provides at least very good color, even in the brightest modes. The $6499 list price, is far about Epson’s Brighter Futures educational pricing. Warranty is 3 years parts and labor with a 3 year replacement program.   Education buyers should receive an extra year of both!

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As a large venue projector, lamp life is shorter than less powerful projectors, with a basic 2000 hours at full power but a very respectable 4000 hours in eco mode.. Advanced features abound.  For example if you need a live video feed in a large classroom, HD-SDI allows a hi-def camera to be directly interfaced at distances of up to 250 feet.  HDBaseT allows for simple less expensive tying into the schools network over a long distance (think football field lengths) using low cost CAT5 or CAT6!

The PP6900W supports projecting content from multiple PC’s simultaneously (up to 4) via network presentation.  There’s also split screen, DICOM compatibility.  Like all 3LCD projectors it has a filter, but since the filter is electrostatic and only gets changed very 10,000 hours, that’s only once every 2-3 lamp replacements, to keep cost of maintenance nice and low. There are six other G series projectors varying in resolution and brightness (and to some extent features).  Interesting though that Epson as made four of the seven WUXGA resolution.

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