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About Cost of Operation and Ownership

By Art Feierman
Many of these individual items have been mentioned elsewhere in our Education Projector Special Features section and glossary.  Here we are simply organizing them in one place for your convenience:

Upfront Costs

Projectors, Screens/whiteboards, mounts, 3D glasses (when appropriate), and installation costs (including tying into and configuring to networks.

Post-Sale Costs

Differences in warranties (some manufacturers such as NEC and Epson offer longer warranties to the education market, so be sure to compare warranties based on school usage.  Warranties in the projectors found included in this report vary from 1 year parts and labor, to 5 years parts and labor.  Replacement programs vary from none, to 3 full years of rapid replacement.  Those are huge differences, and those differences can mean a lot of extra expense for schools, districts, states, and universities, down the road.  A 2 or 3 year old $700 projector might cost $400 to repair a typical warranty problem if the warranty has run out (plu shipping costs), but with a longer warranty and replacement program, there’s typically $0 out of pocket costs, and a replacement projector arrives in one to three business days.  With most replacement programs, the manufacturer pays all shipping relating to a warranty covered issue.

Once you get past warranties, the issues are primarily cost of replacing lamps, and labor associated with keeping projectors running.  That means there’s a lamp replacement cost, and then there’s the time the support IT folks take to go in and replace a burnt out lamp (or just one due for replacing.

With projectors that have filters, many won’t need a new filter until time to replace the lamp, but filter life that’s much shorter can gobble up labor resources, so consider that.

Of course, those projectors with solid state light engines, be they laser, led or hybrid will never need a “lamp” change, saving labor, but also consider, most of today’s lamp projectors do 3000, 4000 or 5000 hours at full power, and up to 6000 hours in eco-mode before needing a new lamp.   Then figure some of those have lamp replacements of $99, or maybe $199.   It’s going to be hard to rationalize a projector from a cost standpoint, if it sells for an extra $1500 (for the solid state), to get 20,000 hours, when four spare $99 lamps will provide most projectors with a similar, longer than the projector is useful 20,000 hour life or a solid state.   In other words, when lamp costs are low, and lamp life long, with today’s current prices it’s hard to recoup financially the extra that those projectors cost.

In the world of the pocket projectors they are all solid state, o the issue there is a lot less brightness (about 1/3) compared to lamp based.   District IT/AV Tech Coordinators and Buyers, here’s when you break out the calculator and figure out whether the advantages of not having to replace lamps saves enough labor cost to offset the higher projector costs. While Im a fan in theory of solid state light source projectors, do remember they are relatively new technology.  Most claim 20,000 and occasionally there’s a 30,000 hour claim, but in reality most only provide one to three years of warranty, and I believe only one in this report guarantees their solid state light engine for even half of what the projector claims – that is 10,000 hours, but that’s far more than one can expect on the rest.   As a result unless the solid state projector has a very long warranty on the light engine, figure that if the engine doesn’t last near as long as claimed, you end up with a broken projector, out of warranty, that’s too expensive to repair.

I won’t repeat the math relating to Active vs Passive 3D projectors in the classroom, see that page for some idea on how those costs differ.

That's A Wrap

Although this concludes the Special Features and Choices for projectors serving the Education markets, many of the same issues apply to business use, especially with corporate level implementations.


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