WELCOME TO OUR ANNUAL EDUCATION AND BUSINESS PROJECTOR BUYER'S GUIDE
When you think of projectors, you probably think about darkened theater rooms with rows of comfy couches in a home or a corporate executive flipping through PowerPoint slides on a big screen in a crowded boardroom. But that is not always the case! projectors are used in so many settings from art installations, to houses of worship, to education.
In this guide, we are going to focus on projectors ideally suited for education purposes, both K-12 and higher education, business and corporate use, and museum applications. We carefully consider each projector and how it can be best used in different education situations when conducting reviews and choosing award winners for this guide.
WE WISH TO THANK SONY FOR SPONSORING THE 2024-2025 EDUCATION AND BUSINESS REPORT AND BUYER’S GUIDE.
THE TYPES OF PROJECTORS INCLUDED IN THIS GUIDE
Let’s look at the different categories we are including in our Education Projector Report.
First, we have what we call “Meeting Room/Classroom”, which includes projectors found primarily in K-12 classrooms and business meeting room settings. These budget-friendly projectors tend to be smaller, with less lens adjustability. Several factors, including overall budget, and smaller classroom sizes, contribute to the fact that K-12 schools will often spend less per projector than a higher education institution.
Often in higher education applications “Conference Room/Lecture Hall” class projectors are placed in big lecture halls or larger classrooms. These are the projectors that will also be used in the larger conference or boardroom in businesses. But remember, all types of schools and businesses will often need bigger and more powerful projectors for their multi-function rooms and auditoriums, not just classrooms and smaller meeting spaces.
A third category includes “High-End/Specialty” projectors, with the “specialty” including projectors designed for digital signage and projection mapping, many of which are widely used in museum displays.
Within each of these classes is different types of projectors, for example, standard and ultra-short throw. Features like interchangeable lenses and horizontal/vertical lens shift can affect both unit price and the sometimes hefty cost of installation. Interactivity is an increasingly popular and attractive technology. Some projectors in the guide have fully interactive capabilities, others have varying degrees, including very limited, and none.
In this report, we think “usage.” It’s not a specs competition. Our awards go out to great projectors and some that are great for specific applications, environments, etc.
WHAT'S INSIDE OUR EDUCATION AND BUSINESS BUYER'S GUIDE
This year we considered dozens of projectors and chose the projectors we felt were best suited for the business and education market. In this report, you will find an overview of each of those projectors with links to their in-depth reviews.
Many of the projectors we reviewed also have “siblings” which typically include a few additional models, many times almost identical to the product we reviewed, but with varying resolution, or with additional wireless capabilities, perhaps slightly brighter, etc. Our focus was to show you a sample of what is available which actually represent perhaps closer to 100 different models currently available.
Some of the projectors in this report may look familiar and that is because most projectors have been in the market for 2-4 years. A few of the projector’s included in this year’s Buyer’s Guide were also included in last year’s guide but they are still highly relevant to the market. We also note any projectors that won awards last year in addition to any new award winners.
We are very selective in choosing the projectors we choose to review and those we feature in this Buyer’s Guide. We work hard to ensure that most of the projectors we review are considered to be among the best in both price range and capabilities.
We hope this Buyer’s Guide helps you select the right products for your success. Our sincere thanks to all of you who have persevered and continued to educate through one of the most unexpected and challenging times in modern history.
Whatever we can do to make your job a little easier and hopefully more brilliant, we are happy to support. Thank you again for all that you do!
FEATURES TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING AN EDUCATION Or BUSINESS PROJECTOR
#1 HOW LARGE OF A SCREEN DO YOU NEED?
When choosing a projector for your business or education applications, there are several factors to consider. The first thing is how large of a screen do you need for your application? While flat panels TV continue to get bigger and bigger, when it comes to sheer size, a projector still offers the best band for your buck. Larger rooms require larger screens.
The image needs to be large and clear enough to be able to read the smallest text on the screen from the back of the room. Need help deciding how big of a screen and what resolution is required for your space? Check out this excellent whitepaper from Epson entitled Display Size Matters.
#2: HOW MUCH BRIGHTNESS DO YOU NEED?
How much brightness you need depends on the desired screen size and the amount of Ambient Light in the room. A bigger, brighter projected image makes it easier for audience members to maintain a safe distance from other participants, as needed. However, as the screen size increases, more brightness is required to deliver a colorful, vibrant image.
Brightness Scale: Estimates for 100″ diag. screen
Recommended ANSI Lumens
Bright With No Control Over Ambient Light
Bright With Some Control Over Ambient Light
Good Control Over Ambient Light
Ability to Fully Darken
The standard for determining a projector’s brightness is calledANSI Lumens. An ANSI Lumen rating uses an average of several brightness measurements taken across the face of the light source.
A 200-inch screen found in a larger lecture hall is four times bigger than a 100-inch screen found in a classroom. This means you will need four times the light output to reproduce a similar-looking image.
So how many Lumens are right for your application? A good rule of thumb is if it’s too bright you can turn it down, but you can’t turn it up if it’s not bright enough, at least not without sacrificing image size.
A brighter projector combined with a good Ambient light Rejecting Screen will ensure a good-looking picture even in a room with moderate ambient light, like a lecture hall.
#3: HOW MUCH RESOLUTION DO YOU NEED?
Resolution is a term that refers to the number of horizontal and vertical pixels of the projected image. The higher the number of pixels, the higher the resolution, and the sharper the image. A higher resolution is especially useful in the classroom when presenting characters and text, like in a high-end mathematics or physics class.
Common Education/Business Projector resolutions
800 x 600
853 x 480
1024 x 768
1280 x 800
1920 x 1200
1920 x 1080
3840 x 2160
* SVGA and WVGA are essentially “legacy” resolutions.
While there are still some very low-cost projectors sold with SVGA and WVGA resolutions (including some “toy” priced dim LED pico projectors for home use), they are no longer normally bought by schools.
There are still large numbers of them in K-12 schools and most are long overdue for replacement. Their bulbs last only a fraction of the life of new projectors (never mind laser projectors!), so it can be extremely costly to maintain these types of old projectors.
XGA models are typically used to replace the SVGA (and if any are still around – VGA) projectors. SVGA projectors are typically replaced by WXGA, WUXGA, or 1080p projectors.
For applications where the ability to resolve fine details is important a 4K capable projector is probably the best solution. However, native 4K high brightness projectors cost at least four as much as their 1080p counterparts. While 4K Pixel Shiftingcan’t match the resolution of a native 4K projector, it does increase sharpness and detail compared to a standard 1080 projector.
#4: WHAT ARE YOUR INSTALLATION REQUIREMENTS?
Your installation requirements are impacted by several factors such as placement, maintenance, longevity needs, hardware, and monitoring/control. There is way too much information to cover in this article so check out the installation-related articles on our Custom Integration page.
You can also click the links below to explore installation-focused features in more detail.