BenQ takes the lead in projector technology with its W1070, a short-throw device that puts an HD image onto a screen. Based on a single digital light processing chip, the W1070 costs $1,100, delivers a full 1,920 by 1,080 image and has a pair of 2-watt speakers.
Vivitek has squeezed a full projector into its Qumi Q7 pico-projector. It weighs just over 3-pouonds and is barely the size of a textbook, but pumps out 800 lumens of light and creates a 1,280 by 800 image. Because it is powered by LEDs, the Q7 is rated at a life of 30,000 hours and has a pair of HDMI inputs as well as ones for VGA and composite video. The best part is that its USB slot can play the contents of a memory key and the projector has readers for PDF files and Office documents. Look for it by the end of the school year for $1,000.
With 3,000 lumens at its disposal, BenQ’s MX-520 has the ability to light up even the largest classrooms. Based on the latest DLP chip, the MX-520 creates an XGA image and has a lamp that adjusts its brightness based on what is being shown. It can not only make the lamp last as long as 6,500 hours and can cut its power use but results in a richer image. The MX-520 costs $700.
NEC’s latest ultra-short throw projectors, the NP-UM330X and NP-UM330W, that pump out 3,300 lumens of light. The XGA and W-XGA projectors cost $1,100 and $1,300, have two HDMI input connectors and can be used with the company’s $480 NP02Wi add-on wireless pen for an interactive lesson. Both come with wired Ethernet networking and 802.11n WiFi is optional.
Interactive projectors are a great way to work with digital material without the hassle of having an interactive whiteboard, but having to use the wand can be awkward and intrusive. Smart’s innovative LightRaise 60wi can also work with finger input with up to two users working at once with the included pen or with fingers. The ultra-short throw projector can create an image as big as 8.3-feet and costs $2,000.
One of the most intractable problems facing a school is its power bill that can run into the 5 figures per month in some large institutions. Sure you can put timers on light switches and put compact fluorescent bulbs in fixtures, but a new breed of projectors can cut electrical waste without sacrificing brightness. NEC’s NP-M311x projector not only can put 3,100 lumens of light on the screen but uses 12 percent less power in Eco Mode but their bulbs are rated to run for 10,000 hours or something like 8 or 9 years of typical school use. It has XGA resolution, Crestron’s Roomview Connect hardware built in and can play itesm off of a USB memory key. It costs $829 and its two year warranty can be doubled if you register with NEC’s Star Student discount program.
It is a truism that most projectors for schools end up costing more than the original purchase price in replacement lamps, But BenQ’s MW519 has a lamp that can go for 6,500 hours in eco mode, 50 percent longer than the competition. The projector uses DLP technology, is rated at 2,800 lumens and can put a 1,280 by 800 resolution image on the class screen. It costs $650.
They’re not free, but a new program from Epson makes them a steal compared to the competition, which can charge as much as $400 a piece. Schools participating in Epson’s Brighter Futures discount program can now get replacement lamps for many of the company’s projectors for $99 or less; some are available for $79. This offer starts later this month and is available on 24 projectors, including most Powerlite and BrightLink projectors.
If projectors are disappearing from your school, Premier Mounts Keylock can keep them locked down and secure. The hardware replaces the key bolts that keep the device in place with ones that require a special key to loosen. The $10 set of hardware can protect a $1,000 projector, works with some of the company’s projector mounts and will be included with future hardware.
NEC’s Interactive Software that can turn an iPad and a projector into an interactive classroom takes another step forward with a major update to the program. The latest version of the app works just as well on its own or connected to a server. It can capture all the annotations as well as the room’s audio and you can share anything over a variety of portals. The app comes on a USB memory key, includes a Doceri iPad pen and costs $50, but NEC has less expensive licensing options.