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More on Projectors....

These units, and their LCD panel brethren, have just gotten better and cheaper every year. High-resolutions are now relatively affordable, and decently crisp & bright colors can be had even at low-cost price ranges.

For those who must personally present data (teach, fundraise, market, lobby, sell, etc.), an LCD panel is fast becoming a required tool. For educational institutions, large & small, K-12 or college, panels and projectors are a "must have" category.  The questions lie only in acquiring the right mix to fulfill all of their needs.

There are hundreds of products. The big electronics firms have many, many product lines with multiple models in each line. Some other smaller companies specialize in just a few products. It pays to do your homework and determine your needs, first. Then its easier to match needs to product, and not be swayed by marketing man nor his message.

First, we offer up some more product briefs. The there's an application story of how projectors have made chalkboards obselete in two Illinios high schools' PC labs.

Short Looks

ViewSonic's PJ800 is the first a new line expressly designed for training environments. Supporting both 800x600 and 1024x768, the 20-pound unit has built-in stereo speakers and a motorized, zoom-focus lens. Three selectable input sources handle any video device, PCs and Macs; a wireless remote with a built-in mouse works for both Macs & PCs. OPUS technology (Advanced Optical Prism Uniformity System) maintains brightness & sharpness on the whole screen, eliminating dark corners & edges. Images are displayed from 30 inches to 300 inches, measured diagonally -- and at 16.7 million colors. A 200:1 high contrast ratio makes images easily visible even in well-lit rooms.ViewSonic Corp., Walnut, CA (800) 888-8583, www.viewsonic.com.

From ASK LCD comes the Impression A4, named because its footprint is approximately the same size as a sheet of A4 (letter) paper. This SVGA projector weighs 11 pounds, complete with high-fidelity speakers. The A4's optional Universal Interface System allows for six simultaneous data, S-video and composite video source connections. To help customers compare projectors, ASK LCD developed the Ultraportability Factor (UPF), determined by multiplying the unit's volume (cm) by its weight (kg), then dividing by 1,000. ASK LCD, Inc., Lyndhurst, NJ, (201) 896-8888, www.ask.no.

Celebrating over 40 years in the projection business, Buhl Industries has introduced a new line of products based on LCD and DLP technology. The Buhlite 810's unique keystone adjustment optically corrects the image (± 20%) to keep it square. Model 820 adds video input. The Buhlite 830 with DLP incorporates a Digital Mirror Device, which utilizes 480,000 digitally controlled micro-mirrors to reflect red, green and blue filtered light through a lens. Through DLP, 640 x 480 images can be stretched to fit onto the screen without borders. Buhl Industries, Inc., Fair Lawn, NJ, (201) 423-2800, www.buhl-ind.com.

From InFocus comes the LitePro 730, an XGA projector with USB connectivity. Powered by an embedded microprocessor, the CableWizard allows users to connect their computer, audio, mouse and monitor to the LitePro through a single system, eliminating cable clutter. Images are displayed with 90% light uniformity, satisfying the demands of CAD/CAM and other fine-line applications. Fan noise never exceeds 39 decibels, good news for presenters who need their voice to be heard clearly across a large room. InFocus Systems, Wilsonville, OR, (800) 294-6400, www.infocus.com

Based on a polysilicon three-panel system, Mitsubishi's LVP-X100 features a horizontal scanning range from 15.75 to 80 kHz and a contrast ratio greater than 100:1. This XGA projector offers a PC Card and flashback memory to play saved presentations; a double window, for displaying two images of equal size at once; and an intuitive GUI for adjusting color, brightness and contrast. All onscreen menus can be viewed in English, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese or Spanish. Mitsubishi Electronics America, Inc., Display Products Division, Cypress, CA, (800) 843-2515, www.mitsubishi-display.com

Sony Electronics has unveiled an LCD projector appropriate for large venues such as auditoriums and conference halls. The VPL-V800Q combines a 400-watt short-arc metal halide lamp and a precision prism block to produce 800 ANSI lumens of light output. Sony's Fly-Eye light integrators virtually eliminate "hot spots" by uniformly distributing the light. In addition, for extremely demanding environments with ambient light and long throw distances, users can stack two VPL-V800Qs (via an optional bracket) and converge the images to achieve 1,400 lumens. Sony Electronics, Business and Professional Group, San Jose, CA, (800) 686-SONY, www.sony.com/professional.

Other LCD projectors:
Boxlight's 3700, available for sale directly to educators. (800) 762-5757
The nVIEW L-550, a portable unit that suits training sessions. (800) 736-8439
Panasonic's PT-L592U, with advanced Polarization Converter Optical System. (800) 524-0864
The ProScreen series from Philips Electronics integrates the firm's Line Memory Scan Converter (LIMESCO) chip. (770) 821-2400
Telex Communications' Firefly P350, capable of folding to a compact 2.7" high. (800) 828-6107
Polaroid's Polaview 10, tailor-made for traveling presenters. (800) 816-2611
The PLC-750M from Sanyo, with a full 900 lumens of brightness. (818) 998-7322

This article originally appeared in the 09/01/1997 issue of THE Journal.

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