By now, most educators are quite familiar with LCD projectors. Sales of these units to schools and universities have grown at a steady pace over the past few years. Thanks to user-friendly software, more teachers are creating and delivering their own presentations in the classroom. Those about to acquire a new projector will find a dizzying array of manufacturers, all claiming to offer products with the clearest, brightest images. Some firms boast that their projectors integrate Texas Instrumentsí Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology, which supposedly improves colors and contrast. The best way to sort through these claims is to ìtest driveî several units at a local reseller or trade show. Remember to simulate the applications and conditions that exist at your site.

First, Apolloís Synergy Multimedia Projector combines overhead, data and video projection capabilities in one machine. Presenters can place any printed material, overhead transparency or solid object onto the stage, and a digital camera zooms in for close-up views. In PC mode, the Synergy displays data from any VGA or Mac computer in up to 16.7 million colors, while video mode supports videodisc players, VCRs and camcorders. To switch from one mode to another, simply touch a button on the projector keypad or remote control. Apollo Presentation Products, Ronkonkoma, NY, (516) 467-8033,

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Chisholm has added three LCD projectors to its Aurora series. The X700, scheduled to ship this month, sports true XGA (1024 x 768) resolution and 700 ANSI lumens, enabling bright projection even with the lights turned on. Highlights of the X700 include a built-in PCMCIA card, picture-in-picture capability and 1:3:1 electronic zoom. Another model, the SX350 suits environments with high-powered workstations. Chisholm also released Virtual Chalkboard for the Aurora S500P; this Windows (3.1/95) software lets teachers make notes on their PenPal, a handheld digital pad, then later replay, modify, print or export these notes. Chisholm, Campbell, CA, (800) 888-4210,

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A newcomer to this market, Digital Projection has already turned some heads with its POWER 4dv, an XGA projector with DLP. In April, the 4dv won Millimeter Magazineís "Best of Show" award at the National Association of Broadcasters Annual Conference in Las Vegas. Following an onsite demonstration, officials at The Getty Museum in Malibu, Calif., ordered two 4dv systems for a 450-seat main auditorium and 200-seat lecture hall. The museum plans to use the projectors for visitor orientations, lectures, special meetings and film exhibitions. Digital Projection, Inc., Kennesaw, GA, (770) 420-1350.

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Priced under $9,000, Dukaneís ImagePro 8020 data/video projector can be economically shared among classrooms across campus. Weighing 14 pounds, the unit delivers 500 lumens of light output from a 150-watt Metal Halide lamp. An advanced lamp engine provides 3-5 years of normal use (2,000 hours) before lamp change. The 8020ís Digital Pixel Compression System accommodates VGA, SVGA and XGA formats. Last year, Dukaneís manufacturing headquarters received ISO 9001 certification. Dukane Corp., St. Charles, IL, (800) 676-2485,

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Designed for sophisticated applications, such as engineering and medical imaging, the PowerLite 7000 contains special polysilicon LCDs produced by Epsonís parent company, Seiko Epson. Through patented SizeWize technology, this XGA projector transforms SXGA (1280 x 1024) images from desktops and workstations to native XGA with virtually no picture content loss; SizeWize also converts SVGA and VGA to XGA, for presenters dealing with source material in lower resolutions. A control panel on top of the PowerLite 7000 has contoured buttons for tracking, synchronization, input select, volume and menu controls. A Kensington lock receptacle lets one tether and secure the projector to a desired location. Epson America, Inc., Torrance, CA, (800) GO-EPSON,

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At the INFOCOMM ë97 show, EIKI unveiled several new LCD projectors, including the Eiki LC-360, appropriate for large-screen video presentations in schools and colleges. This portable unit projects 500 TV lines resolution onto screens from 30 to 300 inches diagonally, at distances up to 53 feet (68 feet with optional Tele Extender). EIKI also upgraded its LC-7000 SVGA projector by adding a second computer input, more logical menus and a silent standby mode. Plus, the LC-7000 now comes with Astoundís "instant multimedia" software, for quickly spicing up presentations. EIKI International, Lake Forest, CA, (714) 457-0200,

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ELMO weighs in with the EDP-2100, an SVGA projector that takes cues from customer feedback on convenience and durability. "ELMO has a 76-year reputation of providing high-performance, high-quality electronic imaging products," notes Allan R. Lamberti, general sales manager. The EDP-2100ís F3.6-4.1 multi-coated zoom lens, for example, promises consistently detailed edge-to-edge images. Optional accessories include a ceiling mount, soft carry bag and hard storage case with wheels and retractable handle. ELMO Mfg. Corp., New Hyde Park, NY, (800) 947-ELMO,

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Expressly designed to work with notebook computers, the NoteVision (XG-NV1U) represents Sharpís slimmest LCD projector to date. This SVGA unit employs three polysilicon panels, each with 519,168 pixels. NoteVision easily adapts to the size of the room or number of viewers present. For example, it can project a full 100-inch diagonal image from as close as 13 to 18 feet. A unique Sound Retrieval System provides "3D sound" from two speakers, without connecting additional audio equipment. Sharp Electronics Corp., Mahwah, NJ, (800) BE-SHARP,

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Proximaís Desktop Projector 5610 includes a connector panel with two computer and two video inputs, thereby permitting multiple presenters to switch off at the press of a button. Other highlights are a 1:6:1 motorized zoom lens and four-position image control. Presenters University, a free online resource ( from Proxima, explains how educators can effectively use the DP 5610 and presentation software in the classroom. Online "courses" are updated monthly to reflect research in areas such as audience retention. Proxima Corp., San Diego, CA, (800) 447-7692,

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NEC Technologies has introduced the MultiSync MT Series of portable LCD projectors, which utilize active-matrix TFT LCDs and AccuBlend Intelligent Pixel Blending Technology. Image Capture stores up to eight images in memory for future retrieval. In addition, an all-in-one remote provides a built-in laser pointer as well as a wide-area IR transmitter for controlling the projector and computer from nearly anywhere in the room. All MultiSync MT models (600, 810 and 1000) come standard with NECís InstaCare service for two years. Under this program, in the event of a malfunction, customers can get a replacement unit sent for delivery the next business day -- absolutely free. NEC Technologies, Itasca, IL, (800) NEC-INFO,

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