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What options are there to replace projectors?

If you’ve had your projector for a while and are thinking of upgrading it there are various issues you need to consider, not only to make sure you get the best equipment for your money but also that the equipment is most suitable for your requirements.

But first, is it necessary to replace your projector at all? You might be able to replace the bulb (the part that normally expires first) and get some more use out of it. Alternatively, you may find the projector needs a good clean to blow all of the dust out. However, if that’s not possible what options are there to replace projectors?

The first option open to you is the type of projector you choose. There are two types of projectors available – DLP (Digital Light Processing) and LCD (Liquid Crystal Display). (Actually there’s a third, but it’s so expensive it’s out of the reach of most business budgets.) The two projector types work in quite different ways. LCD projectors have a single source of light which is split into three beams that pass through coloured “panels” comprising thousands of liquid crystal pixels. The panels allow light to pass in the right ratio to form the correct colours on the screen. DLP projectors also have a single light source but this beams light onto a ball containing thousands of mirrors, and the reflected light passes through a spinning colour wheel to form an image.

Because of the difference in operation there are advantages and disadvantages to both types that you need to bear in mind when replacing projectors. DLP projectors are usually smaller units that need do not have filters, therefore people assume they need less maintenance. This is not true as all projectors require cleaning to avoid build up of dust inside the projector. However, they use a chip that is sealed and therefore should be less affected by dust . The most important fact is that this chip, manufactured by Texas Instruments does not deteriorate with use and therefore most DLP manufacturers say that you can expect the quality of the original picture to last for longer than an LCD projector. Sometimes they can be quite noisy to operate, and the image colours can be saturated.

LCD projectors can be larger and quieter, they have better overall image quality but require regular maintenance. All LCD projectors have filters because they are a physical deterrent  to prevent dust building up inside the projector. LCD projectors have colour panels that are liable to deteriorate, which is usually too expensive to fix in comparison to replacing the whole projector. Usually, when you initially compare an LCD projector to a DLP projector the LCD will have the brighter and more vivid colours. However, after several 1000 hours use the DLP image will be comparable to when first purchased whereas the LCD image will be starting to detriorate.

However, your choice of DLP or LCD projector could well depend on how and where you intend to use them. DLP projectors have fixed lenses with a very small projection distance, so there are less options to replace an existing ceiling mounted projector, whereas LCD projectors have larger lenses with zoom capability so they can be sited at the back of a room, perhaps out of the way on a shelf, and still project a high quality image on a screen a fair distance away. When you’re looking at options to replace projectors, keep this in mind as it could help you make your decision. In addition, if you are planning to start a regular update program where you replace your projectors every 3-4 years does it matter which technology you choose? We recommend schools consider this type of update program because as well as benefiting from a new projector every 3-4 years, the school will usually receive a new lamp warranty and projector warranty providing total peace of mind. This method also ensures it is easier to budget for ongoing projector usage and maintenance.

Once you’ve decided between DLP and LCD, you need to decide on the best way to purchase your equipment. You could purchase outright if you have the funds available. However, a better option might be to buy an operating lease. Rather than owning the equipment, this lets you lease and use it for a fixed period for a fixed monthly fee. The benefits of an operating lease over outright purchase are that it’s good for your budget as you can spread out payments; you can include extras like installation, training and software and spread the cost; and if you want to upgrade your equipment you have the flexibility to do so, often without increasing your payments.

As you can see, there are many factors to be considered when looking at options for replacing projectors. If you would like to discuss the options available or find out how an operating lease could work for you, give the team at Smarter Interactive a call on 0118 336 0010 and we’ll be happy to help.

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