A high brightness data projector for a meeting room - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 09-24-2013, 07:45 PM - Thread Starter
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I need to find a high brightness data projector (data presentations, no movies) for our meeting room. It will be used in a room which has windows all around, which even though covered with blinds, will be plenty bright during the day. A projector suggested is NEC PE401H (4000 lumens), but is quite expensive compared to, say, ViewSonic PJD7820HD (which is also 4000 lumens). The projector will be ceiling mounted, and the screen size will be 100 or 120".

Could someone please explain if there is any value with going expensive projectors like NEC PE401H, or will lower cost projectors like ViewSonic PJD7820HD will be equally good. We would like to save money but not at the cost of a less than satisfying visual experience during our meetings when a projector needs to be engaged for data presentations.
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post #2 of 11 Old 09-24-2013, 09:06 PM
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Your main concerns in the room are the brightness of the projector. You really want to do some math on this, but you should be shooting for about 100 to 120 lumens (advertised) per square foot of screen space when you have filtered daylight coming into the conference room. In a room without windows, the general rule is about 80 lumens per square foot.

You also want to consider your screen size, since screen size determines square footage which determines required brightness.

I will assume that the projector must be widescreen and must have a HDMI input on it.

The square footage of a 120" screen is about 47 square feet. Which means, that I would be recommending a projector with about 5,000 lumens or more.

Now, I like the concept of cheap projectors as well as anyone, but there are brands I avoid after sheet stupid experiences with them. Viewsonic is one of those brands where I have seen lousy monitors, lousy projectors, and consistent poor build quality from them. If YOU want to buy a cheap projector that may fail, then that's up to YOU - but I wouldn't ever recommend one if my business name were on the line.

NEC, in contrast, is an excellent company with quality products. But, I would more likely lean towards Panasonic who recently purchased Sanyo and now has a great projector lineup which includes some very impressive models without being terribly priced.

Let's do a search:
http://www.projectorcentral.com/projectors.cfm?g=1&hide=0&st=1&mfg=&p=300&p=4000&w=&r=&br=5000&br=10000&ll=&ltg=&t=&db=&dt=&c=&ar=Wide+%2816%3A9-10%29&dvi=13&wr=&pjl=&pjw=&pjh=&td=&i=d&is=&sort=%24&sz=15

You can see that we are sticking with brighter models with HDMI and widescreen format.

The cheapest model is the Optoma, which I also find to live a bit more on the 'cheap' side of things, but is a model I likely would purchase ahead of Viewsonic. The Sony model in there is a nice one which I have had good results with as a brand - and at a fair price. But, right after Viewsonic is Panasonic. About $1,000 price difference from the cheapest to the Panasonic, and in my experience, a price that really is worth it for the reliability that you will be getting. I think you have to buy a lens for it, which may be a few hundred bucks... but that speaks to the quality and flexibility of the projector that it offers optional lenses. It also has lens shift to help with placement in the room.

http://www.projectorcentral.com/Panasonic-PT-EW630UL.htm

Oh, and it's rated about 10% brighter than the others which will help deliver a bit more punch to any presentation.

I would not go with higher resolution projectors such as 1920x1080 or 1290x1200 if you are doing presentations with text on them. They will just be to hard to read from normal seating positions. 1280x800 is really perfect for a typical boardroom setup.

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post #3 of 11 Old 09-25-2013, 04:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for a very helpful reply. I will definitely look at the recommendations.

Just a few comments:
We are going to be using 4:3 screen which is already installed in our meeting room. I will do take a measurement today to do the lumens calculation. Until now, we had a portable projector which everyone borrowed and used during meeting but now we want to switch to permanently installed setup due to hassles involved with portable (not to mention its age and a low resolution).
Re the resolution: I appreciate the advice to avoid higher resolution due to readability issues but I would like to have the higher resolution option available (to be used on demand) because sometimes it would be needed during training, application demos, etc.

By the way, is Benq also considered not that reliable in the business world? That is, would you rate it lower like ViewSonics and Optomas, or is it a better line? One of Benq's (SH910) had caught my eyes for having met specs and not that high in price either. Please note that I don't want to make it sound like our budget is very tight--it's just that I don't want to pay more for "nothing".
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post #4 of 11 Old 09-25-2013, 08:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post

The cheapest model is the Optoma, which I also find to live a bit more on the 'cheap' side of things, but is a model I likely would purchase ahead of Viewsonic. The Sony model in there is a nice one which I have had good results with as a brand - and at a fair price. But, right after Viewsonic is Panasonic. About $1,000 price difference from the cheapest to the Panasonic, and in my experience, a price that really is worth it for the reliability that you will be getting. I think you have to buy a lens for it, which may be a few hundred bucks... but that speaks to the quality and flexibility of the projector that it offers optional lenses. It also has lens shift to help with placement in the room.

Hardware wise, Viewsonic makes good projectors for the low price they sale at (better than Acer IMO), but it's software and firmware issues that mess them up. For business setups, it can cause an issue with it being hard to get proper resolution settings from PC's to projectors, but Viewsoics are ok otherwise. Optomas and some Benqs also have similar issues at times.

The best business brands are probably NEC and Mitsubishi as far as reliability. Benq is also decent (better than Optoma or Viewsonic IMO), but I think some Benq's do have some firmware issues as well, but not as common as with Viewsonic.

I like the Benqs the best for middle-end business line.

I would rate BUSINESS projector reliability something like this:

NEC > Sony and Mitsubishi > Panasonic > Benq > Epson > Optoma > Viewsonic > Acer


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post #5 of 11 Old 09-25-2013, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badshah2000 View Post

Thanks for a very helpful reply. I will definitely look at the recommendations.

By the way, is Benq also considered not that reliable in the business world? That is, would you rate it lower like ViewSonics and Optomas, or is it a better line? One of Benq's (SH910) had caught my eyes for having met specs and not that high in price either. Please note that I don't want to make it sound like our budget is very tight--it's just that I don't want to pay more for "nothing".

You probably want to go with a 4:3 native projector. The sh910 is a 16:9 projector, the Optoma th1060p and the slightly higher-end Optoma eh501 are the main competitors to the Benq sh910, but they are also the wrong ASPECT ratio for you. Benq should be fine as a middle-line business projector.

What I've sometimes told people in the past is, if they have a need for 100% perfection on reliability, best to buy a backup projector, since you can now get some pretty cheap. 2 low-end BIZ projectors is more reliable than one expensive BIZ projector, generally speaking due to potential lamp issues. That is if you find a cheap projector you like, you can always buy 2 if reliability is really a concern.

I would choose Sony, Mits, or NEC over Panasonic. The Panasonics are ok, but their support is tough if you do have a problem. Even Benq has better support than Panasonic.


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post #6 of 11 Old 09-25-2013, 09:40 AM - Thread Starter
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I am pretty clear now why a few installers we had contacted, were all recommending NEC. I guess no one want to deal with service calls and less than reliable setup. It appears that the NEC model proposed to us (401H) is a good one and we'll buy those.

Thanks again for helpful responses...
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post #7 of 11 Old 09-25-2013, 09:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coderguy View Post

You probably want to go with a 4:3 native projector.

This suggestion is probably driven by my mentioning that we have 4:3 screens installed. If that wasn't the case (i.e. assuming that we are buying the screen too), what would be your advice: still go with a 4:3 or opt for a widescreen 16x9 projector + screen?
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post #8 of 11 Old 09-25-2013, 10:22 AM
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Depends on the room setup, I guess in the case you can buy the screen too, depends if you have more wide area thea tall (4:3 is a lot taller than 16:9), so if you had a narrower wider space a 16:9 or 16:10 screen could work better if you wanted a larger image. Also depends on if you need that larger image, how far back people are sitting.

Though NEC's are very reliable, I think Mits and Benq and Sony are fine too. It just depends how critical and how many hours you are using them. It still takes time to change lamps out, so changing the lamps will still require a service call anyways. If you have many projectors of the same type, you can always just buy a spare (that's what many do), when the lamp fails or goes out, just swap the entire projector out, then replace the lamp of the broken projector when you get around to it, then back in business without even caring why the projector broke.

I don't see a problem trying one of the other brands as long as you keep a spare handy, though I'd probably still avoid Optoma - Viewsonic - Acer.


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post #9 of 11 Old 09-25-2013, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badshah2000 View Post

This suggestion is probably driven by my mentioning that we have 4:3 screens installed. If that wasn't the case (i.e. assuming that we are buying the screen too), what would be your advice: still go with a 4:3 or opt for a widescreen 16x9 projector + screen?
The advice should always be to use a widescreen projector.

I will stand by saying that I have great luck and faith in Panasonic projectors, but I have little experience with NEC projectors, though their flat panel displays tend to be excellent and they generally have very high build quality for their business products which is certainly worthy of consideration.
Mitsubishi, I've used with what I consider mixed results, and from some recent reading it seems that they have a model with lamp issues which is of concern to me. I certainly wouldn't put them ahead of Panasonic, but might lean towards lumping several together at similar price points.

BenQ, Optoma, and others often run into a world where they don't know what a quality product really is, because they don't have 'high end' products. They have mid-priced and cheap products, but no high end product to get some trickle down technology or build quality from.

NEC, Sony, Panasonic, and some others do have this, which gives them more versatile product offerings which may benefit a customer in the long run.

I'm not sure of Vivitek yet, by the way... They are an OEM and one of the largest projector manufacturers in the world. They also have a good warranty period which may make them worth consideration.

Heck, I would just avoid Optoma, Viewsonic, and Acer if I wanted a better chance at a long term quality solution. smile.gif

Widescreen and HDMI in any room that is buying a new screen.

More lumens = better Your goal is a 12:1 contrast ratio.

Higher resolution sound nice, but IME hasn't proved to be practical as most people don't know how to properly set their resolution on their computers. If you have several rooms getting projectors, I might opt for one room to have higher resolution (higher cost as well), and the rest to have 1280x800 resolution with a 16:10 screen.

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post #10 of 11 Old 09-25-2013, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post

The advice should always be to use a widescreen projector.

Not in narrow long rooms where widescreen won't maximize needed size, but ok...
Ever been into a meeting or conference room that was really long and narrow, no room for a widescreen unless you go VERY small.

Projector reliability doesn't matter so much if you buy a spare, I don't think Benqs are unreliable, though maybe not as good as NEC. I don't doubt Panasonics are reliable, but their support is atrocious to deal with if you need to exchange something.

Benq's are fine as long as the firmware and software does what you need without glitching.


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post #11 of 11 Old 09-25-2013, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
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Not in narrow long rooms where widescreen won't maximize needed size, but ok...
Ever been into a meeting or conference room that was really long and narrow, no room for a widescreen unless you go VERY small.
Stupid designed rooms like that drive me nuts! Nobody at the back can read anything no matter what stupid screen you get. Turn the room sideways and install two widescreen setups. Use 70" LCDs instead of projectors and don't worry about brightness or anything else. biggrin.gif

Discussing reliability of projector brands sucks. I think at price points you start getting what you pay for, and certain brands tend to be better than others, but often cost more as well. So, you pay for it. Go cheap, and it's always more of a question mark. Just avoid the boutique brands as they don't guarantee a significant improvement for a lot more cash.

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