Projectors are really designed to create large indoor images. If you need an image that is a couple of Metres wide (or bigger!) then projection is the most cost effective technology to choose from.

We have installed projectors of all sizes for every conceivable type of application so please contact us to discuss your ideas in more detail and we will make sure you buy the right projector for the job.

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The Different Types of Projection Screens

1) Rear Projection:

Rear projection means the projector is positioned on the opposite side of the screen to the audience, so you are projecting through the screen.

2) Front Projection:

Front Projection means the projector is positioned on the same side of the screen to the audience and you simply project onto the screen.

3) Dual Projection:

Dual Projection is when you can project onto both the front and rear of the screen using two different projectors to create different images on both sides

The Different Types of Projectors

1) Micro Portable:

Often referred to as 'pocket imagers', these are tiny handheld projectors that usually weigh less than 1 kg. They aren't very bright and their picture quality isn't amazing but they come in very handy if you need to show what's on your laptop to a small audience and don't want to carry a lot with you.

2) Portable / Desktop:

These projectors are much more practical for every day work use. They can be powerful enough to fill the average projection screen (1.5 - 2.0 Metres wide) and will also work in rooms without having to dim the lights or close the blinds. As well as displaying PC inputs you can also display video based content as well.

3) Fixed Installation:

Projectors that are designed for permanent installation use offer the best in terms of picture quality and the amount of source equipment that can be connected to them. Installation models offer more choice when it comes to brightness and resolution levels and ultimately more flexibility when deciding where to permanently position the projector.

4) Home Cinema:

There are specific projectors geared towards the Home cinema market. When using a projector in a home cinema system the actual projector is usually visible and as such home cinema projectors are designed to be stylish in appearance and also engineered to be quieter. Image quality (resolution levels and contrast ratios) are usually better than average but without high levels of brightness so viewing is easier on the eye. (in most home cinema rooms the lights are dimmed when watching a movie so the projector doesn't need to be as bright)

Brightness

A projectors ability to display clear images in brightly lit rooms or with large screen sizes depends on how bright the projector and corresponding bulb is. A projectors brightness is measured in ANSI Lumens (American National Standards Institute). This is the worldwide measure of brightness and the standard used by everyone.

1000 - 2000 Ansi lumens:

Projectors that offer this level of brightness are the least expensive. They are suitable for small projection screens and work very well in rooms where the lights can be dimmed. Typical applications would be occasional business use or for use in a small room.

2000 - 3000 Ansi lumens:

These are the most popular type of projectors and ones in this range are generally Portable desktop models or small installation projectors. Ideal for small to medium sized meeting rooms with an approx audience of approx 10 - 20 people. They will offer a decent image quality and make it easy to connect content from various pieces of AV equipment (PC, DVD, Satellite etc)

3000 + Ansi Lumens:

Projectors that fall into this category generally offer the clearest images and are also the most expensive. They represent the better desktop projectors but the majority will be geared towards fixed installations. Projectors in this range can be used for a variety of large venue applications such as, Boardrooms, Training rooms, Auditoriums etc.

Resolution

The higher the resolution, the better the picture quality. Higher resolution means that more pixels have been used to create the image and the more pixels that are used, the sharper and clearer the displayed image will appear. As you increase the resolution of any display device the price generally increases too.

The number of pixels used to create any image is indicated by the number of pixels used in one horizontal and one vertical line for that particular display. (Eg, 1024 x 768)

Just because a screen is bigger does not mean that it has a better image quality, if a 2 Metre wide image is compared to a 1 Metre wide image using the same projector then the image quality on the smaller screen will actually appear better as the same number of pixels are being used in a smaller area.

Typical levels of resolution

XGA: 1024 x 768 (pixels) : This is our suggested minimum level of resolution. PC's run XGA as standard and this level of resolution has become very popular in recent years.

SXGA: 1280 x 1024 (pixels) : We recommend this level of resolution when you need to display fine detail.

UXGA: 1600 x 2000 (pixels) : This resolution level is quite rare for today's projectors but one day in the future this will probably be the norm!

Resolution levels go much higher than this but these but these are the most popular categories available today.

Contrast Ratios

Contrast is defined as being the ratio between the brightest and darkest areas of an image, or more simply, the difference between the brightest whites and the darkest blacks on a display. Aim for a minimum contrast level of 1000:1. Generally, the higher the contrast ratio the better the projector will be at showing subtle colour differences and fine details.

Projector mounting options

The smaller portable style projectors can just be put down on a desk or any flat viewing surface and be ready for use but lager desktop models or permanent installation models require a more sturdy mounting structure.

Floor stands:

Ideal for scenarios in which the presenter does not have somewhere to position the projector in front of them. A floor stand gets the projector up off the floor and at the ideal height to project onto the screen.

Ceiling mounts:

These special brackets allow you to hang the projector from a ceiling position and this is the most common permanent installation method for projectors.

Recessed ceiling mounts:

These are great if you want to hide the projector out of the way and have a really discreet installation. The projector can sit up in the ceiling void and when the system is turned on the projector will automatically lower down from the ceiling into position and then go back up once you're finished.

Wall mounts:

Rare in business projectors but some domestic projectors now allow you to fix the projector directly to the wall.

Projector Screens

Although it is possible to just project onto a wall the only way to maximise image quality is to use a projector screen. There are lots of different projector screens to choose from, it just depends on how you plan to use them.

Portable Screens:

These are small screens that are desk mounted or fold up varieties. They work well with small projectors and are better than just using a nearby wall!

Pull down screens:

Pull down screens can offer a cheap yet large viewing surface. When the screen is rolled up it is stored in a cassette like case that is typically ceiling mounted. As such the cassette will always be on show, even when you are not using the screen.

Electric screens:

This type of projection screen will roll down or up when you flick a wall switch. They look smart and create a professional feel and can also be controlled by a 'control system'.

Recessed electric screens:

This type of screen will allow you to completely hide the projection screen when it is not in use. The screen can sit up in the ceiling void and as with a recessed projector mount, when the system is turned on the screen will automatically lower down from the ceiling into position and then go back up once you're finished.

Projection goes digital!

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DLP - Digital Light Processing Projectors:

Invented by Texas Instruments in 1987 this technology allows for a seamless digital connection between input devices (laptop, etc) and output devices such as your projector. The technology creates very high contrast ratios which in turn mean the projector is better at showing subtle colour differences and small details when compared to traditional LCD Projection technology.

DLP Technical Info:

DLP ® technology is a revolutionary display solution that uses an optical semiconductor to manipulate light digitally. This Optical Semiconductor is known as the Digital Micromirror Device, or DLP chip. The DLP chip is probably the world's most sophisticated light switch. It contains a rectangular array of up to 2 million hinge-mounted microscopic mirrors, each of these micromirrors measures less than one-fifth the width of a human hair. The number of mirrors corresponds to the resolution of the projected image: 800 x 600, 1024 x 768, and 1280 x 720 etc. When a DLP chip is coordinated with a digital video or graphic signal, a light source, and a projection lens, its mirrors can reflect an all-digital image onto a screen or other surface.

The rapid repositioning of the mirrors (essentially switching between 'on' and 'off') allows the DLP chip to vary the intensity of the light being reflected out through the lens, creating shades of grey in addition to white (mirror in 'on' position), and black (mirror in 'off' position). This microscopic control of light means that at least 16.7 million colours can be created in 'single chip' systems. You can also increase the number of chips to a 'Three Chip' system (for large screen DLP Cinema) and achieve no fewer than 35 trillion colours!

LCD - Liquid Crystal Display Projectors:

LCD projectors usually contain three separate LCD glass panels, one each for the red, green, and blue components of the video signal. As light passes through the LCD panels, individual pixels can be opened to allow light to pass, or closed to block the light. This activity modulates the light and produces the image that is projected onto the screen. Although LCD projectors are much better than the slide 'Projectors' and 'Overhead' that they replaced, they cannot offer the microscopic light control and therefore the incredible range of colours shades (resulting in higher contrast ratios) offered by newer 'DLP' projectors.

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