Visual technology is helping to shape the UK's classrooms. We take a look at some of the products on the market and the benefits they offer.
Featuring a Full HD native resolution, a brightness of 3200 ANSI lumens and a high contrast ratio of 12,000:1, the TH681+ offers a full-screen presentation with strong detail, regardless of the ambient light level.
It supports multiple video formats including 480p, 576p, 720p, 1080i and 1080p - giving users the flexibility to present in the latest video formats, with Full HD quality.
The Triple Flash technology integrated in the Texas Instruments DLP chip improves 3D viewing. To smoothen the projection, the frame rate is tripled from 48Hz to 144Hz (3 x 48), which gives a better sensation of 3D perception.
The BenQ TH681+ is built with latest DLP technology to support 3D functionality, allowing schools to bring an immersive learning experience to their students with the addition of 3D glasses and 3D content from a Blu-ray player.
BenQ states that the TH681+ offers ‘lower maintenance cost, uncompromised brightness, exquisite picture quality and optimised lamp life’. The company’s SmartEco technology has developed what a DLP projector can do in an education projector. With this innovation, it is claimed that users can save up to 70% of lamp power consumption, while also achieving lower maintenance costs through dynamic power saving features.
The Casio Ultra Short Throw (UST) projector has been designed to work in very close proximity conditions, creating an 80in image from a distance of just 27cm. This is ideal for a teaching environment as presenters stand in front of the source, thus avoiding it avoids shadowing and interference.
As with all Casio projectors, the 3100 ANSI lumen UST is a hybrid light source technology, combining a laser with LEDs to deliver bright imagery. Therefore the design is completely lamp and mercury free, meaning increased efficiency due to minimal energy being expelled as heat. This has environmental and sustainability benefits, such as power savings of up to 35%.
It also keeps maintenance to a minimum, as lamps don’t have to be replaced. The effective lifetime is an impressive 20,000 hours, while the beam strength is capable of overcoming the challenge of high ambient lighting, as the light source remains consistent with no colour drop off or fade due to aging.
The UST can also be put on a timer, something that isn’t generally possible with lamp-based projectors, which contributes towards the unit’s energy saving attributes. Another benefit is the reduced waiting time, often spent while a lamp warms up and cools down.
EPSON EB-5 Series
Epson recently launched a new range of ultra-short-throw education projectors, which feature its first finger-touch interactive product. The EB-595Wi enables users to interact with the projected image just by using their fingers, allowing teachers and students to get hands-on and take control, making lessons and lectures more engaging.
The EB-595Wi is part of the new EB-5 ultra-short-throw projector range, featuring both interactive and non-interactive models, WXGA and XGA resolutions, and an improved light output of up to 3,300 lumens compared to the previous series. The whole range benefits from Epson’s 3LCD technology, which ensures high-quality images with equally high white and colour light output for vivid colours and bright images, even in daylight. These models have a long lamp life thanks to an eco mode setting, dynamic lamp control and auto brightness adjustment. Dual VGA and dual HDMI inputs provide comprehensive connectivity.
All of the EB-5 series projectors have optional wireless capability, making it easy to share content from a range of smart devices using the iProjection App. The moderator function allows teachers and students to share their content simultaneously. Teachers remain in complete control, as they can choose when to display student content, enabling interaction in a collaborative teaching or training environment.
The IN3130a Series is a range of high-power network projectors from InFocus. Each member of the series boasts a lightweight design and offers high brightness, strong audio and numerous connectivity options, making it suitable for a range of classroom situations.
The IN3136a has widescreen WXGA resolution with 4500 lumens, the IN3134a is standard XGA with 4200 lumens and the IN3138HDa is 1080p high definition with 4000 lumens. Weighing around 3kg, they are all portable and have 1.5x optical zoom and large throw ratios for installation flexibility and for providing the best image size when moved from room to room.
There is an on-board 10W speaker, 12v screen trigger, controls on top of the device, and a full-function remote control included. The IT manager can connect the projectors to a local area network in order to manage and control them remotely, or quickly install them with AMX Discovery and Crestron RoomView control systems.
The projectors deliver bright 3D content from a variety of sources. IN3130a projectors use Texas Instruments DLP Dark Chip 3 technology and also incorporate 3D Triple Flash technology, which gives a deeper, more immersive 3D experience.
In addition to dual HDMI ports – one with MHL support for HD display from mobile devices – the IN3130a Series features two VGA inputs, S-Video and composite video inputs.
Optoma’s EH320UST is a 1080p ultra-short-throw interactive projector that is suited to school, college and university applications.
The 4000 lumens unit uses a new generation of TouchBeam finger-touch interactive technology, which enables several people to work simultaneously on the screen without using a pen. It is easy to draw and annotate on the projected image, open Microsoft Office files or web browsers and interact with the content without even touching your computer.
The throw ratio of 0.25:1 means that it can project a 100in image (diagonal) from just 55cm away. This avoids shadows being cast across the image from the presenter.
This Full 3D projector can display true 3D content from almost any 3D source, including 3D Blu-ray players, 3D broadcasting and the latest generation games consoles. It comes with a built-in speaker that delivers 16W of good sound quality. Despite the small dimensions of the projector, the built-in audio is capable of filling a normal size classroom. An audio output is also included, enabling connection to external sound systems.
It has a range of input options, including two HDMI inputs and two VGA inputs, making switching between Blu-ray player, computer or other sources literally the push of a button. As well as networking capabilities that make it easy to manage remotely.
A study commissioned by Panasonic evaluated the performance of the Panasonic 6500 ANSI lumens PT-RZ670 laser projector against a range of the most-purchased lamp-lit projectors in higher education. They found that total cost of ownership was 11% lower, carbon emissions were reduced by 26% and light output was 22% greater overall.
Panasonic has been at the forefront of development in laser projection, and recently supplied 170 LED/Laser PT-RZ370 projectors to Kingston University. The 3500 lumen, Full HD projector offers up to 20,000 hours of maintenance free operation with no lamp or filter replacement required.
“Our academics love the new projectors,” explains Simon Harrison, acting pro-vice chancellor (operations) at Kingston University. “They are fast start, so they can get the material up almost immediately. What’s more, content looks great, exactly as our academics intended it to be presented.”
The PT-RZ370 also offers ease of installation with flexible 360° installation and Digital Link connectivity, which allows transmission of HDMI, uncompressed HD digital video, audio and control signals through a single Cat5e cable or higher.
Tom Gibson, Panasonic product marketing specialist for Visual System Solutions, says: “The education sector is currently seeing a major shift from lamp based projection to solid-state illumination. Laser light projectors offer low total cost of ownership to education institutions and little maintenance.”
The ViewSonic PJD6350 LightStream DLP projector delivers ‘true to life’ colours in even the most challenging lighting conditions. Designed with smarter features and extensive connectivity, it is ideal for use in learning environments.
The networkable projector features 3200 lumens, native XGA 1024 x 768 resolution and an intuitive design. The SuperColor 6-segment colour wheel maximises colour saturation and brightness, while SonicExpert - ViewSonic’s proprietary sound enhancement technology - powers a 10W speaker to deliver clear and audible sound.
PortAll - a neatly enclosed HDMI/MHL connection compartment - supports streaming media from wireless HDMI dongles or MHL connectors, while a cable management hood connects onto the back of the projector and eliminates unsightly cable clutter.
ViewSonic has addressed the requirements of education establishments looking to replace their existing 3LCD projectors. Many of these customers want a replacement projector that can be easily swapped to an existing ceiling mount and fit an image within a pre-installed screen. DLP projectors were previously unable to meet this requirement due to a typical throw ratio of 1.8-2.1 compared to the average 1.5-1.8 throw ratio of 3LCD. ViewSonic is now bringing to market projectors like the PJD6350 with a 1.5-1.97 throw ratio to open up a whole new world of replacement possibilities for existing 3LCD users.
The Vivitek DH758USTIR HD education projector offers four-finger touch technology, which is designed to take interactive creativity in the classroom to the next level. The projector, with its ultra short throw lens, is suited to installation at close range, making it ideal for installation in any type of classroom or education environment.
It is capable of projecting a 100in image from an ultra short distance, which avoids shadowing on the screen.
With a Full HD 1080p high-definition resolution, high brightness at 3500 ANSI lumens and 10000:1 high contrast ratio, the DH758USTIR allows the teacher or pupil to show the fine detail in images such as technical drawings or large Excel files.
The projector also offers very complete connectivity options with HDMI v1.4, MHL/HDMI v1.4, 2x VGA-in, 1x VGA-out, microphone input, audio-in/audio-out, RJ45 for network administration and control - AMX, Crestron, Extron and Telnet compatible.
With the addition of a Laser Finger Touch module, the DH758USTIR can have IR and a laser curtain, which can simultaneously sense up to four touch points on the screen or two stylus pens for both writing and drawing. To increase collaboration and interaction even further, the additional NovoConnect application allows up to four students to share content from his or her connected device through a wireless network directly to the projector.