When it comes to purchasing an A/V presentation system for your corporate meeting space, you are really faced with two options. You can buy a projector or a flat panel display. Is one better than the other? Not necessarily. That depends on how you plan to use the technology. Your choice will be driven by any constraints of your space including ambient lighting, audience size, room set up and more. Your purchasing decisions will also likely be determined by the budget of your project.
To sort through some of these issues, Corporate TechDecisions spoke with Rodney Laney, vice president of Display Technology for AVI-SPL. Here’s what he had to say.
TD: Which is best for a corporate meeting space, a projector or a flat panel display?
RL: That would be truly relative to the meeting space itself. The reality is, in most conference rooms today, depending on their size, the flat panel might make more sense. There are times when a projector makes sense, but that depends on the criteria. It depends on the size of the room, the size of the audience, ambient lighting and whether or not the room will be divided into multiple spaces at times.
TD: How does screen size come into play when choosing A/V for a conference space?
RL: In designing a conference space, you go back to your audience. You need to know how far the farthest viewer is going to be from the image you are projecting when you’re using a projection system. There are a lot of old standards about distance and the height of the text that are important, but with today’s brighter and higher resolution projectors, this is less of an issue than in days past. A flat panel is limited to the size you purchase. You’re only going to be able to get up to 95 to 100 inches with a flat panel, so if a larger image is needed a projector is the better option. a certain size, probably 85 inches to maybe 95 inches, tops. You’re going to will likely pay a huge premium once you cross that the 80-inch platform, because of this is due in part to the size but also because many of the larger panels are at resolutions greater than the typical 1080p HD resolution. Now you have a room that could cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands. You can take a $2,000 or $3,000 projector/screen combination and you could make an image as large as you need it for pretty much any space. Another option may be to strategically place smaller monitors around the room, this may provide the view needed for the meeting space.
TD: How about lighting?
RL: If you use a projector with the right screen combination, you can overcome almost any lighting issue except other than direct sunlight on the screen. If you have the right screens and the right proper viewing angles, then a projector will work in almost any venue. In the early days, projectors had difficulty projecting a bright enough image, but that’s no longer the case or an issue today.
TD: How can you make collaborating in the meeting space easier – specifically with BYOD?
RL: Collaborative ability with all of the different devices people carry today is huge. I don’t know how many meetings you go to, but I trust you have a smartphone. If you walk into a room and you have notes, or images or maybe a video that you need to show and all you have is a phone, you can sync up to the network and present on whatever display devices are available. That’s what Christie Brio does for you. Not only can you present in the room you are in, but because of the nature and the design of Brio, you could also send it to the network [elsewhere] and share with different offices around the country.
TD: What are some key factors to consider before purchasing a projector or a flat panel display for your conference room?
RL: Key factor number one is room size and general audience size. If it’s going to be large (50-100 or more people), you’re going to need a projection system with a large screen and that’s going to be regulated by the height of your ceiling. If you’re in a standard eight-foot ceiling room, you don’t have a lot of options. That might be a situation where you go with multiple flat panel displays placed strategically around the room. You have to consider brightness. Content is also very important. If you’re going to be showing a lot of data versus a lot of video, than a projector may be better suited because you can vary the size of the text so that your viewers at the greatest distance can view it properly. Video would probably lend itself more to the flat panels, especially since most flat panels of those, by default, are high-definition.
TD: Can you share any buying tips?
RL: I recommend that for whatever product you choose, whether it’s a flat panel or projector, that you use commercial products for a commercial space applications. The warranties and the products are more robust. They give great protection and they reduce the likelihood of there being a problem. Commercial units are less likely to fail in the first place, but when they do, you will usually get quicker and better response that you would with a consumer TV in a commercial application.