Now You See It

When it comes to choosing between a projector and a flat-panel display, experts advise looking at screen size, viewing angle, life span, and durability. They also suggest doing a total cost of ownership, which includes the price of replacement projector bulbs. Sometimes, though, it’s easier to get the facts from your colleagues. That’s why we asked a couple of teachers to tell us…

Why I Like My Flat-Panel Display…

¦ Students love looking at it. “Every student wants to look at a large and beautiful screen,” says Chris Craft, a sixth-grade Spanish and Latin teacher at CrossRoads Middle School in Columbia, South Carolina. “They are unusual in classrooms, so they’re motivational.”

¦ The diverse input set. Teachers appreciate being able to connect the display to a variety of inputs. “I can hook it up to our computers, to cable, or to our in-house video service to deliver media content,” says Steven Anderson, district instructional technologist at Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. “It does a lot more than just display images from a computer. It’s versatile.”

¦ The fantastic sound. “Because the display is mounted, the built-in sound bounces off the wall and fills the room,” Craft says. “When I’m playing a video, every kid can easily hear what’s going on.”

¦ It is user-friendly. “You plug in the computer, hit two buttons, and it’s fired up,” Anderson says.

¦ There are no awkward moments. No matter how close he gets to the display when pointing out content, Craft doesn’t have to be concerned about something projecting onto his back.

¦ It handles high-definition content. “Our digital document cameras have high-definition lenses, so the detail we can see on threedimensional objects and through microscopes is incredible,” says Anderson. ”When viewed through a projector—even ours, which have high lumens levels—there is still a great amount of detail lost. When viewed with our highdefinition flat-panel displays, very little if any detail is lost.”

¦ It makes financial sense. “Three years ago we had 51; now we have more than 60,” Anderson says. “They keep getting bigger, but the cost has stayed the same.”

Why I Dislike My Flat-Panel Display…

¦ The comparatively high initial cost. The up-front cost is higher than that of a projector, according to Anderson. Because of the high price of replacement bulbs, however, a projector costs more in the long run.

¦ It can be hard to see. “It’s a learning process of where and how high to hang them,” Anderson says. “Sometimes the only available wall has sunlight coming in. Projectors can be moved around.”

Why I Like My High-End Projector…

¦ The wand. Craft’s projector has a wand that functions the way a Wii remote does, letting him interact, at a distance, with his board or with content.

¦ The diverse input set. The many inputs include HDMI and VGA.

¦ The terrific projection. Craft’s projector is short throw and can display a large image from a short distance away.

¦ It handles high-definition content. “A lot of good content is being made available in HD,” says Craft. “For example, I use carefully selected YouTube videos that are available in full HD. I can easily embed them into my lesson and play them in full HD.”

¦ Today’s projectors have cool features. Craft loves the moderator feature, which enables him to display the screen from any laptop connected to it (via a network). The narrator feature turns down the video so that he can be heard above it.

Why I Dislike My High-End Projector…

¦ You have to replace the bulb. The life expectancy of the average projector bulb is 2,000 hours. “Bulbs are outrageously expensive—especially the high-end ones, which cost $700 or $800,” Anderson says. “You pay for the projectors five times over because of the bulb replacement.”

Buy Projectors from:

¦ Boxlight

¦ Canon
¦ Casio

¦ Christiev

¦ Dell

¦ Dukane

¦ Epson

¦ Fujitsu

¦ Hitachi

¦ InFocus

¦ Mitsubishi


¦ Optoma

¦ Panasonic

¦ Sanyo

¦ Sharp

¦ Sony

¦ Toshiba

¦ Viewsonic

Buy Flat-Panel Displays from:

¦ Hitachi

¦ LG

¦ Mitsubishi


¦ NextWindow

¦ Panasonic

¦ Samsung

¦ Sony

¦ SunBriteTV