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Building out or equipping a presentation space today means more than comfortable spaces and adequate seating. Whether you are in a corporate office, a school, or a sporting venue, those in attendance expect content delivery in multiple formats. In this vein, video displays at your venue help deliver critical content in compelling ways and allow you to connect people from different locations.

The two primary options for video display are (1) projection onto a screen, and (2) large format display, or LFD. Each of these has advantages for you. Ultimately, your decision will depend on the space, your intended use, and the budget you have for display technology. Your investment decision should, therefore, focus on the particular needs of your organization.

1. LFD Creates the Sharpest Images

Projection

A projector consists of two components: a projector, which relies on a light source to project a video input; and a screen on which the display will occur. You can purchase a projector and screen for almost any size of display, so you can scale your purchase to fit your presentation space. You need to ensure that nothing gets between the projector and the screen, though, to prevent shadows from appearing in the display. In addition, ambient light can affect display quality; the amount of ambient light in the meeting space will dictate the number of lumens (brightness) you need in a projector for maximum image quality.

With LFD screens, you avoid both of these issues. Manufacturers are creating larger LCD screens all the time, with brightness, contrast, and color ranges that are superior to anything a projector can yet achieve. If the LFD display needs to be larger still, you can opt for an LED panel array that consists of smaller panels. These can be set up to fit any size and shape you need, with a bright, impressive display.

2. Large Displays Cost More

All of that impact comes at a cost. 100″ LFD panels are more expensive than a projector and screen that produces a similar sized image, so your technology budget comes into play. A smaller meeting space might only need one or two large LCD panels to create a sharp image that everyone can see clearly. As the size of the room expands, though, so does your investment. For many clients, a full LED display in a large venue seems exciting, but the economics of purchasing a true LED system can make it cost prohibitive.

3. Projectors Are Improving

For cost-conscious clients, a projection display often serves as the more cost-effective option. You need to determine whether the image quality difference is more important for your purposes than the price differential. When making that decision, take into account recent improvements into projector technology. One is the light source. Until recently, projectors used bulbs as their light source to project images onto the screen. These carried a life of between 3,000 to 5,000 hours, which meant every one to two years, you needed to purchase and install replacement bulbs. The latest technology for projectors employs the use of lasers as the light source. Not only do they deliver crisper images, but they last effectively the life of the projector itself. You save time, labor, and money over the life of the projector compared to what you once would have expected to invest. While laser projectors are initially priced higher than their lamp-based counterparts, that cost is coming down and either is typically more economical than the LFD alternative.

Another improvement is in the projection screen itself. New screen technology has the ability to reject ambient light and create a richer color palette than its plain white predecessors. In addition, newer projectors have a much higher lumen capacity. You should select your projector based on the space you have; a small conference room with little ambient light might allow for a 1,500 lumen projector, while a large auditorium or gymnasium may require a projector that can achieve more than 10,000 lumens. Shadows remain a concern; if you have chandeliers or other obstacles, you need to make sure you install the projector and screen to avoid that image interference.

Your Bottom Line

As with many decisions, you need to look at your own needs, then balance cost and quality when choosing between a projection display and an LFD display. LFD displays are capable of high definition, 4K or even 8K resolution for stunning image quality, but this typically comes with a higher investment for large displays than their projection alternatives. On the other hand, projection displays give you a more budget-friendly option, and the quality of that option has improved rapidly in the last few years.

When you are ready to upgrade your display technology, connect with the experts at Unified. Our experienced video technology engineers will work with you to help determine and install the appropriate technology for your space and budget.

Joe Randolph

Author Joe Randolph

Joe has been with Unified Technology Systems for over 5 years and has been in the AV industry for more than 20 years. In that time, he has designed projection systems for 100's of installations from small conference rooms to large college lecture halls.

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