Here are a few telltale signs that can help you know when it may be time to replace or upgrade built-in audiovisual systems in your meeting spaces:
• Your system is an analog system. Many organizations are replacing their laptops with VGA outputs (which are analog signals) with laptops with HDMI outputs (which are digital signals). They are coming into your meeting space with the HDMI outputs and you need to be ready to handle these without always having to convert the signal. Digital signals are cleaner and look better on video or projection screens.
• Your system has glitches or is hard to control. If this is the case, your touch panel may need to be replaced or the programming may need to be updated. Touch panels can be programmed to be highly intuitive so you should not have to call the AV/IT department every time you’d like to have a videoconference call in the meeting space.
• You are looking for ways to save money, increase productivity/ engagement, and/or help your organization generate revenue. How can you do any of these three using your built- in audiovisual systems? There are some new technologies available for audio, video, and projection systems that you can add in your space to help your organization be more productive and efficient.
Projectors and Projection Screens
You have seen a switch in the live event projection to screens that are a wider format than before – 16:9 or 16:10 aspect ratio versus traditional projection screens that were 4:3 aspect ratio. These wider format screens are more appropriate because they show HD images properly. Projection screens for your meeting space are also changing over to 16:10 aspect ratios to accommodate for HD images and detailed graphics.
Projector technology has changed quite a bit over the past few years. Since the last time you purchased a projector, laser projectors were introduced. These can be an option for you instead of an LCD projector.
LCD projectors are traditional projectors and these have their pros and cons. Their brightness ranges from low brightness at 2000 lumens to very large brightness at 30,000 lumens. If you have a large venue, you’ll want to stick with an LCD projector because it will give you the larger image that you may need.
LCD projectors also use lamps that need to be changed every 2000-3000 hours, so the cost of changing lamps must be considered as well as the ease of changing the lamps- think HOW do you change the lamp if the projector is ceiling mounted and WHO gets on the ladder to do this? This maintenance must be done to keep your space fully functional.
Laser projectors use a different light source that is as bright and clear as an LCD projector but the image size may not be as large as an LCD projector, at least not yet. At this time, laser projectors do not currently support very large screens. This means that the image size will be just fine for a conference room with seating up to 50 people or so. Their brightness generally ranges from 2000-8000 lumens.
A laser projector is a great choice if you are using the projectors in your space on a daily basis for hours at a time. The laser projector will last for approximately 20,000 hours, so the projector is very low maintenance but will not sacrifice image quality or clarity. There is a slightly higher cost up front, but with no lamp changes and less maintenance, there are lower lifetime ownership costs compared with traditional LCD projectors. These projectors are also more- energy efficient and will save you money.
In the next couple issues of PMPI FYI, we’ll discuss video monitor displays, video walls, video/ audio teleconferencing and microphones/sound systems in your conference spaces.
Alexis B. La Broi, MBA, CMP, CTS, is a Systems Consultant for Avitecture, Inc., an audiovisual integration firm based in Sterling, VA. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.