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Product Focus

Power Your Interactive Classroom With Projectors

A guide to one segment of education technology

According to the Society for Information Display (SID), the key feature educators consider when purchasing new projectors is image quality. Manufacturers provide resolution, brightness and contrast figures to evaluate performance, but these specifications don’t address color quality. A new metric released by SID, color light output (CLO), will allow educators to evaluate color performance between competing projector models quickly and accurately. CLO or color brightness should be the same as the white brightness or white light output to ensure that images are vibrant. When you’re ready to purchase, be sure to request the CLO specification, which will be expressed in lumens.

From mobile to interactive, and short-throw to ultra-short-throw, there is a projector to fit every district’s needs. Interactive projectors allow teachers to annotate or draw over the display, control the projector with a virtual remote, and create lessons or playback. NEC’s interactive software for iPad automatically records the projected lesson so that a timeline can be created and used at a later date. This works well for absent students and the flipped classroom, in which students watch video lectures for homework and complete assignments in class with their teacher present to help. Interactive projectors can also make the classroom more equitable for students with physical disabilities by projecting the lesson on an interactive table where they can sit and collaborate. Epson’s BrightLink 475Wi can be mounted on an iWall or iTable depending on classroom needs.

Most projectors used in the education space use 3LCD or DLP chips. 3LCD is based on LCD technology and uses an advanced, 3-chip optical engine. 3LCD boasts high CLO, energy efficiency and reliable technology. The DLP chip, made by Texas Instruments, uses a filter-free design, which may lower the total cost of ownership by not requiring filter replacements. All DLP projectors are 3D-ready and can transition seamlessly from 2D to 3D mode. Here are a few options to consider in your district.

Hitachi CP-AW2519N, $3,895

Hitachi’s newest interactive projector features the brand’s StarBoard software, which works on Mac and PC platforms. The CP-AW2519N eliminates the need for an interactive whiteboard, as this functionality is built into the projector. Its ultra-short-throw lens allows the projector to be fixed near a wall or tabletop surface. It comes with a hybrid air-fan filter that requires less maintenance.


Casio XJ-A146 Slim Projectors, starting at $999

Casio’s newest line of Slim projectors weighs only 5 pounds and is one of the thinnest high-brightness projectors available. The XJ-A146 has a wide-angle 2X power zoom lens that allows for a wide projection distance. The projector is equipped with USB capabilities, a presentation timer and MobiShow, which makes presentations possible from most mobile devices.

Acer P1303W

Acer P1303W, $659

The AcerP1 series offers educators an economical DLP 3D-ready projector. The P1303W packs 3100 lumens of brightness and native WXGA (1280x800) resolution. It includes an HDMI, USB and VGA connectors and a one-year limited warranty.

InFocus IN2112, $549

This InFocus projector features high brightness and valuable features at a low cost. It is filter-free and features a long-life lamp and an eco-mode to conserve power when running and on standby. This quiet projector is equipped with 10-watt stereo speakers, SVGA resolution and 3,000 lumens. 

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Sony VPL-SW535C, $3,050

This Sony 3LCD ultra-short-throw interactive projector has a brightness of up to 3,000 lumens and native WXGA resolution. Third-party curriculum software is easily integrated for interactive lessons. The included pen devices and drawing software allow for dual-touch annotation on the projection screen, which can be any flat surface.

Epson BrightLink 475Wi, $1,699

Epson’s interactive ultra-short-throw projector allows users to annotate from any connected source, including iPads or iPhones, document cameras and DVD players. This 3LCD projector includes two pens so that two users can work simultaneously. It can be mounted to an iWall or iTable and can be used with a standard or interactive whiteboard.

NEC NP-P350X, $1,499

The NP-P350X is a 3LCD projector equipped with eco-friendly technology to extend the lamp life and save energy. This professional-grade projector includes wall-color correction, AutoSense to intuitively sync the projector and a computer, and AutoKeystone correction, which instantly projects a square image even when set up at an offset angle. Make it interactive with NEC’s interactive software for iPad for an additional $299. An extended warranty and education pricing are available through the Star Student program.

Panasonic PT-RZ470K/W

Panasonic PT-RZ470K/W, contact Panasonic for pricing

Panasonic’s first lamp-free projector is eco-friendly and boasts that it requires no maintenance for 20,000 hours. This DLP projector features brightness in excess of 3,000 lumens and full HD resolution (1920x1080). It will be available in February 2013.


Canon LV-8235 UST, contact Canon for pricing

Display an 80-inch image from a foot away with the Canon LV-8235 UST projector, the company’s first DLP projector. A built-in 10-watt speaker provides enough amplification for most K12 classrooms and conference rooms. It comes with a three-year limited warranty.