Projectors last a long time but they need to be replaced eventually, it just isn't working, you want to get a better model, someone stole it. We offer a telephone advice service at Just Projectors and I hear day after day "we are looking for a projector, not sure what to buy, can you help". Of course we do help but most people are amazed at how many different things they needed to know before they purchased, they thought that the price was the main driver and the one they choose would just work. The other feedback we get is when we ran through some basic questions it all made sense and they were happy with the choice, This blog is not about saying how great our advice line is or chat button, although I think we do make it easier, I thought if I could share the 5 basic things you need to know when buying a replacement projector it might just stop the person getting their lovely new projector and it being the wrong model for them, having all the hassle of contacting the shop they purchased it from, better to get it right first time.
1. Get the Right Throw Ratio to ensure the right image size
Is this replacement projector for one that is already hanging on your ceiling or wall and/or do you have a specific place you need to put the projector on the table?
Even if you see a model that looks the same specification then it probably isn't the fact is each projector has what is called a "throw ratio" which determines the ratio of the image size
I laugh when I first started Just Projectors in 2001 we were selling 500 lumens SVGA models to education at £2,000, the Ez Pro 500 from Optoma Projectors was a great seller and when I think about how bright there are now compared to them. They couldn’t be mounted very easily and everyone had to sit in the dark. The lamps lasted about 100 hours, had to be changed once a month and they cost £1.50.
If you wanted a one that could work in a school hall then the price was £5,000,it was the size of a spaceship, it came with the horrible composite poor quality input and it weighed about 20 Kgs and you got an amazing 2,000 lumens XGA for that.
There certainly wasn’t one in every room, interactive whiteboards like Smart was just being released and everyone flocked to the Bett Show to see what was on offer. We used to have a stand there, people would come with their order pad (those were the days).
Day after day we get calls from people asking which resolution they should buy and I would just like to answer buy a HD projectors in most cases!
Resolution is key but that doesn't mean much to the man on the street so it is easier to describe it in terms of pixels, most of us when buying a camera or a phone look for the better Mega pixel. Well pixels make up the image, think of it like a child’s jigsaw puzzle, if there are only 50 pieces they are huge, you can see the joins and compare that to the 2000 word puzzle which at first glance if you have put the pieces in the right spot doesn't look like a jigsaw. Imagine your image now being made up of dots, the smaller the dots the clearer the image appears.
We are so spoilt with high resolution TV’s or laptops so why would you suddenly turn a 27” diagonal image that is displayed on your PC’s to a 100” on the wall or screen. These pixels are bigger so it is a having more will create the better image. If I was a web designer and I had created the perfect website then went to my customer to show my handy work then displaying a grainy out of date image quality is only going to get the wrong response. Frankly the price difference is so small, would you go into a shop and ask for a 10 year old laptop and then be pleased with it. I have been running this business for 15 years and SVGA & XGA have been out that long, I have loads of changes with the technology DLP taking a huge share of the market now, or the lenses changed so you can get closer if you want, wireless dongles have helped get rid of the clutter of cables but still people are buying SVGA & XGA. Yes of course people have a budget, we can’t all drive around in the newest car but there is a total cost of ownership to consider, if the HD projector model costs an extra say £50-£75 and it is going to last say 5 years then we are talking about another £10-£15 a year, isn't that worth paying to get something that is twice as good.
OK if you are only every going to present a PowerPoint presentation with the low resolution images and there is simple text then you don’t need HD but please at least get a HD ready one that has an Hdmi on it so you can at least connect to your devices in the future.
Maybe you liked XGA because it suited the format you worked in or you think it will not fit on your projector screen, but you can use a 16:9 in 4:3 or 16:10, it does slightly change the throw ratio so maybe you might need some help from us to recalculate that for you. Another huge plus on the HD one is you might take it home, OK so not a dedicated home cinema solution but it will look great with the latest DVD or gaming.
So my mission is to try and convert those people wanting XGA or SVGA to buy HD instead, I have seen the difference first hand and it is worth the extra money.