We all know that a powerful, lightweight digital projector can add impact and value to a business presentation. Recent research indicates that equipping key managers with portable projectors is also one of the best technology investments you can make in terms of cost savings, increased productivity, and ROI. According to a recent study by IDC of more than 250 organizations, the average three-year return on investment for digital projectors is 328%. Thus the typical projector pays for itself in less than seven months. Since these figures are based on an estimated average cost of $3,900, and the price of projectors has fallen significantly over the past eight months, the payoff picture is even brighter for businesses that invest in presentation technology now.
For example, the new X1 projector from InFocus costs around $1,699, yet (at 1000 ANSI lumens and weighing less than 6.8 lbs.) it is powerful enough for use in large conference rooms. Because the X1 is powered by the latest DLP? technology from Texas Instruments, it delivers excellent video quality as well as top-notch reproduction of PowerPoint presentations. This combined capability is particularly important for the secondary application for these devices-use at home for informal business meetings and family entertainment.
Increasingly, portable business projectors are also being used at home-boosting morale, solidifying business relationships, and improving the quality of downtime. One common scenario involves an informal big-screen presentation to key personnel or business associates, followed by refreshments and the relaxed viewing of a sporting event or the latest movie on DVD. Other uses include family education and entertainment-from The Lord of the Rings to Clifford Musical Memory Games.
As rewarding as it may be to use these projectors at home, increased business productivity is their primary advantage. According to IDC, the average amount of time saved through the use of digital projectors-compared to overheads and other methods-was more than 100 hours per year per projector. When digital projectors were used, meetings were almost 20% shorter-an average time saving of 23 minutes per meeting. More than 20% of users also reported that they experienced a significant reduction in the number of meetings required.
The research also showed that "an audience's attention to and understanding of the information being presented are all greatly improved when digital projectors are used." In the IDC study, an "enhanced ability to persuade was noted by 90% of the business-projector buyers and users." This power of digital projectors and presentations to substantially increase the communications productivity of key sales, training, and management people is beyond value.
The complete IDC White Paper, "Projecting Value-The ROI Benefits of Digital Projectors," is available online at www.infocus.com.
Recent advances in presentation technology have made it possible to produce cost-effective projectors that are portable and powerful enough for mobile presentations, with picture quality high enough for video and home theater use. The new, second-generation DLP? (Digital Light Projection) technologies from Texas Instruments are among the most important of these developments. These have been incorporated into units from InFocus and other manufacturers to produce projectors with extraordinary performance. These great new machines range from full-featured, super-compact units that weigh less than three pounds, to cost-effective portables that are equally at home in the boardroom or the family room.
The most obvious advantage that projector manufacturers (and their customers) gain from the use of these new chips is significantly better picture quality-superior in many ways to the "boardroom-class" projectors of just a few years ago. Projector contrast ratios as high as 3000:1 produce pictures with deeper blacks, brighter whites, and added visual "snap" in all sorts of images. Older projectors of all types, with contrast ratios in the range of 100:1 to 400:1, were also more susceptible to the adverse effects of less than ideal presentation environments. Even small amounts of ambient light on a screen tended to wash out the picture, and images projected on off-white painted walls often appeared lifeless and dull.
According to Frank Moizio, Manager of Worldwide Strategic Marketing and Business Development for Texas Instruments DLP Business Products, the reduced pixelization of DLP-based projectors also gives them a big visual advantage. "The gaps between pixels of competing technology panels are substantially larger than the gaps between pixel elements for DLP," says Moizio, "so competing technologies often exhibit a 'screen door' effect-similar to viewing an image with a mesh screen in front of it." Since DLP has a relatively high fill factor, it is capable of producing more seamless, film-like images. According to Moizio, this is one of the reasons why DLP is the technology of choice for digital cinema applications.
Another advantage of DLP technology is seen when projecting fast-moving images-such as sporting events, the animated computer graphics used in presentations, and even computer games. Due to the relatively high switching speed of DLP (up to 1,000 times faster than some competing technologies), DLP-based systems can more accurately display dynamic images, while technologies with slower response times may produce some image smearing.
Many presenters take their projectors on the road during the week, and bring them home on weekends. The additional wear and tear resulting from travel and home activities makes durability and reliability an important factor in choosing a projector. In these applications, DLP's resistance to "burn-in" can be a key advantage. Many commonly projected images have portions that are static and rarely change or move. These include the menus on video games as well as logos and backgrounds in many business presentations. These unchanging images can cause "burn-in" in the display device, leaving a distracting residual (ghost) image. Unlike many other projection elements, DLP's digital micromirror devices are not susceptible to "burn-in," and thus can be a better choice for the wide range of applications-from video games to business presentations-where this might be a problem.
DLP technology is widely acknowledged within the industry as enabling projectors to deliver image quality unequalled by any other projection technology. Clarity, sharpness and brightness are key features of DLP technology-and its video performance has ensured that it is now the technology of choice in home entertainment projectors as well as business projectors. But DLP technology has another important advantage over its competitors: the outstanding image quality you get out of the box is maintained throughout the projector's life, with none of the degradation associated with alternative technologies. Add to these the fact that DLP technology-enabled projectors are more flexible and versatile because they are smaller, lighter, and deliver more brightness per pound of weight-and you have a winning combination.