Whether you are in the market for a multimedia projector, display screen, DVD burner, color printer, or conferencing system, you'll want the highest quality product your money can buy.
Selecting a projector can be difficult if you don't know what features to look for or what performance levels to expect. A good starting point is to compare the product specifications, such as native resolution, brightness, contrast ratio, and the connectivity options of competitively priced projectors. The next step is to get a product demonstration and some expert advice, either at a trade show such as InfoComm05 (June 4-10 in Las Vegas), or at a pro AV dealership.
Several new projectors have been designed with features for specific applications. For instance, Epson's new PowerLite 700 Series is designed for photographers and others involved in digital photography. The PowerLite 760c ($2,199) features 3-LCD technology for color accuracy, wide color gamut, and superior grey scale. It offers users individual R, G, and B adjustments, as well as manual control of contrast and brightness. This 3.9-lb. projector delivers native XGA (1024 x 768 pixels) resolution, and 2500 ANSI lumens of brightness.
Some manufacturers have built versatile projectors for use in a wide range of demanding viewing environments. Hitachi's latest multimedia projector, the CP-X445 ($3,000), can project large images that are easy to see--even in a brightly lit room. This native XGA projector has a rated output of 3200 ANSI lumens. It features four 3-Watt built-in speakers and HDTV compatibility. The 8.9-lb. unit is a good choice for use in conference and multipurpose rooms.
Toshiba's newest TDP-SC25U projector features an integrated document camera for instant projection of printed materials, and the presentation of products and other 3D objects. Based on DLP (digital light processing) technology from Texas Instruments, this 8.6-lb. unit priced at $1,1999, delivers crisp images with its native SVGA (800 x 600 pixels) resolution, 1800 ANSI lumens of brightness, and a high 2000:1 contrast ratio.
Mobile professionals should look for compact, lightweight projectors that can deliver bright, crisp images of PowerPoint slides, spreadsheets, and other documents. The InFocus LP 120, for example, weighs less than 2 lbs., and offers XGA resolution with a maximum brightness of 1000 ANSI lumens.
High-performance LCD monitors, such as the Senseye from BenQ, are ideal for executive desktop or for small workgroup use. The Senseye FP91E offers a high resolution of 1280 x 1024 pixels, a 1000:1 contrast ratio, and a fast response time of 8 milliseconds. This $549 unit includes audio, D-Sub, and DVI-D connectors.
Widescreen flat-panel plasma displays are a good choice for presentations in conference rooms. Sony, Panasonic, Pioneer, and Samsung offer plasma displays that are 42 inches (diagonal) or larger, and deliver vibrant, high-contrast images with a wide viewing angle. ViewSonic's versatile 42-inch plasma is designed for boardrooms, offices, lobbies, retail stores, and other public areas. The VPW4200 ($2,999) produces brilliant graphics and rich video images, is equipped with a variety of inputs, and provides an RS-232 port for compatibility with a wide range of control systems.
For the ultimate in impact, check out Samsung's new 80-inch plasma screen. The Samsung HPR8072 ($60,000) features full native HDTV resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, and a 5000:1 contrast ratio.
You can make a lasting impression by handing out or mailing your presentation on disc. Writable optical media, such as CD-R and DVD-R, are a great way to distribute large multimedia and data files. The latest disc duplication systems from Vinpower Digital, Mediatechnics, and Primera are easy-to-use and cost-effective.
Vinpower Digital's Titan Pro DVD/CD multi-drive autoloaders, for example, feature a quick-function for one button duplication. These standalone units are equipped with 4, 6, or 8 Plextor or Pioneer drives for unattended duplication of 500 to 1,000 discs. Titan Pro features 16x writing speed and 128 MB memory buffer (prices start at $2,500). The smaller 3-drive, 100-disc capacity system, Titan Lite (around $1,800) will be available this summer.