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From 4K/Ultra High Definition (UHD), which is four times the resolution of full HD, to XGA, there are quite a few resolutions to choose from. A key consideration is how much HD video content you plan to show.
Remote management is helpful in a classroom environment, especially if there are several classrooms. With remote management, lamp-based projectors can be powered off using a program timer built into the control software in order to conserve bulb life.
Video picture quality varies a lot depending on make and model of the projector. That is because scalar chips and video processors in the projectors are not created equally. This is important because audience expectations are getting higher due to the amount of HD content available.
Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts
Don’t try to get by with a “floating” projector that goes from room to room
Don’t plan on turning out the lights. Dimly lit rooms, at times, reduce the audience’s attention. The brightness of the projector needs to be high enough to overcome lighting
Don’t worry about LCD versus DLP vs. laser phosphor vs. LED light engines – they all perform well
Do assess whatever multimedia sources and computer sources your presenters will want to connect to the projectors, and map that to available connectors before buying a specific projector model
Do talk to presenters about how they can integrate more multimedia to get them thinking about improving classroom techniques
Do look for models with “eco-mode” that will conserve power and bulb life for lamp-based projectors
Do select projectors that have the compatibility with newer video signal protocols and higher brightness to suit your evolving needs over time
Do examine your mounting challenges prior to buying mounts and projectors
Go with a good brand name – it will generally equate to longer product life and better product reliability
Do ask an expert for advice about your unique circumstances
A Better Facility
Projectors have a big impact on the image your organization sends. You want to make presentations a memorable experience for parishioners, guests and administrators. There are many different options out there for hardware, and up-front planning is the best way to ensure you are happy with your selection. If you follow these tips, you’ll be on your way to a noticeably better facility.
In the category of multi-room wireless music systems, Sonos has long
been the leader, but DTS hopes to give Sonos a run for its money with the Play-Fi wireless audio standard. Essentially, it allows you to add up to eight Play-Fi products to your existing home WiFi network and stream full-resolution stereo audio from a mobile device, Windows PC, or DLNA server to one or multiple zones.
DTS already has licensed Play-Fi to a number of high-profile audio/speaker manufacturers, including Polk–which has launched a complete line of Play-Fi-enabled products. The line features the Omni S2 tabletop speaker , the Omni S2R rechargeable/outdoor tabletop speaker , the Omni SB1 soundbar and wireless subwoofer combo , the Omni P1 wireless adapter to add legacy components to a Play-Fi system, and the Omni A1 wireless amplifier to add Play-Fi functionality and power to a set of passive speakers.
The Polk Omni S2 and its nearly identical twin, the S2R. The S2 is a simple-looking speaker that won’t draw too much attention to itself…at least not visually. Sound quality is another story, but we’ll get to that. The curvy, triangular cabinet measures just 3.92 by 3.96 by 9.06 inches, weighs about 2.75 pounds, and can sit vertically or horizontally (with rubber pads on both the bottom and side). Despite its small size and weight, its build quality feels quite solid, with an inert cabinet design and a refined finish. The speaker is available in black or white, and the front face is covered with a fabric mesh grille material. Only three buttons adorn the front face, for volume up, volume down, and play/pause. The backside includes a USB port, an auxiliary input, a DC power port, and a WiFi Setup button with a corresponding LED to assist with network connection. The S2 sports dual two-inch full-range drivers, dual 1.5- by 2.5-inch passive radiators, and a 20-watt times two (into four ohms) amplifier.
The only differences in the rechargeable/outdoor-friendly S2R are that it weighs a little more (the addition of the battery ups the weight to 3.25 pounds), it omits the fabric grille material, it adds rubber plugs to cover the ports on the backside, and it adds a WiFi antenna to help improve reception at longer distances.
The first step in setting up the Omni speakers is to download the Polk Omni app for iOS (v6.0 or higher) or Android (v2.2 or higher) to your mobile device–in my case, I used an iPhone 4 for setup and later downloaded the Android app to a Samsung Galaxy tablet, as well. Next, plug in the speaker, launch the app, and follow the clear instructions to add the speaker to your existing WiFi network. (You have to have a home WiFi network in place; the system cannot create its own network, but this approach means you don’t need a bridge device to link to your network.)
At this time, there is no Mac-compatible app, and Polk/DTS does not have one in development.
Choosing a projector model to suit your needs can be overwhelming; here are some key points to take into consideration as you make this important purchase.
Consider how far the screen will be from the projector, relative to the size of the screen. In some cases, it makes sense to select a projector with interchangeable zoom lenses (optional) for proper projector placement. Interchangeable lenses also affect image size from a particular throw distance. The size and shape of the meeting room will help you decide. Most manufacturers will state the image size range at specific “throw” distances to the wall, and that information is helpful as you plan.
Not all projectors are installed on a ceiling or wall. There are many users that place them on a cart to move them from room to room. Advances in technology have allowed manufacturers to design brighter projectors in a small cabinet size which makes this type of usage more favorable. For most customers, however, fixed mounting is much more preferable – for product security, less audible noise, and other logistical reasons.
In addition, ministry leaders change their entire approaches to presentations when projectors are always available to them in a fixed-mount configuration. They can access materials, the Web and apps, annotate using interactive projectors/whiteboards, and capture images for later use. The availability of affordable interactive technologies and apps are breathing new life into the ways that ministry leaders can share and highlight important information. For example, DisplayNote Software, used in conjunction with an interactive projector, lets instructors, students and others present and share content across any device creating the ultimate collaborative environment; multiple people can annotate at the board or from a device, while sharing and saving for all those in attendance.
These techniques create a much more dynamic environment, keeping those attending services, classes or special events much more engaged.
Image and Screen Size
In many small to medium sized rooms, image sizes will fall into the range of 60 inches to 90 inches. Medium to large sized rooms typically have screen sizes of 90 inches to 120 inches.
Generally, you can calculate optimal screen size by measuring the distance from the screen to the person furthest away. That should be a ratio of no more than 4:1 – for example, if the furthest seat is 32 feet away, you would select an 8-foot viewable screen.
Connecting Video/Data Sources
You may have video/data sources that you want to show on the projector such as DVD players, laptops, tablets and other smart devices. Common signal source connections can include composite video, s-video, component video, HDBaseT, DisplayPort, and HDMI with HDCP.
An established practice today is transferring data from a source to a projector using a network. Some sources, such as HD video, are best sent via a cable because the bandwidth on wireless connections isn’t usually fast enough for good video quality. But laptop images may work well via wireless and offer more ease-of-setup for the instructor.
We love our sports. We spend thousands of dollars a year supporting our sundry sports passions, be it through ticket sales, jerseys, or regretful bar tabs. Even gambling debts might fall under the category of “sports tax,” depending on your point of view.
But there’s no doubt that televisions are a vital purchase for any sports fan.
You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that a “good-for-sports TV” is generally synonymous with a “good-for-_everything_ TV.” From a picture quality standpoint, the requirements for displaying the best possible football game is all but identical for the best possible Star Wars marathon.
However, some TVs do possess qualities beyond simple processing power that might make them better for sports than others. Let’s take a lap around the field.
The number one consideration for buying a TV, aside from price, is screen size. If you can’t see the puck whipping across the ice, what’s the point? You might as well be listening to the radio
Contrary to popular opinion, there is such a thing as “too big.” At some point you’ll be able to see the individual pixels and the illusion of a smooth, uniform picture will vanish.
There’s an actual formula to calculate the ideal size, but you certainly don’t need to break out a scientific calculator to shop for a TV. The rough estimate is simple:
That means you can measure the distance from your couch to the TV, then divide by 2.5. There you have it, your ideal screen size. So if you sit 7 feet (84 inches) from your TV, you want a TV with a diagonal screen size of about 2.8 feet, or 34 inches. It’s a very rough calculation, but at least it’s a place to start.
Plasma Vs. LCD and LED
Ah, the old debate. We’ve covered it many times in many forms, but here’s the difference in a nutshell: Plasma TVs tend to run a little larger in screen size (50 inches and up). They have a wider viewing angle, which makes them good for hosting a party for the Superbowl or NBA finals.
LCD TVs (and LED TVs by extension), on the other hand, have a wide range of screen sizes (26 inches up to 80+ inches), but the larger screen sizes will probably be more expensive than an equivalently-sized plasma. More importantly, LCD screens can get a lot brighter than plasma, which might make them easier to see in a sunny room.
There’s a heap of misinformation and half-truths about performance differences between plasmas and LCDs, much of it based on outdated information. Suffice it to say that both offer smooth motion and great contrast ratio.
There’s no doubt that 3D TVs are becoming more common, though their actual usage rates are probably not rising commensurately. The problem is that 3D broadcasting is just not up to speed yet. A 3D signal takes up a lot more bandwidth than a regular signal, so cable providers are probably slow to support it widely.
TVs are rapidly becoming more like tablets and smart phones, with lots of apps to satisfy lots of small customer bases. The worst apps try to make the TV something it’s not—like a gaming system or web browser. The best apps play to the strength of the TV as a passive entertainment device. After all, most people just want to lie back on the couch and watch something fun or exciting.
There are lots of apps for sports fans. To date, the best come from the leagues themselves, with MLB.tv as the hands-down winner. With all the complex licensing and broadcast rights, it’s impossible to get an app that offers everything you wantwhenever you want. Most apps, for instance, black out live games in your current location. In Boston, for example, you can’t watch Red Sox games live on MLB.tv.
For scores, stats, news, and clips, there are no shortage of third-party apps including Yahoo, ESPN, Hulu, and many more.
To watch the games themselves, you should always check if your local cable provider offers a sports package. Also, Apple TV, Roku, Boxee, and other set-top boxes may have better packages than your smart TV’s app selection. NFL RedZone and NBA League Pass are currently unavailable as standalone TV apps. However, both are accessible through your computer and mobile devices. We can only hope that as smart TVs become more popular, the leagues will embrace the platform, but they’ve been slow to do so.
The specs that count for a sports TV
Brightness: Many broadcasts occur during daylight hours, so you’ll want a model that’s bright enough to produce a “in-your-face” picture in a room with high ambient light.
High refresh rate: You should also be looking at sets that can display content with fast-paced action without turning the picture into a blurry mess. Plasma models excel at making sports look crisp, while most LCD models with a 120 Hz and higher refresh rate have processing modes to help reduce motion blur.
Large screen size: Finally, you’ll want to watch on a screen that’s sufficiently large—we recommend 55 inches at minimum.
The Winner’s Circle
We’ve taken our own reviews and compiled a Best in Class for Value and Quality comparison which you can get here. Are You Ready for Some Football!
Setting aside the issue of price for a moment, the Samsung UN65HU8550 is a compelling new entry in the TV market. It’s got a comprehensive list of features in a flat form factor, and it proved to be very good performer, with the versatility to suit both bright and dark viewing environments, both film and HDTV, equally well. Some minor brightness-uniformity issues, but it will likely deliver the goods for all but the most discerning black-level purists, who are probably looking at Samsung’s F8500 plasma anyhow.
Of course, we must bring price back into consideration. On the one hand, the UN65HU8550’s $3,299 MSRP asking price falls at the low end compared with the other new 65-inch Ultra HD models in the Competition. On the other hand, the Ultra HD resolution gives this TV a premium price tag over comparable 1080p TVs. the UHD resolution makes a big enough difference at this screen size isn’t really inspiring enough to pay more just to get Ultra HD; but then again, what’s the cheaper 1080p alternative in the 2014 line? Samsung was strategic this year in the features it put in each of its high-end TV series, ensuring that there’s no exact, lower-priced 1080p equivalent to the HU8550 Series. The 1080p H7150 Series is flat but lacks local dimming, whereas the 1080p H8000 Series has local dimming but is curved. If you want the best, most home-theater-worthy performance that Samsung has to offer in a flat LED/LCD, the HU8550 Series is the choice for 2014. Last year’s 1080p F8000 Series offers better black-level performance, and right now you can get the 65-incher for $400 less than this TV. That’s close enough in price that it really comes down to what matters most to you: black level or resolution. You make the call.
SpaceCoast AV Communications is committed to the highest standards of customer service in all public settings. To meet the needs of a diverse clientele, we provide state-of-the-art audio visual technology to enhance the visitor’s experience in restaurants, hotels, sports bars and other entertainment and hospitality venues.
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