If you are running cables to the projector, you’ll need to consider the optimal location for the cable connectors to be available to users. For example, the DVD player might be mounted in a cabinet and the cables will need to terminate there, but the instructor may need to connect a laptop from the front center of the room. You might elect to run the cables inside the wall to a simple and neat wall-plate, or you could run a small electric raceway channel down the wall if you need a quicker solution (although that is probably less aesthetically pleasing). Another alternative is a combination of wired devices and wireless access for presenters.
Once you have planned for traditional analog/digital input connections from PCs, players, and other local multimedia devices, the next thing to consider is network connectivity for accessing network content and performing remote administration of the projector.
Not all projectors will be connected to the network, but there are some good reasons to do so. If the projector is tied to a network, presentation files on a server or from a computer can be accessed in some cases through the projectors’ built-in access point. From an asset management standpoint, projectors can be remotely monitored and managed by an administrator in order to turn them on/off to extend the lamp life.
Often, in church facilities there is minimal existing network infrastructure, and running cable isn’t an attractive option. In these instances, wireless projectors can have a lot of merit and can speed up the installation if your building is set up for Wi-Fi. One final connection you will want to determine is the location of the power source for the projector. Ideally, power can be tapped from electric boxes on the ceiling.
Most people believe brightness specifications in the 2,000-5,000 lumen range are suitable for these types of room applications. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes these room environments will require more than 5,000 lumens of brightness to compensate for certain aspects of the space. For example, with larger screens, brighter ambient lighting, and longer throw distances, a brightness-range of 8,000 to 10,000 lumens and higher should be considered when selecting a projector.
Solid State Light Sources
Laser phosphor projectors, which use solid state light sources in lieu of lamps, are giving houses of worship new technology options for brightness and longevity. Their low-maintenance design makes them perfectly suited to classrooms, sanctuaries and boardrooms alike. Lasers have a lifespan of about 20,000 hours – up to 10 times as long as traditional installation projectors using lamps. That means the laser projector in most applications will last well beyond 6 years (depends on the usage model), compared to projection lamps that may need to be replaced within 1-2 years. That longevity adds up to big savings for budget-conscious environments. It also saves the time and manpower typically associated with projector maintenance.