Open Menu Close Menu

Product Roundup: Presentation Technology: Computers with Lights and Mirrors

Presentation technologies have evolved to a point where they are no longer mainly optical instruments, but like so many other mechanical devices are essentially computers adapted for the task at hand.

Indeed, projectors are not even mostly analog devices any more. Many that will come your way this year incorporate digital light processing (DLP) technology. This technology, invented at Texas Instruments Inc. in 1987, is an all-digital display solution for projectors, televisions, and home theater systems. Using an optical semiconductor, DLP recreates source material with high fidelity (see "DLP Technology: How It Works" on p. 41).

We have rounded up some of the best products in the presentation systems market this year, including some of the latest whiteboards, queuing devices, and control systems. It seems like it's never been a better time for professors to get their point across.


This DLP projector boasts 2,500 ANSI lumens of brightness, a 2,000-1 contrast ratio, and true XGA (1024 x 768) native resolution. The model is HDTV compatible, includes multiple input terminals (2 VGA) and an output terminal (1 VGA), has a throw ratio of 60 inches at 6.6 feet, and features power saving under the video mode.

BenQ also offers a free, two-year "Xpress Xchange" program for the education market to accompany a three-year, limited warranty on the product.

Contact: BenQ America Corp., City of Industry, Calif.; (909) 569-0700;

Canon LV-X2
Canon's LV-X2 microportable projector weighs only 6.4 pounds. Native XGA resolution combines with 1,100 ANSI lumens for a bright and sharp image. The unit also features low fan noise for quiet operation.

A high-precision, wide-angle zoom lens facilitates a short throw distance of only 9.2 feet, producing a 100-inch diagonal image. A wide array of input terminals lets users connect a variety of external devices such as DVD players and VCRs.

Contact: Canon USA, (800) 385-2155;

Christie Digital DS30
The DS30 uses the latest Double Data Rate DMD for DLP display. The unit weighs just 6.6 pounds. The DS30 offers SXGA resolution (1280 x 1024), 3,000 ANSI lumens of brightness, and a super-high contrast ratio of 1,000-to-1.

The projector is quiet, at 28 decibels. It features front rear, and ceiling mount options, vertical and horizontal keystone correction, a single bulb with a 2,000-hour lamp life, and user-selectable aspect ratios.

Contact: Christie Digital Systems Inc., Cypress, Calif.; (800) 407-7727;

Dell 2100MP
This DLP projector also falls into the microportable class at only 4 pounds. The native SVGA (800 x 600) resolution projector features 1,000 ANSI lumens of brightness and a contrast ratio of 1,800-to-1. The 2100MP can be used on a desktop, mounted from the ceiling, or deployed as either a front- or rear-projection unit. This projector supports connecting a wide array of external devices and includes S-Video, Composite Video (RCA), Component Video, and HDTV inputs.

Other features include a wireless remote, hard-shell carrying case, digital zoom and digital keystone correction, preset video modes for optimum graphic and video settings, and quiet performance (32 dBA of sound output).

Contact: Dell Computer Corp., Round Rock, Texas; (800) 626-8286;

Digital Projection iVision sx
The iVision sx, Digital Projection's first ultra-compact DLP projector (6.5 pounds) displays an SXGA native resolution and produces 3,000 ANSI lumens. The iVision sx's intuitive user controls and extensive source compatibility render it simple to integrate, control, and operate.

The projector also features a contrast ratio of 1000-to-1, a throw distance of 1.5 to 10 meters, quiet (28 decibels) operation, and a low-cost, long-life UHP lamp system designed to last 2,000 hours. The unit can be ceiling mounted or used as a front or rear tabletop projector.

Contact: Digital Projection Inc., Kennesaw, Ga.; (770) 420-1350;

Dukane ImagePro 8757
Dukane offers the ImagePro 8757, an XGA, 2,500 ANSI lumen networkable DLP projector.

Network administrators have access to all necessary information about the projector: whether it is in use, needs service, is running low on lamp life, and more. The unit includes two computer and three video inputs, and is compatible with all types of video, including HDTV.

Contact: Dukane Corp., St. Charles, Ill.; (800) 676-2485;

Epson PowerLite 53c
The Epson PowerLite 53c multimedia projector offers 1,700 lumens of brightness, SVGA resolution, and features such as monitor-out capabilities that allow the use of a monitor as a prompt, Epson's exclusive auto keystone correction, and convenient remote control.

The sleek 6.4-pound PowerLite 53c includes Epson 0.7-inch, high-aperture LCDs for vivid images and superior color saturation.

Contact: Epson America Inc., Long Beach, Calif.; (800) GO-EPSON;

Fujitsu LPF4800
The LPF4800 from Fujitsu features a brightness of 1,500 ANSI lumens, DTV and HDTV compatibility, digital keystone correction, digital zoom, and an infrared remote mouse control kit.

The projector uses a three-key system (power, auto, and mode) and an optional keypad with remote mouse function is available.

Contact: Fujitsu General America Inc., Fairfield, N.J.; (973) 575-0380;

Hitachi CP-X885W
Hitachi's 12-pound CP-X885W features a brightness of 3,500 ANSI lumens, a contrast ratio of 800-to-1, and native XGA resolution. Additionally, the CP-X885W offers vertical and horizontal keystone correction, and numerous connectivity options including S-Video, composite, component, and RGB.

Other features include digital zoom and freeze, whisper mode, and a user-programmable start-up screen.

Contact: Hitachi, Brisbane, Calif.; (800) 225-1741;

HP Compaq iPAQ MP3800
The HP Compaq iPAQ MP3800 digital projector offers 1,300 ANSI lumens of brightness, XGA resolution, and a contrast ratio of 800-to-1. The unit weighs only 3.5 pounds and features an integrated two-watt speaker.

Contact: Hewlett-Packard Co., Palo Alto, Calif.; (800) 888-0262;

InFocus LP790
The XGA-resolution LP790 features 3,000 lumens and a contrast ratio of 800-to-1. It displays PC and Mac computer images, DVD, HDTV, digital photos, and other digital images.

The unit operates with a noise level of less than 34 decibels and weighs 13 pounds. The LP790 also offers compatibility with ProjectorNet, InFocus' software solution that enables centralized control of projectors for convenience, interchangeable accessories, and optional security locks. This allows an IT administrator to manage multiple projectors throughout a school or campus remotely—including scheduling them to be turned on/off as well as notification of theft if the projector is disconnected.

Contact: InFocus Corp., Wilsonville, Ore.; (800) 294-6400;

With its QXGA resolution, 7,000 ANSI lumens and 1,000-1 contrast ratio, the DLA-QX1G delivers images with super contrast, subtle gradations, and crisp detail. This projector is designed for ideal clarity in a wide range of applications. The DLA-QX1G features native QXGA (2048 x 1536) resolution, which means the image is comprised of 3.2 million pixels that result in a film-like picture.

Contact: JVC Professional Products Co., Wayne, N.J.; (800) 582-5825;

Megapower ML600
This microportable DLP projector weighs only 3.5 pounds. It delivers a contrast ratio of 900-to-1, XGA resolution, and 1,500 ANSI lumens of brightness. This model features HDTV compatibility, a manual zoom/focus, and relatively quiet operation (35 dBA).

Contact: Megapower, United States, Hong Kong, and China; (800) MEGA-321;

Mitsubishi XD300U
The XD300U Ultraportable Colorview DLP projector features a long lamp life—4,000 hours—and XGA resolution with a brightness of 2,100 ANSI lumens and a contrast ratio of 2,000-to-1.

The projector is built with Mitsubishi's ColorView Natural Color Matrix for rich, vivid colors. Other features include picture-in-picture with split screen from two different sources, universal remote, and horizontal and vertical keystone adjustment.

Technology innovations such as Faroudja Direction Correlational Deinterlacing (DCDi) and sRGB technology provide smooth, natural-looking images and uniform color reproduction.

Contact: Mitsubishi Electronics America, Cypress, Calif.; (714) 220-2500;

Optoma EzPro 757
This DLP projector from Optoma offers native XGA (1024 x 768) and SXGA (1280 x 1024) compressed resolutions, a contrast ratio of 2,000-to-1, and brightness of 2,300 ANSI lumens.

Included are a manual zoom, manual focus, remote control with mouse function and laser pointer, and capability to connect with a multitude of external tools, including HDTV. The unit weighs only 6.6 pounds and at 32 dBA runs quietly.

Contact: Optoma Technology Inc., Milpitas, Calif.; (408) 383-3700;

Panasonic PT-D7600U
This large venue digital projector incorporates DLP technology and high brightness, and is appropriate for large auditoriums. The projector features SXGA resolution, 6,000 ANSI lumens, a contrast ratio of 1,000-to-1, and a lamp life of up to 2,000 hours.

The projector can be stacked with another one for a total brightness of up to 8,400 lumens. This model also offers one-touch "auto everything" set-up with digital keystone correction. Available are a remote and a variety of optional lenses. The projector is network capable.

Contact: Panasonic, Los Angeles, Calif.; (800) 528-8601;

Philips bSure Series
The Philips bSure series of projectors feature SVGA or XGA resolution (depending on the model chosen), 1,500 ANSI lumens, and a contrast ratio of 300-to-1. They also offer long-life lamps (3,000 to 6,000 hours) and a SmartSave feature extends lamp life even farther by switching off the projector after a user-defined interval.

The models in this series are quiet (27 decibels). Other features include anti-theft protection, HDTV-readiness, and digital zoom/focus and digital keystone correction.

Contact: Philips Electronics, Atlanta, Ga.; (888) 873-4672;

PLUS U2-1200
The U2-1200 DLP projector from PLUS Vision features 2,000 ANSI lumens of brightness, XGA resolution, digital zoom, digital keystone correction, and a presentation timer.

It also includes a built-in second monitor output (loop-through), a requisite feature for multimedia educators. The feature allows teachers/trainers to project their curriculum to their classes while simultaneously being able to view the course content on their desktop monitors.

The new U2 projector comes with a long-life lamp (3,000 hours), and supports the latest in video standards including 480p, 780p, and 1080i high definition imaging, DVI (pure digital signaling), RGB (data), component, and composite inputs.

Contact: PLUS Vision Corp., Beaverton, Ore.; (800) 211-9001;

Sanyo PLC-UF10
This powerful projector is the first to offer UXGA resolution (1600 x 1200).

The projector features 7,700 ANSI lumens of brightness (nearly 15,400 lumens when stacked), a contrast ratio of 700-to-1, and a four-lamp system. The unit weighs more than 70 pounds.

The PLC-UF10 uses a Digital Visual Interface, new, high-definition progressive scan, power lens shift, digital keystone correction, and power zoom and power focus.

Contact: Sanyo, Chatsworth, Calif.; (818) 998-7322;

Sharp Notevision PG-C45X / XG-C50X
Sharp's two Notevision LCD projectors are identical except for the degree of brightness and difference in price.

The PG-C45X offers 2,500 lumens and the XG-C50X offers 3,000 lumens. Both feature XGA native resolution, a weight of 11.3 pounds, multiple lenses, support for all HDTV formats, and monitor loop through and multiple inputs, which permit simultaneous connection of two computers and video sources.

Security features include lockdown through optical block, key code startup, keypad lockout, customizable startup and background screens, and optional security cables.

Contact: Sharp Electronics Corp., Mahweh, N.J.; (866) 4VISUAL;

Sony VLPX40 SuperBright Data Projector
The Sony VPLPX40 SuperBright LCD Data Projector is a flexible and powerful unit which can be used in many applications.

The system produces 3,500 ANSI lumens, bright enough to light up very large screens with enough contrast ratio to render detailed images. Includes native XGA resolution, the ability to be tilted up or down by 90 degrees, TCP/IP network control, a unique password authentication system, and a laser pointer remote control. It can be fitted with optional lenses for applications that require a shorter or longer throw distance.

Contact: Sony Electronics Inc., Park Ridge, N.J.; (800) 686-7669;

Toshiba TDP-D1 and TDP-D2
Toshiba recently introduced two new portable DLP projectors. Weighing 5.3 pounds, they boast 2,000 and 2,500 ANSI lumens, respectively.

Designed for mobile professionals, educators, and small- to medium-sized businesses, the new projectors feature automatic keystone correction, 800-1 contrast ratio, XGA resolution, digital zoom, and a convenient remote control.

Toshiba's new projectors are also compatible with its full line of mobile products, including its notebooks and PDAs.

Contact: Toshiba America Information Systems Inc., Irvine, Calif.; (800) TOSHIBA;

ViewSonic PJ250
This microportable DLP projector weighs only 2.2 pounds. It features 1,000 ANSI lumens of brightness, a contrast ratio of 2000-to-1, and native XGA resolution. Additionally, the PJ250 offers a one-touch setup button for fast, easy sync and sharp focus.

Capable of displaying digital and analog signals for integrated data, video, and audio, the PJ250 offers the flexibility for use on the road or in the office.

Contact: ViewSonic Corp., Walnut, Calif.; (800) 888-8583;

Interactive Boards

3M Digital WallDisplay
The 3M Digital WallDisplay features the ability to annotate directly over projected images, capture the changes, print, and save documents electronically for later use, as well as the capacity to share annotations and documents in real time via the Internet.

The product has a flat screen for glare-free viewing from a 170-degree field; a 60-inch large, diagonal screen with a 4-3 aspect ratio that is mirrored to business applications and viewing data; computer, video, and audio inputs; a replaceable screen with dry-erase and light-enhancement options; portability via the optional 3M Mobile Cart; and a handheld remote unit that controls all functions and options with presenter features of blank, reveal, freeze, pointer, and timer.

Contact: 3M, St. Paul, Minn.; (800) 454-5752;

Link-Systems WWWhiteboard
The WWWhiteboard is an interactive graphical chat tool designed to allow real-time communication of technical concepts. WWWhiteboard allows users to import and annotate gif and jpg images and type text on the board or in an attached chat window.

The product supports scientific and mathematical notation, special symbols, geometric primitives, graphing, and freehand drawing. It is cross-platform, so users do not have to standardize on expensive hardware or software. The WWWhiteboard is versatile and can be embedded in different applications.

Contact: Link-Systems International, Tampa, Fla.; (813) 674-0660;

PolyVision Webster Suite
PolyVision's Webster suite of products now includes a wireless solution.

The wireless technology is available to accompany all Webster interactive products, including touch-sensitive and laser-tracking interactive whiteboards, plasma displays, and rear-projection units. Webster Wireless eliminates all cabling between Webster interactive whiteboards and the computer, requires no special software, and maintains a connection up to 30 feet even if someone walks between it and the computer. As a result, users experience freedom of movement and the ability to create flexible room arrangements.

The high-speed infrared (IR) connection of Webster Wireless allows quick capture as you write, and the projected mouse cursor moves in real time.

Contact: PolyVision Corp., Norcross, Ga.; (800) 620-POLY;

Rear Projection SMART Board 1800 and 1802
SMART Technologies introduces two new models of 72-inch, rear-projection interactive whiteboards. These whiteboards allow classrooms to collaborate on electronic documents, capture results of sessions, and create a complete record of materials and notes.

Users can access computer-based material using their fingers as a mouse, capture handwritten notes to a computer file and work naturally at the board without casting a shadow.

The Rear Projection SMART Board 3000i interactive whiteboard features a large screen in a slim, tapered cabinet that fits easily into a variety of rooms and into corners. This model also comes with an integrated projector and touch control.

Contact: SMART Technologies Inc., Calgary, Alberta, Canada; (888) 42-SMART;

Tegrity WebLearner Instructor
Tegrity's WebLearner Instructor software automatically captures many types of content and offers unique ways for instructors to interact with it. Students can see writing and drawing on any regular whiteboard with dry-erase markers. Tegrity's patented computer vision automatically captures writing in sync with narration.

Instructors can point inside the projected image on the board using Tegrity's laser InterPointer.

When instructors prefer facing their students more of the time, they can use an LCD tablet or Tablet PC to interact with content and students see writing, pointing (like writing on transparencies), and yellow highlighting.

Contact: Tegrity Inc., San Jose, Calif.; (800) 411-0579;

Queuing Devices

Applied Laser
Applied Laser's array of laser pointers work within a range of 300 to 800 yards. The "Ultimate" ink pen and laser pointer points up to 300 yards away and comes with a six-hour battery. The "Super" models can point from as far away as 500 yards.

Contact: Applied Laser, Pasadena, Calif.; (800) 833-4780;

Gyration's Ultra Professional Optical Mouse has a 100-foot range with no line-of-sight limitations. Its "in-air" cursor control allows you to control applications from anywhere in the room using simple hand gestures.

The Ultra Professional also works on the desktop and includes GyroTools, special effects software for Windows, which allows users to add dynamic effects to a presentation, and a long-life rechargeable battery with a convenient charging cradle.

Contact: Gyration Inc., Saratoga, Calif.; (800) 316-5432;

Lasermate Group Inc. manufactures a variety of laser pointers and also supplies laser accessories, including diffractive optics, diode driver circuit boards, and laser safety goggles.

Contact: Lasermate Group Inc., Pomona, Calif.; (909) 623-4995;

Wireless Computing
The RF-10 Wireless SurfMouse is designed for computer-based slide shows, interactive training, and presentation programs such as PowerPoint.

It features a 50-foot range, a fingertip-operated mouse touch pad similar to those on notebook computers, and two, side-by-side large mouse buttons for left and right clicks. Radio frequency technology allows use of the mouse without directly aiming it.

Contact: Wireless Computing Inc., Austin, Texas; (512) 858-4400;

Lifts and Mounts

Display Devices
Display Devices' Projector Ceiling Mounts are custom designed for each projector, featuring strong 12-gauge steel and a two-inch cable pipe, which fits a large bundle of cables through easily.

The company also offers an Anti-Theft Mount that uses Tamper-Proof hardware and includes a loud alarm, motion sensing, and relay to a security system.

Contact: Display Devices Inc., Arvada, Colo.; (303) 412-0399;

Peerless Industries
The Vector Pro projector mount features a ball and socket design and total integrated Armor Lock Security.

Peerless uses metal-to-metal connections for the highest quality. A variety of screws and connectors are available as needed in particular situations.

Contact: Peerless Industries Inc., Melrose Park, Ill.; (800) 865-2112;

SVS Lifts
SVS Lifts manufactures patented, motorized ceiling-to-floor lift systems. These are one-person operable for ease of use. At the push of a button the lifts accurately raise and lower projectors, monitors, speakers, and more. The lifts are aesthetically stored above the ceiling for security and automatically positioned for operation. The motors are quiet and provide accurate, level tracking for consistent screen images.

Contact: SVS Lifts Inc., Panama City, Fla.; (850) 522-4739;

Control Devices

AMX NI Series
The AMX NI series combines the proven technology of the NetLinx Integrated Controller with the NetLinx ME260 Master into a single integrated control system. Three models are available: the NI-2000, NI-3000, and NI-4000.

The NI-2000 is designed to manage the components of a single room, including VCRs, DVDs, projectors, lighting, and thermostats.

The NI-3000 offers twice as many ports and relays as the NI-2000, and can control one large auditorium or a few rooms.

The highest-end model, the NI-4000, features the same number of ports and relays as the NI-3000, with the addition of four NetLinx control card slots.

Contact: AMX Corp., Richardson, Texas; (469) 624-8000;

Crestron CNX-DVP4
The Crestron CNX-DVP4 is a digital-video, touchpanel interface, and stand-alone 2-Series control processor that can display up to four, real-time video/ computer windows simultaneously on a single, high-resolution monitor, projector, or plasma screen.

Incorporating four DVI-I inputs, the DVP4 has the capability to accept any combination of four, analog RGB computer sources up to 1600 x 1200 resolution, or four DVI digital-visual interface digital computer sources up to 1280 x 1024 resolution.

Multiple video formats can be processed through the eight BNC inputs on the DVP4. Any combination of composite NTSC/PAL or S-Video (Y/C) sources can be fed to the unit simultaneously.

DVP4 also features seamless switching and incorporates digital transition effects, such as fades, reveals, and pans.

Each video window can be scaled and positioned in a virtually unlimited configuration. Graphics can be incorporated in the foreground or background in combination with the windows, and with built-in, alpha-channel support, corporate icons and dynamic text can be placed over the video windows in a translucent format.

Contact: Crestron Electronics Inc., Rockleigh, N.J.; (800) 237-2041;

Extron IPL T S2
The Extron IPL T S2 is a compact Ethernet-to-Serial Interface with intergral Web server. Extron's IP (Internet Protocol) Link technology enables serially controlled products (RS-232, RS-422, RS-485) to be connected to Ethernet networks and controlled or monitored remotely.

IP connectivitiy allows users to remotely monitor and troubleshoot projectors, plasma displays, switchers, and other serially controlled products at any time, from any computer connected to a local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), or the Internet.

The IPL T S2 also sends failure and service messages to any e-mail address automatically. This allows administrators or technicians to quickly respond and correct technical problems, limiting down time.

Also included is 1.25MB of flash memory for storing HTML files, JavaScripts, animation, and graphics.

Contact: Extron Electronics, Anaheim, Calif.; (714) 491-1517;

comments powered by Disqus