Whether you’re hosting a school, family, or company event, if you need a projector, you have your work cut out for you. There are a lot of different types of projectors, and styles, not all of which are ideal for every event. Here’s how to make the right choice.
Choosing The Right Projector
It all start with the right projector.
An LCD projector uses a liquid crystal display and is one of the most popular projector choices on the market. This is what you would most likely want in an office meeting or something similar. Basically, any time you need the ability to display something in a brightly-lit room, opt for LCD screens. Not all of them will be capable of the same level of output, but this type of projector is more likely than not to fit the bill.
And, if you rent a model with full HD 1080p capabilities, an LCD will deliver spectacular image quality and will usually be loaded with extra features that aren’t on other types of projectors.
LCDs tend to have higher contrast, meaning that dark colors look darker. While you might not ever get an actual “black” from an outdoor (or even indoor) showing, you’ll come very close.
If this is for a home theater use, look for models with a higher contrast. LCDs made for home theaters tend to be very well made because the resting position of the liquid crystal is closed, meaning some measure of voltage is required to open it. This results in truer blacks and other darker colors.
With LCDs, you’ll also experience fewer artifacts, which translates into greater image stability. The pixel structure of LCDs also makes for a sharper image while the inherent nature of the display means that LCDs are more efficient than many other types of projectors on the market.
With that said, there are a few things to watch out for when buying an LCD projector. First off, the panels can have a limited lifespan. LCD panels tend to degrade as they age, resulting in diminished contrast and color quality.
LCD displays also tend to collect dust on the light engine or “chip.”
This isn’t so much of a problem when viewing still images. However, if you want to show movies or videos, it may be very noticeable (and annoying).
DLP projectors tend to be more reliable than LCDs, and their lifespan is owing to the fact that they tend to be better built. They produce a more consistent color and have a lower total cost of ownership, despite the higher initial cost.
Like LCDs, DLP projectors are capable of 1080p, full HD picture.
If you plan on renting one, go for the high-end models. Some low-quality DLP projectors use a slower color wheel, which results in a “rainbow effect” while you’re watching a video.
DLPs don’t collect dust on the chip, but they can collect it in other areas. And, DLPs don’t have great viewing angles, so plan on having the audience directly in front of the screen. Most DLPs also don’t have options for zoom lenses or other add-ons, so they’re better for more intimate settings.
LED projectors use “liquid crystal on silicon” (LCoS) for the display.LEDs are “light emitting diodes,” and they completely replace the need for a traditional lamp. Because of this, the rated lifespan often exceeds 10,000 hours. This is usually 3 to 5 times that of LCD or DLP projectors.
As you might guess, LED projectors cost more, but they’re very energy efficient and don’t put off a lot of heat. Because of this, they don’t require any warming up or cooling down time.
If you’re looking for a good projector rental, it’s best to check all three different types of projectors, and rent based on your needs, budget, and what you think will work best for your particular use case.
Controlling The Environment
If you’re hosting an outdoor event, it might be a good idea to put up space heaters in the winter or fall, and tents with bug screens in the spring and summer. Don’t forget to set up wi-fi if you’re streaming video from the Internet.
Ambient lighting should come from low-level LED or other battery-operated light sources unless the venue you’re using has integrated outdoor lighting.
For indoor venues, your job is much simpler (obviously).
And, don’t forget to make backup plans. If you accidentally overbook your venue, the projector fails catastrophically for the event, or you experience some other unforeseen technical problem, you don’t want to be dealing with it on the day-of.