Flat Panel vs. Projector: Which Works Best for Your Client?

  • Flat panels are the best—they provide such rich, bright images.

Projectors are the best—with large screens you can see everything.

Wait, which one is it? The answer is both. One may be better than the other, depending on the client’s needs. Our job as the AV integrator is to know when a client should use a flat panel or when they should use a projector. Clients come to us for our expertise. We listen to their needs and create the most effective integrated AV solution specific to their business. When it comes to the decision of flat-panel or projector, there are many factors to consider—more considerations than you might think.

In the Classroom

Deciding on the right classroom display depends on the size of the classroom and the number of students. In a small classroom, a flat screen may work well, but a projector is usually the display of choice for several reasons. Even though flat screens are now larger than ever, up to 152 inches, large flat screens are usually cost-prohibitive for schools. In a large classroom setting or an auditorium, a projector is necessary to ensure the screen can easily be seen and read by students sitting in the back of the room.

One of the most significant factors when schools are deciding between a projector or a flat screen is cost. Most schools have limited budgets. Their main objective is to get as many classrooms outfitted with technology for as many students as possible. Projectors are less expensive than flat screens and provide larger images. For the money, more classes can be equipped with projectors than flat screens.

In the Office

Again, the first thing corporate clients should consider is the size of the space and what will show on the screen. A typical corporate integration project includes outfitting the conference room or boardroom. Most of the rooms we install in are on average, 12 feet wide and 20 feet long. In rooms like this, a large flat screen may work well and allow all participants to see the screen. Flat screens are normally used here for video conferencing, or if large enough, for presentations as well. The flat screen offers a clear, vivid picture that is perfect for both applications. These screens are also aesthetically pleasing, as wiring can be completely hidden. While the flat screen is great for video purposes, when it comes to text, spreadsheets or presentations, the projector may be the best choice. The larger screen allows everyone in the room to easily see important text and data.

Some customers want both a flat-screen and a projector. This allows them to have the best possible screen for video conferencing and the best screen for text based presentations. A large projection screen can be hidden in the ceiling and easily drop down in front of the flat screen when needed.

When faced with a display decision, it’s important to evaluate each client’s needs. Understanding where and how the equipment will be used, and the budget that the client has to work with, will allow you to offer the best solution.

Chris Gamst is vice-president and owner of CCS New England, AV integrator serving the education, corporate, and government sectors in the New England area.