Point/Counterpoint: Flat-Panels vs. Projectors

Point/Counterpoint: Flat-Panels vs. Projectors

The format wars continue…

Just when you thought large-format, flat-panel displays weren’t ever going to be cost effective, and you would be changing projector bulbs until you dropped—so did the prices of 100-plus-inch flat-panels making you take another look (and touch). Just when you thought projectors were going the way of Betamax, the ability to have a projector as close as two-feet to the screen, or map spectacular images onto a large building, the only thing that has gone the way of the HD-DVD is the high-churn-rate projector bulb. There’s no sitting on the sidelines and waiting it out on this one. Both projectors and flat-panels will live on. Or will they?

Photograph ©Donnie Haulk PROJECTORS

True Story: The Biggest Video Wall in the World of Worship Spaces

“When I sat down with the elders and the leadership [of Asbury United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma], they asked, 'how do we become relevant today?' They wanted to do something very cutting edge. The projectors—five of them, needed to fill a 300-feet-wide by around 30-feet-tall wall, integrate edge blending and pixel mapping technologies, and needed to deliver a dramatic impact. They liked the color, the intensity and the contrast of the Digital Projection Titan Quad 2000. We needed the throw and the brightness. It’s massive. I think it’s the biggest in the country, or in the world; in a worship space.”
—Donnie Haulk, president and CEO of Charlotte, NC-based AE Global Media


Go Big or Go Home

No screen is too massive, and no building is too large—inside or out for Emmy Award-winning manufacturer Digital Projection International’s (DPI) INSIGHT 4K 930 and INSIGHT 4K QUAD lamp-based projectors. Stunning 4K-image quality with true large venue application-enabling brightness. High ambient light situation? No problem. 25,000 lumens of light output will fill a large venue or map 4K images around tall buildings.

But don’t shy away from this big boy in smaller venues where image quality and detail are critical. The INSIGHT 4K 930 and QUAD deliver clear, accurate imagery with intensity.

The INSIGHT 4K combine true 4K (4096 x 2160) resolution with 3-chip DLP imaging performance. Both INSIGHT displays also incorporate DPI’s ColorMax advanced color calibration system to ensure projected content is color-accurate as well as impressively bright.


Photograph courtesy of Enbridge True Story: Failure Is Not an Option

"When we renovated our executive boardroom, we needed a large, high intensity, detailed image for presentations that would allow for 12-point type to be viewed from 40-feet away.

We chose a rear-projection system for two reasons: The main driver was that there was not a 130-inch flat panel available at the time, which is the size we needed to accommodate the room. This simply ruled out the single flat-panel option. We looked at other flat-panel options for this room, but did not want to see bezels from tiled monitors, or lines from micro titles. Plus, we couldn't afford to have one part of the overall display fail.

Secondly we needed a redundant system. As it turns out, the cost of a rear-projection system which included a second projector for redundancy was just about the same, if not a bit less than the largest available flat-panel. Even if there was a large enough flat panel at the time, we still would have needed a redundant option, adding even more to the cost.

We built a rear-projection room, and chose two Christie Digital projectors, with one as a backup."
—Amin Ladha, IT systems analyst at Calgary headquarters of leading energy distribution company Enbridge

True Story: The Converging Wall Space

"Projectors are used when teaching-wall space needs to be shared with white boards or chalk boards. Our faculty are on the leading edge of the adoption curve for interactive (annotative), flat-panel displays. Until adoption of those displays is more accepted, and teaching wall space can be effectively shared, I envision projectors and screens as our display option."
—Jahn Westbrook, technical manager for Classroom Media Services, part of the of the umbrella Campus Media Department at New York University

Big, Bright Images—as Large as 500-inches Diagonal

Whoa! Hold up. Who said the presentation projector was going away? Two newcomers, the 6,200 lumen, HD 1920 x 1200 dpi resolution (WUXGA) RICOH PJ WU6181N Projector, and the 6,700 lumen, 1280 x 800 dpi (WXGA), RICOH PJ WX6181N Projector enable presenters to use PCs, Macs and flash drives to display big, bright and sharp images as large as 500-inches diagonal. And go ahead and project from the most convenient spot, whether it’s two-feet, or 168-feet from the screen; six interchangeable lenses makes this easy and perfect for conference rooms, auditoriums, churches and classrooms.

Now share it! Wired and optional wireless networking enables a presenter to download content to the projector on the fly and present through multiple projectors located around a building or the world. Meeting management apps enable presenters to hand off screen control to audience members from their laptops.

A 16:10 aspect ratio displays movies in original widescreen format with sound from a built-in 10-watt speaker.



True Story: No Longer Washed Out

"We switched from projectors to flat-panel displays in our regular meeting rooms for a couple of reasons: Projectors take a few minutes to warm up, and to cool down. All-in-all this added four or five minutes to a meeting and would delay the next meeting from starting. Flat-panel displays are either 'On,' or 'Off.'

The second reason was that in rooms where we couldn't control ambient light, the projectors were washed out. The image on the flat-panel display is more intense because of the back-lighting, and doesn't get washed out.

We are using Sharp 70-, 80-, and 90-inch flat-panel displays in our meeting rooms based on room size, and viewing distance to the furthest viewer.”
—Amin Ladha, IT systems analyst at Calgary headquarters of leading energy distribution company Enbridge

It Doesn’t Get Any More Sharp

Sharp’s PN-H701 display offers 4K Ultra HD resolution (3,840 x 2,160), showcasing detailed text and breathtaking high-resolution content. The 70-inch Class display, with ultra-slim aluminum bezel, was designed and engineered for 24/7 operation in professional and commercial installations. Measuring just 9mm (top/right/left), it is the narrowest, thinnest, and lightest display in its class, allowing for simple installation and maintenance. Designed for both portrait and landscape formats, as well as up to 20-degree upward and downward tilt, this high-impact professional display is ideal for a multitude of environments, including command and control, museum and entertainment, as well as unified communications and collaboration. Comes equipped with built-in upscaling capability, allowing full HD (1080p) signals to be easily upscaled to 4K Ultra HD images. In addition, the PN-H701 features a built-in USB and internal memory media player, allowing playback of informational content without the need of a PC. Because of its unique capabilities, it can support businesses of all sizes and with a variety of needs.


True Story: The Need for Intimacy & Detail

"We only use flat-panel monitors in small, collaborative spaces, as it brings an intimacy to the group and the project.”
—Jahn Westbrook, technical manager for Classroom Media Services, part of the of the umbrella Campus Media Department at New York University


If you’ve had your eye on an OLED display for your home, but haven’t made the plunge yet; now’s the time to put it into the budget for your company or school production department. The Sony BVM-X300 30-inch 4K OLED master monitor, is the flagship model in its professional monitor line-up. This monitor offers the inherent performance of TRIMASTER EL OLED monitors, including unparalleled black performance, color reproduction, quick pixel response, and wide viewing angles. In addition, the BVM-X300 supports High Dynamic Range mode and a wide color gamut conforming to DCI-P3 and most of the ITU-R BT.2020 Recommendation. This master monitor makes an ideal tool for a wide range of applications such as color grading and QC (quality control) in the 4K-production workflow. You’ll be staying late at the office because you won’t want to take your eyes off it!


True Story: Let There Be Light and Color…and a Stunning Image

In the past, projectors were the only viable option when displaying large images for presentations in conference rooms, boardrooms and multipurpose rooms etc. Now, large flat screens (65-, 75-, 85-, 98- and 105-inch) are available and fairly inexpensive. By using a flat screen, we no longer have to darken a room or deal with an abundant amount of ambient light in a room. We don’t have to deal with changing lamps or other maintenance, as flat screens typically run maintenance free for years. Because the displays are typically mounted on the wall or from the ceiling, when adding peripherals like video conferencing cameras, it’s easier and more appealing to affix the camera to the display. Infrastructure is easier since there is only one location for blocking and mounting as opposed to projection which required blocking and cabling to the projector, and electric and structural mounting to the projection screen location if motorized.

Now, projectors won’t go away, especially with the advent of hybrid and laser phosphor projectors and better projection screen materials which deal with the ambient light issue better, producing better images. Where required we can still get large projection screens in places where flat screens are just not big enough yet…the key word is “yet.”
—Stephen Keppler, CTS, vice president, senior sales executive, New Jersey, McCann Systems


You Won’t Be Able to Keep Your Hands Off It

More than stunning, Planar’s UltraRes Series, 4K LCD line of 75-, 84- and 98-inch LCD displays deliver the ultimate Ultra UHD experience with support for native 4K resolution at up to 60Hz that can be driven via single-cable HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.2, enabling smooth motion video and mouse tracking. It is also compliant with the HDCP 2.2 hardware encryption specification for compatibility with future 4K sources.

This Multiple sources can be viewed in dual, triple, quad or picture-in-picture (PiP) layouts through the integrated Planar MediaPlex Plus Processing. Images can be precisely controlled and adjusted, and content can be scaled up and down within any layout. In addition, users can save, recall and schedule preset configurations.

But really, you’re going to want to touch it. Planar UltraRes Touch displays support up to 32 simultaneous touch points. The in-bezel touch technology offers a sleeker installation, sunlight rejection, and greater accuracy.

Play all you want. Multi-source viewing management from mobile devices with Planar’s UltraRes App for iOS and Android enables simplified on-the-fly switching of layouts and sources from a phone or tablet. It is available for free download from the Apple App Store or Google Play.


Cindy Davis
Brand and content director of AV Technology

Cindy Davis is the brand and content director of AV Technology (AVT). She was a critical member of the AVT editorial team when the title won the “Best Media Brand” laurel in the 2018 SIIA Jesse H. Neal Awards. Davis moderates several monthly AV/IT roundtables and enjoys facilitating and engaging in deeper conversations about the complex topics shaping the ever-evolving AV/IT industry. She explores the ethos of collaboration, hybrid workplaces, experiential spaces, and artificial intelligence to share with readers. Previously, she developed the TechDecisions brand of content sites for EH Publishing, named one of the “10 Great Business Media Websites” by B2B Media Business magazine. For more than 25 years, Davis has developed and delivered multiplatform content for AV/IT B2B and consumer electronics B2C publications, associations, and companies. A lifelong New Englander, Davis makes time for coastal hikes with her husband, Gary, and their Vizsla rescue, Dixie, sailing on one of Gloucester’s great schooners and sampling local IPAs. Connect with her on LinkedIn