TV’s are the New Projectors


The evolution of display technology has come a long way in the last fifty years. What started as slate chalkboards on a classroom wall and slowly progressed to whiteboard with markers has taken yet another turn.

We thought, with the move to ceiling-mounted projectors that we had found a way to finally have the vivid display we always wanted. And, for a time, they served that purpose. They are able to project large images with good resolution. But they have a number of drawbacks:

1. The are expensive- high resolution projectors are nearly a thousand dollars.

2. They have filters that clog with dust and require cleaning.

3. They have very expensive bulbs with limited life spans.

4. They have expensive and elaborate mounts.

5. They are slow to respond to a change in video input.

6. They don’t produce enough light to produce a good image in a bright classroom.

There is a new choice now, and it’s a choice that we are excited about. That choice is LED TV’s.

The standard projection size of a short-throw ceiling mounted projector is somewhere between 70” and 80”. In our testing, displays smaller than 65” are not adequate for viewing from all parts of a classroom. Right now, the combined price of a HD projector, the mount, and the replacement bulbs is nearly the same as the price of an equivalently priced LED TV. The advantages to the TV are many:

1. Lifetime- most LED TV’s are rated to about 100,000 hours of use.

2. Inexpensive mounts.

3. Bright and vivid displays are better suited to fighting classroom light glare.

4. They switch between sources much quicker than projectors.

5. No moving parts to make noise or wear out.

Ideally, we’d have the largest screens available- but there are, sadly, budget constraints to be considered. Right now the price curve for TV’s is pretty flat, until you start to approach the 60-65” range. From there up, the prices rise in a roughly exponential fashion. The jump from 65” to 70” is relatively small, while the jump from 70” to 75” is fairly large. That curve has been steadily drifting upwards, so we hope that as we begin to slowly retire older tech, we will be able to install suitably sized displays in classrooms.

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    1. We are currently still in the testing phase for the large HDTVs – we have purchased several products from various companies and sales vendors. We will update the information on our blog once we finalize a more specific deployment model.

  1. How has the transition from Smart Boards and projectors to LED TV’s been? Are there grants out there to help ease the cost of the LED TV’s?

    1. We still have interactive whiteboards in elementary classrooms and some high school classrooms. Our transition to LED Tvs is just getting underway. However, we have many teachers using AppleTVs or AirServer with 1:1 classroom iPads instead of the interactive boards. The use of mirroring applications has been one of the most popular edtech initiatives during our 1:1 program. This will provide a perfect transition completely away from the boards. I’m honestly not sure about national grant programs but we always suggest looking at local businesses, vendors, and parent organizations for support with these kids of programs.

  2. Do you just need a tablet or I-pad and AirSever to interact with a LED Tv or do you also need a desktop/laptop computer and a tablet/I-pad and AirServer to interact with a LED Tv.

    1. The mirroring of an iPad to an LED TV requires AirServer to be installed on a laptop or desktop. The computer must be on the same wifi network as the iPad for the connection to work. The laptop or desktop is connected to the LED TV via HDMI or VGA and the devices distribute audio and video through over the wifi network.

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