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.