How to Choose the Best Display for Your Conference, Part Two

Which Display Solution is best?

When designing a collaborative space, one of the first questions we’re commonly asked is, “what is better for my conference room, an LED display or a projection system?” This is a great question to tackle early in the design as so many factors determine the best choice. While price, lighting, installation options and total cost of ownership (TCO) need to be considered, the answer depends first, on the project’s goals and secondly, on the calculated proper screen size. Technology does not drive the best solution but instead, the use and goals will drive the technology. Think of it this way -Imagine buying a new delivery truck. Would you base the purchase on cost, gas mileage and color alone, or would you also need to factor in the payload weight and size as well? Once the size is determined and the client and AV Designer have a clear understanding of the goals to be achieved, the type of display best suited for the application can be revealed.  Let’s explore each.

Projection Technologies – DLP/LCD/LASER

Technologies in projection systems include three main types: traditional HID (high-intensity discharge lamps) DLP projectors, LCD projectors and laser phosphorous projectors.  Relatively new to the market, laser projectors are quickly gaining momentum in the industry due to their extraordinary picture quality, long lamp life and energy savings.  For example, a laser projector can run 20,000 hours before displaying a noticeable degradation of light output, whereas a DLP unit’s degradation may be detected as early as 1500 hours. A DLP’s HID lamp is usually changed every 2,000 to 3,000 hours so, despite the added initial cost of laser (approximately 30% over that of HID), it yields a lower TCO. LED lighted technology is still available, but its lower lumens are more appropriate for home theater than a bright office environment.

Flat Screens – Plasma, LED, OLED/QLED

The main “Flat Panel” or “Flat Screen” display technologies are Plasma, LED, and OLED (organic light-emitting diode), with the most common and widely accepted technology being the “LED LCD” display. Plasma has shifted to a consumer “niche” market by video purists who believe it provides the truest contrast and color saturation, but it’s no longer used in commercial applications. With the quick adoption of 4K, we suspect plasma to quickly go the way of the 8-track.

OLED, originally created in 1987 by researchers at Eastman Kodak, is the latest technology to sweep market and is destined to become the next standard.  It may not hold the title long however, as manufacturers are already looking at direct view micro-LED technology as the next “big thing.” LED Direct View technology is also on the rise. Originally releagated to massive applications like Times Square and stadium scoreboards, manufacturers are now able to provide smaller pixel pitch panels that allow for finer and more exact picture quality.  Ideal for close up viewing, these can be found in digital signage applications, auditoriums and Emergency Operations Centers/Network Operations Centers (EOC/NOCs). LED Direct view can also be found in larger boardrooms and training spaces affected by excessive, uncontrolled ambient light. As the price continues to settle and the pixel pitch technology becomes smaller (Micro-LED), we will see more direct view in board rooms and smaller spaces.

As shared in Part One, there are for best practices determining the proper viewing screen size in a conference room. Those formulas and guidelines apply to 4K displays/projection screens as well but, with the incredible resolution of a 4K display or projector, keep in mind that 4 times the amount of pixels will be displayed (imagine duplicating that screen into a 2x2 grid on the viewing surface). How does this affect the image being displayed? While the resolution is incredibly true and sharp, font size and detailed content such as spreadsheets, will need to be enlarged for effective viewing.

So, what is better for your conference room, an LED display or a projection system? Just give us a call. We’ll help “measure up” your choices and design the best solution for your needs.