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Using Projectors or Large Screen TVs

What are the benefits?

You can run an effective sales session using TimeExposure's ProSelect software on a computer with a desktop monitor or even a laptop thanks toProSelect's Room View feature.

However, the visual impact of displaying your client's images on a large screen is a proven way to increase your sales. This also allows you to take advantage of ProSelect's Select Size view which enables you to project your prints and layouts (collages) at actual size and instantly compare different sizes. No more zooming your projector in and out, or holding up different size canvases to show size.

ProSelect can very simply be calibrated to the size screen you have on the wall. It takes just minutes and you’ll never have to do it again.

The following advice about what to look for when choosing a Projector or Big Screen TV was kindly provided by Tom Newman at

Should I use a Projector or Big Screen TV?

Good question! The photography community is quite divided on this – some swear that projection is better while others claim that a big screen TV works better for them. Some important factors to consider...

Do you like to display large prints, like 30”x 40” or occasionally even bigger?

With a projector the display area is much larger, especially when it comes to height (see How Big Do You Need To Go section below).

Can you control the lighting in your sales area?

Big screen TVs such as Plasma, LCD, LED TV’s are generally better in bright environments. However the gap has narrowing quite a bit recently as newer projectors with 3500 lumens or more are now more affordable now and work well in well-lit rooms.

How much do you want to spend?

The difference is getting smaller, but projectors are generally less expensive especially compared to the very large HDTVs.

Is your viewing room big enough?

This is not really a big concern anymore, as most small rooms will accommodate a flat screen TV on the wall, or a Projector with a screen on the wall. Since most all projectors now come with a short throw lens, which means they can be as close as 5’ (1.3m) away from the screen or wall, or 9'-11' (1.7m-2.8m) back if you have a bigger room. As long as your room is no smaller than 8’ x 8’ (2.1m x 2.1m) you can do either!

Do you need portability?

Obviously Projectors have quite the advantage here, most good photography projectors are between 7-10 lbs (3-4.5 kg), which makes them easy to transport or to send in for service or repair! Another huge advantage for projectors is that you have the option to take a projector and screnn and do the sale at a client's house. Some wedding photographers will also take their projector to their clients wedding reception and run a slide show of the just completed wedding.

How big do you need to go?

A common large print size that photographers sell is 30” x 40” while some studios are selling prints up to 60”x40” in size.

To buy a big screen TV that has a large enough screen to display an image that is 40” tall, you need a very large TV. Since there are no more 4:3 ratio TV’s sold anymore, you would generally end up purchasing a high definition TV which has an aspect ratio of 16:9. However to show a 40” high image on one of these TV’s would require a 82” (210cm) diagonal sized unit which are still very expensive and very big!

Using a 4:3 ratio XGA resolution business projector with a screen that is 60” (1.5m) wide and approximately 46” (1.17m) tall, you can easily show a 30” x 40” portrait or landscape oriented images without spilling outside the borders of the screen, as well as a 60” x 40” landscape image.

Using a 16:9 ratio WXGA resolution BUSINESS PROJECTOR you will need a screen that is 80” (203cm) wide by 45” (114cm) tall, being almost 7' (2.1m) wide some photographers feel this size screen can look a little too large depending on the size of their sales room and can be a little intimidating to their clients.

As many photographers who project their images will attest to, even if you don’t think you will sell a lot of 30” x 40” or 60” x 40” prints. If you present them at that size they will often buy the next size down so always START BIG!

Choosing a Projector

Minimum requirements for a projector

Native resolution Minimum of XGA (1024x768) or SXGA (1400x1050) or WXGA (1280x800)
Lumens (light output) At least 3000 lumens depending on the size of the room and the ability to control sunlight
Contrast ratio At least 2000 to 1 in a LCD projector or 3000 to 1 in a DLP
Keystone correction Your projector must have vertical keystone ability to square up the projected image if your projector is tilted down or up due to installation location. Even better if it has both vertical and horizontal keystone ability.
Lens shift Not a must, but a great feature that allows you to shift the lens vertically which makes installation and placement much easier.
Aspect ratio control Your projector must have the ability to be adjusted to display a square image exactly square. This is usually as simple as having height and/or width adjustment controls. If not, you may find your clients looking too short or too tall.
Color correction The more color correction features that the projector has in its
menus the better. For example, most good projectors have RGB modes which allow you more color correction tools.
FAN noise Obviously you don’t want a Projector with a noisy fan 40db or less is good, 35db or less is great!
Connectivity You must have at least one RGB (15 PIN) input on your projector, and preferably one HDMI input. If you want to hook up two computers, you will need either two RGB inputs or one RGB input and one HDMI input. If your older computer has a DVI output, it can be converted to RGB or HDMI with an adaptor. If you have a Mac with a mini display port, it can be converted to RGB or HDMI with separately sold adaptors from Apple.
Warranty Any good projector should come with a least a 2 or 3 year warranty or even better.
Don't make these mistakes!

There are two common (and bad!) mistakes photographers often make when choosing a projector:

  1. They buy a home theatre projector instead of business data projector. Although home theater projectors are great for watching blu-ray DVDs or watching HD TV from a HD Sattelite or Cable box, they generally have less than 2000 lumens, in fact most have about 1000 to 1600 lumens, and are made for very dark home theater style rooms.

    They also are built to excel in the delivery of video content as opposed to computer imaging. They also are always 16:9 aspect ratio , which means you will need the large 80” wide screen which may be a bit much for your sales room.

    Also the native resolutions of many of these projectors may be at odds with your computer resolutions. (for example, your computer's native resolution might be 1280 x 800, but the home theater projector native resolution might be 1920 x 1080). Unfortunately most manufacturers don’t advertise their business projectors separately from their home theater projectors and this can make it confusing. Not to say that you can’t have widscreen projector if you so choose, however you will be better off with a widescreen data projector or 4:3 ratio projector as opposed to a home theater projector.

  2. Many Photographers make the mistake of buying a SVGA (800x600) resolution projector. Although these projectors have very low and attractive prices, they aren't compatible with most photography presentation software (including ProSelect). Not to mention low resolution looks poor at best.
Should I buy a 4:3 ratio XGA or a 16:9 ratio WXGA Projector?

This can be a tricky question, there are both advantages and disadvantages to both:

  1. A 4:3 ratio XGA (1024 x 768) resolution projector continues to be a popular choice specifically for photographers. This non wide screen format is High Definition, and will give you a taller projecting area, which allows you to use a 60” (152cm)wide screen that won’t look to imposing on your wall. At 60” (152cm) wide and 46” (117cm) tall this seems to be the perfect size screen for most sales rooms.

    Even though your desktop computer or laptop may be widescreen, you can usually configure your computer to output the correct 4:3 resolution to the projector while keeping your computer screen on the wide setting. There also some 4:3 ratio projectors with SXGA resolution (1400 x1050), which offer even better resolution. The only disadvantage of the 4:3 ratio projector is that they are not the same widescreen 16:9 as your computer, however they will give you just as good picture quality on a taller screen and many photographers shoot on a 2:3 ratio or similar which lends itself to be a taller image.

    NOTE: You can also use ProSelect's Mirror Display Area mode to just display the images on your projector screen while your computer screen shows all of the "operator controls". In this case, ProSelect will use the maximum display space on both screens. See the section "Using Two Screens" in the ProSelect Reference Manual for more information about this feature.

  2. A 16:9 ratio WXGA (1280 x 800) resolution projector can also be used by photographers. This is also a High Definition wide screen format and will give you a much wider footprint on the wall. It also has the same aspect ratio of most computers. However you will need a screen that is at least 80” (203cm) wide or more, which may not be ideal for your sales room.

    Some people believe that since the resolution is a little higher with this format, that you gain overall resolution, however since many times your displaying 30” x 40" image in the middle of the very wide screen, you actually not are able to take advantage of the extra screen area and, in fact, can end up with less usable resolution that a 4:3 ratio screen.
Should I buy a LCD or DLP projector?

This is another area for healthy debate! In general there are pluses and minuses for both types. LCD and DLP Projectors have been around for years, both have evolved with the times.

In general, LCD projectors have improved and have taken the front place in line with most photographers. LCD projectors seem to have better and more accurate color than their DLP counterparts. Although LCD projectors in the past suffered from a screen door effect, most newer models in the last 4-5 years have solved that problem and now offer a sharp natural color picture.

DLP projectors do usually have better contrast ratios, however newer LCD models have great contrast as well. Some DLP Projectors still suffer from the rainbow effect, however only some people can see this effect and it has become pretty rare, and usually only with moving action on a home theater DLP projector.

Choosing a Big Screen TV

Below are the recommended minimum requirements for a big screen TV for sales with ProSelect:

Native resolution should be a minimum 720p or better 1080p
Aspect ratio Should be a 16:9 ratio High Defination TV
TV Type Either LCD or LED will be best. You can also use a plasma, however LCD and LED versions are generally more suited for computer images.
Size of TV This TV should be as large as possible at least 67” (170cm) diagonal or bigger. If you want to display a 30”x40" vertical image, the TV will need to be 82” (208cm) diagonal or bigger.
Connectivity The TV should have a RGB Computer input (15 pin), or HDMI input, in case your newer computer has an HDMI output, which is starting to be more common.
Where can I get more information?