Great things can happen when technology and education are combined effectively. Ever since the old days of school overhead projectors (OHPs) and their manual focus adjustments, the school hall projector has been an educational pillar for schools and teachers.
Today, as many different multimedia sources are shared with students, projectors play an increasingly important role at schools across the UK. Offering students a shared platform for viewing large-scale and captivating visuals, they are a great way to improve engagement and information absorption, as well as for communicating messages during school assemblies.
With so many different models on the market these days, however, it can be hard to choose the right projector for your school hall, classrooms or event spaces.
To help you out, we’ve outlined the most important factors you will need to think about when buying a school hall projector with some of our top recommendations for 2019.
Remember we’re talking here about your school hall rather than a classroom, so think big!
What makes a great school hall projector?
How big is your hall?
The first major factor to consider is that you will need to match the brightness output of your projector with your screen size, or to look at it differently, the capacity of your projector within the context of the size of your school hall.
It’s no use having a great screen or projection area that spans an entire assembly hall wall unless your projector has the ability to display quality images to this scale!
For this, you’ll need to pay attention to the lumens output of the projector and make sure it can display images to the size you need without comprising on the overall quality of the image.
We’ve written detailed technical guidance on how to select projector brightness and how screen size correlates, and also a bit more context on how ambient light affects the overall image quality here.
Installation is also a major consideration for school hall projectors. Installations are almost never perfectly aligned to the desired image location due to roof height and construction or other school hall components (if it’s a multi-use space) getting in the way. So you must consider the need to shift the lens left and right (horizontal lens shift) or up and down (vertical lens shift), this greater flexibility means you can focus on spending on the projector spec itself rather than the installation. This will also save any costly or time-consuming repositioning if you re-purpose your space later.
It is possible to use digital manipulation of the lens through Keystone correction to achieve your desired results here, which will compress and convert the image. However, this process inevitably leads to deteriorated image-quality.
A projector that allows for a mechanical lens shift will produce the best images for a particular setting, so it’s worth finding a model that can support this.
The same can be said for lens ratio flexibility. Projectors that offer wider ratios will make the school hall projector installation more straightforward, as you can achieve the right image size from a larger variety of distances.
Schools halls are ideally bright and open spaces with tonnes of natural light. While this is great for a learning environment, it can be troublesome for image projection as excess light can cause the images to appear washed out.
Purchasing a projector with a high enough lumens output will save you from difficult-to-see images during those all-important school events. But you could also combine your efforts with some not-too-expensive blackout-curtains and a professional projector screen to remove the effects of ambient lighting altogether.
Our Expert Recommendations
Based on our most important considerations above, we’ve come up with some great school hall projectors that meet a number of budgets and requirements.
Best for Value
The Optoma WU515 is an amazing compromise between price and specification. There aren’t really any projectors that do better when it comes to offering high brightness output, flexible installation features and a low price of £1,855.00 ex VAT.
This comes with 6,000 lumens, 1,920 x 1,200 (WUXGA) resolution, strong 1.8x optical zoom, lens ratio of 1.2-2.16:1 and even a little bit of vertical and horizontal lens shift (20% and 10% respectively)!
Best Replacement XGA
Featuring native XGA resolution (1,024 x 768 pixels, 4:3 aspect ratio), 9,000 lumens and a huge 40% horizontal and vertical lens shift correction, the NEC PA903X is particularly well-suited to large school halls where you’re replacing an existing 4:3 projector (i.e. not widescreen.)
It also comes with HDBaseT compatibility, which means it offers simplified and streamlined connectivity, again perfect for running a single cable up to the installation point especially if you’re replacing an existing projector.
With a great set of features that include 3 years warranty at just £2,621.00 ex VAT, you’ll get some great quality images out of this particular model, especially if your hall is quite bright.
Best for Performance
The Panasonic PT-MZ770EJ laser projector with native High Definition WUXGA resolution (1,920 x 1,200 pixels, 16:10 aspect ratio) is a perfect, future-proof investment model for any school hall. With 8,000 ANSI lumens and vivid, large-screen projection even in bright environments, this is a great choice for any educational setting.
It is more expensive at £6,221.00 ex VAT, but be sure to call us for a better price. You could be in for a bargain!
The consideration here is not just a high resolution and brightness projector for the price (those boxes are ticked) but with Laser projection, you also get a stunning clarity of image and guaranteed longevity compared to a lamp projector.
The laser light source is warrantied for 20,000 hours and with 8000 lumens, lamps can become expensive to replace. School halls tend to be tall and inaccessible for maintenance and lamp replacement, so consider the cost of lamps, engineers and potentially the hire of specialist working-at-height equipment… that price tag seems more than reasonable!
Don’t be put off by the huge range of school hall projectors on the market today. As long as you keep the most important principles in mind, you should be able to find a fantastic unit that will do a great job in your school for years to come.