School Hall Setup

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by andypacey, Jan 22, 2008.

  1. andypacey

    andypacey
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    Hi All,

    I am the IT Manager of a school in Lincolnshire. We are having our school hall kitted out with a new projector, DVD player and surround sound system. Main use will be simply for presentations, however Hall is also to be used for Media Studies (showing DVDs to pupils and exams). I've approached a supplier we have used before for installation of projectors and whiteboards into our classrooms, and this is what they suggest.


    Sanyo PLC XT20 Projector £1595
    4 x 3m Electronic Screen £845
    Protective Projector Cage £148
    Projector Installation Kit £195
    Projector Installation £295
    Screen Installation £148
    Electrical supply for projector and screen £184
    Onkyo TX-SR505E Receiver £215
    JBL Control Pro Speakers (4 pairs) £380
    Wharfdale SW150W Subwoofer (x2) £396
    Installation of audio system and setup £295
    Double electrical socket added to existing circuit £96
    Onkyo DVSP-404 DVD Player £99

    So the overall setup will be a Sanyo PLC XT20 projector, 4 x 3m electrically operated screen, wall panel with inputs for VGA and DVI, HD DVD Player, AV receiver and 7.1 surround sound consisting of 8 speakers (two front and one each for LF,LR,LM,LR,LR,RR) and two subs. Now this is quite a large hall, estimating 20m long, 10m wide and 5m tall. I don't expect the quality to be cinema quality, but it needs to be impressive (to the staff and students, not the audiophile!).

    As I understand it, the DVD player will connect to the AV receiver via HDMI. The AV receiver will connect to the wall socket via a HDMI -> DVI converter cable (so we have the ability to connect a DVI source at the wall). There will also be a VGA cable running between the projector and wall socket to hook up a laptop using the VGA port. The AV receiver will connect to the projector using a HDMI->DVI converter cable.

    This is where I get a little confused. The projector is 1024x768. What will happen when we play a DVD through the projector with this setup? Will it work?

    Any opinions and comments on the whole setup are very welcome. Total cost is roughly £5k - I think this is a pretty good price as long as it works, sounds good and looks good! What does everyone else think?

    Hall has blackout blinds and with these down is pretty much pitch black.

    Thanks,
    Andy.
     
  2. Tony Hoyle

    Tony Hoyle
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    Do you have a lot of choice? Last I heard schools had to use certain suppliers (hence the prolifieration of Research Machines PCs everywhere) - unless that's changed since I last looked at it.

    It looks like a reasonable selection, and going to a single vendor at least gives you someone to shout at if it doesn't work... however there's a lot of installation fees in there, all separated. When you add them up it comes to a fair chunk of the total.

    I'd question £96 for a double socket...

    Also it's likely any laptop has DVI and if you can get that ran to the laptop it's better - vga kinda dies over long distances, producing a very washed out picture.

    If you were going to be mainly watching films in the dark I'd suggest a proper cinema projector rather than a data projector, but for the average presentation you're going to have lots of ambient light and 1024x768 is better for the laptop anyway... so that PJ is OK.

    DVD will play fine I'd expect.. how good it looks depends on the scaling in the projector/DVD and what it does with it. It won't exactly look like hidef but then I guess it doesn't really need to.
     
  3. andypacey

    andypacey
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    Thanks for your reply.

    As a school, we are free to use any supplier we like! I think that is the case with most schools. Although primary schools are often 'forced' down a particular supplier route as they don't normally employ a techie and the people who manage their networks (often an LEA body, e.g. in Lincs it is NetLinc/Ramesys) make it too expensive to use anybody else. For example, a local primary school I know were donated a brand new laptop by a parent - because it wasn't a model Ramesys had seen before (and therefore did not have an image to bung on to it), they were quoting over £300 to build an image and set it up. Now I know from setting up machines myself that installing a fresh copy of windows with all associated drivers, configuring for school use (especially if you have detailed install procedures), and then subsequently creating a Ghost image takes a couple of hours tops! £150 an hour? Ludicrous!

    Anyway - back on topic - thanks for your opinions. What I'm struggling to understand is what resolution the projected image would be, if we were playing a DVD from the Onyo DVD player. I believe it upscales to HD, but for the sake of argument, lets say we are playing a HD DVD, and the DVD player was set to either 740p or 1080i. The projector is HDCP compliant, but it's native resolutions are 4:3, not 16:9. Is it likely the projector would downscale the HD source so that it plays widescreen inside a 4:3 boundary, letterbox style? So in essence, it'd be a HD image but scaled down?

    What is it that makes a HD-ready projector different - simply the 16:9 ratio instead of 4:3?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Andy.
     
  4. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965
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    As far as I can tell that DVD player can't play HD DVD discs. If the DVD player outputs upscaled to 720p or 1080i/p then the PJ will just downscale the signal to fit the native resolution. (Assuming it has HDMI as you implied above). If you intend showing HD DVDs, you might as well get the Toshiba EP30 that is on a £120 deal with 7 free discs (until the end if the month apparently) as it also plays DVDs.


    It is the resolution; minimum spec is 1078 x 720 as some HD plasmas, most 'HD ready' PJs would be 1280 x 720 and 'Full HD' would be 1920 x 1080. All those resolutions must be 16:9 format (1078 x 720 plasmas use rectangular pixels to stretch the image wider). Also to comply they need to have a HDCP enabled HDMI connector and I beleive they should also have component input as well.

    Might be worth looking at the Panasonic AX200 (cheaper than the quoted PJ also) as a 1280 x 720 PJ with a reportedly bright light output. You'd have to get a 16:9 screen too, but PC stuff should look OK on that (does on my PJ anyway).Probably worth avoiding DLP as there is likely to be some children/teachers that might be effected by the 'rainbow effect' caused by the spiining colour wheel especially on cheaper PJs.

    I wish my school had used such a setup...but VHS had barely come out back then.:D
     
  5. Tony Hoyle

    Tony Hoyle
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    Data projectors are normally 4:3 and computer resolutions. They're designed to work reasonably where there's ambient light, as in an office.

    Cinema projectors are normally 16:9 and use HD resolutions (720p or 1080p). They have much higher contrast and a far better picture, but require near or total darkness.

    It's likely the projector you have will scale a 16:9 image to fit inside the 4:3 frame. That'll give you a height of 2/3 of the 4:3 height, which is (coincidentally) 576p - exactly PAL SD resolution (vertically, anyway). Given that's what you end up with you probably don't want the DVD player scaling - have it send a native 576p image directly to the projector.

    There's no HD DVD player in your list* but any output from that would get scaled too (to 576p) so you're not really gaining anything and there would seem to be little point.


    * And if you're thinking of buying I'd hold off. The prevailing opinion is HD DVD is in its death throes and won't last the year, but Bluray is still too expensive for what you get. Wait 6 months for the dust to settle first.
     
  6. Pecker

    Pecker
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    Just a quick point here. They're charging you £99 for the Onkyo which only plays DVDs.

    You can buy a Toshiba HD-EP30 HD DVD player from Amazon for £120:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Toshiba-HD-...?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1201084893&sr=1-12

    You get 7 (YES, SEVEN!) free HD DVDs with it.

    The important point to make is that, even if HD DVD does 'die', it's still a great DVD player (arguable better than the Onkyo). So it's not like you'll be left with a useless player.

    You can also buy a Sharp Blu-ray player for £230:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sharp-BD-HP...2?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1201085000&sr=1-2

    With a total original budget of £5,000 you're only going up to £5,250 and you have both future high def bases covered.

    Speaking as a teacher myself I can only YOU JAMMY SOD! How did you get the budeget for this?

    By the way, your biggest problem may beusing 'home cinema' equipment in a room far larger than most homes. I wonder in particular if a standard home cinema sub will struggle to cope with the extra air it needs to shift.

    Has anyone else had experience in this area?

    Whatever, let us know how you get on.

    Steve W
     
  7. davidfs

    davidfs
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    I'm only looking at projector and screen to be integrated with our existing sound system.

    School hall is about 20 x 12 metres and 5 metres high.

    The questions I have are:

    What brightness should we go for?
    What size screen and what ratio?
    What happens when we connect a wxga laptop to an XGA projector?
    Should we opt for horizontal and vertical lens shift?

    Who are the good educational suppliers?

    All help and advice gratefully received

    Many thanks

    David S
     
  8. binbag

    binbag
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    Before everyone gets all excited about what they'd buy if they had £5k to spend lets ask a few more questions so we can qualify which is the better choice:

    How big is the Hall?
    How high is the ceiling?
    How secure is the building?
    How far forward/back/left/right will the kids be sat?
    Where will the source be located in relation to the PJ?
    How many hours a week / times a day do you forecast it will be used?
    What will be the percentage usage of presentations against movies etc?
    Is support/repair important and is it in the budget?

    Don't get too hung up on the specification sheets of the kit. Ease of use will be far more important than resolution to the end users. Use some of your budget to go and see what you intend to buy in use and talk to the installers in the room that the PJ is to go into. Use their experience - you'll be paying enough for it.
     
  9. Isco 3

    Isco 3
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    Binbag is right.

    Making the system user friendly is the key. We are doing a school at the moment, and the reception would turn all TV's on and off, and be able to select source, etc.

    We will install 3 7" touchpanels, so they can preview all material, and not have to walk 300 feet away to see what is actually playing on those TV's, for every zone.

    Anybody at the reception will be able to use it. That's the main priority.
     

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