How Do I Use an LCD Projector?

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Liquid-crystal display projectors have been around since the late1980s, and Epson, Sony, Panasonic and other major manufacturers are still using the technology today. Small, light and feature-rich, LCD technology is compatible with most media sources, including laptops, Blu-ray and DVD players, game consoles, satellite and cable. An LCD projector enhances a business conference room, school classroom or personal home theater. Take time to learn about the projector and its capabilities before your presentation.

Basic Set Up

Setting up your projector should be simple. Most models use a plug-and-play approach with connection ports located on the back of the projector that are clearly identified as to their use -- "USB" and "HDMI," for example. These connections are sometimes color-coded to make the connections easier to find. Business presentations typically use a laptop as the media source, so in this case, you connect the appropriate USB or VGA cable from your laptop to the projector. If you connect from a Blu-ray player, use an HDMI cable to view the HD content being sent to the projector. Some LCD projectors use wireless technology that automatically syncs to the media source. After the projector is successfully connected, position it at the correct distance from the screen so the projected image adequately fills the screen. This may take physically moving the projector around a bit. Keep the projector image centered on the middle of the screen and use the zoom feature to sharpen any blurry images. Practice using the remote control and have replacement batteries nearby.

Key Features

Review the owner’s manual and any other supporting documents to learn about the features available in your projector. LCD projectors have remained popular because they offer a compact design that provides bright images and accurate colors. The projector uses three liquid crystal panels that work together in unison. Although each panel projects either blue, green or red separately, it is the convergence of the three colors that creates the vivid images. This technology has proven over time to provide high-quality images in a consistent, reliable and cost-effective manner.

Impact and Preparation

The projected images from an LCD projector to a large screen can be compelling for any audience. Whether in a small conference room, a personal home theater or a large auditorium, a projector adds a dimension that cannot be easily replaced. From a presentation standpoint, be creative. Develop lesson plans and presentations that take advantage of the projector's huge visual impact on the audience. Practice moving through your presentation with ease, displaying information for the audience so you control what they see and hear. Operationally, practice using the projector and understand how it operates. Things do not always go according to plan. Lamps burn out. Batteries stop working. Laptops act up. It is important to be confident and well practiced in dealing with all possibilities. This means you should know how to change a bulb in a few minutes and know where to look and what to do when unexpected things happen. When something unexpected happens, you don't want to get off track and look and feel uncomfortable.

Additional Challenges

Not all LCD projectors have built-in speakers or audio ports. If you need audio for a presentation, check your projector to see how audio is handled. Some projectors have small built-in speakers that are designed for business presentations. Otherwise, use the audio connections on the media source that is sending the video images. Business presentations generally use a 4:3 aspect ratio while home theater movies use a 16:9 aspect ratio. If the projector you are using displays only one ratio, you can still view the other aspect ratio on the screen, but you will see black bars that compensate for the dimension difference. When viewing a 16:9 movie on a 4:3 screen, black bars appear at the top and bottom of the screen. Some LCD projectors offer both aspect ratios built into the product so you avoid this situation.

References

About the Author

Mike Sweeney has been an entrepreneur and writer for more than 25 years. His work ranges from writing articles on business and technology to consulting with Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and small businesses alike. Sweeney holds a Bachelor of Arts in business administration from Loyola University.

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