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Here are a few "real life" questions and scenarios posed by church leaders in regard to projectors to enhance the worship experience.

Q: I need to find a low-cost projector for use in our church sanctuary. What should I look for?
We are a small congregation, just under 100 people, and are currently using an old, dim, and heavy projector. It's so old that the manufacturer no longer makes replacement bulbs for it.

We use the projector primarily for displaying lyrics for hymns during our services. Some of the congregation is older, and has trouble reading smaller text, so it would be best if we could get a larger image.

We do not dim the lights during service, and we have a little bit of light that comes in through windows. We may also use the projector for special events, as well, so if the projector can be moved without too much effort, that would be wonderful.

A: Here is a look at what your top considerations should be.

To start, you should aim for a projector with at least 2500 lumens of brightness to keep your image clear and legible. That should work if your screen is less than 10 feet wide, and your projector is not more than 10 to 20 feet from the screen. If you need a larger image, you'll need more lumens, and you'll probably pay more for your projector.

For displaying lyrics to hymns, particularly with larger text, you may not need a high-resolution projector. An SVGA (800 x 600) projector might do the trick, and generally costs less money. However, if you have an XGA (1024 x 768) resolution computer, an XGA projector will give you a better looking image and is recommended over SVGA.

Ceiling Mounting
If you plan to use your projector for every service, ceiling mounting your projector is your best option. Mounting keeps the projector and cables out of sight and out of the way. That saves wear and tear on your projector and keeps your congregation away from cables that may trip them.

Since you still want the option to move your projector around, consider a ceiling mount with a quick release. That will make for faster, easier removal of your projector. The cables installed can stay in your ceiling, and you can use the cables that came in the box with your projector for your other occasions, so make sure to hang on to them.

Discounts for Religious Institutions
Some manufacturers offer additional discounts to those buying for religious institutions. Call a projector expert to learn more about available discounts.

Q: Our church plans to purchase a projector, but we need to position it back several feet from the screen. Our computer will also be several feet away from the projector. How far can we run cable before the picture looks bad?

A: Signal loss due to distance will vary based on the type of cable you are using. In most cases, the signal loss can be prevented by using some additional hardware. Here's a brief look at what length cables can typically run.

Data Cables
VGA cables can be run up as far as 25 feet from source to projector without losing the signal. If you want to run the cable any farther, it is a good idea to consider purchasing a "distribution amplifier," which will allow you to increase the distance.

Video Cables
S-video, RCA, and Composite cables can also run as far as 25 feet before noticing a signal loss. Unlike a data signal, however, you will notice more subtle issues with the image, much like a TV that is experiencing interference. Data signal loss is more noticeable, as it appears as blocky or pixilated interference. Distribution amplifiers are also available for these cables.

DVI Cables
Whether running data or video, DVI cables will experience significant signal loss after just 6 to 10 feet. Distribution amplifiers are available for DVI cables, but they are only able to boost the signal to around 15 feet.

Q: I want to start using a projector in our church sanctuary to display images and text before, during, and after services. My concern is that if we install a screen (preferably an electric screen), it will obstruct the front of the sanctuary when it is not in use. Is there anything I can do?

A: You are not the first to encounter this problem, and the good news is there is a relatively inexpensive solution for you. Screen manufacturers can add extra screen material (or drop), which allows you to hang your screen closer to the ceiling and out of site when not in use. When in use, the screen will show some extra fabric at the top of the screen, but the message will still appear in the desired location.

This information is courtesy of Projector People, www.projectorpeople.com.

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Religious Product News