If you have a teacher in your family or among your friends, then as we approach back-to-school you’re probably thinking about teacher gifts and gift ideas. Whether they’re heading back to grade school, high school, community college, college, or university, they all have one thing in common; they need help in fulfilling their education mission.
Teacher gifts can make up for deficiencies in our education system where teaching tools are either outdated or non-existent. Some of the most used teacher gifts are multimedia-related. Technology changes so fast and schools aren’t able to keep up with all the newest high-tech gadgets.
Video projectors make a great gift. Be sure and see our other video projector article Cheap Projectors: 5 Top Rated WXGA Projectors Under $400.
One of the most important capabilities for teachers these days is the ability to project what they’re talking about on a screen in the classroom. If a projector of some kind is even available, it may be shared among classrooms and have to be scheduled to be used.
Projectors that are provided by schools are usually outdated or even inoperable and may not interface well with the computer the teacher is using to generate images.
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That’s where you come in. The prices of video projectors have come down to the point it is possible to provide video projector teacher gifts at a fraction of what they once cost for more capability than ever before.
A personal projector is a great gift idea and gives your teacher the ultimate flexibility to support their lesson plans with high-quality video and computer imaging that can make the difference between attentive students who are learning and a bored classroom that is not.
So what kind of projector should you get? Most projectors can be separated into categories based on the resolution that they project. As you might expect, the lower the resolution, the lower the cost. We recommend that you resist the urge to go with the cheapest projector you can find in favor of spending a little more and getting at least an XGA resolution projector. This will prevent the projector from being outdated shortly after you buy it and provide the most flexibility for your teacher.
So what do all the resolution possibilities mean and which resolution projector should you buy for your teacher?
First resolution simply means the number of pixels of video displayed on the projection screen or wall. More pixels means better picture quality. Projectors project one resolution so they are identified by that resolution such as 1024 x 768 or 1920 x 1080 pixels. If you send a higher resolution signal to a projector, it will always project at its lower, fixed resolution. Here are the common projector resolutions designations along with their pixels of resolution.
- XGA = 1024 x 768 pixels
- WXGA = 1280 x 800 pixels (Best for displaying data such as your teacher will want to display in the classroom while providing excellent video display as well.)
- HD = 1920 x 1080 pixels
- 4K = 4096 x 2160 pixels
WXGA resolution or 1280 x 800 pixels is the sweet spot right now for price/performance. It is also an excellent resolution for the classroom because it handles both video and data well.
Okay, so we know the resolution we want. What other characteristics are desirable in a classroom projector?
Aspect ratio is the ratio of width to height of the projected image. These days we are more used to a 16:9 aspect ratio because we watch movies and TV shows in HD, but that ratio may not be the best for your teacher’s classroom. A 4:3 ratio provides a squarer image and may be a better choice for the content your teacher wants to project now or in the future. If the gift isn’t a surprise, you should work with your teacher to find out what makes the most sense.
Picture brightness is measured in ANSI standard lumens. Depending on the light level in the classroom and the size of the projection screen, brightness may be a very important specification for your teacher’s projector. If the classroom is bright with the lights out and the screen is large, you will want to choose higher lumens. For the average classroom, 3000-3500 lumens should be sufficient. If your teacher wants to take their projector home and project on a larger screen, you may want to choose a projector with higher lumens.
You can’t really compare lumens without also comparing contrast ratio. Contrast ratio measures the ratio of the brightest part of the screen to its darkest part and the higher the contrast ratio, the sharper the picture. Given two projectors with the same lumens, the one with the higher contrast ratio will display the better picture. It’s not uncommon to see 15,000:1 contrast ratios in even lower cost projectors. Get the highest contrast ratio you can afford for the given lumens.
That is a brief overview of the key specifications to look for in a projector, but of course there are many others, not the least of which is inputs. Since a teacher may not have total control over the inputs available, you should buy a projector with several inputs to provide maximum flexibility. For instance, the projector you buy should have at least 1 – HDMI port, 1 – VGA port, a composite video connection, and an S-Video connection. Output isn’t as critical, but it would be nice to have a VGA out port to connect the projector and display on a PC.
We researched available projectors using rating sites, forums, retail sites, and customer review sites to find the best combination of performance and value. We think we found a great one that your teacher will absolutely love.
Take a look at the projector we chose and see if it’s one of the perfect gifts for teachers and in particular your teacher!
Teacher Gifts: Best Back-to-School Video Projector Value
The ViewSonic LightStream PJD555W WXGA DLP Projector is directly in the sweet spot for projector price/performance and will make the perfect gift for any teacher at any level of education. With native WXGA 1200×800 resolution, easy-to-use layout, ViewSonic SuperColor technology, and enhanced sound quality, it has the features and capability to give your teacher a powerful tool to enhance their teaching style. This ViewSonic model has plenty of ports, energy saving features, outstanding brightness and contrast ratio, and is even 3D Blu-ray ready. Here’s what you read to know.
- WXGA 1280×800 native resolution, 3300 lumens, 20,000:1 contrast ratio, 4:3 native aspect ratio, DLP projector
- ViewSonic SuperColor technology, including a 6-segment color wheel, provides true-to-life, more realistic image projection thanks to a wider color range
- Sound enhancement technology with an enlarged speaker chamber, a more powerful amplifier, and dual 2W speakers projects high quality 20Hz – 20Khz sound through its built-in speaker
- DynamicEco feature can reduce power usage by up to 70% and extend lamp life by up to 10,000 hours
- Built-in HDMI 1.4 allows this model to display 3D images directly from 3D Blu-ray players and is perfect for connecting to HDMI-enabled devices including PCs, laptops, tablets, and media players
- Its 5 independent viewing settings gives your teacher the flexibility to provide the best possible viewing experience for their students in virtually any ambient light situation
- Top lamp door design makes bulb change-out easier and faster
- Dimensions are 12.44W x 8.98H x 4.08D and it weighs 4.63 lbs.
- Industry-leading warranty provides 3-years limited warranty on parts and labor and 1-year warranty on the lamp with a free 1st year Express Exchange
- 1 – HDMI 1.4
- 2 – VGA
- 1 – Composite video
- 1 – S-Video
- 1 – VGA Out
- 1 – Audio In/Out (3.5mm mini jack)
- 1 – USB (mouse)
- 1 – Power cable
- 1 – VGA cable
- 1 – Remote control with batteries
- Very bright display
- Easy-to-use functions
- Lots of input ports
- Great value
- Expensive replacement bulbs
- Sound quality is not great
Teacher Gifts Video Projector Comparison Chart
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As always, thanks for reading our FlatScreenTVCentral.com post! We sincerely hope that it has given you valuable information that helps you choose one of the best teacher gifts for your education professional!