The feel good benefits of a LampFree projector solution have been enjoyed for some time. Cost reduction in replacement lamps, greener footprint without the need to dispose of the old lamps, time and workforce savings and mercury-free tech makes everyone feel they made a smart choice in AV tech. Not only do these new projectors offer a bevy of pros when it comes to eco-and-cost savings, the latest of these laser/led hybrids have made the jump into 4K for added clarity and detail.
With inclusion of a 4K DLP chip, the tech projects images of 8.3 million pixels to mirror true color and accurate nuance of the content to draw in tech-savvy students. These days, displays are spinning like giant phones, casting the latest TikTok vids sans black bars by simply flipping a projector on its side—when it comes to impressing in the classroom, the bar has certainly been raised.
Sometimes the most impressive accomplishment in tech, is the one not noticed. When a teacher flips a switch on their lamp-free projector and continues to teach the class using dynamic video clips, multi-layer visual models, casted screens from students showing their projects from their desk — there are no oohs and aaahs, no round of applause. It simply works, and the class goes on.
However, for the teacher who has worked over their weekend preparing the perfect lesson— enhancing learning with plans for inspiring live shuttle launches or scavenger hunts using realtime watering hole feed direct from the Serengeti— only to have that flick of a switch end in a warm up delay followed by the dread flicker, pop and darkness…nothing is simple. It may start with a few minutes fiddling with wires, remote control batteries flying on the off-chance they are to blame, as the class starts getting restless. Recognizing the likely reality — that a lamp has blown—is chased by hastily assigned reading to keep the kids busy. Calls to the office, calls to IT, a teacher’s aide pulled in to oversee things while the educator is pulled away to check the supplies of replacement lamps to no avail. At best, the day’s lesson plan has been derailed and over lunch hour someone comes in to replace the lamp (certainly without students present if the lamps include mercury). At worst, the proverbial closet shelf is empty and the experience is pushed back for the days-to-weeks’ wait as a new one is shipped out, or scrapped entirely in order to stay on schedule.
When it comes to choosing tech, there is more to consider than a number on the price tag. One big budget concern is ongoing maintenance costs. Not only do LampFree or hybrid projector options nix the need to buy additional replacement lamps, they also eliminate the costly process of replacing lamps — time needed for ordering, shipping costs, blocking time in the classroom for installation, man hours with an experienced installer. These costs all add up. In fact, “soft” costs can add up to 20% to the bottom line. While this is certainly a consideration for budget-minders, for most teachers the biggest cost is one that doesn’t show up on an excel sheet— learning lost.