Interactive Displays vs. Projectors

Interactive Displays vs. Projectors

A big question concerning technology in education at the moment is: “Which is better: a projector with an interactive whiteboard, or an interactive display?”

As always, the answer is not straight forward and there are pros and cons of both solutions.

In this post, I’ll be exploring different areas of both products to help you in deciding which fits best with your school or business.

Screen Size
Despite being full high definition and with up to 10 touch-points, interactive displays certainly don’t compromise on size. With even the most common displays ranging up to 80″, they can be used in the largest of classrooms or boardrooms.

Interactive whiteboards have a similar size range, but the difficulty can come in mounting a projector so as to be able to project such at that size. Despite this, newer, short-throw HD projectors are reducing this issue, albeit at a higher price. Installation time is also a factor here, interactive displays are much quicker to fit!

Image Quality
I have to say, some of the most recent interactive displays I’ve seen do look incredible. They’re bright, the colours are vibrant, and the image is very sharp. Furthermore, they will look like that throughout their whole lifetime, as they don’t lose brightness over time in the same way as a projector.

Modern day projectors are also very capable of projecting an impressive image. The problems come when a company or school uses them for prolonged periods of time; the bulbs will go, the filters must be cleaned and changed, and this maintenance requirement carries a cost both to the image and to your budget.

That huge screen looks fantastic, but in a school it’s likely to get broken… and that would be expensive?”
After trialling many different interactive displays, one of the main focuses it seems, is their durability. Most screens are made with toughened glass, and would be very difficult to damage. At BETT 2015, one manufacturer was pitching their interactive display to me and actually asked me to punch the screen as hard as I could. The screen was undamaged (my hand hurt more!), as the toughened glass had been designed with the classroom in mind. Interactive whiteboards on the other hand can be quite easily damaged, and projectors are not often child-proof!

You might be thinking that interactive displays are going to be far out of your school or company’s budget, but you’d be positively surprised! Despite being relatively new to the market, interactive displays will cost approximately the same amount, depending on the model, as an interactive whiteboard and projector setup. Also, the reduced maintenance costs compared to projector filters and bulbs can mean that they are actually a money saving asset! Furthermore, interactive displays are much easier to install, and take much less time as there is no projector to be mounted – therefore saving money on installation costs as well.

In my opinion, interactive displays are the future. Brighter, more impressive displays, and reduced costs with a longer usable life. The changeover will take some time, but I think that projectors will one day be a thing of the past.

– Harvey Ryan