In the simpler days of education teachers relied on chalkboards, flipcharts and overhead projectors to facilitate learning in lecture halls and classrooms, but times have changed and classrooms now include advanced AV systems. It is for this modern day classroom that Sony, a globally renowned provider of displays and projectors, has produced the versatile VPL-S500 series of ultra-short throw projectors. Pro-Systems went to see the series’ VPL SW 535C interactive projector in action at the Screen Media Show held at the Sandton Convention Centre on 11 and 12 March. Simba Nyamukachi reports:

Although the Sony stand at Screen Media Show paraded a number of impressive products that consisted of CCTVs, projectors, professional displays and video conferencing solutions, the exhibition belonged to the VPL SW 535C which clearly stole the limelight. The white, slick and stylish 3000 Lm WXGA projector, which landed in the South African market in the fourth quarter of 2012, was a hit with exhibition attendees and the local market alike.

“The VPL-SW535C has been very popular since it made its debut in South Africa late last year. Reception from the education and corporate sector has been overwhelming and as a result we have sold a number of VPL-SW535Cs and we continue to expect large orders throughout the year,’ said Roushal Poole, Sony South Africa’s product manager for the Projectors & Displays/Broadcast & Professional Division.

The projector, which combines the capability of a standard projector and an interactive whiteboard in one box, is ideal for education and corporate applications. It is designed to allow two users to draw concurrently on the projection screen with the use of supplied interactive pens and drawing software. The same interactive pens can also be used to control presentation files and the rest of the Windows or Mac personal computers being used.

“To achieve full interactivity of this kind in the past, at least three different products were required – a projector, either an electronic whiteboard or some whiteboard attachment as well as software. These solutions were labour intensive, unsightly due to cabling and very expensive,’ Poole adds.

The VPL-SW535C is ideal for small or difficult spaces – its ultra-short throw ratio can produce an 80-inch diagonal wide image from only 1.6 feet away from the screen. This short projection distance has two key benefits for the presenter and the audience. It helps the presenter to avoid glare from the projector when standing in front of the screen while making it easier for the audience to see the projected image because screen shadow is minimised.

The projector boasts numerous installation advantages and sports a low-profile chassis that makes it appear to blend into the ceiling or wall that it is mounted to. It is equipped with an optical zoom and lens shift capability, a function that allows the position of the projected image to be adjusted to the desired setting during installation. This greatly reduces the time and hassle of fine-tuning the image position without having to physically move the projector or sacrifice the image quality.

“Another strong point is that the VPL-SW535C ships with an original wall mounting from Sony and ultra-short throw lens so it is far easier to install than a traditional projector. If you buy and install through one of our approved dealers it should be up and running within an hour,’ Poole adds.

The projector features three brightness modes for different use – “High’ for naturally white presentations in bright rooms, “Standard’ for everyday use, and “Low’ for video in darkened rooms. Sony rates this projector’s expected lamp life at 6000 hours, an approximate period in low mode. The long life goes a long way in helping with the total cost of ownership.

The VPL–SW535C comes with a 3-year warranty on the projector, a 1-year (or 1000 hour) warranty for the lamp, and a price tag of approximately R20 000. As with all Sony projectors, the VPL-SW535C features the Sony BrightEra 3LCD inorganic panel technology that delivers higher picture quality, substantially brighter images, higher efficiency, better contrast, consistent colour stability and longer durability and usability.