Education Solutions

We often run special offers exclusively for education establishments. Click here to see our current education deals. We also offer a free School Loyalty Card.

Audio visual technology for classrooms is continually evolving. A few years ago, the only choice an education establishment had to make was which logo they would like to have on their order of new Interactive Whiteboards. But now it’s not so simple…

More options are becoming available for educators each year. Also, without the obligation of having to heed the advice from government-funded bodies anymore – whose ear may not be so close to the ground – schools, colleges and universities now have more responsibility in deciding what is the best solution for their students.

If your current generation of Interactive Whiteboards are reaching the end of their operating life and you are looking to upgrade, refit or refurbish your classrooms, we’ve prepared a breakdown of the options that now face you in the ever changing AV landscape.

SMART Interactive WhiteboardInteractive Whiteboard and Digital Projector

The Interactive Whiteboard combined with a digital projector is the classroom AV solution most educators are familiar with. Using SMART Classroom Suite software, interactive whiteboards offer an array of educational tools for teachers, in addition to other personal computer functions, such as web browsing and playing media.

If you are planning to stick with your Interactive Whiteboard system, or simply upgrading to the latest model, there is still a choice to make regarding your accompanying digital projector. There are three main types of projector available and each has its own series of advantages:-


Long Throw Projectors

Long Throw projectors operate at a distance from your Whiteboard and tend to be the most common. The main advantage is that they are cheapest type of projector on the market.

However, Long Throw projectors, due to their distance, cast shadows of the user over their presentation and have a greater potential to ‘dazzle’ those who stand in front of the lens. Also, due to the projector being independent from the Whiteboard, more cabling and, potentially, more installation work is required. So, while the unit itself may be cheaper to purchase, the installation is more time consuming and possibly more expensive depending on the nature of the classroom, its structure and its existing electrics.


Short Throw Projectors

Short Throw projectors are attached to a boom arm that extends out from the top of the Whiteboard, forming a more compact setup. This method is a lot tidier as most cabling can be hidden away with ease. It also means that any additional electrical installation work is kept to a minimum and, in most cases, isn’t required at all.

Whilst the potential to dazzle the presenter is greatly diminished, some undesirable shadows will still be cast. Although these are less of a problem.

A more critical issue with this form of installation is the leverage presented by the projector, and boom arm bracket, upon the wall and the fixings. Therefore, this type of installation is more suited to solid (block-work) type walls. However, through the correct selection of wall fixings and careful installation, this type of system can be successfully anchored to heavier duty partition walls.


Ultra-Short Throw Projectors

Ultra-Short Throw projectors operate within close proximity to the Whiteboard. They are the tidiest, neatest looking and most compact of the three projector methods. Similar to Short Throw projectors, there is often no additional electrical installation is required. Unlike Short Throw projectors, however, structural stress is diminished due to the projector being much closer to the wall.

Furthermore, there are minimal shadows cast and no potential to dazzle the presenter.

However, the Short-Throw method is the most expensive the three and, although no additional installation work is required, they often take longer to calibrate and set up. Finally, in our experience at least, the image from Ultra-Short Throw projectors often appears rather softer in the corners.


Digital Projector Format — 4:3 or 16:9?

Another choice that needs to be borne in mind is what format projector to use in conjunction with your Whiteboard. We wholeheartedly recommend a 16:9 – i.e. widescreen – projector for the simple reason that that is the aspect ratio of choice for almost all current and future media – televisions, video, even laptops. A widescreen projector takes full advantage of the surface area on your Interactive Whiteboard and will compliment any media you use with that setup.

For more reasons why you should opt for widescreen projectors, click here. 

Sharp 60-Inch Interactive Touch Screen

Touch Screen Monitors

Touch Screen Monitors have the appearance of a wall-mounted, flatscreen television but offer the same intuitive, touch screen experience of an Interactive Whiteboard. They are quickly becoming a viable alternative.

Touch Screens are simple and cost effective to install. They are tidy, with no unnecessary cabling, they don’t dazzle the presenter or cast shadows. They are also more visible in higher ambient light conditions. Furthermore, they don’t precipitate additional running costs such as replacement lamps or servicing charges (such that may be caused by blocked or dirty air filters).

Touch Screens are Full HD (in most cases) as standard, so picture quality will easily outclass that of a standard definition projector and is equal or similar to that of an HD projector. Also, as Touch Screens come with built-in speakers, there isn’t necessarily the need for external audio kit depending on the model of Touch Screen purchased and the size of the classroom it’s intended for.

However, Touch Screens, on average, are smaller than their Whiteboard counterparts. SMART currently manufacture Interactive Whiteboards up to 87-inches. Although Touch Screen manufactures such as BenQ can produce monitors of a competitive size, the cost rapidly increases. Typically 65 inches is the largest and most cost effective option at present for Touch Screens, which may not be large enough for big classrooms.

Inevitably, prices will fall over the next couple of years, meaning that not only will Touch Screens present a more streamlined education AV solution, but will potentially be far more affordable too. Plus, there are always plenty of exciting alternatives to the standard wall-mounted setup in the touch screen world, especially as the technology progresses.


For more information about what solutions are out there and what we can do for you, please contact us.
We often run special offers exclusively for education establishments. Click here to see our current education deals. We also offer a free Education Loyalty Card.

Employees of Smart Audio Visual Services Ltd. have been vetted and cleared by Hertfordshire Constabulary