NEC NP-M402X Portable Conference Room Projector

Review Written By: Marc Davidson | View original article on Projector Central here.

NEC calls the NP-M402X portable, and, indeed, it’s light enough to carry if you need to. It even ships with a soft carrying case. But it’s also heavy enough, at eight pounds, not to mention bulky enough, at 3.5″ x 13.4″ x 10.1″ (HWD), to make it more appropriate for permanent installation or room to room portability on a cart. Built around a 1024×768 DLP chip and rated at 4000 lumens, although it came in a little lower on my tests, it can be a good fit for a mid-size conference room or classroom.

In addition to its brightness, the M402X delivers near-excellent data image quality, an audio system with enough volume for a mid-size room, and a 1.7x zoom lens that helps justify the $959 price. That’s easily enough to make it a potentially attractive choice.

The Viewing Experience

Image quality is a bit of a mixed bag, but the M402X handles data images like word processing and graphics well, which is the single most important issue for a data projector. Like the vast majority of DLP models, it shows occasional rainbow artifacts, in the form of red-green-blue flashes. With video, they showed up often enough, and were obvious enough, that anyone who sees them easily will almost certainly consider them annoying. However, I saw them infrequently enough with data and other static images that few people, if any, are likely to be bothered by them.

Near-excellent data image quality. The M402X scored well for data image quality despite a moderate problem maintaining fine detail. Although black text on white was crisp and readable at sizes as small as 7 points, for example, white text on black lost readability at sizes below 10.5 points. This won’t be a problem with programs like word processors, and it won’t be a problem unless you need to show images with fine detail. But it could be a problem if you need to show complex line drawings with white or other bright lines on a black background.

Very much on the plus side, the M402X did a good job with color balance. It maintained suitably neutral grays at all levels from black to white in every predefined image mode except the brightest, which showed a slight greenish tint in the brightest shades. Given that the brightest modes of most projectors have color balance problems, that’s not really an issue, however. Color quality was also good. Yellow was a little mustard colored in all predefined modes and red was a little dark in the brightest mode, which is typical for DLP projectors. More generally, colors were nicely saturated and vibrant in all modes.

Also on the plus side is that images designed to bring out pixel jitter were as rock solid with an analog (VGA) connection as with a digital (HDMI) connection.

Problematic video quality. With a 1024×768 native resolution, the M402X’s video quality is necessarily limited in crispness and in the detail it can show. Beyond that, I saw unusually obvious, and annoying, judder in clips with the camera panning across the scene, and I saw rainbow artifacts often enough and obviously enough that anyone in your audience who’s sensitive to them will likely find them annoying. All this makes video best limited to short clips with the M402X, if you use video at all.

Setup

Good connectivity. The M402X’s back panel offers a bit more than a typical set of connectors by today’s standards.

  • 2 HDMI
  • 1 VGA IN (for RGB or component)
  • 1 RCA composite
  • 1 USB A (for reading files from USB memory keys or for an $80 optional Wi-Fi dongle.)
  • 1 VGA OUT (monitor loop-through)
  • 1 USB B (for mouse control from the remote plus USB direct display.)
  • 1 LAN (for image and audio data and network control)
  • 1 Stereo mini plug IN (paired with the VGA port by default)
  • 1 RCA stereo IN
  • 1 Microphone mini plug IN
  • 1 Stereo mini plug OUT
  • 1 RS-232 (for external control)
  • 1 VESA 3D RF sync

Setting up. Setting up the M402X is easy, with the 1.7x zoom giving you a lot more flexibility than most models offer for how far you can put the projector from the screen for a given size image. For most of my tests at the native 4:3 aspect ratio, I used a 98-inch diagonal image with maximum zoom (full widescreen) and the projector 117″ from the screen.

Both the zoom and focus rings offer smooth control. However, the focus changes a lot with very little movement, so even though it’s not hard to get crisp focus over the entire screen, it’s a little harder than it should be to get it just right.

With the projector sitting on a table, the vertical offset puts the bottom of the image roughly 15% of the screen height above the midline of the lens. If you need to, you can move the image up with a drop-down foot on the front of the projector. In a nice touch, the foot also includes a screw adjustment for fine control. You can also move the image down by adjusting the screw-on feet at the back. As a finishing touch, you can adjust image shape if necessary. The menus offer both horizontal and vertical digital keystone controls and a choice of setting the feature to automatic or adjusting both settings manually.

Key Features

Potentially long lamp life. NEC rates the lamp life for the M402X at 3500 hours in the Normal setting for Eco mode and 8000 hours for the Eco setting. There’s also an Off setting, which is brighter than either Normal or Eco, and which presumably results in a shorter life, although NEC doesn’t provide a rating for the Off setting. In any case, with a $299 replacement cost for the lamp, taking advantage of one of the Eco modes can significantly lower the total cost of ownership.

Capable audio. The 20-watt mono speaker delivers good enough audio quality to be useful plus enough volume to fill a mid-size room. If you need better quality, stereo, or still more volume, you can plug an external audio system into the audio output.

Test Results


Bright image with wide brightness range. The M402X came in at a solid 91 percent of its 4000-lumen rating in my tests, at 3626 lumens in with its brightest predefined setting and with Eco mode set to Off. As a point of reference, following SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) recommendations, that’s bright enough for a 260″ diagonal image with a 1.0 gain screen in theater dark lighting. It’s also easily bright enough for the 98″ image I used for most of my tests to stand up to moderate ambient light.

For smaller screen sizes or lower light levels, you can switch to one of the Eco modes, choose any of six other predefined modes, or both. Normal mode dropped the brightness by about 20%, to 2868 lumens with the brightest predefined setting. Eco mode dropped it by about 55%, to 1990 lumens. With Eco mode off, the six other predefined settings came in at 972 to 2602 lumens.

Keep in mind too that as with most DLP projectors, the actual brightness is more complicated than with LCD models, because the color brightness is lower than the white brightness. This can make color images less bright than you would expect from just knowing the white brightness, and can also affect color quality. As is typical, the difference between the two for the M402X is most significant for the brightest predefined mode, which explains why red looks a little dark in that mode.

Good, but not great, brightness uniformity. Brightness uniformity across the screen came in at 71%. That’s low enough so I could see the difference between the brightest and darkest areas on a solid white or color screen. However the change was gradual enough across the screen to make it almost impossible to see a difference with the screen broken up by text or graphics.

Limitations

3D. For most people, 3D isn’t much of a factor for a 1024×768 data projector. To the extent that it matters, however, note that the M402X can work with a video source like a Blu-ray player or game console to show 3D images over an HDMI connection. Unlike most recent projectors, however, the M402X doesn’t automatically switch to 3D mode. You have to turn it on each time and then turn it off again manually to regain control over some settings on the menu. This can quickly get tiresome, with more than ten button presses needed for turning it on and off each time.

No MHL support. Although you can show images from an MHL-enabled phone or tablet using one of the M402X’s HDMI ports, the projector itself lacks MHL support. That means you need a special cable that can connect to a power source as well as the mobile device and the projector.

Conclusion

The NP-M402X is the wrong choice if you need to show much video. However, it also offers a lot to like otherwise, starting with its near-excellent data image quality. Beyond that, it’s easily bright enough, and the sound system is loud enough, for a mid-size room; the 1.7x zoom lens helps makes setup easy; and it offers lots of flexibility for image sources from PC-free presentations with a USB memory key to sending presentations over a network. If 1024×768 is the resolution you need, the NP-M402X offers more than enough to be worth considering.

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Ready to begin shopping for your projector? You can view the NP-M402X on our site here. You can also browse a variety of other projectors available from Projector SuperStore here. Don’t see the one you’re looking for, or have other questions? Give us a call at 888-525-6696 and one of our sales team members will be happy to assist you! 

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About NEC- NEC Display Solutions designs, produces and delivers leading-edge visual display technology for a wide variety of markets. We specialize in desktop and large-screen LCD displays, and a diverse line of projectors for customers who demand the most high-quality, reliable display solutions to meet their needs. You can learn more about NEC on their website here.

About Projector SuperStore – For over 20 years, Projector SuperStore has been the premier source for affordable Audio and Visual equipment online. We have worked with hundreds of businesses across the nation and have the expertise to help you integrate the right technology for your specific needs and bring your message to the masses. Whether you’re looking for a projector for a meeting room, a portable system for use in multi-purpose rooms, a state-of-the-art projection system for your main auditorium, the latest home theater technology or anything in between, we can help you create a system that is right for your needs and fits within your budget. View more information on our website here.

Apple TV: A “Must-Have” for Your Office

Written by: Jordan Cary

Initially, that title might sound a bit contradictory. Like trying to combine work and play, which don’t really belong together. But it’s not contradictory. The Apple TV is a perfect fit, and in fact a “must-have” for any office, conference room, work room, or auditorium… Here’s why:

Background

In recent years, the conversation regarding BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) has gained momentum. With more and more people having laptops, smartphones and tablets that contain the vast majority of their information, gone are the days where people wanted a computer at their meeting location where they could load a presentation or image. Now, people have the content on their device, and they want to be able to show it quickly, accurately, and consistently. While many projectors, TV’s, and other display devices feature a form of BYOD or mobile presentation compatibility, most require either the user download a unique application to their device, or that the content be in a unique format, or that the device be connected with a wire. None of these are good solutions. Additionally, most BYOD solutions allow for only static images to be presented. They don’t allow for motion, such as video, or scrolling through text or webpages. Another reason these are not good solutions.

The Solution

So, what is the solution? If none of the other alternatives are worth the investment, which device is worth the investment? Enter, the Apple TV. Whether you’re in a corporate, education, non-profit, house of worship, or government setting, the Apple TV provides a cost-effective and feature-rich solution to the issue of BYOD.  At just $99, the Apple TV allows iOS and OSX users to connect to a display device via a wireless network and present any form of content. From device mirroring, to HD video, to webpages, and everything in between, content looks great on your display with the Apple TV.

With an Apple TV, your team can all bring their own devices to any meeting or event and be able to present their content at the appropriate time, all without having to walk to the front of the room to connect, deal with converting files for use on another computer, or pass around a cable or device for connecting. Instead, each person can connect with ease from wherever they are in the room, whether it is around a conference room table, or in a large auditorium.

Configuration

The Apple TV is available online or in-store from Apple, as well as from a variety of other retailers. You can view it on Apple’s website here. Simply purchase the device, plug in the power cable and connect it to your display device using a single HDMI cable. Follow the simple on-screen steps to connect it to your WiFi network, or connect to the network via a LAN cable and the configuration is complete! It’s just that easy.

Some advanced set-up features are available as well, though they are not necessary. These include creating a unique name for your Apple TV, such as a room or department name. This is helpful if multiple Apple TV devices will be connected to the same network. Another option available is password protection. In certain applications, it is necessary to restrict who is able to access the display device. For example, in an education setting, the teacher likely would not want the students to simply connect and display content, and disrupt the presentation in the process. By enabling password protection, this password must be entered by anyone attempting to connect to the Apple TV.

Another advanced set-up feature you may consider is linking it to a unique photo album that contains company logos or images. The images cannot be stored on the device itself, but are just linked via the cloud. These images can then be used as the screen saver, visible when no one is connected, or as a slideshow that can loop continuously for digital signage applications.

Once you’ve set-up the Apple TV, the next step is to display content from your device. As was mentioned before, you can display content from any iOS or OSX device. Just connect the desired device to the same network as the Apple TV and you are ready to display content.

On an iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini, iPod, etc) running iOS 7 or later, simply swipe from the very bottom of your screen upward. This will launch the Control Center where all of your connection options are shown. If you’re not familiar with the Control Center, learn more about it on Apple’s website here. When both the Apple TV and the device are connected to the network, you will see the option for “AirPlay”. You can either choose to “mirror” (show the same content on your screen, on the display) or to just connect and use it as an extended display for apps that support a dual screen interface such as Netflix, Keynote, and others. Connecting via AirPlay will also route all audio through the wireless connection as well.

On an OSX device (MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac Mini, iMac, etc.) running Mountain Lion or later, go to Settings, and then to Displays to configure the wireless connection to your display. For the option to appear, both the Apple TV and the OSX device will need to be connected to the same network. Once in the display settings window, you will see the option to connect to the Apple TV via AirPlay. You will then also have the option to choose mirroring or extended desktop configurations. You can also choose to have the audio route through the AirPlay connection, output via the headphone jack, or through the internal speakers on your computer. If you are not familiar with how to complete these configuration steps, you can read more information on Apple’s website here.

Summary

As you can see, the features of the Apple TV are helpful, if not essential, for almost every application. It adds a huge element of flexibility to your conference room presentation system and allows for greater collaboration within your team. It can be connected to any display device whether it’s a TV or a projector and is simple enough that anyone can set it up in only a few minutes. There is no question, productivity increases when an Apple TV is brought into the equation, so begin using one in your office today!

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Have additional questions about the Apple TV or presentation solutions? Give Projector SuperStore a call at 888-525-6696 and one of our sales team members will be happy to assist you! 

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About Projector SuperStore – For over 20 years, Projector SuperStore has been the premier source for affordable Audio and Visual equipment online. We have worked with hundreds of businesses across the nation and have the expertise to help you integrate the right technology for your specific needs and bring your message to the masses. Whether you’re looking for a projector for a meeting room, a portable system for use in multi-purpose rooms, a state-of-the-art projection system for your main auditorium, the latest home theater technology or anything in between, we can help you create a system that is right for your needs and fits within your budget. View more information on our website here.

How To: Loop Videos on iOS Devices

Have you ever wanted to connect your iPhone, iPod or iPad to your projector or display and have it continuously loop a video? This is a question we have been asked multiple times by customers looking to display a demo video, advertisement, or other promotional content that is in the form of a video. Sure, it’s easy to connect the device and have the video play, but getting it to loop is a bit of an issue.

Recently, our technology experts sat down and developed a list of instructions and resources that are needed in order to complete this task. It served to get one of our recent customers up and running in their application, and we wanted to share the information with others in case you’re looking to do the same thing.

Wired or Wireless

The process starts by determining whether you will be using a wired connection from your device, or if your connection will be wireless. For wired connections, you will need to purchase the correct adapter cable from Apple. You can view all of the available adapters on the Apple Store here. Wired connections will always be more reliable, and less subject to interference and glitches than wireless will be. However, it’s pretty cool to be able to have everything running without a mess of wires and devices visible. So, if you’re ready to embark on wireless, far and above, your best bet will be the Apple TV. There are other potential solutions, but you’ll spend far more time than it’s worth trying to make it work. Apple’s devices are designed to work with the Apple TV from the ground up, and they work very well. Plus, at only $99, it’s very affordable. You can view the Apple TV on the Apple Store here. One discreet HDMI cable from the Apple TV to the display, and a functional WiFi network is all that you need to connect your iOS device. You will then connect to the Apple TV via AirPlay (in the notification center on your iOS device) and enable the mirroring feature there as well.

Looping via iOS Slideshow

Once we’ve established the connection, the next step is to play the video. The first of two ways we recommend playing the video is utilizing the “Photos” app that comes on all iOS devices. Here are the steps you will need to follow in order to play the video this way:

  1. Locate the video on your iOS device. It will have either been saved from an email, or copied through an iTunes sync.
  2. Create a new “Album” in your photo library and add the video you want to have loop.
  3. Go to the “Settings” app and under the “Photos” section, enable the option to “Repeat” the slideshow.
  4. Go back to the “Photos” app, and to the newly created album, and then select the video you want to play.
  5. In the lower left hand corner of the screen, you will have an arrow you can press, which will give you the option to play the slideshow. (Note, you need to be in the album in order to see the slideshow option. It will not be visible if you simply navigate to the video through the Camera Roll.)
  6. Your video will now play continuously until stopped.

The only downside we discovered with this option, is that each time the video restarts, there is a momentary display of the play arrow icon. This can be disruptive, and when we noticed it, we immediately looked for another solution. We discovered that when we used a third-party app, this issue went away. This leads us to the next section of the post.

Looping via CWG’s Video Loop Presenter

CWG’s Video Loop Presenter is a free app from the App Store that allows you to continuously play videos without having to see the momentary display of the play arrow icon between each restart. Here are the steps you need to follow in order to play the video this way:

  1. Download the app “CWG’s Video Loop Presenter” to your iOS device. (See it on iTunes Preview here.)
  2. Open the app on your device. It will show up as “vloop” with a blue/green icon and a “V” with a circular arrow on your home screen.
  3. In the lower right hand corner, select the option to configure the video.
  4. Under “Media Library” select “Add”, then select “Video from Camera Roll”.
  5. Locate the video on your iOS device. It will have either been saved from an email, or copied through an iTunes sync.
  6. Under “Configure Presentation” tap the text that says “Select Video to Loop”
  7. Select the video that you just added to the Media Library.
  8. Choose the desired option under the “Scale Mode”. We recommend “Aspect Fill”, however you may want to do “Aspect Fit” to avoid cropping.
  9. Once complete, select “Show Home Screen” in the upper right hand corner.
  10. Select “Play” in the lower left hand corner to begin playing your video.

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Ready to begin shopping for a projector or display? You can browse from a variety of other solutions available from Projector SuperStore here. Don’t see the one you’re looking for, or have other questions? Give us a call at 888-525-6696 and one of our sales team members will be happy to assist you! 

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About Projector SuperStore – For over 20 years, Projector SuperStore has been the premier source for affordable Audio and Visual equipment online. We have worked with hundreds of businesses across the nation and have the expertise to help you integrate the right technology for your specific needs and bring your message to the masses. Whether you’re looking for a projector for a meeting room, a portable system for use in multi-purpose rooms, a state-of-the-art projection system for your main auditorium, the latest home theater technology or anything in between, we can help you create a system that is right for your needs and fits within your budget. View more information on our website here.

Header image obtained from Digital Trends here.

Wireless Presentation System for Classrooms & Conference Rooms

Qomo’s Wireless Presentation System, the QWPS1000, is a great choice when it comes to a wireless solution for your office, conference room, or classroom. The QWPS connects computer screens, iPads, iPhones, Androids and other mobile devices, to a large projection screen or monitor, allowing up to 20 people to share their screens during a single meeting, and up to 4 computer screens to display at once.

“Having up to 4 screens displayed at once means we can view 4 pieces of information at once that relate to each other; a graph, a website, a PowerPoint and images.” says Brandon Hong, Product Developer at Qomo HiteVision. “This helps communicate ideas more easily and efficiently.”

With a simple download, iPad and iPhone users can project a live feed of their mobile device screen to the audience, allowing presenters to display educational games and apps. And with the help of QWPS apps on a tablet or smart phone, presenters can display multi-media from their mobile devices, including PowerPoint, Word, Excel, and PDF files and images. Presenters can also mirror and control the displayed screen from their mobile device. The QWPS1000 makes it easy to switch from a PowerPoint on a computer screen, to showing images on a smart phone, to a video recorded on an iPad.

“Easy screen switching. Minimal lag. Incredibly easy setup – I don’t think I ever looked at the directions!” – Trent K. Moehlman, Digital Education Coordinator, South Dakota.

The QWPS1000 Wireless Presentation System works on PC, Mac and mobile devices, making the QWPS1000 an ideal system for group settings where participants have different devices. And with the QWPS’s simple set up, it’s easy for newcomers to join a presentation. Have your office QWPS ready just minutes before a presentation. Connect the QWPS1000 to your display and a power outlet and then quickly download and install the QWPS1000 software to PC or Mac.

Learn more about the QWPS in this video-

Projector SuperStore is an authorized Qomo HiteVision dealer. View the QWPS1000 and their other products on our site here. For more information, contact one of our Sales Team members today.

Qomo HiteVision LLC, an American company, is a global manufacturer of presentation technology for education and corporate markets, headquartered in Wixom, Michigan. Qomo’s comprehensive product line includes large projection screen, tablets and LCD writing panels, portable and desktop document cameras, student response systems and integrated classroom software solutions. Learn more about Qomo HiteVision at www.qomo.com.

Optoma ML1000 – Powerful, Portable, Unsurpassed LED Performance

The Optoma ML1000 was designed for mobile professionals seeking a bright, light, compact sized, full featured ultraportable LED projector that is powerful enough to use in the most demanding environments. Its industry leading LED light source delivers an astounding 1000 lumens of brightness combined with a 15,000:1 contrast ratio to produce the richest, most vibrant colors in this product category.

The Optoma ML1000 includes wireless presentation capability for maximum convenience and ease of use. It features an SD card port that allows you to deliver PowerPoint presentations, view PDF documents, display pictures, movies and more, all without the need of a computer or external peripheral device. An innovative touchpad design allows users to easily control the projector with simple gestures for maximum ease of use.

You can learn more about the Optoma ML1000 LED projector in this video-

Projector SuperStore is an authorized dealer and service center for Optoma products. You can view the ML1000 and Optoma’s other products here.

About Optoma Technology, Inc. – Optoma Technology, Inc. is an award-winning developer of projection and digital display products for business, education and home. The company manufactures multimedia projectors for mobile users, fixed installations, classrooms and home theaters, as well as HD displays. Optoma products combine superior image processing technologies with exceptional engineering and innovation to deliver images that are bright, crystal clear and finely tuned for tone and color. Optoma products are sold through the company’s global network of Pro AV dealers, major consumer electronics retailers and Internet resellers. For more information, visit www.optomausa.com.

How Tablets are Changing the World of Digital Signage

Since the introduction of the iPad and countless other similar devices in the past few years, the technology industry has been seemingly overtaken by the tablet. It has seen its way into almost every industry and application. Regardless of what you do, chances are there is an “app for that”. As a result, technology professionals are continually looking for ways to further improve tablet technology and working to integrate them even more into the day-to-day aspects of business.

The world of digital signage is one area that is beginning to incorporate the use of tablet devices. Digital signage is an ever-changing field that offers an efficient way to convey your message. Content no longer needs to be static, when it can be full color, moving, and even interactive. Additionally, digital signage allows for content to be readily updated, ensuring that it is always current. With the introduction of tablets, digital signage experts are now experimenting with ways to incorporate them into this area as well. Offering portability, long battery life, advanced touchscreen technology and intelligent operating systems, tablets bring features that were not possible up to this point. Tablets also are significantly cheaper than traditional signage systems. Traditional displays have always been a significant expense for many business owners and integration companies. However, with tablets costing only $500 or so for a complete system, this presented a much more affordable option.

One obvious difference between traditional signage displays and tablets is the screen size. Tablets, while ranging in screen size, usually have a viewing area of 10” or less. For some applications, this is a perfect option though. Not all scenarios can, or should, have a traditional large format display. For counter tops, credenzas, kiosks, etc., a small display not only fits better, but is a unique element that draws a customer’s attention.

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Tablets are, by far, a more appropriate choice for one-to-one interaction. And in applications such as those mentioned above, an interactive signage device could be a great addition to your system.  One example of tablets offering a one-to-one interactive system is in the Apple retail stores. Apple has shifted the entire signage system in their stores to one built around the iPad. Providing customers with a unique, interactive way to find more information about their products, the iPad signage system ensures up-to-date content and allows customers to customize the products and, by drawing information from the web, see real-time calculations and account-specific information.

The versatility of tablets is another huge benefit to utilizing them for digital signage. For example, your tablet can function as a touchscreen kiosk, access the Internet, play videos, or perform countless other tasks depending on the software being used. This “all-in-one” concept enabled developers to write software that took advantage of these features. A video player could suddenly become a touch-screen device that returned real-time information via the Internet. Combine this with the mobility of tablets, and the system is that much better. Tablets don’t require teams of people to move around. They don’t need electricians or a/v integration teams to modify their configuration. It is incredibly easy to set up a tablet that provides tremendous flexibility for ongoing use. This enables organizations to utilize small digital signage without consideration for installation.

Tablets have become an integral part of society, and continue to gain popularity every year. They are here to stay and manufacturers are continuing to increase functionality, reliability, and ease-of-use in these devices. While large-scale digital signage may always remain the standard for digital signage, tablets are playing a significant role in this area and will continue to do so.  Enabling interactivity and a personalized experience contained in a highly portable and low cost solution, the tablet is a welcomed addition to the world of digital signage!