Forest Hill Community High School In Florida begins Projector Deployment in its Classrooms

As the 11th largest school district in the United States, The School District of Palm Beach County (Fla.) has long been an aggressive adopter of classroom technologies that enhance the classroom experience for its 168,000 students. That's never been truer than in recent years, the district has embarked on an ambitious "tech tools" project to upgrade the technology across its 168 school sites.

According to Danny Brisson, technology coordinator, video display remains a key emphasis for the District. "We start from the premise that there should be a video projector in every classroom," he said. "So our standard for new and remodeled classrooms is to deploy a ceiling-mounted projector as part of the standard configuration. For years, each school has shared a handful of portable projectors among their classrooms. But that was becoming unacceptable. The devices were nearing the end of their useful life. The quality of the images was deteriorating. And everyone had grown tired of the scarcity of the devices as they became more popular. We needed to get the cords off the floor and improve our use of the projectors."

Balancing image quality maintenance demands

We're achieving excellent savings as a result of the negligible maintenance costs and longer bulb life. We determined that our payback over the older LCD technology was less than three years with DLP projectors." Danny Brisson, Technology Coordinator,Forest Hill High School

Working with Compu-Trac Interactive Solutions, the nation's largest provider of audiovisual solutions to K-12 schools, Brisson evaluated various alternatives for classroom projection technology. "Our decision revolved around several key principles," said Brisson. "First and foremost, of course, we wanted to have a bright, colorful image. But we also knew that - with their fixed-mount locations - we had to factor in the maintenance aspect. Reliability and a long life for the device were essential to the choice."

Typical LCD projectors, which the school was using, pass light through three LCD panels. All three panels must be cooled and using a fan is the only way to pass air across the panels. There is no way to isolate or seal the optical engine. As a result of this open design, filters are required to keep dust out of the optical system. Filters in LCD projectors typically must be cleaned or changed after 30 to 60 days.

"Our staff didn't know that our old LCD projectors were supposed to be cleaned," Brisson said. "Bulb life was a problem. We knew that if these devices were mounted in the ceiling, they'd never get cleaned frequently enough. So, filters were not an attractive proposition for us." Brisson then evaluated filter-free projectors with DLP technology from Texas Instruments. "The sealed, filterless design was really appealing to us because we knew it would decrease maintenance costs and increase reliability. The DLP projectors clearly had a lower total cost of ownership - and the quality of the image was excellent."

Partnering with Tony Rojas of Compu-Trac, Forest Hill Community High School began its deployment of 50 Mitsubishi XD430U projectors in its classrooms. The first phase was done in January 2007. The administration was so pleased with the results, we rolled out the second-phase in May of 2008. "These projectors have been in use for more than a year and are in half of our classrooms," he said. "The feedback we've received has been very favorable. We did a simple ROI analysis and concluded that we're achieving excellent savings as a result of the negligible maintenance costs and longer bulb life. We determined that our payback over the older LCD technology was less than three years."We're also seeing a much better image - both in static graphics and streaming video. The fill factor is higher and contrasts are sharper, which makes the image much more viewable from across the classroom. And the colors remain quite vivid, even a year later. There's been no drop-off in the color or brightness."

Moving forward, Forest Hill Community High School will continue to work with Tony Rojas of Compu-Trac to complete its deployment across the entire facility. We're very happy to have selected Compu-Trac and DLP projectors for our classroom projection solution."

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Mitsubishi XD430U projector page.