How do anti-theft features work in a multimedia projector?

Practical guidelines for buyers

If theft is an issue in your location or at places you visit, you may want to consider a projector with built-in anti-theft features.

There are a number of such features available, but they have varying degrees of effectiveness. Here's a brief overview of your choices:

  • Cable locks, including Kensington's system and others, offer good basic protection. An optional steel insert snaps into the cabinet of the projector via a special security slot. Once the insert is installed, it's easy to secure the projector to a ceiling mount, AV cart or piece of furniture using a steel cable with lock. The downside of this system, of course, is that it is not enough to stop a determined thief. He can cut the cable or may be able to pry it out of the mount or the projector.
  • A through-the-optical-block locking stud offers a much more formidable way to lock a projector to a ceiling mount. Here the mount screws directly to a steel rod that passes through the center of the projector and its LCD engine. A security plate covers the screws on both the stud and the mount and offers a cable-lock for additional protection. With this system, it's much more difficult to pry the projector off the mount and any successful attempt destroys it. A thief may attempt to remove one projector mounted this way but is unlikely to try it a second time.
  • Customized startup and background screens can show your logo or other message on projector startup and whenever there is no input signal. A password prevents unauthorized users from changing the screen. While this won't prevent someone from stealing your projector, it can greatly reduce its resale value and make it easier to identify the rightful owner.
  • Keycode startup makes it impossible to use the projector without knowing a pre-determined password. With this option activated, a stolen projector has no resale value whatever.
  • Keypad lockout is a related feature that can prevent tampering with a projector set up in a classroom or a public display by locking out its controls.

Anti-theft features and today's projectors

If you're in a situation where security is an issue, be sure to consider your options before you purchase a projector. Most projectors today either do not have anti-theft features or simply have a slot for a cable lock. Two or three manufacturers offer password lockout. Sharp is the only projector manufacturer that uses a combination of the systems outlined above. To summarize briefly,

  • Most Sharp projectors allow you to load a custom startup and background screen and password protect it.
  • All Sharp Notevision Series projectors and the Conference Series P25 have Kensington slots.
  • All Sharp Notevision Series projectors and the Conference Series P25 can be used with Sharp's optional ceiling-mount cable lock system. This cable lock system is considerably heavier, more secure and mounts to the bottom of the projector.
  • The Sharp Notevision M Series (PG-M20X and PG-M25X), the Notevision A Series (PG-A20X and PG-A10X) and the Notevision C Series (PG-C45S, PG-C45X and XG-C50X) projectors offer keycode startup. Each of these projectors also has keypad lockout to prevent tampering.
  • The Sharp Notevision C Series (XG-C50X, PG-C45S and PG-C45X) projectors have all of these features plus Notevision Lockdown - a through-the-optical-block mounting system. This built-in feature makes them one of the most theft-resistant projectors available anywhere.

Would you like to learn more about Sharp projectors? Click here for complete descriptions of all Sharp models.