Saturday, August 18, 2018

Dr. J LED mini-projector provides economical solution to history presentations

This is a cross post from my blog "Technology Times and Trials." A technology resource article by Mary Harrsch © 2018

If some of you, like me, are asked to present information periodically that includes images and video and no longer have access to institutional multimedia equipment, you might be interested in this 3 pound Dr. J micro-projector measuring just 7.8 x 2.7 x 6 inches that is capable of producing projected output of 170 inches (diagonally). 

In September, I will be attending my 50-year class reunion and offered to produce some music videos of my classmates working and having fun over the past 50 years as well as a salute to our class veterans.  But the Historical Museum where we will be gathering owned no projection equipment. Since I'm retired, I also no longer have access to a university projector. It was a bit of a dilemma until I saw this unit advertised as an Amazon Lightning deal for only $60. (It is regularly priced at $98.99 - still a bargain!) It was very positively reviewed, although for the price, I quite honestly, wasn't expecting a lot. When the projector arrived, though, I was very pleasantly surprised.

The unit is solidly built and comes with a remote as well as having adjustment controls on the projector itself. I had copied my videos to a flash drive and inserted it into the USB port then turned on the projector and selected USB as my video source using the setup menu. Then I navigated through the flash drive folders to the folder containing my videos and selected the one I wished to play. Pressing the source button again opened the video in full screen mode and played all videos in the selected folder.  I was quite pleased with the color reproduction and thought the sharpness was also quite good as well.

The unit has built-in speakers, a big plus for such a compact unit, and they put out a decent amount of sound.  If you need more volume for a larger room, you can use the included RCA cable to connect external speakers.  Quite honestly, I was totally amazed at the quality of the output for such a small price. When I was an education technologist before I retired ten years ago I had to spend over a thousand dollars to get the results this LED micro-projector produces.

In short, this little gem offers great portability, is easy to set up and adjust, and has very good sharpness and color reproduction for a terrific price!  (No, I don't work for this company or receive any commissions for publicizing it.)  I just might go forth and produce more presentations on the Roman Empire for local groups now that I have a way to share them.  After all, if the SAT advisory board follows through with the proposal to eliminate teaching history before the mid-1400s in U.S. AP courses, someone needs to do it!! The legal and social constructs of the classical world were used to form the foundation on which our republic was built!

Note: The projector shipped with an HDMI cable which is great for those with a newer laptop or other HDMI-compatible devices.  However, if you are using an older laptop as your content source you will need your own VGA cable and audio patch cable to connect your laptop's VGA port and headphone jack to the projector's VGA port and AV jack as they are not provided. Unless your files require software on your laptop or you are demonstrating software, though, I recommend copying your images or videos to a USB flash drive and eliminate the hassle of connecting all the cables for laptop projection. 

This unit is optimized for video output and is not recommended for text-heavy Powerpoint presentations.  However, I could still read projected text with the unit properly focused. Instead, I use a slideshow program called ProShow Gold by Photodex to combine my images with a soundtrack, add transitions, and output a video file in my desired file format.
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