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Presentations have always been an important part of doing business, whether they display this quarter's dazzling sales figures or inform your employees about the corporate benefits package. Although slides or overhead transparencies have certainly been the time-tested media for this type of message, the latest display technology offers a more dynamic, flexible option.
Liquid crystal display (LCD) panels look a lot like a cross between an Etch-A-Sketch and the screen of a standard computer monitor. They display images just like standard monitors, but they do so lying atop an overhead projector, causing your presentation to be projected in full color directly from your computer onto a wall or any other surface. No longer must you try to crowd a large group around a small monitor.
In this comparison we evaluate 15 active matrix color panels with at least 640-by-480 resolution. These products represent the higher end of the crop of projection panels currently available. They include 3M's 5900; Apollo Audio Visual's Vision 16.7; Chisholm's TFT Rainbow Series 600 and TFT Rainbow Series HD 700; InFocus Systems Inc.'s PanelBook 550; NovaCorp International Inc.'s Ask Impact 16.7; nView Corp.'s MediaPro and ViewFrame Spectra C; Proxima Corp.'s Ovation, Ovation 810, and Ovation 820; Sharp Electronics Corp.'s QA-1150 and QA-1650; and Telex Communications Inc.'s MagnaByte SC and MagnaByte 1000.
Have LCD, will travel. LCD panels are particularly desirable because they're portable. Most companies have an overhead projector on hand, so all you will need is your notebook computer, your presentation graphics software, and one of these units. You plug the device into the external monitor port of your portable computer, load your presentation, and away you go.
You can design dynamic, software-driven presentations that are livelier and more flexible than their still-life counterparts. These devices save you the expense of creating slides or transparencies, and you have the advantage of spontaneously changing the presentation on the fly -- an option slides or transparencies lack.
You could even use a panel for training a roomful of people in how to use a new software package -- a task for which slides and transparencies just don't cut it. Several of the units also ship with a light pointer, and some can take advantage of more sophisticated infrared pointers that act like a mouse. (See sidebar, page 78.)
Panel-rama. There are a wide variety of panels you can choose from. This comparison looks at the active matrix color …