Smartboard, Whiteboard, Projector, Interactive Projector, and TV – Which to Choose and What are the Differences?
Whiteboard, smartboard, projector, interactive projector, and TV. These tools are used in a classroom or meeting room. The purpose of using these tools is as a medium for people to pour out their thoughts and ideas. When a discussion or lecturing session is going on, they need these tools to explain and display. These tools are also used to increase audience engagement, to attract the audience to pay attention, and to obtain a good discussing environment.
There are some similarities among these five but yet, they are also different from each other. Each of these has its own best feature and its weaknesses.
Unfortunately, classrooms or meetings cannot have all five tools mentioned above. They can only choose one normally, or two in some rare cases. When users are choosing the most suitable tools, they will be observing the features, efficiency, interactivity, image quality, brightness, and size. Users want to have a tool that will give the best outcome and has the most advantages to offer.
Sometimes, users would be in a dilemma when choosing among these tools. Questions like ‘which is the best’, ‘which is more convenient and efficient’, and ‘which is the cheapest’ will be crossing their minds. Thus, in this article, we are going to explore deeper the similarities and differences between these five tools.
Whiteboard is the most familiar tool. Everyone knows how a whiteboard looks. Most have used it during their school era. You must have also known the advantages and weaknesses of it. Whiteboard does not have many functions that will amaze the users. It is used as a board to write on and to draw on during lecture sessions or meetings. There is no digital component in a whiteboard. It could not display any media and it could not produce any audio as well.
Furthermore, a whiteboard can either be wall-mounted or portable where it can easily be moved with the wheels provided. Usually, in a classroom, you will see the wall-mounted one and the size is big. The advantage of a whiteboard is that it does not require any special skills to be used. All you need is a marker pen and a duster. Everyone can use the whiteboard easily.
A whiteboard also does not require any power source. It does not have to be charged too. It is very basic and simple, and this phrase explains both its advantages and disadvantages. Since it is very basic and simple, it does not offer the interactive experience like a smartboard or an interactive projector would. Another disadvantage is that the glare from the whiteboard can cause difficulty to read what is written on the whiteboard.
Besides that, a whiteboard needs marker pens, and the least favourite part is a marker pen has to constantly be refilled. It is troublesome for users. Furthermore, the whiteboard is pretty useless if users cannot refill the markers. If the cap of the marker goes missing, the ink will dry up too. This is another troublesome problem.
TV has been used for education and business. However, the disadvantage is, there is not much that can be done with a TV. Users cannot interact with the TV like how they do with a smartboard and interactive projector. TV is solely used to view images or watch videos. Users cannot write on it. It cannot create an interactive experience.
The advantage of having a TV in a classroom or meeting room is that it motivates the audience to stay focus. It keeps the concentration going since rather than seeing a whiteboard all along, a TV would be better. To compare the advantages of a TV with the advantages of an interactive projector or a smartboard, there will be a huge gap. TV cannot beat those two devices but is better than whiteboard in increasing engagement. Moreover, since a TV also does not have much to give, it is cheaper.
A projector is a tool used to display media on a projector screen. However, the projector does not work well all the time. It requires quite some time to set it up, from switching on the projector, rolling down the projector screen, and connecting the projector to a laptop. Besides, a projector can encounter some technical issues, or a cable might go missing. Many more problems may occur. It could get very frustrating.
Furthermore, the projector does not have any function other than solely displaying images and videos. Not to mention the visual quality tends to be poorer. Media projected are not sharp, and the colours tend to be dimmer and fading. A dark room is also needed when using a projector.
The benefit of a projector is that it can project a bigger image for its viewing audience. In a meeting room or a classroom, it is very helpful for the audience to be able to view the media from a further distance. It acts like a giant TV since it can produce a very large display screen.
The interactive projector is an alternative to a projector. This product usually comes with a projector and a display screen. However, there are huge differences between an interactive projector and a projector.
The interactive projector offers smart advantages to its users. This is one of the best devices to have in a classroom or a meeting room. As the name goes, the interactive projector can create an interactive experience for the audience. Unlike the usual projector that does not have provide any interaction, the interactive projector allows users to write and draw on it, other than displaying media.
Another advantage is that users can choose the background they want when writing on the screen. Usually, there is only a plain white background like the whiteboard. With an interactive projector, there are several options for backgrounds. For example, there is a grid line background, dark plain background, and music sheet. They can select different backgrounds for different purposes now. To do math and calculation, users can choose the grid background and they will not have to draw boxes or lines anymore without any guidance. When learning music, users can choose the music sheet background and write some music notes on it. The time spent to draw a stave on the screen is saved now.
Furthermore, the smart pen provided can be very useful. With just one pen, users can apply different colours and stroke thicknesses. In contrast, to have 10 different colours on a whiteboard, we need to buy 10 marker pens with different colours.
The disadvantages of the interactive projector would be that it is pricey, and the maintenance cost could be high if there is any breakage. Another disadvantage is that the projected image quality is not high enough to compete with a high-definition display. The visual quality is highly affected by the surroundings and the room lighting. The image may look dim if the ambient lighting is bright.
Smartboard is an alternative to many tools. Whiteboard does not have many special features, right? Now it is contradicting with a smartboard that has a lot to offer. There are many advantages of a smartboard, and several of them will be mentioned here.
First of all, a smartboard can be used for video conferencing. You can either purchase the smartboard that has a built-in camera, or you can just attach the camera separately. It can even support Google Meet and Zoom.
Furthermore, a smartboard is a multifunction device that lets you use it for two different purposes at the same time. It can be used for video conferencing and also as a whiteboard to write on at the same time. Besides, a smartboard allows you to look for online references during lectures and meetings by using its built-in browser. You can search it up with a smartboard on the spot without connecting to any computer. Most smartboards are equipped with their own operating systems. Basic applications such as internet browsing, displaying media files, and Microsoft Office presentations are possible.
Another smart advantage of a smartboard is the ‘share screen’ feature that can be enabled anytime when the user wants to share their phone screen or laptop screen with the audience. You may have seen this feature during a Google meet meeting where a presenter will share their screen for presentation, it is the same as that one. Besides, it increases the interactions for both students and employees. The feature makes an interactive experience possible.
Now, what are the disadvantages of a smartboard? There is not much of it. First, it costs more than a whiteboard. Second, the user needs to have basic computer literacy skills to be able to use the smartboard effortlessly and effectively. However, this can be solved easily as most smartboard providers will offer both training manuals and training sessions.
The next disadvantage is that the maintenance cost of a smartboard could be pretty high if there is any breakage. However, breakage is very rare. Thus, the ongoing maintenance cost is minimal, especially when compared to tools such as a projector and a whiteboard.
Before one purchases anything, the first thing he will consider is the cost. All the five tools cost differently as they have different specialties to offer. The most expensive products will be the smartboard and the interactive projector. Since these two are the most advanced tools, it is logical that they cost more. However, if there is no breakage or any accident, the maintenance costs of the two tools are lower than the others.
The most average-priced device will be the TV. It is not too cheap nor too expensive. The cost depends on the size and the features provided. Usually, it would only cost a few thousand Ringgit, unless it is a smart TV. In most cases, a TV would cost a minimal maintenance fee since it is quite durable.
The same goes for the projector. A basic projector is inexpensive. It is affordable for both schools and offices. But then again, a projector is cheap because it is not a smart innovation that has a lot to give to its users.
The cheapest tool is the whiteboard. Well, there is no doubt about it. A whiteboard can be purchased anywhere, even at a bookstore. It does not require special skills to be used and it offers very basic features. However, the marker pens’ expenses could be high since marker pens need to be refilled and bought from time to time.
Efficiency and Interactivity
Despite how expensive a product will cost, if it is efficient and it can increase interactivity, then it will be a good investment. In that case, the most efficient and interactive product will be a smartboard. An interactive projector is also on the same level. A smartboard does not complicate the users with inconvenient setup procedures. Besides, it lets the users have interactions with the screen.
A smartboard does not require any cables and it is not compulsory to be wall-mounted. One can purchase the portable one and move it easily, unlike an interactive projector and projector that have to be wall-mounted. Furthermore, for interactive projector and projector, you must get two items, which are a projector and a projector screen. That is not as efficient and as convenient as a smartboard.
Moreover, smartboard and interactive projector increase interactivity as they can be used by every single participant. Users can write on it and draw on it as well. They can interact with their content. They can highlight or underline what they want to. They can write their notes and save them for later. Audiences are involved instead of just being passive listeners.
For an interactive projector, users can draw on the image projected on a screen, and they can also save it. This is a very amazing feature when users are having a presentation as they can draw or add more points. They will not have to edit it on computers and pause their presentation.
Besides, by increasing the interactivity, letting the audience be a part of the session will surely help to keep their concentration going. They will not be zoning out or daydreaming. Often, with a whiteboard, only the presenter and the teacher will do the talking. This is quite boring for the audience to just sit all day and lend their ears. With a smartboard and an interactive projector, each audience has an active role now. The audience can participate actively and can interact with the device.
Can you draw on a projector or a TV? No right? Thus, a whiteboard or a projector is not as interactive as a smartboard and an interactive projector would be. They do not allow users to interact with their content. These two tools minimize the audience’s active involvement as they only allow audiences to receive what is displayed passively. No writing and no drawing are available with projector and TV.
Video Conference and Audio Support
Video conferencing and audio support are among the best features. Back in the old days, these features were not needed for education or business. Today, given the pandemic and the modernization the world is going through, these features have started to become important.
Back then, a whiteboard was enough. But now, not anymore. A whiteboard does not support video conference and audio. The only device that can be used directly for video conferences is a smartboard. As for the interactive projector, TV, and projector, they have to be connected to a laptop first. They will be used as a display to show the video conference on a bigger screen. This automatically means, all tools except for whiteboard, do have audio support.
These features help students to have video conferences with tutors from another side of the world or when their teacher is not able to attend the school physically. Businesses can also use these features. They can have video conferences with distant clients or with partners from other companies. There is no need to travel anywhere. With these features, if you cannot be there physically, you can be there virtually.
With the audio being supported, they can communicate with others through the conference. The video conference can be done with Google Meet or Zoom. For a smartboard, these two applications are supported. They can use it on a smartboard without having to connect to any other devices if an Open Pluggable Specification (OPS) module is installed. When it comes to video conferencing, a smartboard is superior to the others.
For the comparison of the image quality, a whiteboard will be excluded since it does not display any media.
Generally, the device that will give the best image quality would be a smartboard. Most smartboards are equipped with a high-resolution display panel. Thus, a smartboard has more accurate and richer colours. The image displayed is also sharper with higher brightness.
How about an interactive projector? An interactive projector has better image quality compared to the usual projector. The colours and resolution are better.
For the usual projector, the image displayed tends to be dimmer, lacks in colours, fading, and has a lower definition. If the audience is viewing the screen from quite a distance, they can barely see the image. The image will be seen blurry, fading, and almost colourless. Ambient lighting has a great impact on how images will appear on the screen.
The interactive projector has overcome the lack of image quality that a projector has. However, an interactive projector and a projector still share the same issue. Both of them need a dark room. The darker the room is, the brighter the image is. It will look faded if the room is too bright with strong lighting or sunlight. This can be an issue when the room does not have any curtains.
Now, the image quality of a TV? This is dependable on the type and brand you are getting. Usually, a school will get a basic TV. So, the image quality is not on the top tier. It will still be better than the projector’s quality, but it is doubtful to be better than the smartboard. However, if the TV comes with a high-definition display, the image quality will be just nice. The vivid colours are there, and the high brightness is also there. If an office would like to get a TV, then they must go for a better brand with enhanced visual quality.
However, TV tends to have a smaller audience size compared to others. If the TV size and the number of audiences fit well, then the image quality will be just fine. But if you have a bigger audience, you should get a bigger TV to obtain the best viewing quality.
Each tool has its benefits and specialties. However, if a choice must be made, the best tool would be a smartboard. Why? No other reason other than the features it has and the advantages it offers. The quality, the engagement, the cost, and the efficiency are the best among all. A smartboard has overcome all that a whiteboard, a TV, a projector, and an interactive projector are lacking.
An interactive projector is also a good choice, but it is not as convenient as a smartboard would be. A smartboard does not require a projector and a projector display. Smartboard can be everything with only one screen. Furthermore, it does not have to be wall-mounted. If you want a whiteboard, a smartboard can act as one. If you want a projector, a smartboard can be one and if you want to connect to a laptop to share your screen, again, a smartboard can be one too.
With its ability to increase engagement and the efficiency it offers, the pricing of a smartboard is pretty reasonable. Thus, there is no doubt that a smartboard is a smarter choice for both educational and business purposes.