Projector offers detachable digicam

SAN FRANCISCO (11/21/2003) - With the new Toshiba Corp. TLP-S41U projector, you won't need to hassle with printed handouts or find a chalkboard in order to add last-minute items to your presentation. This versatile unit includes an integrated digital camera that you can use to project images of paper documents or display three-dimensional objects.

Previous Toshiba projectors have included onboard cameras, but the US$1,799 TLP-S41U is the first model to offer a camera that can be detached, though the camera is still tethered via a 43.5-inch cable. You can use the camera to display large items (such as maps or schematic drawings) or even to show live demonstrations (how to use a PDA, the functions of a scientific calculator, and so on). Note that the TLP-S41U is a native-SVGA (800-by-600-pixel resolution) projector, so its image quality isn't quite as good as that of higher-resolution models.

I found it a simple affair to set up a shipping TLP-S41U and use it with both PC and video inputs, although at 6.2 pounds with camera, it's heavier than portables without cameras. Noteworthy features include a zoom lens, a one-click keystone button (which automatically corrects trapezoidal distortion), and a robust brightness of 1600 ANSI lumens. The camera unit includes a sturdy base, an extendable arm, and a small camera head with focus and other controls.

The projector was effective at displaying both documents and objects in a small room with low ambient light. However, in a darker room, you might need to use a small desk lamp to illuminate items placed under the camera.

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