Smart Projectors – What Makes Them “Smart”?

Last Updated February 28,2019

Smart is the buzzword of today’s consumer world. Modern homes are filled with smart devices, be it their living rooms, bedrooms or kitchens. Everything from locks to appliances features smart and intuitive user interfaces. The latest category to emerge in the land of smart devices is smart projectors.

What are Smart Projectors? 

Smart projectors project images like their regular counterparts but pack a few intuitive features as well. These projectors have a powerful processor, RAM, and storage and are like mini-computers. The devices have built-in Wi-Fi capability and can be connected to a wireless network. Some might also feature an Ethernet port for wired connectivity or be compatible with cellular network SIMs. They may also support input devices like keyboard and mouse.

Smart projectors have a full-fledged operating system that is quite similar to smartphones and tablets. It is generally based on the Android OS and allows users to install applications and access the Internet. Users don’t need a playback device to view movies or shows and can stream them directly from respective services and platforms. However, smart projectors also feature video and audio input ports for connecting playback devices and consoles.

Characteristics of Smart Projectors 

Here are a few characteristics that are seen in smart projectors from different manufacturers.

Feature-rich Operating System

One of the most important features of a smart projector is its OS. While all projectors have some sort of firmware or software that allows the users to interact with the projector, smart projectors have a more advanced OS. It shares functionalities with other smart devices especially smartphones and tablets. It enables the users to install applications, browse the web and answer emails in addition to playing videos from a USB drive or other media. They can perform most functions of a regular desktop computer as well as playback devices.

JMGO N7L smart projector running Android OS

Internet Connectivity

Smart projectors have inbuilt Wi-Fi that allows users to connect to their home wireless networks. Some models might also feature an Ethernet port that enables users to connect to their LAN network. Internet access allows users to stream content and watch videos on popular platforms. These may include subscription-based services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime as well as platforms like YouTube.

Network connectivity also enables users to play videos stored in a NAS or other storage device attached to their home storage network. There is no need to transfer data such as videos or pictures repeatedly. They can play it directly from the network storage using their smart projector.

Built-In Speakers 

Smart projectors also feature built-in speakers making them a comprehensive entertainment solution. Portable models of smart projectors have decent speakers while hi-end models might feature a premium sound system for a cinematic experience. Smart projectors can also be connected to dedicated sound systems for a rich home theatre experience.

Communication Capability With Other Smart Devices  

There has been a wide range of smart devices introduced in recent years. Most appliances in homes, ranging from kitchen appliances to security systems have become smart. The emergence of virtual smart assistants like Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant have facilitated the creation of connected homes. They allow users to interact with their different smart devices from a single hub or speaker.

Homeowners can control their air conditioner or refrigerator while sitting in their living room. Smart projectors also have the ability to connect with other smart devices. They allow users to access their virtual assistants and control different devices via their smart projectors. Users can operate different devices from their smart projectors while using them. They can order pizzas while watching a movie or call a cab while listening to the news on their smart projector. The Anker Nebula Capsule II is one such device that supports Google Assistant. Other manufacturers also support different virtual assistants and allow users to communicate with other smart devices using their smart projectors. 

Speech Recognition

Modern smart devices including consumer and home appliances come with speech recognition functionality. They support speech recognition, allowing users to control them using voice commands. There is no need to search frantically for the remote as the users can operate them with a few words. Smart projectors also incorporate speech recognition functionality directly or via smart assistants. Viewers can operate the device without having to move from their seats or the need for a remote control. It not only adds to convenience but also enhances accessibility for people with disability.

Features That We Would Love to See In Future Smart Projectors

While smart projectors have a rich set of features, here are a few additional fun and utility features that manufacturers can add to their smart projectors to make them more versatile.

Home Automation and Security System Support

Connected homes also feature home automation and smart security systems that make life easier for homeowners. Smart projectors could also enhance their functionality to include support for these devices. They can enable users to view the feed from their home security cameras as well as control their automated curtains and other automation devices via their projector. These devices should also connect with smart home lighting systems like the Philips Hue for providing cinema-like ambient lighting in the living room. It would make the smart projectors a central control hub for connected homes. 

Video-Calling Capability

Smart projectors can perform a wide range of tasks that require a multitude of consumer gadgets. They can act as a single substitute for laptops, TVs, projectors, and playback devices among others. Another feature that manufacturers of smart projectors should consider is video-calling capability. These projectors can already access the Internet and allow users to install applications. Adding a camera will enable users to use video calling applications such as Skype to talk with their friends and family. Users will be able to video chat with others right from their living room.

Gesture Recognition

Adding a camera will not only allow the users to video call; it can also be used for gesture recognition. It will further enhance the user experience by allowing viewers to control the smart projector and the applications installed on it via hand gestures. Users can flick through their movie collection or change the volume easily. Gesture recognition can also enhance the accessibility for users with voice disabilities.

Video Gaming Capability 

Smart projectors already fulfill the functionality of display devices like TVs and playback devices. Their manufacturers can further make their offerings more lucrative by adding video gaming capability to their smart projectors. They can either add in a decent graphics processing unit in their devices or allow users to access cloud gaming platforms via applications. Smart projectors can become the ultimate all-in-one devices for gamers as they will pack both a screen and a gaming console into a single device.


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- Will The LCD & OLED Displays Replace The Projection Within The Next 5 Or 10 Years?


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