Are cheap LCDs a good choice for classroom sharing?

Can low-priced LCD TVs serve most classroom computer demonstration needs? 32" and 40" TVs can often be found under $500. While it's true that LCD projectors have also come down in price considerably, LCD TVs can be wall-mounted and won't need expensive replacement bulbs.

An increasing number of teachers in my district are really beginning to embrace classroom technology. At the very least, most are presenting information to students using PowerPoint, the Internet, demos from calculators or scientific probes, or are using interactive response systems. Others want to lead their students through activities in a computer lab or while their students are using laptops.

All this means that their minimum classroom tech requirements are usually LCD projectors and a computer. But is there a cheaper, easier alternative? After all, for many schools, an LCD projector in each room can be prohibitively expensive and ceiling mounts (far more practical for daily use than a projector resting on a cart in the middle of a classroom) can be impractical or expensive to install.

LCD televisions, on the other hand, just keep getting cheaper. While Black Friday deals on HDTVs are really outstanding, as PCWorld points out,

Steep price declines over the past year plus the usual Black Friday madness make this a good time to buy--but even if you wait, you’re apt to find great deals throughout the holiday season.

While this advice is obviously directed at consumers, it begs the question, can low-priced LCD TVs serve most classroom computer demonstration needs? 32" and 40" TVs can often be found under $500. While it's true that LCD projectors have also come down in price considerably, LCD TVs can be wall-mounted and won't need expensive replacement bulbs.

My question, though, is are these big enough to be really effective? The price is certainly right, many classrooms already have televisions, and most of the LCD TVs have a VGA input, making the process even easier. What do you think? Is it time for a little Black Friday shopping? Or at least a little budgeting for cheap LCDs next year?

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