How to get screens in your church for less than $900.

Have you noticed what I’ve noticed? Every time I go to Walmart, I’m noticing that TVs are getting really, really cheap. A 50 inch TV was over $1,000 just a few years ago. Now it’s common to see 50 inch TVs for for around $300. If you pastor a smaller church and want to get into using screens — this is really good news for you.

What NOT to do:

If your auditorium seats less than 130 people — you probably shouldn’t be looking at buying a projector. Projectors are a pain. They are hard to set up and even harder to make look right. Good ones are expensive. Most of the time they look hokey. If your church is smaller — two large TVs will be much better than one projector. They’ll look better. They’ll be easier to use. They’ll work with more stuff.

What you need:

  • Two 55 inch TVs (These will do.) — approximately $700
  • Two TV wall mounts (These are fine.) — approximately $40
  • Two long HDMI cables ( You can get these) — approximately $35
  • One HDMI splitter (This is what I use.) — approximately $20
  • One shorter HDMI cable (Any will do) — approximately $10.
  • A floor mounted outlet box (We use something like this) — approximately $60.

So, everything you need is going to cost around $850. Not bad for something you will be using all the time.

How it works

The two TVs are mounted on two opposite sides of the front of the auditorium and are controlled by a laptop that sits on the front pew facing the stage. The two screens stay in sync and always show the same thing.

Installation

Installing these is a little bit of a chore, but it’s not impossible.

  1. Determine where on your front walls you want the screens to go.
  2. Run the two long HDMI cables from the spots on the wall, through the wall and floor to a spot somewhere in the front and center of your auditorium.
  3. Install the floor box somewhere near the front of your auditorium (we’ve found that underneath the front pew works well.)
  4. Install the wall mounts and the televisions.
  5. Where the two HDMI cables meet, hook them up to the HDMI splitter. Use the third HDMI cable to go from that splitter up through the floor box.

You should now be able to just hook a laptop (or anything else with an HDMI output) to that HDMI cable on the front pew and it will run simultaneously through both screens.

Now that you have screens — you’ll need to know how to use them. Don’t worry, we’ll have plenty of tutorials about that coming up in Cheap Church Tech.

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