What is the best home television? Well, the answer is not a TV, it’s a projector. You may think that projectors are only used for work presentations or movie theaters, however, because high end projectors have become more affordable and lower costing projectors are now available, it is easier than ever to complete your home theater room, entertainment room, completely replace your TV with a projector, or a portable projector for added entertainment for any occasion, in any setting.
You may be interested in buying a new projector, or perhaps in the market for a new TV and are curious to learn more about projection cinemas. You may be surprised in the cost comparisons and benefits that you get from a projector over a TV. Today, I am going to review types of projectors and what you should be looking for when shopping for one.
The first thing you need to decide when shopping for a projector is what is it for? Where will it primarily be used? You need to know this to understand what projector will fit the size of room or space you plan to use it in. This measurement is called the Throw Ratio. The throw ratio is the distance between the throw distance and the width of the image. The throw distance is the distance between the projector and the screen or wall of which you are projecting on. If a projector casts a big image while keeping it to a close or “short” distance from the projected surface, then it is called a “Short-Throw Projector”. If the projector requires a farther distance to cast a large image on the screen, then this is called a “Long-Throw Projector”. For example, if you’re looking for a projector to fit in a small room or for small meetings, you want to look for a Short-Throw Projector. Alternatively, a Long-Throw Projector would be suitable for a larger room or hall with taller ceilings. An easy way to gauge the throw is by looking at the specifications for the projector and the higher the throw ratio over 1 is the longer the throw and vice versa, the lower the ratio is under 1, the shorter the throw. Some projectors are even available with an Ultra-Short throw of 0.4 or less which is ideal if you want a huge display image while being able to keep the projector very close to the screen.
The focal lens of the projector can be controlled or adjusted via zoom if the projector has the capability. Essentially, zoom offers you a variable of allowance from the projector and the screen. Meaning, you have a greater allowance of distance between the projector and the screen because you can adjust the focal lens with zoom. So, if the projector has a fixed zoom, it will need to be placed with accurate distance from the screen.
An important part of your decision will be what type of projection technique is used by the projector. Without going into a science class about what each one does, let’s focus on the pros and cons of each.
DLP (Digital Light Processing) can produce sharp images, they don’t require filters, fast response times, and can project 3D images. DLP projectors also use much less space, so you will often find that ultra-portable projectors are DLP. DLP can sometimes give off color ghosting effect and the avg lamp life of a DLP projector is generally about 2000-5000 hours.
LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) provide better color saturation then DLPs, have lower noise levels, and are considered better for entertainment, like movies or video games. However, LCD’s do have slightly less contrast and require some filter maintenance. Most LCD projectors have 1 LCD chip. The more sophisticated, high-end projectors will use 3 LCD chips which fully enable the power of LCD giving you even better color and imagery.
LED (Light Emitting Diodes) Since the LED projectors use physical light emitting diodes and excellent at displaying deeper blacks, it usually offers very impressive contrast ratios. LED projectors also consume less power and generate less heat. Additionally, this type of projector offers the best colors and the longest lifespan. LED projectors are generally considered as the best of the best when it comes to projectors. One drawback of some LED projectors is that they have limited brightness which means it may not be the best choice for a room with a lot of ambient light.
Note, many projectors now combine LED with DLP technology giving you an really inexpensive amazing portable projectors.
The light intensity of a projector is usually specified as ANSI Lumens. 1000 Lumens is really all you need for a normal home living or theater room. The best and brightest projectors usually have 3000 Lumens brightness.
Since the contrast ratio determines how bright the white colors are and how dark the black colors are on the screen. The higher the contrast ratio, the better and more in-depth colors you will get. For home use projectors you will want a higher contrast ratio vs a projector you may want to use for work presentations where the contrast ratio probably wouldn’t matter.
Low-Res projectors are perfectly fine for work function, but for home use and entertainment, I would absolutely recommend you only shop for a HD resolution projector. For the best quality and sharpness, I would even encourage to look at 4k Ultra-HD resolution projectors. This will provide you the best experience when watching movies or if you are a gamer.
Most projectors have a variety of inputs you would use like HDMI, VGA, DVI, RS232, USB, and sometimes composite, s-video, or component video outputs which are considered older style source component connections. It would be smart to know what you need and ensure the projector you’re looking at has the proper connections, especially if you want uncompressed or high bandwidth signal transmission inputs like HML and HDCD ports, although you most likely won’t have any issues finding what you need.
The only advice I can offer regarding portable projectors is that if you plan on using it for a long time without a power source, like for a movie, you want a portable projector with a longer lasting battery in between charges. The ideas for using a portable projector are endless.
Like most TVs, projectors usually have in built in speakers. If shopping for a home projector and you don’t have a sound system, it is important to look at the speakers of the projector to ensure they will meet your needs. Many new projectors have audio-out Bluetooth capabilities.
Almost all home projectors will have the same OS as on the manufacturer’s regular TVs with all the same streaming, apps, and voice services. Its pretty much the same.
With projectors, there is something for every budget. Because of technology, some are extremely inexpensive and easy to find a projector for sale as a bonus. You can easily find projector deals on some of the best brand names and deals on projector even if its high end.
For a real Home projector experience from your average living room, to home theater and entertainment rooms, I would explore what LG, Hisense, & Optoma has to offer as they have the best range of selection and variation combined with power and quality.