Home Theater Projector Comparison
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Home Theater Projector Buying Guide
What is a Home Theater Projector?
When looking for a projector for your home or business needs there are a few important things to consider.
Where will you use the projector? Projectors are used in a wide range of environments from a dedicated home theatre to business meetings. They can be used a range of environments and each of those will have different settings, light levels and screen capacity. Where the projector will be used will help determine the size of the projector and the light requirements for obtaining a quality picture.
How big a screen will it be projected? The size of the screen will be a factor in the power the projector must have in order to show a clear detailed picture. Projectors are built to work at specific distances from the screen and to meet maximum screen dimensions. Check these out and ensure it will provide a clear picture for the size of screen you will most often be using.
How far away will the projector be from the screen? Distance from the screen also impacts the quality of the images. If the projector is placed on a table, you may be able to adjust the distance for the best quality picture. If it will be mounted on the ceiling it will need to be placed at the optimal distance considering the screen size and the size of the projection you want.
What is the lighting in the room? Brightness of the room is measured in ANSI Lumens. The darker the room the lower the lumens needed to get a clear picture. A room that is a dedicated theater with darkened windows can use only 1000 lumens where a room with windows and high ambient light will need a minimum of 3000 lumens in order to get a clear high quality picture.
Features to Consider
Most projectors offer 1080p HD images which provides a good quality picture. Depending on your use and the space you will place the projector you also need to consider the light levels in the room, the size of the screen and the distance the projector will be placed from the screen. These factors will help you determine which projector will provide the highest quality images for your viewing.
Features of the projector that will play into your decision include the following:
Image Quality? Image quality may be listed in HD (1920 X 1080) or Wide XGA (1280 X 800). These are the most common resolutions seen in home theater projectors. The HD has double the pixels as the Wide XGA making it the preferred choice for higher quality images. The signal feed will also impact the quality of the image so if you are viewing in analog with an HD screen the quality will still suffer. An HD quality feed with an HD Projector offers the best quality images even on larger screens. The larger the screen the more the image quality can be distinguished. The source of the image matters. If you are using a blue Ray, Xbox and laptop, the maximum quality of the feed combined with the quality of the image of the projector will result in the overall quality of your viewing.
Do you need 3D? The latest in theater entertainment is 3D movies and images, increasing the demand for this feature in projectors. With the increase in popularity 3D imaging has dropped in price significantly and can now be found in a lot of models. With cable providers now offering 3D and many movies coming out with 3D versions, adding this feature to the projector will increase your ability to enjoy 3D entertainment in the comfort of your own home.
Lamp Life: Lamp life has typically been around 2000 to 4000 hours. With the implementation of LED lighting the lamp life is substantially increasing. The lamps are an important factor in the projector. First they offer the lumens needed to gain a good quality picture and are expensive to replace. The LED bulbs offer a much longer life and burn cooler. Cooler lights reduce the amount of time the fan must run to cool the projector. Fans do not run silently and can be a factor in the quality of the entertainment you experience.
Installation: Projectors can be used on a table or mounted on the ceiling. Ceiling mounts are more stable and will not get bumped or move but a table mount is more portable and can be used in different applications.
DEEP Color: Color impacts image quality. DEEP color offers a higher quality of color and is found in most new models. This gives you 10, 12 or 16 bit ability as opposed to the older 8 bit capacity. This allows the screen to show a wider variety of color shades and provides a truer crisper picture.
Frames Per Second: Most projectors operate with 24p or 24 frames per second. Most TV shows are run at 30p or 1080i HDTV which is run at 60p, making models with 1080 HD the preferred choice among home theater viewers because of the increase in frames per second.
Other factors include how quiet the fan runs, access to operate the projector with a remote control, back lit models, internal scalers and a higher contrast ratio.
Home Theater projectors enable you to watch television, videos, gaming and other on screen entertainment in a movie theater effect. You are able to use existing entertainment sources like your Xbox, blue ray player or laptop computer and project images onto a large screen while still maintaining the image quality. They are becoming more popular as people look for ways to enjoy activities at home.