How to Choose a Home Projector?

How to Choose a Home Projector?

March 05, 2020

Using a home projector at home is a trend that keeps increasing. More homeowners are choosing to experience the optimum quality that an excellent projector offers, with the high-quality projection that helps viewers feel like they are at the movies from the comfort of their own home. Though big TV is available for purchase, they still can’t give you the customization that a home projector offers. 

However, to get the best picture quality possible, you’ll need the right type of projector. Buying a home projector can be challenging because there are several models to choose from, each with its unique benefits. The key to streamlining the process is to determine what you need and then finding home projectors that fit your needs. We have put together a list of the things you need to consider when shopping for a home projector to help you choose the right one most suitable for your needs.

Projector Resolution

A projector resolution is simply the number of pixels that a projector has to create an image. The higher the resolution of a home projector, the more pixels it has, and the more expensive the projector will be. The benefits of projectors are that it can display more detail in the image, and they also reduce the visibility of the pixel structure on the screen. Home projectors come in a variety of resolutions including:

1280x720 – this is one of the most popular home projector resolutions. Most of this resolution provides incredible DVD video quality while also doing a great job of displaying a 1080-line video. Also, the projector with this type of resolution is budget-friendly. 

1280x800 – the 1280x800 is a resolution that can display 720p high definition images as well as standard PC resolution WXGA (1280x800) and XGA (1024x768) without scaling. In this case, your viewing materials include video, PC data, and internet surfing; this projector resolution will allow you to view the data signals in their most definite form.

1920x1080 – this projector resolution can display 1080i signals, and 1080p and 1080i from Blu-ray disc players, all available in native format without scaling. This resolution gives you the most detailed and sharpest pictures available from most common HD material sources. 

4K – the 4K, also known has is the latest projector resolution available. This projector resolution makes use of a native pixel matrix of 3840x2160 or 4096x2160, which is 4x the pixels of 1080p. Although 4K content is scarce currently, and 4K projectors are still expensive, but a lot of projectors that use this new technology are now coming to the market.

To get the best image quality, you need to match the resolution of the video source you plan to use frequently to the projector resolution.

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Aspect Ratio

The aspect ratio is the ratio of the width to the height of a screen or image. Most of the projectors on the market can project in multiple aspect ratios. However, the native projector resolution usually determines what ratio they are enhanced for. For instance, a 1080p projector is optimized for 16:9, while an 800 x 600 home projector is perfect for 4:3.

Projecting a 16:9 picture on a 4:3 home projector will lead to a loss in resolution as it truncates the images vertically. As a result, you end up with a picture that uses the total width of the pixels but contains black spaces at the top and bottom of the image, which pixels not used. Usually, you won’t lose resolution when you project a 4:3 image on a 16:9 home projector; however, you will get a smaller image.

That happened because most of the 16:9 projectors have 1080p resolution, and they have a lot of pixels to display the full 800 x 600 resolution of most 4:3 pictures, but they cannot make it fit the whole screen without cutting off the top and bottom. The conclusion is that 16:9 offer more versatility than 4:3, so you can get a product with a native resolution that boasts of 16:9 ratio.

Screen Size

Screen size for a home projector is an essential point you need to consider before purchasing a home projector. Getting the best screen size for a home projector mostly depends on the projector itself. One of the most critical considerations for the best experience is the aspect ratio of the projector. So, do you want a square screen (say, a 4:3 aspect ratio) or a rectangular screen (for instance, 16:9 aspect ratio).

The type of content you plan to watch on your home theater projector will play a significant role in determining the best screen size you can choose. For example, compared to presentations with charts in a boardroom or complex data, widescreen format movies will require a different setup.

Lamp or Laser Projector?

There are two types of projectors available – one is where the image is displayed with laser light while the other is where images are shown through lamplight. There is no much difference in the quality of the image displayed by both the lamp and laser projector as they both have the same amount of picture quality and clarity, and have similar brightness levels.

The most significant difference between the two is how often you your home projector. If you will want to watch TV often on your projector screen, a laser projector is the most suitable investment. These projectors are an excellent choice for regular use because they have no issue with overheating, unlike lamp projectors. You won’t need time to cool down before restarting or have a problem with them cutting out. But if you plan only to use it occasionally, you can opt for a lamp projector as it is cheaper.

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Light Output (Brightness)

Brightness refers to the amount of light your home projector can shoot onto a screen through the lens. The brightness of a projector is one of the most important decisions you need to get right because a washed-out, dim image can render your home projector useless. You don’t necessarily need to purchase the brightest projector you can afford. Still, if you are not sure of the product-specific application, a brighter projector is always a safer bet.

Brighter projectors can be made dimmer, whereas you can’t make a lamp that is too dim brighter. 1500 to 2000 lumens work great for home theater applications. You can still get a brighter model, but they will be more expensive.

Contrast

Another vital factor to consider for an incredible viewing experience is the contrast of the projector. In addition to brightness, contrast is what you require to ensure your images are well balanced and illustrate all the essential details you require. Contrast is also described as a contrast ratio – this is the ration between black and white aspects of the image projected. 

High contrast ratio produces blacker blacks and whiter whites, hence offering you a full and deep visual experience. A projector may provide a good Lumens rating, but if the device contrast ratio is low, the image projected will look washed. A contrast ratio of about 1,500:1 is suitable for a darkened room, but the contrast ratio of 2,000:1 or higher is perfect.

Throw Ratio

Throw ratio is the distance from the projector lens to the screen, divided by the width of the image that is projected. For instance, a projector with a throw ratio of 1.5:1 creates a 1-foot-wide image when it is 1.5 feet away from the screen. Sometimes you will see home projectors of throw ratios with two figures at the start, like 1.4-1.5:1. The other two figures are included because most home projectors boast of an optical zoom that allows the user to zoom the image, thus offering a range of throw ratios.

Bigger zooms offer more versatility and can be helpful if you will be using your projector in a variety of different settings. Throw ratio is vital as it makes it easier for you to place your projector in the spot that will offer the image size you require, or how large an image you can get when you place it in your desired location.

Imaging System

Home projectors comprise of three types of image systems, which include DLP, LCD, LCoS. DLP device is a popular choice today. People who intend to use a projector for business, school, or home application may benefit from a DLP projector.

However, if you need the highest quality of images for bigger audiences, LCoS may serve as the best option. For homeowners who plan to use their home projectors in a setting where it cannot be easily maintained or replaced, an LCD projector may be a perfect choice.

Conclusion

A home theater projector can create a more satisfying movie-watching experience compared to a big screen TV. And over the years, home projectors have become increasingly affordable. However, selecting the right home projector can be challenging, as there is a lot of things you need to put into consideration. The guidelines above will help you determine the product that is best for your space and needs.



1 Response

Les Barrett
Les Barrett

May 23, 2020

No comment on refresh rates ,or gaming suitability….. Id like an entry level gaming cinema projector…. any suggestions?

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