For many of us, the term «projector» may evoke memories of cool projectors, slide projectors, and primitive digital projectors with the lowest picture qualities. But technology has advanced and LCD projectors have become a key component in most multimedia home theaters. .

The main advantage of an LCD projector is the ability to produce crisp, highly detailed images with better color saturation than other types of projectors (such as DLP projectors). LCD projectors are also more energy efficient therefore they require less power at any brightness.

However, there are some nuances to consider before diving into the game and spending a lot of money on features and aspects that you may not even need.

Square Space and Lighting

The first thing you need to consider is the amount of free space you have in the projection area, and lighting conditions during projection. These will greatly depend on what kind of projector specs you need.

You may only use the projector as a TV replacement on the weekends. So you will see a lot of things during the daytime with lots of sunshine. This is very different from using the projector as a cinema in the basement, where it will be mostly dark.

home lcd projector-place

Similarly, the amount of space available in your living room may only be half of what is available in your basement. The more space you have, the larger the projection surface will be to make use of that space — and you’ll need a projector that can fill the entire surface with a crisp, colorful image.

Finally, where are you going to place the projector? Will it rest on a dedicated booth? Or will you mount it on fixtures such as a wall or ceiling? Do you need it to be portable or is it okay if it is permanently attached?

Once you’ve thought about these things, you can move on to the real little things.

projection surface

Where are you planning to project the image? Because while it may not seem like it matters much whether you choose a wall or a screen, it is It has meaning and maybe lower the quality if you don’t remember the importance here.

For example, most people default to white as their projection surface color because it’s as close as you can get to a «blank canvas», right? Not really. The color of the surface will always affect the projected image, and white is not always the best way to go.

white surface good for natural color tones that are not too bright. It reflects colors most accurately, but colors can easily be blown away and lose contrast if the projector lamp is too bright. In addition, darker colors are more difficult to project onto a white surface because white lightens them.

home lcd projector screen

On the other hand, black surface best suited if you really want to capture the darker colors of a bright image. And because black absorbs more light than white, black surfaces are great when you’re in an environment with a lot of ambient light (such as during the day).

But if versatility is your top priority, then choose gray surface . Gray is good because it balances out the highlights and shadows in the image, resulting in the image retaining good contrast. How dark gray? You’ll have to experiment, but in general, the brighter the projector’s lamp, the darker the grey.

Finally, matte or glossy? Glossy reflects light better — and therefore creates a cleaner image — but tends to create a lot of glare. On the other hand, matte light reduces glare by making the image hazy and losing color saturation. For home theater, we think the pros of matte outweigh the cons.

Projection image

As far as the projector itself, there are a few specs that require the most of your attention.

Aspect Ratio: Projectors are mostly aspect ratio 4:3 (standard) and 16:9 (widescreen), which is the ratio between the width and height of the projected image. The rule of thumb is that the aspect ratio of the projector should match the most common video source you’ll be using (so if you’re projecting 16:9 laptop video, get a 16:9 projector).

Permission: resolution is the number of pixels that can be projected. The most common resolution is 1280×720, also known as 720p, which is a 16:9 aspect ratio. This is good enough for most DVDs and won’t cost you too much. A 1080p or 1920×1080 projector is obviously better (assuming you have a video source, also 1080p), but much more expensive.

If you are not a hardcore videophile who carefully analyzes all the flaws in image quality, a 720p projector for home use will suit you. It can still project a 1080p video source, but the quality will be reduced to match the projector’s 720p resolution.

Note. The larger the projected image, the more noticeable the loss in image quality will be. Conversely, if your projection size is small, you will not notice any loss in image quality.

home lcd projector throw

Coefficient projections : distance is the distance between the projector and the projection surface. Coefficient projection is the ratio between this distance and the width of the projected image. For example, if the projector has a throw ratio of 2:1, then for every 2 feet increase in distance, the projected image will increase by 1 foot.

Depending on how far away your projector will be, especially if it will be permanently installed in a fixed location, you must ensure that the throw ratio is sufficient to fill the surface you will be projecting onto.

Contrast Ratio: although resolution is important, perhaps more it is important to have good color contrast for good image quality. Not enough contrast and the image will look flat and lifeless. In short, a higher contrast ratio means more whites and blacks.

More contrast is always better, but the trade-off is usually worth it. The good news is that the darker the projection area (like a basement without light), the less contrast matters. However, the brighter the area (such as ambient sunlight), the more important the contrast becomes.

The ratio itself describes the difference between the brightest white and the darkest black, so a contrast ratio of 1000:1 means that the brightest white is 1000 times brighter than the darkest black. The thing is, contrast doesn’t increase linearly, so 1000:1 isn’t necessarily twice as good as 500:1.

As a minimum, we recommend a contrast ratio of 500:1, but we know that many modern projectors have a contrast ratio of over 10,000:1 and are still affordable. It’s up to you to decide whether a slight improvement in quality is worth the price.

home lcd projector brightness

Brightness: brighter is not always better. As with computer monitors, bright lights can cause eye strain, and if left on for long periods of time, you may develop eye strain. which manifests itself in the form of headaches, blurred vision and itching of the eyeballs.

But too dark is also not good. You need a certain amount of brightness for the contrast ratio to work — there isn’t enough light and there won’t be any contrast no matter what.

Brightness is measured in ANSI Lumens . Try not to exceed 1250 lumens for darker settings, while anything brighter than 2000 lumens will look better at brighter settings. Some advanced projectors may even let you adjust the brightness, but don’t count on it.

Lamp life: Less known as life time lamps, term services lamps are duration service life the projector lamp before it was replaced — and in most cases this means that the lamp is twice as bright as when it was new.

Traditionally, LCD projectors used incandescent lamps with an average output of 1000 to 5000 hours. However, modern LCD projectors are equipped with LED lamps with a nominal lifespan of up to 20,000 hours or more.

LED bulbs are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs and require no warm-up or cool-down time, so they are always the preferred choice. In addition, even at 4 hours a day, a 20,000-hour LED lamp will last 13.6 years, and no need to replace the lamp is huge convenience factor.

Video input ports

Finally, it’s time to talk about video sources. Most modern projectors have a variety of input ports that can be used to connect just about anything. How are you going to set up your projector and what types of connection types do you have in stock?

VGA and DVI are good if all you need is a video projection, and display port and HDMI can transmit both video and audio. DisplayPort is usually only available on computers, while HDMI is only available on computers and TVs. VGA and DVI are relatively obsolete and should only be used as a last resort.

home type lcd projector

Between the above types of video connections Types of video cables video cables we recommend HDMI every time. They’re simple, convenient, and cheap — which means you should never spend more than $10 on an HDMI cable should never spend more than $10 on a cable .

Some brands such as Epson have even started making projectors with wireless HDMI . This type of projector comes with a transmitter that you connect to the HDMI port of your video source, which then wirelessly transmits to a receiver that is built into the projector itself. Recommended for those who hate cable clutter.

Some projectors also allow you to insert a USB flash drive full of images and play a slideshow of all the images found on the disk. Commonly compatible file formats include BMP, PNG, JPG, and GIF.

How is your home media theater set up?

All this may seem like information overload, but don’t worry too much about it. Just grab a projector with at least 720p resolution, over 500:1 contrast ratio, LED lamp, and HDMI capabilities. This will work well for 95% of home theaters.

There are other considerations if you want to squeeze the last drop of your projector’s quality, so don’t worry.

Show us your home theater setup! Did you run into any problems while setting up? What would you do differently next time? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Image Credits: Ceiling projector by Zoltan Pataki via Shutterstock, home theater setup by Zoltan Pataki via Shutterstock, throw ratio chart by JohnOAS via Wikipedia, project close-up via fotoslaz via Shutterstock, HDMI cable close-up by Swapan Photo via Shutterstock

Похожие записи