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Home Projector Buying Guide
My name is Mark and I have put together this site to give you all the information you need to buy a projector for your home.
Having your very own projector is like having a cinematic experience in the comfort of your home.
Whether you’re a keen gamer or an avid movie buff (I’m both!), a good quality projector and a screen will be one of the best investments you make!
What To Look For When Buying A Projector.
Image / Picture Quality.
Needless to say that the main reason for getting a projector in the first place is to watch movies or even still images on a slide show.
To just say “I want the best picture quality!” isn’t enough. There are a few factors that come under picture quality which I’ll break down for you now.
The first is resolution. The resolution tells us how many pixels are on the screen. The more the merrier. The more pixels we have on the screen the better and sharper our picture quality will be.
With higher resolution quality we can see finer detail in the picture.
Imagine tiny dots make up the picture. A few large dots would make for a very distorted and pixelated image where thousands of small dots made to form the picture would look a thousand times better.
There are standard definition resolution projectors which are no longer used as much, especially in the home entertainment area. So Ill give you a quick run through for reference;
- 800 x 600 pixels known as SVGA. This is (or was) known as the “standard” screen size. This was your typical computer monitor around 10-15 years ago.
- 1024 x 768 pixels known as XGA. This gave us more viewing area and was a step up from the 800 x 600. 1024 x 768 was the size of computer screens around 5-10 years ago.
The above two resolutions provide a 4 x 3 aspect ratio. Which means they are rectangular but not far from a square image.
- 1280 x 800 pixels known as WXGA. Now things are getting interesting. This size was known as “true wide screen” and is capable of 720p high definition resolution. This has a 16 x 10 aspect ratio which is more of a rectangle shape than the square and has a 30% more image area than the 4 x 3 image. This is the resolution of typical computer monitors today.
- 1920 x 1200 pixels known as WUXGA. This is the top of the range in wide screen image resolution able to project true 1080p full HD quality picture.
The next factor to consider is the brightness of your projector.
The brightness is measured in units known as “Lumens“.
The more lumens the brighter the picture your projector is able to show.
Typically for darker rooms, a brightness lumen of 1500 is fine. If you have windows or natural light in the room where you want to use the projector then you would need around 2500 lumens.
As a rule, I generally go for higher lumens because, its always better to have them and not need them than need them and not have them.
Please note the term lumens refers to the brightness of white. It does not indicate the brightness of colours. This has, in the past, made it a little difficult to find and compare projectors with bright colours because you had no way of knowing.
Fortunately this is no longer an issue as some of the more innovative manufacturers have started giving way to a new way to measure the brightness of colours…
Colour Light Output
When looking for a projector, make sure you have compared and have a decent, moderately high colour light output. Typically, the colour light output should be the same as white light output for the best result.
The image quality on screen may look great but it is the technology which powers your projector that counts.
There are two main types of HD projectors. 1 Chip DLP and 3 Chip 3LCD.
3LCD technology will give you a high colour light output as well as a bright white light output compared to the DLP technology.
Also it is worth mentioning the fact that the 3LCD is more power efficient than the DLP technology.
Most projectors will have HDMI ports as standard. I would be surprised to see a new model which does not.
You will also want to check audio connections as projectors will not typically play audio. So having good quality speakers is also recommended. Have a look at sound bar reviews here.
Having a USB port is also very handy as you can then play your media files right on your projector or plugin your PC or laptop to play directly from there.
Some new projectors even come with built-in WiFi or Ethernet connection which makes it very handy to stream movies from Netflix and the link and even videos from YouTube. The other great point worth noting in having Ethernet connection is you can set up a NAS drive so you can store your files on there and play them as and when on your projector.
Many of the newer projectors in today’s market have automatic alignment settings. Even though the projector will align automatically, usually it will still require human interaction to “perfect” or “confirm” the alignment.
Full Size Or Pocket Projectors?
Most people on this site are looking for standard, full-sized home theatre system projectors. However, with modern technology you can now get portable projectors. Small enough to fit in your pocket or in a laptop bag, these are perfect if you are always on the move and want to take movies with you.
Ideal for holidays when you want to showcase your pictures right there in the hotel and they are great for all kinds of business presentations.
Portable projectors have rechargeable batteries and usually come fully equipped with built in speakers so you have picture and sound.