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Elijah Reed
Elijah Reed

Which Projector Should I Buy ((TOP))

While the price of big-screen TVs has dropped a lot in recent years, a front projector is still the best value for someone who wants to enjoy their favorite movies and TV shows on a really large screen. But choosing the right projector from a crowded field of models that range in price from a couple hundred bucks to thousands of dollars can be a daunting task.

which projector should i buy

Another thing to consider is the size of your room. Traditional projectors need a lot of space to cast a large image. Generally speaking, to cast a 100-inch image, you need at least 100 inches between the projector and screen. For a small room, you may need a projector with a short-throw lens, which allows it to cast a larger image from a shorter distance.

We should add that your choice of screen material (and yes, you should use a screen) also matters here. Different materials have a different screen gain, which is the amount of light that the material reflects back at you. A 1.0-gain screen reflects back the same amount of light as a standard magnesium oxide white board. Higher gains reflect more light and can help make your projector-and-screen combo seem a little brighter, while lower gains reflect less light and can help improve black-level performance. If you plan to use a projector in a living room or den with minimal light control, consider an ambient-light-rejecting screen, which is specially designed to reject light from lamps and windows to help improve contrast in a brighter room, but keep in mind that those screens can cost a lot more and are generally available only through custom installers.

The final question to ask yourself: Are there any special features you need that may not come standard? Pretty much all home entertainment projectors now include at least one HDMI input to connect easily to media players, cable or satellite DVRs, and gaming consoles. If you plan to stream all your content, you can connect a streaming stick from Roku or Amazon via HDMI and not have to deal with connecting an extra set-top box.

If you need to supply power to a connected device such as a wireless HDMI receiver, many projectors now include a powered USB port for just such a purpose. And if you have a motorized screen, a 12-volt trigger allows you to automatically send raise or lower commands when the projector is turned off or on. This feature is common in higher-end projectors but less so in budget models.

Some video projectors include audio inputs and onboard speakers, but like speakers built into TVs, they are not great. It is best to connect your audio source to an external audio system (even a modest one) for a better viewing experience.

Variants of LCD technology include LCOS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon), JVC's D-ILA (Digital Imaging Light Amplification), and Sony's SXRD (Silicon Crystal Reflective Display). With LCOS/D-ILA and SXRD projectors, the light source reflects off the 3 LCD chips instead of passing through them.

Yes, providing you buy the right projector for the job. For example, a regular projector won't be good enough for gaming. A good gaming projector must offer a high resolution, fast refresh rate, and low input latency.

It depends. When deciding between a video projector or a TV, consider your specific needs for the device. TVs are best for everyday use. Projectors are best for special occasions and niche applications.

Obviously, there will be overlap, and not all models will fit easily into a particular category. For example, home theater and multimedia projectors are very similar. In most cases, it will be clear from your application which type you need. Boardroom presentations: this will be multimedia. In a living room: home theater. For a lecture hall, seating 500 people: large venue. Ultra-portable, where a small screen size is acceptable: pocket or pico projector.

Pocket projectors are ultra-portable, some not much larger than a smartphone, some resembling miniaturized multimedia projectors. They are best seen as a substitute for a computer monitor or small TV you can take with you. Since they typically use LED lamps to avoid high power consumption and bulky cooling systems, what they give you in portability they sacrifice in image size. Brightness will be discussed in detail below, but for the sake of comparison, pico projectors typically range from 25 to 1500 ANSI lumens, whereas decent multimedia projectors start at 2500 lumens. They also tend to lack optical zoom, meaning you will need to be flexible with your projector placement to achieve the desired image size.

Multimedia projectors represent the largest category, and are the most widely sold at B&H. Multimedia projectors are general purpose, and are used for everything from giving PowerPoint presentations to screening video clips and slideshows at weddings. They are typically considered portable, weighing from 3 pounds for the ultra-slim models and increasing from there. Their brightness tends to range from 2500 to 4500 lumens or so. They virtually always have zoom lenses; however, the zoom range is usually shorter than that of their home theater counterparts: 1.2x to 1.5x (compared to 2x in the home theater realm). This means special care needs to be taken when choosing, to make sure the screen size is compatible with the projector's throw ratio. Multimedia projectors offer a range of inputs. VGA is still the staple, but digital inputs such as HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort, and even SDI are available. Many also support interactive and wireless presentational functionally, as well as the ability to give presentations without a computer.

An important subcategory of multimedia projectors is short throw and ultra-short throw. Generally, a throw ratio of less than 1:1 is considered short throw. The most common throw ratios are 0.5:1 and 0.3:1, with the latter fulfilling the distinction of being "ultra-short throw." Short throw projectors almost never have zoom lenses and, in the cases of ultra-short throw projectors, use a mirror onto which the image is projected first, before being reflected at the screen. They lend themselves to wall rather than ceiling mounting, and are designed to be installed very close to the screen: 18 inches to 2 feet. Short throw projectors are most often used in classrooms, and are ideal for pairing with digital whiteboards. One might be tempted to place a short throw projector farther back than the recommended couple of feet to achieve a very large image in a small space (assuming sufficiently low ambient light levels, of course). This probably won't work, since short throw projectors keystone severely when used outside their recommended throw distance range, and will require some very creative mounting to produce an undistorted image. Because they are meant for smaller screen sizes (8 feet wide or less), short throw projectors normally top out at 3000 lumens. If you require a brighter projector and have limited space, you will need to look at a fixed installation projector with interchangeable lenses instead. See the Epson PowerLite 675W for an example of an ultra-short-throw projector, shown with its separately sold wall mount.

If you want a great picture, can block out all ambient light, and are working with a screen size of up to 100 inches or so, home theater projectors are a great choice. Otherwise, you may be better served with a brighter multimedia projector, even if you plan to use it in a home theater setting.

Finally, keep in mind, throw is based on native aspect ratio. If, for some reason, you are setting the projector to a narrower aspect ratio than native, the projector will effectively have a longer throw.

Projectors mainly use two lamp technologies: LED and metal halide. LED is still uncommon outside the realm of pocket projectors. Almost all the rest use metal halide, a form of tungsten lamp typically enjoying a lifespan of 2,000 to 5,000 hours if used with the default brightness setting. A handful of systems use hybrid technologies that augment LED with a laser light source.

Projector brightness is measured in ANSI lumens (lumens for short). Calculating how many lumens you need requires knowing the throw distance, image width, how much ambient light is present in the room, and the content that will be shown. The simplest way to figure this out is to use a projection calculator, a software tool that crunches the number for you. Many projector manufacturers provide calculators on their websites. If not, Projector Central is a great resource, and offers projection calculators for nearly every projector model made.

After looking at the calculator, you may have noticed brightness is measured in foot-candles. Without a light meter, how is one supposed to know how many foot-candles of light a room has? Here, a bit of judgment and common sense come into play. Would you consider it "well lit" (50 foot-candles), moderately lit (20 foot-candles), or dimly lit (less than 5 foot-candles)? Or is there bright sunlight blazing in? If the installation is for critical viewing, then I would recommend getting a light meter, and carefully measuring. But for most practical everyday uses, a rough guesstimate erring on the side of too bright should suffice.

The content should also be factored in. Are you projecting white song lyrics text over a solid, dark background? Or are you showing photographs in an art gallery? In the former case, the contrast of the image is so high you can get away with a much weaker projector. In the latter case, you probably want to preserve every tonal nuance you can and, so, will need more lumens.

Resolution matters, but perhaps less than you might think. Most projectors these days are least XGA (1024 x 768) resolution, a 4:3 aspect ratio format that has been the longtime staple for giving PowerPoint presentations. A few entry-level models are still SVGA (800 x 600), and pocket projectors sometimes have funky, low native resolutions that the manufacturers are coy about admitting. Because of high-definition video, increasingly widescreen formats starting at WXGA (1280 x 800) and 720p are supplanting the legacy 4:3 standards. 041b061a72


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