Here's everything you need to know before you buy a home theatre projector

April 25, 2018
Here's everything you need to know before you buy a home theatre projector
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home theatre projector buying tips The projector has long been used as a presentation tool in business, commercial entertainment, and in some very high-end home theatre systems. Over the last few years, there has been a significant rise in the demand for home theatre projectors. As video projectors are getting affordable, they are becoming increasingly accessible to the average consumer. Have you ever wondered what makes a projector ideal for home theatre systems? Here, we take a quick look at projectors along with key tips know now before you buy one for your home.

What are the types of video projectors?

There are two main types of Video Projectors available: Digital Light Processing (DLP) and Liquid Crystal Display (LCD). Additionally, other variants of LCD projection technologies include Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCOS ), Digital Imaging Light Amplification (D-ILA), (Silicon Crystal Reflective Display (SXRD) and other laser-based solutions.

A quick note on lamps, LEDs, and lasers

A quick note on lamps, LEDs, and lasers

Apart from the core LCD or DLP technology integrates into video projectors, another aspect to consider is the light source used. This could vary between​lamp, LED, or Laser-based light sources. All three options have their pros & cons. They also dictate the pricing of the projector.

Light output and brightness

Without sufficient light output, a projector won't be able to display a bright image. If light output is too low an image, it will look muddy and soft even in a dark room. One of the best ways to determine if a projector output is enough light to produce bright images is to check the ANSI Lumens rating. This will tell you how much light that a projector can emit. A projector with 1,000 ANSI Lumens or greater deliver sufficient brightness for home theatre application. Apart from this, room size, screen size/distance, and ambient room light levels also affect the need for higher or lower lumens.

Contrast ratio

Contrast ratio complements brightness. Contrast is the ratio between the black and white portions of the projected image. High contrast ratios deliver whiter whites and blacker blacks. A video projector may have a great Lumens rating, however, if the contrast ratio is low, the image will appear washed out. In a darkened room with optimum light control, a contrast ratio of at least 1,500:1 is good. That being said, a contrast ratio of 2,000:1 or higher is considered excellent.

Pixel density

Pixel density is an important aspect to consider. LCD and DLP projectors have a fixed number of pixels. A native pixel count of 1024x768 is sufficient for DVD. However, 720p HDTV signals require a 1280x720 pixel count for native display, while a 1080i HDTV input signal needs a native pixel count of 1920x1080. If you have a Blu-ray Disc player, consider a projector with 1920x1080 native pixel resolution and the ability to the display the 1080p format. In addition, if you wish to plunge into 4K, apart from the increased expense, not all 4K projectors project true 4K resolution. It is crucial that you understand how 4K video projectors work and how they are labelled. This can help you make the right choice for home theatre setup in India.

Inputs & connectivity options

Inputs & connectivity options

Make sure the projector has the inputs you need. All video projectors these days, provide HDMI inputs, and most projectors also have VGA and/or DVI inputs for computers. However, if you have older source components that use connections such as composite and S-video for analogue sources, or component video outputs - many newer video projectors no longer offer these options or may offer just the composite video option. So, when shopping for a projector, it is definitely important to make sure that it has the connections that you need.

Colour reproduction

Color Reproduction is another factor. Check for natural flesh tones and colour depth. Check how colours look in the brightest and darkest areas of the image. Check the degree of colour stability from input to input, and that you get familiar with the types of picture settings that video projectors offer. Everyone has a slight difference in colour perception and what looks pleasing. Look carefully.

A projector for your application

Needs analysis is important even when choosing a video projector for home. Home theatre projectors are best for viewing Sports, DVDs, Blu-ray Disc movies or stream online content. If you watch mostly regular TV, an LCD/DLP projector may be an expensive option for most lamp-based video projectors as the bulb (light source) would need to be changed after about 3,000 to 4,000 hours of viewing, with some projectors now having upwards of 5,000 hours or more of bulb life. Compare that with an LCD or OLED TV which can last 60,000 hours or more, albeit with a smaller screen size. Also, make sure you have the proper room size for your projector.

A primer on projection screens

Screens come in various fabrics, sizes, and prices. The type of screen that's best depends on the projector, the viewing angle, the amount of ambient light in the room, and the distance of the projector from the screen. A home theatre setup with a video projector at its heart can really upgrade the home entertainment experience. However, it is best if you choose one that meets your application and space requirements. We also suggest opting for projectors from established brands as they offer better build-quality and deliver amazing ROI in the long run. We hope the tips discussed and listed in this blog-cum-guide will help you in buying the best home theatre projector for your needs.


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