As practice shows, in spite of the rapid progress in the field of projection equipment production, today there are only a few users who understand the device of projectors. At the same time, this equipment is used everywhere: in schools, cinemas, homes, universities, shopping and entertainment centers, etc. On the application area of technology depends on the following characteristics: brightness, lamp life, color rendering quality, resolution, installation option, additional options, maintenance requirements and others. We will try to tell you in simple language how to choose a projector for your needs.
The first thing to take into account is the operating conditions of the device. The purpose of technology is classified according to the class of the room: installation projectors for studies, presentations, home. We are interested in the last option. You can read our rating of projectors for home theater, but first, we recommend to decide on a number of important parameters.
Luminous flux of the projector
This parameter describes the luminous power of the device which is measured in lumens. Often, in order to simplify the complexity of choosing a projector for users, manufacturers call the luminous flux brightness, but it is not quite correct. You should know that this characteristic depends on the lighting level and the size of the screen. For example, to create a quality picture without light at a diagonal of 125 inches is enough for 1500 lumens. For an 80-inch display, 600 Lm is enough. It follows that the brightness of the projector should be several times more powerful than the lighting level.
This characteristic is responsible for the brightness ratio of white to black. It is worth noting right away that for rooms with good lighting this parameter does not play a special role. But if you want to choose the right projector for a home theater, then you should pay attention to the following facts:
- The higher the contrast, the darker the colors will be richer;
- High contrast allows for better gradation in brightness;
- C2 Fine based matrices provide the best contrast;
- deeper color is achieved when the auto iris is used.
Thus, it is important not only to pay attention to the numerical value of the characteristic, but also to the quality of the matrix. In particular, the budget segment of DLP single matrix devices provides a high contrast ratio, but it will be accompanied by a bright color plume in the form of a rainbow.
Home Theater Projector Resolution
One of the main parameters for choosing a projector is the resolution. Here it is important to consider that it has a dependence on the shape of the screen. In this case, the characteristic must be chosen taking into account the requirements for the projector:
- WXGA (1280 by 800) – budget option for work tasks;
- Full HD (1920 by 1080) – for watching movies in high quality;
- 4K (3840 by 2160) – better resolution, for which there is not much content yet, but it is the future.
- There are also emerging models of the High-End category, equipped with increased functionality to create a clearer picture. But they are very expensive.
In addition to the light output, color brightness, aspect ratio and contrast, picture quality depends on a number of other parameters, including white balance, color gamut and gamma. The last three characteristics, figuratively speaking, represent color reproduction. Taken together, they allow you to assess how well different colors are mixed in the right proportion. Therefore, when choosing a good projector for your home theater, you should consider the features of the following characteristics:
- White Balance – With the right color balance, gray and white look natural. In budget models you may see a yellowish or blue tint. Therefore, you should pay attention to the color temperature right away. If you buy a device on the Internet, pay attention to the reviews;
- Color gamut – this characteristic is responsible for color saturation. In most cases, professionals test red, blue and green. This is enough to determine the quality of the matrix. If you do not know how to choose a projector for 4K or Blu-ray files, focus on the standard “sRGB”;
- Color gamut – 30% white without understating brightness is considered optimal. If the projector commands up to 70% white, the image is not contrasty. If less than 30% – dark.
Distance to Screen Width Ratio
There are long-focus, short-focus and installation projectors. The first option is designed to display quality images up to 2m wide from a distance of 4m. The second type of projectors has an image width of 1.5m from a distance of 1m. Installation models are equipped with interchangeable optics. Accordingly, you can buy an additional lens if you did not consider this characteristic in time or decided to change the distance. As for the method of installation, it can be desktop or ceiling-mounted. The last option is designed only for the use of short-focus projectors.
Tips for choosing a projector from professionals
Dependable manufacturers always state the expected life of the lamp which is used in the projector, but not all the users pay attention to this figure. When choosing a projector, experts advise you to buy models with the A/V mute function. This mode allows you to prolong the lifetime of the lamp by temporarily “dimming” the picture when you use good light. Also a quality air filter, which excludes the penetration of dust on this part, has a favorable effect on the service life of the projector. Another important factor is the cooling system. The better it is, the lamp will last longer.
What to look for when buying?
A standard set of interfaces in most models includes HDMI and VGA. As a rule, the sound is built-in. When choosing a projector for schools, universities also need a microphone input, but in the home it is not necessary. Additionally, USB outputs can be installed for connecting removable media, a mouse. The installation models also use HDBaseT for transmitting information over long distances.
As for the network functions, their main task is to project images over a wireless network. As a rule, Epson models are equipped with this option. If you plan to use mobile devices, you will need an HDMI output with MHL support.
Projectors with 3D support are considered very popular. Unfortunately, the cost of such models is much higher. At the same time, there is still not too much content for watching movies in this format. We hope that this guide will be enough for you to decide on the optimal characteristics and choose a projector for home cinema taking into account your needs. Good luck!
An expert in household appliances and electronics. I prepare and publish reviews, ratings and instructions for choosing the best models and brands. Higher education – IT engineer.