5 Questions To Consider Before You Buy a Home Theater Projector
There are so many different home theater projectors on the market right now! Before you put down your hard-earned cash, consider these 5 questions to help guide you to the best projector for your home theater. With customer support before AND after the sale, Visual Apex makes choosing the right projector pain-free.
What Size of Home Theater Projector Screen Do You Need?
The best reason for getting a top performing home theater projector is that you get more gorgeous video for less money than flat LED TVs. But how big should you go for your projection screen?
The general rule of thumb is that you want to sit away from the screen about 1.5 times the width of the screen. So if you have a 10 foot wide screen (by the way, that means you can brag to your friends that you have a 120 inch screen… way bigger than their LED flat screen) you need to sit about 12 to 15 feet away to not feel overwhelmed.
The most common mistake we see when putting together a home theater are customers wanting projector screens that are too large for their rooms. This is like sitting in the front row at the movie theater. It has the “wow” effect but over time creates neck fatigue. Want more assistance? Contact our customer support, we’re here to help.
What Shape Screen Do You Need?
There are two main types of screen shapes: 16:9 and 2.35:1 – although there are many slight variations of these sizes that directors use for their own art.
The key question you need to ask is: Do you watch more sports or movies? Or play more video games? If you watch mostly TV and sports and play video games, then you want to lean towards a 16:9 screen. That’s the same aspect ratio as a flat HDTV. Movies in the more narrow 2.35:1 ratio will have black bars on the top and bottom when playing.
Now if you are a big time movie buff and want to watch the movie in the more narrow aspect ratio of 2.35:1 or “widescreen” mode, then you might pop for a screen in that shape. Sports and TV content might seem a bit cropped.
If you have to have the best of both worlds – there are options for you. The more affordable solutions include screens that can drop one of two different screens down for your enjoyment. Yes, they have both a 2.35:1 screen and a 16:9 screen. The next best solution is more pricey which is an auto-masking screen which adjusts the blackout felt on the top and sides of the screen based on the needs of your content.
Call 800.883.7495 with any aspect ratio questions.
What Type of Home Theater Projector Should You Buy?
There are a number of types of projector technologies on the market today that create a gorgeous image in your home theater. Here are some guidelines that can help point you in the right direction for your decision. Here’s a list of our top-selling 1080p home theater projectors.
LCD video projectors are the least expensive projectors and can make an affordable yet large picture. In recent years, LCD projectors have gotten much better in terms of quality but tend to fall behind the performance and light output of LED, DLP and LCOS type projectors. LCD technology is often what powers the “pico” projectors that are very small – meaning palm-of-your-hand small. Pico projectors aren’t really suitable for home theater use unless they are used in very small locations.
LCOS (liquid crystal on silicon) is known under other names like Sony’s SXRD or JVC’s D-ILA. Critics call this technology “the plasma of video projectors” for its smooth colorful image. DLP and LCOS battle it out in the higher end video projectors for top honors. Light output and the type of optics in the projector often determine which projector is right for you.
DLP projectors are among our most favorite. Texas Instruments has refined this chip technology down to a fine art thus the cost of one-chip as well as the more pricey three-chip DLP projectors have dropped for consumers drastically in the past few years while the performance has improved. DLP projectors make a smooth, color accurate image that can wow.
LED sets are all the rage in flat HDTVs but they are a bit more esoteric in video projectors. Early LED projectors didn’t have as much light output but today they are much brighter. The advantage of LED projectors is that their bulbs last for tens of thousands of hours – many times more than traditional DLP or LCOS projectors. The downside is that most LED projectors don’t allow you to replace the bulb when they finally die. However, after 20 years with the same projector, it just might not be an issue for you.
Home Theater Projector Screen Material
Once you select a projector, there are other things you can do to get better performance from your front video projector in your home theater.
One of the coolest new technology changes come via screen materials. There are materials designed to work in a darkened room as well as ones designed to make a very bright image in the most well-lit, ambient light filled rooms.
We can help you select the right screen material for your system if you’d like the help. Take a look at all options that we offer here as we represent the best screen brands in the business.
How Should You Mount Your Projector?
How and where you should mount your home theater projector has a lot to do with your specific room.
Do you have an HDMI cable and power run to the ceiling? If so, you can mount the projector upside down and align the image accordingly to get the best possible image without using any image adjustments in the projector’s menus.
If you need to table mount the projector, you then can set the projector right-side up and align accordingly. Not everyone can get cables sent to the ceiling thus this is a very viable option. Fan noise and room traffic can be an issue with this configuration but its likely not a critical flaw. Once again, it depends on your room.
Those questions should really guide you toward the home theater projector of your dreams. If you need further support or have more questions, give us a call at 800.883.7495, we’re happy to help. Did we mention we offer a 30-day hassle-free money back guarantee? We’re all about customer satisfaction.