Sunday, November 1, 2009
A Buyer's Guide to Finding The Perfect Home Theater Projector
So if you were to decide that you wanted to purchase a home theater projector, would you really know what it is that you should be looking for? Well when I was totally honest with myself, I admitted that before I did some serious research I didn’t have a clue! Home theater projectors are becoming increasingly popular, and I feel that it is important to know the facts before you start your shopping.
The first and most important thing to consider about your home theater projector is image quality. Now when considering image you need to account for native resolution, your source material, and the uniformity of brightness.
As of now, the most common home theater resolutions found in projectors are WVGA (854 x 480), ¾ HD (960 x 540), and WXGA-H (1280 x 720). A projector with WXGA-H has two times the number of pixels of a WVGA projector. The more pixels a projector has the sharper the image quality and the better compatibility it has with HD sources.
It is recommended that if you will be using the projector for HDTV purposes, you should look into a product featuring WXGA-H (1280 x 720) resolution or high resolution XGA (1024 x 768). If you will mostly be utilizing your home theater projector with your DVD player (with a resolution of 480p), then it is much more cost effective to look into a WVGA projector.
The uniformity of the brightness of the projector is a big factor to consider too. The uniformity is defined as the percentage of brightness of the image that is carried from corner to corner and edge to edge. The higher the uniformity of your projector means the more consistency that can be found throughout your image. For a consistent image, you should look at projectors that have a consistency rating of 85% or more.
The next thing that you should consider after examining the uniformity of your perspective projector would be the actual brightness of it. The brightness of projectors is measured in ANSI lumens. Typically, the brightness of home theater projectors ranges from 700-2000 lumens or possibly more. The amount of lumens that you will need in your projector will depend on where exactly you’ll be placing your projector within your home. If you have an actual home theater room where there is controlled lighting and the room can be made completely dark, then you will be able to purchase a projector with lower lumens, but if the room features ambient lighting from windows a projector with a higher amount of lumens will be required.
For dedicated home theater rooms, it is recommended to look into projectors with 1000 lumens or more. When using your projector in a room with some ambient light, you should consider projectors with at least 1200 lumens. Any room with a high amount of light should have a projector with about 2000 lumens.
Once you have considered all of these factors, next you should consider what connections will give you the clearest image quality with your home theater projector. You should make sure that the projector you are interested in has at least one component video input and an HDMI or DVI connection. Component video is currently the most common high quality signal available, and the HDMI or the DVI connections will provide you with the best HD connectivity.
After all this you should probably learn about the lamp life of projectors. Most LCD and DLP projectors feature a lamp life ranging from 2000-4000 hours. This estimation actually refers to the “half-life” of the projector which is the point where the lamp is half as bright as it was when you purchased the projector. The longer the lamp life of the projector, the less money that you’ll have to put out to maintain the quality of your home theater. A replacement lamp costs between $200-$400. You should factor this into your decision, depending on if you will be using the projector as a television replacement or just as a movie and special events provider.
There are a few other things to consider when purchasing your home theater projector, but they mainly consist of what you prefer within your home. I hope that now when you go out to shop for your new projector, you have an idea of what you should be looking for. From the resolution to the connections that you need, you now possess the knowledge to make the best possible choice for you and your family’s entertainment needs.