When you go to buy yourself a projector, how would you know which one to get? I know it is a very difficult task, considering all of them are claiming to be high-end, “best for everything” projectors. Do you know everything there is to know about a projector? If you don’t, then you are in the right place. Don’t worry; we will guide you in choosing a best-suited projector, all according to your needs, setup and environment.
1. Higher Resolution
Resolution is the number of pixels used to portray an image. Higher resolution means that the picture is produced with more pixels resulting in a sharper, clearer image. A higher resolution is essential to display comprehensive charts and graphs, text, and high-definition videos. All projectors are divided by resolution.
Types of resolutions include:
a) SVGA (800×600 pixels, 4:3 aspect ratio)
These offer a low resolution and are inexpensive and ideal for projecting basic data, charts and videos.
b) XGA (1024×768 pixels, 4:3 aspect ratio)
Such projectors are mainly used for pairing with computers.
c) WXGA (1280×800 pixels, 16:10 aspect ratio)
These projectors provide 20% more horizontal resolution than XGA.
d) WUXGA (1920×1200 pixels, 16:10 aspect ratio)
WUXGA is used for large-range installation projectors that need bright, high-definition content.
e) 720p (1280×720 pixels, 16:9 aspect ratio)
Such projectors allow you to watch movies at home, economically.
f) 1080p (1920×1080 pixels, 16:9 aspect ratio)
These have become the most widely used format for home theatres.
2. Higher Contrast Ratio
Contrast ratio refers to the difference between brightness and darkness. This aspect changes everything coming out of the projector. Each and every scene feels alive and beautiful. Higher contrast ratios result in rich, crystal clear detail. A higher contrast ratio is especially important for home theatres as ambient light makes it difficult to enjoy a rich, cinematic experience.
3. HDR (High Dynamic Range) compatibility
HDR is a technique used in imaging to replicate a higher than achievable dynamic brightness range with standard digital imaging. It is the ability to convey dark as well as light areas within any particular image. Scenes that are produced in HDR deliver more clarity and accuracy. It also makes the colours and contrast appear more amazing than before.
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4. High Brightness
High brightness is required to produce ultra-fine detailed pictures. Projector brightness is measured in lumens, and two types of lumen specifications are to be kept in mind: Color brightness and White brightness. The amount of brightness depends on the room in which you want to project, so choose wisely. 1500 lumens of brightness is required for home theatre projectors, 2500 lumens for classrooms etc. and even higher lumens for larger rooms.
5. Screen size
We all prefer a larger screen over a smaller one, but you have to be smart about your choice. Always select a screen size, keeping in mind the size of your room. You can look for a projector with the largest screen size but the larger the display, the harder it will be for you to see if you’re watching from nearby. It is also possible that the projector may display a larger but blurry image because enlarging an image over a larger space causes it to lose some clarity. Never forget that quality is better than quantity.
Reliability depends on lamp maintenance. A major part of lamp maintenance is the filters. These filters shield your projector’s lamp and engine from dust, keep it working efficiently and make maintenance simple. There are some projectors that tend to be “filter-free.” These projectors do not have filters to change and do not even have a way of shielding the lamp from external environmental conditions such as dust and humidity, which significantly influences the lamp’s life. Therefore, try to choose a projector with a longer lamp life.
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There are so many different projectors available nowadays, and all of them have different operating costs. All projectors are cheaper in comparison with flat panel screens for large images. Some of the most known projector styles are LED(Light Emitting Diode), LCD(Liquid Crystal Display), and DLP(Digital Light Processing). LED projectors have the lowest costs. So, if you’re looking for a low-cost projector, you might find one in LED projectors. But we all know that cost is not everything.
8. Zoom range
Everybody is familiar with this but in a different sense. You must’ve tried zooming from your mobile phone camera or a digital camera; you zoom in to make the object you are trying to photograph, look bigger without moving. A zoom range is the same thing in a projector. You can increase the screen size without moving the projector bigger or smaller.
So why do you need to have a projector with a lens which allows you to zoom? In many scenarios, it is a useful feature to have. In a room where you don’t have enough flexibility to move the projector, or there is a fixed position for a projector, you can still take advantage from lens zoom and make the screen size bigger by just zooming the lens and vice versa.
9. Lens Shift
Lens shift is another great feature to have when you are using a projector for a conference room or even for a home theatre. It means that you can move the lens of a projector up and down or left and right. This feature provides installation flexibility. You don’t have to move the projector physically to adjust the projection perfectly, and you can simply move the lens in the projector housing to set it according to your environment. The lens can be moved via a remote or joystick or mechanically by buttons.
Each and everyday technology is evolving into bigger and higher limits which are turning each and every piece of a machine more powerful. Old projectors were not capable of projecting at true resolution and accurate colours. Still, with the advancement in technology, projector manufacturers equipped modern technologies to project at native resolutions and more accurate colours than ever with less input lag and less electricity consumption.
Some modern technologies that projectors are equipped with are as follows.
· DLP (Digital Light Processing)
· LCD (Liquid Crystal Display)
· D-ILA (Digital Direct Drive – Image Light Amplifier)
· SXRD (Silicon X-Tal Reflective Display)
· LCoQ (Liquid Crystal on Quartz)
A good and long warranty for a product makes you comfortable and less worried about the projector. All projector manufacturers provide warranty for their products, but all of them are different in offering it. Some manufacturers also provide a replacement warranty. Mainly the warranty is for the lamp, projector, DOA policy and optical engine.
12. Lamp life
Lamp life is the serving time for the lamp of the projector, means how many months or years a lamp will properly work before it expires. All projectors release this time period in the number of hours, and commonly this value is between 1500 – 3000 hours. Newer models with advance technologies and new temperature managing tricks claim to have a lamp life of more than 5000 hours.
This value is an expected value which is determined from a graph, and it’s not promising that a projector will surely meet its determined lamp life value. A projector which is under a heavy burden of daily use 24/7 will be more likely to fail its determined lamp life. You can also cross the lamp life by putting less burden on the bulb and protecting the lamp from natural containments like dust etc.
Many projectors come with built-in speakers, and most of the times they are good. A projector with built-in speakers will save your money which would have been spent on an external sound system. Many projectors claim to have 360 degrees speakers built into them and some claims to have powerful speakers. Majority of the customers are more than happy with the built-in speakers they have in their projectors.
14. Input lag
Input lag is an important factor, but the industry mostly ignores it. It means the delay between your input from a mouse or a controller and its output on the screen. Higher the input lag more unresponsive feel you’ll get. So, it’s better to get a projector with natural and less input lag. Unfortunately, the graphic industry doesn’t promote this, so you have to rely on user reviews.
15. Refresh Rate
The refresh rate is a desire which lies in all gamers heart to achieve maximum FPS while playing their favourite game. Unfortunately, projectors don’t release any information about the refresh rate, but some projectors are able to achieve 144 Hz. A high refresh rate will result in smoothness and seamless images.