All you need to know before buying a projector
April 10, 2014
Setting up a projector at home for watching TV or movies sounds fun but there are a lot many technicalities that will leave you confused. Whether to buy a DLP or an LED projector, how big should be the room to place it, where to project, etc.. With so many questions troubling you, here are the few things you need to know.
There is a wide variety of projector available these days but before buying one, you need to do some calculations. The most important of them all is the projection size that you are looking at. This is always measured diagonally. But along with this, you also need to consider the distance at which you plan to place your projector. This may sound technical but there are websites that allow you to calculate the throw distance ratio that the projector you are buying one should have. For instance, if you are planning to place your projector 5 feet away for a 55inch projector, than the distance throw ratio of your projector should be 1.1. While most of the leading projector manufacturers such as BenQ, Panasonic, etc. provide distance calculator on their websites, throwdistancecalculator.com offers a simple to understand calculation.
DLP versus LCD versus LED projectors
Don't feel shy about not knowing what is the difference between the DLP or the LCD projector. Well, these are the distinct technologies. The DLP (Digital Light Processing) projectors have got a chip made of tiny microscopic mirrors and a spinning colour wheel. In terms of projection, it delivers sharp images and has got a better response time. On the other hand, the LCD projectors use liquid crystal displays that has no moving parts. Hence, these cost slightly less. The plus point of LCD projectors is the better saturation and lower noise. On the downside, they require filter maintenance and have less contrast. Lastly, LED projectors use tiny LEDs that delivers better colours with lower power consumption. With the lifespan of over 20,000 hours, they virtually require zero maintenance. LED projectors are usually smaller and compact and generate less heat. But they lack the brightness that an LCD or a DLP can offer.
Wall or Screen?
In a professional setup, the projection is always made on screen as it offers a smoother projection with high reflectance, they reflect light better and even works in a bright room. While you can use a wall to project, the experience will not be the same. Also, the wall needs to be smooth and painted white. It projection really isn't good on a yellow, pinkish or a coloured wall.
Just the way the distance between the projector and the wall is important, so is the viewing distance. Ideally, one should sit at least at a distance of twice the image width.
The more the merrier stands true for connectivity on a projector too. While VGA, AVI and HDMI are usually present, prefer having a USB for plugging and playing images and videos. But if you are looking at setting up a big home theatre, where the projector will be ceiling mounted, you can do without a USB too. For such a setup, you will have to keep the projector connected to a DVD or a blu-ray player. Pair it with a home theatre for a surround sound output.
What about pocket projector?
Pocket projector, also referred as Pico projectors has grown as a category during the past couple of years. These are usually LED projectors that are compact and are good at projecting up to 60 inches. But they aren't really good to use for a bigger room with ambient light. These projectors perform the best in dark.
Here are a few options to choose from -
Epson EH -TW8200
Specs : RGB liquid crystal shutter projection system, 1080p, 2.1x zoom, Throw Ratio 1.34-2.87, 4,000 hours lamp life, 600,000:1 contrast ratio, 2400 lumens, 334W power consumption. Weight: 8.4 kg
BenQ GP 10iBall Andy 4a
Specs : 550 ANSI lumens; Contrast ratio: 10000:1; Manual focus; Throw 0.5-6.1 metres; Image 54-599 cm; Digital keystone; 720p; Component, HDMI, USB, SD card, wireless; LED light 30,000 hours; Speakers: 3Wx2; Weight: 1.5 kg
Projectors in smartphones aren't a new concept.This Android smartphone houses a 35 lumens projector and a 4-inch IPS WVGA display with a 480x800 pixels resolution giving it a pixel density of 233 ppi. It is powered by a 1GHz dual-core Cortex A9 processor coupled with 512MB RAM. It has 4GB built-in storage, expandable up to 32GB via a microSD card
BenQ W1080STPanasonic AE 8000
The BenQ W1080ST, which BenQ claims to be the first short-throwFull-HD video projector, is able to project up to 100-inch big screen in just 1.5 metres. This is a video projector supporting multiple inputs of 3D via HDMI 1.4 (2 ports) It can be connected with a number of devices including Blu-Ray player, 3D broadcasting, and video games, PC etc. It also has NVIDIA 3DTV PC connectivity
Specs: 2400 lumens lamp; 500000:1 contrast ration; 3D enabled; 3HDMI, composite in, video in, 2 triggers
An active player in the Pico Projector space, Androview HD POR 316 is an Android projector that fits in the palm. It has integrated battery and supports 1080p HD videos. It uses LCOS with RGB LED technology for improved colour reception. Androview features integrated Wi-Fi, and a built-in storage of 8GB expandable to 32GB. It runs on the Android OS (version unspecified) and has access to the Google Play store.