What to do when looking at Projectors
Projectors have come a very long way over the last few years. Where once they were confined to dimly lit "media rooms" and home theaters, nowadays we can happily integrate them into almost any living space.
With Televisions being of such universally average quality, and sold on the basis of features rather than picture quality, it's now a pretty straightforward process to get a much better image from a decent projector and screen system than from a large LCD TV in most living spaces. It may even cost you less...
The trick is to think about the light in the space and work towards choosing the correct screen type and projector to complement this perfectly. We can help with honest, easy to understand advice and reccomendations. Contact us for more info.
|A dedicated theater room with a projector installed|
What sort of space should I put my projector in?
There's no denying that putting a projector in a dedicated media room where you can control the lighting is the ultimate solution. However with today's technology, you can easily integrate a projector into a well lit living room with the right projector.
For living rooms (or any room where you may have high light levels) you should consider a screen that controls reflected light. Screen Technics in particular do a range of screen materials that almost only reflect light from where the projector is positioned, which allows much better image in well lit rooms.
This should be combined with a reasonably bright projector, as the higher light levels in the rooms mean to really stand out we need a bit of light, particularly once it's spread over a very large screen.
|A bright space with a projector installed|
If you're putting a projector into a dedicated media room, it's still important to try to control the light in the room. This keeps your projector options open and allows you to pick a higher contrast, lower brightness projector for the absolute best in image quality.
What's the difference between different projectors?
|Projectors vary wildly in price and quality, so what do you get at different price points? There are several key features that differentiate models. |
This is how much light the projector can throw at a screen. You need more if you have a very large screen or well lit room. Be aware that this can often come at the expense of contrast, which means very bright projectors typically have very average contrast ratio.
A projector lamp
This is the difference between the dark portions of the screen and the lighter portions of the screen. This is the single most important factor in image quality, but be aware that some manufacturers falsify these specifications with tricks like "dynamic contrast" or "All on - All off" contrast.
This is just how loud the projector is. Projectors have to keep cool and will often have large fans to be able to do their job. A compact bright projector will typically be very loud, which can get a wee bit annoying if you sit relatively closer to it.
This is how much flexibility the projector has with image size at a distance. A wider range allows the projector to work in a greater variety of rooms. Cheaper projectors, especially DLP projectors, will typically have very little or no lens shift, wheras nicer projectors or projectors based on LCD technology have a greater variety of options available. This is particularly useful if you are retrofitting the projector into a specific location.
No projector has perfect colour out of the box. The better projectors have a wider range of adjustments and certifications to allow the colours to be calibrated. We recommend a professional calibration for any decent projector or Television.
Central OpticsHigher end projectors will have their lens in the center of the unit. This allows the power supply and video board to be separated and allows a larger more complex lens to be used. This means better image quality, flexibility and a longer life as the unit doesn't need to do so much work to keep cool.
There are several methods to creating a projected image. The most popular with modest home theater projectors is DLP. This is a system of a lamp which lights a colour wheel into a system of microscopic mirrors. This allows Full HD resolution really cost effectively and it's naturally high speed allows great motion and cost effective 3D. However, some viewers may be affected by the rainbow effect. Where they notice a shimmer on some colours.
|Optoma's HD91 has gotten around most of shimmering issues.|