Experiencing movies and television has changed quite a bit over the last 20 or so years. As a matter of fact, almost anything viewed through a screen has seen a significant change in that time span. Things are much more open and flexible than they used to be, giving the consumer a near-infinite level of options to choose from.
For that reason and many more, projectors have become a hot commodity. And this is not just in the case of home media consumption; it is also true in the way that businesses handle presentations and meetings. Projectors have given companies the ability to display whatever images that they need to present their wares to audiences of almost any size.
But what are the differences in the various projectors out on the market? What might you, the reader, be using the projector for? It is important to understand the answer to these questions and more before choosing the right projector for you.
What are the benefits of owning a projector?
Televisions used to be the only way to view media aside from those old, difficult to use projectors that had reels of film that needed to be loaded to use. But now, with the progression of technology, there are a number of different ways to view media. This can be achieved now via laptops, desktop computers, even our phones. Televisions are far from the only game in town and even those have changed drastically throughout the years.
Projectors bring value
Projectors, meanwhile, tend to project their images on far wider areas than a television. Sure, there are televisions that are in the 80-inch range and bigger, but one has to ask themselves if the value is there as opposed to a projector. Those massive televisions will cost in the several thousand dollar range and only get more expensive depending on the brand.
Projectors can be far more cost-effective to own. While there are certainly features that make a television stand out from a projector -- the ability to download, implement, and use apps is one feature, particularly in "smart" televisions -- but a projector will deliver far easier and more versatile options versus a traditional television.
It saves on space
One of the downsides of having a massive television is the amount of space that it takes up. This can come in one of two ways: you either have to have space on the wall to mount it or an entertainment center that is big enough to house it. In any event, it has to go somewhere and with that kind of size, it might not be an easy task.
If you do choose to mount it, this presents problems on its own. You can pay someone to mount it for you, but that is an additional incurred cost and we all typically like to avoid that. If you do decide to mount it on your own, you are left with the hassle of hoisting that monstrous television up and getting it properly aligned and mounted. It will be no easy task.
An Overall Improved Picture Quality
One of the downsides of television is that the viewing experience may differ depending on the angle. If you side from the side of the screen, the picture may appear distorted or discolored. This is not the case with a projector: you can view the same picture from any seat in the house.
Having a full 180-degree viewing range gives a projector an immediate advantage over its television counterpart. This isn't even taking into account the actual picture technology, which we will get more into later on. Simply put: nothing beats a projector for overall picture quality.
The different picture qualities of projectors
There are two main types of digital projection image quality: LCD and DLP. It is important to know the difference between the two and why one may be a better fit for you than the other. There is a third option called LCOS, but that is in your most upper-echelon projector systems and not something that can be generally afforded.
LCD: When talking about the more affordable choices of projectors on the market, you are more than likely looking at LCD technology. LCD is the most commonly used picture quality for most affordable to moderately priced projectors. Just because the projectors are of lesser cost does not mean that quality is being sacrificed. LCD technology has continued to improve with time and there are some LCD projectors out there that hold their own against the more expensive DLP versions.
If you are looking for a projector but don't want to break the bank on one, LCD projectors will more than likely be the way you want to go.
DLP: DLP is a slight upgrade, generally speaking, from the LCD option. DLP uses extremely small computer chips as well as millions of tiny mirrors. This means that you can find a huge range of options at almost every price point. One of the things to consider with DLP is that you may lose some of the contrast ratio that you would typically find in certain LCD projectors, but the motion resolution is noticeably better, offering less "motion blur".
The picture quality with DLP is considered to be the better of the two options but, as stated above, there are some LCD options where the difference is negligible if at all noticeable. It all depends on the features of the particular DLP projector that you choose to go with.
Key features to look for
When you hear the term "optics", this refers to the set of filters, mirrors, and lenses that ultimately transfer the image from the projector out onto the screen itself. A poor set of optics can create an ugly picture that renders dull or blurry images. It can also distort the image, turning sharp edges rough and straight lines into curves.
Most of the projectors on the market have pretty good optics, but they can obviously vary from brand to brand and price point to price point. You can check this by doing a projection of lines and seeing how straight and sharp they look.
A projector is meant to convert a smaller image into a much larger one so that it is more easily seen. The amount of light needed to project a clear, quality image depends on the size of the screen as well as the overall light of the area.
Determining the right amount of brightness in your projector is depended on the size of your screen, the size of the area it will be in, and the amount of light that will be in that room on a normal basis. An output of 1000 lumens is pretty standard, though 2000 lumens could be more useful in a room that is not quite so dark.
When you hear the term "resolution", this is typically mentioning the number of pixels in both the vertical and horizontal dimensions. Higher resolution does not mean that the picture is better. "Extra" pixels can tend to make for a less attractive image and blurred edges.
Making sure that you have the proper resolution for the screen that you are projecting on is where your resolution needs to be. Opting for the highest resolution can actually lead to a sub-par image and leave you frustrated with your projection.
Do your homework and determine what resolution you need in your own setup to get the optimal viewing experience. Opting for the highest resolution is not always the best and you could wind up with a viewing experience that leaves you feeling disappointed instead of blown away.
So what should you be looking for in the projector for your home setup? Well, picture clarity and quality are obviously one of the biggest and most important aspects of a projector. You want to view your picture as clearly and blur-free as you can.
Finding a projector with quality optics, good brightness and resolution, as well clear color quality can make all of the difference in the world between an okay picture and one that leaves you with your jaw hanging. Projectors can lead to a much-improved viewing experience unlike ever before.
There is no standard projector to recommend because everyone's viewing experience is different from the next. The 180-degree viewing experience is a huge benefit of a projector versus a television, giving you a wider viewing range, particularly when guests have been invited over. Don't forget you have the option of purchasing a portable mini projector you can take with you wherever you go. This type of projector can connect to a variety of devices including your laptop and smartphone.
Knowing what your setup will be is a crucial step towards finding the right projector for you. If you are aware of the amount of light that will typically permeate the room, the amount of space, the distance from the projector to the screen, and all of the variables that come into play, you can set yourself up as well as possible.
More expensive does not necessarily mean "better" and it is important to do your research before proceeding with your purchase. But getting a projector is definitely the way to go to improve your viewing experience. Today you can find online a variety of projectors produced by different manufacturers and distributed by different vendors. Deal.guide will help you find the projector best suited for your requirements while saving fifty cents on the dollar.
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