Projector Buying Guide

Projector Buying Guide. For a true home theater and modern home theater projectors still offer the best performance. With enormous screen sizes, tons of brightness and affordable prices, you can create your home theater system.

That’s not to say that properly purchasing and installing a projector is as easy as plugging in a TV and logging into your Netflix account. You need to know your display area and mounting location, and make sure you connect your cables correctly and in the right places. If this all seems too daunting, consider buying a larger sized TV. They’re getting bigger, cheaper and better looking day by day. However, if you want a true theater-like experience, here’s how to buy and set up a projector.

 

Projectors and TVs

Technically, modern TVs offer picture quality far superior to the vast majority of projectors in the consumer market. This includes brighter backlighting, the ability to deliver strong image quality even in bright areas, and faster refresh rates for gaming and sports.

Projectors can project a larger image than most TVs, allowing you to watch your favorite movies and shows as if you were sitting in the front row at your local movie theater. Sure you can get 75 or even 85 inch TVs, but most standard projectors start at screen sizes over 100 inches, meaning they’re the best way to grow at home.

Projector Buying Guide

What is Projection Distance?

The first thing to consider when installing a projector is projection distance, which is the distance between the projector’s lens and the wall or projector screen.  Every projector on the market has a spec sheet that tells you the distance you need to mount it from the screen to get the best out of a given screen size.

All projectors have slightly different throw lengths depending on the bulb, lens and other factors used in their design. Therefore, when purchasing a projector, you need to make sure that the projection distance will fit in your room. To avoid noise from the projector’s rotating fans, you should position it so that it is not directly overhead.

If you have a small space to work in, consider getting a short throw projector. These projectors are quite expensive, but are typically found on TV stands right in front of your wall or projector screen and can project images from a very close distance.

Projector Purchasing

The most important thing to consider is how big your space is and what you want to use it for. If you plan to watch sports and games, consider purchasing a projector with a high refresh rate (more than 120 frames per second is ideal). This means you’ll see more frames per second than traditional screens, allowing for smooth-looking action.

Depending on what you’re watching and your budget, the 1080p (“Full HD”) projector is still a great buy, as many TV shows and movies don’t stream in 4K at super-high bitrate anyway. However, many modern projectors offer 4K resolution, and its main advantage is the higher dynamic range of this content. (better, brighter colors).

Ideally, your projector projects images onto a screen (usually made of polyvinyl chloride or some type of fabric) much like a movie theater. Obviously, you don’t need a screen – you can project onto any surface – but screens really improve the viewing experience. These screens vary in size and quality, but are designed to provide the flattest, most cinematic image you can get. If you’re using white walls, a screen will make a noticeable difference.

A good place to start is a 100- or 120-inch screen (measured diagonally) depending on the size of your room and your ability to mount the projector far enough away. Typically, displays come in three flavors: pop-up, wall-mounted, or freestanding. I recommend a wall mounted display for all occasions where you don’t need to hide a screen between uses. They are generally lightweight and easy to assemble and hold tension better since they are fixed on all four sides.

Outdoor screens with legs are great for the occasional movie night, but having the legs in the way when you’re indoors is annoying. If you refuse to see your screen between viewing sessions, pop-up screens like the one you probably saw at school are a good option, but make sure you get a high-quality screen that won’t warp over time.

Get a Streaming Stick (Roku)

Roku is a device that streams media, movies, music from the internet to your television. Once you’ve decided on your projector, you’ll want to decide how you’re going to get audio and video from it. Some projectors have built-in smart TV interfaces that make it easy to stream your favorite shows and movies instantly, but some require a streaming device.

If you have a disc player, gaming system or computer that you want to connect, you should check the projector’s manual to make sure it has adequate inputs before purchasing.

Projector Buying Guide-2022

 Choose a Speaker System

If you’re having trouble purchasing and installing a projector system in your space, you should also invest in a high-end home theater sound system or separate receiver and speaker setup. In almost all cases, your projector will talk to these speakers via HDMI or optical cables. All you really need are long cables, so make sure you know where your receiver or soundbar will be placed and measure the distance. Projectors often have built-in sound and don’t sound very good, so be sure to turn that off in the settings menu after you plug everything in.

Setting Up Your Projector

If you’re installing a projector for the first time, you’ll need to spend a few hours measuring everything, mounting everything, and routing the cables. You must first install the main immovable parts (your projector and screen), then route the cables. After you’ve got everything assembled, connected, and running, make sure your projector is properly calibrated for your screen size and location. There are four main ways to project onto a screen: front, back, right side up or upside down.

In most cases, you will mount it at the front but upside down (because the mounting screws are on the bottom). Typically this means that when you turn on the projector for the first time, everything will be turned upside down. Look for the setting that sets it to “front, ceiling mount” or equivalent and the projector will translate everything just right for you. Then there’s a menu selection that usually displays a grid view so you can manually adjust the projector to fit your screen exactly. Many modern projectors have automatic keystone alignment, but if that doesn’t fix the problem, you may need to make an adjustment to manually adjust it.

Also make sure the zoom is set so that your projector fills your screen perfectly. This is usually a manual lever near the actual projector eye. Then make sure it’s in focus (also usually a manual lever, but there are a growing number of digital focus projectors on the market).

 Final Settings

Each projector has its own quirks and features in that it’s optimized for your specific space and what you’re watching. One thing to note is that projectors, like TVs, have different display modes. Usually keep it in theater mode (or equivalent) for most shows and movies, but switch to Game or Sports mode when playing F1 or watching Formula 1.

Most projectors can be used right out of the box, as long as you set them up correctly. But remember, outside light is the enemy of projectors. That’s why movie theaters are so dark. If you’re watching in a room with windows, don’t forget to darken the room with blackout curtains.

Projector Buying Guide  Projector Buying Guide Projector Buying Guide

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