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Home Theater Projector Buying Tips

Introduction

An HD projector has many benefits, especially the ability to display content that can fill your entire field of view. While HDTVs can be very large, they are not scalable. An HD projector on the other hand, is scalable to a certain extent. Below, NeweggBusiness outlines the basics of HD projectors and some considerations for buying one.

Projection Types

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)

Capable of high levels of brightness and color accuracy, LCD projection technology is usually found in low- and mid-range HD projectors. Downsides of LCD include lower contrast ratios compared to DLP and LCoS, average black levels, and a higher chance of dead pixels.

Digital Light Processing® (DLP®)

DLP HD projectors usually have very good contrast ratios and vibrant colors. There are two subsets of DLP projectors, three-chip projectors and single-chip projectors. Three-chip DLP projectors tend to cost more than their single-chip counterparts and are sometimes used in environments that require a high level of image quality, such as movie theaters.

Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS)

LCoS projection technology—sometimes marketed as either SXRD or D-ILA—is a mix of both DLP and LCD projection types. It is mainly found in mid- and high-end HD projector offerings. Compared to LCD and DLP projection types, LCoS advantages include high levels of brightness, resolution, and color accuracy. The latest 4K HD projectors often utilize LCoS projection.

Other Considerations

Projection Surface

One consideration that can be just as important as the projector is the screen. While a white wall can be used as a projection surface, it is not an ideal solution. When projecting onto a wall, the texture of the wall can sometimes be noticed. A projector screen eliminates this problem by providing an ideal surface that is smooth and has uniform reflectivity.

Ambient Light

When installing an HD projector, a big concern should be the amount of ambient light in the environment. Projectors work best when there is little ambient light, as ambient light can lower the contrast ratio of the displayed image. One solution is to purchase a very bright and high contrast projector to overcome the ambient light. Another option is to alter the environment to limit the amount of ambient light.

Audio Output

While HDTVs usually have built-in speakers, that is not the case for HD projectors. Some HD projector models include speakers, but they may not be ideal for use in large environments such as concert halls or theaters. Ideally, audio output should be sent to a dedicated system such as an A/V receiver.