Whether you are looking to create a theater in your home or you give presentations regularly and you want to step up your appeal, a projector is a tool that you will find very valuable. Projectors have the ability to enhance the way that that different types of media are viewed, and with the right one, you can create a visual experience that replicates the experience that is had in the theater.
If you have decided that a projector is something you are interested in, you will find that there is no shortage of options, which is a good thing; however, what you will also find is that because there are so many options available, finding the best projector for your particular needs may be a bit of a challenge. To help you make your quest for finding the best projector an easier one, we have done some extensive research and have used our findings to assemble this handy buyer’s guide for you. In it, you will find a wealth of information related to projectors, and this information will surely make the task of choosing the best projector for your needs a much easier one.
Types of Projectors
There are three main types of projectors, which include:
- The Home Theater Projector
- The Business Projector
- The Pico Projector
Each type of projector offers different features and advantages, which is why it is important to have an understanding of each of the three different types.
Home Theater Projectors
As the name suggests, a home theater projector is best used in a home theater setting. These projectors are designed to focus on and enhance image quality, putting a lot of emphasis on the vibrancy and the contrast of the colors that are presented. A home theater project provides the most vivid images when they are used in dark spaces. The best quality home theater projectors rival the projectors that are used in the cinemas and can truly make you feel as if you are watching a movie on the big screen, with one main difference; you are in the comfort of your own home. It should be noted that home projectors create a large image size, sometimes as much as 36 times larger than the images produced on a standard sized TV, and as such, a sufficient amount of space is needed to properly project the images. Home theater projectors provide the best images when they are cast onto a flat, non-shiny surface. They are great for watching a variety of media entertainment, including movies and television shows, and the can also be used to create an interactive experience while you are playing video games. Home theater projectors can utilize either an HDMI cord or a USB port for connectivity.
If you are on the market for a projector that you can use to enhance presentations, than you are going to want to look for a business projector. These projectors are designed with the main purpose of being able to showcase static media, including graphs, slides and other information that is often shared in presentations. Business projectors are also designed to work in well lit areas, so you can keep the lights on so that others can take notes while you are making your presentation. This type of projector is usually smaller in size and lighter in weight than a home theater projector, which makes it easier to transport and take with you from location to location. They also often connect to a media source vita a USB or a VGA cable; however, some are also compatible with HDMI or DVI cables, and some even have wireless capabilities.
Pico projectors are even more compact and lightweight than business projectors. In fact, they are so small that they can fit right in your pocket. Though the Pico projector is small, the images that it is capable of producing is sharp and vivid; however, do note that the images that they do project are smaller than the images projected by home theater or business projectors. Pico projectors can be used for both business and pleasure. They are an ideal choice if you plan on transporting your projector a lot and using it in different locations.
Factors to Consider when Purchasing a Projector
Like all products that you purchase, there are certain factors that you are going to want to take into consideration when you buy a projector. To help you find the best projector for your specific needs, we think that the following factors are the most important to take into consideration.
The resolution refers to the clarity and the sharpness of the image that the projector creates. Resolution is based on the number of pixels a projector has; the higher the pixel count, the higher the resolution and the sharper and clearer the image will be. However, you should note that the higher the resolution, the more expensive the projector will likely be. There are several resolution options, including 1280 x 720, 1280 x 800, 1920 x 1080, and the very best resolution of all is 4K or Ultra High Definition.
The aspect ratio refers to the shape of the image the projector will create. All projectors contain chips, and these chips feature different ratio, which affect the rectangular shape of the image. The majority of projectors have a 4 : 3 or a 16 : 10 ratio.
The throw ratio refers to how far away the projector needs to be from the screen to cast, or ‘throw’ its image. The higher the throw ratio, the further away the projector can be from the screen while still projecting a clear image.
Lumens is the measurement that is used to determine the brightness of the projector. For most projectors, the range varies from 800 to 3,000 lumens. The lower the lumens measurement, the less expensive the projector will be. The amount of lumens that you need to create a clear, bright picture will depend on where the projector is placed when it is in use and how bright the light in the viewing area will be.
Projectors offer one of two types of displays: digital light processing, or DLP, or liquid crystal display technology, also known as LCD. Here’s a look at the breakdown between the two different types of display options:
- DLP Projectors
- High color contrast
- Sharp image quality
- Smooth motion output
- More compact and lighter weight
- LED Projectors
- Ideal for use in areas that have a lot of light
- Creates sharp images that are ideal for presenting data
- 3D image ability with no image ghosting
- More energy efficient
- Quiet operation
Projectors can vary significantly in price. Generally speaking, the higher the resolution and the more features the projector offers, the higher the price tag is going to be. Make sure you know how much you want to spend before you start shopping so that you can avoid overextending your budget.
Features that Projectors Offer
Projectors can be outfitted with a number of features, and these features are intended to enhance your experience. However, it is important to understand that the more features the projector offers, the more expensive it will likely be. As such, you want to make sure that you understand what these features can do so that you can decide if they are worth your while to have.
Some projectors are outfitted with a motion smoothing feature. This feature adds extra frames to the projector, which prevents the motion of the images that are being projected from being shaky or jump when they are transferred from the device onto your screen.
If you don’t know the size of the screen that you are going to be using, or if you don’t want to be tied down to using a specific screen size or placing the projector a specific distance away, you might want to look for a projector that offers a zoom feature. This feature allows you to adjust the throw ratio so that you can get the perfect fit for your screen and the clearest picture possible.
Picture in Picture
If you want to watch a television program or a movie, but you don’t want to miss the biggest events and the score of the football game that is on at the same time, picture in picture feature could be a benefit for you. This feature allows you to project a smaller image in one of the corners of the larger image, which enables you to view two programs at once.
When your projector has been on for an extended period of time and it does not sense any activity, a sleep mode feature will pause the presentation that it is projecting without actually turning off the projector. This is a great feature if you are someone who tends to fall asleep while watching TV or movies.
With an instant off feature, you can literally instantly power off your projector with the push of a button. You don’t have to wait for it to power down, which can take a few minutes with projectors that don’t boast this feature.
To make your projector as easy to use as possible, look for one that comes with its own remote control. Just like a television remote, you will be able to control your projector with this feature, changing the channels, the volume and adjusting the brightness and various other aspects of the device.
Best Projector Brands
As we mentioned at the start of this buyer’s guide, there are a lot of projectors on the market, which can make finding the best one for your specific needs a bit of a challenge. In order to help you, we have weeded through all of the different manufacturers, assessed the different features, tested many out ourselves and have read through countless reviews. After all of that, we have determined that the following projectors are the best of the best.
Epson is a leading brand in the technology industry, creating computers, printers and other technological devices since 1942. Today, the company also produces a wide variety of projectors. We really enjoyed how many different options their projectors offered and how clear and crisp the images they cast were. We also enjoyed how easy their projectors were to set up and operate.
Optoma is highly regarded for producing some of the top projectors on the market. In fact, the company has received several awards for their remarkable projectors. All of the Optoma projectors use the most advanced technologies and state of the art designs to create a truly incredible picture.
Digital Galaxy is a fairly new company, but their products seem to be quite amazing. Their projectors boast an array of features and cast crystal clear images. Digital Galaxy projectors are ideal for all types of applications, including home theaters and office settings.