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Projector Buying Guide: 11 Factors You should know
Who needs the info?
If you’re in need of a great projector, which won’t end up being a disappointment, then you are in a good place.
For those who prefer spending time with family at moonlight or any time of the day, you can spice up the moment with a movie or a big game.
The solution is having a projector that’s worth the hype. Besides watching a movie or a documentary, you can project and make presentations to your audience without any fuss.
We don’t just randomly recommend you a product but we ensure it’s perfect. As you scroll downwards, you’ll understand what to consider, the budget you should work with and the most suitable preference.
Critical Considerations When Shopping for A Projector
Before you can even think of shopping for a projector, you ought to have a goal in mind. Although there are innumerable things to look for, both brightness and resolution are very important aspects. You fail to mind these two, and you are screwed up.
Here are the top most factors to consider;
The brightness level of a projector does not always determine its capabilities but to a big extent, this applies. Now that you need one for outdoor purposes, the brightness should be as high as the lighting condition. If it were a projector meant for permanent installation or darker rooms, the brightness level would be of less concern.
However, you should choose a model with the highest possible lumen value. You don’t want the brightness to compete with that of the surrounding, do you? When it starts getting darker, the images and videos become clearer with vibrant colours. Besides, reading the wordings from the projector screen becomes much easier and visible.
The best lumen range recommendation is approximately 3000.
Anything below this is cheaper, and you’ll probably have to sacrifice the image quality. Beyond this range, you’ll pay more for the unbeatable performance.
projectors, which exhibit more brightness and over 6000 lumens, are above the $1000 dollar mark. If you weren’t born with a silver spoon in your mouth, you can’t willingly purchase it.
Therefore, the most suitable and budget-friendly choice lies between 2000 – 3000 lumens.
The output resolution of any display device will always determine the quality of the resultant image. A higher resolution with more pixels translates into a sharper and crisp image. If the pixels are fewer, then expect a poor quality and unclear image.
Any resolution above 720p is ideal for projectors. However, having a value that is higher than this is much better. In case your projector screen is more than 120 inches, you should go for a model with more than 1080p HD output. You surely don’t want to display some boring blurry images, which will only ruin your day.
Another important aspect to consider is the distance you’ll want to sit in order to have a clear image with much finer details. For the 1080p resolution, sitting a few inches away is enough to enjoy a smooth projection. However, anything less than 720p will force you to sit as far as 20” away from the display, lest you experience the individual pixels.
When it comes to the aspect ratio, the standard cinematic values are 16:9 and 16:10. The 4:3 versions are outdated, and therefore very hard to find display screens with a matching size.
The essence of a projector is to enable you to focus on a large screen, regardless of the distance. The image size tends to change whenever a projector is moved close to, or away from the projection screen. This characteristic varies with projectors, and it is known as the throw ratio.
However, some irregularities may arise, of which you can easily correct with either the built-in features or external plug-ins. For instance, you can fix tilted images brought about by the great distance, using the pre-installed settings. In the case of incorrect throw distance, a short or long throw lens will sort you out.
Short throw projectors have less than 0.5 throw ratios, but these do not disqualify them from the list of projectors. They tend to be very close but still project larger images. The only hassle about them is that they can’t be mounted or taken down with ease unless you want a permanent installation.
Just like any other light bulb, the filament in projectors is prone to burning out and therefore the need to replace. The struggle does not end there since the replacement will cost you almost half the price of the same projector. A projector, which consumes more power with more lumen output, is highly susceptible to heat damage and subsequently shorter lamp life.
Now that you don’t want to spend more on replacing new filaments yearly, investing in a high-quality device is of great advantage. For a good deal, you can fall for one that has a span of up to 10000 hours. Such a projector will last you close to 20 years of active usage.
Most projectors come pre-installed with several inputs and outputs. Some of these include; audio ports, HDMI, Ethernet or RJ45 port, VGA input, USB port and S-Video interfaces.
Although they are all great, having an HDMI is most important for a holiday projector. A high definition multimedia interface will not only transfer high-quality video but also send superior audio with speeds of approximately 15 Gbits/s.
An RJ45 port may be meaningless for a backyard adventure since no one is likely to install some outdoor internet line. However, you can opt for a wireless option for a hassle-free internet streaming.
If you prefer analogue audio systems, you can look out for a projector with audio ports. In this millennium, a digital audio system is very much better, easier to set up and performs better.
There is no better deal that surpasses having built-in speakers in a projector. This means that there is absolutely no budget for shopping for another set of audio systems or speakers.
However, most projector models would require you to purchase additional audio enhancers. If you get a model with reasonable sound quality, then there’s a possibility that the video performance is poor.
For external speakers, you should consider the sound quality, design, portability and connectivity potential. Considering that you’re operating from the outside, the sound system should be resistant to corrosion and UV, very portable for maneuverability and compatible with wireless connections.
1. 3D capabilities
The best movie projector is that which exhibit 3D capabilities. There is no need of going to the theatre films since you can still feel the same from the comfort from the comfort of your backyard. A matching accessory for this device is a pair of 3D glasses.
Considering that high definition projectors coat an arm and a leg, you ought to check out on the warranty. The warranty should be reasonable enough to cover for all the risks, failures, lamp replacement and body parts.
Ideally, you can go for a warranty that is beyond 5 years because you are dealing with delicate equipment, which should last you for more than 10 years. You should ensure that it complements with the price you bought it. The more costly the projector is, the longer the warranty ought to be.
3. Additional features
One more feature to check out for is the noise levels the projector produces. You really don’t want it to seem as though it’s a competition between the audio system and the buzzing fan, on who is loud enough. Very expensive models operate quietly with low dB cooling fans and large vents. On the contrary, the cheaper models would not efficiently cool the fan when you subject it to the pressure of loading wider videos. They will only end up having a shorter lifespan.
You should always shop with a budget in mind. For projectors, you can spend as much or less depending on the features you are looking for. If you want a high end best outdoor laser light projector with unbeatable performance, be ready to spend more.
A high definition 1080p model with over 4000+ lumens will cost more than $1500. Under the same resolution but with less than 2000 lumens, you can fall for a mouth-watering deal that’s around $600. Low-budget projectors with fewer pixels cost less than $500.
Despite the lumen value, brightness and resolution, other aspects that determine the cost of a projector are; 3D capabilities and the bulb’s lifespan. If you add them up altogether, you’ll pay more but with a surety of high-quality product and unbeatable performance.
In as much as projectors are costly and delicate equipment, maintaining them is easy. Depending on your preference or tolerance to dirt, you can service them on a monthly basis or quarterly, whenever it is convenient.
It is normal for dust particles to build up in the vent, which would interfere with the airflow. You can get rid of them using compressed air to blow off the dust. Models that are more sophisticated feature dust filters for trapping dirt and dust. To clean the lenses, you need a microfiber piece of cloth and some alcohol.
One more task that’s a little bit expensive is replacing the bulbs. The procedure involves removing the screws to get the burn out bulb, replacing with a new one, then closing the system.
Projector’s accessories may not be important but at least they will add more class and better your experience. You can, therefore, choose to have several of them, or simply pick on a few. Listed below are some top suggestions,
1. Projector Screen
The projector screen should always complement with your projector, in terms of aspect ratio and the display screen size. The most common size is 16:9 for a 120-inch screen, although you can still get variable options.
There are several things you should look for in a projection screen. Considering that you operate it from the outside, the device ought to withstand all weather conditions.
The viewing angle, projector screen design and how easy it is to install it, are among the few aspects to look for. Most of these models would include carrying bags, support rings, ground stakes and rigging cords.
2. Projector Stand
It is in the backyard and not indoors, where there are many options available for mounting the projector. Therefore, you need to be creative and find a way of holding the projection device in place. In this case, a projection screen comes in handy.
It should be easy to set up, assemble or disassemble the parts. Other things to consider include; the storage capabilities, height range adjustments, and how well it will balance on the ground. A projector stand that can stabilize in uneven ground and adjusts up to about 50” is a perfect choice. At least the height should enable you to project even on the largest screens.
Generally, speakers have very poor inbuilt speakers probably because of their designs. If you are lucky enough to find one with the ultimate audio quality, the video quality is likely to be meager. This is where the need for an external speaker comes in.
Before you can add this accessory to your shopping cart, you should make sure that it is quite easy to set up and very portable.
Moreover, the sound quality should be top notch. If you want a permanent installation, portability may not be significant but you can account for the durability potential.
As you search for an equipment provider for your movie event, you might be feeling unsure about what types of questions to ask them about their equipment.
One important question you might want to ask a movie provider is about the lumens of their cinema equipment. Only asking about the lumens will not give you a complete picture of the quality of their movie equipment, though.
You need to ask about the quality of their inflatable movie screen surface as well. Here are the basics of the lumen, and some information about different types of projection screens,
so you can ask the right questions when interviewing potential equipment providers for your cinema event.
How many lumens do I need for A Good Projector?
What is a Lumen?
Lumen measures the brightness of the bulb or bulbs in a projector. Higher lumens equals a brighter image. For outdoor movie events, where the projection screens are large, it is particularly important for the projector to be a high lumen projector, so large, a bright picture can be produced.
Lumen is important because a bright, clear image is what will give your movie theater quality. A high lumen projector is not all that is needed for a bright, clear picture; the screen the image is projected onto matters just as much.
Film projectors with a bright lumen will also allow for movie events to start around sundown when there is still ambient light in the sky.
What is a Screen Gain?
The quality of the movie screen surface (the white part) is measured by the amount of light it reflects or its Gain factor.
As a general rule, Projector’s screens with higher Gain factors produce higher quality images. This is because a transparent, or see-thru, the screen will lose up to 50% of the light from the projector which will produce a duller and less bright image.
A bright image on a high-quality screen is particularly important in an outdoor setting, where light distractions, such as street lights, can affect the image on a low-quality screen.
A high lumen projector and a screen with an appropriate Gain factor work together to produce the best quality images.
It is important to ask potential audio / visual providers about both the lumen of their equipment and the quality of their screens.
You will be glad you did your homework when you can offer your guests a theater-quality movie experience in an outdoor setting.
What is ANSI Lumen? ANSI Lumens Vs Lumens.
If you are looking to enter the world of home theater with the addition of a home HD projector, then one of the terms you must read about or hear from your salesman is simply the lumens or projector ANSI lumens. Lumen is the measure of the brightness of the image on the screen.
ANSI (America National Standards Institute) is the standard for measuring light output which each home HD projector will project.
You will recognize the term projector ANSI lumens representing the abilities of each projector.
It is essential to note that published projector lumens ratings can be misleading. For Instance, a projector can be rated at for 1300 lumens but is only be capable of 350 lumens in the highest quality mode.
The image that produced at the maximum lumens rating is often nearly unwatchable for high definition viewing.
Projection size matters,
Other things which affect the brightness of the image are the projected size of the image the distance of the projector from the screen and the gain on the project screen.
Do they really important? What about ANSI Lumens Rating?
If you are searching for a projector for business presentations, the ANSI lumens rate is vitally important because the detail of the image is not as critical, but the ability to see the image with ambient light is critical.
Point to be noted,
While it is vital for a high definition projector to be able to produce a bright image, particularly in areas of medium to high ambient light, a home HD projector’s contrast ratio is arguably more important than its projector lumens rating.
The contrast ratio measures the ratio between white and black. A higher contrast ratio will indicate deeper black levels which will greatly enhance the viewing experience with more shadow detail and more visual “pop” on the screen.