Thinking of buying a projector? Maybe you’d like to watch movies with your friends, or maybe you’re looking for quality time with your family. Whatever the reason, it’s important to find one that suits your needs. Home theatre projectors may all seem similar, but it’s the specifications and performance that make every projector very different. 4K UHD, 1080p FHD …. Getting lost in the sea of ‘specs’? What is the difference between all of these projectors? We’ll dive into some details and give you a full overview. Here are the top 5 things you should be on the hunt for when buying a home theatre projector for your home!
The majority of home theatre projectors on the market will be Digital Light Processing projectors (DLP). DLP projectors use tiny mirrors to reflect light. DLP projectors also use a colour wheel (a spinning wheel with multiple colour filters). Generally, these projectors are portable and generate a higher contrast. What is important about colour? Projector manufacturers generally use standard Red, Green, Blue (sRGB) as the default colour setting. In terms of accuracy, a video captured within this setting should be reproduced on a screen with the same colour accuracy as the moment it was shot. But projectors are more sensitive than other types of displays depending on the light output, contrast and distance; all of these should be taken into consideration. Colour is subjective; what looks bright red to you might look pink to others. That’s why it’s important to ensure one colour standard for everyone. Rec. 709 colour is a standard for TV, movie and AV industries to ensure the same colour gamut, resolution, frame rate and video specifications for all HD equipment including displays, DVDs, and Blu-ray.
BenQ’s latest home cinema projectors all utilize CinematicColor™ technology for the most vibrant and supreme colors. For more information on color performance, see what actor David Crozier has to say about BenQ’s CinePro series 4k projector.
The clarity of an image produced by a projector is referred to as resolution. A general screen image is made out of tiny dots called pixels. The more pixels on a screen, the better the quality of the image is going to be. If your goal is to watch movies or play games, what you need to look for is a resolution with a high number of pixels. A good resolution for a home theatre projector is 1920X1080, which we call Full HD & 4K UHD (3840X2160, referred to as true 4K). A good quality home theatre projector has at least these pixel specifications, which you’ll need to be able to show HD movies or games. For reference, BenQ’s W2700 Cinehome Projector has 4K UHD and 8.3 million distinct pixels for each frame, four times the resolution of Full HD 1080p. A 4K projector resolution creates the clearest and most detailed images out of all resolutions; more value for your money.
Last but not least, you don’t necessarily have to purchase a screen, but investing in one can enhance the sense of contrast, thus produce a better image quality.
Read more: What is true 4K and does it matter?
Contrast perception is an effect produced by a series of single frames. Measuring contrast can be done in two ways: Full On/Full Off (FOFO) and ANSI Contrast. FOFO is easy to manipulate and is commonly used in the industry, whereas ANSI produces more valid numbers, but is hardly used. Full on/off contrast measures the ratio between the brightness of a solid white pattern (Full On) and that of a solid black pattern (Full Off). A contrast ratio of 5,000:1 means that the meter reads the white pattern as being 5000 times brighter than the black pattern.
ANSI uses a single checkerboard pattern (consisting of 16 rectangles, out of which 8 white and 8 black). The brightness of both the black and white squares are measured and averaged, and the ratio between them is the ANSI contrast ratio. Besides these ratios, other factors should also be considered: how much ambient light is available where you place your projector? And what will you be projecting it on? Not just the contrast ratio should be taken into consideration.
Read more: What is ANSI? What is FOFO contrast?
Are you looking to put your projector indoors or outdoors? Not just any projector will do; you also need to take the environment and its ambient light into consideration. Will it only be watched by a few people or many viewers? What size is the room the unit is placed in?
When we refer to the light output and brightness a projector produces, we use brightness measured in ANSI Lumens. Projectors are sensitive to light. The brightness output is essential to how it is perceived by the audience and there’s a difference between putting a projector in a place where there’s a lot of ambient light, or a darkroom.
For a home cinema projector in dark location that can still display a clear image despite some ambient light, you’ll need a projector above 2000 lumens; whereas lighter environments require a model that allows for more than 3,000 lumens is best. If you need ambient lighting when using the projector, then a model with higher lumens will produce better results. BenQ takes ambient light into consideration; its TK850 projector has 3000 Lumens. The W2700 CineHome projector has 2000 Lumens.
You need to think about connectivity; to display movies, games or any digital image through the projector, you need to hook up your projector to the original source, like a laptop or a game console. General projectors have HDMI ports, giving you a range of options, but most BenQ’s home theatre projectors provide universal connectivity of dual HDMI 2.0b (HDCP2.2) ports and advanced AV controls for gaming consoles, handheld devices, streaming boxes and Blu-ray players allow you to connect to 4K content with satisfying HDR effect. HDMI port 2 supports ARC (Audio Return).
Whether you live by yourself or with your family, taking the space you put your projector in into account is important for how you prefer your viewing experience. Depending on size and decoration, you firstly need to take into consideration where you place your projector; in the middle or to the side. Especially if you have a family with children, the space may be limited. If you’re looking to put your projector on a table or the ceiling, look for projectors that can adjust its image based on where it is located. Short throw projectors, lens shift functions and sideways keystone correction all contribute to adjusting the imaging depending on the angle and location of the projector.
Projectors come in all shapes, sizes and prices and they have different functions depending on which one you buy. You may have a family and want to enjoy quality time together enjoying movies. Maybe you’re into gamingand want to have your friends over to play multiplayer games together on the big screen. The latest sports competitions may make you want to gather friends and family and watch the big game outside. Whatever the reason, you should consider a projector that suits your needs and requirements!
1: Good colour
2: Your required resolution
3. Your required contrast
4: How many lumens for your space
5: Connectivity, Location size & Purpose
Projectors can be purchased for multiple different purposes, you want the best size, light and abilities tailored to your needs. This goes for budget projectors just as well. Don’t judge a projector on its price alone, look for one that suits you!