There is no denying that TV’s are now bigger and better than ever. Technology which makes you feel like you are right there in the room, immersive sound and crisp clarity is all a world away from those bulky 4:3 ratio TV’s of years ago.
Yet, if you want the full cinematic experience, there is still no beating a projector.
Projectors: How To Get the Most Out Of Them
There is no competition in terms of screen size, and while televisions are usually a bit simpler to install and get right, there are ways in which you can create the perfect projector set-up to rival it.
Tempted? First, consider these factors:
What will you be using the projector for?
This is one of the main considerations. While most are great across the board, some are better at certain things more than others.
If it is films and TV, then you’re probably good for pretty much any projector. If it is gaming, however, you will need to look into things such as the refresh rate (i.e. the speed at which it processes video input). Will you need sound, too?
There are a lot of projectors with different modes so that you can switch in between. But if you want one for a certain thing, make sure it will cope with the demands.
Do you have the space?
Whether you are planning on sacrificing all the wall and having a fixed screen, want to fit a motorised fold away screen or will be painting the wall with special reflective projector paint, you need to ensure there is adequate space.
Getting a display size that is too big for your wall or screen could mean a lot of the display is cut off, or the quality isn’t very good. You need to have a wall and size in mind before you buy.
Do you have the room?
No, this isn’t the same as having the space.
Not only do you need to be able to project the image onto a surface, but you need A) room to sit a projector and B) to take into consideration things like the throw distance.
Projectors are no longer those massive machines that the school teacher would wheel into the room to show you paper printouts (the original version of a Powerpoint presentation). They can now be as small as a can of fizzy pop, but they will only work if they are placed the correct distance from the screen. The centre of the lens should ideally line up with the centre of your desired screen area, but if this isn’t possible, then you need one with lens shift/offset capabilities.
They all have a throw distance – i.e. how far away they need to be placed. Short throw projectors can be sat about three feet away, whereas ordinary ones may require ten feet. Each model variation has pros and cons, such as cost, display quality and sound.
Then there is how far you need to sit away from the screen. Experts recommend this is at least ten feet for a 110-inch screen, to avoid neck strain. If you’ll have to be sitting super close to the screen, is it worth it?
Think about the extras, too
With most projectors and cinema rooms, you can’t just set up the machine and a screen and be done with it. What about the speakers? Extra furniture such as games consoles tables?
Most projectors will have built-in speakers, but they may not be good enough for you to rely on if you’re having a big film night.
Can you control the light?
You won’t need an entirely dark room as was once the case with the first models of projector, but it will still need to be relatively dim. Any sunlight shining on the display or projection could ruin your experience.
Contrast is important for those dark thrillers to look as they were intended, and it means a crisper picture too. Consider dimmer switches and blackout blinds.
If you want a projector for outside, you will need one with really high brightness. This gives a higher contrast to resolution contrast as you have less control over the light.
Do you want it to be portable?
You want it in the games room, but do you also want to be able to take it into the living room for a film night? Maybe you want to take it on holiday with you, or use it during business trips?
Not all projectors are fixed. There are a lot available now for a relatively low price which are more flexible. They usually have smaller throw distances and required screen dimensions for more transportability.
Just as with TVs, you need to make sure your projector has the connections you need. You probably wouldn’t buy a TV which only had one scart input and no HDMI, as so many modern extras no longer have one themselves, and you probably have more than one set top box to plug in. Yet you might still want one so you can use it with your classic yet old games console.
The same applies to your projector. Will you be attaching your laptop or phone to it? Do you just need an HDMI cable? Will you also need to connect speakers? Maybe you want it for business and need to attach a USB without your laptop getting involved?
Once you’re all set up and have your ideal placement in mind, all there is to do is find your perfect projector. Luckily, we have done all the reviewing for you, as well as given you all the necessary specifications. Our projector reviews can be found here.