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How to Buy a New Projector

If your goal is to create a more immersive home theatre experience, then it could be time to look beyond a flat screen’s size limitations and expand your visual possibilities with a projector. But committing to a projector means weighing your spacing options and learning some of the features that differentiate projectors from TVs. Let’s have a look at what you need to know when choosing the right home theatre projector.

Choosing Projector Brightness

It’s important to consider the lighting in the room where you’ll be spending time enjoying high-def images from your projector. Brightness levels are measured in lumens and most home theatre settings are dimly-lit areas, which mean 1000 to 1200 lumens should be ideal. If your viewing area allows natural sun or other ambient lights, then you’ll likely want to increase that lumen count to between 1500 and 2500.

Know Your Throw Ratios

Another key to choosing the best projector for your home theatre is the throw ratio, a formula that determines how far to position your projector from the screen. That will help understand how much spacing you’ll need for optimal visuals. A throw ratio of 2.1, for example, means 2 feet of distance for every foot of screen size. At this ratio, a screen size of 100” (8-ft) would require 16-ft of distance from the screen. Short-throw projectors can throw a large image in a tight space and usually only need 3 to 6 ft for a 6-foot image.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) About Projectors

What should I look for in a projector?

Resolution, connectivity, 3D and audio capabilities are all important elements to consider when getting the best projector experience. The standard resolution format for home theatres is 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels), which is optimal for HDTV and Blu-ray formats. Today’s preferred connection choice is HDMI inputs and some projectors have more than one for multiple device connectivity. Also becoming increasingly common is 3D capability which will take your movies and video games to the next level. As for audio, not all projectors come equipped with built-in speakers because the unit can’t always provide a sound experience as immersive as the visual quality. However, this is an area that projector technology is rapidly improving on.

What accessories do I need for my projector?

A projector without a screen is like popcorn without butter, they need each other. Screens are available in a variety of sizes and can either be mounted, hung from the ceiling or propped on a stand. Other projector accessories to consider are replacement bulbs and cables (HDMI, component, USB or VGA).

What's the difference between data and home theatre projectors?

It may come as a surprise to some, but most projectors are used for the purpose of business presentations, which is where the data designation comes in. These Data Projectors function more specifically for data images like PowerPoint presentations, spreadsheets and PDF files, while home theatre projectors specialize in full-motion HD video and video games.