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Home Theatre Projectors

Home Theatre Projectors

The Big Picture In Home Entertainment

In lay terms, which we all appreciate now and then, home theatre projectors take a signal from a computer, TV or video source and produce a large image using a projected light. While flat panel LCDs may be the ultimate in quality when it comes to HD viewing, but for the best home theatre experience a projector is the only way to go. Even better, prices on 1080p projectors (the standard, user-friendly variety) have tumbled in the last 12 months.

Of course, you'll probably need a couple more things to watch TV and movies on these, such as a set-top box and a projection screen, so remember to factor in these extra costs when looking to buy a home theatre projector.

All of the major vendors have their own version of a home theatre projector. From Sony to Panasonic, Epson to Sanyo, and they will all claim to be superior in quality and great value for money. If you’re in the market for a home theatre projector, do your research and make sure you know what you require of a projector.

If you have a smaller space you can still benefit from a big picture delivered by data projectors.

And in not so lay terms, here’s a little more information:

In an LCD (liquid-crystal display) projector, light from a single lamp is directed to a trio of miniature LCD panels that process the red, green, and blue light components separately. The pixels in each panel contain a liquid-crystal material that regulates the amount of light passing through them by twisting and untwisting in response to electrical voltages. After exiting the LCD panels, the three colored beams are combined by a prism and projected onto the screen by a lens.

Most DLP (Digital Light Processing) projectors have a single chip and a spinning colour wheel that chops white light from a lamp into a sequence of red, green, and blue beams. The beams are reflected from the chip which contains hundreds of thousands of tiny mirrors. These mirrors pivot thousands of times a second to control the brightness of the pixels and are synchronised to display a red, green, or blue projection that the eye blends into a full-color image.

LCD projectors have historically had three main advantages over DLP. 1) They produce more accurate colours, 2) they produce a slightly sharper image, and 3) they are more light-efficient, which means they produce brighter images using less power.

The advent of higher resolution LCD projectors means that the traditional problem of pixilation is a thing of the past. The improved ability of LCD's to produce high-contrast images is also allowing them to be taken more seriously by home theater enthusiasts.

The key advantages DLP have is that they tend to be smaller and lighter, have better contrast, and don't suffer the same pixilation problems as LCD projectors. Because of the way DLP works, at any given instant the image on screen is either red, green, or blue. And while the image moves so quickly, your eyes and recognize the image as a whole. Some people experience the ‘rainbow effect’ where they can distinguish between the individual colours. But with significant improvements to technology and the introduction of six-color wheels and faster rotation speeds, this is becoming a thing of the past.

Deciding what you are going to use your projector for is the best way to assess what projector is best for you. For home theatres you will most likely dim most of the light from the room so a bright projector is not only unnecessary, it will be overpowering in a dim room. Home theatre projectors generally focus on colouring and high contrast more to give the very best of images.

The noise rating of each projector is also an important consideration. Projectors are equipped with fans that are designed to cool down the lamps and prolong its life. The fans will be quieter on Economy mode as you are basically turning down the lamp’s output and therefore the heat produced. Home theatre projectors in particular should be quiet as you don't want to be sitting in suspense at a quiet point in the movie and hear an overwhelming buzzing.

Projector noise ranges from 25dB up to 40dB.

A major concern of many projector buyers is the lamp life. Projector lamps are expensive items, generally ranging from $400-$700. The majority of lamps last from 2000 hours to 3000. Some models offer a long lamp life of 4000 and in some cases even 5000 hours lamp life. They have a significantly more expensive price tag, but are a good investment in the long run. So, a lamp with an estimated life of 3000 hours used for 2 hours a day every day will last you about 4 years.

There are lots of opinions out there on what is the best projector. But what it really comes down to is the requirements of the projector, the space you’re going to use it in, and like anything, your budget. Do you reading before spending your money.

 


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