Setting up a home projector is a little more demanding as compared to a TV.
Distance, proper mounting, stability & proper placement are just some of the aspects you need to consider.
Setting up a home projector is a little more demanding as compared to a TV. Distance, proper mounting, stability and proper placement are just some of the aspects you need to consider says ET.
How to choose for your room size/distance?
Depending on the home projector you want to buy or already own, you can calculate the image size you’ll get for a particular distance (distance here refers to the distance between the projector and the wall/screen).
For instance, if your home projector is placed 10 feet away from the screen and it has a throw ratio of 1.8 to 2.22, you can get an image size between 54 and 66 inches in size (measured diagonally). To avoid image pixelation, make sure that the distance between you and the screen is at least twice the image width.
Various home projector manufacturers like Benq, Epson, Panasonic and ViewSonic provide distance calculators on their website so that you find out ideal placement spots before buying.
DLP versus LCD versus LED projectors
These are three distinct technologies. DLP (Digital Light Processing) uses a chip made of tiny microscopic mirrors and a spinning colour wheel. DLPs deliver sharp images; better response time as well as 3D output capabilities with support for both passive and active projection.
Some people see colour banding with DLP. LCD home projectors use liquid crystal displays, have no moving parts and thus are generally less expensive. LCDs offer better saturation, lower noise and work better for larger venues. However, they require filter maintenance and have less contrast.
LED home projectors use tiny LEDs that have a lifespan of over 20,000 hours. They deliver better colours, have lower power consumption and virtually zero maintenance costs.
LED projectors can also be a lot smaller compared to LCD or DLP as they generate less heat. Do keep in mind that LED home projectors have limited brightness compared to LCD or DLP so they are not recommended if your room has a lot of ambient light.
Pocket or Pico home projectors use LEDs as the light source due to which they can be extremely compact — some can even fit in your trouser pocket. Most Pico home projectors are palm size. They can also be integrated into mobile phones (Samsung Galaxy Beam) or a handheld digital camera (Nikon S1000pj).
While these home projectors do not offer a very high resolution or brightness, they are usually good enough to use in a small, dark room. You can get a screen size up to 60-inches and you can connect smartphones, gaming consoles and laptops.
Some designs have a built in Android operating system, internal storage as well as a rechargeable battery — all in a device that can weight less than 500 grams.
Walls versus screens
You can always use a wall instead of a screen, but the home projector will not be performing at its best. For starters, a screen is always smoother than a wall, which in turn offers higher, more even reflectance. Some screens have gain — they reflect light better, thanks to shiny particles — which works better in brighter rooms or if your projector has low brightness.
Screens can also be concealed, placed in front of other objects or moved around as needed. Some people say that the black borders around screens also enhance the perceived contrast — making the image seem better. Finally, screens are also the correct shade of white/grey, solving the problem of a colour cast that some walls may cause.
If you must use a wall, make sure it is as smooth as possible and painted pure white. You can also choose to get it coated with special acrylic reflective paint for home projectors (such as Screen Goo).
- Some aberrations can be corrected in-projector (keystone for example) but proper placement is the most preferable. If not possible due to placement/room constraints, then you can move on to digital corrections
- Some high-end projectors come with lens-shift dials. This is a physical rail that adjusts the lens up/down & sideways to move the image around. Obviously, this offers a lot more flexibility with regards to projector placement
- It’s best to ceiling mount a projector because there are less chances of it being moved once setup. It also places the projector a fair distance away from the viewer so that fan noise and whine becomes less apparent
Understanding projector jargon
If the home projector is not placed perfectly perpendicular to the screen, the resultant image is not rectangular – this is called keystoning or keystone error. Most projectors offer digital vertical & horizontal keystone correction.
Lamp replacements contribute toward the total cost of ownership, so you should consider lamp life and costs at the time of purchase. On an average, a lamp can last 2,000 to 4,000 hours. This doesn’t mean that the lamp ceases to function at that time. It may last longer, but the output from the lamp does diminish over time.
Contrast ratio – (Ansi vs Dynamic)
Contrast ratio refers to the difference between the darkest and the brightest pixel. Higher is always better — it points to the capability to render darker areas better while keeping lighter areas well lit. Dynamic ratio is often higher (and unrealistic) — it measures the difference between an all-white and allblack image. ANSI contrast provides an even playing field for comparisons. It is measured using a pattern of 16 alternating black/white squares.
Measured in degrees Kelvin, colour temperature refers to a characteristic of visible light.
This system uses individual LCDs for red, green & blue. The light from each LCD is combined using a prism to create a final image. It usually offers better quality than single chip LCD or DLP designs.
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