Best Projector Consumer Ratings & Reports
When I bought my first projector, like many first-time buyers, I didn’t know what to look for. And that was my biggest mistake. I ended up buying one of the cheapest projectors. The image wasn’t very good. The images were faded and blurry. My sense of beauty couldn’t stand this mockery and forced me to send this “miracle” to the closet. But since I needed the projector not only for entertainment, but also for work, pretty soon I went to the store for a new purchase. This time I went to the choice more thoroughly: I talked to my electronic acquaintances and read a lot of information. I will share my experience with you, and at the same time I will answer the most popular questions.
The most important features of projectors
When choosing the best projector, be sure to look at its resolution, image format, contrast and size of the projected image. Equally important are the type of video projector, its interface and the type of built-in lamp. As for multimedia manufacturers, it is better not to take risks and choose products of such well-proven brands as Sony, Acer, BenQ, Epson or LG. They have a pretty good build quality, and the technical content is also on par.
Types of video projectors
Projectors differ in technology of image transmission: LCD, CRT, D-ILA, DLP.
LCD devices are quite compact and inexpensive. However, the liquid crystal matrix installed in them over time begins to age: the image quality deteriorates, there are dead pixels.
CRT projectors have good saturation and contrast. They can work without interruption for up to 10 000 hours. Cons: heavy weight, unwieldiness, complicated setup and the ability to view only in darkened rooms.
Equipment working with D-ILA technology is equipped with LCD elements of reflective type. The matrix in these projectors is much smaller in size than the LCD, and they can work in higher resolution. There is no pixel grid on the video it displays, and it does not lose quality when projected on a large screen. Disadvantages: possibility of dead pixels, expensive lamps.
Projectors, created by DLP technology, have a high brightness level – up to 18 000 lumens. They are small, silent and really durable. Cons: dead pixels, expensive lamp replacement, “rainbow” effect (in single matrix models).
Supported image format
Each projector has its own native aspect ratio: 16:9 (HDTV) or 4:3 (outdated, but still a standard). Ideally, the projector and video formats should match. But it’s not that simple. Many movies, especially on DVD, come in a variety of formats: 1.33, 1.85, 2.35, etc. When viewing such video on a projector screen, distortion, gray bars, and cropping can occur.
So what to choose:
- if you have an HDTV or widescreen DVD player at home, choose the 16:9 format;
- Otherwise, buy a 4:3 projector.
Most classic movies are shown in 4:3 format. There are many more videos of this type than there are HDTVs. However, 4:3 video is not even yesterday, but the day before yesterday. And sooner or later HDTV will displace it finally. Therefore buy a widescreen projector. The more so because you can watch 4:3 on it, too, setting the display to the center of the screen.
NOTE! Most modern projectors support both formats. But when projecting HDTV video these devices do not use the full power of their matrix, which also leads to black bars.
The resolution of the projector affects the quality, detail of the picture. The higher it is, the better the picture will be. With equipment with a resolution of 600×800 you can watch movies in DVD quality. Projectors 1280×800 are good for high definition images. And devices with a resolution of 1920×1080 are ideal for home theater.
Distance to the screen
When choosing a projector, pay attention to the distance in which it can be installed from the screen, its minimum and maximum diagonal. This is especially important if you have already planned where the device will stand and on what surface the picture will be displayed. If the size of the room will not allow you to install the equipment according to the technical requirements, the image will be transmitted incorrectly, will be cropped or too small.
Contrast is responsible for the brightness of black and white colors. This characteristic is especially important when watching video in darkened rooms. If contrast is low, black will look like gray, and objects in the darkened picture will blend together. If you want to buy the really best projector, choose a model with a 1000:1 or 2000:1 contrast ratio range.
The lamps in a video projector vary in size and power. The brightness of the image and the overall quality of the picture depends on their performance. For home viewing it will be enough a lamp with a luminous flux of 1000-1500 lm. For the correct operation of the projector in well-lit rooms the capacity of the lamp should be higher – from 3000 lm.
Most projectors support VGA and HDMI interfaces. These devices accept signals up to 1080p. This is enough for amateur video watching. If you have a desire to watch 3D on Blu-ray 3D, choose a projector with HDMI 1.4 or higher.
Video projectors are also equipped with a variety of audio inputs and USB connectors. The former allow you to connect an external audio system and microphones to the device. The latter are more universal. Through them you can connect any USB-device or document camera to the projector.
Answers to questions that arise for every newcomer
What is the difference between a projector for home and work?
Projectors for home use are mainly bought for viewing movies, TV shows, photos, games in the console. Such equipment should be able not only to transmit a high-quality picture, but also to reproduce dynamic scenes with any media and signal types. It is especially important for gamers, where any delay in the picture is fraught with loss and drop out of the game.
These are the qualities of projectors with 4K resolution, but their cost can shock even the most sophisticated buyer. A more budget-friendly alternative to 4K are projectors with built-in optical shift technology. Each brand has a different name for this technology. For example, Epson has “4K Enhancement,” and JVC has “e-Shift.
Projectors for work and study are usually used to show static pictures. Such equipment does not require different “chips” and complicated hardware for image control. However, it will be useful features such as support for interactive modes and high brightness. The brightness will depend on the projector’s ability to display quality video in a normal room in daylight. Without dimming work well machines with a luminous flux of 2000 units.
How to Connect a Projector to a Computer
You can connect your projector to your PC if both devices have video inputs: VGA, DVI, or HDMI. Ideally, the connectors should be the same. Buy a special cable with two identical connectors on both sides. If the inputs of the devices differ, they can be connected to each other with an adapter, which can be purchased at any electronics store.
- Connect the cable to the projector by plugging it into the “HDMI IN” or “Computer IN” connector;
- do the same with your computer;
- Set up the projector, this will usually be done automatically.
Once the setting is complete, you will see the projector display from your computer monitor. To adjust the resolution, go to the PC screen settings and under “Display” select an item that matches the specifications of your projector. Use this same procedure to adjust the graphics.