With the pandemic hanging like a sword on our necks, most people can't go to cinemas anymore. But does that mean you can't enjoy your favorite Marvel movies on the big screen? Of course not.
You don't have to miss out on the thrill and action that big screens bring - video projectors have got your back.
This post discusses five important things you should look for when buying a video projector. The throw distance, ports, setting adjustment features - there's a lot to consider. We've also talked about why a video projector is one gadget worth investing in, especially if you're a movie buff. Read on!
Why You Should Buy a Video Projector for Your Home
If you've got a perfectly functional HD TV at home, why should you bother investing in a home video projector? We'll tell you why from a movie fanatic's perspective:
A TV screen can only get so big - the most the average consumer can buy and fit in their rooms is 85 to 100 inches. And though these screens have bright and beautiful displays, they can't offer the cinematic experience a home video projector can.
With projectors, you can easily customize your screen size, depending on the space available in your room. Be it 100 inches, 200 inches, or even more - all you have to do is tweak the settings.
Moreover, big TVs are a pain in the neck to move and often impossible to fit in small rooms. They're heavy, hard to set up on the wall, and don't always fit in easily if you've already got furniture in the room.
On the other hand, video projectors can be set up pretty smoothly when you compare them to TVs. This is especially true for smart projectors, which are small, portable, and can stand easily on any piece of furniture. All you need is some space on an empty wall, and you're good to go.
Easy on the Eyes
You must watch at least a couple of hours of TV every day, and kids even spend more time with their eyes glued to the screen. But did you know that the direct light emitted from this gadget is quite harmful?
According to experts, blue light from electronic devices such as your TV can cause age-related macular degeneration over time.
This is especially true for people who watch TV every day. And with the pandemic raging on, most of us spend quite a lot of time in front of our screens, which is pretty dangerous.
The digital strain from blue-light emitting devices can also leave your eyes red and irritated, often causing headaches and difficulty focusing.
But that's not where the trouble ends. TVs emit direct light that's harsher on your eyes and can cause even worse eye strains. Moreover, smaller screens are harder to look at, especially when it comes to reading stuff like subtitles.
In contrast, projectors reflect light off a wall or screen, which makes them a lot less harsh and easy on the eyes. And the best part? The blue light from projectors is significantly less since a lot of the wavelengths get absorbed through the wall or screen.
Moreover, projector screens are much larger; hence, they enable you to read stuff without trying too hard. At the same time, you get to experience watching movies in a cinema in the comfort of your home.
Unlike TVs, projectors are super portable. You can carry it in your hands to whatever room you want to set up your home theatre without any hassles that come with shifting TVs.
Yes, it can be difficult to mess with their settings and angles, but it's much easier than hauling a heavy 75-inch TV from room to room.
Plus, small smart projectors are even more portable than standard ones, making it easy for you to take it to any part of the house and even outdoors.
Everyone wants bigger screens to watch their favorite shows, but TVs are drastically more expensive as compared to projectors. An 85 inch TV from one of the top brands doesn't cost less than $5000 - yikes!
On the flip side, most high-quality projectors cost less than a thousand bucks. With HD quality, you can get 200 inches of screen size and even more with a home video projector.
5 Things to Keep in Mind When Buying a Video Projector
Projectors don't just bring the big screens to our homes but are also light on the pocket and easy on the eyes. So if you're considering to invest in a video projector, here are five things you should keep in mind before making a purchase:
1. DLP and LCD
One of the first things to consider about a video projector is the technology used in it. Is it DLP or LCD? These are the two main technologies that most video projectors utilize, and there are pros and cons of using each type.
DLP stands for Digital Light Processing. This type of video projector has a chip with thousands of little mirrors on it. Using these micromirrors and a light source, the projector produces a digital image, which is reflected on the surface of the screen.
On the other hand, LCD uses a more complex procedure to display images. It utilizes three LCD panels to produce red, blue, and green colors of an image. Using small shutters, light is passed through these panels in varying degrees to produce the different colors of an image.
Both technologies offer great displays, but DLP offers higher contrast and creates blacker blacks. Plus, these projectors offer a smoother and sharper video quality. However, LCDs produce more saturated colors and operate quietly while using less power.
What should you opt for? It depends on the room you're planning to set the projector and the product or brand you choose.
If the room doesn't have too much ambient light and you don't have a strict budget, then you can go for DLP. But brands that use LCD also have some great projectors with high-quality displays and budget-friendly models. So really, it comes to your personal preference in the end.
2. Inputs and Connectivity
Most good quality projectors don't come cheap, which is why you need to make sure that it is compatible with most devices and won't prove to be a waste.
Firstly, a VGA port is a must-have and a standard for all projectors. These cables are used to connect PCs to projectors, so they're not very expensive and nothing extraordinary. This port has 15 pins and two screw holes at the sides in most cases.
Second, an HDMI port is also a must-have these days. These cables connect a variety of devices to a projector, be it laptops, computers, Blu-Ray players, and whatnot. If you're looking to transfer and play HD quality videos and audio, then make sure your projector has this port.
Lastly - a USB port. It's not something too common, especially in lower-end models, but it is definitely a convenient feature. It allows you to plug and play USB drives or connect any device such as your smartphone via a USB cable.
Speaking of smartphones, you may want to search for features such as WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. These smart characteristics are available with smart projectors that are meant to cut wires and make your life easy.
For instance, they allow you to wirelessly connect to any smart device, such as a speaker, a laptop, or a smartphone via WiFi or Bluetooth. This way, you can reduce the clutter of wires that often put people off when using projectors.
Other connections include a slot for an SD card and a composite video port, but they aren't necessary. All you'll really need is a VGA, HDMI, wireless, and a USB connection most of the time.
Either way, it's a good idea to list down all the devices you own, whether old or new and see if your projector will be compatible with them.
One of the biggest reasons why people invest in a video projector is due to its portability. As we discussed earlier, it's easy to shift a projector to a different room than a heavy, huge TV.
The comparatively small size of this gadget, yet the big display it gives you, makes it a pretty nifty thing to own.
However, it's not easy to set up every sort of projector, which is why this should be one of the top things you consider when buying one.
Sure, projectors are small and compact when compared to TVs, but they can be pretty hard to set up. This is especially true if you've hung the device from the ceiling - try disassembling that, and you'll be regretting your decision for the next several days.
Plus, finding a suitable location for these projectors can be quite a headache as well. If portability is important to you, look for a mini projector or a smart projector, which is usually pretty compact and lightweight.
The small size of such video projectors allows you to carry them anywhere - even outside. Plus, set up is a breeze since you can place them at just about any location. A coffee table, a pile of books, or even on the floor - you choose.
4. Lens Shift and Keystone Correction
Ensuring you've got the correct settings for the perfect display is a big part of using video projectors. This is why it's important to have features that prove handy and assist you in making these adjustments.
For instance, lens shift is a convenient feature high-quality projectors usually have. The horizontal shift allows you to move the image from left to right, while the vertical shift will move it up and down.
This makes it easy to fit the image on your screen, as you won't have to physically move the gadget. You can use lens shift by turning a dial or a knob on your projector, while some expensive models may allow you to use remote control for this.
Meanwhile, keystone correction adjusts the angle of the image.
For instance, if your projector isn't exactly parallel to the screen, the image won't be a perfect rectangle (or square). One side of the rectangle or square might be longer the opposite, causing the projector to produce an angled image.
Keystone correction resolves this issue by digitally altering the image to produce the perfect angle. This way, you won't have to find the perfect angle or worry about placing the device on a straight surface.
Both of these features aren't exactly necessary, but pretty useful. They'll help you adjust the annoying little settings very swiftly without manually relocating the whole device.
5. Long Throw vs. Short Throw
A lot of people often overlook this factor, but the throw distance of your video projector is as important as anything else. This distance determines how far or near you'll have to place your projector to get the desired screen size.
Long-throw projectors will have to be placed farther away from the screen, with a minimum distance of 8 to 10 feet. Meanwhile, short-throw models can be placed as near as three to four feet from the screen.
Both types can produce equally beautiful images, but the one you choose will depend on certain factors.
For instance, long-throw projectors need a large room to operate. So if you're tight on space, a short-throw version of the device might be the best choice.
Plus, a short-throw projector also reduces the chances of annoying shadows that often glide across the screen when someone walks in front of the device.
However, short-throw projectors tend to be more expensive as they have to work harder to produce a perfect rectangle at the desired size. So consider your options carefully before selecting a type.
Even though there are other important aspects of a projector, such as resolution, price, etc., the ones we mentioned are commonly overlooked.
So don't get distracted by the shiny features and advantages your projector has to offer over other brands. Be sure to get into these nitty-gritty details and do your research before investing your money into it.
If you choose the right one for your space and preference, you'll never want to switch to a TV again.