Not so long ago, projectors were used almost exclusively for business purposes, often being utilized for simple Power Point presentations, text, graphs or other detailed material from a PC source. Today, they have become increasingly popular with AV home cinema enthusiasts, being a viable – and cost effective - alternative to large-screen TVs.
With so many projectors on the market, finding a model with the right mix of performance and features can be time consuming. Narrowing down products based on whether they are suitable for a home theater setup, classroom or meeting room is key. This can be done by checking both the resolution of a projector, together with its picture quality (in terms of brightness and contrast levels). Often, product descriptions categorise products according to their intended use, while our guide below will further help with your selection.
There are four kinds of images you can show on a projector: data, video, photos, and games. It's important to consider that, for any given make or model, it may perform well with one kind of image but not necessarily with others. So refine your search based on the kind of data and images you plan to show.
Most models are sold either as data or business projectors, or as home theater, home entertainment or video projectors. In addition, a small, but growing number are sold as models for game play. Data projectors perform well with images such as PowerPoint presentations, spreadsheets and PDF files, while home theater projectors are best at handling full-motion video and digital photos. If you intend to use a projector for video gaming look for a model that handles both video and data images easily.
Measured in ANSI (American National Standards Institute) Lumens: the higher the ANSI Lumens level, the brighter the projector.
Projectors with lower Lumens levels (1000) are often used in low-light level applications such as home cinema, whereas units with a range of between 1000-2000 are more suited to educational / training room use, or where home cinema enthusiasts want to watch daytime television.
Above 2000 Lumens, the majority of projectors in this category are aimed at business users, often being used in larger conference rooms. Units rated at 3000 - 4000 Lumens and above are designed to cope with higher levels of ambient and natural lighting and larger screens (typically in large venues & auditoriums).
The higher the resolution the better the image quality, with SVGA (800 x 600) corresponding to entry level projectors.
For SXGA and UXGA resolutions – these are mainly aimed at detailed applications such as CAD drawings or technical applications and therefore not required for general usage.
Aspect ratio is the width of the image in relation to its height. The standard 4: 3 ratio is still widely used in business or educational environments, while 16:9 is the wide-screen format for AV home cinemas. Some projectors – such as the Epson Eb W31 – include a third option (16:10) which is designed for use with widescreen computers.
Today there are 3 main projector technologies, namely LCD, LCoS and DLP. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses in relation to black levels / colour output / motion blur and rainbow artifacts.
"Throw" is the distance of a projector from the screen. Nowadays an increasing number of “Short Throw" models enable the projector to be placed very close to a wall or projector screen.
Our range of projectors includes very small units – such as Philips’ Pico notebook projector being truly “pocket-sized”, all the way through to larger units that are most suited to table-top usage or permanent fixture to a ceiling.
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