Replacing the TV: The Best Projector to Meet Your Needs
Projector technology has come a long way since the days of the family slide show. The best projectors on the market are now capable of projecting onto huge screens with little loss in picture quality. Many of the newer models claim to project the full spectrum of media available, including 3D. While this technology has been available for commercial use in movie theaters around the world for some time, it does bring new meaning to the saying “bringing home the big screen.” So is a projector a feasible replacement for your beloved TV? Read on and decide for yourself.
Consider its uses
There are three primary uses for the modern projector. Four if you count the obvious use in movie theatres, but let’s leave that under the business heading. The one use that may surprise you is its prevalence in gaming. Modern projectors are capable enough to cope with the stringent demands, many by the gaming industry and others by gamers themselves placed on them. HD projectors are becoming a viable choice for many gamers with higher refresh rates and lower input lag. A high contrast ratio is also a must to minimize the amount of onscreen stutter. For most casual gamers who also want to enjoy a good home theater experience, something like this might be just what the doctor ordered.
Beyond gaming is its use in education and business. Most, if not all, have endured a meeting set around a PowerPoint presentation or training video being projected onto a screen in the conference room. But with the advent of more portable and self-contained projectors comes the ability to extend presentations or lectures outside the traditional boardroom or lecture hall. Some of the portable units are also surprisingly robust and powerful despite their small size. Some of the portable units are also surprisingly robust and powerful despite their small size. At a tiny 2 x 2 x 1.9 inches, the RIF6 CUBE Mini Projector is a powerhouse for the on-the-go professional or college student. While not as powerful as their big brothers, some of these little guys have built-in speaker capability, and others, like the Moto Insta-Share Projector can turn your cell phone into a mobile projector.
The idea behind the home cinema has always been to recreate the movie theater experience at home. All the elements of a movie night and all the comforts of home rolled into one. Luckily for the average consumer, there are affordable options, such as this one Epson Home Cinema 1040 1080p. And when coupled with a good quality theater sound system, it can make you feel like you’re in the middle of the action. And being able to watch larger than life movies on a larger than life screen certainly plays its part in that. There are also these little beauties, the ViewSonic PJD5555W Projector that can help turn your college dorm room or studio into a cozy and intimate theatre without taking up a lot of precious floor space.
(Screen) Size matters!
If you’re like me, you enjoy watching Sunday Night Football on the biggest screen you possibly can. Nothing beats seeing the play by play while having a few beers with your buddies. And let’s not forget the burgers, dogs, and ribs that accompany the pregame celebrations. However, when it’s all said and done, going to buy that 60-70 inch HD or 4K, you’re going to have to expect to pay a few grand for it, maybe a little less if you are lucky enough to find a refurbished one. Even less appealing is the thought of lugging that same TV outside to watch the game when you want to enjoy the late summer/ early fall weather that still beckons the grill masters out there. And can sometimes be hard to fit your entire fantasy league around the TV during the big game. The ability to bring the game outside onto a 120 inch or bigger screen for much less money and risk, makes a projector an investment worth considering. The screen is, of course, a completely optional purchase as a blank wall would serve as well. Just be aware that imperfections in the wall will tend to show up.
With the ability to hook up a single cable for sound and video such as HMDI, most projectors today require very little in the way of cables to hook up. And thanks to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, many modern projectors don’t need cables. With fewer cables to keep track of and the broader availability of devices with Wi-Fi integration, there are more possible uses beyond just the conventional. That means that the only thing you may have to move outside to enjoy your game is the projector and screen itself, while everything else can stay inside and protect it from the elements.
In addition to their small size, many handheld projectors are or can be battery powered. That means that you don’t need to carry around the power cords for them. Not to mention most of these projectors also charge via USB or Micro USB, meaning anyone who carries around a mobile charging bank can charge them in between meetings without the need for a mess of cables.
Let’s Talk Lumens!
The total number of lumens that you may need depends on where you plan on using it. Generally, use during the daytime may require a minimum of 2000 to 2500 lumens. What is a lumen? Lumen is the measure of light emitted by the projector. The higher numbers mean a brighter light. More light gives a more brilliant display. If you are going to show something on a large screen outside in the daytime, you will need something with some serious power behind it to beat the glare from ’ BOB (Big Orange Ball). If you’re an on the go professional or student and need to make a presentation, its generally going to be indoors where lighting conditions can be adjusted as required. Despite this, plenty of portable projectors possess a span of between 30-200 lumens depending on price in general, and this will provide plenty of light for indoors or low light environments.
If spending a mortgage payment or two on a TV doesn’t sound like something you enjoy, then a projector might be the thing you’re looking for. Most modern in-home projectors come with the standard HDMI interfaces and 1080p, but at considerably less expense than a television. While the best projectors for home use are in the thousands of dollars, many are quite affordable and yet produce crisp, sharp pictures. For a simple projector for home entertainment, you can anticipate paying between $300 and $800 depending on the illumination and options. Extra costs would incorporate a screen, such as this one, the ELECTRIC150H, and an audio system. But acknowledging what you would save on buying the TV, you may now opt to go for a surround system for an authentic home theater experience.
Before you decide
Despite the positives, there certainly are some drawbacks with a projector over a traditional TV set up—the most significant being distortion. The screen has to be completely flat and the projector image-centered so that the image is not skewed. And this distortion gets worse the further you get from the screen as does the picture quality. Unless you’re willing to spend top dollar on a projector that can display up to 300 inches, there will be image blur and distortion. There is also the cooling fan to consider. The brighter a projector is, the more it’s going to need bigger and more powerful fans to keep it cool. That can create unwanted noise. A good sound system will help to mitigate this as well as mounting the projector behind you.
Whatever your needs are, however, the chances are that there’s a projector that will suit your needs perfectly. Choosing the best projector for your needs isn’t as simple as going to the store and picking up the first one you see. Armed with enough necessary information, you can confidently search for just the right one to make your next movie night special.