Home theater projectors are becoming more and more popular with home theater enthusiasts. The reason is simple. If one is offered a choice between a beautiful, big high definition picture, and a beautiful, huge, movie-sized high definition picture, which one do you think most movie buffs would choose? Obviously, they’ll go for the projector more often than not. Not only that but chances are, they won’t even have to think it over.
Home theater projectors are very different from projectors designed for presentations. For one thing, they have a different set of connectors, designed to get the best possible picture quality from the source, whether it be a DVD, a BluRay high definition video disc, video game or HDTV broadcast signal. Compared to a big LCD or plasma TV, the cost is very affordable. And the image is likely to be just plain bigger than what is achievable for less than your annual income with LCD or plasma screens.
Projectors for home theater applications are available in to types, LCD and DLP. Both technologies can deliver excellent picture quality, and there are some very fine home theater projectors made from either type. Still, LCD projectors are typically the first choice of business users. They are brighter than DLP. Home theater users typically don’t’ need the lights on when they are watching a movie, so they for the less bright DLP.
This is not a result of them having an inordinate fondness for darkness, however. The real reason DLP projectors tend to be preferred by home theater users is that they have better, denser blacks than the LCD projectors. This makes for a more film like (and therefore, less video like and more movie-like) image. They also project smoother looking images. These two qualities are well worth sacrificing the additional brightness of an LCD for most home theater enthusiasts.
When choosing a projector, you must decide what resolution you want. There are very high-resolution projectors available, but the more resolution you have, the more you will pay for it. If you want to project a huge image on the screen, the higher the resolution the better. Bear in mind that the resolution of the projector, regardless of what slick technologies the projector has to up-res lower resolution images, is only really as good as the source. Spending more money on resolution that is higher than your source materials is a waste.
When it comes to home theater, you want the biggest screen that will fit in your room. However, one consideration that you have to take into account is aspect ratio. Aspect ratio is, simply put, the shape of the image area—what kind of rectangle it is. Generally, you have a choice between a wide screen format and a more square-ish TV style format. The type of material you intend to watch determines aspect ratio. For example, if you watch mostly movies on DVD or high definition television, then you want a projector whose native aspect ratio is widescreen. If you watch non-high-definition TV, then you want one that is squarer, like a TV. Both types will do different aspect ratios, but you’ll have to switch every time you watch something on a non-native aspect ratio, so it makes sense to get this one right.