A video projector basically receives video signals from an input source and then projects the same signal as images on a wide screen as output, using a lens system. This makes it a versatile device that can be employed for either business or pleasure. That said, a great projector can serve both purposes competently but, if you need a dedicated video projector for either business or pleasure, then there are models designed to work just fine for either need.
Most businesses and academic institutions nowadays use video projectors as aides for meetings and teaching. You’ll find that presenting facts, figures and images on a screen makes it exceptionally easy to get your message across, as well as adding professionalism and class to the meeting. Also, with the video projector, you can stream live images from the internet onto the screen for your audience.
Another advantage of using the video projector is that you get to reach out to an audience of any size at the same time. Imagine having several video projectors mounted in different locations or rooms but connected to a single input source using an HDMI splitter
. With this setup, audiences in different rooms or facing different angles can watch and listen at the same time without missing a beat, thus, saving you precious time and other logistics needed to set up different meetings to accommodate everyone.
As stated earlier, it’s not just about business – there’s also the fun side of life with a video projector.
Do you know that you can simulate the cinematographic ambience in your own den or attic? Yes, your very own cinema room in your home, so you and your movie bum friends can have a swell time on a rainy day or when you don’t feel like going out.
Are you an avid gamer seeking a more “in the game” feeling – an immersive experience? Or maybe you’re watching a game of football and want to be as close to the action as possible without being physically present in the field of play. Whatever type of home entertainment you engage in, a video projector will help you take it to an entirely new level of fun. Unlike your TV
, you get to control the size of the display screen when using a video projector. Also, you can transmit images from any compatible media source, like the Blu-ray player
, PlayStation or Xbox.
What’s more, you can take your movie outdoors with you on nights when you’re hosting movie night with your friends. All you need is to connect the video projector to your media source and project the images onto your garage door or any flat surface. So, no more excuses of not having enough room to comfortably accommodate your friends…cool, right? We think so too.
Before you financially commit yourself to a video projector, deciding what you’ll be mostly using the device for will go a long way in determining the type you should go for. Another important factor to consider is the prices of different video projectors and weighing them against your budget. Other pertinent factors to consider are the projection type, resolution, contrast and light source of the projector. In this guide, we’ve discussed these factors and are positive you’ll be able to make the right choice once you follow the tips.
When shopping for a video projector, you might get discouraged by the price points of some of the models in the market but, if you look deeper, you’ll realize that there’s something for you after all, even if you’re on a budget. The resolution and type of video projector are the two key features that determine the price of a video projector, and this simply means you’ll have to define the purpose for which you need the projector, and also determine the end result you’re hoping to achieve.
There are the high-end, professional projectors costing as much as $2000, and then there are the budget projectors that come in at around $300.
We have video projectors that span the price range above, so you can have the freedom to choose a quality projector that will adequately suit your needs while being affordable as well. We encountered some cheap video projectors in the course of our research, but we know you wouldn’t want a low-quality product that will produce a distorted image, so we decided to stick with the really good models from reliable brands.
The purpose for which you need a video projector goes a long way in determining what to look for. Other important features to think about or look out for include:
- Projection Type
- Contrast Ratio
- Light Source
- Throw Ratio
- Optional Features
Construction and Design
There are basically three purposes and, by extension, three broad types of video projectors available, although each type can perform any of the purposes if needed.
The first is the home theater video projector that produces pictures that are 36 times bigger than those on a 50-inch HDTV, thereby letting you view every nuance and move on the soccer pitch, or get into your all-time favorite video game. With this type of projector, the emphasis lies in high contrast and image quality. To get the best from a home theater video projector, it should be used in a dedicated space where you can regulate the ambient light so as to get that dark movie theater feel.
For classroom instructions, presentations and meetings, a data or multimedia projector is used. This type of projector is brighter than the home theater projector and thus, well-suited for use in open spaces with overhead lighting, as in a meeting or classroom. They’re used to display stationary images like PowerPoint presentations or graphs, but can also be used for entertainment purposes.
The last one is the Pico projector. This is the smallest projector type available and, because it’s portable, it can fit right into your bag. So, if you travel a lot, you can take it along with you for off-site presentations, take it to a friend’s for game night, or just set it behind the house for an outdoor entertainment session.
There are two main types of technology utilized by most video projectors, and they are the Digital Light Processing (DLP) and Liquid Crystal Display (LCD). Although both of them feature precise color representation and well-defined image quality, each has its own unique advantage.
The DLP projector type has exceptional color contrast that gives deeper blacks and brighter whites and, when used for fast action movies, it provides smooth motion picture from Blu-ray, DVD and HDTV inputs. It’s used mainly in compact and lightweight projectors like the Pico projector. Also, some high-end models use a DLP with three chips, which provides better image quality.
The LCD projector, on the other hand, is mostly used in data projectors, because its impressive color output is well suited for brightly lit rooms. Moreover, when it comes to energy saving, LCD projectors are better options, and most models use LCD with three chips for sharper image quality.
Apart from these two projector techs, there’s a third one known as LCoS, found strictly on higher-end video projectors. It combines all the qualities of the LCD and DLP technology to give an exceptional-quality image and color saturation.
The native resolution of a video projector is the total number of pixels that it’s able to display. For a more detailed and crisper image, the projector should be able to fit more pixels in the display, which means a higher resolution. If you’re looking to get a home theater projector, then you would do well to go for a high-resolution projector so the viewers don’t end up viewing pixelated images, since they’ll be sitting quite close to the screen.
For extremely sharp games and videos, there’s the ultra HD 4K resolution, which is the highest resolution now. There’s also the 1080p and 720p resolutions for HD viewing. The least common resolution is 480p, for moderate and data viewing.
A video projector can be powered by any of the three light sources, namely, laser, standard lamp or LED lamp. The standard lamp is the most affordable option of the lot and has a bright output that can last between 3000-4000 hours or more, in economy mode. LED bulbs are energy efficient and have a smaller footprint and more quiet operation compared to a standard lamp, because they do not need a cooling fan. It has better color control and lasts for up to 20,000 hours. The laser light projector, on the other hand, does not require changing the bulb and is the brightest of them all. It has better contrast and wider color coverage and is more energy efficient than the LED.
Performance and Ease of Use
When mounting your video projector, especially if it’s going to be permanently mounted, one vital consideration to factor in is the throw ratio of the projector. The throw ratio tells you the width of the projected image that can be gotten from the projector at a certain distance. Ideally, the farther away the video projector is from the screen, the wider the projected image on the screen. This factor will not really be an issue for projectors that you’ll need to set up each time, because you can always adjust the distance as the occasion demands but, if it’s a permanently mounted projector, then you will have to seriously consider the throw ratio. If you’re constrained by space, then be sure to go for a short throw video projector, which will give you a wide image even at short distance.
Depending on the type of projector you’re going for, contrast ratio may be vital to the performance of the projector. Contrast refers to the difference in the brightest and the darkest areas of an image, and projectors with good contrast ratio give a well-defined detail of the shadow and depth. This factor is more noticeable in home theater video projectors, where ambient lighting is controlled. In this situation, you’ll be better off with a projector that has a high contrast ratio, so the pictures will have greater depth and definition.
For a business or data video projector, the contrast ratio may not be vital, because the bright daylight and overhead lights will wash out or mute most of the contrasting colors.
Different projectors come with different connector types for the input sources. Whether you’re going for a data projector or home theater projector, ensure that the projector has the right type of connector to hook up your input source. Also ensure that it comes with enough connectors if you plan to connect multiple sources at once.
Most video projectors are wired, but there are also some wireless versions, so you can connect to your input source without the hassles of wires. A few smart projectors even have the option of letting you stream content directly from the internet or connect streaming devices to the projector.
A great video projector is a long-term investment that you’ll enjoy for years to come. Therefore, we expect that the information provided in the buying guide you’ve just read will help you a lot toward making an informed choice of the right video projector from the models we’ve selected. So, go check them out in our product review section.
Thanks for reading. Now that you’ve made your choice of the video projector most suited for your needs, you can go right ahead and place your order now.