How Do I Choose A Projector?

How do I choose a projector?

The projectors are divided into two main categories: home theater systems and business (the latter are also known as multimedia or data projectors). To help you choose the best projector for your needs, we have facilitated search by brand, price margin, brightness, contrast ratio and other features with just one click.

First, you’ll want to learn about some of the terms and specifications used to describe how the projector works:


Lumens (or ANSI lumens, by the standard body that defines it) is a standard measure for measuring the brightness of the image: the higher the lumens, the brighter the image at a certain distance from the projector. Generally, you’ll want at least 1,000-1200 lumens for a home theater atmosphere with controlled light (with lights off and minimal ambient light); 1,500-2000 lumens for rooms with limited ambient light; and 2,000-2500 lumens for rooms with bright ambient light (such as a living room with windows open on a sunny day or a conference room in an office).

The amount of lumens is one of the most important considerations for business projectors because they are often used in locations with brighter ambient light. Since movies and games are usually seen in low light conditions for better effects, the high amount of lumens is generally less important for projectors for home theater systems.

Contrast ratio

The contrast ratio represents the relative difference in light output between the brightest and the darkest pixels of a projector when projecting at the same time. A high contrast ratio facilitates excellent image detail and is important for movies, TV broadcasts, and games. To project data, high contrast ratios are generally less important than high lumens.


Resolution is the measure of the pixel count of the projector, expressed as a number of pixels counted horizontally by vertically to form a rectangular grid. The larger the number of pixels, the clearer, more accurate and more detailed the image will look. High resolutions also allow viewers to sit closer to the screen and still experience a perfect image.

There are two different specifications that represent the resolution: native and maximum. The native resolution is the true resolution of a projector (the actual number of pixels of its image processing chip / s). The projectors also support resolutions lower or higher than the native resolution, digitally expanding or compressing the native pixels. This process (known as calibration) can introduce distortions and visual impairments and while high-quality calibration processors usually do a good job, it is good to keep in mind that the larger an image is projected, the more apparent the distortions can be. images. The highest resolution that a projector supports is called its maximum resolution.

For best results, choose a projector whose native resolution matches the video source you use most often – be it an HDTV signal, DVD or Blue-ray player, or (in case of use by executives) a laptop computer or mobile device. For example, a 720p projector will work properly for HDTV, but you will need a 1080p projector to enjoy Blue-ray movies in the best way.

Image format

The following are image formats commonly found in projectors along with their corresponding native resolutions:

Widescreen formats (16: 9)

WXGA (1280 x 800)  – recommended for widescreen and standard definition video, photography and graphics

HD 720p (1280 x 720)  – recommended for use with home theater system when the main material to watch is 720p HDTV

HD 1080p (1920 x 1080)  – recommended for home theater use when the main material to watch is HDTV 1080p HDTV or Blu-ray Disc


Standard formats (4: 3)

VGA (640 x 480 pixels)  – suitable for basic PowerPoint presentations, but largely obsolete

SVGA (800 x 600 pixels)  – suitable for basic presentations in PowerPoint

XGA (1024 x 768 pixels)  – suitable for spreadsheets and advanced presentations in PowerPoint

SXGA + (1400 x 1050 pixels)  – suitable for detailed photographs and data graphics

As a general rule, 4: 3 projectors are mainly designed for commercial use (although WXGA widescreen business projectors are also available and recommended since practically all laptops today have widescreen output). For home theater applications, a projector with 16: 9 widescreen is required.

Lighting engine

The term commonly used to refer to the technology used to create a projected image.3LCD (liquid crystal display) and DLP (digital light processing) are two dominant projection technologies. The links below provide illustrative videos of each technology:

Video: 3LCD technology

Video: DLP technology

Keystone correction

If you have a room with a strange shape, chose a place for the projector that is not in the center for aesthetic reasons or if for any other reason your projection screen cannot be placed perfectly perpendicular to your projector, the projected image that is expected to be Rectangular can distort (becoming trapezoidal). The Keystone correction allows you to compensate.

There are two types: manual keystone correction provides limited vertical angle adjustment (sometimes horizontal) to correct misalignment. Digital keystone correction works by digitally compressing and regenerating pixels to restore the rectangular dimensions of the image by projecting it onto an off-axis surface. Most digital systems can correct both vertical and horizontal distortions, with degrees of correction up to 35%. However, the greater the applied digital correction, the greater the distortion of digital images can occur.

Change of lenses

Similar to the keystone correction in that it helps compensate for the geometric distortions in the projected image that results from the location of the projector off-axis relative to the surface of the screen. However, with the change of lenses, the horizontal compensation is achieved mechanically by physically moving the lenses side by side or by adjusting their orientation. Changing lenses is a preferable mode of compensation because it diverts unwanted processing artifacts that can sometimes result from digital Keystone correction.

Relation of scope

The range ratio of a projector indicates how wide the projected image will be when the projector is some distance from the screen. It is usually expressed in terms of range distance per feet of the image width. For example, a range ratio of 1.8: 1 would represent 1.8 feet of range distance per foot of screen width. Therefore, to obtain a 60 “(or 5 ft.) Wide image, you would need to locate your projector 9 feet (5 ft. X 1.8) from the screen.

The scope relationship is key to selecting the correct location for the projector for a home theater system and it is very important that you carefully calculate your expected results before permanently mounting your projector and screen. This is the basic formula:

(desired image width x range ratio = required range distance)

To simplify it, most (but not all) projectors offer a limited amount of “zoom” for a variety of scope relationships. This allows you to make minimal adjustments after mounting it to adjust the image to the screen.

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