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How To Choose The Right Home Projector - Part 1

With screens that can stretch up to 300 inches, it's no wonder home theatre projectors are a favourite for movie lovers, gamers and casual viewers alike. But what is a good projector for home theatre use?

Part 1: Figuring out your space

For the very best viewing experience, your projector must suit the room in which it'll be installed. That way you guarantee you'll get max quality and pleasure out of your machine. So our first step in determining how to choose a home theatre projector is learning how these devices interact with a room, so you can get all the correct measurements.

Room size

Projectors help you determine how far they should be from the screen. This is important because it enables you to determine what projector is a good fit for your room's size, and whereabouts within the room you can place it - so the projected image is neither too big nor too small.

We calculate the distance with a measurement called throw ratio, which can be found in each device's specs page. If you apply a teensy bit of maths to this number, it'll spit out how far the device should be from your screen - the 'throw distance'. The maths is easy, too! Just multiply the throw ratio by your screen's width.

Example: Assuming your screen is 3.8 metres wide (about a 180-inch screen), and your throw ratio is 1.38, those two numbers multiplied together give us 5.3 - so our projector should be just over 5 metres from the screen. Of course, our room then needs to be long enough to allow for that (especially if our screen size or throw distance is larger).
Some projector companies suggest appropriate throw distances in the specs page as well as ratio, so keep an eye out as that'll cut your maths work down.

Ambient light

All projectors can be impacted by ambient light - daylight, other lights in the room, etc. - but to varying degrees. Just because a light is on in the room doesn't mean you'll lose your image, at least not with contemporary devices.

So here's how you choose a projector based on ambient light: Ask yourself this question - "How much can I control the light in my room?" If you can wipe it out (i.e. make it dark), your projector will need less lumens (around 2,000 or less). If you can't wipe out ambient light, you will likely need a projector with higher lumens to maintain clarity and vibrance (2,000 or more).

Quick note: Don't just look at the projector's white light brightness. You must also identify its colour brightness. A projector with high white lumens and low colour lumens will still seem dark compared to a model that has high both.

(C) by Epson - to be continued