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The Ultimate Projector Guide is a step to finding the right projector. According to TechTerms, a projector is an output device that projects an image onto a large surface, such as a white screen or wall. It may be used as an alternative to a monitor or television when showing video or images to a large group of people. Projectors come in many shapes and sizes though they are commonly about a foot long and wide and a few inches tall. They can be mounted on ceilings or may be freestanding and portable.
Projectors can be useful for business presentations, seminars, training, etc in corporate organisations, evangelical outreaches, combined with Interactive whiteboard to enable student-teacher interactivity in educational sectors, as a display tool in event centres and even at home.
There are various specifications and features of projectors that will add up to make the perfect projector. However, the truth is that you cannot have everything, but making the right choice of purchase gives you a quality projector that incorporates most of these specifications. Therefore, once you have the key specification you necessarily require, you are good to go.
Most buyers of projectors are uninformed and have no pre-informed clue on what to buy. This poses a lot of challenges for them considering the large of money to be spent and not getting it right. Obviously, that’s a lot to chew. How do you decide which brand to choose from Acer, Dell, Infocus, Epson, Sony, NEC, Panasonic, Optoma, Hitachi or other projector brands? Or whether to use a DLP, LCD or LCoS projector?
How do you choose the available models that these brands offer? Will it be a short throw or long throw projector? What features – lumens, resolution, contrast, connectivity, etc. – should matter to you and how much of each do you require? What is the intended purpose for the projector and the Budget available to spend? In fact, there are so many things to consider when buying a new projector, therefore we have put this guide together to help you out, keeping in mind the latest in technological advances.
Currently, the sheer volume of projectors available might make it difficult for you to find the right model quickly and effortlessly. We will try our best to help you become an informed buyer by making the Guide simple and elaborate but if there are further questions, feel free to contact us.
Factors to consider when choosing Projectors
What's The Right Number of Lumens?
When it comes to projectors and brightness (measured in ANSI lumens). It describes how much light a projector can project onto a particular surface. Therefore, the brighter a projector is or the higher the number of lumens, the better it will be at projecting in environments with more ambient light or from longer distances.
There isn’t much to worry about the projector’s lumens because the level of brightness you need depends on the space to be covered by the projector and the amount of light present. If you plan on projecting close to the screen or wall and in dark environments, then brightness may not matter as much. Readily available in Nigerian markets are projectors of 2700 lumens, 3000 lumens, 3200 lumens, 3500 lumens, 3600 lumens. However, projectors with higher lumens, say like up 4000 lumens and above are expensive and are used in larger and more illuminated spaces in sophisticated environments, and usually brought on special order.
Examples of numbers of lumens that is needed depending on where the projector is being used:
The contrast ratio measures the brightness between black and white. The higher the contrast ratio, the deeper the darks and the brighter the whites, thus, the sharper and more natural the projected image will appear. This ratio can range from 500:1 to 100,000:1 and tends to be higher on DLP-based projectors. The contrast ratio is especially important for good image quality and for creating a more immersive viewing experience. However, if you want to use your projector mainly in daylight or artificial lighting, then the contrast is not such an important factor.
So what’s a good contrast ratio? We recommend a contrast ratio from 2,000:1(which means the brightest point is two thousand times brighter than the darkest point) while really large or bright rooms might need even more than that. For basic use, we recommend something close to the 1,500-lumen range. Higher contrast is better, but usually comes with a higher price. Most projectors in the market boast of a higher contrast ratio of up to 10,000:1, however, any of these should be suitable for good image display.
Projectors are based on different technologies. Projection technology refers to the imaging technology of the projector used by the manufacturer. Outlined below are the main projector technologies:
DLP, LCD, and D-ILA,/ LCoS /SXRD, with the first two being more widely used. DLP is Digital Light Processing, LCD is Liquid crystal Display while D-ILA, LCoS, and SXRD is the same technology though known under different names by different manufacturers. JVC refers to it as D-ILA (Direct-Drive Image Light Amplification), Canon refers to it as LCos (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) and Sony refers to it as SXRD (Silicon X-tal Reflective Display).
DLP is a projection technology where the image is generated by millions of small mirrors that project the light onto the screen using a DMD (Digital Micromirror Device).
With LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) projection technology, the white light from the projector lamp is split into the three basic colours, red, green and blue and is passed through three individual LCD panels. This technology is similar to the technology used in modern TVs.
D-ILA, LCoSand SXRD works similar to the LCD technology but the panels reflect the light rather than letting it through (as DLP technology). This offers a combination of DLP and LCD technology and is very expensive.
The image quality of DLP is good while the LCD technology gives good colour representation. DLP is also of low maintenance while LCD requires more maintenance necessitated by filter cleaning and replacement. The DLP technology requires less space which enables manufacturers to produce smaller projectors. DLP projector could experience rainbow effect (i.e. slight colour flashes can be detected). LCD projectors experience lattice effect (especially with lower resolutions) but this is absent in DLP.
So which is best: DLP, LCD or LCoS? Today, DLP projectors remain popular choices. However, the projector image system you will require always depends on the application.
For those who plan to use projectors in corporate organisations, schools or homes, a DLP technology is recommended; for those that want to use projectors in a setting where it can’t be easily replaced or maintained(high end home cinema), LCD may serve as the best option. Alternatively, if you require the highest quality images for larger audiences, D-ILA, LCoS and SXRD may prove to be the best choice.
The resolution describes the number of pixels that make up the image. This is very important for image quality because the higher the pixel density, the more detail the image will have, the more sharper it will be. The resolution you need for your projector depends on the intended use and the quality of the input source. Available in Nigeria market are the following:
Personally, I would not recommend going lower than XGA. This is because many computer programs require at least XGA resolution even to run.