Choosing the video projector

New technologies and low prices help video projectors grow in popularity.

If you’re reading this article, it means that you’re probably thinking about setting up a Home Theater system in order to live the real movie theater experience at home.
At the moment, many brands, models and technologies operate in the home Audio / Video systems industry.
We provide you with Pro tips and tricks and focus only on the essential.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you require any assistance or if you have any additional questions.

Brightness and contrast

The video projectors’ brightness is measured in Lumens. Both features - brightness and contrast - happen to act exactly opposite to one another. When the brightness increases, the contrast decreases (and inversely).
Thanks to the contrast ratio, you can define the difference between the darkest projected black and the fairest white. What you need to know is that each video projector producer measures the contrast differently. Hence, it’s quite difficult to compare the performance of available products.

In order to be objective and realistic, you should remember that the brighter the projected light, the lower the contrast ratio. If your screening room is dim enough (you wouldn’t turn your Home Theater system on at 6 p.m. in the summer with the curtains open), there’s no need to purchase an over 2000-lumen video projector for the Home Theater use. Ideally, 1500 lumens do the job.

If you plan using your video projector in a very bright room, you should rather opt for an at least 2500-lumen video projector.

Resolution

Today, the most common resolution used in Home Theater video projectors is FullHD (1920x1080p). The feature defines the number of projected lines (1080 in this case) . In theory, the more lines, the better the screening quality. Why “in theory”? Because from a certain point, the number of projected lines is higher than the number of lines actually available in most contents. Thus, a 4K video projector’s resolution is higher than the FullHD one’s but very little content uses this technology at the moment.

Noise level

Users tend to forget the sound level feature (measured in Decibels (dB)) because it isn’t “visible”.
The source of any video projector noise comes mainly from the fans cooling down the lamp and the electronic components. You should simply remember that the smaller the fan, the louder the noise (the blades rotate more quickly, that’s why they generate more noise). Hence, more compact video projectors make more sound.
It works the other way around (bigger video projectors are more silent) - that’s why the high-end Home Theater video projectors are often quite bulky.

Tip to remember : whisper’s noise is around 20 to 30dB.

That’s why any projector more quiet than 30dB is considered silent. Some models, like Sony VPL-HW40ES, are almost completely inaudible (but also very expensive…)

Video projector’s volume

The Sony VPL-HW40ES video projector isn’t only very quiet. It offers fantastic video quality. Unfortunately, it’s size isn’t unnoticeable and it hardly blends into the interior decor. It’s highly important that you take the video projector’s bulk into account.

Some solutions, like motorized video projector mounts (ex. AluLift), are ideal if you want your device to disappear completely when off.
You could always opt for a very discreet and compact video projector, a perfect on-the-go solution. If that’s what you’ve been looking for, you will appreciate our video projector AiO.

Which video projection technology is for you?

Today, there are 3 video projection technologies. LCD, DLP and LCOS (called SXRD at Sony or D-ILA at JVC).

The LCD technology (or 3-LCD) was conceived by Epson. It’s based on a prisms and mirrors system (you’ll find no useless technical explanations in this article). The LCD technology is mainly known for its light weight and fine colorimetry results. Some users find the contrast ratio not high enough. That’s why they’re mostly used in business and schooling environment when the brightness prevails over than the contrast ratio.

The DLP technology (Digital Light Processing), developed by Texas Instruments, is based on a mould full of tiny mirrors that move each fraction of a second in order to generate the projected image. This technology guarantees excellent luminosity, contrast and image quality. The “rainbow effect” issue has been resolved.

The LCOS technology derives from the 3-LCD technology. The contrast ratio is much higher than in the two previously discussed technologies. LCOS is primarily used in high-end video projectors. However, the image sharpness is sometimes questioned. Go to LINK to find out more about this matter.

Lamp types

A “bulb video projector” (that uses a traditional lamp bulb as the source of light) is still the most common solution. Luckily, innovation brings new technologies - more economical and less energy consuming.

Traditional lamps (or “bulb” lamps) are very bright but generate much heat. They lifetime is quite short (2000 to 3000 h) and the replacement is relatively expensive. What’s more, the colorimetry quality decreases over the time.

Generally speaking, the LED technology takes over the bulb video projectors. LED lamps last 10 times longer (20 000 to 30 000 hours) than traditional bulb lamps. However, it’s brightness level is limited to 1 500 lumens, insufficient for a very bright environment.

The last but not least -and yet not very common- technology is LASER. With this solution, you don’t have to adjust the focus of the lens. The other side of the coin is the price. LASER is 3 to 4 times more expensive than LED.