A Guide to Choosing the Best Projectors
Projectors have come a long way since its first inception, the Zoopraxiscope, which became popular during the 1870s. It was a glass disk with images etched on it that was operated by spinning it around, with a light shining through it that made the images appear to be moving. This soon gave way to slide projectors then as the need for more interactive projection arose, the overhead projectors were born. This made it possible for presenters and lecturers to annotate as they talked, and were considerably lighter, with clear sheets wherein images could be printed.
These days, however, more and more people are opting for the newest incarnations of projectors, the LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) and DLP (Digital Light Processing) even though the LCD has been around longer than the latter. LCDs work by setting up a bulb to shine a powerful light through a prism which splits the light into component colors and is then beamed through the lens onto the screen for the images to be seen vividly.
The DLP projectors, on the other hand, are a bit more complex since the light is shone through a spinning color wheel onto a chip that is mounted with hundreds of thousands of tiny mirrors. These are turned off or on by electronic impulses depending on what colors are needed at that moment. And because the colors come quickly after the other, it appears to blend in one single color with images appearing to be constantly lit when it fact, it is the small parts constantly flickering that cause it to appear as such.
With so many projectors flooding the market these days, it is easy to become overwhelmed and make a wrong choice which is why there are factors that you need to consider when choosing the best projector for you. First of all, you need to know that projectors are considered for the following features: brightness, resolution, aspect ratio and weight.
Brightness is measured in ANSI lumens. The higher the lumens, the brighter your projector will be. If you are considering using it for your home cinema, business presentations or anywhere you will need a dark room to emphasize image quality, you will need to get a projector with a brightness level of less than 1000 lumens. For classroom or training presentations, you will need a projector with 2000-3000 lumens, especially if you are going to be using it in a large venue. More than 3000 lumens is suitable for churches, concerts, presentations in auditoriums and anywhere where a large screen and very bright lighting is needed.
Resolution on the other hand, is the number of pixels that make up the images. If you want sharper and more vivid images, then you’ll need to get a projector with high resolution. Ideally, it is best to match the resolution to the source resolution – for example, if you are using an XGA laptop, then it is best to use a XGA projector with it to ensure the best quality images that are sharp and clean. This same concept applies when considering aspect ratio, which is the ratio of the width of an image to its height. The ideal aspect ratio will depend on what application is going to be used, so if it’s for classroom presentations or business training, the ideal projector to choose is one with an aspect ratio of 4:3. If you are using a widescreen computer for your presentation, then the projector you use should have a ratio of 16:10 and for home cinemas or DVD showings, you need a projector with an aspect ratio of 16:9.
And lastly of course is the projector’s weight. If you travel around constantly and need to bring one with you, then a portable project weighing about 1-2 kg will do just fine. If you are after a more advanced model that you don’t have to move or bring with you all the time, something around 2-5 kg will do. Remember that the more advanced the projector, the heavier it will be.
These factors will help you narrow down your choices on what projectors you want. Choose wisely and make sure you get one worth not only your time, but also your money.