Ever wondered what makes a home theater projector good, or just okay? While there are endless options out there, most of the time no matter what you are buying, you get what you pay for. That means, if you are buying a cheap projector, we promise something is being sacrificed for price. So, make sure you understand everything before you buy. Otherwise, you could end up with something that might work for someone else, but not for you. Maybe it’s because you needed a short throw instead of a long throw, but regardless, here is what you need to know about home theater projectors.
Projector brightness is measured by lumens; the higher the lumens, the brighter the projector will be at a given distance. Projectors generally start out at about 1000 lumens and range upwards to 2500 lumens and more. Keep in mind, your viewing environment is the deciding factor on how many lumens your projector will need. Dedicated home theaters will not require as much brightness as a space with ambient light from windows or other light sources. And, brighter does not necessarily mean better. So, make sure you have just enough brightness for rich color contrast, but not so much that it washes out the details in darker scenes.
Contrast Ratio + Resolution
The contrast ratio is the difference between the darkest and brightest areas of a picture. So, a projector with a high contrast ratio will allow you to see clearly defined shadow detail and deeper black levels (adding a sense of depth and dimension to the picture). The total number of pixels a projector is capable of displaying defines the projector’s native resolution. And, as you already might know, the more pixels you can fit in, the crisper and more detailed the picture will be. The higher the resolution, the closer you can sit to the screen, and visa versa. A projector that offers 4K HDR will project an impressively sharp picture for all of your shows and movies!
The throw ratio tells you how wide your image will be when you place the projector at a certain distance (from the screen). For example, a 1.8:1 ratio will produce a 5 foot wide image when the projector is placed 9 feet from the screen (5 feet x 1.8). Calculating the throw ratio is especially important if you plan on mounting your projector permanently. Use caution here, if you cannot place the projector far enough away from the screen due to being limited on space, you may need a short throw projector and screen.