From the sturdy opaque to the modern-day LCD ones, projectors have evolved at a very fast pace. Today there are many brands available in the market. This guide will help you understand the specifications better and decide the best projector suiting your requirements.
1. Light source: 3 major light sources are available for projectors. The standard lamp has around 3,000 to 4,000 hours of life and is one of the most affordable options. Laser source provides a good color range, has better contrast and is energy efficient. LED source lasts up to 20,000 hours and gives good color control and is energy efficient too. It doesn’t require a fan for cooling.
2. Brightness: It is measured in lumens. There are two kinds, white brightness which indicates the level of white light projected and color brightness which indicates the levels of red, blue and yellow colors. These might get affected by ambient light where it is projected. Check the ambient light before choosing the projector. Higher the lumens, ‘brighter’ the picture at a given distance.
3. Contrast ratio: It defines the difference between light and dark areas in the picture. A higher contrast ratio will give an image defining brighter whites and deeper blacks giving a good depth and dimension to it. They provide a very good picture quality with crystal-clear details. A ratio of 1000:1 would mean the whitest area is 1000 times brighter than the darkest one.
4. Resolution: It is the total number of dots or pixels projected on the screen. Higher the number, greater is the picture clarity. A projector’s resolution must align with the input signal or else the picture clarity will be affected. Resolution may vary from 480p to 3840p. The width and height ratio can be estimated from aspect ratio mentioned along with a number of pixels. There are 3 major variants in aspect ratio – standard (4:3), widescreen (16:9) and Cinemascope (2.35:1 or 2.4:1).
5. Throw ratio: This ratio is defined as the distance between screen and projector divided by width of the image projected. Hence knowledge of screen size and room dimensions is a must. This is particularly important if you plan to mount or install the projector on the wall permanently. For example, for achieving larger images in shorter distance, you may opt for short throw projector. Long throw projectors can be used for big rooms, life conference halls.
6. Connectivity and support: Look for support of external components like USB drive, camera, laptops, Blu-ray players and other media players. Also look for connector options – HDMI, VGA, DVI or DisplayPort. Various cables are available for conversion between these connections, for example, HDMI to DVI or HDMI to VGA, etc. One can also opt for wireless projector to avoid the hassle of cables and connections.
7. Cost and reliability: The lamp used in a projector will decide the overall cost including its maintenance. It is always preferable to go for projectors with longer lamp life. Dust and humidity affect lamp life and hence look for projectors with filters which will protect lamp as well as the machine.
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Top 3 best projectors are given below:
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