How to Buy a Projector – Detailed Guide

If you want to enjoy your favorite movies or series on the big screen more, hold presentations most effectively – a projector is what you need.

While the job of a projector may seem simple to you, choosing a new projector can be a daunting task. There are so many different manufacturers and models. However, if you have an idea of what you are looking for, shopping will be easier.

We will do our best to provide you with all the vital information through our short guide to buying a projector to help you find the best projector for you.

You will learn what types of projectors there are, how to choose a projector according to your needs, whether you need a projector bracket, how the screen contributes to a better experience, etc.

How does the projector work?

A projector is an optical device that projects an image onto an adequate surface – a projector screen or wall. Most projectors create an image by directing light through a small transparent lens, but some newer types of projectors can project an image directly using a laser.

Its application is diverse. It is perfect for holding presentations in the company, teaching in schools, and on home premises – watching movies, series, playing games.

Like any other technology, projectors have their advantages and a couple of negligible disadvantages. Here are just some of the benefits of the projector:

  • Favorable choice of home theater
  • Effective presentation device
  • Easy to install
  • Does not cause eye fatigue

Among the disadvantages of the projector are the need to darken the room and configure and install a speaker system for better sound.

But you will agree that these minor disadvantages remain in the shadows with their use advantages. Of course, these are general shortcomings of the projector. Depending on the model you choose, they may not even exist.

Projector types

The technology and way of displaying the image from the projector on the screen or wall vary. Therefore, projectors can be divided as follows:

  1. LCD projector – operation based on LCD matrices, giving you access to high-quality images and high resolution. LCD projectors are usually a bit more expensive, but definitely, their irrevocable quality justifies the price. They are intended primarily for use in smaller rooms. 
  2. DLP projector – unlike LCD projectors, a DLP projector bases its work on using a mirror matrix, i.e., it directs light which is further reflected on the image. They are much easier to maintain as they do not use color filters. 
  3. LCOS projector – not too familiar on the market, but it is worth mentioning. In short, it is a combination of LCD and DLP projectors.  

Which projector to buy?

Projectors are designed for different purposes. Are you looking for a projector to watch movies, play games, or show business presentations? Depending on the answer, you can continue to look at the specifications. Read some of the basic guidelines that can help you choose.

When it comes to projectors for the company, you should remember that you will use them the most to display PowerPoint presentations, video conferencing, or various reports. The projector you buy must have a decent amount of brightness and different options for connecting to a laptop or computer.

Projectors for the company will often have slightly more intense colors due to the display in very bright meeting rooms. So such projectors are not the most suitable for showing movies in dark rooms, as the color display will not be adequate, but they are perfect for work.

If you want to watch movies on your projector, you should get a Full HD projector capable of reproducing a wide range of colors. Ideally, it includes cinema or movie mode, plus the controls you need to fine-tune the image for the best performance.

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If you like to follow sports and play games, you should turn to models with 4K HD resolution (2,500 lumens or more) and a higher refresh rate of 120 Hz, which reduces motion blur when moving in images. Many home entertainment projectors have a game mode with a minor input delay, and the recommended amount of uncertainty is up to 16 ms.

Five things to think about when choosing a projector

If you decide to buy a projector, pay attention to the projector’s size, the projector’s distance from the screen, the resolution, contrast, brightness, and connection connections.

  • Choose the size of the projector depending on the installation location.

You can find projectors in different sizes. Large high-end projectors are intended for cinemas and large conference halls, and smaller projectors are designed for home needs or offices. Even those tiny projectors that can fit in your pocket appear in some markets.

To be sure which projector size will suit your needs, ask yourself – where will you place your projector? If you plan to install the projector in a meeting room, consider larger projectors that mount to the ceiling and no longer move. While if you are going to use the projector at home or need to move it frequently from room to room, opt for a more miniature projector, which is easier to transport.

  • Do not neglect the distance of the projector from the screen

Although the projector’s range (the projector’s length from the screen) is ignored, this information is vital. For example, most projectors can display an image at a few meters, but only some models can project from a shorter distance.

The standard throw ratio of the projector is 2: 1, which means that the projector needs to be placed 4 meters from the screen to get an image display on a screen 2 meters wide..

If you want to place the projector very close to the screen, choose a projector with short throw lenses in a ratio of 0.8: 1 (setting 1.6 meters from the screen for a 2-meter diameter image). If you are limited by space, choose an ultra-short-throw projector that you can put some 20 centimeters from the screen.

However, if you plan to place the projector in larger rooms, where you need a greater distance from the screen, choose a long throw projector 5.7: 1 (for 2 meters of the image, the required length is 11.4 meters).

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  • The contrast ratio is in charge of the details.

Contrast is the difference between the darkest and the lightest parts of the image. High contrast (higher contrast) projectors allow you to see clearly defined shadow details, and deep black levels, giving a sense of image depth.

Since more light in a room can wash away the contrast between projectors, it is more important to pay attention to the contrast ratio for home theater projectors than business projectors.

For example, this means that the projector for the house should have a contrast of 10,000: 1 (a more fantastic range of illumination between lighter and darker parts of the image), and for business projectors, a difference of 2000: 1 is sufficient to reflect almost twice the amount of light.

  • The resolution affects image display quality.

The resolution is displayed through the total number of pixels. With more pixels, of course, there is a presentation of a better image from the projector filled with details. Today’s projectors deliver ideas in a wide range of resolutions – XGA, HD Ready, Full HD, 4K UHD. Although these acronyms may seem confusing at first glance, think first about how you will use the projector.

An XGA projector will be a good choice for presentations on smaller screens. For a larger screen, choose a Full HD projector for video content, and for a unique multimedia experience, more advanced 4K UHD projectors deliver fantastic quality images.

  • Brightness is expressed in lumens.

The brightness of the projector is measured through lumens. With more lumens, you get a brighter display. Depending on whether you have a space specifically designed for the projector, your choice of brightness will also count.

If you have a space where you can completely block the outside light, an adequate type of projector is usually larger and heavier, so when you place it on a bracket on a wall or ceiling, it would be good not to move it anymore. The optimal brightness would be around 3,000 lumens.

If you are looking for a projector for the living room that you will use to show movies, series, games, and cartoons during the day, and you will often transmit it, you have enough light up to 1,000 lumens.

For brighter or larger interiors (conference rooms), consider looking for at least 4,000-6,000 lumens. Or even more so, as in spaces with a large amount of direct natural light, it is harder to get the desired visibility of the content you are displaying.

Connectors: How do I connect the projector to a laptop or other device?

In addition to the above features, don’t forget that each projector needs to be connected to its video source. So it is essential to consider what kind of laptop, computer, mobile phone, or other media sources you will use to connect.

Business projectors usually have USB, VGA input, and sometimes HDMI, DVI input. If you happen to have a built-in Wi-Fi connection, it’s excellent that you will be able to download what you need directly from the Internet, without cables.

There are mostly HDMI connectors for home variants when it comes to projectors for home variants. Also, there may be VGA, USB ports, and SD card readers. There is usually an audio output for connecting to speakers that can further enhance an even better cinema experience as an added benefit.

While choosing the right projector is a challenge, the guidelines above will help you decide which projector will suit your needs and the space you will use the projector.

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Additional functions on projectors

In addition to the above primary features of the projector, you may be interested to know that the projector has some specific features that will make your user experience better. Depending on the model and brand of the projector, you will find various additional options, and below we will present only some of them.

  • Voice assistants make it even easier to use the projector

Imagine you can even talk to projectors. Some of the more famous voice assistants are Amazon Alexa and Bixby. Just ask them what you need, and they will carry out your order with lightning speed. For example, you’re looking to open an app, find a movie or series, play music, and control other features.

  • Lens zoom adjustable

If you place your portable projector in different places where you will not always have control over the screen size or the projector’s position, you can use the lens zoom to adjust the image size. This will prevent the projector from moving closer or further away from the screen to change the image size.

With a higher zoom ratio, the image is more extensive. For example, a 1.2 zoom creates an idea 20% larger than the minimum size. A 2 zoom creates an image twice the minimum size. However, not all projectors have a zoom lens, so if you think this feature is essential, make sure the model you like has a zoom function.

  • Move the lens to find the perfect viewing angle

Moving the lens allows you to mechanically adjust the angle of the lens by moving it up, down, or sideways. The lens shift also retains 100% of the resolution in the projected image. It is available mainly on high-end home theater projectors, where the projector will be semi-permanently mounted on a wall or ceiling.

  • Wi-Fi connection plays a significant role in material transfer

If you want to make it easier for yourself to view content without cables, which can often get tangled and discouraged when using the projector, be sure to choose a projector with a Wi-Fi connection.

  • Navigate virtually into the world of movies with the 3D function

If you like to enjoy 3D movies, 3D projectors are perfect because they will provide you with an unforgettable home cinema experience. It will allow you to see the depth of the image. You will have the impression not only that you are in the role of a spectator, but you will also find yourself among one of the characters in the film.

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  • The sound system is vital for the film experience.

For an additional better impression when watching movies, you also need a good sound system; if you don’t already have it at home, pay attention to projectors with a more powerful sound system. For example, with 30-40 W models, you will have excellent sound quality that will help you send your favorite movie or series a whole way.

  • There are different modes of operation due to the breadth of use

If you need a projector for work, there are presentation modes, while for showing films in the light that the director imagined, we have a cinema mode. If you are a passionate gamer and the producers thought of you, how did they create a unique game mode?

Projector screen: Is it necessary?

If you want to get the best possible content display, you need a projector screen. Of course, first, you will think that it is enough to point the projector at the wall. However, don’t do that. If you have already set aside a budget for a projector, do not give up the screen without which you can ruin the results and the best projector.

The surface of the projector screen is designed to make the most of and reflect the projector’s light for a clearer picture.

If the projector screen is permanent on your wall, i.e., you already have a room intended for this purpose, choose a model that does not have to be pulled out every time. And if the screen will bother you due to lack of space, it is best to choose a screen for a pull-out projector.

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How to mount a projector?

When you decide that you want to make your home theater, improve business presentations and choose the desired projector, the next question is: How to mount a projector?

The cheapest option for mounting a projector is to place it on a shelf or table. However, there are many problems with this method. First, the latest projectors are large, so they need a slightly firmer base due to their weight, especially for health and safety reasons when placed on high shelves.

When you are devoting time to creating a home theater system, improving the meeting room, spending a little more money on a professional projector bracket should not be ruled out. But what are the advantages of using a projector bracket?

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  • Ceiling mounting using a projector bracket is a much better option than mounting on a table or shelf for many reasons:
  • Safety – When you attach the projector to the ceiling, you can be sure that it will not fall.
  • Save space – get rid of an awkward table or shelf that often takes up too much space, which you could use for another purpose.
  • Perfect viewing position – setting it up will avoid pausing the presentation as people pass by the projector. This is especially true when the projector is placed on a table. There will be no problems with the projector mount. We recommend that you perform a simple test when monitoring the projector. Please turn it on and set it in the proper position to get a good picture on the projector screen or wall.
  • Better ventilation – the distance between the projector opening and the shelf should be at least 20 cm so that heat is not retained between them. If the projector is mounted on a ceiling, you will not have problems with heating, one of the possible problems that may affect its functionality.
  • Ideal image positioning – if you place the projector on a shelf, the image will often be too high above the wall. While in the case of using a projector bracket, you will solve this problem at work by setting the image to a level comfortable for the eyes..

Presenters and accessories for projectors

Believe it or not, if you use a projector for a presentation, what can leave a unique positive impression on your listeners is the use of projector accessories in the form of a presenter. The projector pointer usually connects wirelessly to your laptop, mobile phone, or other device using a Wi-Fi connection. It can be of different ranges from 8 m, 15 m, upwards.

With a wireless projector presenter, you can more easily manage charts, slides, and general content that you want to best present to your colleagues, associates, or directors. They are great navigators, and they only use a battery for power, so there is no interference in the form of cables.

Enjoy watching different content on the big screen more with your new projector.

Whether you want to have a movie night in your home, watch a derby, play games or hold important presentations, we have decided that you need a projector.

Using the projector will have an unforgettable experience, which will leave the use of the TV in the past, because, with the projector, you will raise the atmosphere of watching movies or games to a much higher level.

When it comes to presentations, everything you have previously tried to prepare through slides or Excel spreadsheets, using a projector and accessories, you will be able to present to your listeners in an obvious and exciting way.

All you have to do is choose your projector and accessories to show off better in the business field and indulge in the cinematic enjoyment you deserve at home.