Home Cinema Projector Guide

Setting up your own home cinema has never been as easy as it is today, but there are a few things you need to take into account in order to get exactly what you’re looking for.

This guide will discuss a few important things you need to consider when making your choice…

Resolution

The most common resolution for home cinema projectors is currently 1080p, however there are now 4K ultra HD projectors which have a much higher resolution. 4K delivers the best results for home cinemas since on most screen sizes you won’t see the individual pixels, meaning it produces a smooth, high quality image.

However, don’t forget that your source material will make a big difference to the quality of your projected image. High quality sources are best viewed on projectors that do justice to high definition source material. Therefore, if you’re investing in 4K content such as Blu-Ray, then you might want to consider investing in a 4K home cinema projector to get the most out of what you’re paying for. 

Contrast Ratio 

This is the ratio between the white and black areas in an image. The larger the contrast ratio of a projector, the greater the difference between the brightest whites and the darkest blacks a projector can deliver. In practice, higher contrast ratios mean a better image because there is a higher level of projected brightness, which means your image appears less faded.

Brightness

Projector brightness is measured in ANSI lumens. Home theatre projectors generally start out at about 1000 lumens and range upwards to 2500 lumens and more. The number of lumens your projector needs depends on your viewing environment. It is better to have the room dark with as little ambient light as possible since this will not require as much brightness. 

Throw Ratio

Throw is the distance between the projector and the projection surface. Throw ratio is the relationship between that distance and the width of the projected image. For example, if a projector has a 2:1 throw ratio, then for every  2 feet increase in distance, the projected image will widen by 1 foot.

Therefore, depending on how far away your projector will be, you should make sure the throw ratio is sufficient to fill the surface you’ll be projecting onto.

Lamp Life 

Finally, don’t forget to consider the ongoing maintenance and cost requirements of your new home cinema system. Most home cinema projectors typically have a lamp life of between 2,000 and 5,000 hours, but this refers to the "half-life" of the lamp which is the point at which the lamp is half as bright as it was when it was new. Longer lamp life means lower maintenance costs as you won’t need to replace the projector lamp as frequently. 

However, if you want to avoid maintenance costs, laser projectors are an increasingly popular alternative championed for their cost efficiency and high quality images.