Home cinema projectors – everything you need to know

September 23, 2021

A lot goes on inside a projector. Getting the right combination of features can ensure you get the best home cinema picture possible. So, what are these features?

First of all, the resolution of the projector is critical for getting the clearest picture possible. You’ll want to consider the brightness of the projector, as well as its native aspect ratio. Then you’ll want to think long-term: Do you plan to watch movies in 3D, for example? And how much maintenance of your projector are you willing to take on? When you’re able to answer these questions, you’ll be well on the way to finding your perfect projector.

What is 4K and why is it important?

Let’s begin with the resolution of the projector. Up until around 2018, it was most common to find projectors that offered resolution up to 1080p. This is usually known as high definition (HD).

However, many suppliers now offer home cinema projectors with resolution of 4K ultra high definition (4K UHD). 4K refers to the number of pixels that the projector can display – the exact number being 3840 pixels by 2160 pixels (3840 x 2160). This is around four times more than HD, which offers 1920 x 1080 pixels.

What this means for the viewer is a much clearer, crisper picture when watched in 4K UHD. If you choose to go with a projector that offers 4K resolution, then you’ll really notice the difference on a home cinema screen. The bigger the screen, the more important resolution becomes.

It’s also worth thinking about the future when it comes to 4K. Most movies are now available in 4K, and many streaming suppliers, such as Netflix and Disney+, are offering 4K more and more. So, apart from resolution, what else is important?

What are lumens and why do they matter?

Put simply, lumens are a measurement of brightness. Most projectors will offer brightness of between 1000-2500 lumens. The higher the number, the brighter the picture.

However, it isn’t necessarily true that more lumens equal a better experience. To achieve the best possible picture, you’ll want to control the amount of natural light getting into your cinema room. Even the brightest projectors can struggle when swamped with daylight.

You should choose the intensity of your projector based on the environment it will be used in; if you’ve got a completely blacked-out cinema room, you won’t need the brightest projector.

What is native aspect ratio?

Projectors can display various aspect ratios if selected, however, all projectors have a ratio they were built to display. This is their native aspect ratio. If you’re looking to achieve the very best picture possible, you should choose a projector that offers the correct ratio for movies. This is usually 16:9. Match the projector with a screen that was built to display that aspect ratio for a perfect picture every time.

Thinking about the future

You should also think about other practical aspects when looking at projectors. Will you want to watch movies in 3D? It may not have taken off as much as hoped, but movies can still be found in 3D and, if you want to watch them that way, you should make sure your projector is capable.

Finally, you should be prepared to care for your projector. The lamp in your projector will have an expected lifespan, most commonly between 2,000-5,000 hours, after which time it will begin to dim noticeably. Depending on how often you plan to watch movies, you should expect to purchase new lamps accordingly.

The final word

Projectors can be daunting to understand, but with expert help you’ll find the right one for you in no time. Get in touch with the team at SONA today.