Home Theater Video Projectors
Another consideration is seating distance from the screen. As with regular televisions - if you get too close to the screen you will see scan lines. If you sit too close to a projector's image you will see pixels or the dreaded "Screen-Door-Effect". The SDE is the term given to being too close to the screen and it seems like you are viewing the image through a screen door. In most instances seating should not be closer than 1.5 times the width of the screen for best results.
You will also need a wall opposite your seating on which to hang the screen. In my living room setup our pull-down screen is over the picture window. You will most likely want to keep your conventional television for everyday use as DLP, SXRD and LCD Home Theater Video Projectors use lamps to illuminate their image that are rated from 2000 to 3000 hours of use. Those lamps can be expensive - however even at ten hours a week of use a lamp should last four years or so. On the other hand CRT projectors use small picture tubes to produce the image. CRT tubes last 20,000 plus hours however a CRT projector's large size, heavy weight and relatively low light output make them better suited for the dedicated Home Theaters rooms of Videophiles.
The final global consideration is ambient room light. All projectors need "controlled lighting environments" for the best performance. Of course the more lumens (lumens=brightness) of the projector the more ambient light you can have in your room. Even the lowest lumen home theater video projector can create an acceptable image in a totally dark room.
3D Video projectors have now reached the "affordable" realm for most folks. Click here for news on the Optoma HD33.
DLP Projectors - My Personal Choice
DLP Home Theater Video Projectors offer the best picture for money in my humble opinion. What the heck is a DLP you ask? It's a relatively new technology developed by Texas Instruments. In a nutshell DLPs utilize thousands of VERY tiny mirrors on the surface of a computer-type-chip to reflect light which creates the projected image. If you want the complete technical rundown visit www.DLP.com - there you will find all the specifics about the best digital solution. DLP technology is also now being incorporated into rear projection big screen TVs - a rather recent utilization of the technology. However to get the BIG picture - you can't go wrong with a DLP home theater video projector.
Compare deep discounted DLP projectors at Amazon.com
I finally retired my BenQ PB6100 DLP projector over a year ago for an Optoma HD native format projector and I am still consistently amazed by the image it produces. I fondly recall the day my 6100 first arrived.
For lack of a readily available alternative I placed it on a table in the middle of the living room and projected it on a 6 foot wide homebuilt screen. The movie was "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" - a stunning DVD transfer example. Too bad it's not available on Blu-ray - but there is a Superbits DVD version that is supposedly very good as well. Throughout the movie I was astonished at the fine detail and incredible color reproduction. Sorry I got off on a tangent there but I can't help but be proud of my old PB6100. BTW - the 6100 model is no longer in production and has been replaced by a newer model but I found a supply of refurbished units for the amazingly low price of $575 just the other day. I paid $875 for mine after rebate and I thought that was quite a bargain way back then -- at $575 it's a STEAL and a great "starter" projector. I recommend at least a 720p native projector though nowadays.
OK - enough about my setup and first movie tangent (please excuse) let's talk about options for you...
Advantages of DLP Video Projectors
DLP home theater video projectors produce a picture second only to CRT projectors in picture quality and clarity. DLP video projector's small size, light weight and brighter image more than make up for any minor detail advantage of the big, heavy CRT projectors. DLPs also offer better contast ratios (contrast=blackness of black portions of the image) than LCD projectors. With regards to smoothness of the image the advantage again goes to DLP technology. LCDs are more prone to the "Screen-Door-Effect" than DLPs due to the greater fill ratio of the DLP chip. The DLP chip has less space between pixels than the LCD panels which produce the image in an LCD projector.
Another advantage of DLPs over both LCDs and CRTs is that the DLP optical unit is sealed and rated at over 100,000 hours of use before failure. Clearly the advantage goes to Texas Instrument's trademarked DLP technology when selecting a video projector for your Home Theater.
Sony's SXRD technology is very impressive and it all started with a very high-end Qualia projector model. The Qualia line is very pricey but the performance is astounding. Newer models dubbed the Ruby and Pearl have lowered the price tags considerably with the Pearl now available for around $5000 USD. Still a bit pricey but the quality is worth it in my opinion. Virtual elimination of the Screen Door Effect and rainbows as well makes the SXRD projector a videophiles dream -- however you must still have fairly deep pockets.
Click here to see the Sony SXRD projector at Amazon.com
This page on Home Theater Video Projectors is constantly being updated.
Please come back soon (and often) for great info.