10-06-2008 04:55 PM - edited 10-07-2008 09:05 AM
If you are considering a projector for your home theater, there are at least three things that you may wish to keep in mind before making your purchase. First and foremost, it is important to understand that one of the more common problems encountered by projector owners is that projector bulbs frequently have a relatively short lifespan. The average lifespan does vary from model to model, but will be highly dependent upon how the unit is used. Using a projector as your home’s primary TV - with the projector’s brightness set to its maximum - will obviously cause the most wear and tear, while only using a projector to watch the occasional movie or HD programming will generally ensure a longer bulb lifespan.
Second, you’ll probably want to decide whether you want an LCD or DLP projector. Both types have their pros and cons, which may include the following:
Keep in mind however that these are just generalizations! Technology advances very quickly – especially within the entertainment industry – and you may want to do a side-by-side, visual comparison at a local retail store before making a decision.
Last, but not least, I would strongly suggest reviewing the manufacturer’s warranty of any given model before you make your purchase. Coverage does vary greatly from model to model, and can often range anywhere in length from six months to upwards of two to three years. Even if you’re unsure about a product’s warranty period, remember that Best Buy ® stores also offer Geek Squad ® Black Tie Protection – an extended service and repair guarantee – for most products we carry.
Hope this helps you out.
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12-23-2008 07:47 PM
The projector technologies were covered pretty well, but I may be able to offer a few tidbits related to screens.
From www.projectorcentral.com Gain is a measurement of the reflectivity of any screen or projection surface. The gain number represents a ratio of the light that is reflected from the screen as compared to the light reflected from a standard white (magnesium oxide) board. Therefore, a screen with a gain of 1.0 will reflect the same amount of light as that from a white board. A screen rated at 1.5 gain will reflect 50% more light as that from a white board, whereas a gray screen with an 0.8 rating will reflect 80% of the light from a white board.
Most screens are white, but you can also get a grey screen that will help improve the black levels of your projector.
Screens come in different varieties related to their mounting. Some are stretched across a frame while others can be retracted into a housing. One option that not many people know is about is the ability to literally "paint" their own screen. I did this using www.goosystems.com paint and a large sheet of MDF for the screen. This way I obtained a large screen that is about 90-95% as good as the industry standard screens from www.stewartfilmscreen.com This also cost a whole lot less. Whatever method you choose make sure that the screen material is dead-flat without any wrinkles or variations in its surface or you will see a fuzzy image in those areas. That's why I liked the MDF.
Other items to consider are whether you want to embrace the Cinemascope screens that more closely match the format in which most films are shot (i.e. 2.35:1, not 16:9) With 90% of the DVDs and Blu-Ray material you wil watch on a 16:9 format, you will have to contend with black bars on the top and bottom of the screen. The Cinemascope will require a projector capable of producing this format. Although this is a nice option, right now it is quite expensive. You may also want to consider masking the screen when watching non-16:9 format program material.
The most important thing to do is to make sure to match your screen to your projector taking into acount the light level in the room and the distance from the screen to the projector. Once you whittle down the list to afew projectors you are interested in, download the manuals and make sure that it will work in your room. Installing a projector is a lot harder burt the benefits are worth it. One big issue is trying to afford those long cables from your equipment to the projector. Check out http://www.impactacoustics.com/ I am running a 50 foot HDMI cable with no problems.
I have just barely touched the subject, but hope that this helps...