Are you a movie enthusiast? Want to have a real movie theatre-like experience in your home theatre setup? It might be time to treat yourself to a home cinema projector.
Gone are the days when projectors put out dull and grainy images on a screen or wall. Today’s projectors can match the best LCD television picture or even do better. More than anything else, even a 100-inch or bigger picture is possible if the room length is big enough. Correctly placed, this can give viewers a really satisfying movie-watching experience.
Leaving the good picture aside, a projector will make your home theatre room look uber cool and high-tech.
If it is a large home theatre room with several people sitting, the picture is perfectly visible even from narrower angles. This is not the case with all LCD TVs as the picture is not as clear when viewed from narrow angles.
Using a projector is more practical than hanging a large 55- or 65-inch screen on the wall. Such large LCD screens take up a huge amount of space. A projector is just a small box that can be set on a small table. It can also be fixed to the ceiling and is totally out of the way. The picture can be projected on a wall that is smoothly finished and painted white. Even if a screen is used, it is still going to save more space than having a massive LCD TV on the wall.
There are short throw projectors in the market now. Short throw projectors are meant to be placed close to the surface onto which the picture is to be viewed. Again, this can be a space-saver.
A projector has the additional advantage of being portable. It can be moved to another room and used there. Or in the case of the person changing homes, the picture size can be adjusted according to the new space and room dimensions. All that needs to be done is to adjust the zoom of the lens to fit the picture according to the wall size.
A major advantage of watching movies or TV programmes using a projector is that it is easy on the eyes. Viewing LCD screens continuously for long periods of time can strain the eyes in the long term. Even watching programmes or movies on LCD TVs at night can disrupt sleep. A projector is much safer since it merely reflects light as opposed to TVs that emit light.
Connecting the home theatre receiver or a set top box is a breeze. Today’s projectors are equipped with USB, HDMI, audio in/out and even the old school RS232 computer port. Devices that send pictures to the projector can thus be easily be connected.
There are a few things that need to be kept in mind while choosing a projector over an LCD TV.
Firstly, a projector needs a dark room. The darker the room, the better the picture will be. If there is sunlight reflecting onto the viewing surface, it could turn out to be a bad viewing experience. This is not as big a problem with LCD TVs.
The brightness of the projector needs to be considered before purchase. Brightness is measured in lumens and it would be advisable to buy a projector with the highest brightness one can afford. A brighter projector means the picture will be better even in case there is some sunlight in the room.
Traditional projector bulb replacement can be expensive, almost as much as one third or a quarter of the price of the whole thing itself. This, of course, depends on the model and the brightness of the bulb. However, projectors with LED bulbs are being sold and will obviously last longer than regular bulbs.
A good LCD TV will generally have decent speakers but projector speakers will leave much to be desired. If there is no home theatre speaker system already in place, external speakers are a must for a good audio experience.
Finally, the cost. High-definition projectors can be bought for about Rs 60,000 or slightly more. A 55-inch LCD TV set will cost at least that much and a lot more if it has more features. But for a similar price, a projector can give a much bigger viewing area depending on the room.
Similarly, a 4K high-dynamic range (HDR) projector will generally cost less than a good OLED TV.
The 4K HDR projectors cost about Rs 1.5 lakh and above.
Home theatre projectors are made by Sony, Epson, BenQ, ViewSonic, JVC, LG, Optoma among others.