So far, we have only been talking about upgrade options for a home theater system (HTS) in terms of sound quality, but a huge screen is just as important to achieve an immersive movie viewing experience. More precisely, life-size visuals that can only be rendered via an 80-inch or larger display.
There are currently two types of giant displays on the market: costly flat-panel TVs retailing for well over US$10,000 and home theater projectors. Going for as little as US$1,000 for entry-level models and able to easily produce a 100-inch image, projectors are typically the preferred choice for home cinema enthusiasts.
Home theater projectors
In recent years, some projector makers are repackaging their multimedia models designed for business users as entertainment machines. Thankfully, you can identify a true-blue home theater projector by its higher contrast output and a native widescreen (16:9) aspect ratio.
While there are many considerations for a projector, connectivity is probably the least of your concerns if you are ceiling mounting the unit. This is because you will likely use a long HDMI cable to connect the projector to your A/V receiver (AVR), leaving the AVR to handle source switching too.
Three dominant projection technologies are available today. 3LCD and DLP are the most commonly used, while LCoS is utilized by only a handful of projector vendors. They include Sony’s SXRD and JVC’s D-ILA technologies, which are both fundamentally based on LCoS.
Picture quality-wise, D-ILA beamers are renowned for their ultra-high native contrast, which reproduces very deep blacks. SXRD is a close second in terms of performance with 3LCD and DLP last. But for 3D playback, both 3LCD and DLP can output higher brightness than the LCoS derivatives.
Instead of deploying an imaging chip for each RGB primary color like 3LCD, D-ILA and SXRD projectors, most DLP versions employ only a single chip and a color wheel. Also called single-chip DLPs, they can sometime exhibit random color streaks a.k.a. “rainbow” artifacts.
Short vs. long throw
A short-throw projector can render a larger projection than its long-throw counterpart from a fixed projector-to-screen or “throw” distance. Meanwhile, the zoom factor of the onboard lens determines the screen size. For example, a short-throw model with a powerful 2.1x zoom can usually yield a 100-inch projection from a 3m throw distance. This factor is an important consideration for those with smaller rooms.
Lens shift vs. keystone
It is not always possible to install a projector facing the center of the projection screen. This is where lens shift and keystone correction functions will come in handy, allowing the users to set up the beamer off center and minimizing geometric distortions.
Except for higher-end DLP projectors, lens shift is a common feature for most types of projectors. The lens shift function physically moves the lens assembly horizontally and vertically. Keystone correction, however, digitally manipulates the image and can result in loss of details.
By Philip Wong***Read more on asia.cnet.com