While the flickering film reel is a thing of the past, a good projector can turn any room into a little slice of home cinema heaven. But with so many to choose from, each with its own complexities, it can be difficult deciding which is best for you.
So sit comfortably and grab some popcorn – we’ll guide you through it.
What kind of projector should you get?
Let’s start by breaking down the different kinds of a projector. Most will be one of two varieties: DLP (Digital Light Processor) and LCD (Liquid Crystal Display).
LCD projectors use three liquid crystal displays – each of which handles a primary color – to project three images tinted red, green, and blue. These images are then recombined in a glass prism to show the full-color spectrum, before being beamed onto the big screen.
A DLP projector uses a single chip made up of millions of microscopic mirrors. Each individual mirror can be angled, thus directing light towards the screen or directing the light from it, with each mirror effectively working like a pixel in a television. A spinning color wheel sits in front of the light source and determines what color is shown.
There’s also LCoS, which stands for “Liquid crystal on silicon”, and works similarly to DLP – but instead of mirrors, it uses liquid crystals to control the light. Both Sony and JVC use this technology, under the names of SXRD and D-ILA respectively.
All of these technologies have their benefits and drawbacks. DLP projectors are generally brighter and sharper, but can suffer from a ‘rainbow effect’ (where you can see the individual red, green, and blue colours) if the panels aren’t perfectly aligned. LCD projectors are usually cheaper and don’t suffer from the rainbow effect but can, in some instances, struggle with motion.
LCoS, meanwhile, don’t suffer the rainbow effects DLP projectors do and aren’t prone to screen burn-in like LCD projectors. On the other hand, their black levels usually aren’t as good and they tend to be bulkier, pricier devices.
While each projection technology is different, don’t let that be the be-all and end-all when looking for a new projector. Your best bet is checking out reviews of the projector you want to buy before making any decisions.
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