If you need to carry your LCD or DLP portable video
projector around to make presentations in a variety of locations, you know
there's a huge difference between a projector that weighs ten pounds and one
that weighs four. Below are the best portable LCD projectors and DLP video
projectors that will suit your business needs.
Home theater projectors generally are 16:9 (widescreen) native resolution,
although some home theater video projectors are 4:3 native and 16:9
compatible. When building a home theater, never underestimate the
importance of purchasing a screen with the proper fabric for home theater.
We highly recommend da-lite high contrast cinema vision for tensioned
screens or the High contrast matte white for non-tensioned screens. Click here
to view our selection of video projector screens.
When choosing a home theater video projector you must consider a few
A: Screen size and Distance. Many people think bigger is better,
This is not completely true. If your home theater screen is to large it
will be similar to sitting in the front row of a movie theater. General
screen sizes would be 92 inch diagonal ( 45 x 80) for 11 to 13 ft
distance . 106 inch diagonal ( 52x 92) for 14 to 17 feet and 119
diagonal for 18 to 24 ft.
When deciding on the screen you must consider that the bigger the projection
screen, the more power (ansi rating ) and higher
resolution will be required to achieve the same quality as a smaller screen and
therefore higher projector cost to achieve the a same result.
Resolution: The best resolution available (in a realistic price range)
is generally 1280x720 in a native 16,9 widescreen format. 1366 x 1024 in 4:3
ratio which results in basically the same resolution when playing a DVD or HDTV.
If you are only running a 92 inch diagonal screen you may be very happy
with a 1024 x 576 or 964 x 544 projector however if you were to use the
lower resolution on a larger screen you will may not be happy with the final
C: Brightness: Generally home theater projectors range from 700 to
1100 ansi lumens ( please note that data DLP projectors will quote numbers
substantially higher however when fed a video signal may reduce to as much as
half,) In most case around 1000 ansi is more then enough for most installations.
D: USE. If you are only going to use the video projector for viewing of
movies and HDTV then 1000 ansi will be more then enough, however of you plan on
watching a lot of sports with the lights on you will need closer to 2000 ansi
lumens minimum. These numbers are based on a 106 inch diagonal ( 52 x 92)
E: DLP or LCD. Both technologies have pros and cons. As a
general rule , when dealing in low budget, LCD is a better choice as low price
DLP units suffer from weak colors and rainbow effect. Do not buy a DLP with a
2 speed wheel unless you enjoy rainbows and headaches. For a few
dollars more you can pick up a proper 4 speed DLP video projector with a 5
segment color wheel.
Good LCD projectors for home theater are limited to very
few units such as the Panasonic 700 , Sanyo PLVZ3 which have little or no
"screen door" and provide very good color accuracy. There is also some
very nice very nice high power lcd video projectors such as the PLV70 or
Christie lw25 which run a true 2200 ansi lumens.
F: Video projector
position: All projectors have a throw distance which they must be placed
from the screen. This varies on model and can be determined using a "throw
chart" . Generally a projector will be 12 to 15 ft from a 106 inch
Diagonal screen on the average projector. Some units offer "short throw lenses"
however this is only a few units. Long throw lenses are pricey ($2000 +)
upgrades and only available for higher end units.
G: BUDGET; The
most important factor is choosing a home theater video projector is
budget. All of the above factors to be considered come down to how much you want
to spend. You cannot put a 200 inch screen on your wall and buy a thousand
dollar projector and get a good picture, or even a reasonable picture. However
for 1000 to 1500 you can get a starter projector which will do a nice job on a
92 inch screen. As your budget increases there is increase in quality up to
around $5000 or 6000. After that you are throwing money out the window as anything above
that price is simply "marketing" . The only exception to this is when you get to
super power units where you are running 4000 ansi which is more suited for
screens 150 to 200 inches.
Several high end stores etc
will try to convince you to buy tons of equipment for your theater to improve
picture. These include scalers and de-interlacers etc. These are generally a
waste of money as HDTV does not require any modification and any good home
theater projector will already be prepared to upconvert your progressive scan
dvd player signals for proper display
Video cable: Quality of video cable is
important but there is no reason to spend hundred of dollars on a component
video cable. If they call it an "interconnect" you are getting ripped off. There
are several brands of cables available such as Monster, Phoenix Gold, A/R etc
which are reasonable priced and do an excellent job. Don't be too cheap but don't
pay thru the nose. You can actually make your own cables using quad shied RG6
however it is not worth the hassle unless you already have the crimpers or you
require long runs as component cables over 25 ft have to be custom made and are
PROJECTION SCREEN: DO NOT SKIMP ON A SCREEN: A good screen is critical
for your home theater. A good screen will last you years and several projectors.
If you have a limited budget, you are much better off getting a lesser projector
with a good screen as you can upgrade your projector later as pricing drops and
The best screens a permanently mounted on the wall. They
are well below $700 for a good "permwall"
with very good fabric such as the HCCV by da-lite. These screens increase in
cost as you change the "fanciness" of the border however the fabric, and
therefore picture quality, will not change as price goes up.
Electric: A tensioned electric screen is the best in electric roll up screens
however the cost for a 106" runs around $1800 for a
Tensioned cosmopolitan electrol with
HCCV fabric. The price increases if you want trap doors that open etc.
Un-tensioned electric: If you want an electric screen but are budget conscious
that you may want to go for a Da-lite cosmopolitan electrol with a HCMW fabric.
Cost of this is under $800.
Manual Pulldown. If you are severally budget
conscious and want a simple pulldown screen , Look at a
Model B with CSR for around $300 for a 106"
with High contrast matte white fabric.
If you are extremely budget conscious
(at this point the word cheap comes to mind) you can simply grab a
model B without CSR ( controlled spring
return ) for around $200.
If you find 200 is still too much for a screen, time
to consider a bed sheet and using a flashlight for a projector, Hand puppets can
be quite entertaining.