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How to choose a projector for your home

If you want to recreate the atmosphere of a real cinema at home or in the country, then you definitely need a home projector. Multimedia projectors costing from 9,500 hryvnia allow you to enjoy a picture of excellent quality, the diagonal of which can reach eight meters. This is almost three times the size of the screen of the world's largest plasma TV - 103-inch Panasonic TH-103PF10WK worth 288,000 hryvnia. We will tell you about the strengths and weaknesses of modern projectors and help you choose the device that suits you best.

Projector Types: Advantages and Disadvantages

Full HD resolution is already the standard for modern projectors. However, to obtain a high quality image, viewing must be done in a darkened room. In addition, over time, a projector lamp loses its power - its service life ranges from 2000 to 6000 hours, and its replacement can reach 30% of the cost of the projector. Therefore, we recommend that you use the projector not as a regular TV, but rather as a component of your home theater, that is, only for watching movies.

3LCD projectors

Many different projection technologies are currently in use. 3LCD projectors are especially popular with moviegoers. In these devices, the light emitted from the lamp falls on dichroic filter mirrors, each of which reflects one of three primary colors (red, green, blue). Then each light flux passes through one of three LCD matrices, and the dichroic prism located between them combines the light flux into one and directs it to the screen. LCD projectors take the lead in the test: these devices provide excellent image quality, but they are also expensive.

DLP Projectors

These relatively inexpensive models form an image using a system of micromirrors located on a semiconductor chip DMD (Digital Micromirror Device). One or three such chips can be installed in the projector, and the number of micromirrors in the matrix depends on the supported resolution. Three-chip DLP projectors have one matrix for each primary color, while the luminous flux, like in LCD models, is divided into colors. In budget single-chip DLP projectors, a special rotating wheel with several sectors for each primary color is installed between the lamp and the chip. It is synchronized with the DMD sensor to display all the red, green and blue pixels on the screen sequentially at a high rate. DLP projectors have high contrast and brightness, but single-chip models are characterized by the so-called "rainbow effect", which may not be to the taste of many viewers. This effect is due to the fact that at a time only one color is displayed on the screen and when you move your gaze across the image, it becomes distinguishable. As a result, a rainbow halo may appear around some objects.

LCoS Projectors

Third technology. which is used in modern projectors is called LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon). Unlike LCD devices, LCoS projectors do not use transmissive LCD matrices, but reflective ones. On the semiconductor substrate of the LCoS crystal, there is a reflective layer, on top of which there is a liquid crystal matrix and a polarizer. When exposed to electrical signals, liquid crystals either cover the reflecting surface or open up, allowing the light from the lamp to reflect off the mirror substrate of the crystal.As in LCD models, three LcoS crystals, a prism, dichroic mirrors and red, blue and green light filters are usually used to form a color image. LCoS projectors exhibit high contrast and deep blacks. In addition, the response time of the LCoS matrix liquid crystal is faster than that of the liquid crystal matrix of LCD-based products. The disadvantage of this type of device is its rather large size and high final cost.

Image quality: overall

It is worth noting that all tested projectors demonstrate high image quality, and even the budget model Vivitek H1080FD, which took the penultimate place, provides a good image. Differences between projectors are manifested primarily in different contrast and brightness. For example, the test winner - the Epson EH-TW3600 model - and the ViewSonic Pro8200 projector, which came in fourth place, demonstrate high brightness (about 1400 lumens).

With these devices, a home evening movie show, as well as watching a football match in an undimmed living room, will not be a problem. But the owners of the Sanyo PLV-Z4000 projector, which took second place, in any case, while watching, will have to draw the curtains in the room, since its lamp power is less than 330 lumens.

But this model can boast of high contrast on the checkerboard. The award-winning Acer H7531 projector also provides excellent contrast and natural color reproduction.

Using preset modes, each projector can be easily adapted to different viewing conditions, whether it is a dynamic action movie in a darkened room or a sports broadcast in daylight. Some projectors, including the test winner Epson EH-TW3600, even let you adjust the color temperature to suit your preferences. Also note that all nine models tested support a power saving mode, when activated, which reduces the brightness of the image, which allows you to increase the lamp life.

The right installation location is the key to success

To get the best picture quality, you need to choose the correct installation location and tilt angle of the projector, so be sure to pay attention to the adjustment options before purchasing. In this respect, the situation is the worst with the DLP-models: they have only adjustable feet and a simple system of keystone correction ("Keystone"). Therefore, these devices must always be located in the center of the projection surface. LCD and LCoS solutions provide more opportunities: their Lens Shift system (lens shift) is able to compensate to a certain extent for the tilt angle of the projector, even if it is displaced horizontally or vertically with respect to the center of the screen.

We also note that DLP models are not afraid of dust throughout the entire service life, since they have a closed optical system. On the contrary, in LCD devices, dust and dirt particles can penetrate through the air vents inside the case and settle on the matrix. These models are equipped with dust filters that need to be changed from time to time. For example, the Sanyo PLV-Z4000 LCD projector even comes with a blower to remove dust from the LCD panel through dedicated holes.

Ergonomics and equipment

All test projectors have two HDMI digital interfaces for connecting a Blu-ray player or TV receiver. Component and composite connectors, as well as an S-Video interface, are available for connecting analog sources. However, for the best picture quality, we recommend using only the HDMI connector.For those users who would like to use both a TV and a projector at the same time, we recommend purchasing an HDMI splitter (splitter) separately, which is designed to split the signal from a source into several consumers. The cost of such devices depends on the number of HDMl connectors and starts at 400 hryvnia.

A problem with all projectors is the noisy built-in fan that cools the lamp, and the single-chip DLP models also have a noisy color wheel. Fan noise gets in the way most when watching quiet movie scenes. Lamps in projectors are a source of a lot of light and heat and therefore require good cooling. Here the rule applies: the larger the case, the less noise the projector is. The advantage here is on the side of LCD and LCoS devices. So, the Sony VPL-HW15 model is practically silent (1.1 sleep). DLP projectors tend to generate more heat, and the color wheel also spins quite loudly. This is especially noticeable with the ViewSonic Pro8200, which has the highest operating noise (1.8 sleep).

Do not forget about power consumption - in this regard, projectors can compete even with 50-inch plasma TVs. The worst energy efficiency was demonstrated by ViewSonic Pro8200: in operation, the device consumes almost 300 watts.


All test participants demonstrated very good image quality. The projectors, which occupy the leading positions in the test, are distinguished by rich equipment and low noise level during operation. The best was the Epson EH-TW3600 LCD projector, which produces a picture of excellent quality with natural color rendition, and its high brightness allows you to comfortably watch video even in daylight.

The best choice would be the Acer H7531 model: at its relatively low cost, this DLP projector demonstrates very good image quality and has rich equipment. The only drawback of this model is the high noise level during operation.

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