Home Theater Projection
A Review By: Alphonso Soosay
Today’s home theater bargain hunters have choices ranging from large screen digital projectors to the popular desk top or hang-on-the-wall Plasma, LED or LCD flat panel monitors. These types of TV’s configurations have been successfully incorporated into many home theatres around the world. So making your mind up for your dream home theater system can be more exciting than ever. Digital TV’s are now superior in HD technology, bigger, cheaper, and slimmer than ever.
You can now capture the same breathtaking experience as the Movie Theater in your own home, using the popular Dolby Digital Surround Sound system. However, the need for compact, affordable, portable home video projection units for use in Home Theatre have made this once out-of-reach option more affordable now for use in your own home theater and by many more end user.
Choosing a Home Theatre projector flings down to what you would like to watch and where
- Look for good natural skin tone colour Reproduction, verify how colours look in the brightest and darkest areas of the image. Ensure the degree of colour stability from various inputs. Every person has a slight difference in colour awareness but look for what is pleasing to your eyes. Make yourself conscious of unnatural colours.
- Brightness: Without sufficient brightness your image will look muddy and soft, even in a dark room.
- Contrast Ratio: Complements brightness. High contrast ratios deliver whiter whites and blacker blacks.
- Pixel Density: Is very important, especially for LCD projectors or DLP projectors, look for a highest native pixel count as possible. A native pixel count of 1920 x 1080 pixel resolutions is the most desirable, especially for 100 inches video projection screen size and more.
- Source Inputs: for your playback requirements. Make sure the projector has composite, S-video, for analogue sources, component inputs for DVD, HDMI for Blu-ray Disc Players, and HD-Cable/Set-Top Boxes.
- Custom Control: Connections to RS-232 and IR Sensor input/outputs, and for 12 volt triggers provide flexibility if you are installing your projector in a tradition setup that provides centralized control (AMX) for all required components.
- Type and size of Screen: for your room size, Screens come in a choice of fabrics, sizes, and prices, to get the best out of your projector, invest on a better-quality screen. This depends on the type of projector, the viewing angle, the amount of ambient light in the room, and the distance of the projector from the screen. If you are not sure consult a video screen dealer and give them your projector specifications, they will have the options for you.
- Cost: The good news is that cost of projectors continues to come down and be prepared, by the time you purchase your projector, the installation with cables; expect to spend about $2,500/- to $4,500/- for a basic setup, then between $4,500/- to $8,000/- for a mid-range design. Finally with a high-end setup can effortlessly cost about $10,000/- to $15,000/-.
Home theater projectors are best for viewing Blu-ray & DVD disc movies, live concerts and Sports. If you are watching regular TV programs, then an LCD projector or a DLP projector may possibly be a costly option as the bulb would have to be changed after about 2,000 to 4,000 hours of viewing hours. This depends on which brand you utilize and how you use it.
As for 3D images, LCD and DLP video projection technology have the capability to project 3D images that is if the 3D software component is provided by the brand you purchased. In fact, viewing 3D images by means of a video projector generally is preferably compared to viewing 3D on most LCD and Plasma TV’s. This is due to the capability of video projectors to display very large image sizes that provide a larger field of view that takes into account of the viewer’s imaginative vision. If you are looking for 3D movies as part of your home theater viewing experience then you must audition how 3D looks on a video projector at your local Home Theatre showroom before making a final purchase decision on a 3D LCD or Plasma TV. Importantly, make sure you have the suitable room size for your Home Theatre projector. The ratio has to be accurate for your movie enjoyment
On the other hand, there is some projector option awareness you need to know if you are going to purchase it.
The LCD Projector (Liquid Crystal Display) An LCD projector basically works by passing a powerful light source through a transparent LCD chip made up of individual pixels (which displays the moving video image) and projecting that image through a lens to a large screen.
Advantages of the LCD projector are its high contrast and brightness capability, as well as lower power consumption. Also, with some modification, an LCD projector can provide an excellent option for home theater use.
Limitations of the LCD Projector are that it can exhibit what is called “the screen door effect”. Since the screen is made up of individual pixels, the pixels can be visible on a large screen, thus giving the appearance of viewing the image through a “screen door. When using a low budget LCD projector in a home theater setup, the image may appear too harsh with regards to skin tone, brightness and contrast.
Since an LCD chip is made up of a panel of individual pixels, if one pixel burns out it displays an annoying black dot on the projected image. Individual pixels cannot be repaired, if more pixels burn out, the entire chip on the projector has to be replaced.
The LCD light source (bulb) in an LCD projector must be replaced about every 2,000 hours on normal use to 3,000 hours on eco use, and from time to time at a cost of about $400/-. If most of your viewing is Blu-ray & DVD disc movies or HDTV broadcasts then, get a projector with high native pixel count.
On the positive note, a new lamp basically gives you a new looking LCD projector, as your original contrast and brightness are restored, and most projector bulbs can be self-installed by the end user.
Options of LCD video projection technology in use are: 1) SXRD (Silicon Crystal Reflective Display) developed and used by Sony.2) LCOS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) 3) D-ILA (Digital Imaging Light Amplification developed and used by JVC.
The DLP Projector (Digital Light Processing) is a different video projection technology and is in a more popular use, both in the home theater and business-related environments, this DLP (Digital Light Processing) projector is similar to how LCD, image is displayed on a chip, and however, the chip used in a DLP projector is different. The chip in a DLP projector is referred to as a DMD (Digital Micro-mirror Device). In real meaning, every pixel on a DMD chip is a reflective mirror. The video image is displayed on the DMD chip. The micro-mirrors on the chip (remember: each micro-mirror represents one pixel) it tilts very rapidly as the image changes. This process produces the greyscale foundation for the image. In a single chip DLP projector, the colour is added as light passes through a high-speed colour wheel and is reflected off of the micro-mirrors on the DLP chip as they rapidly tilt towards or away from the light source. The degree of tilt of each micro-mirror coupled with the rapidly spinning colour wheel determines the colour structure of the projected image. As the amplified light bounces off the micro-mirrors, it is sent through the lens and can be projected on a large screen.
Advantages of the DLP Projector is that it’s suitable for not only for home theater application, but also used in some movie theatres for feature film projection. Basically the films are digitally converted and stored to either to a hard drive or optical disc, similar to DVD, only in High Definition, then video signal supply into the DLP projector and projected onto the movie screen. The high resolution DLP chips made for this application render an image that is almost as good as 35 or 70mm film, without all those film scratches Other advantages of the DLP projector include excellent colour accuracy, no “screen door” effect as seen with LCD, due to its micro-mirror construction, compactness, low power consumption, and high contrast and brightness although typically not as bright as LCD types but much “smoother with skin tones”.
The limitation of the DLP Projector just as with LCD Projector is that each DLP chip has a finite number of pixels. Although a DLP projector doesn’t exhibit the “screen door” effect of many LCD units, a DLP projector can exhibit what is referred to as “the rainbow effect”. Basically, the “rainbow effect” is exhibited by a brief flash of colours (like a small rainbow) when the viewer rapidly looks from side to side on the screen or looks rapidly from the screen to side of the room. Advantageously, this does not occur frequently and lots of people do not have sensitivity to this effect at all. Just as in LCD projectors, the light source typically must be changed every 3,000 on normal use to 4,000 hours on eco use. The DLP projector seems to have become a favourite among home theater enthusiasts.
Portable Home Entertainment almost any room: Look out for this new DLP Pico Projection Technology, which is the cutting edge of imaging innovations. It has taken projectors to a whole new level of portability. With a DLP Pico projector, the use for it is endless. Enjoy a movie night with your family. Play your video games on the ceiling. Share videos pictures on the wall with friends at the party. If you can dream of ideas try it, a portable DLP Pico projector can most likely do it anywhere. Its features are: Ultra-portable and compact. Easily connected to nearly any device’s video out port, Smart phone, iPod, portable gaming, digital camera, and laptop and has a long lasting solid state LED illumination. Surprisingly it has good picture quality, using DLP Pico chipset. These powerful LED illuminated projectors have long life and built in speakers so all you need is the playback devise and you can be enjoying portable projection on practically any surface. Have fun with it.