Home theater projectors are best for viewing Sports and DVD movies. If you watch mostly regular TV, an LCD/DLP projector may be an expensive option as the bulb would need to be changed after 1,000 to 2,000 hours of viewing. The proper room size is extremely important. Like TVs, Receivers, speakers, and other equipment and components…you must know the specs! Once you have a firm understanding of the basic specs your decision will come much easier.
Like so many electronic devices, front DLP and LCD projectors have numerous specifications. Rather than trying to compare the details we will try and focus your attention on the most important specs. Initially, choosing a projector boils down to: what you want to watch (and where), how big do you want it to be (what size screen) and price.
Couple of quick reminders: make sure you purchase a ceiling mountable projector (not all can be ceiling mounted). Determine the distance between projector and screen, and leave enough space between projector and wall to ensure proper ventilation.
Three of the most important front projector specs are: aspect ratio, brightness, and resolution
Aspect Ratio — Additionally, front projectors are available in different native aspect ratios. The two most common aspect ratios are standard (NTSC) 4:3 and wide screen (HDTV) 16:9. Wide screen home theater projectors are shaped more like a movie theater screen than a standard TV. That is, the ratio of width to height is much higher, in a ratio of 16:9 (1.78 times wider than high) rather than 4:3 (1.33). If you plan to watch primarily DVDs on your projector, a 16:9 wide screen projector is the only way to go! If you want to enjoy HDTV, don’t even consider an SVGA projector (due to the way projectors map signals, you’ll get less resolution than a regular television) and absolutely under no circumstances should you consider a projector with a native 4:3 aspect ratio!.
Brightness — Brightness is rated in ANSI lumens (an industry-standard measure of light output). Other things being equal, the higher the rating, the brighter the projected image. For home theater projectors, brightness typically ranges from 800 – 2500 ANSI lumens or more. Insufficient brightness will make an image look grimy and washed-out. Deciding on brightness: Rooms with low ambient light, 1,000 lumens is enough. ; Rooms with some ambient light, 1,500 lumens is the standard.; Rooms with high ambient light, >2,000 lumens is recommended-and is ideal for large-audience presentations. Viewing environments are the biggest part of determining how bright a projector needs to be (room size and screen size/distance will affect the need for more or less lumens). Brightness uniformity is also an important part of image quality. Uniformity represents the percentage of brightness carried throughout a projected image. A higher uniformity percentage indicates that the projector delivers brightness more evenly from the center to the corners of the projected image, eliminating hot spots and distortion. For consistently high image quality, look for a uniformity rating of 80% or better.Resolution — Resolution is the number of pixels as measured from left to right and top to bottom of your image. If most of your viewing is HDTV, get as high a native pixel count as possible. For instance, 720p HDTV signals require a 1280×720 pixel count to give you a one-for-one represntation of a 720p signal while, as mentioned earlier, a 1080i HDTV input signal needs a native pixel count of 1920×1080 for a one-for-one representation of the 1080i signal. If a projector’s pixel count is less and it accepts HDTV input signals, the signal is scaled to fit the number of pixels on the chip. Currently XGA (1024×768) is the most common projector resolution for home theaters, (there are several SVGA projectors out but they do not work well for High-def Home theater). XGA, or high resolution native widescreen formats like WXGA, are the best choice for HDTV, DVDs and other home theater applications. Higher resolutions, or more pixels, mean better picture quality and some projectors, AV Receivers and DVD players, can upscale a lower resolution image to match a higher pixel count.