In the last few years, multimedia (video) projectors have come way down in price, and gone way up in quality. If you’ve been putting off buying one — or maybe you know someone on Santa’s list who has been especially nice — here are some general guidelines that can help you decide what to get.
- Buy a DLP unit, not an older-style LCD.
- Brightness is measured in lumens; the more a projector has, the brighter the image. Minimum you should get is 2100 lumens, and 2500-3000 are increasingly common and can be used with room lights on.
- Like a computer screen, resolution is measured in pixel width x height. Bare minimum size to get is 1024 x 768 (a/k/a XGA resolution), but to if you want to be future-proof (read: more expensive), then get one that supports hi-def, which is 1920 x 1080. A projector that displays 1920 x 1080 and also supports the 1080p format is one you can use for Blu-ray DVDs. That’s what you’d use in a home theater.
- Some projectors are listed as “short throw”, which means they can display a full-size image on the screen from only 1 or 2 yards away. That’s great for doing demos or training or where space is tight, so you don’t wander in front of the screen and block the image.
There are many brands and models to choose from, but here are a few typical examples.
The BenQ W6000 has all the goodies, and will set you back $1400 at Amazon.com. Think that’s a lot? It wasn’t long ago that a device like this would cost thousands:
For $500, you can get the Acer H5360, which is 2500 lumens and 1280 x 720 resolution:
In between those two is this one, which goes up to 1280 x 800 resolution, 2500 lumens, supports 1080p and does short throw. Lowest price I found is $850:
If you want to search on your own, a good place is B&H, which is a reputable place in New York. You can choose prices, resolutions, lumens, etc., and they’ll show you what’s available: