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Looking for a new projector? Whether it's for your home theatre, classroom or office, our projector buying guide will give you all the knowledge you need to make the right choice.
There are many things to consider when choosing a projector, including the following.
For the ultimate home cinema experience, a home theatre projector is a must. Our wide range of HD projectors will ensure you’re watching the movies in style.
From small rooms to conference rooms, businesses use projectors daily and require projectors that match up to those specific needs.
The world is your oyster with a portable projector. Compact yet powerful, as long as you can find somewhere to project against, you’re ready to go.
Work out the best resolution to suit your projector needs.
Ideal for PowerPoint presentations, SVGA projectors feature low-resolution, so whilst the level of detail is not huge, SVGA projectors are more affordable and suited to projecting simple information, charts and data.
Whilst an older technology, XGA is still commonly used. You’ll find that many computers and laptops feature XGA as their native resolution, meaning pairing your XGA projector with it will result in optimum detail.
Providing the same vertical resolution as XGA, WXGA differs in that it offers a widescreen horizontal resolution (20% more than XGA). WXGA projectors work well with laptops and smartphones.
A higher-end option, WUXGA projectors are perfect for large venues such as conference rooms or for permanent installations. You’ll see detailed, high-definition images as WUXGA projectors are capable of displaying 1080p HD content.
For the ideal home theatre experience, opt for a 1080p projector as this produces content comparable to HD and Blu-ray.
Contrast ratio refers to the difference between the brightest white, and the darkest black. The higher the ratio, the clearer, more complex images you will get. If you see a projector with 1000:1 contrast ratio, this means that the brightest white is 1000x brighter than the darkest black.
The brightness of a projector is measured in ‘lumens’ – the higher the lumen count, the brighter your projector is. It is not as straight-forward as ‘the brighter the better’ however, as what brightness you opt for should be related to the room you intend to project in. Things to consider when choosing brightness:
This will dictate the image size you opt for. Basically, the more people, the larger the image you'll need to project.
For the optimal image from your projector, a dark room wins every time. But this is not always a suitable option. Projectors are often used in an environment where note-taking is required, in which case some light in the room is a must. If you are buying a projector for this purpose, you should look for brighter projectors.
Walls are often used in a home theatre projection environment. If you intend to use a wall as your screen, opt for brighter projectors as they do not reflect the image as well as purpose-built screens.
Projectors featuring less than 2000 lumens tend to be small and portable, which make them ideal for certain uses.
Standard lumen range, these projectors will be suited for basic environments such as classrooms or meeting rooms. Dim lighting would be required for a decent image.
A higher step up in quality which will come with a step up in price also. You’ll still be able to find portable projectors that feature this lumen range and they will work well in larger rooms and have less dependency on dim lighting to function well.
The top end of the scale, a projector with 4500 lumens or more can serve boardrooms, conference rooms and auditoriums.
There are some extra features to look out for to help you get the most out of your new computer monitor.
Ideal for using with computers and laptops, most these days have HDMI ports. HDMI allows the projection of high-definition video and audio through one cable.
Compared to HDMI, DVI and DisplayPort (which use digital), VGA uses analogue technology. It is capable of producing high quality resolution, but still pales in comparison to DVI.
Often referred to as A/V jacks, an RCA connection carries both audio and video signals.
Projectors that feature USB ports can offer a handy ‘plug-and-play’ functionality, making them highly versatile.
DisplayPort connections are predominantly used to connect video sources but is also capable of transmitting audio. One of the key benefits is that DisplayPort connections can add adapters to work with older ports and connections.
Ideal for those who want to use their projector in multiple different locations. Wireless projectors tend to come in two variations; wireless-enabled and wireless-optional. A wireless-enabled projector will have a built-in wireless LAN whereas a wireless-optional projector can have a LAN module plugged in to the device to become wireless.
While projector shopping, you may have repeatedly come across DLP and LCD. These two technologies are the most commonly used in projectors, each with their own benefits.
LCD projectors provide a superior colour saturation whereas DLP projectors offer greater levels of black and higher contrast.
LCD projectors offer a higher efficiency, as an LCD lamp with the same power as a DLP lamp will product much higher lumen outputs.
DLP projectors offer reduced pixilation compared to LCD models.
The 'throw' of a projector speaks to how close or far a projector must be positioned from the screen or wall for optimal projection.
Typically seen on projectors that are installed in the ceiling and used in larger rooms, capable of producing very large images.
Ideal for smaller rooms as it needs to be installed closer to the projection surface (typically 3-8ft away from surface). Short throw distance helps to reduce chance of shadows and glare.
The main benefit of Ultra-Short Throw is the virtually complete removal of any shadows or glare. Ultra-Short Throw projectors tend to be between 0-4ft away from the projection surface.
The following monitor accessories can help to ensure a better viewing experience.
To ensure the optimal image for your projector, a projector screen is highly recommended.
Get your projector secured in the best position for the room it will be used in with a projector mount. Mounts can be adjustable to suit the projection.
Depending on what connections and ports you intend to use your projector with, a good quality cable is a must-have accessory. Check out the ranges below.
Whilst projectors are efficient, at some point your lamp will require replacing. Ensure you are not caught short with a dud bulb and stock up on replacements.