By Team Digit Published Date
01 - Dec - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - Dec - 2006
Though multimedia-centric PCs are making their way to our living rooms, a critical element that makes the whole experience come alive is a big (read big) screen. With falling prices as in every other consumer tech segment, projectors are proving to be a good alternative to LCD TVs and plasma displays. And then, of course, they're indispensable in offices. But here's the right picture on how to go about buying the projector you need.
Questions To Ask

What are the different types of projectors available in the market?
LCD (Liquid Crystal Display), DLP (Digital Light Processing), and LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) are the three different types of projectors you're looking at.

LCD projectors have been around for quite a long time. The picture quality and colour rendition is as good as that offered by DLP projectors. At high resolutions, the pixel structure might be  visible here. DLP projectors offer a good  contrast, so colours look more vivid. LCoS projectors are characterised by high prices and the best image quality. This is an the amalgamation of the best that LCD and DLP offer.

Is the projector suitable for my meeting room?
The amount of light in the room affects picture quality to a very large extent, and hence should be an important consideration. For a dimly-lit conference room, a 1000-lumen projector will sufficiently light up the screen. Increase that to about 2500-3000 for better lit rooms, and more than 3000 for larger auditoriums.
I want to project the image from behind the screen. Can I?
For projecting the image from behind the screen, the projector should support rear projection. This is a simple feature where the image is reversed so that it looks right on the screen. Most projectors today come with this feature.

Is it possible to ceiling-mount a projector?
Yes. Projectors can be mounted on the ceiling, but for that, the projector should have be able to project the image upside down. The best way to go is to check the specification sheet; if it talks about "ceiling mount" as an option, the projector will support it.

What kind of power source is required for a projector?
Most projectors directly connect to the mains without a separate power adapter. However, in the case of portable projectors, an external power adapter is required. If you plan to buy a portable projector, make sure a universal power adapter comes bundled, that is, one that can automatically switch between 110 and 230 volts. If not, add the cost of the adapter to your budget.

Usage Tips
Do not use an LCD projector for more than 10 hours: they heat up quickly. This deteriorates the picture quality and may also cause damage.

Match the computer resolution with the one on the projector. This makes for perfect projection.

What To Look For
· Depending on your needs, choose a projector with the right resolution.
· Apart from resolution, also enquire about the throw, that is, the optimum distance between the screen and the projector.
· Check the brightness, which is generally given in lumens. A projector with brightness anywhere between 1500 to 2000 lumens is more than enough for a typical setup.
· Contrast ratio, that is, the ratio between the darkest black shade and the absolute brightest white.
· Check for the provision of a zoom lens-1.2x is what most projectors offer.
· Look at the type of interface, and see if there's a bundled remote.
· Mac compatibility-most projectors are designed for PC compatibility. For Macintosh, they require a separate connector or an adapter. You might have to pay a little extra for this.
·  Weight and portability: If you travel a lot, portable projectors make more sense; go with one that weighs less than 2 kg. If you don't travel much but still need to move the projector around, go with one that weighs between 4 and 6 kg. In order to reduce weight, compromises happen on the picture quality front. If you care for a better picture, prepare to be carrying around some extra weight.
·  Video inputs: S-Video and Composite are the de facto inputs that most projectors will have. Component input is a relatively new standard that is slowly percolating into many consumer devices such as DVD players and gaming consoles. Component input (called YPbPr in technical terms) will bring you superior performance.

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