Buying A Projector

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The following features are not critical when deciding on which projector to buy, but do add to the performance and viewing enjoyment.

Video Signal Inputs: The more types of inputs on the back of the projector the better. This give you more options when connecting your different input devices. The projector you buy should have at least one component video input. A component video inputs look like a composite input, however it splits the video signal into three separate parts rather than one. It is the most common type of high quality signal available today. Nearly all projectors will have at least one composite and one S-Video connection. S-video cables differ from composite cables in that they split video signal into two The S-video cable will offer marked improvement over a composite cables. Digital Video Interface (DVI) cables look a little like a standard VGA cable, but they are slightly larger. Under ideal circumstances, the DVI cable creates a ‘digital to digital’ connection between video or data source and display device. Not widely used now, but is quickly becoming the standard.

Buying A Projector

Zoom Lens: More important for mobile applications. For Home Theater use, it can come in handy for fine tuning the image to the screen.

Keystone Correction: This is needed when the projector is mounted off-center and results in an image that is not square. Standard on most projectors.

Projector Noise: Projector lamps produce a lot of heat, so projectors have fans to cool them down. A projector with a loud fan can get annoying after a while. The loudness of the fan is rated as DB`s. Aim for less than 35DB, less then 30 is excellent.

Throw Distance: This is a measure of the size of image a projector can produce from a given distance. Manufacturers provide throw distance calculators which help determine the size of image which can be produced by each of their projector models. A short throw distance may be required for a small room.

Video Signals: The projectors ability to project various video standards such as NTSC, PAL, SECAM and S-VHS. Look for the ability to project NTSC and HDTV. HDTV is scheduled to replace NTSC in 2006.

Projection Methods: Can it be ceiling or rear mounted.

Bulb Life: The life of the bulb has little to do with the picture and a lot to do with your pocketbook. Look for Eco-mode. By selecting an economy mode, you can reduce the light output, while conserving lamp life and lowering the noise level of the fan. Using the economy mode lowers light output by as little as 20%, and used regularly can help to nearly double the life of the lamp.

There are more features to take into account but they are either, self explanatory or not very important. Features like Remote [easy, nice to have] Warranty [the longer the better] etc.