March 3, 2024

All About Projectors

Projectors and their screens come in many shapes and sizes for multiple purposes. Whether you need a nice relaxing movie night at home, or a solution that is perfect for your business Zoom meetings. Projectors can be the best solutions for your home, office, and anything in-between.

Everyone loves a good movie night, and using a projector for that nostalgic feeling makes it all the better. Get some popcorn and lay back with some pillows, and let the show begin. In an office setting, projectors are used for presentations and other purposes, making them an integral part of a businesses infrastructure. Projectors have grown and expanded recently (think those middle school black and white presentations in those little square boxes) and offer almost limitless potential. For smart home applications, projectors can be connected to networks and can even retract into the ceiling with motorized controls as to not restrict your home’s lovely views. For businesses, high resolution screens can stretch over 300 inches in length, while resolving in HD quality for whatever you’d like to offer. There’s a lot to go over when it comes to purchasing the proper projector.

Why A Projector, And Not A TV?

Simply put, projectors are pretty cool. They give an HD display on a screen that is massive compared to even the largest television screens, and when you’re done they can disappear into your ceiling almost entirely. Projectors themselves take up much less space than a TV as well, and you can change the size of your screen based on your desires. Although projector screens can get a bit pricey, they take up next to nothing compared to the space and price a similarly sized TV would set you back. The flexibility with projectors is simply astounding.

High resolution residential projectors can now sit snug in a wall shelf and connect to Sonos speakers

The Screen

The projector screen can be just as important as the technology side of things. The material that it’s made of, and the size and shape of the screen are very important. Not only that, but the type of screen is important as well. Some applications call for fixed screens, that are always down and ready to be used (possibly on a blank wall for example). There’s another type of screen, which retracts back into the motorized roller on top of the screen. These types of screens are much more useful in an application where you’d like the screen to be tucked away for certain times of the day, as to possibly not obstruct a view. For applications such as home theater and business applications, we’ll deal mostly with motorized retractable, manual pull-down, and fixed screens.

A very important note with your screen to make sure that it matches the aspect ratio of your projector. That’s when you see the numbers such as 3:2 or 16:9 — that’s the ratio that you’re going to get from your screen and your projector. Make sure they match, or some of your screen space is going to be blank or spill off the page.

Movie night made easy.

Another important aspect to consider is the size of the screen when you’re buying it. Sometimes they’re measured horizontally, instead of diagonally as a TV or computer monitor would be. To make sure you’re going to match things up correctly with your projector model you’ll need to make sure you have the proper sized screen purchased as well.

Don’t be fooled by sizes.

The last thing to consider when purchasing your screen is if you’re overestimating things when it comes to size. Does it actually fit in the space that you’re putting it in? Most screens need to be visible from all angles — there’s nothing worse than having a movie night and half your friends can’t see because a wall is covering up a corner of the screen. Make sure there’s about 6 inches from the nearest wall of clearance, and that the screen when fully lowered is still about 4 feet off of the floor. It’s better to have people tilting their heads up than not being able to see the screen over the coffee table centerpiece.

Proper placement is everything (via BHphotovideo)

The Projector

Now that we’ve gone through the importance of the screen to the entire setup, let’s talk projectors. There are three main factors to look for when purchasing a projector: Type, Style, and Light Source.

There’s three types of projectors: Home Theater, Business, and Pico. Each one serves a different purpose so be sure you’re purchasing the correct type when going through your setup. Not only that, but there’s a few different styles of projector as well: LCD (Liquid Crystal Display), DLP (Digital Light Processing), and LCoS (liquid crystal on silicone). Each one has their own pros and cons, with DLP generally being the most expensive and high end of the model types. The last component is the light source — essentially what you’re projecting on your screen. Standard bulbs are the cheapest option, however the downside is the bulb can sometimes last only 3,000 to 5,000 hours. Alternatively, the LED option gives a much stronger light along with a lifespan of up to 20,000 hours, but generally cost much more.

Residential projector perched for a perfect setup.

Residential projectors are most reliant on quality, and not always size. Getting full 1080p HD quality or even 4K in some models is very important when your screen can sometimes stretch up to 300 inches diagonally. Commercial options rely more on portability of both the screen and projector, along with larger projection sizes, while not emphasizing a need for HD quality. Depending on your individual need, you’ll definitely need to do some specific research on various models and which one is right for your needs.

For Your Business

Software and hardware suites such as Zoom Rooms, Microsoft Teams, and Logitech’s Rally and Meetup all rely on a large screen to broadcast. While this can be done with a simple monitor, it’s sometimes a better idea to throw a larger sized projector into the mix. This creates a space for the conference room to be expanded and become a multi-use area for team collaboration. Because projectors can vary in size and can be put away easily, they sometimes are the better option. Many of the meetup software suites have hardware solutions that easily integrate with a projector as well, such as Apple Airplay. This creates a seamless integration with your meetings, instead of fumbling around wires and spending hours setting up equipment in the meeting room.

The Bottom Line

Projectors and screens work together beautifully, although depending on your specific need, you can always project your screen onto something else (such as a wall for ultimate minimalism in your space). The main thing to be sure of is that you get the right projector for your specific needs, as they definitely are not a cheap investment. While they have some benefits over TV’s, there are some specific needs that have to be required for the perfect projector setup. Sound systems such as Sonos for sound can be adapted to most projectors as well, which accentuates a simple setup to the highest degree, with only a few wires being visible for the connections. Be sure to consult your local AV provider before going all out with your projector, as it’ll save you a lot of time and money in the process. When everything is all finished, you’ll be able to sit back and enjoy unparalleled screen size right at home or work with style.