In recent years, laser projectors have begun to gain all the popularity they deserve. Their functionality has increased dramatically with the introduction of SmartTV features that have greatly expanded our video viewing habits. More and more the buyer is faced with the choice, whether to buy a modern laser projector instead of the TV with a huge diagonal. The projector will cost the same money, but will produce an image of a much larger size, turning your living room into a true home theater. The editorial staff of gg has analysed what to look for when choosing a laser projector in 2021 and what technologies the market offers today.
Types of Projectors
Depending on the light source, projectors can be classified into three types.
Classic Bulb Type. Those where the bulb (usually mercury, less often - xenon one) gets heated, has a relatively short lifespan, and needs to be replaced over time. Indicators of luminous flux are not record either (Be ready to turn off the light and close the curtains if you have a budget model!). But the price to performance ratio still makes this class of projectors the most popular.
LED (Light-Emitting Diode) - as a rule, more compact and energy efficient, with a long resource, often portable, with predictable high-quality color reproduction (however, this greatly depends on the model). But for the most part, they are not very bright, because LEDs as light sources have their own characteristics.
Laser - the most high-tech type of projectors, distinguished by high brightness and color quality, as well as other features, which we will talk about later. These projectors are the best solution for home theater today.
How a Light Source Transforms Into a Picture?
Light enters the controllable matrix, each cell of which transmits or does not transmit light. However, in order to achieve a high-quality color picture, engineers have to go to different tricks. From three matrices (for red, green and blue separately) to rotating discs with different colored sectors. The use of a laser expands the possibilities of getting a bright and rich picture, but even here there are different approaches.
For example, in some laser projectors the filter includes an additional yellow color, and in the high-end models, three separate lasers are used, which even allows you to go beyond the DCI-P3 color space, being the standard in cinemas.
What Figures To Pay Attention Before Buying a Laser Projector?
Pay attention to the projector's brightness (luminous flux) and contrast before purchasing. Devices with image brightness up to 1000 ANSI lumens are suitable for use in darkened rooms only. However, laser projectors are much brighter, with specs typically going from 2000 ANSI lumens and up. Contrast is divided into static and dynamic. In normal mode, the static contrast of laser projectors can exceed 1000:1 (like a good LCD TV), and the dynamic contrast can be up to 2000000: 1. This means that the image will be equally bright when viewed both at night and during the day.
Should Bright Laser Projectors Be Placed Away From the Screen?
Not necessary. The distance isn't really connected with the brightness, but on the design of the projector and the desired diagonal of the picture. The laser projector can be placed almost close to the projector screen surface. Although the distance will of course affect the size of the projected picture, for some laser projectors it is very small (only 15-20 cm). If you like this option, pay attention to the ultra short throw models. Their undoubted advantage - no one will walk between the lens and the screen, returning from the kitchen with popcorn, blocking the projector beam :)
Can Laser Projector Replace a Huge TV?
It's a firm "Yes". In general, we would start with this figure (i.e. the screen diagonal). By the size of the created image a modern laser projector is able to compete with a 120-130 inches diagonal TV. Let us note, that there are no TV sets with diagonal more than 90" available for regular consumers. The price of a non-standard 100" TV set will over $60 000.
Resolution of Laser Projectors
Here everything is just like with TVs. Most of the laser projectors available on the market now work in FullHD (1920x1080) resolution, and so far only top models feature 4K UHD (3840x2160) support.
In addition to resolution, pay attention to support for high dynamic range (HDR) technologies, which makes the picture even richer.
Smart TV Functions of Laser Projectors
Here everything is just the same as with other modern projectors (with other types of light source). Check if the projector supports any of the popular Smart TV platforms. They can all provide access to a wide range of media content, from YouTube to Netflix. Of course, the smart projector has the Internet access thanks to Wi-Fi support and is controlled via a handy wireless remote. Moreover, the most advanced models can also be controlled from your smartphone.
What about the Sound in Home Theater Laser Projector?
Traditionally, projectors have always been designed specifically for the picture, while a separate acoustic system was responsible for the sound. Even nowadays, when equipping a serious home theater, you can't do without the appropriate acoustic system. But the latest models are equipped with sufficiently powerful and high quality built-in speakers which support surround sound technology. When choosing, pay attention to the power of the speakers and their configuration.
Is there Anything Special about Design & Look of Laser Projectors?
Yes and No.
No, because they are usual, more or less compact (but not pocket-sized) devices in a monoblock case with connectors for cables and a projection window.
Yes, because they are often expensive devices, for appearance-aware users. That is why special attention is paid to the design of most models, especially ultra-short-focus projectors. Such a device, being in full view, must fit well into the interior and look in accordance with its price. If this is important for you as well, look closely to designer models, some of them have already won prestigious branch awards.
5 Reasons Why a Laser Projector is the Best Home Theater Solution
- Huge screen diagonal. You need a large screen size right over the whole wall. And TVs with diagonals over 100 inches are not available. The laser projector will make it for you even up to 130 inches.
- Good deal.You need a large and high-quality screen, but you are not ready to spend a huge sum of money. Both TVs and projectors of this class are not cheap, but if you are looking at a TV with a diagonal of more than 75", then buying a quality laser projector becomes justified even from a simple cost effective point of view.
- Portability. You can't just take a two-meter TV from your living room and move it to the summer house to watch a movie in the open air. Whereas you can do it with a laser projector. Thus it is a great portable option with no compromising image quality (unlike, for example, ultra-portable LED projectors).
- Best possible technology. A projector has to be as modern as possible. So you need to look at the top, and it's not in the lamp or even LED areas in the projector world. Maximum resolution, support for wireless interfaces and modern technologies, as well as image and sound optimisation to work with mobile devices. All of this can be found in a top-of-the-line laser projector.
- Design. The appearance of the projector should fit well with the home environment. Just look at the design models of laser projectors, and then look at the projector that hangs from the ceiling in your office conference room. The difference is visible to the naked eye.
Best Laser Projectors
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