It's not all about the numbers printed on the box..
Lamp Life Tips
Be sure to turn your projector off using the remote as switching off the mains power does not allow the lamp to cool down slowly and will shorten its life.
Never move it while the bulb is on.
Don't turn off your projector to save 1/2 hour lamp time, (i.e. next show is in 1/2 HR time) its better to leave running because cooling and heating the lamp shortens it's life more.
Where possible use component input signals rather than composite for best results.
Clean your projectors air filter every 30 days or 30 hours of use, restricted air flow causes the projector to run hotter and thus shorten the lamp life.
If you buy a spare lamp, swap to it ASAP as you must report a Dead On Arrival lamp within 7 days.
After your original lamp has done 500HR/ 90 days keep it as a spare and use the new lamp because warranty starts from the time you purchased it, not the date you installed it.
All lamps have a unique serial number.
Don't confuse room size with the distance back from the screen the projector can be mounted, for example a projector suitable for a 7M deep room may have to be mounted 4-5M back due to it's throw distance vs. image size ratio.
.. is the ratio between the width and the height of the picture, so a 16:9 is 16 units of width and 9 of height. There is no right or wrong, it's a matter of taste and what you think you'll be watching the most.
16:9 (1.85:1) = Wide screen 4:3 = Full Screen, Standard TV size 4:3 Letterbox = wide screen picture on a 4:3 TV with black bars on top and bottom of picture 2.35:1 = Wider wide screen format, (about 25% wider than 16:9) 4/3 = 1.33 16/9=1.77
• If you show 4:3 on a 16:9 model you'll have black bars on the left and right hand side of the image unless you choose the stretch image mode.
Show 16:9 on 4:3 and the bars will be at the top and bottom of the image unless you make everyone look 10 foot tall by stretching the image!
Even using a 16:9 projector you can get top and bottom bars on some DVD's that have a wider ratio than 16:9 (2.35:1) Anamorphic DVDs are specially encoded to include more visual information than standard DVDs.
In Anamorphic DVD: the source aspect ratio matches exactly destination aspect ratio (16:9).
How big is a 4:3 image?
• On the 4:3 screen.. 8 x 6 = 48 square feet.
• On a 16:9 screen.. 6 x 4.5 = 27 square feet.
In Non-Anamorphic DVD: source aspect ratio of movie doesn't match desired aspect ratio, so video size must be changed while quality will be lost.
•Some movies which were shot in 2.35:1 ratio (about 25% wider than 16:9 - CinemaScope or PanaVision) are transferred to DVD but seem to differ in aspect ratio from one DVD to the next.
The"Star Trek" movies for example, almost no two are the same aspect ratio!
You can get black bars on top and bottom whilst viewing on a 16:9 system showing 2.35:1 material. Digital TV is wider than normal TV therefore they are capable of displaying wide screen movies.
Measured in "DB" We haven't yet tested a projector that was as quiet as the claimed reading but most movies have sound..
This may be because in the fine print they are sometimes measured from say 5M away because that's where they think you'll be seated.
If you have a dedicated home theater room with no kids running around and you watch mostly classical music concerts then the quieter the better.
If you're viewing in the family or lounge room don't get to carried away with the claims as once the sound is at movie volume you'll hardly hear even the noisiest of projectors sold here.
A PC is normally noisier than a projector, my Lap Top can make a fantastic racket when the fan kicks in!
If the model has two lamp modes run it on the lower mode to reduce noise and extend the lamp life..
Approximate Sound Levels in Decibels:-
• Police siren: 118 Rock band, disco: 115 Missing muffler: 115 Hole(s) in muffler: 111 Tailpipe damage: 109 Circular saw: 107 Freight train at 50 feet: 88 Vacuum cleaner: 74 Busy street traffic: 70 Air-conditioning unit: 60 Interior of a quiet car: 50 Private office: 41 Library: 33
How black are the blacks?
Most projectors are REALLY rated in the 300/2000 to 1 contrast ratio, that is to say the blacks are 300 times darker than the white (on a 300:1 model), this means that true black may appear as grayish.
Projectors with say 1500:1 contrast ratio look more realistic showing dark subject matter than 300:1.
Having said that the difference in performance is provided your room is totally free from light (vary rare) in the real world we have trouble justifying the price hike between a 1000:1 and a 3000:1 projector as the difference is not 3 times better, rather a slight difference that most people may not notice unless the room is dark.
Home theater users tends to fall into two areas, the purist who would have a dedicated room that is totally light controlled and the rest of us who may have a projector in the lounge or family room, for the later spending big or worrying too much about contrast ratio is a waste of time and money as any light in the room and it's game over for contrast, in fact I prefer to have some soft ambient lighting as it makes viewing easier on the eyes.
The black is 400 times darker than white on a 400:1 contrast ratio.
How black does this box look?
Even using a 300:1 contrast LCD computer monitor I bet it looks real black.
If you turn off ALL lights and achieve total darkness you will see some white in the black, which is the point, how often will you be in a totally dark room?
Note: There are two ways to measure contrast ratio (CR) "ANSI" and "Full on/off" be sure your looking at the same type of measurement before making a decision based on numbers, for example the full on/off method will normally be at least 25% more than ANSI.
ANSI = The ratio between the average brightness of 8 alternating white rectangles and the average brightness of another 8 alternating black rectangles.
The screen is divided into 4 x 4 rectangles, specified by ANSI.
Also called "Chequerboard" it's a more realistic way to test a projector than On/Off but not favoured because of marketing concerns.
Some manufacturers are taking the public for a ride with dubious testing methodologies, especially in regard to Contrast Ratio.
Full On/Off = The ratio between the center brightness of all white (Full On) image and the one of all black (Full Off) image.
The contrast - Full On/Off is always larger than Contrast - ANSI. Measurements must be made in a completely dark room.
Many DLP models have their CR measured with the “white segment” of the colour wheel turned on.
This increases the white measurements. Home theatre users may turn the white segment (Presentation mode) off, many projectors turn it off automatically in video mode. You can glean from the above that buying a projector for home theatre based on On/Off CR specifications alone may not be a great idea, the ACTUAL usable contrast ratio you end up is lightly to be much lower.
Some DLP projectors and Iris controlled models seem to be leaving the way with deceptive advertising. 70mm movie film has a contrast ratio of 1000:1 (often referred to as Dynamic Range) when I was watching a movie at the Cinema the black scenes weren't black, it looked to me like (as far as contrast goes) as if I was watching a 400:1 LCD projector, that is the black seemed about 5% grey so why do you need 2 or 3000:1 contrast ratio digital projector, especially since once you introduce light into a room, any light, the contrast ratio becomes a little academic.
Blacks can only be as black as the white screen, if your room is not pitch black the screen will be reflecting some light.
The lighter the room the less you need worry about a high contrast ratio. If you were that fussy you would paint your walls black like the cinema.
FOR THE PURPOSE
OF HOME CINEMA
What Contrast Ratio can we see?
Some say 100:1, 200:1 others talk of dynamic range..
We say the eye can see an average 300:1 CR.
Projectors use lamps that wear out, most lamps are rated between 2000 and 4000 HR AVERAGE or typical life.
A few points to consider:
If your lamp blows up at 1900HR and it's a 2000 HR lamp we don't think they will give you a new one.
You need to check their policy in this regard.
You may need to run the projector in "economy" mode to get the highest yield from the lamp, thankfully this seems to make little difference to the brightness in most models.
The lowest running cost models reviewed at time of writing are about 11c/HR Many are in the 22-30 cent range depending on your luck.