What's your take on home projectors?

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warmblur

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#1 warmblur
Member since 2017 • 4850 Posts

I've been interested in projectors for awhile they seem really cool great for capturing the movie experience. But I'm not interested enough into making the jump yet but maybe one day. Anyways what is your take on home projectors? and do any of you own one and do you like it more then watching movies on it then just a tv?

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DEVILinIRON

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#2 DEVILinIRON
Member since 2006 • 5605 Posts

Too big for my apartment. But my brother swears by his.

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#3 sakaiXx
Member since 2013 • 7750 Posts

My friend uses it and its actually quite amazing for party games. Played mario kart and that other switch party game on like 80 or 100 inch projection, its good fun.

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#4 Byshop  Moderator
Member since 2002 • 19823 Posts

@warmblur said:

I've been interested in projectors for awhile they seem really cool great for capturing the movie experience. But I'm not interested enough into making the jump yet but maybe one day. Anyways what is your take on home projectors? and do any of you own one and do you like it more then watching movies on it then just a tv?

I've owned a lot of different display devices as my main system, including two rear projection "big screen" TVs and 4 or 5 actual projectors. I can tell you whatever you want to know about them, but here are some highlights.

Pros:

  • Projectors are great at getting that "movie" experience as actual movie theaters use projectors.
  • They allow you to get a very large image for relatively low price. TVs have a certain price point where the $ per inch of display size starts to get disproportionately expensive. This is usually around 50-60 inches.
  • Since a projection screen can descend from the ceiling, you don't necessarily need to mount the "display" to a wall. This gives you greater flexibility in where you put your screen.
    • Additionally, this also gives you a "Murphy Bed" type capability where the display is not present in the room when not in use. Depending on your situation, this may be beneficial. For example, you could mount the screen in front of several windows and have it descend only when the projector is in use.

Cons:

  • Projectors are not as bright and will not have the same contrast as a TV.
  • Projectors' image quality is adversely affected by ambient light. The brighter the room, the brighter the projector needs to be to compensate.
  • Native 4k projectors are crazy expensive. Unless you want to pay over 5k for your projector (not counting the screen), then you will be purchasing a "4k" projector that achieves that resolution through "pixel shift", which means a native 1080p projector projects a 1080p resolution four times at different positions in the same time a 60hz 4k display flashes one 4k image. It's not quite as good as native 4k, but it's a lot better than 1080p.
  • You need a screen to get the best out of your projector. Projecting on a wall is ok but there are special reflective paints you should use for at least the section the image is projected on. The wall should also be completely untextured.
  • Unlike a TV, the size of the image is determined by the projector's distance from the screen and the capability of its optical zoom. In a smaller room you may only get a smaller image.
  • Projector bulbs need replaced after somewhere after 5000-6000 hours of use.
  • While some projectors are very quiet, they tend to be a bit louder than a completely silent TV. 4k "pixel shift" models make some noise due to the mechanical nature of that process.

Neutral

  • Projectors have crappy speakers, but so do most TVs. In a serious setup you'd have at least a 5.1 system if not an Atmos.
  • If the projector is far from your source you may need to run a long cable. HDMI has some limitations regarding distance, so you may need a special cable.

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warmblur

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#5 warmblur
Member since 2017 • 4850 Posts

@Byshop said:
@warmblur said:

I've been interested in projectors for awhile they seem really cool great for capturing the movie experience. But I'm not interested enough into making the jump yet but maybe one day. Anyways what is your take on home projectors? and do any of you own one and do you like it more then watching movies on it then just a tv?

I've owned a lot of different display devices as my main system, including two rear projection "big screen" TVs and 4 or 5 actual projectors. I can tell you whatever you want to know about them, but here are some highlights.

Pros:

  • Projectors are great at getting that "movie" experience as actual movie theaters use projectors.
  • They allow you to get a very large image for relatively low price. TVs have a certain price point where the $ per inch of display size starts to get disproportionately expensive. This is usually around 50-60 inches.
  • Since a projection screen can descend from the ceiling, you don't necessarily need to mount the "display" to a wall. This gives you greater flexibility in where you put your screen.
    • Additionally, this also gives you a "Murphy Bed" type capability where the display is not present in the room when not in use. Depending on your situation, this may be beneficial. For example, you could mount the screen in front of several windows and have it descend only when the projector is in use.

Cons:

  • Projectors are not as bright and will not have the same contrast as a TV.
  • Projectors' image quality is adversely affected by ambient light. The brighter the room, the brighter the projector needs to be to compensate.
  • Native 4k projectors are crazy expensive. Unless you want to pay over 5k for your projector (not counting the screen), then you will be purchasing a "4k" projector that achieves that resolution through "pixel shift", which means a native 1080p projector projects a 1080p resolution four times at different positions in the same time a 60hz 4k display flashes one 4k image. It's not quite as good as native 4k, but it's a lot better than 1080p.
  • You need a screen to get the best out of your projector. Projecting on a wall is ok but there are special reflective paints you should use for at least the section the image is projected on. The wall should also be completely untextured.
  • Unlike a TV, the size of the image is determined by the projector's distance from the screen and the capability of its optical zoom. In a smaller room you may only get a smaller image.
  • Projector bulbs need replaced after somewhere after 5000-6000 hours of use.
  • While some projectors are very quiet, they tend to be a bit louder than a completely silent TV. 4k "pixel shift" models make some noise due to the mechanical nature of that process.

Neutral

  • Projectors have crappy speakers, but so do most TVs. In a serious setup you'd have at least a 5.1 system if not an Atmos.
  • If the projector is far from your source you may need to run a long cable. HDMI has some limitations regarding distance, so you may need a special cable.

Thank you for breaking that down for me into great detail it was very helpful.

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#6 Byshop  Moderator
Member since 2002 • 19823 Posts

@warmblur said:

Thank you for breaking that down for me into great detail it was very helpful.

No problem. I know the "cons" section looks longer than the "pros" section but honestly I think projectors are great. You just have to think about your situation, what you're looking for, and what will work for you.

Here are some of the variations of my setup I've had over the years.

Here's the game/entertainment room in my old house. 80" projector screen with a 1080P native projector. This was my setup probably around 8 years ago.

Same screen but in the new (current) house shortly after moving in. I forget if that's the 1080p projector or if I'd moved to 4k at that point.

New motorized 100" screen with 4k projector. Displaying a test pattern so I can get the image aligned and adjusted. Note that the image doesn't fill the screen all the way. This is because the throw distance of that projector is limited by the dimensions of the room. I can't move the projector far enough away to get the full 100" image.

New 4k projector with better optical zoom to increase the image size. Also brighter than the old one so the image looks better in ambient light:

But doing all this takes work if you want a really high quality image. Getting the screen aligned, the projector mounted, running the cables, etc. In the above image my screen is suspended from the ceiling by hooks/chains. I decided to mount it directly to the ceiling using a 2x4 later. Here are some photos from that whole project:

Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5Gallery image 6Gallery image 7Gallery image 8Gallery image 9Gallery image 10Gallery image 11Gallery image 12Gallery image 13Gallery image 14Gallery image 15

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tenaka2

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#7 tenaka2
Member since 2004 • 17368 Posts

I'd prefer a real home.

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warmblur

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#8 warmblur
Member since 2017 • 4850 Posts

@Byshop said:
@warmblur said:

Thank you for breaking that down for me into great detail it was very helpful.

No problem. I know the "cons" section looks longer than the "pros" section but honestly I think projectors are great. You just have to think about your situation, what you're looking for, and what will work for you.

Here are some of the variations of my setup I've had over the years.

Here's the game/entertainment room in my old house. 80" projector screen with a 1080P native projector. This was my setup probably around 8 years ago.

Same screen but in the new (current) house shortly after moving in. I forget if that's the 1080p projector or if I'd moved to 4k at that point.

New motorized 100" screen with 4k projector. Displaying a test pattern so I can get the image aligned and adjusted. Note that the image doesn't fill the screen all the way. This is because the throw distance of that projector is limited by the dimensions of the room. I can't move the projector far enough away to get the full 100" image.

New 4k projector with better optical zoom to increase the image size. Also brighter than the old one so the image looks better in ambient light:

But doing all this takes work if you want a really high quality image. Getting the screen aligned, the projector mounted, running the cables, etc. In the above image my screen is suspended from the ceiling by hooks/chains. I decided to mount it directly to the ceiling using a 2x4 later. Here are some photos from that whole project:

Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5Gallery image 6Gallery image 7Gallery image 8Gallery image 9Gallery image 10Gallery image 11Gallery image 12Gallery image 13Gallery image 14Gallery image 15

Wow!! sweet set up man thanks for sharing.

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#9 HEATHEN75
Member since 2018 • 1117 Posts

My buddy brought his projector and speakers to a camping trip once. Hung a screen on the side of an RV and we had the kids playing Rock Band all night with adults jumping in here and there. It looked pretty good to me and that was around 10 years ago. I'm sure they've only improved since then.

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#10  Edited By Serraph105
Member since 2007 • 34777 Posts

I have a friend who had one several years ago and they are incredible to watch movies and game on (in part because of the sheer size of the picture) , but I don't like having to sit in the dark all the time to watch it. Maybe that's changed, but natural light really seems to be the enemy of of the home theater projector and that's a tradeoff I'm currently not in a position to make.

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#11  Edited By Byshop  Moderator
Member since 2002 • 19823 Posts

@Serraph105 said:

I have a friend who had one several years ago and they are incredible to watch movies and game on (in part because of the sheer size of the picture) , but I don't like having to sit in the dark all the time to watch it. Maybe that's changed, but natural light really seems to be the enemy of of the home theater projector and that's a tradeoff I'm currently not in a position to make.

You're not wrong, although there are projectors specifically designed to put out a brighter image to deal with ambient light better. My recent purchase is an over 3000 lumens projector and one of the reasons I got it was so that I could have more light in the room while using it. Here's a comparison:

The photo doesn't do it justice, but as long as the lights are dim there's not a ton of difference between the 2nd and 3rd images. The big issue comes in with very dark scenes because the black parts of the image get filled by the ambient. So yeah, it's still a factor but so long as you get a bright projector I wouldn't call it a deal breaker. BenQ has a version of my last projector dubbed a "sports" projector that's extra bright but at the cost of some color quality. They advertise it as the best option if you want to project stuff like football games in a living room rather than watching high def movies in the dark.