Home Theater Projector – The Ultimate in Home Entertainment

Sifting Through the Various Home Theater Projector Technologies

By Mark J. Donovan

If you want a lower cost home theater system but can’t quite afford the cost of a plasma television then consider buying a home theater projector. Besides price savings a home theater projector offers a much better home entertainment experience compared to plasma televisions. With a home theater projector, for example, you can watch images that are up to 120 inches in width. Plasma televisions are only available in diagonal widths up to around 70 inches. Moreover the cost for very large plasma televisions is exorbitant.

You could pay several thousand dollars for these types of TVs. A high end home theater projector, on the hand, will set you back anywhere from only $600 to $1,500. A huge savings!

Today there are four common home theater projection technologies on the market, including LCD, DLP, LCOS and LED. Each has their unique pros and cons which I will summarize below.

LCD, or Liquid Crystal Display projectors, use LCD light gates to project images. LCD home theater projectors are simple in design and construction and thus are the most affordable of home theater projectors. However, they’ve had a history of pixilation that distorts the image projected at times. They also don’t have the greatest black levels and contrast ratios and are rather large.

DLP home theater projectors use micro fabricated light valve technology to project images. Basically this technology is comprised of digital micro-mirror devices (DMDs) that use rotating color wheels. Early DLP home theater projectors used only 1 or 2 DMDs and suffered in image quality. A rainbow effect was visible when viewers moved their eyes while looking at the projection image. However, today’s DLP home theater projectors using 2 or 3 DMDs, and optimized color wheels, have mitigated much of the rainbow effects observed.

They are also much smaller projectors than LCD and LCOS technology projectors, and thus are in higher demand because they are so portable.

LCOS home theater projectors use Liquid Crystal on Silicon technology for projecting images. Basically this technology uses liquid crystals versus mirrors as reflective technology. LCOS projectors offer much higher resolution than LCD and DLP projectors and thus command a higher price tag. LCOS projectors, however, are fairly large and heavy. The typical LCOS projector weighs in around 12 lbs or more so they are not so portable. LCOS projectors are ideal for home theater applications, however, due to their sharper images.

LED projectors use some form of the other three types of home theater projector technologies, however they use Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) as the light source, thus eliminating the need for lamp replacement. In addition, LED projectors typically have a longer lifetime since they have few mechanical moving parts. LED projectors also have better contrast ratios and less dithering effects.

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So before going out and buying a plasma television explore home theater project technology options first. You might just find a projector system the better way to go for your ultimate home theater needs.

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