Projectors enable you to watch TV and films on an over 100-inch screen at home, and you don't need to win the lottery to buy one.
You do have to put some careful consideration into whether this is the right option compared to a large TV though, projectors do have their limitations. You'll need a dark room or the image on screen can appear washed out and attaching the projector to your ceiling can require extensive DIY.
Are the results worth it, or would you be better off with a wall-mounted TV? We run through the pros and cons of both scenarios to help you decide before you buy.
So you're still keen on a projector? Ok, well let's go through the key information you'll need to choose the right one for you. Front, or video projectors beam images onto a separate screen that can measure well over 100 inches diagonally. You get a convincing cinema-like experience in your home, and you can now buy a decent projector from around £400.
Projectors can be used anywhere there is a power source, a flat surface and enough space. You can either mount them to a ceiling as a permanent installation, or place them on a table or shelf.
You’ll need a big enough room and an empty wall on which to beam the projector image. However, any ambient, or indirect, light that falls on the screen will impact black levels and overall contrast, leading to washed out picture. Ideally, you want as dark a space as possible in which to use a projector, just as with a cinema.
What are lumens? What type of screen should you have? How long do projector bulbs last? Read on to find out all the answers.
While conventional projectors need to be set up several metres from your wall in order to create a wide 100-inch image, new innovations mean short and ultra-short throw projectors can be set up much closer to the wall you'll be displaying on.
Short throw projectors need to be around one metre from the wall to display a 100-inch image. Ultra-short throw projectors can achieve the same size image while placed just inches from the wall.
Since they can be placed so close to the wall, these projectors don't need to be ceiling mounted. This means it's easier to connect Blu-ray players and games consoles without needing to feed wires through your walls and ceiling.
These newer types of projector are usually more expensive than the more conventional models, with newly announced ultra-short throw models expected to cost over £10,000.
Just as with conventional TVs, most projectors are either full HD or 4K. Beyond that, there are also three core types of projectors to choose from - LCD, DLP and LCOS - each with its own particular pros and cons.
Pros: DLP projectors give you stunning and realistic pictures on screen. They project a sharper and more detailed image during fast motion sequences compared with other projector types.
Cons: DLP projectors are often larger and nosier. Their bulbs have a relatively short life, meaning they can be costly to maintain. Single-chip DLP projectors are susceptible to the ‘rainbow effect’, a picture flaw involving bright objects on screen appearing to have multi-coloured trails. Not everyone can see these 'rainbows', but it can be very off-putting for those who can. High-end DLP models have three chips - one each for the primary colours – but they're more expensive.
Pros: LCD was previously limited to low-quality projectors, but the technology has improved significantly in recent years, and LCD projectors are now comparable with DLP projectors in terms of image quality. LCD projectors are generally cheaper than other models, and more compact. LCD just has the edge over DLP in terms of colour saturation, and it can produce a brighter picture that looks better in ambient light conditions.
Cons: LCD projectors are relatively poor at displaying black areas in the picture. They are also susceptible to the ‘screen door’ effect, where you can see the pixel structure of the LCD, as though you are looking at the picture through a metal screen door. LCD lamps also tend to wear out quickly, but they're cheaper to replace than DLP ones.
Pros: LCOS projectors are generally considered a hybrid of DLP and LCD. They have better resolution, contrast ratios and black levels than the other two projector types.
Cons: LCOS projectors are often not as bright as the other types, and they're usually more expensive, with price tags running to many thousands of pounds.