Backyard Theater Projector Sale!

Summer is officially here! Fire up the grill, hang a sheet from the tree house and invite your friends over for a night of cinema under the stars.

To kick off summer, also known as Backyard Theater season, we updated our official Backyard Theater Guide and knocked down the prices of our best outdoor theater projectors and accessory packages. Check out our specials!

Plus, between Monday May 24 and June 21, use the coupon code “BACKYARD” to get a free HDMI cable with select projectors. More info is available on our deals page.

HDMI 1.4: What You Need to Know

Over the years, we’ve covered the switch from analog to digital video with DVI, then DVI with HDCP, and finally HDMI and all its incarnations. In January, we blogged about the new HDMI 1.4 standard, but thought it was time for another update.

As many readers know, HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface. It transmits uncompressed digital video and audio over a single, compact cable. The type, amount and speed of data the cable carries expands with each HDMI release.

The latest HDMI release, version 1.4, includes the following features:

  • Ethernet Channel
  • Audio Return Channel
  • 3D Over HDMI
  • 4K x 2K Resolution Support
  • Expanded Support for Color Spaces
  • Micro Connector
  • Automotive Connection System

Sounds awesome, right? You can’t wait to get one, right? Well, good luck finding a “HDMI 1.4” cable.

See, the HDMI consortium has banned manufacturers from displaying the standard (i.e. 1.4, 1.3 or 1.3b) on product packaging. Instead, manufacturers are encouraged to list the cables’ features.

(Ironically, the HDMI consortium doesn’t follow its own rules. At, there’s a flashy graphic advertising “HDMI 1.4”)

We talked with Martin Fensterstock, Sales & Product Marketing Manager at Comprehensive, about the HDMI group’s new policy.

“The version numbers just confused a lot of people. Too many people thought they needed the latest and greatest release, or the highest version number,” he said. “People should be concerned about what the cable is capable of, not what version it is.”

Moral of the story: when the time comes to buy a new HDMI cable, your best bet is to figure out the features you want (ok, need) and shop for them, not for the release number.

For more answers on the latest HDMI specification, formerly known as “HDMI 1.4,” check out this FAQ page. As always, our Projector Experts are standing by to help you pick the best HDMI cable for your Home Theater setup.

Shootout: Panasonic PT-AE4000U, LG CF181D and InFocus SP8602

This morning we had an impromptu shootout of our top offerings in each display category. We compared the Panasonic PT-AE4000U (LCD, 1600 lumens, 100,000:1 contrast ratio), LG CF181D (LCoS, 1800 lumens 35,000:1 contrast ratio) and the InFocus SP8602 (DLP, 1300 lumens 30,000:1 contrast ratio).

In the video below, the Panasonic is on top, the InFocus on the bottom left and the LG on the bottom right. Please note, this was a very impromptu shootout. We happened to have three awesome 1080p projectors in the same room and couldn’t resist the opportunity to compare LCoS, LCD and DLP displays. You’ll notice at times the screen is leaning against the wall, which causes a keystone effect and naturally softens the focus of the Panasonic projector.

Our initial impressions:

  • We were really amazed with the brightness and contrast of the LG CF181D. It was so bright, in fact, it may appear blown-out on the video.
  • We had to play with the LG‘s color settings to match the Panasonic and InFocus. The “warm” mode delivered the most life-like colors.
  • At 120 hz, the InFocus delivered amazing motion. However, our overly-sensitive eyes picked up a few rainbows during certain action scenes.

What do you see?

Call 1-888-248-0675 to talk to a Projector Expert about the shootout.

P.S. – From 1:43 on, the shootout was filmed with the new Cisco Flip Ultra HD camera. Want one? Call a Projector Expert.

Introducing Sharp Aquos HD LCD TVs! is very proud (and very excited) to introduce our latest product: Sharp Aquos HD LCD television sets.

We’re carrying the full line, which means you can take your pick from 40 to 60-inch sets, CCFL or LED backlighting, 4 mill:1 to 6 mill:1 contrast ratios, and 120 or 240 hz refresh rates.

Sound a little confusing? Keep reading, we’ll explain.

Already know what you’re looking for in a LCD TV? Then check out our brand spanking new LCD TV finder.


The Sharp Aquos line uses both LED (Light Emitting Diode) and CCFL (Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp) backlights.

LED backlighting entered the market in 2009. Since then, there’s been some confusion about “LED TVs”. Let us set the record straight: there is no such thing as a “LED TV”. “LED” is a backlight technology.

With LED backlighting, multiple LEDs control the screen’s brightness. A CCFL-backlit LCD TV, on the other hand, uses one lamp to control the lighting of the entire display. Because the LEDs have this potential to work in small groups, this technology offers some benefits in power consumption and picture display.

Though black levels on LCD TVs will likely never match plasma black levels, LED backlighting provides for deeper blacks than CCFL. The new Aquos LED is also 50% brighter than CCFL and allows for increased color purity.

Another big benefit of LED backlighting is the lifespan. LEDs last up to 100,000 hours, almost twice as long as CCFL. (Hello!) LED technology is also mercury-free, unlike CCFL. LED-lit TVs are also traditionally thinner and lighter than their CCFL counterparts.

Always on the forefront of technology, Sharp also employs QuadPixel technology on some of its Aquos TVs. Traditionally, LCD TVs use three color pixels – red, green and blue. QuadPixel technology throws a yellow pixel into the mix, which means greater color range. More on that in a future blog post!


Sharp Aquos TVs have refresh rates of 120 to a whopping 240 hz. The higher the refresh rate, the better the picture quality.

There was a big increase in refresh rates across the LCD TV board in 2008 when the standard jumped from 60 to 120 hz. In 2009, there was another bump to 240 hz.

Most consumers reported the greatest image improvement in the switch from 60 to 120 hz. 240 hz is the icing on the cake.

Compare Sharp Aquos refresh rates on our LCD TV finder.


The contrast ratio is the difference between a display’s blackest black and whitest white. The larger the contrast ratio, the greater the ability to show subtle color details and tolerate extraneous room light. The Aquos line’s contrast ratios vary from 4 mill:1 to 6 mill:1. (Does anyone else remember when “high end” TVs had contrast ratios of 800:1?)

Some of the other cool features available on these new sets: PC input, an abundance of other video inputs, integrated speakers and an extendable 1-year warranty. They are all HD (minimum of 720p resolution) and wall-mountable.

The Aquos line has only just begun. Keep an eye out for Aquos BluRay players coming later this spring and early summer. Most are equipped with Internet-connected BluRay and Netflix streaming.