Projector People’s Home Theater Savings Guide

Writing inspiring copy about why you should buy a projector is no easy task this holiday season. With belts and wallets tightening and a challenging outlook for next year, we know your projection needs might not be at the top of your list. But for those of you who are looking for a great excuse to stay in and save for the next year or two, we are now offering our deepest discounts ever on a wide selection of projectors in our Inventory Clearance Sale. So, just to be sure you spend your hard-earned money on the right stuff, we’ve put together a handy Guide to Savings for Home Theater Projectors. Read on.

The Basics of Brightness

Our Projector Experts don’t go a day without answering questions about brightness. That’s a good thing, because it’s one of the most important questions to ask when buying a projector. As projection technology has improved, brightness has been one of the areas that has improved the most. Hence the difference between the suggested lumen numbers you might have seen a year or two ago. Here is a “new” chart for you with brightness suggestions for 2008, and probably 2009.

[ Photo : The Panasonic PT-AX200U is a 2000 lumen 720p projector, but it also has Light Harmonizer technology for an extra kick of brightness when the lights are on. ]

Home Theater Projector Brightness Recommendations
Room Type Recommended Brightness
Small Theaters* 900 – 1200 lumens (or more)
Large Theaters** 1200 – 2000 lumens (or more)
Outdoor Theaters 1500 lumens (or more)
Media Rooms*** 2000 lumens (or more)

* Dedicated space with controlled lighting and a screen under 100-inches.
** Dedicated space with controlled lighting and a screen over 100-inches.
*** A media room as defined here is a space with windows that is used for multi-purpose entertaining.

SAVINGS TIP : Don’t buy more lumens than you need unless you plan to use the projector in multiple locations. Darker rooms with controlled lighting may require less brightness than specified above, especially if the viewer is not particular. Ask a Projector Expert if you have a question about your environment.

Resolution and Recommended Usage

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In many cases, a buyer’s choice for resolution is based entirely on price. The higher the resolution, the higher the cost. If money is no object, true HD (1080p) images look spectacular and you should just go ahead and buy it. If your budget is tight, see the recommendations below for a little guidance on the resolution question. Remember there are now several 1080p projector options well under $2,000.

Home Theater Projector Resolution Recommendations
Resolution Recommendations
XGA (720 or 480p) A low cost option for watching 4:3 material. Brighter projectors with this resolution cost less, but you will see large ‘black bars’ along the bottom of the image.
WVGA (480p) An excellent choice for a kids playroom or a low-budget outdoor theater. WVGA projectors with built-in DVD players and speakers (like the Epson MovieMate 55) are also a good choice. Not HD.
WXGA-H (720p) 720p native projectors can typically scale to 1080p, but with some artifacts. Many HD channels broadcast 720p native signals.
HD (1080p) Best for true HD theaters. The best image quality when used with a 1080p source and source material.

SAVINGS TIP : A WVGA projector should cost a couple hundred less in the short run, but as technology progresses it may not be supported as HD becomes the standard for broadcast. If your purchase plans are cheap and short term, there are some bargains to be had in both WXGA-H (720p) and WVGA (480p). If your plans are long term, HD is a good choice and there are several options for well under $2000.

Connection Suggestions

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If you’re buying a projector as a gift for the holiday’s, don’t forget to make sure you have the right kind of cable on hand. Projector People carries professional grade cable which is recommended for permanent installations because it provides better shielding from electronic interference in the home. Call a Projector Expert for assistance if you’re not a cable pro and you have more questions. You can also view our handy Cables and Connections Guide if you’d like to learn more about projector connections.

Connections You’ll Want
Connection Type Recommendations
Dual VGA / component flexibility Good option for projectors meant to be used with a computer (as well as work/home projectors).
Component Video Carries HD analog video. Either HDMI or component video should be used for an HD source. Component video may be better if a cable run is longer than 30 feet.
HDMI Becoming the most common connection type. Carries digital HD video and audio, so best used with a receiver.
S-Video A great back-up for older video sources. If you take your projector with you to a holiday party, S-video may come in handy, although there is a noticeable decline in the image quality.
Composite Video Like S-video, a great back-up for older video sources. It’s the lowest common denominator for video.

SAVINGS TIP : A little planning ahead of time can save you money. Use our throw distance calculators (on most of our product pages) to determine the distance your projector will be from the screen. This may prevent you from buying 35 feet of cable when you only need 20 feet.

FEATURED CLEARANCE HOME THEATER PROJECTORS

The Joys of Package Deals
Home Theater Packages

Another way to save is to purchase a package deal. Remember you can always call a Projector Expert who can put together a custom package for you. Our Package Deals may not fit exactly what you are looking for but they might. If they do, you’ll usually save money that you wouldn’t if you purchase each item seperately. That may take some of the fun out of shopping for the bargain hunters, but it saves time for buyers who prefer a one-stop-savings-shop. Check out our packages below :

SAVINGS TIP : Due to manufacturer regulations, authorized resellers have to be a little creative in order to offer you our best price. So add your projector to your cart to see the lowest prices on most projectors. Or request a quick quote for a Sanyo product to see the lowest price. Packages are also a good way to find additional savings. Call for the most up to date pricing or to create a custom package.

FEATURED PACKAGE DEAL – Panasonic PT-AE3000U Simple Bundle includes :

  • Panasonic PT-AE3000U projector
  • Sanus Universal Projector Mount, Black
  • Liberty HDMI Cable (10 meters)
  • AccuScreens Fixed Frame 106-inch Screen with Velvet Frame
  • Package Price : $2699
  • Click for details »
  • Hopefully this has been a helpful guide to projector savings. As always, please feel free to call and speak to a Projector Expert for more detailed information, and for specific advice about your home theater space.





    Projector Buyers Guide for Creative People

    Creative Person's Projector Buyers Guide

    [ photo : USF MoCA Exhibition: Perfect Speed 1995/96 – Artwork: Sam Taylor-Wood, Killing Time ]

    Projectors in Creative Applications

    Projectors are by their very nature, an artistic display device. Like ideas, light emanates from the lens which can land anywhere the creative mind desires. Buildings, subway tunnels, natural formations have all become a canvas for the visual artist. Projection is becoming a more frequently used form of expression in modern art and new examples of communicating with the projection medium may inspire even more creative (and even interactive) exhibitions. At Projector People, we see projectors used primarily in business and home theaters, but we are genuinely excited when we hear of projection innovation.

    Before we start our buyers guide, we wanted to provide a few examples of projectors in creative applications, just in case you missed some of the cool stuff people are doing with projectors in the real world. Most of these videos come from YouTube.com and were found on a simple search for ‘projectors.’ There is great creative potential with projection, which is why so many artists have begun using video and projection to express themselves. Let’s start with a few selections below:

    YouTube description: “Some students attached a suitcase (with a mac mini inside) that projected a little movie on the wall of the tunnel while the the subway was moving.” (alt link)

    Our Thoughts: In this display, the artist was able to fashion a portable power source and tuck away a laptop and projector along with it into a suitcase. A simple hole was cut for the lens. Some very reliable suction cups were also used. Projectors with portable power supplies will be on the way soon, as low powered projectors are now being built in to cellphones. These projectors are very low lumen (compare 25 vs. 2000-4000 lumens) and are also reported to be battery hogs. Still, portability can make for inspiring art.

    YouTube description: “riley harmon and kent sheely, two art majors at the university of oklahoma create underground video art by subverting public spaces into an interactive motion image canvas (video includes some profanity)”

    Our Thoughts: If you ignore the potentially dangerous implications to large projection on a busy city street, these artists show the power of projection in public spaces. The artists use what is typically space for marketing and advertising and turn it into an opportunity to connect with people without a commercial motive. Billboard advertising companies are already producing powered roadside displays with very bright LED technology. The introduction of video on roadside advertising has been disputed because many consider it to be a hazard. With GPS systems, iPods, and other devices already distracting drivers attention, video billboards do not seem out of the realm of possibility. Now, however, there is a window of opportunity for artists to command this space.

    To keep this post shorter, I am going to link directly to our Creative Person’s Projector Buyers Guide. In our article we include more video examples, photos, and advice on choosing a projector for creative applications.