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Making the decision to do your home theater requires a bit of research and is somewhat more intimidating than many other home improvement projects. That being said, it is still very doable and one of the most rewarding things you can do to your home. Instead of an epic blog post covering all the nuances of a home theater, I decided to do it in a series of shorter blog posts, each one covering a specific aspect in more detail than I could do in one large post. So stay with me over the next couple weeks as I make the DIY home theater a little bit more accessible.
How do I choose the right projector?
Today I want to focus on the projector. This is one of the most important pieces of tech you will buy for your home theater. I’m sure I have all the audiophiles up in an outrage, shaking their fists in the air at my dismissal of speakers and amps, but hear me out. The sound is absolutely a very, very close second to projectors. But while most people who watch a movie or play video games can judge good vs. bad picture quality, it takes a more refined ear to really pick out high quality speakers. Your guests will be pleased with the rumblings of your sub and the dynamics of your speakers even if they aren’t top shelf. Your projector, however, will be a determining factor in how much they enjoy what they are watching.
Ok, I’m off my soapbox and I’m ready to move on and actually get down to talking tech. I’m a bit of a snob and don’t want to upgrade anything for a few years so for me I would rather spend more upfront and get more life out of it. This is backwards logic to many because no matter how much you spend, in a year or two it will be obsolete. I totally get that. But I also know that 1080p has been around for a while and is still and industry standard.
What I chose for my home theater was a Sony 4K projector, to be specific the Sony VPLVW350ES 4k Home Theater/Gaming Projector. That’s a mouthful isn’t it? The reason I chose specific projector was because it was it wasn’t the most expensive projector (although at around 8 grand it made me flinch a little) but it is advanced enough that I am confident it will last me a long time…also it says gaming in the title and that was a big selling point. There are similar projectors that will run you anywhere between 15 and 30 thousand bucks. In my opinion, the advantages to spending this much money are minimal. Buy enough projector to last you a few years, but don’t overspend.
What kind of projector do I need for my room size and shape?
One of the other things to take into consideration is the screen size (which we will talk about in the next post) and the “throw distance” (how far back from the wall does your projector need to be mounted in order to fill the screen). One of the beautiful things about a 4k projector is that it gives you crazy flexibility on mounting locations. Many of these projectors have the ability to sit really close to the screen so they can be used in small spaces, as well as great range to sit further back and fill a larger screen. According to 4K.com, these projectors “adjust their screen size to any one of a number of ranges and of course you can move them much more easily since instead of weighing the 90+ pounds that a larger 4K TV weighs, they usually only heft out at 25 pounds or so”.
Key Things to Remember When Buying a Projector
- Don’t overspend. The differences in quality just are not worth the extra price tag. It would be better to replace the projector in a couple years than spend $30 grand today.
- Throw distance: Make sure the projector will fill up the screen size without being in the way. The worst thing you can do is get your theater wired up then buy a projector with the wrong throw distance.
- Compatibility: Inputs are not as important as they once were. All of your components will feed into the receiver and then go to the projector in a single HDMI cable. What you want to double check though is that your projector has RS-232C connections for control with a universal remote.
Did you know you can also incorporate your Alder home security cameras to your projector? Hook any computer up to the projector and you can view a live stream right on the big screen. I find it easiest and most cost effective to hook a Chromebit up, but anything with a web browser will do.
What are your thoughts? Do you have experience with a 4K projector and if so, do you feel like they are worth the money? What projectors do you use?