Best Home Theater Projector Report – Performance Topics

Projector Performance Topics

In the following pages, we will discuss a number of performance aspects in respect to the projectors considered this year. The three main topics are brightness, sharpness and audible noise. Click on the links below to visit those pages.

As you can see, we have broken up brightness by price class because there’s a lot of information to cover. We have managed to keep sharpness and audible noise a lot shorter, so they are addressed in just one page each.

Projector Brightness – Under $2000 Projectors
Projector Brightness – $2000-3500 Projectors
Projector Brightness – $3500-10,000 Projectors
Projector Sharpness (All)
Projector Audible Noise (All)

A bit on brightness before you jump in:

Home Theater Projectors - Brightness

Introduction:  There are three key aspects worth considering when considering a home theater projector’s brightness:

The first is how bright the projector is, in its “best” mode (typically that mode bears a name such as Theater, Cinema 1, Movie, etc.).
In “best” mode, a projector typically works at its least bright, but provides its best color and black levels. (Note: when I refer to least bright, I’m talking “modes” and not whether a lamp is on full power or eco-mode.)

The second consideration is how usably bright a projector can get, at its brightest.Not everyone wants only to watch movies, and in a fully darkened environment. Many of us also watch TV/HDTV, and especially sports viewing, and other social events where some ambient light is desirable.

Note, while most home projectors are 25% to 50% brighter in brightest mode than calibrated mode, a few projectors may be two to three times as bright.  Those typically have a big advantage over most of the others.

The 3rd consideration is specific to people who will be watching 3D,,It too is brightness related.  Note, that almost all new projectors over $2000 seem to be 3D capable.  Sony JVC, Epson, Mitsubishi, Optoma and Panasonic no longer offer 2D only projectors that sell for over $2000.

Projectors and 3D are a natural fit, thanks to the much greater immersion possible with a large screen.  Feel sympathy for those folks watching 3D on displays smaller than 80″ inch diagonal. Invite them over, give them a thrill!

Expect 3D viewing to be no more than 40% as bright as 2D viewing with the same setup.  The more 3D interests you, the more you want to make sure you have a projector with sufficient power for respectable 3D..

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