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Your Initial Checklist

By Art Feierman

My Initial Checklist

Our little questionnaire (below) is designed to help you have a firm starting place in finding the projector that will make you a happier person. Our goal is to touch on the key questions of how and where you will use your projector. If you fill this out, or just think it through, you should have a good understanding of what your choices are:

Fill out the following...

My attitude is... (Choose one)

  • I’m into this stuff. I like technology, if it’s not a hobby, it certainly still manages to interest me. Shopping and playing with the gear is half the fun.
  • I’m into the content, I really want a quality picture – I have standards.  While the technology is cool enough, I really just want to get a good rig and watch stuff.  That’s important, I'm not into obsessing over the latest and greatest projectors and accessories.  I want to get it right, but when I’m up and running I’m happy, and done shopping - at least for a while.
  • I really want the big image. I’ve got a budget, and I just want to know what to get, so I can pick up a remote and watch. I just want a good setup and don’t want to think about it. I need the projector version of “which 50” LCDTV is on sale? And is it a good one?

My Budget For A Projector Is...

  • Ideal cost ____________
  • High side ____________
  • Maximum "I must have this projector" amount I will spend ____________

I expect to own this projector for ____________ years.

My room is a (Choose one)...

  • Dedicated theater or cave:  darker surfaces, very good lighting control
  • A very good room (Improved), reasonably good lighting control, walls at least a good bit darker than “off-white” good control of any windows (partially black out)
  • Same as “b” but with outside light without good control (best for evening viewing, limited daytime viewing
  • Unimproved room with lighter surfaces, less than great window control

The Rooms

My level of installation is (Choose one)...

  • Full installation (cables in walls)
  • Casual installation:  Wires running along floors, etc.
  • Basic:  I only need an extension cord, a PJ on the table with built in sound.

My viewing habits are (only if you do not have a dedicated theater/cave-like room) (Choose all that apply)...

  • I plan to watch movies and other “dark” content at night  (Y/N)  ___
  • I want to be able to watch everything, reasonably well in daytime  (Y/N)  ___
  • I’m a big sports fan, and I want to be able to watch and socialize  (Y/N)  ___
  • I only plan to watch move type content on the projector, I have an HDTV for the rest  (Y/N)  ___
  • I have a LCDTV or Plasma for my daytime viewing, if need be, will use the projector only at night, but will watch a variety of content in addition to movies  (Y/N)  ___
  • I have an audio system in the projector’s room  (Y/N)  ___

My plan is to (Choose one)...

  • Ceiling mount my projector
  • Place it on a table (all/most of the time)
  • Place it on a table when using it
  • Use it in more than one place
  • I want/need to rear shelf mount, with the projector high up instead of  ceiling mounting
  • I need a portable system with decent built in sound

My desired screen size is (Choose one)...

  • 80 – 100” diagonal
  • 100” -  120” diagonal
  • 120” – 150” diagonal

My screen will be (Choose one)...

  • Fixed wall screen (permanently visible)
  • Motorized screen (be sure it’s tensioned)
  • Pull down screens or wall paint

My room’s ceiling is  _____  feet high, so (Choose all that apply)...

  • I need the top of my screen surface to be ___ inches to ___ inches from the ceiling   (Y/N) ___
  • I do plan for some people to sit behind others  (Y/N) ___
    • ___ inches off the floor is the lowest I think the bottom of the screen can be, so that folks in the back can see well enough (important!)

I can mount a projector at approximately 1.3-1.6 times screen width--range where most projectors will work. (Y/N) ___   I need to mount further back (or closer), the projector will be approximately ___ screen widths from the screen (a 100 inch diagonal 16:9 screen is 87 inches wide)  (Y/N) ___   I need to place the projector on a rear shelf – up high

  • The depth of my room is approximately ___ screen widths deep

In terms of vertical lens shift, (Choose one)...

  • I will definitely need lens shift
  • I am not sure if I need lens shift
  • I have a tall ceiling, and want the projector mounted as high as possible

I am ceiling mounting, and I can mount the projector so that its lens is straight back from the center of the screen (left to right), which means I don’t need horizontal lens shift  (Y/N) ___   The closest seating I will have, measured in terms of screen width (ex: a 100” diagonal screen is 7.25 feet wide) is (Choose one)...

  • 1 to 1.4 screen widths back (close to fairly close)
  • 1.40 to 2 screen widths (typical)
  • 2 to 3 screen widths (long average to long)
  • 3-5 screen widths (distant)

The furthest seating I will have (if more than one seating distance) is (Choose one)...

  • 2 to 3  screen widths
  • 3-5 screen widths (distant)

In terms of 3D Viewing, (Choose all that apply)...   I am into 3D, can’t get enough, it is important to me that my 3D be great  (Y/N) ___

  • I like 3D, I want pretty good 3D  (Y/N) ___
  • 3D may be interesting to me, but I have no choice because the kids will love it  (Y/N) ___
  • I really don’t know if I care, but want to keep my options open  (Y/N) ___
  • No thanks - I could care less about 3D, I am unable to watch 3D, or it has no value to me  (Y/N) ___
  • I want 3D, but I don’t like 3D movie theaters because they’re dim  (Y/N) ___

In order to make it happen (Choose one)...

  • I’m on my own. I or my friends will help me install my projector
  • I’m not a DIY type.  I want an expert, I will work with a local dealer or installer

Warranty and support are important to my buying decision!  (Y/N)  ___   My room is not a fully light controlled. I know the size of the screen I want, I know that choosing the right screen is every bit as important as having a bright enough projector.  (Y/N)  ___   If I had to bet: Which projector choice (of the ones I'm considering) is the one, if I buy it, that I would be least likely to second guess my choice, six months after buying it?   ______________________

Now that you've thought about all of these important factors, you are armed with a better understanding of what you want and what you need, which will be useful during projector shopping.

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