1080p Projectors: Viewing HDTV, TV and Especially, Sports
ou can't watch a lot of sports and HDTV content with out a lot of lumens!
Caves are places where people go to watch movies. Ideally a cave is some isolated room in your home that can be fully darkened. That folks is how to watch movies - in a cave like environment, nice and dark, perfect for mushrooms.
Then you switch your source to HDTV, to watch some March Madness with 5 or 6 friends, and - you can't see them, it's too dark (ok, you can see them, but its still too dark, for normal conversation, etc.) - no party atmosphere.
So, what do you do? Turn on the lights, open a window, and pray your projector has the brightness to cope. At least though, you can see your friends, and converse easily.
But you still want really sharp, and good color. Let's face it do we really care if skin tones rate a 10, 9, or even a 7 out of 10, when we are watching a football game? Exactly! It's the game that counts, and if the coaches face is a touch red, that could be the projector, (or maybe the aftermath of him screaming at some player).
Thus, projector brightness is a key factor, and most of us are willing to sacrifice some black levels, even color accuracy, for a nice bright image. We don't care about blacks much at all for sports but that's not the case for, say Travel HD or Discovery HD, or Paladia HD channels.
For my comments I'm assuming a typical screen of about 100 inch diagonal. All of the projectors have enough muscle to handle that size for movies, but some may struggle in terms of brightness with some intentional ambient light present. Some of the least expensive projectors are the brightest. Hmm, most of those are really home projectors or home entertainment projectors, that is, defining them slightly differently from home theater projectors (where the presumption should be a cave-like room).
So what do we have here, let's take on the field, projector by projector. I'll be short, as we don't have to get into some of the subtleties, that would concern us with movie viewing. And since sports viewing is crazier than most movie viewing, I'll take a few liberties in my wordsmithing, to have some fun. And note, below, I've labeled a few projectors has Home Projectors rather than Home Theater Projectors. Those Home projectors are the ones more likely to be found in typically in bonus and family rooms without perfect lighting control.
BenQ W1000 Home Projector
The BenQ is the brightest projector of any measured for this report. It's basically a "crossover" projector, while blacks may not be impressive, this guy lights up a room with over 2000 lumens in brightest mode, and still some respectable color. (Looks better than the typical LCDTV at Best Buy, when it comes to color accuracy.) This guy is great for the bucks, for sports, and still very good for tougher HDTV viewing as long as you avoid a lot of dark underwater Discovery HD content (that's when you'd want better blacks). The image is sharp. For sports fanatics, sports are bright, the slow color wheel on this DLP probably won't bother even those more sensitive to the rainbow effect. (But the 2x wheel will be an issue for just about anyone rainbow sensitive if you are watching dark scenes with fast moving bright objects.) You can hang these suckas in sport bars and they will look outstanding.