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..