If I was currently looking to purchase a home entertainment projector, the elements I would consider include:
Lumens: The number of lumens that a projector emits, equates the brightness of the picture. In deciding on brightness, it’s important to consider the ambient light in the room where you plan on using your projector. If there is little ambient light, or you have the same incredible blackout shades that we do, 1,000-1,200 lumens works great. If you plan on using your projector in many different locations, lumens closer to 2,000 or higher will allow for a clear picture in varying conditions. The projector we purchased emits 1,200 lumens and we’re perfectly happy with the brightness of the picture.
Contrast Ratio: While contrast ratio isn’t the element that most impacts quality, it’s generally agreed that to get a good image with solid color differentiation, a projector should have a contrast ratio of at least 1000:1. Feel free to go for a higher ratio, but avoid any lower.
Pixels/Resolution: While 4K is all the rage right now in home projectors, and seems to provide amazing picture quality, it isn’t necessary for our current home entertainment purposes. I didn’t consider resolution much when searching for our projector and as a result, we ended up with low image quality. I knew that 1080p was considered to be good but I didn’t know what that meant. When considering resolution, be sure to look at the native resolution of a projector and not the support resolution. The native resolution is the actual resolution of the projector image – any input with a higher resolution will be compressed into the native resolution.
Many projectors claim to have 1080p or Full HD resolution, but upon closer examination, 1080p is referencing the support resolution and the actual resolution is much lower. That’s what happened to me. At a quick glance, it looks like the projector I purchased is 1080p but if you read the specs, you’ll see that the native resolution is 800x480 pixels. This is much lower than what most TVs, computers and other screens are so the image quality of our projector is noticeably inferior to the other screens we’re exposed to daily.