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Home Theater Projectors (Home Cinema)

Updated on February 9, 2015

Home Cinema Projectors

Home cinema projectors allow the real feel of a cinema or film theater in your own home; enormous picture for a reasonable price. The price of LCD and Plasma flat panel screens and televisions has come down a lot in price the largest sizes available are constantly growing. This article explores the pro and cons of owning a projector instead of an LCD or plasma screen and includes a review of an affordable Panasonic projector.

Can you live with just a home theater projector and no television or can do you need to have both and only use the projector on special occasions? Are home cinema projectors noisy? Are they unreliable with short bulb-life? Are home theatre projectors expensive to run?

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Pros and Cons or Home Theater Projectors

The ultimate home-cinema system probably still is based on a projected image rather than an LCD or Plasma screen, but it does depend on the size of the room and viewing distance and the lighting conditions available. If you have a dark enough room and a big white wall or screen on which to project the results can be spectacular. You don't need full black-out, but the darker the room the better. Alternatively a large flat screen (LCD or plasma) placed close enough to give a similar viewing angle can also be a big improvement on televisions of just a few years ago, especially now with Full HD screens (1080p resolution)

Pros

Bigger screen size

Inexpensive

Screen can be folded away when not in use

A real cinema experience

Cons

Need partial black-out especially for darker movies

Colours can look washed-out in daylight conditions

Reduced contrast

Some fan-noise

Short bulb life and expensive to replace

TIme taken to set up (If you don't have it set up permanently

Takes a minute or so for the picture to "warm up"

Some reliability issues

Difficult to arrange a room around (projector must be opposite screen)

Panasonic Projectors

Panasonic are one of the leaders in the field of inexpensive LCD home-cinema projectors, providing both HD (720p resolution) and Full HD (1080p)

Panasonic Projector Review

I have been using the Panasonic PT AX 100E as my main TV for just over a year now. I paid £900 for it then, but the price has dropped and even the improved PT AX200 can now be bought for about £700.

The picture quality is extremely good in a dark room and quite watchable during the day even with the curtains open for all but the darkest movies. In bright conditions the colours can become a little washed-out although there are various viewing options on the remote control to compensate a little. For some very dark films however you should wait until the room can be blacked out completely. The lens is large and of very high quality with a wide ranging zoom. Many home cinema projectors have just a wide angle lens with a small amount of zoom for fine adjustment, to allow big pictures from a short distance, but are less flexible, especially in big rooms where you may want the projector a long way from the screen. I used a 72" screen at a distance of about 18', but I could have used a far bigger screen or projected from much closer.

The projector is "HD Ready" (i.e. 720p resolution), which is good, but not as high resolution as "Full HD" (1080p) although this would only become apparent with a full HD source such as blu-ray. With lower-resolution inputs such as DVD or Freeview the built-in upscaling does a very good job of creating very high-quality images. The fan-noise is very low even when the bulb is not switched to low-power mode, although I suspect this is partly because the body is so big with huge vents to allow air-flow over the hot bulb.

Unfortunately after 2300 hours of use it has started switching to stand-by mode every few minutes, requiring a restart which makes it unusable. This problem is a known fault which will apparently be fixed free of charge.

A replacment bulb costs £250 and bulb-life is just 2000 hours when used in normal mode.

Conclusion

This is a good projector, although there are higher resolution projectors available now and they get cheaper and cheaper even faster than LCD TVs. Using a projector instead of a normal telly is great because when not in use there is no ugly TV in the lounge and the experience is so much more like going to the cinema.

Epson Projectors

Epson are another leading provider of good home theater projectors.

Other things to consider when buying

When buying a projector it is important to make sure the projector will work in your room. Will the projector be able to project the image you require from the location you hope to put the projector? Many projectors actually have just a short zoom range, for fine adjustment, so you may not be able to put the screen or projector in the locations you planned. Some projectors are short-throw, intended to create a big image from a short distance (e.g. from a coffee table) while others are intended to be mouted at the back of the room. The image sizes and zoom ranges are usually published in the product details e.g. on Amazon.

Surround Sound Equipment

Once the projector or screen has been purchased, to get the full home cinema effect you will need a decent surround sound system. This can range from an inexpensive system costing just a few hundred dollars to expensive custom systems costing many thousands.

Home Cinema Projectors on eBay

Buying a used projector is a very cost-effective way to get started with the big-screen home theater experience; second-hand projectors tend to be very reasonably priced although remember that you may need to buy a new bulb soon, if the existing one has been used for a long period. Bulbs from the manufacturers can be expensive, but may also be bought from other sources for a big discount.

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    • profile image

      JohnBoo 4 years ago

      WOW 2 x lens of the day? That is awesome! I like your lens andy...i like the onkyo home theater system to.

    • profile image

      supertools 4 years ago

      cool stuff here, and I need the information about the projector.

    • profile image

      luecjennifer 5 years ago

      I found it very much informative to read about and would love to know more about it.

      Home Theater Systems

    • profile image

      alanwearing 5 years ago

      Great Lens .....Eccellent content

    • profile image

      luecjennifer 5 years ago

      These home cinema systems give a real picture clarity.

      Home Theater System

    • profile image

      Digital-Signage10 5 years ago

      Home theater projectors is a heart of home theater system. You explain very well about this product.

    • profile image

      theresa51the 5 years ago

      Recommend for buy samsung home theater low price top model samsung home theater for cheap with deals from amazon us and special promotions free shipping.

    • profile image

      homeaudiovisual 6 years ago

      Nice lens we install projector all the time and cant get enough of them TV wall mounting 

    • profile image

      buntyross 6 years ago

      Cool projectors. These are really great. But must do some HBF contents Insurance.

    • profile image

      SonnyO 6 years ago

      Most people who are stressed out from work relax by watching a movie with the family and it's even more rewarding if you could watch a film with your family in the comforts of your own home and even click the pause button if someone has to go to the loo. But if you have a TV set that's like 24 inches then where's the fun in that? You'll have to squint to even read subtitles.

      Having a home theater projector at home is an awesome solution - choosing the best one is like finding a needle in the haystack though. Good thing I came across your lens. Great stuff and suggestions in here! I was looking into getting this Sanyo LCD Projector since it has awesome specs. Now I'm back to comparing specs. HA!

    • profile image

      martinam 6 years ago

      I am very impress on your information , Its a really very impressive blog. I really got some another very nice information , so thanks for sharing these tips.Sanyo LCD Projector

    • profile image

      feselectrical 6 years ago

      Great lens, we run a Home Cinema Installation company and we are really starting to see some growth in people investing in future proof media formats, we love to see the look on peoples faces when we show them what we can do with a Home Cinema room. See our lens or website if you like...

    • profile image

      feselectrical 6 years ago

      Great lens, we run a Home Cinema Installation company and we are really starting to see some growth in people investing in future proof media formats, we love to see the look on peoples faces when we show them what we can do with a Home Cinema room. See our lens or website if you like...

    • profile image

      jmichaels010 6 years ago

      awesome lens! i would love to have one for my home theater but i'll need to prepare the room first :)

      thanks for the tips...you can build DIY conservatory. they have different types that would suit your home.

    • profile image

      dejay1982 6 years ago

      Nice lens you have here. Epson projectors are top notch projectors and works great in the den.

    • profile image

      Goholga 7 years ago

      Great lens here! I would wondered if you could also return the favour and favourite my lens too! Thank you :)

      http://www.squidoo.com/3dtvinfo

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      My hubby was ahead of the curve with our TVs -- and we've been enjoying a cinema-like theater in our home.

    • SylvianeNuccio1 profile image

      SylvianeNuccio1 8 years ago

      very good job!