A video projector is one of the most important components in the home theater set-up. It can make or break your home viewing experience, so the more you know about this device, the better. A video projector is very similar to a film projector. Like a film projector, it casts an image onto a screen, but it functions differently in that it converts analog or digital video signals into a form that viewers can see. The picture is much clearer and sharper than that produced by a film projector.

These days, shoppers can choose from three different types of video projectors, including cathode ray tube (CRT), liquid crystal display (LCD), and digital light processing (DLP) models. All have their pros and cons, and some are more practical than others when it comes to day-to-day viewing. Consumers who watch primarily standard, analog TV might want to go with a CRT model rather than a DLP or LCD set, as the latter two have bulbs that are expensive and need to be replaced after 1,000-2,000 hours of use.

Factors to consider when shopping for a video projector include pixel density, scaling, contrast and brightness. Pixel density is critical to the quality of your viewing experience. Consumers who plan to watch lots of high definition (HD) programming should look for a projector with a high pixel count. A count of 1024 x 768 is good for DVD viewing. Keep in mind that 720 p HDTV signals must have a pixel count of 1280 x 720 in order to reproduce effectively. 1080i HDTV signals require a pixel count of 1920 x 1080. Most projectors come equipped with scalers that will adjust the signal so that it fits the pixel count.

Contrast ratio is also important in a projector. Look for a contrast ratio of 1500:1 or higher. 2,000:1 is a superior ratio. Good contrast means a better picture, with brighter whites and deeper blacks on the screen. Brightness is another issue. When considering projectors, look at the ANSI Lumens rating. Models that have 1,000 ANSI Lumens or higher will provide adequate brightness.

A few more basic factors to consider when looking at video projectors:

Inputs: You want to make certain that the projector is equipped with the inputs you want, including connections for composite and S-video analog components, as well as connections for DVD players and HDTV.

Size and weight: If you plan to take your projector with you when you travel, or want to move it from room to room, then you need to look for a model that’s portable and easy to set up. You’ll want to consider the size of your viewing screen, the size of your rooms, and the distance you’ll be sitting from the screen before buying a projector.

About the Author

J. Hall writes articles for consumers who want to find the best New Technology Offers currently available. She has written for many major publications about the latest deals and promotions and how buyers can find the best discounts.