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Topic: MEMBERS! - Read First (FAQs)
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Here is a list of questions that are often asked by new visitors to these forums that may already have excellent answers elsewhere.

First though: If you are new to the forums, and your answer is not detailed below, please make sure to use the search function located in the upper right corner of your screen in the light brown box. It says 'SEARCH' and can help you get some answers that may have already been covered. Also be sure to look through http://www.projectorcentral.com for reviews, articles, and general excellent information before asking a question.

Official FAQ List (answers begin after list)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1. What is the best projector for viewing DVDs and HDTV?
2. What is the difference between a business and home theater projector?
3. Why is projector 'x' listed as the best on Projector Central?
4. What size screen should I get?
5. Where do I mount my projector?
6. Which is better LCD or DLP or SXRD/LCoS?
7. What is lens shift & do I need it?
8. What wiring do I need to run for my projector?
9. What other expenses do I need to consider with my projector?
10. How should my room be setup?
11. What does the difference in resolutions mean? 480i? 480p? 720p? 1080i/p?

Answers:
~~~~~~~~~
1. What is the best projector for viewing DVDs and HDTV?

A: The best projector is always highly dependent on the room it is going into, the equipment that will be used with it, and the budget available. Generally speaking, for home theater use, any projectors on the 'Highly Rated Home Theater Projectors' list is a good choice.
http://www.projectorcentral.com/home-theater-projectors.htm
Yes, there are many choices, and the really good news is that there are lots of excellent choices for your money. A good recommendation is to get a high definition projector with at least 720p resolution.

2. What is the difference between a business and home theater projector?

A: There are many differences specifically related to what a business projector is expected to do vs. a home theater projector. Mostly it revolves around the need for a home theater projector to accurately display video on your screen as true to life as it can, while a business projector is designed to show PowerPoint presentations in a board room. Not nearly the same requirements at all.
Until Projector Central adds something similar, here is a list of differences to consider:
Differences Between Business & Home Theater Projectors
[Edited by AV_Integrated on May 14, 2013 at 11:06:58 AM]
AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology consultation during the build and installation process in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
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3. Why is projector 'x' listed as the best on Projector Central?

A: The 'TOP PROJECTORS' list often gets confused with the 'HIGHLY RECOMMENDED' list. The 'Top Projectors' list, found here:
http://www.projectorcentral.com/home-theater-multimedia-projectors.htm
is based on popularity of the projector on the Projector Central website, and not on the actual quality of the projector. So, if one week a very low quality projector was looked for and viewed very often, it would be on that list for popularity reasons only.
The 'Highly Recommended' list covers projectors that actually have been looked at and reviewed by Projector Central and are more likely to be worth your time to consider. That list is here:
http://www.projectorcentral.com/home-theater-projectors.htm

4. What size screen should I get?

A: Screen size is a personal preference, but a good starting point is to follow standards setup by THX laboratories. These standards have been established to determine a screen size that is comfortable for the average viewer to view from without causing eye strain and headaches after extened (2+ hours) viewing times. These standards are based on a high definition source material, and a high definition projector.
The recommendation is that primary seating should be 1.5x the screen WIDTH (not diagonal) from the screen. An excellent calculator can be found here:
http://www.myhometheater.homestead.com/viewingdistancecalculator.html
There is no law about being closer or further away than the recommendation, but you may need to consider projector brightness and screen size as well when you get to large.

5. Where do I mount my projector?

A: You can't simply pick a spot to mount your projector. You should actually pick a projector you are considering and use the Projector Calculator Pro found here: http://www.projectorcentral.com/projection-calculator-pro.cfm
This can be played with to show what size screen you can get from a given projector distance. Most projectors have zoom control which makes the image smaller or larger from any distance and that is included in the calculator.
NOTE: The recommended brightness function of the calculator, in my opinion, is worthless because it is based on manufacturers claims instead of real world use. If the size you want your screen to be, says the projector is to bright, then I would not worry about it at all. You can get filters to cut light if any image is to bright. If an image is to dim, then you need to compensate with a positive gain screen.
[Edited by AV_Integrated on Nov 30, 2005 at 2:37:15 PM]
AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology consultation during the build and installation process in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
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6. Which is better LCD or DLP or SXRD/LCoS?

A: DLP has for years had an advantage over LCD in this department - This is no longer the case. Anyone who simply says that DLP is better is not properly educated on the quality of current LCD projectors. It is important to judge each and every projector individually based on its strengths and weaknesses. An excellent primer is here:
http://www.projectorcentral.com/lcd_dlp_update6.htm

Sony and JVC offer another option called LCoS (SXRD by Sony) which offers excellent performance as well and should be strongly considered in a quality theater installation for use.

7. What is lens shift & do I need it?

A: A zoom lens on a projector lets you move the projector closer and further away from the screen, lens shift on a projector allows you to move the projector up and down, and possibly side to side, in relation to the screen. This can be of a great benefit to those who have low ceilings and want the projector ceiling mounted, or for those who have high ceilings and want to use the same projector for ceiling mounting. It is an excellent feature, but the range of motion for lens shift varies depending on the projector you get. The owners manual for any projector should be reviewed prior to purchase if this feature is important to you so you can determine the range of lens shift available to you.

8. What wiring do I need to run for my projector?

A: If you have easy access to run wires whenever you want to your projector because you have a drop ceiling, or are running wires on the wall, then you only need to run wires that you need. But, if you have a drywalled room and the wires are going to be permanently mounted, then you should run all the main wires you need the first time. Bonus points for leaving access to run wires later!
Minimum run:
1 HDMI Cable
2-4 Cat-5 (or Cat-6) Cables - Cat-X cabling can be used for a number of different purposes and helps to 'future-proof' your system.
1 120V A/C Power Connection To Plug The Projector Into

Bonus:
1 inch Flexible conduit so you can run extra wires through it later
1 component video cable
1 composite video cable
1 SVGA (or VGA) cable so you can hook your computer up - Do NOT plan on being able to use something other than a SVGA/VGA cable for your computer connection, though HDMI may work as well. Some computers have composite or s-video connectivity - this is FAR worse quality than SVGA/VGA cables and should be avoided. HDMI or DVI on some laptops is excellent and can often be used, but many laptops only have SVGA/VGA 15-pin connectors on them.
1 S-Video cable

9. What other expenses do I need to consider with my projector?

A: A projector is just a video display device, like your computer monitor. It rarely includes speakers, and when it does, the speakers are usually of low quality. So, the number one expense you will have with your projector is an audio setup. Audio systems can be as simple as a pair of computer speakers for well under $100.00 to well over $20,000 for a full blown setup. A good plan is to spend about as much on your audio as you do on the projector, though decent systems can be had starting about $700.00
The next most expensive item is typically your screen which can be from about $100.00 to near $4,000.00 depending on the make/model.
Additoinal expenses are your sources such as DVD player, HD cable/satellite, DVR, VCR, gaming systems. The setup options for all this equipment is endless.
Finally, you will need wiring between individual pieces of equipment and the projector and speakers, etc. Wiring can be very expensive and not give you any extra benefit, so care should be taken to not be suckered in by companies that charge you more money, but don't deliver a better product for your money.
[Edited by AV_Integrated on May 14, 2013 at 11:08:39 AM]
AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology consultation during the build and installation process in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
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10. How should my room be setup?

A: This is very much a personal decision based on the size of the room and the audio and projector that you have chosen. The first rule for the projector is that it can only go where the zoom and lens shift allows it to be placed. Then, your speakers can be placed around the room to give you the best audio. Excellent information on how to place speakers for audio can be found here:
http://www.audioholics.com/techtips/setup/loudspeakers/hometheaterspeakerlayout.php
Other room setup considerations should be based on controlling light in the room and maximizing audio quality. While opinions on audio vary wildly, there is no real arguement over light control. The darker the room the better! No windows, but if you have windows, put thick blackout curtains on them. If you can paint your walls a color other than white that is good - the closer that color is to black the better. Use flat paints, not glossy. Deep, dark colors, are excellent. Deep burgungys, forest greens, and browns are good. Light pink is not. Don't forget about your ceiling. Darkening your ceiling is as important as darkening the walls. Likewise, a darker carpet is a good decision.

11. What does the difference in resolutions mean? 480i? 480p? 720p? 1080i/p?

A: Resolution has two sides to it. Your projector has a resolution and what you feed into the projector has a resolution, the two may not be the same.
All digital projectors including LCD, DLP, and LCoS use an array of dots, called pixels, to make an image. This array of dots is the resolution of the projector and common home theater resolutions are 853x480, and 1280x720. This is called the native resolution of your projector. Anytime you fill your screen with an image, you are using all the pixels available to your projector. Never more - never less.

The source you feed your projector from your DVD player or your HD cable box, or your PC is often completely different than the resolution of your projector. This means, your projector has to play with the incoming video signal (process it) to fit into the available pixels. Common resolutions you will find are 480i (regular television), 480p (progressive scan DVD player), 720p (high definition television), 1080i (high definition television). If you have a 1280x720 projector, then the projector is classified as a 720p projector. If you feed it a 720p source, then the projector can pass that source straiht to the screen with very little processing. But, if you feed the projector 480i (regular TV) then the projector must use mathematical formulas to add additional image to the source to fill up the screen. Likewise, if you feed the projector 1080i (HDTV) then the projector must take away video information before the projector can display it on screen. Some projectors do a much better job at this than others, but they all are getting better at doing it. 10 years ago, a video processor often would cost $25,000 or more, now it is included inside every projector that is sold.
AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology consultation during the build and installation process in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.