Get the Big Picture Page 5
3D or Not?
These days, even projectors in the budget category are likely to be 3D models, so taking advantage of that feature comes down to whether you want to spring for any extra glasses/hardware (optional, in some cases) required for 3D viewing. Some projectors use an adapter that plugs into the projector and emits synchronization signals via RF to the active shutter glasses; with others, the emitter is built in. (While a few consumer-grade projectors use passive-glasses technology, the majority are active 3D.)
I should stress once again that picture brightness can take a serious hit once you strap on 3D glasses, so any room/ screen/projector considerations you have in the works should take that factor into account.
The final topic we need to cover is setup. If you’re reading this, it can be assumed that you plan to go the DIY route when installing a projector. All projectors are designed for both ceiling and tabletop installation, with ceiling being the superior option. Why? A projector mounted on the ceiling means it’s well out of harm’s way, and there’s also a reduced likelihood that you’ll notice noise coming from its internal fan. The zoom range of the projector’s lens should also factor into your choice: Models with a more powerful zoom (say, 2X or higher) provide a wider throw ratio range, which means you have more flexibility when it comes to positioning the projector closer to or farther away from the screen.
Other setup-related features to pay attention to are vertical and horizontal lens shift, and motorized focus. As with throw ratio, a wide vertical/horizontal lens shift range on a projector allows for greater setup flexibility when positioning the projector in relation to a screen. And if you’re literally doing it yourself, motorized lens control lets you make fine adjustments via remote with your eyes close to the screen so you can see if things really are in focus.
One day, huge, paper-thin, affordable OLED TVs that hang on the wall like posters will preclude the need for projectors. But until that day comes, projectors remain your best bet for getting a cinema-scale picture at home, and for getting it at a reasonable price.