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So you ve decided to take the plunge and buy a video projector for your home theater setup. We re going to help you by providing some home theater projector tips to get the best out of your projector, so you can always watch your favorite movies, TV shows and play video games with the best image possible.

Brightness

When watching something with a projector, the last thing you want is for the image to be too bright or too dim. A lot of that depends on the size of the room where you're using the projector, the distance to the screen or wall, and the lamp s lumens (brightness).

If the projector has a lower lumens rating, say of 1,000 or less, you re going to want to keep the projector in a smaller space since the distance, or throw, won t be as great. If it s of a higher rating, say 1,500 lumens or greater, there shouldn t be any problem with bringing the projector into a larger room or even a small movie theater. We ve seen some 2,000 lumens projectors do very well displaying movies on a screen that was close to 20 feet from the projector.

Even if you have a high lumens-rated projector, don t be afraid to use it in a smaller area, such as a living room or den. The image will still look great, even if the projector is seven to ten feet away from the wall or screen. One important tip when choosing a projector for home theater use: go with a unit that has a lumens rating of at least 1,000. If you move, and your new living room is larger, you won t have brightness issues.

 

One of the most important things to remember when enjoying a projector is to keep it in a room that is dark enough to see the image well.  Light spill,  ie, the light coming from the kitchen, a bedroom, etc., can cause some headaches. Like in a movie theater, the darker the room, the better and brighter the image.

A Word about Lamps

The average lifespan of a lamp, perhaps the most important part of the projector, is between 2,000 and 4,000 hours. As time goes on, the image will stay nice and bright, but toward the end of its life, it will start to dim. If you run the projector often and at full power, expect it to last around 2,000 hours. If you use energy saving modes, it will last up to 4,000 hours. When a lamp goes out, it can cost around $200 to $400 to replace.

Some tips to help with lamp life: A little maintenance via filter cleanings will help extend that life; keep the exhaust fan open and away from objects that might obstruct it; and take care when turning it off right after the projector has been turned on   wait at least five minutes.

Projector Screen

While some users may opt for a white wall when using their projector, others may want to go with a screen. While white projector screens have been a staple for years, some home theater enthusiasts are opting for gray screens, which are considered  high contrast. 

As we mentioned above, you need to keep the area or room where you ll be watching TV, movies or playing video games. But if it s tough to get a room completely dark, a gray screen can help out. It won t reflect any light spills as much as white light, keeping the image looking nice.

As far as screen size goes, there are a variety of sizes to consider, and it all depends on the size of the room you re in. You won t want to buy the largest one available if the room you re in is small, though if that room is dedicated only to being a home theater, consider getting a larger, permanent screen.

There are options to buy a 4 x 3 (full screen, squarish) or 16 x 9 (widescreen, film- and HD-friendly) screen; we recommend going with a 16 x 9, as more TV programming is going high definition widescreen, and movies are pretty much all widescreen now on DVD and Blu-ray. This cuts down on the letterboxing you d see on a 4 x 3 screen.

There s the option to purchase a permanent screen that will stay in place on the wall, great for a dedicated home theater room. Or you can opt for a screen that can be pulled down (like your teacher did back in school) and hung up on the wall, or from the ceiling   it s semi-permanent and semi-portable. Then you could always go with a portable screen, which is affordable and might be a great option if the projector you re buying is going to travel with you for business presentations. Consider your needs before making a decision, especially if you think you ll be moving in the foreseeable future.

To decide where you should place your projector there are many things to take into account, including room size, the lamp s lumens rating and more. Probably the best thing is to search online for a  viewing distance calculator,  which will help you place it properly.

We hope these home theater projector tips help you when it comes to setting up your room with a video projector. You ll enjoy watching TV, sports, movies or playing video games on a large, bright screen if you choose the right projector and screen.

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