A home theater system has become standard equipment for nearly every house in the western world. Nineteen-inch TVs have gone the way of the rotary phone and surround sound speakers systems can even be found at cut-rate electronic stores. With this growth in popularity has come a growth in the options available for home theater systems. One of the newer options is to use a projector rather than a traditional television. Home consumers are more demanding than ever for their home theater experience. New formats like HD and Blu-Ray can deliver theater-quality video and audio to your home entertainment center. Unlike a plasma or LCD TV, a projection unit can take you to the next level by mimicking the projector of a commercial theater.
For years, projection units were seen as the province of the business world. The high cost of equipment combined with the grainy image they produced kept projectors in the board room. However, like any technological product, prices have fallen and quality has risen exponentially in the last few years, and projection systems are now within the reach of many home owners. Even for a screen size around seventy inches, the projection units are far less expensive than other large screen systems. A projection unit typical costs between one thousand and two thousand dollars, whereas a seventy-two inch plasma screen can cost as much as nine thousand dollars.
The most attractive aspect of projection options is the small physical profile they take up in your home. Televisions have become continuously thinner and many now can be hung easily on a wall. But with a projection unit, you can eliminate the screen completely and project an image right on the wall if you wish. You can enjoy high-quality entertainment without sacrificing either floor or wall space.
The only space consideration is where to place the projector. Some home owners choose to use a coffee table or a similar platform. While simple, this method has the disadvantage of taking up furniture space. An alternative is to hang the projector from the ceiling, though it does take a little skill and specific tools to safely hang the projector in a manner that will prevent falling or the risk of fire from overheating. A popular new method is to mount the projector on top of a bookshelf at the back of a room. This allows the projector to be high enough to be out of the line-of-sight, but it is still low enough to allow quick rearrangement if it becomes necessary.
Another advantage of projection units is that the size of the screen can be altered depending on the size of the audience. For everyday use, the projector can be set at a distance to create a forty to sixty inch screen. If a larger screen is needed for a larger audience, the projector can be moved to create a much larger viewing surface. In fact, many home owners have used projection units for outdoor events and had the screen as large as three hundred inches.
Formerly, the major concern for projection units was brightness. They needed to be used in completely darkened rooms for the colors and contrast to be fully appreciated. For home users, this meant that they had to be used in rooms that had heavy curtains to block out light or rooms that were completely windowless. However, the new generation of projectors are far brighter and can easily be seen even in a room lit with daylight.
The only downside for projectors is the need to replace the bulb. In general, bulbs last for about two thousand hours of use. This means that they are excellent for movies or sports, but replacement costs may be a little high if used extensively for daily television viewing. Bulb prices continue to drop, but they are still around one hundred to two hundred dollars per bulb.