Get the right projector for your needs
Projectors provide the ultimate home theater experience. Nothing else comes as close to truly re-creating the viewing experience of a movie theater. Imagine the bewitching beauty of Avatar's planet Pandora spread out before you. Or a close-up shot of Jeff Beck's fingers coaxing delicate harmonics out of his Stratocaster. Picture a 240-pound linebacker barreling straight at you. Or a video game villain swinging a sword big enough to splinter your coffee table. Projectors deliver all that and more - images bursting with cinematic detail and color across a larger-than-life screen measured in feet, not inches.
One of the most important factors to consider when looking for a digital projector is the brightness. The measure of brightness used for digital projectors is lumens, and these numbers can provide you with a good idea of how well a unit is likely to work in a given situation. Most projectors fall somewhere in the range of 800 to 2,200 lumens, though it is possible to find brighter units.
HDMI inputs: Today it's a good idea to choose projectors with HDMI inputs, even if you use computers that don't output HD. If you have HDMI inputs, you'll be able to take advantage of HD output as soon as you have computers that will output in HD. Right-size lens: Once you know where the projector will be installed, you need to make sure the screen size you want is possible from that distance away. On some high-end projectors, you can change lenses to allow more placement flexibility. However, if your projector is going to remain in a fixed place, just go for one with a lens that will project at the distance you need for the size you want.
LCD technology: LCD technology is generally favorable due to its superior color accuracy. LCD is also a must-have if your presentations are color sensitive due to color-coded diagrams, or graphic-design centered. The final must-have "feature" really isn't a feature at all. Do not forget to order a spare bulb for your projector, or you could be forced to scrap an important presentation or wait while someone chases down a spare.
A projector with a contrast ratio of 10,000:1 isn't necessarily five times better than one with a 2,000:1 ratio. The contrast ratio does not account for how the projector displays all the shades of grey in between the blackest black and whitest white. If the projector can't display those shades of gray, portions of the image will "blow-out" and appear pixilated when displayed on the big screen. Look for projectors with more control settings. Multi-color processing technology like BrilliantColor and sRGB modes will allow you to really tweak the projector's display to your liking.