I'd like to buy a projector for viewing HD movies with my laptop...

Hello, people,

I'd like to buy a projector for viewing HD movies with my laptop...
I was wondering what parameters should I look for when buying a new projector!?

I actually have a few specific models at a local store and I'm not sure which one to pick...

1) Philips PPX1430 - $426


2) VIEWSONIC PJD5123 - $534


3) LG BS275 - $616


4) LG HS200G - $669

Which one would be the ideal for HD movies?
And if you can also give me a reason to why that is, that would be great!

By the way, my laptop has a VGA connection.... so, if I'd like to view in Full HD - I'd need an VGA to HDMI adapter? would that keep the resolution? or would a USB to HDMI keep the full HD resolution?

I'd appreciate any help!
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  1. Personally, I would not recommend any of those projectors.

    There is a lot to consider when deciding to purchase a projector:

    Native Resolution
    Throw Distance
    Video Source
    Lighting Control

    Let's start with Native Resolution. This is the resolution that the projector will display an image at; just like your laptop display. If the resolution of the content you are trying to display is higher than what the projector can handle, it will try to down-scale the image to what it can display. This may cause distortion or it may not even be able to display the image.

    Since you're wanting to display HD content, then you need a projector with a native resolution of at least 1280x720 (or 720p) at a minimum. Each projector you've listed only has a native resolution of 800x600. Note that some of the projectors you list do have a higher maximum resolution listed, but this may also cause you some problems.

    Also note that each of the projectors you've listed have a 4x3 Aspect Ratio. All HD content has a 16x9 Aspect Ratio. Playing HD content (16x9) on a display that has a 4x3 aspect ration will leave "black bars" above and below your image, which may detract from the overall experience.

    Look for a projector that has a native resolution of at least 1280x720 and either a native aspect ration of 16x9 or one that has a switchable aspect ration and supports both 16x9 and 4x3.

    Throw Distance. The throw distance is the distance between the lens of the projector and the display screen or wall. The larger the distance, the larger the image. Just how large of an image are you looking to project? How big is your screen? Is the room you're wanting to view videos in large enough to provide you with the throw distance necessary to create the size screen you want? Does the projector handle larger throw distances? A useful tool for this can be found at Projector Central. Select the manufacturer of the projector you're thinking about purchasing and then select the model number.

    If you're limited by the size of your viewing room (throw distance), use the Throw Distance slider to determine how large of an image you can get. If you're limited by screen size, use the Image Size slider to determine the required throw distance necessary to accomplish your desired screen size. Some projectors also come with a Zoom lens. This will allow you to make modest adjustments.

    Look for a projector that has a wide enough throw distance for your viewing area.

    Video Source. The video source is comprised of both the content you want to display (HD content) as well as the display device (Laptop). We've already discussed the video resolution, but we also need to take into account copy-right protection. If the content you want to display is protected, you will not be able to view it on the projector. Neither the VGA nor USB outputs are HDCP compliant. In order to view protected content, the laptop would need an HDCP compliant player (blu-ray drive), an HDCP compliant graphics card with and HDCP compliant output (DVI/HDMI), and the projector would need to be HDCP compliant as well (generally having and HDMI input).

    Now not all HD content is copy protected. If you are looking at viewing HD content from the web, then the output from the laptop just needs to support the resolution of the content (VGA can do this) and the projector should be able to at least match the resolution of the content.

    For 720p content, you'll want a projector that has a native resolution of at least 1280x720.
    For 1080p content, you'll want a projector that has a native resolution of at least 1920x1080.

    Lighting Control. Both of the projectors I've owned (BenQ MP610 and Optoma HD20) have required my viewing room to be fairly dark (much like a movie theater) in order to get the best display image. With lights on or light coming in from the windows, the display image tends to wash out. The higher the brightness rating of a projector, the more ambient light can be allowed in the room. If you can control the amount of ambient light in your viewing room, you can get by with a lower Brightness rating. The brighter the room, the higher this value needs to be

    Look for a projector that has a brightness rating of at least 1600 ANSI for the darkest viewing area.

    Projector Central is one of the best places I know of to start your research. Read reviews of each projector you're considering. Use the calculator to make sure that it meets your room requirements.

    I hope this has given you some insight as to what to look for in a projector. It's a rather large purchase and if you take these issues into consideration when making your purchase, it will provide you with years of entertainment!

    -Wolf sends
  2. Just a couple other quick notes:

    1) The lamp in the projector gets very hot. The fan that's installed for cooling the lamp can be rather loud. If the projector is going to be located close to where you're sitting it could be more irritating than enjoyable.

    Look for a quieter projector.

    2) Even with the fan, all that heat generated by the lamp has to go somewhere. If your viewing area is a smallish room (say a second bedroom), the projector will easily heat up that room over the course of one movie.

    -Wolf sends
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