Pho­to: Geof­frey Mor­ri­son, cnet.com

Due to the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, cin­e­mas are peri­od­i­cal­ly closed or require a QR code to vis­it them, which not every­one has. What about those who want to watch movies? Set up a movie the­ater in your home. To do this, you need to buy a mul­ti­me­dia pro­jec­tor that allows you to ful­ly immerse your­self in what is hap­pen­ing on the screen.

There is a wide range of home pro­jec­tors avail­able on the mar­ket from dif­fer­ent man­u­fac­tur­ers. Each mod­el has its own advan­tages and dis­ad­van­tages. In this arti­cle, we tell you what home pro­jec­tors are and what to look for when choos­ing them.

Projector types

Depend­ing on the pro­duc­tion tech­nol­o­gy, there are two main types of pro­jec­tors — 3LCD and DLP.


The lamp sends white light to a com­bi­na­tion of mir­rors that sep­a­rate it into three pri­ma­ry col­ors (red, green, blue). A sep­a­rate LCD matrix is ​​used for each col­or (hence the name). After that, the prism com­bines the col­ors and forms a full-col­or image. In sin­gle-matrix mod­els (LCD), for exam­ple, Cac­tus CS-PRM.05B.WXGA‑W, col­ors are pro­ject­ed in turn, and the fin­ished pic­ture is already formed in our head.

Pros of 3LCD pro­jec­tors:

  • high image bright­ness, more accu­rate col­or repro­duc­tion;
  • works qui­et­ly;
  • almost does not heat up;
  • con­sumes less ener­gy;
  • there is no “rain­bow effect” (col­or plume).

Cons of 3LCD pro­jec­tors:

  • pix­els are more vis­i­ble com­pared to DLP pro­jec­tors;
  • low con­trast and, as a result, low black lev­els;
  • usu­al­ly heav­ier and larg­er than DLP pro­jec­tors;
  • con­stant care is required (clean­ing with reg­u­lar use 1 time in 3 months and fil­ter replace­ment as need­ed);
  • after pro­longed use, the matrix respon­si­ble for the blue com­po­nent of the pic­ture may burn out (due to this, yel­low­ness will appear).

3LCD tech­nol­o­gy is used in Pana­son­ic PT-VX610E and PT-VX430 pro­jec­tors.


It is based on a DMD matrix, on the sur­face of which there are hun­dreds of thou­sands of micro­scop­ic mir­rors. Light from the lamp pass­es through a rotat­ing disk with mul­ti-col­ored sec­tors and hits the matrix. There are mod­els with one or three matri­ces.

Advan­tages of DLP pro­jec­tors:

  • smooth and clear image;
  • smoother pic­ture com­pared to LCD;
  • pix­els in the image are less vis­i­ble;
  • small­er and lighter LCD pro­jec­tors;
  • no fil­ter (which means no addi­tion­al main­te­nance costs).

Cons of DLP pro­jec­tors:

  • for use in well-lit rooms requires more lumens than LCD;
  • nois­i­er (due to the rotat­ing col­or wheel and fan);
  • can cre­ate a “rain­bow effect”;
  • due to the lack of a fil­ter, it can become clogged and fail faster.

DLP includes BenQ (EH600 DLP), LG (HF65LSR) and Xiao­mi (Mi 4K Laser Pro­jec­tor 150) equip­ment.

In addi­tion, there is a tech­nol­o­gy that com­bines the advan­tages of LCD and DLP — LCOS.


Epson pro­jec­tors use a patent­ed tech­nol­o­gy called “reflec­tive 3LCD”. Pho­to: Geof­frey Mor­ri­son, cnet.com

The name stands for Liq­uid­Crys­talon­Sil­i­con, which can be trans­lat­ed as “liq­uid crys­tals on sil­i­con.”

The pic­ture is formed by pass­ing light through the matrix (as in 3LCD mod­els). How­ev­er, the rays are reflect­ed from a lay­er of mir­rors (as in DLP pro­jec­tors), and do not pass through.

Many man­u­fac­tur­ers use their own names for this tech­nol­o­gy, for exam­ple, Epson — “reflec­tive 3LCD”, Sony — SXRD.

Advan­tages of LCOS pro­jec­tors:

  • per­fect col­or ren­di­tion;
  • high bright­ness and image con­trast;
  • no “rain­bow effect” or stand out pix­els.

Cons of LCOS pro­jec­tors:

  • no bud­get mod­els (prices start at 100,000 rubles).

Criteria for choosing a home projector


Bright­ness is only impor­tant when view­ing in a well-lit room. Pho­to: projectorcentral.com

The bright­ness of pro­jec­tors refers to the amount of lumi­nous flux, which is mea­sured in lumens.

For view­ing in the dark, 1500 lumens are enough even for a screen with a diag­o­nal of 120–130 inch­es. In a well-lit room, the high­er the bright­ness of the pro­jec­tor, the bet­ter.

For exam­ple, the Optoma HD146x pro­jec­tor has a lumi­nous flux of 3600 lumens.


If the pro­jec­tor’s spec­i­fi­ca­tions sim­ply say “Con­trast”, then this indi­ca­tor reflects the ratio of the whitest area to the black­est area.

The high­er, the rich­er the black col­or, the stronger the sense of depth and three-dimen­sion­al­i­ty of the image. For exam­ple, the Benq TK800 DLP has a con­trast ratio of 10000:1, while the Pana­son­ic PT-VX430 has 20000:1.

How­ev­er, con­trast is affect­ed by many fac­tors, includ­ing the nature of the sen­sor, the tech­nol­o­gy used, and the pres­ence of a dynam­ic iris.

For exam­ple, bud­get DLP pro­jec­tors with a sin­gle matrix give high­er con­trast, but it is accom­pa­nied by a “rain­bow effect” — iri­des­cent edg­ing along the edges of objects in the image.

Built between the lamp and the objec­tive lens, a dynam­ic iris sig­nif­i­cant­ly improves con­trast by adjust­ing the light out­put to match image per­for­mance. And Epson’s home the­ater pro­jec­tors use “2C Fine” tech­nol­o­gy to increase con­trast (in dark rooms).


The more pix­els, the more detailed the pic­ture. The clar­i­ty of the image is also affect­ed by the size of the screen (sold sep­a­rate­ly): the larg­er it is, the more vis­i­ble the pix­els.

For a 16:9 aspect ratio screen, choose a 1920x1080 (Full HD) mod­el for a cin­e­mat­ic expe­ri­ence. The min­i­mum res­o­lu­tion is 1280 x 720.

For a more square screen (4:3), pro­jec­tors with a res­o­lu­tion of 1024 × 768 (XGA) will do.

If you’re on a bud­get, choose WXGA (1280 × 800 pix­els, 16:10), espe­cial­ly if you’ll be sit­ting far from the screen when view­ing.

To view 4K video, you need a pro­jec­tor with a res­o­lu­tion of 3840 x 2160 and 4096 x 2160.

In addi­tion, some mod­els are equipped with spe­cial fea­tures that improve clar­i­ty. For exam­ple, Epson has 4K Enhance­ment tech­nol­o­gy that allows you to watch video at up to 4K res­o­lu­tion on a Full HD or WUXGA pro­jec­tor with­out sig­nif­i­cant loss in qual­i­ty. It is avail­able on Epson EH-TW7000, Epson EH-TW7100 and oth­ers.

Room parameters

The pres­ence of a zoom lens or the abil­i­ty to move the lens hor­i­zon­tal­ly or ver­ti­cal­ly makes it easy to choose where to install the pro­jec­tor. The vast major­i­ty of inex­pen­sive mod­els do not have these options. Pho­to: Geof­frey Mor­ri­son, cnet.com

Con­sid­er the dis­tance from the pro­jec­tor instal­la­tion site (more pre­cise­ly, from its lens) to the screen (or white wall where the image will be broad­cast). There are sev­er­al types of mod­els with dif­fer­ent optics:

  • long throw — at a ratio of 2: 1, the pro­jec­tor pro­duces an image 2 meters wide from a dis­tance of 4 meters.
  • short throw — the pro­jec­tor can dis­play a large image from a short dis­tance. For exam­ple, at 0.5:1, an image 2 meters wide is pro­ject­ed from a dis­tance of 1 meter.
  • ultra short throw — the pro­jec­tor can be installed at a dis­tance of 30 cm from the screen, while get­ting a large pic­ture with a diag­o­nal of 100 inch­es (width 2.2 meters).

As a rule, the short­er the focal length, the high­er the price of the pro­jec­tor. The dis­ad­van­tage of a short focus is that such mod­els do not have a zoom and a per­fect­ly flat sur­face is required for demon­stra­tion.

On the web­sites of many large man­u­fac­tur­ers (for exam­ple, Epson, BenQ, Acer) there is a pro­jec­tion cal­cu­la­tor. Enter the avail­able dis­tance and screen size, the cal­cu­la­tor will select the appro­pri­ate mod­els. Or vice ver­sa: choose the mod­el your­self, and the cal­cu­la­tor will show what size the pic­ture will be from a cer­tain dis­tance (for exam­ple, from 2 meters 100 inch­es).

The pres­ence of a zoom lens allows you to reduce or enlarge the image by mov­ing the inter­nal lens of the lens. Due to this, the pro­jec­tor pro­vides the desired image size on the screen when installed with­in the pro­jec­tion dis­tance.

In addi­tion, the hor­i­zon­tal­ly and/or ver­ti­cal­ly adjustable lens makes it eas­i­er to choose a pro­jec­tor loca­tion. The shift range can be dif­fer­ent. Due to the pres­ence of this option, it is not nec­es­sary to place the pro­jec­tor in the cen­ter, the pic­ture can be adjust­ed by mov­ing the lens in the desired direc­tion.


Make sure the mod­el you choose has all the ports you need. Pho­to: projectorcentral.com

Pay atten­tion to whether the pro­jec­tor has the con­nec­tors you need. Main types of ports:

  • HDMI — for audio and video trans­mis­sion. A con­ve­nient option, since the cable length can be 30 m. How­ev­er, the HDMI cable is either not includ­ed in the pack­age, or it is short (1 m). Blu-ray 3D video requires ver­sion 1.4 or high­er. The pro­jec­tor may have sev­er­al of these inputs, for exam­ple, to con­nect a PC and a game con­sole.
  • VGA — for trans­mit­ting video with a res­o­lu­tion of 1080p (does not trans­mit sound).
  • USB — for con­nect­ing a sig­nal source (flash card, media play­er, etc.) or a Blue­tooth mod­ule for wire­less acoustics.
  • LAN — for the Inter­net, if the mod­el is equipped with a built-in Android TV sys­tem.

Pro­jec­tors are usu­al­ly equipped with a built-in speak­er with a pow­er of 2–16 W for sound trans­mis­sion (with the excep­tion of pre­mi­um mod­els). If it is not there, or you are not sat­is­fied with the sound qual­i­ty, then audio can be trans­mit­ted via HDMI or con­nec­tors:

  • RCA with S / PDIF pro­to­col for con­nect­ing acoustics (for exam­ple, a sound­bar). For stereo sound, you need a pair of these ports marked in red and white.
  • 3.5 mm — for head­phones.

If you are using a pre-2016 Mac­book as your source, you will need a Thun­der­Bolt port. For new ver­sions, you need to buy an adapter (VGA, HDMI, USB).

Additional expenses

When choos­ing a mul­ti­me­dia pro­jec­tor for your home the­ater, don’t for­get about addi­tion­al costs, such as lamps. Pho­to: Geof­frey Mor­ri­son, cnet.com

When choos­ing a pro­jec­tor for your home, con­sid­er the addi­tion­al costs:

  • lamp replace­ment. Pro­jec­tion lamps have a lim­it­ed lifes­pan and must be replaced after the expi­ra­tion date. Usu­al­ly this indi­ca­tor varies from 1000 to 15000 hours. Improp­er use of the pro­jec­tor will short­en the life of the pro­jec­tor (for exam­ple, for­eign objects on the pro­jec­tor cov­er dur­ing use, pow­er fail­ure). So, a lamp for BenQ pro­jec­tors costs from 3,460 to 31,360 rubles, depend­ing on the mod­el;
  • screen. Of course, you can use a white wall as a screen, but the pic­ture will be less bright and sat­u­rat­ed. It is bet­ter to buy a pro­jec­tion screen. The cost depends on var­i­ous para­me­ters. For exam­ple, this screen for the Cac­tus Moto­Ex­pert pro­jec­tor costs 76,890 rubles. It is made of high qual­i­ty mate­ri­als, has a flame retar­dant and anti­sta­t­ic coat­ing and a motor­ized dri­ve. Sim­ple mod­els like Lumien Eco Pic­ture 150x150 cm cost less than 3,000 rubles;
  • replace­ment fil­ters. Some pro­jec­tor mod­els have one or more dust fil­ters installed. They need to be cleaned reg­u­lar­ly (approx­i­mate­ly every 500 hours of oper­a­tion) and changed peri­od­i­cal­ly. For exam­ple, the cost of an air fil­ter for Epson home pro­jec­tors is about 1000 rubles.