Home Theater Projector Shootout: Home Theater Projectors under $1,000

If you want to spend less than a thousand bucks on a good home theater projector, here are five of the best new options on the market. This shootout compares five newly released 1920×1080 resolution home theater projectors that are priced between $799 and $999, including in alpha order the BenQ HT3050, the BenQ HT2050, the Epson Home Cinema 2040, the Optoma HD28DSE, and the Viewsonic LightStream PJD7835HD. To start with, here are the prices, warranties, and technology type:

MODEL PRICE WARRANTY TYPE
BenQ HT3050 $999 1 year DLP
BenQ HT2050 $799 1 year DLP
Epson Home Cinema 2040 $799 2 years 3LCD
Optoma HD28DSE $799 1 year DLP
Viewsonic PJD7835HD $899 3 years DLP

 

Which is the BEST Projector?

There is no such thing, at least in this group, as the “best” projector. Why? Because each of our five projectors has unique attributes that may be of more or less importance to you. For example, when one projector has deeper black levels but is not quite as sharp as another, people would disagree on which is the “best.” One projector might do an outstanding job with 2D but its 3D image is lackluster, while a different model has terrific 3D, but its 2D image is less impressive. Which of these projectors is the “best” for you depends on how important 3D viewing is to you.

No single projector in this shootout does everything the best — they’ve all got advantages and they’ve all got flaws. Our purpose here is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each product, and let you decide which one most closely meets your needs.

The Calibration Issue

There is a lot of discussion about color balance and calibration in these reviews. Let’s put this into perspective right up front. There are two truisms to bear in mind:

  1. Most consumers will think the factory calibrated pictures they get from any of the five projectors in this shootout are just fine as they are coming out of the box, without any need for adjustments or calibrations.
  2. The picture quality on virtually all projectors can be improved with a professional calibration.

Projector manufacturers are paying more attention to proper video calibrations than they used to. Some are promoting the fact that they are making a specific effort to target HD Rec 709 standards in their Movie or Cinema factory calibrations. Other vendors have created Cinema or Movie calibrations designed to target HD color standards without specifically marketing them as such. So the good news is that you are much more likely to pull a new projector out of the box, fire it up, and get a picture that blows you away without having to bother with a professional calibration.

HOWEVER. Though vendors are paying more attention to calibration for best video, it is only by the rarest of accidents that a projector comes out of the box perfectly calibrated. Factory calibrations are always approximations, as each unit and (more importantly) each lamp is different. The high pressure lamps used in inexpensive projectors do not emit the ideal 6500K white light; they tend to be biased toward blue-green. The Cinema or Rec 709 factory calibrations help to compensate for the anticipated color errors introduced by the lamps, but there is no way that vendors could afford to custom calibrate each unit for each individual lamp during the manufacturing process.

Bottom line, if you set up two different projectors side by side that have both been “factory pre-calibrated to Rec 709,” odds are the colors will look different. And, odds are, they are both wrong. But they will both look a lot better (that is, a lot closer to the theoretical ideal) than if no attempt at calibration had been done.

If you want your projector to be tuned up to its absolute best potential, a certified technician will need to spend a couple hours dialing it in. And even then, one person’s “optimal” picture may not be another’s. While there are objective targets defined as ideals, there is a lot of room for personal taste when it comes to setting up a video picture to your ultimate satisfaction.

The problem is, professional calibrations can cost $300 or more, which is a huge chunk of change to add to the cost of an $800 projector. Most buyers won’t do that. And for most buyers, it isn’t necessary. Think about this — TVs are just as erroneous as projectors, often more so. But when’s the last time you heard of anyone needing to hire a professional to calibrate their TV before they could enjoy the picture? Probably never.

So take the discussion about color balance and accuracy in these reviews with a grain of salt. They will mean something to serious home theater fans, and the issues are legitimate because people going to the trouble to install a projection system generally want better performance than the typical TV watcher. But all of the projectors in this group have factory defined picture modes that will dazzle and delight most consumers. They give you a big screen experience you can love without messing with any calibration at all. Once you install one of them and get familiar with its features, how much of a stickler you may want to be for fine tuning and technical precision is up to you.

Performance

This section contains meter measurements on the five projectors pertaining to lumen output, brightness uniformity, and input lag.

2D Brightness. For traditional 2D movie and video display, all five of these projectors produce more than ample light for dark room home theater. In their brightest configurations that are still balanced for very good video, four of the five come in so close that it would make no sense to choose one or the other based on brightness. The Viewsonic PJD7835HD is the one exception that puts out more light.

ANSI Lumens in Brightest Cinema Modes

MODEL Lumens
BenQ HT3050 1550
BenQ HT2050 1688
Epson 2040 1725
Optoma HD28DSE 1667
Viewsonic PJD7835HD 2310

 

ANSI Lumens in Standard Cinema Modes (lamps on full power)

MODEL Lumens
BenQ HT3050 1160
BenQ HT2050 1255
Epson 2040 1519
Optoma HD28DSE 1601
Viewsonic PJD7835HD 1616

 

In their preset Cinema modes, the Epson 2040, Optoma HD28, and Viewsonic 7835HD are somewhat brighter than the BenQ HT2050 and HT3050. But even the least bright measurement of 1160 lumens is more than ample light for most dark theater applications.

Eco modes. All five projectors have eco-modes that reduce total lumen output in all modes in the event light output at full lamp power is too much for your needs. Optoma’s eco-mode cuts light by 26%, Epson’s by 34%, and the two BenQ models are reduced 32%. The Viewsonic has two eco modes. The standard Eco cuts light by 27%, and the Super-Eco cuts it by a whopping 78% (a curious option for which we cannot see a high demand).

Zoom lens effect. The 1.3x zoom lenses on the two BenQ models will allow you to reduce lumen output by up to 27% as you move to the telephoto end of the zoom range. Why? As you move the lens from wide angle to telephoto, it reduces the amount of light that is transmitted through the lens. The Viewsonic has a 1.36x zoom that will reduce light up to 23% at the telephoto end. This gives users of these models a bit more latitude for lowering maximum brightness if they need to. Meanwhile the Epson 2040 and Optoma HD28 have shorter zooms of 1.2x and 1.1x respectively. The light output of the Epson and Optoma projectors is not significantly altered by the zoom position.

3D Brightness. Though these five projectors are similar in 2D image brightness, the similarities evaporate entirely when switching to 3D operation. The Epson HC 2040 has a commanding advantage in 3D image brightness over all four of its competitors. It is well over twice as bright as the closest runner up, the Optoma HD28DSE. In turn, the HD28DSE is obviously brighter than the remaining three.

Brightness Uniformity. A theoretically perfect projector will have 100% uniformity, displaying identical illumination across the screen side to side and top to bottom. We’ve never seen one do this. Practically speaking in today’s world, 90% uniformity is excellent, 80% is good, 70% is fair to mediocre, and 60% is poor. These numbers represent ratios between the brightest part of the image and the dimmest. So a projector with 60% uniformity will be 40% less bright in the dimmest area of the image than in its brightest.

For the most part, low brightness uniformity is not noticeable when viewing a video or film image. What you generally get is fading toward the sides or corners that you are not conscious of unless the projector has some visible vignetting. So the flaw is subtle — you are not seeing the picture as it is meant to be seen, but you are not aware that it is wrong. Once you throw a 100 IRE white test pattern onto the screen, the degree of unevenness of your projector’s image becomes apparent.

Our five 1080p projectors in this group yield brightness uniformity measurements as follows:

MODEL Uniformity
BenQ HT3050 73%
BenQ HT2050 67%
Epson 2040 84%
Optoma HD28DSE 71%
Viewsonic PJD7835HD 65%

 

Input Lag. The time lag that exists between the time the projector receives the signal and the time it appears on the screen is called input lag. A lengthy input lag will produce visible lip synch issues and may have some impact on video gaming results. The lip synch problem can be easily overcome with the use of an audio delay that brings the sound and the picture back into synch. But there is no fix for video gaming, so those who are into serious competitive gaming tend to look for video displays with the lowest input lags.

MODEL INPUT LAG
BenQ HT3050 49.7 ms
BenQ HT2050 33.1 ms
Epson Home Cinema 2040 24.6 ms
Optoma HD28DSE 49.7 ms
Viewsonic PJD7835HD 49.7 ms

Set Up / Installation

None of these five projectors have long zoom lenses or extensive lens shift, so your options are limited on where you can place them to fill your particular screen. The BenQ models have a 1.3x zoom lens and some limited lens shift, and the Viewsonic has a 1.36x zoom, so they offer a bit more latitude.

The throw distances for the BenQ and Epson units are almost identical. If you have a 16:9, 120″ diagonal screen, the HT3050 and 2050 will fill it from a distance of 10 to 13 feet, and the Epson 2040 will fill it from 10.5 to 12.75 feet. The Viewsonic gives you the ability to position it slightly closer, from 9.6 to 13 feet. The Optoma HD28DSE needs a bit more throw distance, 13 to 14 feet, to accommodate the same 120″ screen. This can be a good thing since it may allow placement of the projector behind the seating area and a bit further from the audience.

If your screen is something other than 120″ diagonal, you can find throw distance details using the Projector Central Projection Calculator. Here is the Projection Calculator pre-loaded with each of the five models … BenQ HT3050BenQ HT2050Epson HC 2040Optoma HD28DSEViewsonic PJD7835HD. Adjust the screen size and throw distance parameters to suit your needs.

Image offset is another factor to keep in mind. Each of these projectors throws an image that is entirely or mostly above the centerline of the lens. The two BenQ models and the Optoma throw a picture so that the bottom edge is above the centerline of the lens by about 8% of the picture height.

In addition, the two BenQ projectors have a lens shift capability that will let you raise the picture up to another 10% of the picture height (or about 6″ on a 120″ screen). This lets you compensate for minor errors in mounting in a way that the other products don’t, and makes it easier to target a pre-installed screen.

The Epson HC 2040 is unique among the five in that its projection offset is quite a bit lower — the bottom edge of the projected image is located below the centerline of the lens, by an amount equal to about 13% of the picture height, or about 8″ below the centerline on a 120″ screen. The advantage of this placement is that it makes it easier to install on a rack or shelf located behind the audience without having to tilt it to position the image properly on the wall. This lets you avoid the keystone correction that would be required to square up the image if you had to tilt the projector downward, as you would need to do with the BenQ, Optoma, and Viewsonic units.

There are two further issues to be aware of if you plan to place the HC 2040 on a rear shelf behind the seats. First, it will require you to sit at a position of about 1.3x the screen width or closer. You may or may not want to sit that close to the screen, and it is worth sorting that out before you make your final decision. Second, fan noise may be bothersome if the projector is placed immediately behind and too close to the heads of the audience. This is especially the case if the projector is to be run in full power mode.

The downside to the Epson 2040’s lower throw angle is that if you place it on a coffee table it may throw the image too low, or if you invert and ceiling mount it, it will throw the image too high. For ceiling mounting, this is fixed by using an extension drop tube. The HC 2040 will need to be suspended one or two feet lower from the ceiling than would be required with the competing units.

The bottom line is that the lens throw geometry of the BenQ HT3050 and HT2050 favors a ceiling mount or coffee table placement, and its lens shift makes it easier to target a pre-installed screen. The Optoma HD28DSE and Viewsonic 7835HD also favor a ceiling or table mount, but they have no lens shift. All four of the DLP projectors are a bit more problematic for rear shelf placement due to the probable need to tilt the units downward and use keystone to square it up (which is scaling that compromises the 1 to 1 pixel mapping from an HD 1080p source). The Epson HC 2040 is designed to accommodate a rear shelf placement more easily, and if you ceiling mount it, you will need to position it at a greater vertical distance from the ceiling than you would the competing units by using a longer drop tube.

Lamp Life and Replacement Lamp Cost

Lamp life has continued to improve in the industry. Keep in mind that lamp life specs are based on the anticipated time the lamp’s brightness will diminish to 50% of its original luminance. However, high pressure lamps do not degrade on a straight-line basis; they lose about 25% of their power in the first 500 to 1000 hours, and then degrade more slowly after that. For this reason, many serious home theater users replace lamps more frequently than the official lamp life in order to keep their projectors performing their best. If you want to follow this strategy, the lamp replacement cost becomes a factor in your decision.

Lamp Life Specifications

MODEL FULL Power ECO Mode
BenQ HT3050 3500 hours 6000 hours
BenQ HT2050 3500 hours 6000 hours
Epson Home Cinema 2040 4000 hours 7500 hours
Optoma HD28DSE 4000 hours 8000 hours
Viewsonic PJD7835HD 3500 hours 8000 hours

 

Replacement Lamp Prices (as quoted by the manufacturers)

MODEL Price
BenQ HT3050 $249
BenQ HT2050 $249
Epson 2040 $  79
Optoma HD28DSE $179
Viewsonic PJD7835HD $329

BenQ HT3050

The BenQ HT3050 is an impressive projector that succeeds in part by avoiding the common flaws typical of home theater projectors in this price range. It delivers an exceptional picture out of the box that many will find perfectly enjoyable without any tweaking. On our sample, we selected the Cinema mode, and preferred to open up the mid-tones a bit by boosting Brightness to 51, Contrast to 53, and adjusting gamma from 2.2 to 2.1. This is not a recommendation, as your unit and your tastes may vary.

Strengths / Advantages

Pre-calibrated Rec 709 Cinema mode. One of the key features of the HT3050 is its Cinema mode that has been factory set to target Rec 709 standards. No factory precalibration will be ideal for all units coming off the line, but this one gets the picture closer to standards than typical factory settings. The picture looks great standing on its own, and we suspect few users would want to bother with the expense of a custom calibration. It can be improved with further tweaking, but it is not necessary.

Rainbows? What rainbows? The RGBRGB wheel configuration and rapid refresh rate bring rainbow artifacts to an absolute minimum, which for all practical purposes will be non-existent for many users.

Outstanding Audio. The twin 10W stereo speakers blow all the others away. If you want or need your projector to have some robust audio, this is the one to get.

Low Fan Noise. The fan noise on the HT3050 (and HT2050) in full power mode is the lowest and least noticeable in the group in both sound pressure and frequency. It also does not vary in pitch or pressure which is a good thing that is not true of all projectors in this shootout.

Lens shift. While not extensive in range, the HT3050 (and HT2050) lets you shift the lens in order to move the image up and down about 10% of the picture height. This can make it much easier to target a pre-installed screen, or make a small adjustment after you’ve made an error in screen installation after the fact. None of the competing units have this.

1.3x zoom lens. The 1.3x zoom lenses provide a bit more flexibility in throw distance, and the choice of throw distance can be used to fine tune the projector’s light output if necessary.

Black levels. Black levels, while not as deep as the Optoma HD28, are the second best in the group, and are sufficiently deep to produce good snap. Contrast is equally competitive, not quite at HD28 level but solid and nothing to complain about.

Weaknesses

3D performance. The HT3050 has the least bright 3D picture in the shootout. Color saturation is somewhat muted compared to the Epson 2040 and Optoma HD28. Standing alone, the HT3050’s 3D picture is certainly quite engaging and enjoyable, so if you have only a passing interest in 3D, this projector will get you by. But if you are a big 3D fan and tend to complain about the dimness of 3D imagery, the HT3050 would not be the first choice.

Light output. Light output in 2D display is around 1160 lumens in Cinema mode, which is plenty sufficient for most home theater needs. It is only a weakness by comparison with competing units in this group that average closer to 1600 lumens and thus would be able to accommodate more ambient light, should that be desired.

Input lag. The HT3050’s 49.7 ms matches the Viewsonic and the Optoma, but it is not as quick as the HT2050 at 33.1 ms, or the Epson 2040 at 24.6 ms. If you are not into serious gaming this is a non-issue, but if you are, this may be an issue to consider.

Brightness uniformity. The HT3050 and HT2050 both have relatively low brightness uniformity compared to ideal home theater standards. However, they share this limitation with the other DLP models in this shootout, so they are not uniquely poor in this regard. This is a flaw that tends to get lost and unnoticed in a video image, so as flaws go it is easy to live with.

Slow signal lock. The HT3050 is the slowest of the five units to find and lock on a signal. This is noticed typically when loading a new disc. You see a lot of “searching for signal” messages when the Blu-ray player is sending different signals that alternate between 480 to 1080/60 to 1080/24. The practical consequence is that you may never see preliminary notices like the MPAA rating screen or the FBI warning, and you may hear the dramatic fanfare of the movie studio’s logo on your sound system before the video image appears on the screen. However, once the projector locks onto a stable 1080p/24 movie signal it is fine, so most users will consider the initial instability to be a minor nuisance. All of the DLP projectors in this shootout do this to some degree; the Epson 2040 is the only one in this group that rapidly locks on a new signal format.

One-year warranty. BenQ offers a one-year warranty on the HT3050, which is the minimum found in the industry today.

Price and Replacement Lamp. The $999 price is the highest in the group and the $249 replacement lamp price is rather hefty; it is not as bad as the Viewsonic lamp at $329, but Epson’s $79 lamp price stands in a league of its own.

Summary Assessment

The BenQ HT3050 produces a solid and thoroughly engaging picture without the need for pro calibration. Its black levels, shadow definition, and contrast are competitive, rainbows are rare, and fan noise is low, steady, and unobtrusive. The 1.3x zoom lens with lens shift makes it the easiest of the projectors in this group to ceiling mount. Part of the charm of the HT3050 is that BenQ has eliminated most of the common flaws people object to in lower priced projectors.

Furthermore, the weaknesses that it does have do not rise to the level of big problems for most buyers. Its 3D is the least bright and saturated of the competing models, but for those who watch 3D only occasionally this is not a big deal; it provides sufficiently good 3D performance to satisfy the occasional use. Brightness uniformity is lower than ideal, but it is not generally noticeable on the screen. Input lag of 49.7 ms may be a concern for serious gamers, but not for the rest of the world. And its slowness to lock on a signal is a minor nuisance that only happens before the movie gets going.

The HT3050’s price of $999 is the highest in this group, the one-year warranty is minimal, and $249 for a replacement lamp may be a concern for people who plan to put a lot of hours on their projector. But overall, we expect that many will see the particular configuration of benefits offered by the HT3050 to be a very attractive value proposition.

BenQ HT2050

The BenQ HT2050 is built on the same platform as the HT3050, and it also is an impressive projector that succeeds in part by avoiding the common flaws in home theater projectors in this price range. It lacks a few features that are found on the HT3050, including a factory calibrated Rec 709 Cinema mode, stereo sound, horizontal keystone adjustment, MHL-compatibility, and the option to add a soon-to-be released wireless module for an additional $399. But you save $200 by going with the HT2050 instead of the HT3050.

Strengths / Advantages

Rainbows a non-issue. The RGBRGB wheel configuration and rapid refresh rate bring rainbow artifacts to an absolute minimum, which for all practical purposes will be non-existent for many users.

Low Fan Noise. The fan noise on the HT2050 (and HT3050) in full power mode is the lowest and least noticeable in the group in both sound pressure and frequency.

Input lag. The HT2050’s 33.1 ms is quite good. It is faster than the HT3050, the Optoma HD28 and the Viewsonic which all measure 49.7 ms, but it is not quite as quick as the Epson at 24.6 ms.

Lens shift. While not extensive in range, the HT2050 (and HT3050) lets you shift the lens in order to move the image up and down about 10% of the picture height. This can make it much easier to target a pre-installed screen, or make a small adjustment after you’ve made an error in screen installation after the fact. None of the competing units have this.

1.3x zoom lens. The 1.3x zoom lenses provide a bit more flexibility in throw distance, and the choice of throw distance can be used to fine tune the projector’s light output if necessary.

Black levels. Black levels, while not as deep as the Optoma HD28, are the second best in the group, and are sufficiently deep to produce good snap. Contrast is equally competitive, not quite at HD28 level but solid and nothing to complain about.

Above Average Audio. The single 10W stereo speaker does not compare to the twin 10W configuration on the HT3050, but it outperforms the audio on the other competing units in this group.

Price. At $799 the HT2050, along with the Epson 2040 and Optoma HD28, are the three least expensive models in the group.

Weaknesses

3D performance. The HT2050 is just slightly brighter than the HT3050, but one of the least bright 3D pictures in the shootout. Color saturation is muted compared to the Epson 2040 and Optoma HD28. Standing alone, the HT2050’s 3D picture is certainly engaging and enjoyable, so if you have only a passing interest in 3D, this projector will get you by. But if you are among those who complain about the dimness of 3D imagery, the HT2050 would not be the first choice.

No MHL Compatibility. The HT2050 is the only projector in this group of five that does not have MHL.

Brightness uniformity. The 2050 and 3050 both have low brightness uniformity, which they share with the other DLP models in this shootout. This is a flaw that tends to get lost and unnoticed in a video image, so as flaws go it is easy to live with.

Slow signal lock. The HT2050 is relatively slow to find and lock on a signal. This is noticed mostly when loading a new disc. There are a lot of “searching for signal” messages as the Blu-ray player may alternate between 480 to 1080/60 to 1080/24. However, once it locks on to a stable signal it has no problem retaining it. The HT2050 appears to be a bit faster than the HT3050 in this regard.

One-year warranty. BenQ offers a one-year warranty on the HT2050, which is the minimum found in the industry today.

Replacement Lamp. The $249 replacement lamp price is rather hefty; it is not as bad as the Viewsonic at $329, but Epson’s $79 price stands in a league of its own.

Summary Assessment

Much of what was said of the HT3050 can be said of the HT2050 as well. At $799 it is competitively priced and delivers an impressive picture for the money. Its factory calibrations are perfectly watchable as they are, but color in Cinema mode is not dialed in quite as well as it is on the HT3050. Though not required to enjoy the projector, a custom calibration will noticeably improve the picture quality. If you DO plan to spend $300 on a custom calibration, the HT2050 would be the more cost-effective choice over the HT3050 unless you want or need the HT3050’s other features — MHL, horizontal keystone, more robust stereo on-board sound, and the option to add a wireless module.

As with the HT3050, black levels, shadow definition, and contrast are competitive, rainbows are rare, and fan noise is low and unobtrusive. The 1.3x zoom lens with lens shift makes it the easiest of the projectors in this group to ceiling mount. Most of the common flaws people object to in lower priced projectors do not appear on this one. Furthermore, the weaknesses that it does have are not big problems for most buyers. Though slightly brighter than the HT3050, its 3D is similarly low in brightness and saturation compared to the competition, but for those who watch 3D only occasionally this is not a big deal; it provides sufficiently good 3D performance to satisfy the occasional use. Brightness uniformity is lower than ideal, but it is not generally noticeable on the screen.

The HT2050’s input lag of 33.1 ms will look more attractive to gamers than the 49.7 ms on the HT3050. On the other hand, the absence of MHL compatibility will hinder the use of smartphones and tablets as sources, and the HT2050 is the only projector in the group without this feature. The one-year warranty and $249 price for a replacement lamp may be a concern for people who plan to put a lot of hours on their projector. But overall, we expect that many will see the HT2050’s particular configuration of benefits to be a very attractive value proposition for $799. People who buy it will love it.

Epson Home Cinema 2040

The Epson HC 2040 is the best home theater projector yet produced by Epson in this price range. It is the only 3LCD product in the group of five, and in many respects it is radically different than its DLP competitors. It has performance features and advantages none of the others have, along with a couple of unique weaknesses. To the videophile, the 3LCD picture looks qualitatively different than DLP, with both advantages and disadvantages. Preference for one over the other is a matter of personal taste, so we’ll try to describe the differences and let you decide which appeals to you the most.

Strengths / Advantages

3D Performance. The single most dramatic advantage of the 2040 is its performance in 3D. Image brightness is the chronic problem with most 3D implementations, and the 2040 is by far the brightest of the five units in this comparison. When in full power mode it is double the brightness of the next closest competitor, the Optoma HD28, which in turn is twice as bright as the rest of the competition. And even when the 2040 is in eco-mode, its 3D picture is visibly brighter than the HD28 in full lamp. Not only is the 2040’s 3D image bright, it is rich and vibrant in color, and high in contrast. The black level limitations that appear in 2D display do not exist in 3D; instead you get deep solid blacks and ample shadow detail definition. For buyers who are heavily into 3D, the 2040 is the standout choice among the five.

Very Sharp Picture. Perhaps the sharpest image of the five, rivaled only by the Optoma HD28. Sharpness is due in part to the Detail Clarity Processor brought down from the 5030/6030 models. As with any sharpening algorithm, it can be overdone to the point where the picture looks artificially harsh. However, in modest use (we set ours to 30%) it lends a natural refinement of detail and makes the picture look higher in resolution than it does on competing units.

Film-like image. The 3LCD picture on the 2040 has a more natural, analog looking aspect to it than do the DLPs in this group. This is difficult to describe, but there is a qualitative smoothness in the image that will appeal to videophiles.

Input Lag. The 2040 measures 24.6 ms input lag, the fastest of the group, and in fact the fastest projector we’ve measured in a long time.

Frame Interpolation. The 2040 is the only product among these five that has frame interpolation. This optional feature can be set to Low to reduce the occasional camera panning judder in movie projection. If set to Medium or High it will produce too much hyper-reality (the soap opera effect) for movie viewing. However, the High setting works well for stabilizing video of live performances such as concerts or dance, where the more visual reality the better.

Rainbows are non-existent. The 3-chip light engine delivers simultaneous color updates, so rainbow artifacts do not exist.

Low Fan Noise in Eco-mode. The fan noise in eco-mode is identical to the noise on the BenQ models, which is to say the lowest that it gets among these five models.

Lower throw offset. The 2040 has a lower throw offset than any of the DLPs which makes it more suitable for mounting on a shelf behind the seats. This may or may not be an advantage depending on how you plan to install it. Shelf mounting saves you the cost of a ceiling mount and long run cables as well as the work to install it. However, if you do plan to ceiling mount your projector, the 2040 will require a longer drop tube than you would use with any of the DLP models.

Brightness uniformity. Our 2040 test unit measures 84%, compared to the low 70’s or worse on the other four units. So the 2040 is the only model among the five that can be said to have good uniformity.

Miracast, Intel WiDi Option. Epson offers a variation of the 2040 called the Home Cinema 2045. It is $50 more than the 2040, and it includes support for Miracast and Intel WiDi.

Rapid synch on new signals. The 2040 is the fastest of the group to recognize and synch on a new signal format. So when loading a Blu-ray disc, as it initially cycles through varying signal formats for the MPAA rating, the FBI alert screen, and the movie studio logo splash sequences, it displays these without any stumbling around or multiple intermittent “searching for signal” messages. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it is a difference you experience every time you load a new disc.

Price. At $799 the Epson 2040, along with the BenQ HT2050 and Optoma HD28, are the three least expensive models in the group.

Cheap Replacement Lamp. The $79 replacement lamp price is pretty much unheard of, and seriously undercuts the high prices of the competition. At this price, there is a real benefit to be aware of. You can always expect high pressure lamps to lose 25% of their initial brightness during the first 500 to 1000 hours of operation. They will then degrade more slowly until they hit 50% of their initial brightness at end of life. Because of this, serious home theater users with higher priced projectors often replace lamps more frequently than the lamp life would suggest, in order to keep their equipment performing at its best. At a price of $79, you can adopt this practice on the 2040 without serious financial impact.

Two-year warranty. Epson’s two-year warranty on the 2040 beats the one-year programs offered by BenQ and Optoma, but Viewsonic’s three-year deal is the best in this group.

Weaknesses

Black levels in 2D. The most notable weakness in the 2040 is black level in 2D display, which is not as deep as it is on the DLP competition. By comparison, the Optoma HD28 has the deepest blacks and highest contrast. The weakness in black level is most apparent on a 2D image that is mostly black, such as rolling credits, and in predominantly dark scenes where there is a lot of shadow detail. With this subject matter the DLP projectors will render a blacker background and provide better shadow detail definition.

Fan noise in full lamp mode. The 2040 is the loudest of the five models when in full lamp mode. We presume many users will opt for eco-mode, which brings fan noise down to the equivalent level of the BenQ units. The good news is that even in eco-mode the 2040 has a brighter picture than most of the competition.

No lens shift. The two BenQ models have some lens shift range that will make them easier to install. The 2040, the HD28, and the PJD7835HD lack this feature.

Average on-board audio. It’s not bad for a portable unit and it beats the anemic HD28 audio, but the audio on the 2040 pales in comparison to what you get on the HT3050 and even the HT2050.

Summary Assessment

The Epson Home Cinema 2040 is the most impressive home theater projector yet produced by Epson under $1000. It is uniquely outstanding in 3D, easily outperforming the competition with this type of content. Its image with 2D content is bright and sharp with excellent color, clarity, and a natural film-like quality.

The HC 2040’s factory calibrations in its Cinema and Bright Cinema modes are reasonably good and certainly watchable without calibration. However, some tweaking by a knowledgeable user or a professional calibration will improve its ultimate performance. We ended up making some tweaks to the Bright Cinema mode that produced a brilliant and very satisfying image. Its primary weakness is black levels and shadow definition in scenes with an abundance of dark and shadow. Fan noise is also louder than desirable when the projector is run in full power, but it is quiet in eco-mode. Since the projector produces exceptional brightness in eco-mode and we suspect most users will opt for that.

Epson’s consumer friendly 2-year warranty and $79 replacement lamp price, along with the fact that its $799 price is attractive in itself, will make it easy for many to make a decision for the HC 2040.

Optoma HD28DSE

The Optoma HD28DSE is capable of producing what many might consider to be the best 2D picture in this group of five models, but it does not come that way out of the box. When you first fire it up, its factory default calibrations are disturbing. Saturation and sharpness are way overdriven, white is extremely out of balance, and the picture looks quite harsh. However it is remarkably easy to fix with a few simple adjustments. First, switch it from Vivid to Cinema mode. Second, reduce the Sharpness control from 12 to 8. Third, reduce color saturation from 10 to 0. Fourth, reduce Brilliant Color from 8 to 2. Fifth, reduce the DarbeeVision video processing from its factory 80% setting to 20%. And voila, you have a vastly improved 2D video image with solid black levels, sparkling contrast, impressive three-dimensionality, and reasonably well calibrated color that will compete well against any of the competition in this shootout.

Strengths / Advantages

Deepest blacks, best contrast. The HD28DSE carries a contrast rating of 30,000:1 compared to the 15,000:1 ratings on the BenQ models and 22,000:1 on the Viewsonic. In this instance the contrast ratings do translate to a visible competitive advantage. We see marginally deeper black levels, better shadow detail separation, higher overall contrast, and more image three-dimensionality on the HD28 than on any of the competing models. However, we would describe the differences as more subtle than dramatic.

Rainbows are scarce. We see a few more rainbows on the HD28 than we do on the BenQ models, but they are scarce enough that they don’t rise to the level of a concern. By comparison there is more rainbow activity on the Viewsonic.

Very good 3D performance. The HD28 cannot match the Epson 2040 in 3D brightness or richness, but it occupies an impressive second place, surpassing the other DLP models handily in both image brightness and color vibrancy.

Sharp picture. The HD28DSE is unique in that it has the DarbeeVision video processing system which none of the other models have. (“DSE” in the model name stands for Darbee Special Edition). This can be enabled or not as the user wishes. In our experimenting, we find that using the DarbeeVision system in a modest setting of about 20% contributes beneficially to image sharpness and clarity without making it appear unnaturally processed. So it is a significant feature that places the HD28DSE in a tie with the Epson 2040 as the two sharpest projectors in the shootout.

Four corner correction. The HD28 has not only vertical and horizontal keystone correction, but independent four corner correction as well. So if you need to install this unit at oblique angles to the projection surface, it is easy to square up the image. Anyone setting up the projector for permanent use in a home theater should make every effort to position the projector square with the screen to begin with so no keystone adjustments of any kind are required, but if you need this feature it is available.

Weaknesses

Variable fan noise. The fan noise oscillates somewhat and appears to be related to average picture level and internal operating temperature. There is an intermittent higher pitched tone that comes and goes, which does not exist on any of the other units. Moreover, overall loudness of the fan increases and decreases over time. The varying pitch and tone of the fan noise draws more attention than does any fan with a constant pitch and sound pressure.

Factory presets excessive. When first firing it up, the HD28 defaults to a rather bright, oversaturated, very harsh image. The good news is that it is easy to fix as described above.

1.1x zoom and fixed throw offset. With no lens shift and almost no zoom, the HD28 is the most restrictive of the five models in terms of the precision required to install the projector.

Lower than expected lumens. The HD28 has ample firepower for most home theater and home entertainment use and it is competitive with the other units in the group. But it falls noticeably short of its 3000 lumen rating.

Weak onboard speaker. If you listen carefully the speaker will give you an idea what a movie’s audio track is all about, but despite its 10-watt rating it is not very loud even at max volume. Onboard sound is the worst of the five models here.

Input lag. The measured lag of 49.7 ms matches the BenQ HT3050 and Viewsonic PJD7835HD, but it is slower than the HT2050 and Epson 2040. If you’re a serious gamer, this may be a consideration.

One-year warranty. Optoma’s one-year warranty on the HD28DSE is an industry minimum, matching BenQ, but falling short of Epson’s two-years or Viewsonic’s three years.

Price and Replacement Lamp. The $799 price is attractive and the $179 replacement lamp price looks good compared to BenQ and Viewsonic, but it is quite a bit more than Epson’s $79 lamp.

Summary Assessment

After getting rid of the overdriven factory presets, the Optoma HD28DSE turns into a beautiful projector with best in class black levels and contrast. The DarbeeVision system is a unique feature that can enhance the picture if used modestly, but can destroy the picture if used at aggressive settings. The HD28DSE’s Cinema and 3D modes in particular can be enjoyed without calibration, other than the initial adjustments needed to remove the excessive processing. Rainbows occur infrequently enough that they do not amount to an issue of consequence.

3D performance is above average in the group. It is more robust than the other DLP projectors, but falls short of the Epson. The only ongoing annoyance is the unpredictable fan noise. The HD28DSE is best suited for low table or ceiling mounting. Be careful where you put it, as the 1.1x zoom and zero lens shift severely limits placement options for any given screen size and location.

At $799, you get a projector that is capable of delivering a beautiful, relatively bright high contrast 2D image that is highly competitive with the BenQ models, but it needs a bit of tweaking to get it there. The DarbeeVision system gives it an edge in image sharpness/acuity when used modestly. Overall, a great value in an entry level projector.

Viewsonic LightStream PJD7835HD

The Viewsonic PJD7835HD, priced at $899, is in many respects the best home theater projector yet released by Viewsonic. It comes with several pre-calibrated operating modes including Viewmatch, which targets Rec 709 standards. On our test sample, the Viewmatch mode is rather lackluster and slightly biased toward green. We get a far more dynamic, balanced, and exciting picture when switching to Movie mode and adjusting the color temperature to Warm. In this mode the PJD7835HD puts out a beautiful, bright, and very competitive image.

Strengths / Advantages

Brightest of the bunch. The 7835HD is rated at 3500 lumens, and our sample measured 3503 lumens. This is the brightest of the five models in the group. It produces a reasonably well balanced video image at about 2300 lumens, notably brighter than the brightest of the competition. So it offers a unique advantage in combatting ambient light.

Solid red, excellent color. The red primary on this projector is more solid than on any of the competing units which tend to have a touch of orangish hue in the reds. Once calibrated, the 7835HD is capable of extremely accurate color.

1.36x zoom A slightly longer zoom range than the 1.3x on the BenQ models gives the 7835HD the award for the longest zoom range in the group. Practically speaking, it means that you can place the projector slightly closer to the screen for any given screen size than you can any of the competition.

Good onboard audio. While the HT3050 is the king of audio and the HT2050 is in second place, the 16W speaker is a good performer with reasonable volume and no distortion. It comes in third, but very close to the HT2050. It is much louder and clearer than the speakers on the Optoma or Epson units.

Black levels and contrast. Despite the higher light output, the 7835HD is capable of generating solid black levels. They are not quite as deep as the Optoma or BenQ’s but they are very close. Contrast is highly competitive with the BenQ models, matching or edging them just slightly.

3-year warranty. Viewsonic includes an aggressive 3-year warranty in the price, which is something nobody else does.

Weaknesses

Rainbow activity. The 7835HD’s most problematic weakness is rainbow artifacts, which tend to show up more frequently than on the other DLP projectors in this group. This comes from an RGBCYW color wheel rotating at 7200 RPM. Rainbows will tend to be most problematic for people who like to sit close to the screen, a practice that maximizes the eye movement. You will never see rainbows if you don’t move your eyes, so sitting farther back from a screen reduces your cone of vision and thus eye movement.

Fan noise. In full power mode the fan noise is somewhat more present than it is on the BenQ models in full lamp mode, or the Epson 2040 in eco-mode. But you get a brighter picture for that as part of the trade off. It is not as loud as the Epson in full power mode. It is very low in pitch, so it is not terribly distracting. However, as with the Optoma HD28 it does tend to vary up and down apparently in response to internal operating temperatures.

3D picture. Though the 7835HD is quite bright in 2D it loses its brightness advantage in 3D.

Input lag. The measured lag of 49.7 ms on the 7835HD matches the Optoma and the BenQ HT3050, but it is slower than the Epson 2040 and the BenQ HT2050.

Low Brightness Uniformity. None of the DLP projectors perform well on this parameter, but the 65% measured on the 7835HD was a tad lower than the competition.

Replacement lamp. If you want or need a new lamp, the price is a hefty $329, which is noticeably more than any of the competition.

Summary Assessment

Viewsonic is on the move, looking to become a significant player in home theater projection. Their beautiful little PJD5555W, a 1280×800 resolution projector now selling for under $500, was the first model in their line to offer the Viewmatch Rec 709 mode. The PJD7835HD boosts resolution to 1920×1080 and continues their focus on excellent color dynamics.

At $899, the LightStream PJD7835HD is priced in the middle of the group. Its key advantage is extra brightness and it is capable of putting out a superb picture. Its extra brightness comes in part from the white segment in the color wheel. In its very brightest preset modes the extra white light compromises color saturation and rendered an imbalanced picture. But the projector offers sufficient controls to dial in a very appealing trade off that gives you a picture that is brighter than the competition with ample color saturation that is not visibly compromised.

The biggest concern for some buyers will be the level of rainbow activity which is higher than any of the competing units. But if you are among those who are not sensitive to or bothered by rainbow artifacts, the Viewsonic PJD7835HD is a solid alternative for buyers who want a bright 2D picture with great color, black level and contrast.

Tips For Choosing Portable Sound Systems For Any Event

Anchor Audio specializes in portable sound systems, and they have for over 40 years. Theystarted out with one portable sound system, but long ago expanded to include options and features to cover all kinds of events. Their systems are most commonly used in settings such as education, worship services, weddings and other community events, sports and band, auctions, government, as well as specialty systems for first responders and military.

What they have found is that customers who have never purchased a portable sound system aren’t really sure what they need in a sound system. Taking the time to consider carefully what you need in the way of a sound system or public address system and also considering what you may value in the future can help narrow down your options.

How and Where to Use a Portable Sound System

The most significant advantage of a portable sound system is there is no restriction on how or where it can be used. This makes it ideal for community centers, schools, businesses and event managers to have on hand.

Knowing a little bit about your application will help in picking the right system for your needs. Some factors to keep in mind are approximate crowd size, indoor vs. outdoor use, and who might be using the system. Anchor offers portable sound systems for smaller crowds (ideal for education applications), larger crowds (a great versatile option), as well as systems that will do it all (best value). Knowing where you will use the system also helps in deciding if you want a traditional speaker set up on a stand or if you’d be better off with a simple setup line array.

By choosing a system with multiple uses there is a greater range of possibilities and applications for the sound system. This is an important consideration for the future as well as for your current needs. Making the choice to purchase a top-quality, US made, portable sound system is rewarding to those who value both intelligibility in their sound as well as longevity in the life of their product.

Battery Power Means Portability

To Anchor, portability means having the ability to provide top quality sound, anywhere. They believe portability means location that is not dependent upon a power outlet.

Give yourself 6 – 8 hours or more with a battery powered system. Perfect for indoor and outdoor use alike, these come as a fully contained sound system, just connect a microphone and a media player you are ready to go.

Sound Requirements

Anchor and PSS always recommend our clients look to a portable sound system which will exceed their maximum requirements for today. This keeps your options open to address different sound needs in the future without needing to upgrade or add on services.

In addition, many portable sound systems can be doubled in capacity and crowd coverage by just adding a companion speaker. This is the most cost effective and versatile way to upgrade so that you are ready for your next event, before it’s even ready for you.


This post was brought to you by Anchor Audio, a PSS Featured Vendor.  Anchor Audio is a manufacturer of top quality portable sound systems that are made in the USA and are covered by a six year warranty. Click here to browse all of their products.

Apple TV: A “Must-Have” for Your Office

Written by: Jordan Cary

Initially, that title might sound a bit contradictory. Like trying to combine work and play, which don’t really belong together. But it’s not contradictory. The Apple TV is a perfect fit, and in fact a “must-have” for any office, conference room, work room, or auditorium… Here’s why:

Background

In recent years, the conversation regarding BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) has gained momentum. With more and more people having laptops, smartphones and tablets that contain the vast majority of their information, gone are the days where people wanted a computer at their meeting location where they could load a presentation or image. Now, people have the content on their device, and they want to be able to show it quickly, accurately, and consistently. While many projectors, TV’s, and other display devices feature a form of BYOD or mobile presentation compatibility, most require either the user download a unique application to their device, or that the content be in a unique format, or that the device be connected with a wire. None of these are good solutions. Additionally, most BYOD solutions allow for only static images to be presented. They don’t allow for motion, such as video, or scrolling through text or webpages. Another reason these are not good solutions.

The Solution

So, what is the solution? If none of the other alternatives are worth the investment, which device is worth the investment? Enter, the Apple TV. Whether you’re in a corporate, education, non-profit, house of worship, or government setting, the Apple TV provides a cost-effective and feature-rich solution to the issue of BYOD.  At just $99, the Apple TV allows iOS and OSX users to connect to a display device via a wireless network and present any form of content. From device mirroring, to HD video, to webpages, and everything in between, content looks great on your display with the Apple TV.

With an Apple TV, your team can all bring their own devices to any meeting or event and be able to present their content at the appropriate time, all without having to walk to the front of the room to connect, deal with converting files for use on another computer, or pass around a cable or device for connecting. Instead, each person can connect with ease from wherever they are in the room, whether it is around a conference room table, or in a large auditorium.

Configuration

The Apple TV is available online or in-store from Apple, as well as from a variety of other retailers. You can view it on Apple’s website here. Simply purchase the device, plug in the power cable and connect it to your display device using a single HDMI cable. Follow the simple on-screen steps to connect it to your WiFi network, or connect to the network via a LAN cable and the configuration is complete! It’s just that easy.

Some advanced set-up features are available as well, though they are not necessary. These include creating a unique name for your Apple TV, such as a room or department name. This is helpful if multiple Apple TV devices will be connected to the same network. Another option available is password protection. In certain applications, it is necessary to restrict who is able to access the display device. For example, in an education setting, the teacher likely would not want the students to simply connect and display content, and disrupt the presentation in the process. By enabling password protection, this password must be entered by anyone attempting to connect to the Apple TV.

Another advanced set-up feature you may consider is linking it to a unique photo album that contains company logos or images. The images cannot be stored on the device itself, but are just linked via the cloud. These images can then be used as the screen saver, visible when no one is connected, or as a slideshow that can loop continuously for digital signage applications.

Once you’ve set-up the Apple TV, the next step is to display content from your device. As was mentioned before, you can display content from any iOS or OSX device. Just connect the desired device to the same network as the Apple TV and you are ready to display content.

On an iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini, iPod, etc) running iOS 7 or later, simply swipe from the very bottom of your screen upward. This will launch the Control Center where all of your connection options are shown. If you’re not familiar with the Control Center, learn more about it on Apple’s website here. When both the Apple TV and the device are connected to the network, you will see the option for “AirPlay”. You can either choose to “mirror” (show the same content on your screen, on the display) or to just connect and use it as an extended display for apps that support a dual screen interface such as Netflix, Keynote, and others. Connecting via AirPlay will also route all audio through the wireless connection as well.

On an OSX device (MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac Mini, iMac, etc.) running Mountain Lion or later, go to Settings, and then to Displays to configure the wireless connection to your display. For the option to appear, both the Apple TV and the OSX device will need to be connected to the same network. Once in the display settings window, you will see the option to connect to the Apple TV via AirPlay. You will then also have the option to choose mirroring or extended desktop configurations. You can also choose to have the audio route through the AirPlay connection, output via the headphone jack, or through the internal speakers on your computer. If you are not familiar with how to complete these configuration steps, you can read more information on Apple’s website here.

Summary

As you can see, the features of the Apple TV are helpful, if not essential, for almost every application. It adds a huge element of flexibility to your conference room presentation system and allows for greater collaboration within your team. It can be connected to any display device whether it’s a TV or a projector and is simple enough that anyone can set it up in only a few minutes. There is no question, productivity increases when an Apple TV is brought into the equation, so begin using one in your office today!

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Have additional questions about the Apple TV or presentation solutions? Give Projector SuperStore a call at 888-525-6696 and one of our sales team members will be happy to assist you! 

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About Projector SuperStore – For over 20 years, Projector SuperStore has been the premier source for affordable Audio and Visual equipment online. We have worked with hundreds of businesses across the nation and have the expertise to help you integrate the right technology for your specific needs and bring your message to the masses. Whether you’re looking for a projector for a meeting room, a portable system for use in multi-purpose rooms, a state-of-the-art projection system for your main auditorium, the latest home theater technology or anything in between, we can help you create a system that is right for your needs and fits within your budget. View more information on our website here.

Which Projector is the Right Kind of Projector?

It used to be as simple as, “Should I buy a projector… or not?” Now, with great developments in the technology, there are more options to meet the varying needs of consumers—from businesses, to homes, churches, schools and other organization. It may seem unnecessary to ask about the “right” projector, but it really does make sense when you think about it: projecting an image in a fully lit church auditorium or concert hall requires a lot more than a 100” image in your living room. Beyond that there’s the question of installation, use, and simple preference.

So here are some questions you can be asking yourself when deciding what the right projector is for you:

DLP, LCD, or LCOS?

If someone asked you that question with no context, you might look at them like they were crazy, but there are different ways that the machine actually projects the image. DLP stands for “Digital Light Processing,” which uses small mirrors to project the image. While it projects a great image, and can generally last a very long time, businesses may have a hard time with the “rainbow effect” that the colors may give off (though this isn’t a problem for home theaters).

LCD, Liquid Crystal Displays, are the same technology used in many TVs, can be brighter than a DLP projector, and offer a higher resolution and a varying aspect ratio. LCOS, Liquid Crystal on Silicone, offers as sharp of a picture as LCD, and is very bright, but likewise will more commonly show dead pixels than DLP.

The bottom line is that each has its pros and cons for longevity, brightness, and display, which are all valued differently depending on your use.

Where Am I Installing it?

While this also seems like a simple question, it has two different aspects that make it very important in buying the right type of projector. Short throw projectors, for example, can be put very close to the screen and will still cast a large image—utilizing a smaller amount of space for a larger image—whereas common projectors may cast a very small picture when displayed close to the screen.

Consider a short throw for a tiny home theater, and for a larger auditorium something with a longer throw and a higher brightness.

When am I Using It?

Simple enough, right? Pico projectors can easily fit into your briefcase, making them great to take on business trips for on-the-fly presentations, whereas in big stadiums or at concerts and the like, you may want to opt for a heavier, more powerful projector that can cast a clear image in any light.

Do you need a 3D-ready projector for business meetings? Well, maybe. But it’s not always a given, so it’s important to ask yourself where it’s practically going to get used. And once you answer that, you can consider mounting it, or keeping it free to move around your house, office, or building.

Conclusion

There are countless projector manufacturers and models out there, and finding the right one can seem overwhelming. However, by asking a few simple questions such as the ones shown here, you can easily narrow it down to a few specific options. Whatever you’re using your projector for, the good news is that the right one for you is out there. Be an informed buyer, ask the right questions, and get a projector that will serve you well!

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Ready to begin shopping for your projector? You can browse from a variety of other solutions available from Projector SuperStore here. Don’t see the one you’re looking for, or have other questions? Give us a call at 888-525-6696 and one of our sales team members will be happy to assist you! 

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About Projector SuperStore – For over 20 years, Projector SuperStore has been the premier source for affordable Audio and Visual equipment online. We have worked with hundreds of businesses across the nation and have the expertise to help you integrate the right technology for your specific needs and bring your message to the masses. Whether you’re looking for a projector for a meeting room, a portable system for use in multi-purpose rooms, a state-of-the-art projection system for your main auditorium, the latest home theater technology or anything in between, we can help you create a system that is right for your needs and fits within your budget. View more information on our website here.

How To: Loop Videos on iOS Devices

Have you ever wanted to connect your iPhone, iPod or iPad to your projector or display and have it continuously loop a video? This is a question we have been asked multiple times by customers looking to display a demo video, advertisement, or other promotional content that is in the form of a video. Sure, it’s easy to connect the device and have the video play, but getting it to loop is a bit of an issue.

Recently, our technology experts sat down and developed a list of instructions and resources that are needed in order to complete this task. It served to get one of our recent customers up and running in their application, and we wanted to share the information with others in case you’re looking to do the same thing.

Wired or Wireless

The process starts by determining whether you will be using a wired connection from your device, or if your connection will be wireless. For wired connections, you will need to purchase the correct adapter cable from Apple. You can view all of the available adapters on the Apple Store here. Wired connections will always be more reliable, and less subject to interference and glitches than wireless will be. However, it’s pretty cool to be able to have everything running without a mess of wires and devices visible. So, if you’re ready to embark on wireless, far and above, your best bet will be the Apple TV. There are other potential solutions, but you’ll spend far more time than it’s worth trying to make it work. Apple’s devices are designed to work with the Apple TV from the ground up, and they work very well. Plus, at only $99, it’s very affordable. You can view the Apple TV on the Apple Store here. One discreet HDMI cable from the Apple TV to the display, and a functional WiFi network is all that you need to connect your iOS device. You will then connect to the Apple TV via AirPlay (in the notification center on your iOS device) and enable the mirroring feature there as well.

Looping via iOS Slideshow

Once we’ve established the connection, the next step is to play the video. The first of two ways we recommend playing the video is utilizing the “Photos” app that comes on all iOS devices. Here are the steps you will need to follow in order to play the video this way:

  1. Locate the video on your iOS device. It will have either been saved from an email, or copied through an iTunes sync.
  2. Create a new “Album” in your photo library and add the video you want to have loop.
  3. Go to the “Settings” app and under the “Photos” section, enable the option to “Repeat” the slideshow.
  4. Go back to the “Photos” app, and to the newly created album, and then select the video you want to play.
  5. In the lower left hand corner of the screen, you will have an arrow you can press, which will give you the option to play the slideshow. (Note, you need to be in the album in order to see the slideshow option. It will not be visible if you simply navigate to the video through the Camera Roll.)
  6. Your video will now play continuously until stopped.

The only downside we discovered with this option, is that each time the video restarts, there is a momentary display of the play arrow icon. This can be disruptive, and when we noticed it, we immediately looked for another solution. We discovered that when we used a third-party app, this issue went away. This leads us to the next section of the post.

Looping via CWG’s Video Loop Presenter

CWG’s Video Loop Presenter is a free app from the App Store that allows you to continuously play videos without having to see the momentary display of the play arrow icon between each restart. Here are the steps you need to follow in order to play the video this way:

  1. Download the app “CWG’s Video Loop Presenter” to your iOS device. (See it on iTunes Preview here.)
  2. Open the app on your device. It will show up as “vloop” with a blue/green icon and a “V” with a circular arrow on your home screen.
  3. In the lower right hand corner, select the option to configure the video.
  4. Under “Media Library” select “Add”, then select “Video from Camera Roll”.
  5. Locate the video on your iOS device. It will have either been saved from an email, or copied through an iTunes sync.
  6. Under “Configure Presentation” tap the text that says “Select Video to Loop”
  7. Select the video that you just added to the Media Library.
  8. Choose the desired option under the “Scale Mode”. We recommend “Aspect Fill”, however you may want to do “Aspect Fit” to avoid cropping.
  9. Once complete, select “Show Home Screen” in the upper right hand corner.
  10. Select “Play” in the lower left hand corner to begin playing your video.

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Ready to begin shopping for a projector or display? You can browse from a variety of other solutions available from Projector SuperStore here. Don’t see the one you’re looking for, or have other questions? Give us a call at 888-525-6696 and one of our sales team members will be happy to assist you! 

____________________________________________________________________________

About Projector SuperStore – For over 20 years, Projector SuperStore has been the premier source for affordable Audio and Visual equipment online. We have worked with hundreds of businesses across the nation and have the expertise to help you integrate the right technology for your specific needs and bring your message to the masses. Whether you’re looking for a projector for a meeting room, a portable system for use in multi-purpose rooms, a state-of-the-art projection system for your main auditorium, the latest home theater technology or anything in between, we can help you create a system that is right for your needs and fits within your budget. View more information on our website here.

Header image obtained from Digital Trends here.

“Which Projector Do I Need?” – A Guide to Selecting Your Next Projector

Perhaps the million dollar question when it comes to projection systems is “Which projector do I need?” There are so many models out there for all sorts of different applications… It can certainly be overwhelming. However, when you break it down, there are a few simple questions you can ask that allow you to ensure you’re getting the right projector.

When buying a projector, you want the perfect balance of functionality and affordability. You don’t want to overspend, but on the other hand, you don’t want a projector that doesn’t meet your needs. A projector that isn’t bright enough, doesn’t have the right inputs, or doesn’t fill the screen isn’t ideal by any means. Once you’ve taken that step and invested in a new projector, you want that investment to shine. Additionally, you want it to shine for years to come. You don’t want something that is always in for repair. You want it to be installed and to be a reliable addition to your meeting facility.

So, now that we’ve established the goal, how do we get there? Truth be told, there are about as many guides to selecting a projector as there are projectors themselves. Well, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to find a guide that will be of help to you, and point you in the right direction. Prepared by one of our manufacturing partners, the following areas are ones to consider when selecting your next projector-

Budget: In today’s economy, budget is often the first consideration for any purchase. However, it is not wise to purchase a projector that does not meet your needs even if it is priced within a budget.

Application: First, consider how and where you plan to use the projector. Ask yourself questions, such as: Will it be a fixed installation or does it need to be portable? Is the main usage in your sanctuary/auditorium or in a classroom or board room? How large of a screen will you need so the person in the last row can see and read your message? Can the ambient light conditions be controlled or must you overcome some adverse direct sunlight from windows?

Content: What is the main purpose for the projector, video, data or both? Video content is typically 25% lower in brightness than computer data and will require a brighter projector.

Room Configuration: Long narrow rooms require larger screens than a short wide room when the audience is closer to the screen. On the other hand, narrow rooms require screens that reflect more light directly back to the audience, whereas screens used in wide rooms require a wider angle of dispersed light and will require a brighter projector.

Brightness & Contrast: Projector brightness is specified in lumens and contrast defines the ratio comparing the brightest white of an image to the darkest black. In most cases, brightness is more important than contrast. There are very few applications when a projector is too bright.

Aspect Ratio: Until recent years, both video and computer images were in the old TV format 4:3 screen ratios. Today however, with the advent of High Definition (HD) most video and computer images are now wide screen format 16:9 or 16:10 ratio. When considering a new facility or future projector replacement wide screen format is the way to go.

Technology: Currently there are two main affordable projector technologies on the market: DLP (Digital Light Processing) and LCD, (Liquid Crystal Display). Each offers their unique advantages and disadvantages, and depending on application and personal preference, both are capable of displaying great images. DLP is often preferred when the content is primarily live video. Images from a high-end DLP projector will closely resemble the images we see at the motion picture theaters. Small low cost portable DLP projectors are often bright with high contrast ratios, but are usually week in color saturation and do not always accurately display the colors the same as on a computer monitor. LCD is the older of the two technologies and is very similar to the flat screen TV’s and computer monitor except the image is magnified and projected on a large screen. LCD projectors are best known for their high color saturation and accuracy. Computer generated images are accurately displayed like you seen on a monitor.

Support: Probably the most important consideration is the support provided by both the manufacturer and the selling dealer. A professional sound and video dealer can offer valuable insight and critical analysis by doing a site survey. When necessary they can arrange product demonstrations to determine the best projector for your application and budget. Always consider the manufacturers brand, warranty and history of supporting the products they sell.

Ready to select your next projector? Begin by browsing through a variety of quality options available from Projector SuperStore here. Don’t see the one you’re looking for, or have other questions? Give us a call at 888-525-6696 and one of our sales team members will be happy to assist you! 

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This guide was originally published by ASK Proxima, a PSS manufacturing partner.

About ASK Proxima – ASK Proxima, Inc. is a leading subsidiary of Shenzhen ACTO Digital Video Technology Co., Ltd. a high–tech enterprise specializing in research, development and manufacturing of digital video technology. They distribute a full suite of high-performance projectors, ranging from short-throw, ultra short-throw, large venue, portable and developing new lampless models. Their wide variety of projectors offer the best display LCD and DLP imaging technology available, yet all our feature-rich products are priced competitively in this dynamic market. ASK Proxima can meet your projector needs by providing quality solutions that are designed for most display and presentation markets, including: Educational, Corporate, House of Worship, Large Venue, Digital Signage and Small Business. ASK Proxima boasts an engineering team that offers some of the best technical expertise in the industry.  Many of their top-rated talent originated from leading R&D facilities around the world.  They stand by our work through extensive quality testing and excellent warranty programs that will make you feel secure in your decision to select them as your projector supplier of choice. You can view additional information about ASK Proxima on their website here.

About Projector SuperStore – For over 20 years, Projector SuperStore has been the premier source for affordable Audio and Visual equipment online. We have worked with hundreds of businesses across the nation and have the expertise to help you integrate the right technology for your specific needs and bring your message to the masses. Whether you’re looking for a projector for a meeting room, a portable system for use in multi-purpose rooms, a state-of-the-art projection system for your main auditorium, the latest home theater technology or anything in between, we can help you create a system that is right for your needs and fits within your budget. View more information on our website here.

 

What Is Screen Gain?

Written by: Evan Powell – Originally Posted on Projector Central. View original article here.

Every screen product on the market has a “gain” factor. Some screens are “low gain” and some are “high gain.” Most white home theater screens are low gain, and carry ratings in the range of 1.0 to 1.3 gain. Some of today’s gray screens are rated as low as 0.8 gain. On the other hand, one vendor is marketing screens with gain ratings that they claim are as high as 6.0. However, unless you have gone shopping for a screen before you are not likely to know what any of these numbers mean.

Gain is a measurement of the reflectivity of any screen or projection surface. The gain number represents a ratio of the light that is reflected from the screen as compared to the light reflected from a standard white (magnesium oxide) board. Therefore, a screen with a gain of 1.0 will reflect the same amount of light as that from a white board. A screen rated at 1.5 gain will reflect 50% more light as that from a white board, whereas a gray screen with an 0.8 rating will reflect 80% of the light from a white board.

Gain is measured from the vantage point where the screen is at its brightest, which is directly in front and perpendicular to the screen. Technically the measurement of gain at this point is known as Peak Gain at Zero Degrees Viewing Axis. If you move to the side and view the screen at an angle the brightness of the projected image drops. The angle at which the gain reading drops to 50% of the peak value is known as the Half Gain Viewing Angle. A person viewing the screen from this angle will see an image half as bright as the person seated at the center position.

Low gain screens have wider Half Gain Viewing Angles than do high gain screens. That is because the low gain screen diffuses light more evenly over a wider angle of view. A high gain screen is constructed to reflect more of the projector’s light energy back toward the centerline of the projection path, and less light energy to the oblique angles of view. Thus brightness falls off more rapidly as you move away from the zero degree viewing axis, and the Half Gain Viewing Angle is relatively narrow.

Is high gain good?

It is easy, and wrong, to jump to the conclusion that a high gain screen must be preferable to a low gain screen. After all, higher reflectivity means a brighter image and a brighter image seems like a good thing, right? The problem is that there are some downsides to higher gain in a home theater environment.

First, as just noted there is a trade-off between gain and viewing angle. A 1.0 gain screen diffuses light evenly in all directions. Thus seating can be placed in a wide viewing angle relative to the screen and all seats will afford a similar viewing experience regardless of the angle of view. With a high gain screen the brightness of the image increases to those seated in the center, and diminishes for those seated at the outside. Furthermore once you move off center axis the relative brightness of various portions of the image can shift quite dramatically. Thus a high gain screen can put limitations on the number of optimum viewing seats you can have in your theater.

Second, a high gain screen does not typically reflect red, green, and blue equally. So it can generate color shifts in the image that are noticeable as you move around the screen viewing it from different angles. Once again, the image looks different to each viewer depending on where they are seated.

Third, any screen with a gain higher than 1.0 has some degree of hotspotting. That is, when viewing the screen from a center position, the middle portion of the image will appear brighter than the edges. On screens under 1.3 gain or so this is not very noticeable, but as gain increases beyond 1.3 it can become a real distraction.

High gain screens have a definite place in the world. In conference rooms and classrooms where you want some lights on and most of the seats can be positioned within the screen’s narrow cone of reflectance, high gain screens can be quite effective in boosting image brightness. However, the videophile looking for the optimum image quality in a home theater environment will usually want to opt for a low gain screen.

Choose from a wide range of Projection Screen options at ProjectorSuperStore!

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About Projector SuperStore – For over 20 years, Projector SuperStore has been the premier source for affordable Audio and Visual equipment online.  They have worked with hundreds of businesses across the nation and have the expertise to help you integrate the right technology for your specific needs and bring your message to the masses.  Whether you’re looking for a projector for a meeting room, a portable system for use in multipurpose rooms, a state-of-the-art projection system for your main auditorium, the latest home theater technology or anything in between, they can help you create a system that is right for your needs and fits within your budget. For more information, visit http://www.projectorsuperstore.com/

7 Ways Digital Signage is Essential to Your Commercial Office

Commercial real estate has seen the value of digital signage; corporate lobbies have gradually added more large digital displays to increase the value of their buildings and the way that visitors and residents interact with the space around them. While the adoption of digital displays into the lobby has offered commercial spaces more opportunities for engagement and revenue, now the need for large-format displays has moved beyond the front desk and into the conference rooms of the corporate offices within.

2013 sees more and more companies moving towards open floor plans, telecommuting, international work forces, and eco-friendly spaces, and in a recent survey by Fortune, it was found that  ”a whopping 81% of companies surveyed have already adopted an open-space floor plan” and were moving towards such goals. A NanoLumens display could equip the office of the future with the digital displays it needs to become a superior work space. Here’s how:

  1. Increased Communication in an Open Environment
    The death of the cubicle is upon us. As more companies move towards more open communication in the work space, walls are coming down and open floor-plans are in demand in corporate offices. With a large format digital display, there’s no need to bombard staff with emails across a room. Instead, put your group messaging up on a screen that everyone can see.
  2. Stay in Touch with Video Conferences and Telecommuters
    Office space has become an expensive commodity, and employers are turning to telecommute options and shared work spaces to cut down on cost and space needs, making video conferencing a main avenue for meeting communication. When hosting a video conference or having telecommuters dial in for a meeting, having a large display allows you to engage with your audience and staff “face-to-face,” even while miles or even oceans apart.
  3. Get Social with Real-Time Social Media Feeds
    More and more brands are connecting with their audiences through social media, and in turn through their employee’s social media channels. Create an office hashtag and share the feed on your digital display, or use conversations on social media from customer service or live chats to encourage your team.
  4. Save on Heat and Noise Pollution
    There’s nothing like the soft hum of a projector to lull a group meeting from a productive session to a snooze fest. A NanoLumens display produces essentially zero heat and is silent, keeping the focus on the conversation at hand and eyelids from drooping.
  5. Have Signage That’s as Green as You Are
    Offices are going green–From ample recycling to reusable coffee cups, companies are working to lighten their carbon footprint. With digital signage that’s built from reclaimed materials and almost 100% recyclable, you can rest at ease knowing that  your signage shares your environmental conscience.
  6. Show off Your Work and Your Brand 
    Static posters of previous projects, whether your an ad agency showcasing a stellar TV spot or an architect featuring your latest building,  are easy to pass by or ignore. A digital display is much more engaging and impressive for visitors, helping you to share your projects effectively and make your brand have more an impact.
  7. Improve Morale and Productivity
    As the economy recovers, your team is going to need to work to keep the talent that it has, showing employees that you care and appreciate them daily. Create an environment that’s positive and collaborative, showing your team your thanks in corporate messaging, photos from staff outings, and more on your display. Working towards a sales goal or a product launch? Show a countdown clock to your launch date, a progress chart to show how the project is going, or a real-time sales update to motivate your team.

Wonder what your company would look like if you incorporated a modern design to your commercial office? Check out the coolest offices from Inc. and Forbes and see how many of them have an open layout for better communication and involvement. With a great environment, you’ll raise your employee retention and office happiness, making your company somewhere more people want to work. Want to learn more about how to enhance your corporate space with a NanoLumens LED display? Check out our corporate solutions.

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Projector Superstore is your source for digital signage solutions. Contact one of our sales team members today at 1-888-525-6696 to find the right system for your office! 

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This article originally appeared on NanoLumens.com. Read the original post here.

What is UHD?

This article was written by Joseph D. Cornwall, CTS-D and originally appeared on C2G. You can view the original article here.

Transition Minimized Differential Signaling (TMDS) is the algorithm that underlies both DVI and HDMI digital video interfaces, and is an output option in DisplayPort ++ (dual mode DisplayPort, aka DisplayPort 1.2) enabled devices. TMDS is a foundational element of contemporary A/V integration and needs to be a familiar concept to anyone involved in the design, installation or deployment of presentation systems.

Ultra HD is part of the next generation of video technology. Today we watch high definition video content in a format known as 1080p. This means that the image has 1080 horizontal lines of pixels (picture elements) stacked on top of each other in a manner roughly analogous to the logs in the wall of a log cabin. There are 1920 individual pixels (think “dots”) lined up next to each other on each scanning line. We often refer to this as a 1920 x 1080 image.

If we multiply 1920 pixels times 1080 scanning lines we come up with 2,073,600 discrete pixels composing the image. Therefore there are approximately two million “dots” making up the picture you see. The “p” in 1080p indicates a progressive scan implementation wherein the full frame of pixels is shown 60 times (50 times in Europe) every second. This system is sometimes referred to as a D2K image (D for digital and 2K for approximately 2,000 pixels in each horizontal scanning line).

When we try to move to even higher definition pictures, we keep the same relationship but increase the pixel density. The industry is now moving towards the widespread adoption of D4K (standards also being developed for D8K) images. Roughly speaking, a D4K picture (sometime written as simply “4K”) has twice as many pixels in each horizontal scanning line, and twice as many horizontal scanning lines. Following the same logic used above, a D4K image has 2,000 scanning lines composed of approximately 4,000 pixels each resulting in (2,000 x 4,000 = 8,000,000) about eight million pixels of resolution, four times the resolution of today’s already outstanding HD televisions.

Several 4K resolutions exist in digital television and digital cinematography. In October 2012, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) announced that the official term “Ultra HD” would be used for any display with a 16 x 9 ratio with at least one digital input capable of a minimum resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 square pixels. This delivers a stunning 8.3 megapixels (8,294,400 to be exact) with a widescreen aspect ratio of 16:9. Ultra HD images are only delivered in a progressive scanning manner (there are no official interlaced D4K standards) at frame rates of 120p, 60p, 50p and 30p.

While we will have to integrate new source devices that can generate these terrific data rates with a new generation of flat panel LCD and projection displays, we won’t be seeing any new connections. D4K and Ultra HD content is supported by HDMI, DisplayPort ++ and HDBaseT connections.

This article was written by Joseph D. Cornwall, CTS-D (Technology Evangelist — Lastar, Inc.) and originally appeared on C2G. You can view the original article here.

The Anchor Audio AN-130+… Intelligible, Reliable, Simple.

The Anchor Audio AN-130+ was designed to be the only studio monitor you will ever need. It is excellent for presentations because it accepts wired and wireless microphones and has line inputs for projectors and computers. The AN-130+ speaker monitor is perfect for classrooms, board rooms, conference rooms, and presenters on-the go.

Anyone needing powerful speech and audio reinforcement, look no further than the AN-130+. Its 30 watt amplifier is designed for crowds of up to 150 people and will fill most small to medium sized rooms with 103 dB of clear sound. The AN-130+’s speaker is magnetically shielded for AV use and it features three input jacks: 1/4” & 1/8” Line In, and 1/4” Mic In. Bass and Treble controls allow for customization and optional remote control enhances wireless presentations. Additionally, the AN-130+ features built-in mounting hardware for wall and ceiling brackets, as well as a built-in stand mount on its underside. Finding a clear wireless channel will never be a problem with the optional built-in receiver, as it features 16 UHF channels.

Use the AN-130+ on its own for wireless and wired speech and audio reinforcement, or combine with any projector and you have a complete presentation system. This lightweight, easy to use system fills the room with your voice and presentation audio. Mount it on a stand, place it on a shelf, set the volume and you’re ready to go!

You can learn more about the Anchor Audio AN-130+ studio monitor in this video:

Projector SuperStore is an authorized dealer and service center for Anchor Audio products. You can view the AN-130+ and Anchor Audio’s other products here.

About Anchor Audio, Inc. –  Anchor Audio, Inc. is the leading manufacturer of portable public address sound systems, wired and wireless intercoms, and lectern systems. The company strives to maintain the tradition of delivering excellent products that are covered by a six year warranty. Anchor Audio supplies products to sectors including education, commercial, hospitality, government, and military. Anchor manufactures its own products in its factory in Carlsbad, California and uses a “total quality” concept. As a result, the company can guarantee the quality of its products and deliver quickly. All of Anchor Audio’s products are RoHS compliant.