I purchased a projector a few months ago, and it has been such an amazing investment. The idea to get one actually happened when a friend brought over a “pico projector“, which is a pocket-sized projector that you can conveniently take with you anywhere. The picture quality and brightness wasn’t extremely impressive, but the size of the picture quickly made up for it. We played a few retro games and watched a few tv shows and had a blast with it. I have a pretty large living room with a tall ceiling, so I immediately started researching projectors, screens, surround sound, and other requirements to put together my very own home theater.
My primary goal was to have the best “bang for the buck” home theater setup. I first researched online for the “best gaming projector”. I found out that many projectors have more latency than others, which can cause something called “input lag”. To summarize what input lag is, it’s basically the delay between when you push a button on the controller and finally seeing the result of your action on screen. If you play a shooting game, for example, and you push a button to fire your gun, you might notice it takes a second to see it happen. That can cause you to play horribly, especially if you are playing online against other players. If you see an enemy and you try to shoot him, you are always a second or so behind, which makes it much more difficult to play.
Another thing I was looking for in a projector was screen brightness and overall picture quality. Screen brightness is measured in “lumens”, and this is a very important thing to look for in a projector. If the lumens is too low, the picture quality will look faded and washed out. In order to make up for the low brightness, you will have to have an extra dark room. My living room can sometimes have a fair amount of natural light, so I had to make sure the lumens rating was high enough to maintain good picture quality. I also compared 720p, 1080p, and 4K projectors. Many people online claimed 720p looked “just fine”, but I decided to look for something a little better and went with a 1080p projector. 4K (at the time of this writing) seemed a little bit of an overkill, in terms of picture quality and my wallet. There also isn’t enough content out there to justify owning a 4K projector just yet. I’m sure 4K will eventually be the new standard in a few years, but I am perfectly happy with 1080p for now. When I fire up a 1080p image at 150″ on the projector, I have to stand about 4 feet from the screen to start noticing individual pixels. Since I am sitting fifteen feet away from the screen, everything looks fantastic and I can’t notice any loss of detail.
So what projector did I go with? It was a tough call, but I finally narrowed it down to the Benq HT1075. Many gamers from various sources online praised it for its low latency, great color output, and bright picture. I figured that I couldn’t go wrong with this one, and I have been extremely happy with it. Playing split-screen games on it is amazing also. I fired up Rocket League, Minecraft, Borderlands and other 4 player games, and everyone has a 70″ screen all to themselves.
The screen was another thing that I researched for a good while, but I eventually came across an article that was talking about “projector paint” and cheaper alternatives to using expensive paint. I ended up sanding and smoothing my wall out as much as possible, and I went with a “Sherwin Williams Proclassic White” paint. It’s normally intended to use on trim and baseboards, but it turns out to be perfect for projecting an image on. My wife didn’t like the idea of having a bulky projector screen in the living room, and this paint ended up being the best of both worlds. Another thing I didn’t think about was movies and television shows are presented in different aspect ratios, so when everything is projected onto the wall, I don’t have to worry about the screen being too wide or short, everything just looks good.
It definitely had me wondering why gamers don’t use projectors more often. They aren’t very expensive and the bulbs only have to be replaced every 2 years or so, which to me is worth it when you consider how much more fun they are to use. It also gives me less of a reason to go to the theater, which balances out the price of replacing projector bulbs. So do you own a projector or thinking about getting one? Please share any tips, questions, or comments you might have.