Home Theater Projectors: Is the Picture As Good as a TV?

Next week, I am having a new Home Theater installed in my basement. After the installation is complete, I will offer occasional stories here on which equipment I am using, and why. I hope it will encourage you to build your own Home Theater because there’s no better way to watch your favorite films. My Home Theater will include a 130-inch screen, Dolby Atmos sound, and even a popcorn machine, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to hit the Play button on my first 4K Blu-ray movie. (It will be 2001: A Space Odyssey.)

Over the years, people have asked me if you need a projector and wall screen to define what’s a real Home Theater. I think a Home Theater can come in different screen sizes, budgets, and types of TVs. But if you can afford it, the projector and wall screen is the way to go. It will simulate the movie theater experience in a way the traditional TV can never do.

But people sometimes then respond that a Home Theater projector doesn’t offer as good a picture as an elite television, such as a LG OLED. Well, I used a Sony 1080p projector in an Home Theater in a former house I owned for eight years, and I was very happy with its performance. The picture was just as sharp as any non-projector TV I’ve ever own, and I own a LG OLED TV.

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However, there are few things to keep in mind when buying a Home Theater projector.

One, you want to make sure the projector will be in a room that is completely dark or very close to completely dark. You’ll find that the picture on most projectors will look washed out if there’s even moderate light in the room.

That doesn’t mean the room can’t have windows — you can use blackout curtains to keep the light out if necessary.

Two, the Home Theater projector comes with a lamp which can last somewhere between 2,00 and 6,000 hours of viewing. Once the lamp goes out, you will have to replace it and that can cost $200-400. (Don’t panic. 2,000-6,000 hours is more than you think; I didn’t have to replace my projector’s initial lamp for six years.)

Also, once the lamp begins to reach its maximum number of hours, you’ll find that the brightness will start to decline a bit. The Sony 4K projector I will use for my new Home Theater comes with a lamp that supposed to last 6,000 hours. Even for a movie nut like myself, that’s a lot of hours.

The last thing I want to note is to buy a top-quality projector. There are numerous cheap models on the market, but they won’t deliver the picture you’re looking for.

Other than three cautionary notes, I would highly recommend buying a projector for your Home Theater.

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