Projector/Hdtv: The Best Home Projectors for 2023

AAXA P8 Portable Projector Review: Teeny Price, Tiny Size, Totally Bright

$225 at Walmart

$224 at Best Buy

$249 at B&H Photo-Video

Don’t like

  • Not powered via USB
  • 540p resolution
  • A few bugs in the menus

The AAXA P8 is small and cheap even compared to other portable projectors I’ve reviewed. The Nebula Capsule is almost as minuscule but it’s a whopping 20% more expensive. Impressively, the P8 has a full-size HDMI input, Bluetooth and a headphone jack. Disappointingly, it’s not powered by USB, so you have to use the included power adapter, which adds bulk to an otherwise minuscule package. It also lacks a battery. The image quality is fine, given its price and size, but like its bigger brother, the P6X, light output is its main strength.

The P8 is a lot brighter than it has any right to be. I measured 230 lumens, which is around half what the P6X puts out but a huge 2. 5x what I measured with the Capsule. Plus, there are a handful of streaming apps built in, which is definitely convenient. So overall, for the price, you get a big image from a tiny, tiny projector.

Pico pico

  • Native resolution: 960×540 pixels
  • HDR-compatible: No
  • 4K-compatible: No
  • 3D-compatible: No
  • Lumens spec: 430
  • Zoom: No
  • Lens shift: No
  • Lamp life (Normal mode): ~30,000 hours

The P8 is not an HD resolution projector. It’s barely more than standard definition with 960×540 pixels. As a result, the pixels can be quite obvious and visible with all but the smallest of projected images. Today the cheapest TVs have at least HD resolution but projectors are a different animal. Given the size and price of the P8 it’s neither unexpected nor a deal breaker.

AAXA claims 430 lumens of light output, and I measured approximately 230 on the P8. To put that in perspective, the similarly sized and priced Anker Nebula Capsule puts out 85, while the more expensive Xiaomi Mi Smart Projector 2 only managed 162. The P8 is even brighter than the more expensive Samsung Freestyle, which puts out 197 lumens despite its $800 price tag. The bigger P6X puts out 437.

There’s no lens shift or zoom: Focus is achieved via a small wheel on the side. 

The LEDs are rated for 30,000 hours. You’re far more likely to lose the P8 between the sofa cushions before the LEDs die out.

Ins and outs

The AAXA P8’s back panel, with an HDMI input and headphone output. On the side are the USB inputs.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

  • HDMI inputs: 1
  • USB ports: 2 (A and C)
  • Audio output: Headphone output/Bluetooth
  • Internet: 2.4GHz/5GHz
  • Remote: Not backlit

There’s a full-size HDMI input, which just makes the P8 easier to live with compared to some projectors that use micro- or mini-HDMI and require an adapter. Surprisingly, for the size and price, there are a handful of built-in streaming apps. Netflix and YouTube are the headliners, joined by Twitch, Vimeo, Haystack News and Tubi.  

If you dig into the P8’s menus you can find the much-dreaded Aptoide store. This is a semi-offshoot of the Google Play Store: There are some apps you’ll recognize and a lot that you won’t. Worse, the majority of them don’t work as you’d expect. Aptoide is common among lower-priced projectors.

Like all inexpensive projectors it uses a mobile version of Netflix, more like what you’d find on your phone. This means the interface is less user-friendly using a remote, which you have to use since there’s no AAXA app. It also means you can’t cast to the projector from your phone since Netflix thinks the projector itself is a source. So, oddly, you could theoretically cast FROM the projector TO another display. I didn’t test this, but that’s what it says on screen. It says a lot of things on screen, like other error messages, pop-ups that are difficult to get rid of, and more. I did, eventually, get it running, so it’s in there. Just don’t expect the smooth experience like you get on most other devices.

YouTube works as you’d hope, though, letting you pick what you want on your phone and cast it over to the projector (oddly, labeled “ATV_229” not P8 or AAXA). 

Action shot of me moving projectors around my lab. Which is yellow.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

There’s a single 2-watt driver. I didn’t expect much deep bass and room-filling sound out of something the size of a tweeter but this speaker is pretty quiet. Fortunately there’s Bluetooth or a headphone jack if you prefer analog, so you can add an external speaker (which I highly recommend).

Another disappointment is the inability to power the projector using USB. Instead, it comes with a standard power adapter wall wart. There’s a USB-C input on the side, but it doesn’t power the unit. A projector this small, powered off a USB battery pack, would be amazing. I’m sure we’ll get something like that eventually but in the meantime you’ll need to lug the adapter around to use the P8..

The tiny remote is as long as one of my fingers and squeezes in all the necessary buttons, but hard to use in the dark as they’re all the same size and shape.

Picture quality comparisons

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

I pitted the P8 against the AAXA P6X and the Anker Nebula Capsule. The Capsule is a likely competitor for the P8, at roughly the same price and more or less a similar size. One’s a cube, the other’s a cylinder, but both are “pocket sized.” The P6X is both a little larger and a little more expensive. It’s in the price ballpark, though, and really it’s only slightly larger. I connected them to a Monoprice 1×4 distribution amplifier and compared them side-by-side-by-side on a 102-inch 1.0-gain screen.

The P6X is so much brighter than the other two it almost seems like a different class of projector. It has 437 lumens vs the P8’s 230. The Capsule is barely visible in comparison, with only 85 lumens. In fairness, the P6X is more expensive and larger. Larger being relative when we’re talking tiny projectors. Picture quality isn’t that much different between the AAXAs, other than the brightness. Which is to say, it’s not great, but given the price and size, not unacceptable.

Focusing, pun intended, on the P8 and Capsule, the comparison is closer… eventually. The P8’s picture quality out of the box is abysmal. It’s so over-sharpened it looks like the “before” image in an exposé about the evils of edge enhancement. Thankfully, there’s a modicum of picture adjustments, something that can’t be said of the Capsule. Switching to the User picture mode and dialing the Sharpness down from “cartoon” to “this is as good as SD looks” does wonders for the overall image.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

With that done, and the color temp in the warm mode, it gives the Capsule a run for its money. While the Capsule doesn’t have any picture adjustments, it looks fine out of the box. It could look better, I’m sure, with some tweaking, but we’ll never know. Does the inclusion of picture settings mean the P8 can look better than the Capsule? Sort of. More that it brings them in line and they’re both equally “off” just in different ways. Colors aren’t accurate. Color temperature isn’t either. It’s not quite cartoonish, but neither look particularly realistic either. 

One unexpected aspect of the P8’s performance is its contrast ratio. I measured an average contrast ratio of 558:1, which is significantly better than anything under $1000 that I’ve measured in recent memory. So it looks far less washed out than the Capsule, which averages just 192:1. So that, combined with the added brightness, does push the P8 in front in terms of overall image quality.

Do these videophile particulars matter for sub-$300 projectors? Probably not. I’d say other aspects are more important, which brings us to what I think are the two most important differences between the Capsule and the P8: brightness and batteries.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The P8’s brightness is borderline remarkable for its size and price. It puts far more expensive projectors to shame. At ~50-inches this is bright enough to see with some lights on. Even at 100 inches, it’s a usable image. Other than the P6X I don’t know of another projector this size that can do that. I’m not saying you should use an inaccurate, 540p projector as your main TV… but for $250 you could do worse.

The Capsule can’t compete on brightness, but it does have a battery. The P8 does not. That’s a game changer, or maybe a different product category. You can put the Capsule in a backpack and watch a movie on the side of a tent. I think, for a lot of people, that’s the main use for a projector this small. The P8 just can’t do that — not without a very long extension cord. The P6X sure can, though, for a bit more money and a larger unit.

Tiniest of the tiny

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The P8 is literally a pocket projector. You can fit it in your pocket. But it’s far brighter than other projectors this size. It even has built-in Netflix and YouTube as an added bonus. I wish it recharged via USB-C, making it truly off-the-grid portable. But if off-the-grid portable is what you want, the P6X is only a little bit more expensive (and larger), or the Capsule is just as small but far dimmer than both.

It’s a pretty specific niche the P8 fits into: tiny size, tiny price, huge brightness and no battery. An anomalous amalgam of attributes that somehow works. It’s hard not to like 230 lumens for less than $250.

BenQ HT2060 Review: Return of the 1080p King

$1,049 at Amazon

$999 at Best Buy

$999 at B&H Photo-Video

Don’t like

  • Brightness is rather average
  • A little pricey for 1080p

When it comes to reviewing the follow-up to a great projector, I wish I was knowledgeable enough about sports to come up with the perfect sports metaphor. “Back-to-back championships are hard,” or something like that. Or maybe there’s no connection between the two at all. Generally, a projector manufacturer improves its offerings every year unless some unexpected shift puts it behind — like the move to 4K, for example. Then the company either makes a leap itself, or simply disappears. BenQ has been in an interesting position: I reviewed the company’s HT2050A HD projector in 2020 and loved it. It was already over 2 years old at that point. By the time we last gave it an Editors’ Choice award, it had been out for five years. That’s an eternity in tech, but such was the strength of that excellent little projector.

Enter the long-awaited replacement, the HT2060, with some serious shoes to fill. It still sports 1080p resolution and has roughly the same lumen rating. The case is modernized, classy-looking and more boxy. Wisely on BenQ’s part, it has kept the HT2050A’s lens shift, still a rarity among single-chip DLP projectors. The biggest change is the move to an LED light source instead of a lamp. 

Geoff Morrison/CNET

The projector market isn’t nearly as fast-moving as TVs, say, but there have been some notable advancements since the HT2050A first arrived. Most notable of the notables, last year Epson released the HC2350 with 4K resolution. Initially far more expensive than the old HT2050A, its price has fallen enough that it’s now nearly the same price as this 1080p HT2060. Has BenQ waited too long to release a follow-up? Has the market moved on? If you haven’t already skipped ahead, the answer may surprise you.

By the numbers

  • Resolution: 1080p
  • HDR-compatible: Yes
  • 4K-compatible: Yes
  • 3D-compatible: Yes
  • Lumens spec: 2,300
  • Zoom: 1.3x
  • Lens shift: Vertical +10%
  • Lamp life: 20,000~30,000 hours (LED)

The HT2060 carries over a lot of the features from the HT2050A: both are 1080p, have a 1.3x zoom and a small vertical lens shift of +10%. These doohickies may not seem significant, but they’re a lot more than most DLP projectors in this price range, which have zero. While the HT2060 can accept a 4K signal, it does downconvert it to 1080p.

The lumen spec is only slightly higher than the HT2050A’s 2,200. I would have liked to have seen a bigger jump here, especially with other projectors of similar prices offering far more, though lumen specs are a rough estimate anyway. I measured 985 in the Living Room mode and only slightly less in the incredibly accurate Filmmaker mode. I got a respectable 1,794 in the Bright mode, though the latter was visibly green and not really something you’d use on a regular basis. Generally I used the Living Room mode, despite being a little less accurate, for its extra visual pop.

Like its predecessor, the 1.3x zoom is fine, though the HT2060’s throw distance is still a little shorter than most projectors in this range. If you’re replacing a different projector and you already have a ceiling mount, it’s worth checking throw distances on BenQ’s website.

As mentioned in the intro, the biggest change is the move from a traditional lamp to LEDs. Since these LEDs will essentially last the life of the projector, there’s some significant lifetime cost benefits to this move. At four hours a night, even by BenQ’s lower estimate, the LEDs should last about 14 years. BenQ’s replacement lamps weren’t particularly expensive, but over that span of time you’d have spent the same amount as the projector over again ($750). Even if the HT2060 is currently more expensive than its predecessor, it’s still cheaper to own long-term. There are also some significant picture quality benefits to LEDs, which we’ll talk about later.

Geoff Morrison/CNET

Connection collection

  • HDMI inputs: 2
  • USB port: 1 (2.5A)
  • Audio output: 3.5mm analog (1), optical (1)
  • Audio input: 3.5mm analog
  • Control: RS-232
  • Internet: None
  • Remote: Backlit

Oddly enough, the connections are one of the few aspects that’s a step back from the HT2050A, but I’m OK with that. The old model had a variety of analog inputs that just aren’t widely used anymore. Instead, the HT2060 has two HDMI 2.0b inputs, which is all you really need. 

There are analog and digital audio outputs, in case you wanted to connect a streaming stick directly to the projector and send the audio to external speakers. Generally I’d recommend a receiver and speakers to go with a projector, but this is a reasonable option. The projector’s internal speakers are fine compared to other projectors’ speakers, but none of them sound particularly good.  

The boxy remote has a soft amber backlight, as well as direct access to a variety of picture controls. 

Geoff Morrison/CNET

Picture quality and comparisons

It was only fair to compare the HT2060 to the BenQ HT2050A. As of this writing, you can still get the older model for about 25% less, but it will soon be discontinued. The 4K Epson Home Cinema 2350 has a higher MSRP, but is regularly found for just 10% more than the HT2060. I connected all three competitors to a Monoprice 1×4 distribution amplifier and view the projectors side-by-side on a 102-inch, 1.0-gain screen.

For three fairly similar projectors, they’re surprisingly different. The Epson is bright, but gray; the BenQ HT2050A is dimmer, but punchy; and the BenQ HT2060 is like someone dialed up the color but kept most of the other aspects the same. 

Geoff Morrison/CNET

Let’s talk a moment about that color. The HT2060 is one of the most accurate projectors we’ve measured. This goes beyond just accurate greens, reds and blues, but also many of the in-between tones that make an image seem more lifelike. With a variety of content, including HDR, the HT2060 just has far richer, deeper, more realistic colors than the HT2050A. The Epson has very accurate color too, but not quite to the same extent. 

The Epson’s issue, compared to the two BenQs, is a significantly lower contrast ratio. It looks washed-out in comparison. Interestingly, the HT2060 is lower than the HT2050A, 1,320:1 versus 2,094:1 with my measurements. Side by side, this is less obvious than you’d think. The Epson’s 348:1, on the other hand, is very noticeable. While the Epson is a lot brighter, the black levels are significantly higher too. Even if you dialed back the brightness of the Epson, the black levels would still be high. So side-by-side, especially if you’re watching something with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, the blacks look gray. The image just looks flatter and more artificial.

Geoff Morrison/CNET

What about 4K? That’s interesting too. The Epson is an LCD projector, which suffers from motion blur. The DLP tech of the BenQs doesn’t have that issue. So with certain images, the Epson looks sharper. On others, they look roughly similar if not a slight edge to the DLPs. With closeups of faces, the Epson definitely looks a little sharper but if the camera is moving, the DLP does. Either way, it’s a lot closer than you’d expect. The HT2050A looks the worst here, largely due to some processing issues that aren’t a big deal on their own, but compared to these two newer PJs means it’s starting to look its age.

The most disappointing aspect of the HT2060 is its comparative dimness. It’s not “dim,” per se, but I’d call it average. If you wanted a 150-inch screen or something, the Epson is the better choice. For a light-controlled room, the BenQ HT2060 is still plenty bright.

Between the three options, I’d pick the HT2060. On paper the HT2050A has some advantages, but overall the HT2060 just looks better. The incredible light output of the Epson has its place for sure, but if you’re looking for all-around image quality, the BenQ HT2060’s greater contrast outclasses the Epson.

The king is dead. Long live the king

After everything you just read, my conclusion might surprise you. Yes, the HT2060 doesn’t quite have the same performance on paper as the HT2050A. Between the two, though, I’d still choose the HT2060. The image is just that much more lifelike, you never need to replace the lamp, it turns on and off quickly, and it’s a little quieter. As an overall package, it’s fantastic. If you have a HT2050A, should you upgrade? No. Wait until there’s a 4K projector with great contrast for $1,000 or less, and the market’s not there yet. 

Speaking of 4K, where does this leave the competitive Epson? For most people, the Epson 2350 and the BenQ HT2060 are the two projectors I’d recommend, and they’re surprisingly different. The Epson is an absolute flamethrower — it’s the second brightest we’ve ever measured. In a projector, that’s both impressive and a huge selling point. If you want that epic 150-inch image, or you want to watch movies and TV with some ambient light, that’s your go-to choice. Its contrast ratio, however, is quite middling and a mere fraction of the BenQ’s. The HT2060 just has a more cinema-quality image. It might not be as much of a standout as its predecessor, but it’s a standout nonetheless.

Which projector format to choose 4:3 or 16:9

Consumers are right now confused about formats: 4:3 is the standard, 16:9 is the future, so which is better for home video theatre? If you buy a native 4:3 projector, will it display in 16:9? If you’re thinking about getting a home theater and don’t know which format to prefer: 4:3 or 16:9, read this article.

If this is your first time hearing about 4:3 and 16:9 formats, then keep in mind that we are talking about the ratio of the width and height of the rectangular image, in other words, the aspect ratio. A typical TV has an aspect ratio of 4:3. This means that there are 3 units of height for every 4 units of width. The new standard for HDTV is 16:9; For every 16 units of width, there are 9 units of height. Thus, a 16:9 HDTV picture is a rectangle that is horizontally wider than a normal TV picture. The problem is that the video image has many different formats. Material prepared for regular TV is 4:3 and is often labeled as 1.33 (because 4 divided by 3 is 1.33). Programs prepared for HDTV are in 16:9 format(1.78). Movies, music videos and other DVD recordings are available in a variety of formats: 1.33, 1.78, 1.85, 2.00, 2.35, 2.4, 2.5, etc. Because there is no universal format for rectangular video, confusion often arises. So what, ideally, should be the format of the projector and what format should be the screen to it.

Option 1: Native 16:9 projector and 16:9 screen.

If you’re watching HDTV and a widescreen DVD player, your choice is clear. Projector 16:9and a 16:9 screen is undoubtedly the best combination for a widescreen experience. The 16:9 image and the 16:9 screen fit perfectly together, and everything is great. The main benefit is that you achieve the highest possible resolution for a widescreen video source.

However, one must keep in mind that when it comes to movies on DVD, there are problems with formats. Many movies are larger than 16:9. For example, Dances with Wolves, The Tomb, U-571, American Beauty, Star Wars/The Phantom Menace (to name just a few) are 2.35:1. So when you watch these movies on a 16:9 screen, you get black bars at the top and bottom of the screen, each about 12% of the height of the picture. The bands are not as wide as they would be on a 4:3 screen, but still noticeable. The Stewart Grayhawk screen will make them darker, and the Firehawk screen will make them even darker, making the presence of these black bars on the screen less noticeable to the eye.

However, another option to consider is additional electric curtains (powered black panels) for watching movies in this format (they can be ordered with the screen from the supplier). You will see that the overall viewing experience will be greatly improved. Nothing brings a video picture to life more than a solid black frame. It amazes me how many people are willing to spend thousands of dollars on devices that produce the best possible image, and refuse to invest a relatively small amount in a decent frame.

What to do with 4:3 video on 16:9 hardware?

The main limitations of a 16:9 projector with a 16:9 screen relate to the display of 4:3 aspect ratio video material. And there are MANY of them in the world. Ordinary TV, of course, has a 4:3 aspect ratio. But also most movie classics (Casablanca, Citizen Kane, The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, Fantasia, etc.). Most musical films are also 4:3. Most IMAX specials are also 4:3. That is why many are also concerned about the image quality of 4:3 video. Having a 16:9 projector/screen, it is best to display 4:3 video in the center of a 16:9 screen, leaving stripes at the edges of the screen. If the 4:3 video source is a DVD player or HDTV, the bars will be black, which is tolerable. If the signal comes from the TV, the bars will be gray. But this is terrible. Nothing ruins a video picture quite like this gray frame.

This can be dealt with in many ways, but none of them can be considered good. First, you can use additional vertical electric curtains at the edges of the image. This will certainly work, but this method is too expensive. Secondly, you can use the “stretch” function of the projector and stretch the 4:3 aspect ratio picture horizontally to 16:9 aspect ratio.. From this, people immediately get fat, and cars on oval wheels scrape the bottom along the road. Well, the spectacle. The romantic mood created by the film Casablanca (4:3 aspect ratio) will be spoiled by the sight of Bogart and Bergman – they look like they spent the war years gorging themselves on French cheeses and pates. For anyone who is serious about the art of cinema and wants to see a video or movie the way the author created it, this mockery of the image (a feature that all 16:9 video projectors are equipped with) unacceptable. Thirdly, you can use the “zoom”, which enlarges the image, while cutting off its upper and lower parts, and shows the “middle” in full screen 16:9 format. In close-ups, you will see faces without foreheads and chins. In any case, it is constantly felt that the “live” proportions of the image are violated. So we have another ridiculous “feature” that should not be used.

Finally, if 4:3 footage is really important to you and you don’t intend to process it like this, just forget about the 16:9 projector.and get a 4:3 aspect ratio projector. On the other hand, if you don’t often watch 4:3 footage or aren’t too concerned about achieving optimal picture quality, just accept the banding around the edges as the lesser evil.

Option 2: Native 4:3 projector and 4:3 screen.

At first glance, the choice of projector and screen, each 4:3, seems a bit old-fashioned. After all, 16:9 is the future, right? Why choose yesterday? And then, in order not to run into the problems that we just discussed. If you’re watching mostly 4:3 content, or if you want to get the best out of a classic movie, a 4:3 projector and screen might be right for you. With this option, the image takes up the entire screen. When a 16:9 aspect ratio video signal is input to the projector, the image takes up 75% of the 4:3 screen, leaving black bars at the top and bottom. This solution has a number of advantages. First, it’s simple – no fuss. Secondly, you can use electric curtains and adjust the visible screen dimensions to the image with any aspect ratio for any video material. Horizontal and vertical curtains will allow you to set a solid black border around anything – not just around a 4:3 or 16:9 image, which is important, since many DVDs have an aspect ratio greater than 16:9. Thus, no matter what you are looking at, you can open and close the curtains to match the actual size of the image.

By the way, for this option there is also an anamorphic lens. If you want to use the full 100% resolution of a 4:3 matrix to project a 16:9 anamorphic image, you can use a Panamorph lens. This is another optional lens that mounts in front of the projector (where’s your stepladder?). The difference between Panamorph and ISCO is that Panamorph compresses the image vertically instead of stretching it horizontally. For example, a 4:3 anamorphic image (tall, skinny people) projected across the full width of a 4:3 screen will be compressed vertically by a Panamorph lens to a 16:9 aspect ratio., while the width of the image will remain unchanged, as required. The above ISCO lens considerations apply to the Panamorph lens, although it’s not as expensive. Note that to minimize geometric distortion, the lens should be mounted so that the image is projected as close as possible to the top edge of the screen. This circumstance must be taken into account when choosing electric curtains. As in the case of the ISCO lens, I personally would not use the Panamorph lens either, since for me the effort and money spent is not worth the effect achieved. However, there are videophiles who do not pray for them, so it was important to draw your attention to this option as well.

Why buy a 4:3 screen for a 4:3 projector?

It all depends on what and how you like to watch. It’s about psychological and emotional aspects, as well as your own aesthetic preferences – do you think “a 4:3 picture should be smaller than 16:9?” Do you like to watch 4:3 TV and then expand the picture to enjoy a widescreen movie? A lot of people will understandably say, “Yeah, sure, that’s what a home video theater is for, isn’t it?” Maybe yes, maybe no. Personally, I prefer a large 4:3 screen, and here’s why. Without a doubt, I love watching widescreen movies in all their widescreen glory. So I have a 4:3 screen at home that’s wide enough (in my case, it’s 8 feet (2.4 m)) to allow me to watch 16:9 movies as well.. To it I have electric curtains, which are usually set in the “16:9” position, so it looks like a widescreen video theater. If I put on an ultra-widescreen movie, I’ll close the curtains a bit and get a solid black border around the image. You can adjust to any video format.

Now suppose I change footage and want to watch a huge 4:3 IMAX DVD titled The Blue Planet. Quite frankly, the need to compress an IMAX 4:3 movie to fit it in the middle of a 16:9 screen, makes me very irritated. Even worse is watching an IMAX movie in full screen 16:9, leaving a third of the image behind the top and bottom edges of the screen. But I am spared from these problems. I have a big 4:3 screen hidden behind the curtains. I press a button, open the curtains, and I get a majestic 4:3 IMAX image in all its splendor. It’s the same with music videos – almost all of them are 4:3, and for my taste, the more the better. Great music – great video. Looking at the 120-inch 4:3 screen (a little over 3 meters), I feel like I’m in the front row at an Eagles Hell Freezes Over concert. And when the same image is crammed into the middle of a 16:9 screen, the Eagles look like on TV. And football looks great on the big 4:3 screen. And classic films like Fantasia, Citizen Kane, The Wizard of Oz, and indeed all 4:3 movies on the big screen look very spectacular.

Now back to those two options, what size is my 4:3 image? On a 4:3 screen, it occupies 8 x 6 = 48 sq. ft (2.4 m x 1.8 m x 4.3 sq. m). On a 16:9 screen it will take up 6 x 4.5 = 27 sq. ft. (1.8 m x 1.35 m x 2.4 sq. m). Almost twice less! That’s the difference between being at an Eagles concert or watching it on TV. Meanwhile – and this is the key point – I have a 16:9 image sizeremains the same: 8 x 4.5 = 36 sq. ft. (2.4 m x 1.35 m x 3.2 sq. m). Only 4:3 image size can be changed. Want to make the most of the wall surface? A 4:3 screen will give you more image area because it is larger vertically. I will never give up the pleasure of watching IMAX movies or Fantasia or music videos or football in the best possible format for me. Especially for the seemingly insignificant (to me) consideration that 4:3 footage should be “smaller” than widescreen film. The bottom line is: I personally don’t think a 4:3 image should be smaller than a 16:9 image– I love big pictures, and let each one be as big as I can get. Now. You may think that my reasoning is nonsense. If so, remember, here we are talking about entertainment for YOU. Think about what and how you want to watch. Arrange everything the way you like. There is no “correct” solution at all. There is the right solution for you.

Option 3. Projector with native 4:3 aspect ratio and 16:9 screen.

There are currently hundreds of 4:3 projectors on the market and only a handful of 16:9 projectors.. Thus, there is a wide variety of 4:3 projectors in terms of price and image quality. Because most 4:3 projectors play both formats (4:3 and 16:9), a lot of people buy them for home theater. Most 4:3 projectors are designed for presentation purposes, but some are intended for both presentation and home theater use. Several home theater manufacturers such as Runco, Vidikron, DWIN, Marantz, Sim2/Seleco and Sharp have developed 4:3 projector models exclusively for home theater applications. Since due to HDTV the format is 16:9- the latest fashion statement, many choose a 4:3 projector in combination with a 16:9 screen. Completely legal way. But there are trade-offs that you need to be aware of. Let’s first look at how a 16:9 image would look like in this case.

When a 4:3 projector projects a 16:9 signal, it uses 75% of its matrix (be it an LCD panel, a DLP chip, or an LCOS chip). Those. a device with a native 4:3 XGA (1024 x 768 pixels) resolution uses only 575 lines of the available 768 to create an image. A 1024 x 575 active pixel matrix produces an image with an aspect ratio of 16:9, and the remaining 193 lines are idle. This results in black bars along the top and bottom of the screen due to unused panel or chip lines. Therefore, if you have a 4:3 projector and a 16:9 screen, you can position the projector so that the black bars extend beyond the edges of the screen. Voila, the projected image matches the screen. Easy enough. And if everything you’re going to watch is 16:9, then you’re done. The trouble is that there is a huge amount of 4:3 video material in the world. And how are you going to fit a 4:3 image to a 16:9 screen? You have several options. You can purchase a motorized zoom projector with a suitable zoom ratio. This device will allow you to use the zoom function to achieve the desired image size. For example, the Sanyo XP21N has a 1.3x motorized zoom, which means you can change the image size by 30% going through the entire zoom range. Therefore, by setting the zoom to the widest possible angle to project a 16:9 image and narrowing the angle to the minimum, the image size can be reduced by 30%. Since a 4:3 image is 33% narrower than a 16:9 image, almost the entire 4:3 image will be placed in the middle of the screen, with only a thin edge of the image going over the top and bottom of the screen. To fix this, the projector must be precisely positioned at a distance from the screen that will properly project both formats onto the screen. You’ll get through this somehow.

Every 4:3 projector equipped with a motorized zoom of at least 1.3x can be configured to display images of these two formats in the same way. In fact, the same result can be achieved with a manual zoom projector by placing the projector on a table, or if the projector is suspended from the ceiling, by climbing onto a stepladder each time the image aspect ratio needs to be changed. If the projector zoom is less than 1.3x, you will not be able to fit a 4:3 image into the same vertical size as a 16:9 image. The good thing is that using the projector in this way allows you to use the 4:3 matrix (all 768 XGA lines) at 100%. However, keep in mind that this doubles the brightness of the image on your screen for 4:3 footage. Why? The image area of ​​16:9 is 33% larger than that of 4:3. Therefore, the amount of light per unit area at the same image height increases by 1/3 when moving from a 16:9 image to a 4:3 image. What’s more, you use the entire light output of the projector, not 75% like 16:9(the remaining 25% are blocked by black bars). As a result, about 2 times more light comes from your projector per unit area. It may or may not matter to you, but you need to be aware of it. The second way to project a 4:3 image onto a 16:9 screen is to use the electronic formatting feature found on many projectors and/or your sources. You can leave the lens set to a 16:9 image and simply select the option that places the 4:3 compressed image in the center of the screen with black bars around the edges. At the same time, the illumination per unit area remains unchanged. True, now only half of the pixels that would be used if you used the zoom are used to get a 4:3 image. In fact, in this case, you use the projector’s capabilities (resolution and brightness) only half.

E-reforming from sources has a downside, a very significant one: often you get gray stripes around the edges. The gray stripes are an unfortunate solution to a technical problem: they come as part of a signal to prevent burn-in of cathode ray tubes in televisions designed to display a 16:9 picture. Gray stripes are not needed for digital projectors, because the digital projector has no such problems. I contend that this method is not good, because the easiest way to negate the effect of a video image is to surround it with gray bars. No museum in the world will decorate an exhibition of Ansel Adams’ photographs by framing them in grey. And for quite reasonable reasons – they are trying to get rid of the neutral gray color by increasing the contrast. With video, it’s exactly the same. Want to do ONE thing that will dramatically improve the aesthetic impact of your video theater? Then forget about the projector, screen, signal sources. Instead, ensure that the video image always has a SOLID BLACK FRAME. Until you do this, your picture will always look pale compared to what it could be. How can this be achieved? Electric curtains for the screen will help. Electric curtains can be ordered with a screen (Stewart, Da-lite, etc., all sell them). They are black panels that open and close at your command, moving horizontally from the top and bottom edges, vertically from the left and right edges, or both, depending on the actual size of the image you’re looking at. In the context of the issue under discussion, if you have a 4:3 image projected onto the middle of a 16:9 screen, curtains will get rid of the gray stripes on the sides, surrounding the “active” image with a black frame.

For a 16:9 screen, two pairs of curtains are ideal. You will need side curtains to frame the 4:3 image in the center of the screen. When projecting 16:9 video material in full screen, all curtains are removed. You will need to cover the top and bottom of the screen when watching movies that are larger than 16:9. Of course, four curtains is the most expensive option. But they are needed IF you have a 16:9 screen, and you’ll want to surround any of the images you’re viewing with black bars. Accordingly, a 4:3 aspect ratio screen needs one pair of curtains (top/bottom) to achieve the same result. For many, this will prove to be a convincing argument in favor of a 4:3 screen. This is what we will discuss below.

Conclusion.

When setting up a home video theater, think carefully about how much 4:3 video you want to watch. How important is it to you that the horizontal size of a “widescreen” image is larger than the horizontal size of a 4:3 image? If so, then this option is for you. Your main goal is maximum HDTV resolution? Then a 16:9 projectorplus a 16:9 screen is a great way to achieve the desired result.

You are the director of your own home theater. Think of all the kinds of videos/movies you want to watch – regular TV, HDTV, music videos, modern widescreen movies, classic 4:3 movies, etc. Imagine how they will look on the wall. After thinking about each of the formats, you will understand how to demonstrate each of them. Trust your instincts and preferences, treat all options with an open mind, and you will find the best solution.

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Home Portable Outdoor Cinema Projector With Digital Zoom And Hifi Stereo | by tamitam.ru

7 min read

Oct 10, 2022

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