Projector buying guide
Types of projector
Projectors come in different shapes and sizes for a variety of purposes, so we’ve split them down into their own groups - Home Cinema Projectors, Portable Projectors, Office Projectors, All in One Projectors and Compact Projectors.
A Home Cinema projector can display Full HD resolutions just like a TV. Perfect for projecting large, crisp images, Home Cinema projectors can connect to your existing set top box and speaker setup.
A Portable projector is small and lightweight enough to fit into the palm of your hand. Sometimes called ‘Pico’ projectors, Portable projectors have built in batteries so that you can easily watch films or give a presentation wherever you are.
Designed for professional and school environments, Office projectors will suit those who need to present a talk or give a presentation. They include various ports for connecting external devices like speakers or laptops and they project bright, clear images in a variety of lighting conditions.
Featuring integrated speakers and 3D capabilities, All in One projectors have all the features of a Home Cinema projector without the need to connect to external speakers. With high contrast ratios and short throw capabilities, All in One projectors produce incredibly crisp and clear imagery in any size room.
With all the features of a standard sized projector but in a much smaller format, Compact projectors combine the best parts of a Home Cinema projector with the lightweight design of a Portable projector.
Types of projection
There are two types of projector to suit different room sizes. Choose between long or short throw projectors depending on whether you need to display images in a large or small room.
Short throw projectors can be positioned quite close to a wall or screen and can still project a large image. Ideal for smaller spaces, they can project from as close as 0.5 m to the screen.
Long throw projectors are designed to be positioned further away from a wall or screen, and can project huge images that are perfect for larger spaces. With our range of long throw projectors, you can project from up to 15 m away from a wall or screen.
Simply put, this is how many pixels the projected image is made up of. Generally, the higher the number of pixels, the more detailed the picture quality will be.
Full HD - 1920 x 1080
HD Ready - 1280x720
WXGA - 1280 x 800
XGA - 1024 x 768
SVGA - 800 x 600
WVGA - 800 x 480
The number of lumens relates to the brightness of the projected image. The higher the lumen count, the brighter the image will be.
A lumen measurement of 3000 or more will ensure a clear and bright image in any setting. For brighter spaces and lit rooms, we recommend a projector with at least 3000 lumens. Under 3000 is perfect for darker rooms and spaces at night.
Projectors can connect to set top boxes, Blu-ray players and streaming devices, as well as laptops, tablets, phones and games consoles. Enjoy enhanced audio by connecting sound bars, speakers or headphones.
Any HDMI device can be connected to a projector with a HDMI port - this includes set top boxes, Blu-ray players, streaming devices (like Chromecast, Fire TV or Apple TV), games consoles or laptops.
A VGA (Video Graphics Array) port lets you connect your projector to many laptops.
Most projectors can read content from USB drives, which is perfect for displaying photos or movies from your portable hard drives or streaming devices like Chromecast or Fire TV. Some projectors can be charged from a powered USB A or B port, or let you power up a phone or tablet while you watch or present.
The 3.5 mm jack is just like the headphone port on your laptop or phone. It lets you connect compatible desktop speakers, a portable speaker or pair of headphones.
Some projectors with Bluetooth can wirelessly connect to compatible speakers or headphones. Enhance your home cinema experience by connecting to a wireless sound bar or speaker. Watch a film without disturbing anyone by connecting a pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones.
Most projectors can display a picture from around 30 to 300”, but it’s worth checking if the minimum value will suit your everyday viewing needs. Some start at around 50”, which may be too large for some living rooms. We list the minimum and maximum projector display sizes so that you can choose the one that will fit your wall or screen.
The contrast ratio determines the difference between the darkest and lightest images a projector is capable of displaying. A contrast ratio of 5000:1 means the brightest part of an image will be five thousand times brighter than the darkest.
The aspect ratio refers to the shape of the image displayed.
- 4:3 – standard PC monitor
- 16:9 – widescreen TV
- 16:10 – slightly wider than a TV, cinema style image
Older films and TV shows are often in different ratios than contemporary widescreen ones, and many projectors can display multiple aspect ratios – perfect for viewing content filmed in different ways.
Some projectors can display 3D images, and just like watching a 3D film at the cinema, you need glasses to see the 3D effect. All 3D projectors are compatible with the same devices you’d plug into a 3D TV, so 3D Blu-ray players and compatible games consoles can give you a truly immersive 3D experience at home.
Colour processing technology affects how the colours of an image are created within the projector before you see it projected. DLP (Digital Light Processing) projectors tend to have better contrast and darker black tones, while 3LCD (3 Liquid Crystal Display) projectors produce more vivid and saturated colours.