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What You Need to Look for in a Home Theater Projector

Follow Our Buying Guide to Getting High-Quality Video

What You Need to Look for in a Home Theater Projector

To successfully recreate a real theater experience in your Santa Rosa, CA home you need to install a small-scale version of the projector-and-screen setups you see in commercial settings. Understanding how to choose the right projector for your home theater system ensures that you end up with high-quality images on your display no matter what you’re watching. Need a little help getting started? This blog highlights some of the things you need to consider when buying a projector for your theater.

SEE MORE: How to Build a Luxury Home Theater System


Many of the issues associated with home theater projectors have to do with brightness. Most projectors range between 750 and 3000 lumens in brightness. A common mistake we see is that people assume that brighter is always better. You certainly want your projector to be bright enough to show clear video on your screen, but if you go too bright, you'll end up with washed out images.

If you're installing your theater in a dedicated room where you have control of the ambient lighting, you usually want to have a projector with 1000-1500 lumens. Systems in areas with more ambient lighting—like a multi-purpose media room—should be above 1,500 lumens. There's no reason to go over 3,000 lumens unless you're installing your theater in an outdoor location.

Image Resolution

The second step is making sure your projector’s image resolution matches that of your sources, AV receivers, and screen. We recommend investing in a 4K Ultra HD projector. While you’ll get the best image quality by pairing it up with 4K sources, it will also be able to upscale high-definition content to make it look even better.

Contrast Ratio

Brightness may be the first thing you consider when choosing a projector, but it's not the only thing that will affect your image quality. You also need to check the projector's contrast ratio, which measures the difference between the whitest whites and blackest blacks. The better your contrast ratio, the more realism and detail you can get from your images. Try looking for models that include BrilliantColor, a technology that helps to enhance the red, green and blue colors on your display. You can also search for projectors that include HDR technology. High dynamic range offers a greater variety of colors and therefore inherently enhances your contrast ratio.

Short Throw vs. Long Throw

Depending on the space limitations of your home theater system, you may have to decide whether you want a long throw or short throw projector. Long throw ones are placed on the ceiling in the back of the room and send the image directly to your screen. A short-throw projector uses a mirror to angle the signal upwards so you can place it in a cabinet or coffee table in the front of the room. While long throw projectors offer the best overall quality, short throw projectors are great for smaller spaces. If you want to completely hide your equipment, go with rear-projection where your projector can be placed directly behind your screen.

When installing your custom home theater, we can work with you to find the projector that makes the most sense depending on your space's limitations and your personal preferences. To get started, call us at 855-5-LAVISH or contact us online to set up a consultation

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