An alternative to flat panel displays

Over the years, projectors have become well-established tools in the corporate and education world. As technology has evolved over the years, we are now seeing projectors as a real alternative to flat panel displays for domestic use, especially when larger screen sizes are desired. In cost terms, a projector that is capable of delivering a 100 inch HD (720p) image is about the same cost as a 37" or 42" inch LCD display from a recognised manufacturer. Add to this the higher contrast ratios and extreme portability offered by projectors and it is easy to see that projectors offer a real alternative to more familiar display technologies.

In the corporate sector, projectors have come a long way in just a few years with high brightness, high contrast, low maintenance models offering a cost/performance ratio that other display technologies cannot compete with. We are also increasingly seeing a cross over between data and home cinema models. With the inclusion of HDMI (high definition multimedia interface) and WXGA resolutions that will support 720p high definition on newer data projectors, now more than ever it is possible to use the same projector for work during the week and play at the weekend. But a dedicated home cinema projector will always give better image quality than a data projector.

When choosing a data projector, it is very common for buyers to focus on brightness (measured in lumens). However, this should not be the only consideration; connectivity (how many sources can be connected), portability and contrast ratio (the difference between black and white) are also important considerations to ensure that your investment will last as long as possible.

With the arrival of high definition (720p and 1080p), it is now entirely possible to have a big screen experience at home and it needn't break the bank. Of course, it is possible to spend huge sums on home cinema and you will notice the improvement in video and sound quality as you move through the price levels. It is also possible to achieve a reasonable home cinema result for a more modest Dh7,000 (HD65 – 720p projector (Dh3,100) + blu-ray player/console (Dh1,650) + screen (Dh600) + sound system (Dh1,650)). The key elements for any home cinema projector are HD compatibility (720p or 1,080p), HDMI and component connectivity and a high real contrast ratio (a minimum of 4,000:1).