Things to consider when purchasing a new projector
1 October 2020
First thing to think about is the room size where you want to use it. If its not a large space, you may want to consider a LED screen mounted to the wall instead. TV screen prices have come down a lot in the past few years with The Warehouse selling 50” TVs for less than $500, and 70” for less than $1000. A TV will usually provide a better picture (and sound), especially in brighter environments, and you don’t have to worry about a separate white screen to project upon or how to mount the projector somewhere suitably distanced from the wall.
Brightness – Lumens
The brightness of a projector is measured in Lumens. Unfortunately this measurement has become less useful in recent years as manufacturers inflate ratings by using different measurement techniques, but should give you some idea – a bit like watts on a stereo where a crappy stereo rated at 1000 watts but has far less power than a well built 100 watt stereo. Somewhere around the 3000+ lumens should work for most club applications, but brighter is always better.
This is basically how many dots are displayed so is a good indicator of picture quality. An SVGA projector will display 800X600 dots, XGA is 1024X768, WXGA is 1280X800, then you start moving into HiDef projectors of 1920X1080 or 1920x1200, or even 4K. Basically the more dots, the clearer the picture, but just like your tv at home, higher resolution will cost more.
Or maybe this should be screen shape. Basically older machines will display 4:3, and newer are 16:9. When you watch old movies on your computer and the edges are blank, that is a 4:3 picture size, while newer are widescreen or 16:9. Make sure the screen you buy to project upon matches the projector screen size. No point having a 16:9 projector with a 4:3 screen as the edges will be off the sides of the screen. Recommend to only get 16:9 as 4:3 is a very old standard now.
Most people bringing a laptop in will want to connect using HDMI these days. Older laptops may only have VGA. VGA and HDMI are the two main ways that people will want to plug in, so make sure the projector has both of these. Some laptops now only have USB-C and Apple has a bunch of crazy connections but generally people with machines like that will have adaptors to convert to HDMI.
Will they need sound? Often this is done separately by plugging into speakers/sound system in the room, but some projectors do have speakers built in. These are usually small and of reasonably poor quality but its worth considering how you will handle sound if you will be using the projector for private functions/conferences.
As always, please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.