I want to get a digital projector for watching movies, and I’m tempted to save some money and get one meant for slide shows and presentations. Will I still be able to watch videos on one of these?
By Rachel Zarndt
It depends on where you’re watching movies and the source from which they’re coming. There are two major differences between business and home-theatre projectors: brightness and inputs. Nowadays, both types of projectors can play high-resolution files, though their resolutions are measured in different standards; business projectors’ pixels typically top out at 1024 x 768 (XGA) or 1280 x 800 (WXGA), whereas home-theatre projectors tend to be at least 1280 x 720 (720p) if not 1920 x 1080 (1080p). Because home-theatre projectors are meant to play movies, which generally have a 16:9 aspect ratio, you won’t be using all the pixels of your business projector when you’re watching movies. If you don’t mind getting slightly less than HD quality, then you can find a very good projector for less than R7 000. For R6 700, you can get Epson’s EB-X12, an XGA device with 2 800 lumens of brightness and HDMI and USB inputs. Compare that with a 720p Epson, the Home Cinema 710HD, which costs nearly one-and-a-half times as much and has the same brightness.
Still, it’s hard to find a business projector above the WXGA resolution, so if you’re looking for true HD quality and better, you’ll have to get something made for what you want to do: watch movies. Those projectors also have the benefit of better inputs, since they usually offer the HDMI interfaces used to connect cable boxes, Blu-ray players and game consoles. Business projectors, on the other hand, often come with only USB or VGA ports. If you’re watching TV from a laptop, that shouldn’t be a problem, but if you’re watching it from a more traditional TV source, that may get in your way. And if you’re looking for the most accurate reproduction of your favourite movies, home-theatre projectors win out, since they tend to have better contrast ratios and produce finer detail and truer colours.