We have been a Projector UK Specialist since 2001 offering impartial advice. We have trained advisors ready to either chat online or take a call. We are not linked to any one brand but we help you find the best solution. We also supply accessories such as projector screens, spare lamps, interactive panels & services include projector repair and installations. We value our customers & work hard to be the best in the business.
Projectors last a long time but they need to be replaced eventually, it just isn't working, you want to get a better model, someone stole it. We offer a telephone advice service at Just Projectors and I hear day after day "we are looking for a projector, not sure what to buy, can you help". Of course we do help but most people are amazed at how many different things they needed to know before they purchased, they thought that the price was the main driver and the one they choose would just work. The other feedback we get is when we ran through some basic questions it all made sense and they were happy with the choice, This blog is not about saying how great our advice line is or chat button, although I think we do make it easier, I thought if I could share the 5 basic things you need to know when buying a replacement projector it might just stop the person getting their lovely new projector and it being the wrong model for them, having all the hassle of contacting the shop they purchased it from, better to get it right first time.
1. Get the Right Throw Ratio to ensure the right image size
Is this replacement projector for one that is already hanging on your ceiling or wall and/or do you have a specific place you need to put the projector on the table?
Even if you see a model that looks the same specification then it probably isn't the fact is each projector has what is called a "throw ratio" which determines the ratio of the image size
I laugh when I first started Just Projectors in 2001 we were selling 500 lumens SVGA models to education at £2,000, the Ez Pro 500 from Optoma Projectors was a great seller and when I think about how bright there are now compared to them. They couldn’t be mounted very easily and everyone had to sit in the dark. The lamps lasted about 100 hours, had to be changed once a month and they cost £1.50.
If you wanted a one that could work in a school hall then the price was £5,000,it was the size of a spaceship, it came with the horrible composite poor quality input and it weighed about 20 Kgs and you got an amazing 2,000 lumens XGA for that.
There certainly wasn’t one in every room, interactive whiteboards like Smart was just being released and everyone flocked to the Bett Show to see what was on offer. We used to have a stand there, people would come with their order pad (those were the days).
Projectors are what Just Projectors have been specialising in for the last 19 years.We provide advice on the phone listening to your requirements we are able to help you get the right one as we have trained staff . We have a network of installers to cover your area. On higher end models we can arrange a loan or demo. We think most people should buy HD projectors , they are so affordable now and you wouldn't buy a 5 year old laptop so why buy SVGA projectors which is over 20 years old. Yes XGA & WXGA are ideal for simple presentations and education use but we have all been use to decent home TV's or high resolution phones or tables so why put a huge image on the wall/screen which is inferior. There are some great brands out there BenQ, Infocus, Epson and less known ones EIKI or Vivitek. Yes you can buy the wrong projector, this is why we still offer advice rather than just an add to cart website. We have a price promise, we see the projectors, we often put one against another and see which one is best. We only buy UK stock, really do you want you projector coming from Germany and then finding you have not the same protection as UK stock and you only saved a tenner. The UK has higher warranty standards to ensure you get real value for money. We don't sell the cheap brands as we have found that the lumens isn't verified, we don't say something is HD when it is only HD ready. Being called Just Projectors tells you that we are committed to this product and we have a great reputation in the market place for price and customer service. Just Projectors supply the UK but also in Ireland, we offer a 2-3 day service to Ireland.
DLP Projectors- which stands for digital light processing changed the projector world, is just a tiny microchip (DMD) with millions of mirrors and a colour wheel spinning round which was designed in 2008 has seen it overtake LCD projectors in less than 10 years. Cheaper to produce, the story of DLP projectors is one of continual improvement. The first ones had 3 segment colour wheels, giving the basic primary colours but the oranges were red, the greens were yellow and they were awful. Lots of people got a rainbow when they viewed the image and still people write about DLP as if it was the early days. Now there are six or seven segment colour wheels and depending on the chip type they can be better than LCD. So the quick thing to know is that DLP projectors are a classfication of a type they are not all the same. If you get a video chip DLP like those found in decent home cinema projectors the black are blacker, the contrast ratio number is staggering and the colours are so true to life. if you go for a data chip DLP then yes you will get a good image but not the same level of detail. There are hybrid DLP projectors which use LED lamps offering 20,000-30,000 lamp life these are more expensive but ideal for schools or the leisure section. Another subtle difference in DLP can be the speed of the colour wheel, the faster it goes the better. Some brands use different chips to others and there is a fault when the DMD chip fails which causes white dots. We find brands such as BenQ and Infocus are the best value for DLP projectors.
LCD Projectors have been in existence longer than other technologies offering fantastic colour reproduction. 3LCD projector work with three liquid crystal panel, a lamp, prism and filters. The lamp shines white light through a polarizing filter, then a series of mirrors .Red green and blue are then sent to a separate LCD panel; send the light through the prism which recombines the light and sends it out the main lens, against which it is projected. Accuracy of colours is why people choose LCD projectors, and on the higher range models where higher brightness is required and a better throw ratio. Lamp prices are higher. LCD brands are Epson, Panasonic (took over Sanyo Business), NEC and Hitachi.
Lcos or Liquid crystal over silicon projectors are a hybrid of LCD and DLP and before the improvements in both LCD and DLP was a very desirable. Really only Canon does Lcos now and probably the best market for them is photographic or medical use. The Lcos way is like LCD for the light shining through but instead of a prism there is liquid crystals. Lcos is only found in higher end models, more expensive to produce so the manufacturer is often restricted by the cost they need to sell them at.
LED projectors - put in this technology section but really it is more about the long lamp life rather than a projector technology. There are some awful LED mini projectors out there, cheap rubbish that claims to be top HD but in fact they are producing resolution worse than 10 years ago or the lumens output is so bad 60-100 then unless you were in total darkness you wouldn't see a thing.
Brightness of a should be projector the Ansi lumens, cheap brands quote anything and it tends to be 3000 is really 800. Most prople buy 2500-4000 and that is too bright really but the prices are good so it's worth hitting the eco buttonand getting longer lamp life. If you have audience larger than 100 then is 5000+. Short Throw projectors get close to the screen so 2000 is really bright when only 60cm away from the wall. When I first starting projectors people had to sit in darkness and they thought 800 lumens was bright. For those who enjoy their home theatre then dont go too bright, control the lighting and enjoy blacker blacks with 2000 lumens.
Resolution is vastly important and it often is the major factor in the quality, also check for native not just supported resolution so make sure you check you are looking at the same thing when comparing models. Don't buy SVGA is too low and looks awful, HD is affordable so spend the extra £80-100 because over the life time of the projector then the extra £10 a year is well spent. Each resolution gives a different shape SVGA/XGA/SXGA+ are 4:3 and WXGA/WUXGA 16:10 (widescreen) or home/business use 1080p is 16:9 (widescreen). Computer programmes are widescreen so it makes sense to choose one of them. If you think of the image as a set of dots or pixels the smaller the dot the less you can see it and the clearer the image. Match you resolution to your source. If you want flexible resolutions then go for widescreen as they deal with 4:3 better than the other way around. If you are showing detailed content you cannto afford to skim on resolution as it will not replicate your content. Projectors do last, they are an investment but buy the best you can afford , it does make a huige difference.
Inputs are so important so do not ignore them when buying, every one is supplied with composite video (yellow) connection which is the simplest but poorest quality signal and at least one VGA which links to your laptop or pc. The better ones have two VGA inputs which always you display more than one input source at a time. Having a VGA output is useful when you want to display both your projector image and also to be able to view your monitor at the same time. Component video is the red/green/blue connection is a much higher quality than the composite video as it provides a correct display of the signal. S-Video is pretty much dead but still supplied is a standard . HDMI is fast becoming the must have connection as it is the basically a digital version of a scart connection and it has the advantage that it also carries audio. RS232 is basically a control connection to allow your projector to communicate with other devices such as electric screen.
Projector Throw Ratio is the most important specification which most people ignore. If you are in mobile situation you might have limited space so knowing the throw is important. If you are installing then it is vital. If you know you screen size width say in metres (SS) then multiply the throw ratio (TR) and that will say how far away - distance (D) you need to place the projector. If there are two TR's then that is the zoom within that range SS x TR = D E.g. screen size 2m , Throw Ratio 1.9 - 2.1 = 3.98m-4.2m Calculation 2 (SS) x 1.9 (TR) =3.98m away - distance the projectors needs to be from the screen 2 (SS) x 2.1 (TR) =4.2m away - distance the projectors needs to be from the screen Another example- a projector with a fixed lens- so must be placed at a exact distance SS x TR = D Eg screen size 2m , Throw Ratio 0.5 = 1m Calculation 2 (SS) x 0.5 (TR) 1m - distance the projectors needs to be from the screen So as you can see the lower the throw ratio (TR) the close or short the throw the projector is. Handy Hint 1: - If you have a tricky installation situation choose a projector that has a larger Throw Ratio range eg 1.4-2.1 which will give you greater flexibility Handy Hint 2: If you choose one with an unusually large throw or short throw then bear in mind that any installation that you set up will mean that the next time you purchase a projector you will need to get a projector with the same throw ratio, and therefore maybe limit your choice in the future. If you want to know how big an image a certain projector will produce from a certain size then the calculation is still very simple Distance away from the screen (D) divided by Throw Ratio = Screen width (SS) Eg distance away 4m , Throw Ratio 1.5 - 1.8 = 2.22-2.6m image width or screen size Calculation 4 (D) / 1.8 (TR) =2.66m width of screen required 4 (D) / 1.5 (TR) =2.22m width of screen required So at 4m the image size will be between 2.22m and 2.6m An example- a projector with a fixed lens- so must be placed at a exact distance D/TR = SS E.g. distance away 4m , Throw Ratio 2 Calculation 4 (D) / 2 (TR) =2m width of screen required This means if you need a larger or smaller image then you have to move the projector as there isn't any zoom on the lens Every one of projector pages has a projector throw distance /screen size calculator too to make it easier for you
The last thing to mention is what is the future of projectors, certainly getting smaller for the mobile presenter, led technology has seen the emergence of the pico projectors or micro projectors which weigh less than 50g’s and Just Projectors believes that the low lumens output will be resolved within the next 5 years. Led projector with a combination of DLP technology has also seen the first lamp free projectors being made available, notably the Casio XJ-S range. They have a lamp life of 20,000 hours and without the mercury in any lamp is now the green option. 3D Projectors have always been available but now they are affordable. Using active technology DLP projectors can now show 3D using a single projector using the active shutter glasses and the prices are under £500 for a 3D solution. Hopefully you would have found this article useful but please contact us at Just Projectors for all your needs.