Projectors

Home and business projectors are not the same. Find out how they differ from each other.

When you want to get the largest image possible and you have a room large enough to accommodate it, a projector is the ultimate way to bring the cinema experience to your home.

In the office, projectors offer one of the most effective ways to display computer information to large groups. However, while many buyers are familiar with the technology behind televisions, computer monitors, LCD or plasma displays, understanding a projector involves terminology which is a whole new kettle of fish.

This guide provides essential information to make buying a projector easy. The differences between projector technologies and their suitability for home, business or portable use are explained, and we provide a guide to terminology to make projector specification sheets and brochures less daunting.

Differences between business and home projectors

While the output of all projectors is similar, there are a few differences that could impact the way your selection performs. The largest factor is the aspect ratio of the projected image. Most projectors that are designed for home theatre use have an aspect ratio of 16:9, the widescreen format which is the standard among DVDs and many HDTV broadcasts. On the other hand, projectors aimed at the business market project in 4:3, which is almost square like your old CRT television set or computer monitor. You can use a business projector in a home theatre situation but this will often result in a stretched, compressed or truncated image as it adjusts to the wider format.

Home theatre projectors also include a number of technologies that enhance the viewing quality and reduce projection errors. These include stair case correction (when lines displayed across the screen run diagonally instead of horizontally) and images with a less noticeable flyscreen effect (when you can see the black lines between each pixel in the image).

The way your projector connects to an image source may also differ. Many home theatre users will connect via HDMI, component, composite or S-Video cables. Business projectors usually connect with a standard 15-pin D-Sub plug with some supporting DVI connection as well. However, since most notebooks are only D-Sub compatible, most projectors tend to lean toward D-Sub as a standard.

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