I’ve got a BenQ LED unit that throws out about a hundred lumens. For the three hundred dollars it cost (a boxing day score!), I just couldn’t pass it up. True, a hundred lumens isn’t extremely bright, but it works pretty well in my little apartment... especially since the couch I watch it from is a little less than ten feet away. The closer you sit to your screen, the less lumens you require. So what is a lumen? It’s a way to measure light. The bigger the number, the brighter the picture. The brighter the picture, the further away you can place your projector from its screen. The further away you place your projector from its screen, the bigger the image will be. And so on. And so forth.
Compact units like the Aaxa Pocket Home Theatre Projector and the Aaxa A4 Pico Projector provide an affordable, efficient option for condo dwellers such as myself. These tiny units are also ideal for dens, rec rooms, and even bedrooms – allowing consumers to transform any area into their very own movie theatre.
I use a pull-down screen I’ve installed above my balcony window -- and it doubles as a fine shade when I'm not using it to watch movies. This screen, made of tiny glass beads, helps boosts the brightness of my projector’s image (a process called “gain”) by taking advantage of some scientific principal known as retroreflection. Ever take a picture of a cat, only to discover that the JPG has captured the kitty’s glowing, radiant eyes? That’s retroreflection. The cat’s eye manages to reflect a good deal of the light that’s being shone upon it – much more so than, say, a blank wall. Same with my screen. For a few bucks extra, a beaded screen can add a heck of a lot of oomph to your projector’s picture. Check out Draper’s RoadWarrior portable screen to see what a few glass beads can do for your LCD projector.
Some readers out there desire a lot more horsepower than my BenQ. Compared to some of the latest and greatest, my LED device seems dim in comparison. Models like Epson’s Powerlight 720p XGA projector can crank out a whopping 2800 lumens, which is pretty impressive considering its relatively low price of 699.99. In my tiny condo, that might be a bit much -- kind of like cooking a veggie burger on a car-sized BBQ. Still, that’d be one heck of a cookout.
My next purchase will likely be one of those new-fangled 3D projectors. Something like the Sony 1080p 3D Home Theatre Projector offers a fairly punchy 1300 lumens, but it also comes equipped with a lofty price tag. Unless someone’s got 3999.99 they’d like to donate to their favorite blogger, I’d be more than happy to settle for BenQ’s DLP 3D projector. True, it’s only SVGA – but for a mere 379.99, this efficient little device somehow manages to throw out a stunning 2700 lumens. I can’t wait to hook it up to a Sega Master System – which, oh and by the way, was the first videogame system to feature active 3D support. Anyone up for a game of Space Harrier?
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