Today's video games are immersive experiences with production levels that blur the line between game and Hollywood blockbuster. Game consoles like the PS3 and Xbox 360 have become a hub for leisure and social interaction, with Netflix and Hulu's ever-expanding HD quality content keeping smiles on the faces of the home theater connoisseur.
Projected scene from Mass Effect 3 video game on the Xbox 360. Check Out Our Recommended Gaming Projectors
Advancements in technology have not been limited to only gaming consoles, though. Over the last few years, home theater projectors have started to become viable choices - with prices that are within reach for the average consumer. Why turn to a flat screen TV when, for just a few dollars more, you could transport yourself directly into the action with a home theater projector?
Whether you're looking for a projector for watching movies or strictly for hardcore gaming, there are a few things to consider when making your purchase.
VGA, SVGA and XGA projectors may be ok for showing a Power Point presentation when you're at the office, but for true home entertainment, HD is the only one way to go. The great news is that there are plenty of HD projectors specifically designed for home theater and gaming at affordable price points.
When determining projector brightness, the ambient light from your viewing location and the desired image size are the two most important factors to consider. Brighter is almost always better, but it also will add to the cost of the projector. Start with the brightness you need and invest in a few hundred more lumens if your budget allows. Some screens made for bright rooms can help quite a bit as well.
|Dedicated home theaters||1000 lumens or brighter|
|Rooms with some ambient light||1500 lumens or brighter|
|Spaces with high ambient light||3000 lumens or brighter|
|50-60 inch||1000 lumens or brighter|
|60-80 inch||1500 lumens or brighter|
|80-100 inch||2000 lumens or brighter|
|100 inches +||2500 lumens or brighter|
For the best image in a gaming projector, pay close attention to contrast ratios. Many of the most popular games include high dynamic color ranges allowing for very dark moments of game play. Higher contrast ratios present those shadowy scenes with greater clarity and visual acuity. In fact, a high contrast ratio often gives you a brighter looking image.
|Good||5,000:1 or better|
|Better||40,000:1 or better|
|Best||100,000:1 or better|
Check out this video that provides a visual example difference between higher and lower contrast ratios »
What's a refresh rate? To put it simply, it's the projectors ability to process video. A faster (higher) refresh rate means crisper, more seamless looking images. This is not only beneficial for gaming, but higher refresh rates also produce a 3D image that is 'easier on the eyes.' Panasonic makes the fastest gaming projectors at this time with regards to refresh rate, but there are lots of other great options out there. 99% of gamers will never notice any lag as long as the projector has a refresh rate of 120hz or more.
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