Only a projector gets you closest to the true big-picture HD experience

A projector is the most economical way of achieving true cinema-sized pictures in your home. You can get a 60 inch plasma TV (152 cm) for around $10,000, for instance, but for just $2,000 you can get a decent LCD projector and with it produce a high quality 100 inch (254 cm) picture. The downside is that you’ll need to dim the room lights and fire up the HD set-top box whenever you want to watch TV, but this inconvenience can be avoided by using an LCD TV for casual viewing of the news and kids’ afternoon TV, and the projector for the full HD cinema experience at night.

A choice of technology

There are several projection technologies to choose from, including LCD, DLP (Digital Light Projection) and LCOS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon), but whichever you settle on make sure that your projector is a home theatre projector. There are lots of cheap projectors around designed for use with computers, and these have an aspect ratio of 4:3, not widescreen which is what you need. And do not even consider a projector unless it offers a resolution of at least 1280 x 720 pixels. The better option is, of course, a true high definition projector offering 1920 x 1080 pixels as these will provide the ultimate in home theatre performance for the foreseeable future.

GADGET GUY TIP

Keep in mind the running costs of your projector purchase. It may only cost $3,000, but a new lamp could cost anywhere between $500 and $1,000. Check out the expected lamp life too. These can range from 2,000 to 3,000 hours. Finally, try using the low power mode available on most projectors. This can often improve the black levels, and usually extends the life of the lamp.