Projectors: A modern day enigma
The top 5 advantages of projectors remain a mystery to most. And it’s easy to understand why. Projectors used to be out of reach to the average consumer. They were expensive, noisy, misunderstood and required a lot of space. Not really marketable traits, so it’s no wonder they remained an enigma.
Over the last 10 years projectors have become more accessible with lower price points, silent laser systems and 4k displays. These features allow marketing departments to see big bucks on the horizon and consumers to be more encouraged to invest.
Because of this projector purchases have soared. It’s become a continuous circle of innovation, supply over demand and lowering of prices. In fact, projectors have become so popular their benefits are pitted against TVs. Perhaps this is hinting at a shift in the market.
But what advantageous traits do projectors hold in the world of media consumption?
Perhaps in finding this out, we will truly understand who the winner of the projector vs tv battle is. For now though, we’re going to delve into the 5 advantages of projectors.
Top 5 advantages of projectors:
2: Eye comfort
3: Variety of choice
Those that say size is irrelevant are in denial, especially in the world of movie consumption. When children consume tv, you might notice they sit as close to the image as possible. You might ask yourself why, but the answer is simple.
When an image is bigger it is more immersive.
Of course as adults we like to think of ourselves as more developed than that. But it’s undeniable that bigger images tend to draw our focus more. Thus spurs one of the biggest benefits of projectors: the size of image they offer and the immersion that comes from it.
My word isn’t the be all and end all. So let’s investigate some facts to verify this hypothesis.
What exactly is immersion?
According to a study by UVA immersion stems from spherical and physical aspects of experience. In other words, your surroundings and the context in which you watch.
Projected images cover physical immersion i.e. they take up space in our range of vision. The bigger the screen, the more space it takes up in our vision. This means there is a positive correlation between screen size and levels of physical immersion.
Contextually, it’s up to you to bring the popcorn and pick the film.
What effect does immersion have?
Valentijn T. Visch studied the measurement of immersion and its impact. He measured 2 emotions: empathy to film events and fascination (focus) on the movie.
The results? As immersion levels increased, so did the viewers emotions.
To be honest, I enjoy films more when I can resonate with the characters I’m watching. If science says that’s done through having higher immersion levels, sign me up for a bigger screen!
Immersion vs convenience
Although immersion is important, it is counterweighted by convenience. It is undeniable that our society has a favouritism for convenience in every aspect of life.
Quick coffee? It’s more convenient to grab Starbucks than it is to spend time making one. Watching films? It’s far more convenient to pay for Netflix than go to the cinema.
You would assume the result of this would be less sales of movie theatre tickets. This would be incorrect. In fact, the area of film contradicts common trends in other industries. The reason why: movie theatres offer an immersive experience.
In fact, according to Forbes, 50% of millennials claim movies as a passion. As such, when millenials watch blockbuster hits the cinema is the medium that provides to their needs.
This is good news for home projectors as they incorporate the two contradictions: immersion and convenience.
- Size increases viewer immersion
- Viewer focus and emotional attachment is increased with immersion
- Projectors offer: high immersion and convenience
2: Eye Comfort
Have you ever noticed when your eyes start to ache or get tired after staring at a computer screen all day? This is called eye fatigue.
It occurs when you’re sitting in a room where the brightness of your device stands out against your surroundings. This doesn’t mean you have to be in complete darkness, merely a room with low ambient lighting.
The dim light causes your iris to expand in order to let in more light. However, our brains aren’t quite tech savvy and so don’t factor in the brightness of your device. As a result, you end up staring into a light that is brighter than your iris is prepared for.
Because TVs are backlit, the light goes straight from the device to the viewer. Which by the way is great for high level ambient lighting conditions. However, if watched in the dark, this is going to put more strain on your eyes.
Projectors on the other hand bounce light off a wall or screen, meaning there is no light coming from behind the image. Because the direction of the light has to change in order to reach you, it appears slightly dimmer. The less ambient lighting, the brighter it will appear.
However, a dimmer light is softer for your eyes and will cause less strain. When devices are being used for a long period of time, soft lighting is better.
Eye comfort Overview:
- Dimmer lighting is better for eye comfort
- Bright screens in a dark setting causes eye fatigue
- Projectors reflect light making it dimmer
- Over time projectors will be more comfortable to use
Variety leads to more choice. It’s no secret that we all like different things and do them different ways. That’s why having freedom to choose based on our needs is so important. Taking a standardised, one size fits all approach to anything leads to unhappy consumers.
I don’t think variety was the intent of projector brands, more a happy byproduct of innovation. However, it still increases our choice.
There are several types of projectors on today’s market, using different techniques to be able to achieve different goals. For example, you wouldn’t need the same value of Lumens in a classroom projector as you would in a home cinema projector – the lighting levels are completely different.
What this breeds is the ability for you to have a set of criteria, and purchase based on your needs. This is especially important when we’re talking about investing a chunk of cash.
This is not just based on the projector, but also accessories: Mounts, Screens and Audio systems. With the combination of all of this, you can really start to tailor your home cinema set up.
Further to this, you can have a projector aspect ratio that’s suited to the content that you watch. All Tv’s come in 16:9, however, all content isn’t suited to that ratio. If you watch films for example, perhaps a ratio of 2.35:1 would suit you better. Correct aspect ratio will reduce the masking (black bars) that appear, increasing immersion.
- Wide variety of projector types
- Each format of projector suits different needs
- Allows you to tailor your set up
Value for money is a funny thing. It is often thrown around without first explaining how that conclusion has been met.
If the value is based on size, in a point of comparison against TV, you get more size for less money with projectors.
However, if we’re talking audio, then it starts to get a bit complex. TVs have inbuilt audio, so you would presume the value falls to them. But is just having a feature enough to crown a device more valuable? Perhaps not. We also have to think of the quality of that item against the next best thing.
This is when lines start to blur and everything becomes a bit confusing.
In order to stay clear, when I refer to value in this segment I refer to the ability to get a $100 projector with 1080p at a portable size.
Now this is perfect for someone looking to dip their toes into the world of projection before fully committing. I assume that people reading this haven’t yet taken the dive away from TV. It doesn’t make sense to commit to a $2000 projector without first experimenting.
So in relation to cost of experimenting, I do not think a decent quality projector has a high opportunity cost. I would in fact recommend you first try a second hand or cheap projector to see if it’s something you can get behind.
Is under $100 for 1080p valuable? I think so. Could you get that in a new TV? Most certainly not.
- Lots of low budget options
- Competition is pushing overall price down
- Low budget options allow for experimentation when moving from TV
Projectors are big space savers, contradictory to the large projected image. TVs tend to stand as a centre point in a room, with all our furniture pointing towards them.
Projectors on the other hand allow you to use space in a way that doesn’t need accommodation. To begin with, when a projector is off, it doesn’t take up any floor or wall space. This is great as then you fit your projector to the room, not the room to your projector.
Further to this, because projections are light reflections and don’t emit light, it makes them viewable from every angle. If you’re standing side on a projected image, it is easy to see and no distortion takes place. The same isn’t said for TV’s.
Projectors are also extremely portable. If I’m going to visit family for the holiday season, I always take it with me. I don’t tend to bring the mount, instead prop it up on location. I don’t recommend doing this as projectors are pretty fragile, so perhaps a proper stand, mount or shelf would be wise to transport.
Of course, this can also be said for small TVs. If your budget allows, specially designed portable projectors fit really nicely into a small bag.
- Projectors use no floor space
- They’re pretty portable
- Images can be viewed at every angle
The top 5 advantages of projectors: A conclusion
Now that you’ve seen the light and understand exactly why projectors are a class above TVs, perhaps you’re ready to make the jump. If not, that’s also okay – there’s no judgement here (pick projectors!). If you have decided to take a leap into the world of home cinema, check out our complete projector guide. Who knows, it could help with your first steps into understanding what you’re getting into.
If you are hungry for more and our 5 advantages of projectors has got you riled up, delve deeper into your understanding with the complete history of projectors.
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