Projection Systems for Home Theaters

The display in the theater is the biggest video display you will have in the home and is accomplished by using a projector and a projector screen.  Utilizing a 2 piece design with a projector and screen will allow you to have a display from 120” to 140” or even bigger if your room will accommodate it.  Since the display size is so large you typically want a projector with the highest resolution possible.  Previously this was a high definition projector with a 1080P resolution;  the most current and what will be common place in the future is ultra high definition or 4K resolution.  Ultra high def has 4 times the resolution of 1080P and adds a huge amount of detail and clarity to the picture.  Not only does it give you a better quality picture it also creates more colors than a 1080P projector.

TVs and projectors cannot reproduce every color that can be observed by the human eye so as we’re watching TV, we are actually missing some of the color that we would see if we were actually there.  UHD TV’s and projectors actually reproduce more colors than HD TV’s so you can see more detail in the picture.  Most of these UHD projectors have upscaling capability so that even though you are playing your 1080P blu-ray, the projector is up converting the picture to display a simulated 4K picture.  Dish and DirectTV have both launched new satellites that will capable of broadcasting a UHD signal and are developing new satellite boxes that are capable of outputting a UHD picture.

Another important feature to consider for your projector is lens shift.  Lens shift corresponds to the display size and format is almost like having 2 projectors in one.  Most content that you will find on your cable/satellite provider that is HD will be broadcast in a widescreen format which is a standard 16:9 screen size and most things are broadcast this way because it will fill your TV screen.  When directors make movies in Hollywood they can choose what size film they want to use and this doesn’t always fill the whole 16:9 screen.

You’ve probably seen this when you watch a blu-ray movie and you notice a black bar at the top and bottom of the screen.  The picture is slightly wider than the TV so in order to make it fit on the screen you have to reduce the height of the picture;  therefore you end up with black bars at the top and bottom of the screen.  This is known as 2.35:1 display size and is the most commonly used film size for making movies,  some directors use a slight different size film so the picture fits a little different but for the most part 2.35:1 is the standard.   Lens shift will readjust the magnification of the projector so that the picture will now fill the entire screen.  This does require the appropriate screen to be able to display the picture properly which is the second part of the projection system.  At Synergy we offer a wide array of projector options including JVC, Epson and Vivitek.

The screen that goes in your theater can be a lot more detailed than just a fixed frame screen with a 3” wide felt trim around the screen.  Newer screens can almost have zero edge surrounding where the screen just has a small piece of trim around the edge of the screen.  They even have screens that are motorized and can retract up and roll out of the way to reveal a piece of art while not being used.  Some screens even have a LED backlight that will light up the wall while watching TV which creates the illusion of the picture floating on the wall.  While the light may seem distracting it actually helps with the picture quality of the screen.  The low level ambient light behind the screen helps create a greater contrast to the picture so black levels look deeper than they would without the light.

The ambient light also helps prevent eye fatigue while watching a movie.  When watching a move like The Dark Knight where scenes change from almost completely black to very bright, your eye is constantly adjusting to control how much light comes into your eye and this can make you feel tired.  With the ambient back light, the change from really dark scenes to brighter scenes. We sell some of the best brands in the business including Screen Innovations, Stewart Filmscreen and Dragon Fly and will determine a screen/projector combination to suit your your needs within your budget.