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Is a projector the right choice for your large screen viewing?

Take Aesthetics and Performance into Account During Your Installation

When it comes to choosing a projector during your home theater installation, for a lifestyle room, or even in a living area; there are a lot of things to take into account. Typically people don’t consider a projector an option because they think that they only work well in a dark room. Fortunately, technology has brought about new innovations that give tons of options for your home whether planning an estate in River Oaks, or a townhouse in West University, or anywhere else in Houston, TX.  Learn how a projector can be a better option with so many new possibilities.

SEE MORE: 6 Things to Look for in a Home Theater Receiver

Standard Front Projection: Most installations use a traditional setup with a projector mounted on the ceiling or wall in the back of the room. This is the least expensive option for projectors, installation is simpler, and gives users the feel of a commercial theater. With controlled lighting, a standard screen can be used to achieve amazing image quality at budget prices.

To up the performance, most would immediately think of spending more money on the projector, and rightfully so. However the screen is most often the best bang for the buck enhancements. Companies like Screen Innovations have developed optical technology that dramatically enhances black levels of the image by rejecting the reflection of ambient light. Not only does this give a higher contrast image, it actually allows for projection screens to be used in brightly lit environments. The result is stunning and brings projection technology into many other rooms of the home that were previously not good candidates for this large format image. There are a few things to consider, even when planning an optical screen, but with expert assistance on the technical details, it doesn’t have to be difficult to achieve the dramatic end result.

There are a few drawbacks to standard front projection. If you’re using a very large screen, then the projector likely needs to be at least ten feet from the display and therefore will likely be a visible part of the system. Without spending significant expense of a custom enclosure or lift, you will have to plan on seeing a projector mounted somewhere in view. Some homeowners aren't particularly fond of a piece of equipment on the ceiling ruining their décor. The options below can help you counteract some of these issues.

Short/Ultra-Short-Throw Projector: If you don’t have space for a conventional projector or don’t want to see it hanging from the ceiling, short throw is the ideal solution. These specialty projectors can be placed just a few feet (or inches) from the wall, allowing them to be less visible.  It can even be hidden within custom cabinetry, like that purpose built by Salamander Designs. There are several styles designed specifically for a Sony VPL-Z1000ES short throw and using a Screen Innovations Black Diamond screen.

They are also useful in rooms with really high ceilings where it is not feasible to have a projector mounted there and hanging down by a long pole. Since the projector and screen are closer together than in a standard installation, you don't have to worry about people walking in front of the signal and the image is typically brighter. Sony is the most well-known of the manufacturers dominating the short throw projector space and they even have a laser based model, which really makes images pop.

To use these projectors you need special screens designed to only receive light from below. The experts at then set up the projector to make sure the image fits squarely on the screen by calibrating the lenses.

Rear Projection

Rear projection is a setup that accomplishes many of the same things as a short-throw projector while making the projector completely invisible. During your home theater installation, the projector system is designed to be installed behind the screen. While concealed components are nice, the biggest benefit of rear projection is enhancing the brightness of the image. Your projector is kept in a dark enclosed space behind the screen, so no ambient light interrupts the signal’s path to the screen. As long as the room where the projector is installed remains dark, the options are limitless. With enough space, traditional projectors can be used. With more limited space behind the screen, short throw projectors or even lens / mirror systems can be designed to reduce the installation space needed.

Rear projection systems have many benefits and outside of space planning, the screen is the biggest difference. The screen will be specific to rear projection but still has many possibilities. Solid surface screens can be installed within cabinetry to look like a large flat panel. Framed rear projection fabric screens can be placed on a wall, with the back cut out, to give the appearance of a front projection screen. There are even films designed to go on glass to use in rear projection. Imagine turning a large picture window into a movie theater sized screen to watch television or movies in your back yard.

Regardless of the type of projection system designed, 4K image quality is certainly something to consider in a projector. There are true Ultra HD projectors and some that simulate 4K. The higher resolution format was developed specifically with large screen projection in mind, so the movie library is the largest collection of 4K content available. However just like HDTV eventually took over all film and television, so will UltraHD dominate everything we watch in the near future.

How do you know if a huge projection screen will work in your space or which projection option would work best in your custom home theater? Set up a consultation with to better understand your space considerations and stylistic preferences.

Our team of experts has worked with every type of projection system. From laser projectors, short throw, rear projection, built in cabinets, motorized screens, hidden components, outdoor systems, and more; we have done it all. Plus we have garnered awards from ASID and others for our designs along the way. We will walk through your home, look over your floor plans, or work with your designer to give you the best choices. To get started, call us at 713.933.0606 or contact us online.

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