Projector Buying Guide
How much should I spend? Where do I go?
You don’t have to spend a fortune. Video projectors, compared to other display technologies, are the best value per square inch, bar none. Consider the automobile: the more you spend, generally, the “better” the car is. But, with projectors, like cars, you get to a point of diminishing returns – for a 2% increase in performance, you have to spend twice as much. The trick is to have a clear idea of what you want you’re comfortable spending. I advise people to determine what kind of home theatre enthusiast they are, and budget accordingly. Currently, a top of the line home theatre video projector will run about $8000, while an entry level unit will cost about $1500 or less. They’re both excellent value, but clearly the more expensive unit projects a better picture. Is it worth the extra $6500? Tough call. One customer of ours said he was looking for an “…experience like having King Kong looking through a window”. Believe it or not, it doesn’t have to cost much to achieve that kind of experience.
Find a knowledgeable sales rep, someone who understands the technology and how you interface with it. You average run of the mill salesperson knows only what he / she has been told, and as a result, may not have your best interests at heart. You can find excellent deals on-line, but while you get lower prices, you don’t actually see the unit you’ve bought until it’s delivered. This makes dealing with a knowledgeable sales person doubly important. This can be complex stuff. The right person can go a long way to making sure that your money is well spent. Box stores can be an exercise in frustration. Minimum wage and a commission don’t add generally up to an easy experience. You may end up paying an inflated price for something you could have paid a lot less for on-line, or even worse, get the entirely wrong unit.
Specialty stores deserve a mention here as well. You know them – the bright buildings with bars on all the windows. Here, while you’ll pay more, your sales person will likely know more about the gear than your average joe, and will help make the experience a productive, albeit expensive, one.
Many people end up educating themselves, and as a result, a surprising number will actually buy a projector without actually ever having seen it in action. Others will rely entirely on the expertise of their sales person to recommend something that will meet or beat expectations. Talk to your rep, find out what they know. Ask why they like a particular unit, why they’re recommending it. Finding a technically savvy salesperson, regardless of where you spend your money, is the first step in making your home theatre dreams come true.