From high-tech projectors to the latest apps, find out what's new in home cinema.
By John RihaMore in Home Improvement
Video Projectors and Lampless LED Technology
One classic definition of home theater is that it includes a video projector and a screen the size of a double garage door. For many aficionados, that definition still holds true.
"To me, home theater begins at 80 inches," says Jim Zoyiopoulos, a custom home electronics expert and owner of David Vincent Designs in Carmel, CA. "I think home theater comes as close as possible to re-creating the big theater experience - the viewing, the sound, even the lighting."
For those who prefer the jumbo-screen format, that usually means a projector capable of producing an image ranging from 70 to 200 inches (measured diagonally). Room lighting is critical, as screens are washed out by stray light. A darkened room - characteristic of big theater ambiance - is essential.
Reproduction quality from top-quality projectors can be impressive, but the real news on the projector front is the development of LED "lampless" technology. High-intensity LEDs run cooler and are much more energy efficient than traditional projector lamps, offer thousands of hours more of useful life, and easily provide the intense firepower needed to throw a clear, sharp image at a big screen.
Prices for a high-def 1080p projector range from $1,000 to $3,000, and get upward of $10,000 at the very high end. Throw in a retractable screen for $1,000 to $2,000, add a light-controlled viewing room and the price of classic home theater rises quickly for a medium that's not necessarily conducive to casual television or streaming media viewing.