By Ron Lennox.
The best UST projector is not the most expensive, it is the projector that matches what you need the most, no two projectors are the same and none of them are “perfect”. When choosing a projector, there are several factors to consider. Here we will discuss 8 important aspects that should be considered when purchasing a UST projector.
1. SET UP ISN’T SIMPLE
Yes, a UST can be put in just about any room and perform well; but like any projector, the final image quality will look as good as the time you put into it. It will require some light control, placement, and aiming – some UST projectors are extremely touchy and require a lot of time to line up perfectly.
2. YOU SHOULD CONSIDER ADDING A SURROUND SOUND SYSTEM
No matter what you have been told or have read in any article, the sound built into every manufacturer’s UST projector is sadly lacking. You need to consider an actual Surround Sound System to go with it. It is not a true entertainment experience without great sound to go with the big picture.
3. CENTER SPEAKER LOCATION
One of the most critical speakers in a Surround Sound System is the center channel speaker, a UST projector must be in the center position which makes the speaker location a bit more difficult to place.
4. BUY A GOOD ALR SCREEN (AMBIENT LIGHT REJECTING)
The Screen for a UST is an extremely specific type of screen commonly called an ALR (Ambient Light Rejecting Screen), if you do not buy a good ALR screen you will not get a good image and you will lack color and contrast. The screen quality is just as important as the quality of the projector you choose, do not spend all your money on the projector if you know you will need a screen also.
5. SCREEN POSITION
The position of the screen as it relates to the projector is CRITICAL (I said CRITICAL, not just important), it must be in exactly the right location to get a proper image! Set-up is arduous and aiming is a pain if you do not know what you’re doing. Find a projector that’s been reviewed with an easier setup if you don’t have the time to learn or don’t want to.
6. THE SCREEN MUST BE FLAT, AND SOMETIMES, YOUR WALL ISN’T
The screen must be in a precise location and must be perfectly flat… and sometimes, your wall is not. Your wall could bow out without you knowing in the slightest. Hanging the screen is difficult and can take some time to get right, some models being much more annoying to put together than others.
7. HAVE A PROFESSIONAL DESIGN YOUR SYSTEM
A Surround Sound system requires a minimum of 5 speakers and a sub-woofer, this will affect the position of your UST projector and how it needs to be secured. With that many speakers playing you must consider the projector vibrating. The very best systems can have 11 or more speakers, fitting the projector over the center channel or behind it might not be feasible. Have a professional design the system after seeing your room and discussing your needs with you.
8. AVOID PITFALLS, DO THE RESEARCH
There are a lot of UST projectors on the market, read the specifications very carefully, or better yet seek out a professional to help with the decision. Many of the units out there cannot actually do 4K video, many must still sit far enough away from the screen that they could end up in the walkway. There are a lot of possible pitfalls that you can avoid by talking to someone that does custom home automation installation and works with these projectors on a regular basis or by reading the reviews and specifications on possible projectors.
Learn more about the difference between a UST and a TV in this article: UST vs. TV
Are you still deciding if what you want is a Media Room or a Home Theater? Here you can learn more about their differences – Designing Home Theaters vs Designing Media Rooms
When choosing a UST projector, there are several factors to consider. If you’re planning on buying one, don’t fall into the “this is a simple DIY project” trap. Do your research, take these pain points into consideration, know exactly what you want before shopping – don’t guess. Know the room and its light control, how the UST you choose will need to be placed, will you be adding a surround sound system to it, if the screen is Ambient Light Rejecting? Last, but not least, consider hiring a custom home automation company to design and install your system; this way you can make sure you are making a good investment and your system will certainly meet, even surpass, your needs.
Ron Lennox – Ron is VP of Business Development at BTA and is always trying to save the world from bad Hi-Fi!