Believe it or not, my interest in computers was significantly boosted by….a projector! I shall tell you a tale of computers, projectors, and the original Doom PC game…amazing? Yes, yes it is.
It all began when I was but a young nerd in 7th grade. I had become friends with kid named Eddy, who was adopted from the Philipines into an awesome American family in Arizona. I remember going to their big house and doing all the things kids do…played ball, jumped on his trampoline, and of course…played lots of video games.
One day I went over and he brought me upstairs. His dad was a business man, and had a projector for his corporate meetings. This is early 90’s so the projector was not the greatest compared to today, but back then cost him around 10,000 dollars!
Yes….I said $10,000 for a projector that compared to budget projectors of today!
The Start of Projector Love
Upstairs was a loft area where the computer and projector were placed in the center of the room. The PC was enourmous…and so was the projector lol.
So what do you think Eddy did? He said, “check this crap out” and turned on the computer and projector. When the image hit the wall my jaw hit the floor. I never had the option of using a PC and projector together, so this looked flippin amazing!
Then he said….let’s play Doom and my brain nearly exploded. “You can play games on your wall?” I said in a nerdy voice. “Yes, yes we can” he replied. He then booted up Doom as his dad came out of his bedroom to leave somewhere for work.
He said, and I quote “You can play, but don’t use the shotgun…it’s too violent”
“Sure dad” said Eddy, as he literally picked up a shotgun before his dad was halfway down the stairs. Of course, this is the original doom so “violence” was more of a pixelated red mess. Us kids thought it was cool though.
Thought we were being super defiant, OG gaming rebels.
I remember that day vividly. Even though we later used the projector to watch movies and TV, I was most impressed by its use as a computer display.
Budget Projectors Today
So…we are in an age of extreme forward movement on technology. What comes out this year, could be obsolete next year. This applies for all our devices such as: Phones, TV’s, Computers (although building your own helps future proof it), Cameras, and of course projectors.
BUT what is “obsolete” anyways? Usually people only think technology is too old thanks to massive in-your-face marketing from Phone companies and other mass tech organizations.
Truth is (at least for projectors) you don’t need the best of the best right now. You can get a budget projector off Amazon or other large websites that are still going to do great for you with what you need.
How do I know? Because that’s exactly what I did! I am the sole income for a house of 6, so I can’t just buy big expensive things. What I can do is research exactly what I need something for and find one at a price I can afford.
For Example: I wanted a simple projector to put in the master bedroom. I have a PC I built, and some console games, all of which I want to play on my bedroom wall…from my bed.
So….I did. I researched what minimum specs I need in a budget projector, found one with great reviews on Amazon matching my specs, and bought it like a boss.
Below is a picture link to the actual one I bought which is currently on sale via Amazon for $179.99 (with coupon button clicked). It is an affialiate link I just created for my projector which is sitting next to me right now =). It’s not just a random product though, it is the same link I used to purchase my own!
This thing in my bedroom…is so cool! Me and my wife watch movies on it, play console games, and connect the PC to it. It works great, and is our go-to activity once the kids go to bed (well…ONE of our go to activities lol…….anyways, moving on)
You might say..”this is all great and dandy, but how did you find that specific model for your needs?” Great Question! Let me show you how…
Budget Projector Specs
Here is some exact specs I was looking for when I purchased this projector. You have to be careful and not go TOO cheap. Amazon is full of super cheap “projectors” which will absolutely dissapoint once you get it in your hands.
A couple of major things you want to look for when searching for a decent budget projector for your needs are as follows:
- NATIVE resolution (not just supported, more on this)
- type of light source: LCD, LED, etc
Let’s look at probably the most important aspect to a decent projector, its native resolution! Most projectors will say words like “supports 1080p Full HD” which is fine and all, but it’s the Native resolution that is important.
You will notice as you search that the cheaper the projector on sites like Amazon, the more they don’t tell you what the “native” numbers are. They just say what it “supports” or other marketing jargon. Don’t be fooled, be a well informed consumer! If they don’t list it, ask what it is. You can also search for questions people have already asked and see if it is there as well.
My opinion is, it should at least be 720p Native with upscaling to support 1080p. Anything less will be noticably low quality, and that kills the whole “let’s go watch a movie on the wall” thing. 720p is much easier to upscale to 1080 then say one with a resolution of 800*480.
Then again you also have to look at your price point, and the overall value of the projector. If you are just watching movies and not gaming 800*480 might work for you (assuming the projector is decent with its contrast/brightness).
This is also important, because all the resolution in the world doesn’t matter if you can’t see it! Your going to be looking at the brightness Lux or lumens, and then the contract ratio.
LUX measures the light intensity to the human eye, where LUMENS is more a measurement of the light source itself. In other words, LUX is a better descriptor for projection. Therefore I was looking for above 3000 Lux for brightness. Mine is 3800 so that worked great.
Contrast ratio is also important. This is the ratio of Black to White on the screens surface. Like anything, the higher the better…otherwise you can end up with black sections on screen showing up with too much light in it, causing the quality in the image to go down. I wanted 2000:1 or higher, and got 3000:1 which was another win.
Take note though, most projectors under 5-700 dollars will not show well during the daytime. You will need much more brightness and contrast then stated above….but this is for a BUDGET projector! Mine does do well in the daytime if it is in a room where the windows are somewhat blocked.
Basically there are 3 types of projectors that will pop up regardless of budget, size, or anything else. That is LED,LCD, or DLP type projectors. I narrowed it down to LED vs. LCD because DLP was the oldest technology and found much less then the others.
LCD is a great stable technology which can and still works with tons of projectors out there. However, LED crept in and swept the nation in a vast amount of light emitting technologies. Why? Because LED is bright, cheaper, and lasts longer then technologies like LCD or DLP. Plain and simple. For me, this is what I wanted so my projector would last and be bright enough for my needs.
Lastly, a great projector wont mean anything if you can’t connect your favorite devices to it! If you find a cheap/old one it might only connect via RGB cables…and that is no bueno for the newest devices.
This part is simple though as most products easily tell you what connections they have. For example, I have a Note 9 with a type C connector. The projector I bought has a USB to TYPE-C connection…boom perfect! It also has multiple HDMI ports for connecting to PC and my PS4 console for gaming and other things. Awesome.
Your needs might be different. Just make sure what you are buying has the right connections for what your planning on using the device for. You are buying for YOU so make sure everything works for your needs.
I can’t say enough for my love of projection in the home. Maybe it’s because I’m a super nerdy gamer…but it’s got many more uses than that. Movie buffs love them, Computers can use them as a second screen, heck you could even use them just to display family pictures and videos like my grandparents did with slideshows.
There are many more features and needs for a projector which goes up based on your own personal budget and needs.
Thanks to the World Wide Web your options are endless. I hope you learned something from this and if you do buy my recemended projector (or any other that you find) please comment below. I love seeing people add new technology to your lives, and can’t wait for you to enjoy being as entertqained as I have with this.
Until next time, Your Nerdy Friend: