Contrast Ratio: The higher the contrast ratio, the better depth of color reproduction. Contrast ratio is basically the measurement of the brightest white to the darkest black. Contrast ratio is stated a couple different ways: as contrast ratio (sometimes stated dynamic contrast ratio) and as native contrast ratio. You will see a spec like “50,000:1,” Try to compare the native contrast ratios, as that is a more realistic measurement.
Control: Being able to control the projector is important. Having Internet protocol (IP), RS-232C, or local area network (LAN) control of the unit will allow you to easily integrate the projector into your system. If you are adding a control system to the install, having these ports on the projector are imperative. Also, having a control system may help reduce your energy costs and extend the lamp life by having master control monitoring and being able to turn equipment off after hours. Some products still draw current in the standby mode, so check with your installer about the best option for you.
Lamp: Cost of ownership is an important consideration when choosing a projector. Inquire about lamp life and lamp replacement cost. You should be able to determine a cost per lamp hour. A convenient lamp life is 3000 hours. Also, depending on the install, you may have a difficult time changing out the lamp. Can you do this yourself? It may behoove you to set up a lamp replacement contract with your installer. Be aware of this cost when deciding on a projector. In addition, the more hours on your lamp, the dimmer the light output. If your image is critical, you may only use the first half of the lamp life before you swap it out.
Your installer may ask you what type of projector you want to install. Usually, they will know just by the description of your room and your budget, but so you are not caught off-guard, here are some explanations to help guide you:
Large Venue: If the venue or auditorium is large, you need a large venue projector. Some applications will require a more expensive $40,000+ unit and will need to be brighter (6000+ lumens) because the projector will probably hang at the back of the audience. Other