Picture this scene: you’re in your comfortable room, playing your favorite first-person shooter of RPG game with a group of friends. You’ve got your TV or laptop, the headset for remote collaboration, and audio that highlights every sound cue.
What’s missing from this picture?
Maybe you should consider swapping out that small screen for life-size graphics that really put you into the action. For that, you need a projection system.
The Benefits of Short-Throw Projection Systems for Gaming
Short-throw projectors are tailor-made for gaming in close quarters. Putting big screen capabilities into your home allows you to benefit from current projection technology, compatibility with the latest sound and graphics, and crisp, clear images that bring your gaming to life. If you have a nice, white wall, you won’t even need a screen, and you’ll probably still spend less than it costs to buy a large screen TV.
That’s all you need to transform your dorm room, bedroom, or apartment into gaming central.
Before you go out and part with your hard-earned cash, let’s take a deeper dive into the specs of gaming projectors and what you should look for in a system.
What to Look for in a Short-Throw Projector
Projection systems for gaming are a little different than what you might use to watch your favorite movies and TV shows. Gaming graphics are more advanced and detailed than traditional video images. That means you need to look for a projector that’s specially designed to enhance the images on your screen. Many manufacturers don’t list the refresh rate. If the brand you’re considering does provide this information, make sure that the refresh rate is at least 120Hz.
Best of all, your movies will still look great if you buy a projector for gaming rather than trying to use a typical projector with HD graphics and hope it will work with your games.
Check out audio/video gear expert Steve Scott’s blog for more info on short throw projectors and other gaming projector picks.
In the meantime, here’s some tech information to help you make and informed selection.
This might be one of the most important factors for choosing a gaming projector. Projectors usually come with one of three projection rations. Classic, long-throw projection systems are made for larger spaces like auditoriums. Trying to use one in a smaller room will result in degraded image quality and screen over bleed.
Most gaming is done in smaller spaces, like dorms or living rooms. Using a short- or ultra-short throw projector will allow you to set your projector up closer to the screen without having to adjust for distance of screen size, and it won’t reduce picture quality. A projector in this category can be set up as close as 1 1/2 feet from the display area.
Next, you want a screen resolution that will bring out the detail in today’s gaming graphics. The higher the resolution. the better to see every bit of the action. Try to choose a projector with a screen resolution of at least 1080dpi.
Contrast and Color
Image quality is most affected by the resolution, display area, and brightness, but don’t forget about color. You don’t want muddy images or a monochrome effect when gaming. Contrast is the brightness of the whitest whites on the screen in relation to black.
When choosing a gaming projector, you want high contrast. This will enhance the overall experience and make sure that you can spot danger in the darkest areas of the game. A good contrast ratio for gaming is about 10,000:1. That means whites are 10,000 brighter than the darkest hues.
The brightness of the images on your screen is partially due to the amount of ambient light in the room. If you’re unable to control the amount of light coming into the room, you need to purchase a projection system with a high lumen output. Your screen size also comes into play when choosing the right lumen measurement for gaming. You should add 500 lumens for every additional 10 – 20 inches of screen width over 50.
Basically, the higher the lumen output, the brighter the image. When your system is set up in a dedicated gaming or home theater space, you can get away with as few as 1,000 lumens. For rooms with some ambient light, you should bump up the lumen count to around 1,500 or more. If you’re forced to game in a bright room, look for a lumen count of 3,00 or higher.
Look for a projector that has a game mode setting. In some systems, this is also called “fast mode”. This suggestion goes back to choosing a projection system that’s meant for gaming. One of the issues with some systems that aren’t predominantly designed for gaming is lag time, which means the time it takes the game to load and play.
This is due to the fact that advanced gaming graphics use more resources than traditional video. Lag time or images that freeze up could be a matter of life or death in the gaming world. You may sacrifice a little bit of image quality by using this setting, but improved speed and responsiveness mean you’ll live to fight another day.
What About Sound Quality?
If you already have a decent home theater setup, there’s nothing more to say here. However, you needn’t go out and spend the money on a high-tech audio system with today’s gaming projectors. Many projectors come with built-in audio, and the sound quality can be quite good.
Serious gamers need serious equipment for next-level enjoyment. Graphics and other tech advances have risen to the level that could render your current setup obsolete. If you haven’t gamed on a big screen, you’re missing out on a truly immersive gaming experience. Our objective is to give you the information you need to make a smart investment. What you do with the technology is up to you.
This content is brought to you by Laura Harvsey.