One of big questions every home theater enthusiast has to face when planning a new home theater is whether to invest in a rear projection TV, or to opt for two piece video projector - screen setup.
Both approaches have got their pros and cons. In this article, we discuss advantageous and limitations of rear projection systems as a big screen solution in home theater.
Rear Projection Television - An Affordable Option
A great deal of consumer appeal for Rear Projection TV systems arise out of shear simplicity that this product offers as an immediate solution to getting a bigger TV.
No mess, no fuss, if you have space, either visit your local big screen retailer - or better still, check at your favorite online electronics superstore - to order your product and get it delivered in just a few days; unpack product and there you have a big screen TV in your living room ready for immediate use!
Rear Projection TV Facts:
As already stated, rear projection offers a most immediate solution to getting a bigger TV. Probably, this is also one of main drivers behind rear projection television sales.
Yet real 'culprit' behind popularity of rear projection TV systems does not arise out of some particular benefit associated with rear projection, but out of fact that most big screen retailers seem to give impression that rear projection systems are cheaper than a front projection setup.
This may be true in retail stores, but not necessary so when buying online. The reality is that for a given budget level, prices online are such that front projectors will deliver a much more cinema-like experience for same price bracket. Therefore, do not base your decision on price alone to decide between a front projection setup and a rear projection TV box.
Clearly, there is a market for both - primary decisive factor should be your room size. If you don't have a large viewing room, a 40" to 60" diagonal TV will probably be more than adequate rendering a rear projection TV ideal affordable solution - as long as it fits in available space.
Size - or rather unit depth - is becoming less of a problem with modern LCD and DLP rear projection TV units. A typical 52” diagonal widescreen DLP or LCD rear projection TV set requires no more than 15-inches in depth; this contrasts heavily with a similar size CRT rear projection model which would normally require between 22 and 24 inches in depth.
What's more, considering that a similar size Plasma TV is still out of reach of most average household budgets, today's slim-styled LCD and DLP rear projection TV sets, with their lower prices yet high performance, are becoming affordable 'immediate' big screen TV option in television mass-market.
However prior to committing yourself to a rear projection TV, it is important to be fully aware of a few limitations associated with rear projection systems, namely: limited screen size, limited viewing angle, glare problems, poor aspect ratio management, poor use of floor-space, etc.
We take a look at each of these limitations in further detail below:
Screen size: Rear projection TV systems come in screen sizes ranging from typical 42" up to a maximum of just over 70". This may or may not be a limitation. It is true that you can get a 100" projection with a home theater projector for price of a high quality digital 50" rear projection TV, yet screen size should be dimensioned to suit your room. If your room size does not support such big projections, rear projection is probably way to go.
Viewing angles: Rear projection TV systems used to have a rather limited viewing angle - with optimum viewing position being one directly in front of and eye-level with unit. Move away to either side, and color, contrast, and brightness will degrade substantially. A narrow viewing angle will limit number of people who can watch set due lowering in picture quality at extreme viewing angles. Most modern systems support a viewing angle of circa 150 degrees - which should be adequate for normal home theater use. However, it is always best to check on this prior to your purchase as some products are worse than others.