Current video choices include: Blu-Ray discs, DVD, Cable TV and Satellite programming, On Demand and pay-per view TV, video streaming from Youtube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, special streaming devices such as ChromeCast, FireStick, and Roku, and having your own Media Server PC with your own media library.
FLAT PANEL TVS
Of the three types currently available, Plasma TVs generally produce the most accurate colors and permit the widest viewing angle. And they remain less expensive than comparable LCD or LED models. Plasma displays, although they have a wider viewing angle for the most part, are physically deeper than the thinnest LED TVs, are susceptible to image “burn-in” (although this can sometimes be remedied with software tools), and they use slightly more power.
New OLED flat panels are coming out and are still at a high price point, although they boast extremely thin size and beautiful pictures. We have not seen them become a practical recommendation for our particular customers projects yet.
Our recommendation is almost always an LED LCD display. The technology is the best bang for your buck, they perform well in a wide variety of lighting conditions, and they are available in a wide range of sizes.
LCD projectors share many of the advantages and limitations of LCD Panel displays, although some “three chip” models achieve very high image quality. They are widely used commercially, and some models are capable of producing high light output. Very inexpensive models designed for power point presentations are sometimes marketed as “home theater” projectors, but produce very marginal picture quality.
DLP Projectors create an image with a micro-array of movable mirrors. They generally have lower light output than LCD models, but typically offer richer colors and better usable contrast. Less expensive models use a single DLP chip to sequentially produce the red-green and blue picture elements, together with a synchronized color wheel to provide the actual colors. Some people see color fringing with single-chip DLPs (experienced as rainbows in their peripheral vision.) The more expensive DLPs models use three chips—one each for red, green, and blue, colors—then uses a prism to combine the components into a single light beam. They can produce a brighter image than the single-chip models, without the color fringing.
LCOS, a reflective micro-array technology like DLP, uses liquid crystals instead of mirrors to form the pixel display. It provides a rich, cinematic image, with high usable contrast, high resolution, with reduced spacing between the pixel elements that make up a digital display. Light output is typically low (more like a movie theater image), requiring a dark room for best results.
Light sources for projectors are also changing from incandescent bulbs to light emitting diodes. LED “lamps” use less energy and last much longer. Whether projector manufacturers who switch over to LED lamps will rename their projectors “LED” is yet to be seen. If so, it will add to the confusion.