So you are looking to enter the exciting world of home theater with the addition of a home HD projector. One of the terms you are sure to read about or hear from your salesman is projector lumens or projector ansi lumens.
First things first, what does projector lumens refer to? Simply put, lumens is the measure of brightness of the image at the screen.
ANSI (American National Standards Institute) is the "official" standard for measuring light output that each home HD projector can project. You will see the term projector ANSI lumens describing the capabilities of each projector.
Keep in mind that published projector lumens ratings can be a bit misleading. For example, a projector may be rated for 1300 lumens, but may only be capable of 350 lumens in the highest quality mode. The image that is produced at the maximum lumens rating is often times nearly unwatchable for high definition viewing. Other things affecting the brightness of the image is the projected size of the image, the distance of the projector from the screen and the gain on the projector screen.
Keeping the limitations of published lumen ratings in mind, the following are some general recommendations for high definition projectors:
- For a screen size of 92 "you would want a projector with a minimum rating of 900 lumens for areas with complete light control, 1000 lumens for areas with some ambient light and 2000 lumens for areas of bright light such as daytime watching in rooms with windows .
- For a screen size of 120 "you would want a minimum rating of 1200 lumens for complete light control, 1300 for areas with some ambient light, and 2500 for rooms with a lot of ambient light.
If you are looking for a projector for business presentations, the ANSI lumens rate is vitally important because the detail of the image is not as critical, but the ability to see the image with ambient light is critical.
While it is important for a high definition projector to be able to produce a bright image, particularly in areas of medium to high ambient light, a home hd projector's contrast ratio is arguably more important then it's projector lumens rating. The contrast ratio measures the ratio between white and black. A higher contrast ratio will indicate deeper black levels which will greatly enhance the viewing experience with more shadow detail and more visual "pop" on the screen.