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LIVING THE PROJECTOR LIFE
For decades the television has reigned supreme. T.V.s come in all shapes and sizes, and are cheap enough to be present in most American homes. But what if there was another way? What if there was an alternative—one that maintains the charm of a television set, but does away with much of the baggage? In recent years, and increasingly with every day, this world is becoming a reality. And no product better exemplifies this than the home projector.
Many exciting new digital devices have made their way onto the market during my lifetime. Tablets, smartphones, a variety of laptop computers—but all of these are only improvements on classic screen technology. Screens all have roughly the same weaknesses. For instance, they can only be one size. Manufacturers combat this problem by offering devices in a variety of sizes. But it can be hard to find the perfect size for you: too small and you can’t see it, too big and you can’t move it. Another problem screens have is fragility. Have you ever known anyone that’s only owned one cellphone?
That’s where the projector comes in. Yes, the projector, like you might see in a classroom or conference room. Projectors have long been used for their myriad benefits, but now these handy gadgets are affordable enough for the retail market. Consumer projectors are now smaller, quieter and capable of displaying in high-def. The more expensive models even come in 4K (if you can believe that)!
The cool thing about a projector is that it the image can be scaled up or down to fit any surface you have available. Have an empty six-foot space on your wall? Your projector will produce a six-foot-wide image. Want to sit closer? The image can be scaled down to computer monitor size, no problem. Want to watch a movie on the side of your house? The image will be fifteen feet tall, and with the proper projector your image resolution won’t suffer at all.
They’re also relatively portable. Consumer projectors come in many sizes and styles. Some are smaller than a portable DVD player. Some go on the floor, and project straight up at a 90-degree angle. Some have their own rechargeable battery. Many have built-in speakers (though the sound quality varies pretty widely). All this adds up to a device that’s much easier to transport than a widescreen television.
Now, projectors do have some downsides—nothing is perfect, after all. Some can be a little noisy due to the cooling fan, though typically not any louder than a computer or game console. They can be pretty fragile, too; but unlike a smartphone, projectors aren’t meant to be handled constantly throughout the day. And sometimes the bulb goes out and must be replaced, but most bulbs are built to last for years at a time. On the whole the downsides are quite manageable.
But the thing that really puts projectors in the running as a media device is the price. Projectors vary wildly in price, starting at a round $50(!). Of course, you pay for quality, and for something worthy of screening your favorite movies you’ll probably be paying a little more. Right now you can get a great projector for around $300. And if you’re willing to spend a little more, or shop around, you can find one that’s pretty unbelievably good.
Living the projector life is a totally new way to experience visual media. Anything from film, to video games, to just surfing the internet, all look great on a home projector. I’ve even used it for writing website code! If you think you might like to try it, just look around. Many large retail chains now carry at least a few models, and there are hundreds available online (it’s like the Wild West out there). No matter what your needs, there’s almost certainly a projector for you.
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