Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Video Projector Buying Guide

Portable Video Projectors
Don't forget: If you opt for a portable video projector, you'll also need a sturdy carrying case for it.
Don't forget: If you opt for a portable video projector, you'll also need a sturdy carrying case for it.
© Eder

Many video projectors on the market today are small and light enough to easily move from place to place, even if they're not labeled as portable. If portability is a major factor in your purchase, though, that may not be enough. If you travel with the projector, you're probably looking for something that meets these criteria:

  • Lightweight
  • Fits into a reasonably sized carrying case
  • Sturdy enough to handle minor bumps during transport
  • Bright enough to work in a variety of unpredictable lighting conditions
  • A good warrantee

To ensure a video projector has these features, look for those specifically designed for portability. Today, portable video projectors range in size and weight, so start by looking for one you're comfortable carrying around. From there, look for high brightness levels. Brighter is better if you expect to use the projector in rooms with a lot of ambient light, like windowed conference rooms or dimly-lit lecture halls.

While purchasing a portable projector means you might not be buying a screen or mounting mechanisms, it likely will involve purchasing a case. Look for cases designed to protect delicate electronic equipment like video projectors. Estimate $100 to $200 for a well-constructed tote or carrying case.

By going portable, you don't have to give up HD or 3-D technology. For example, the InFocus IN1112 Projector is PC 3-D ready. While its native resolution is 1280 by 800, the IN1112 supports a maximum resolution of 1920 by 1200 and HDMI connections for 1080i and 1080p content. The IN1112 weighs only 2.7 pounds (1.2 kilograms) and retails for $1022 [source: InFocus].

No matter which video projector you use, don't let higher specifications or higher prices lead you to assume you're getting a better product. Read both positive and negative product reviews for each projector you're considering. When you read a review, consider whether the user's setup environment is similar to your own to determine if you could have the same experience. You may be surprised to discover that some inexpensive and lesser-known brands of video projectors work quite well for situations like yours.

Even if you don't buy your video projector in a store, another thing you might consider is visiting a store that specializes in designing and installing home theater systems. Just talking to a representative can help you match the right technology to your environment. If you're not comfortable setting up the equipment after you buy it, these experts might offer installation services, too.

Through this article, we've looked at the key specifications and features of video projectors and what to consider when selecting and purchasing one. For lots more information on buying video projectors, slide on over to the next page.