In an era where video games produce captivating graphics that can rival a cinematic experience, projectors have become a viable display option for hardcore gamer’s. Current generation consoles such as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One can even double as home entertainment systems with integrated support for media service providers like Netflix and Hulu.
While most projectors are suitable for watching movies, video games demand more than just accurate colors and adequate brightness.
If you want to upgrade your setup for a more immersive gaming experience, consider the following aspects to help you find the best projector for gaming.
Resolution refers to the number of pixels in a display. A higher resolution corresponds to a better viewing experience with more vivid images and finer details.
High-quality resolution is a fundamental requirement for any gaming display. For this reason, the ideal gaming projector should have a native resolution of 1080p (1920×1080 px) or 4K (3840×2160 px). Although a 720p (1280×720 px) display is adequate for gamers on a tight budget, anything lower will negatively affect the visuals, especially for graphics-intensive games.
At any rate, 1080p gaming projectors remain to be the standard for a more immersive gaming experience, while 4K variants are the superior and more expensive alternatives.
Response Time and Input Lag
The response time of a gaming projector determines how fast it can change its pixels from black-to-white or gray-to-gray. A projector usually shows a black screen when nothing is displayed, and the duration it takes to produce a gray or white pixel is logged as its response time rating. On the other hand, input lag is the delay between the projector receiving a signal and displaying it on the screen.
Low short response time ensures a smooth visual quality without any motion blur while minimal input lag is crucial if you play competitive multiplayer online games. Most gaming projector manufacturers do not measure lag times, but you can find third party sites that provide statistics.
The refresh rate of a projector determines the number of times it can recreate an image within a second. A higher refresh rate guarantees a smoother visual experience as long as the frame rates of a game can keep up.
You can best appreciate the significance of refresh rates with first-person shooter games. When the refresh rates are low, you will be firing at a target that is not where it once was when you started shooting. The reason for this is because your target may have moved ever so slightly by the time your projector refreshes the image.
For most games, a refresh rate of 60 Hz to 120 Hz is reasonable. However, most manufacturers do not disclose information on refresh rates.
Gaming projectors generally have higher refresh rates so you should be alright as long as you find one specifically designed for gaming.
Some projectors feature a game mode that helps reduce lag time to make them more responsive. A dedicated game mode creates a balance between gameplay and video quality. As explained earlier, a bit of lag can make the difference between victory and defeat.
Thankfully, projectors designed for gaming are easy to spot. Manufacturers are not subtle about these products and make it a point by specifically having “gaming” in the title.
Gamers switch to a projector because of the benefit of a much larger display. Although there are massive televisions or monitors available on the market, they are much more expensive. Moreover, gaming projectors offer screen size customizability that you will not find on a TV or a monitor.
A projection size of up to 250 inches enables you to easily split the screen when playing co-op games with a friend.
Many modern games feature high dynamic color ranges that allow for dark and shadowy in-game environments. These images require a high contrast ratio to let users see what is going on. To present these scenes with greater clarity and visual acuity, the ideal contrast for gaming projectors would be at least 10,000:1 for excellent lucidity. Moreover, a high contrast ratio can also provide brighter-looking images.
Gaming projectors are also classified according to their throw distance. The distance determines how far from the wall the projector is supposed to be positioned. These throw types include long throw, short-throw (regular throw), and super short throw (ultra-short throw).
Long-throw projectors are generally cheaper, but they require a considerable room size. On the contrary, super short throw projectors are commonly used for showing presentations for class or business meeting.
The most popular distance for gaming projectors is short-throw especially for games that employ motion sensors like the Xbox Kinect 2.0 or PlayStation 4 Camera. The light coming from long-throw projectors may be blocked when users are standing between the lens and the screen.
Some video games require players to pay close attention to even the slightest of details. For this reason, a projector for gaming should have sufficient brightness when used in rooms with high levels of ambient lighting.
If you are going to use the projector in a specialized home theater, brightness levels should not be too much of a concern. However, you must consider the brightness rating carefully if your room has natural lighting.
The projection size should also be taken into account. A larger screen requires a higher lumen rating. The safest choice would be to go with a gaming projector with at least 3000 ANSI lumens. That number should be more than enough to illuminate any screen size.
Playing video games on a large screen is a truly immersive experience that any gamer will not want to pass on, and it is not as expensive as many people assume. In fact, the cost of a high-quality gaming projector is around the same as a big-screen TV. All it requires is a room with low ambient lighting and a white wall to shine on.