Projectors and Video Games:How to get the most from your new high-definition game console

Bill Livolsi, June 2, 2006
Contents
  • Makings of a Good Gaming Projector
  • Our picks

What makes for a good video game projector? Video games are a sort of cross between data and video, and often they can include text that needs to be displayed clearly as well as stunning, cinematic visuals. As a result, finding a projector ideal for video games can be difficult, but we have chosen a couple of contenders that we consider to be a good match for video gaming.

Early generation video games delivered pixelated video and cheesy computer-generated sound effects. But these days, video and sound quality is much improved. New game systems typically output at least 480p, if not 720p or 1080i. Some next-generation systems are even claiming the ability to output 1080p. Few video game enthusiasts will be willing to lay out huge bucks for the latest 1080p projectors, but 720p projectors have dropped to prices well within reach of the average consumer. Most widescreen 1280x720p models display high definition content beautifully, and this makes 720p the resolution of choice for today's video game projection.

Video games can consist of many different types of content within the same game. Often a game will include menus with text that needs to be displayed clearly, so image sharpness must be top-notch. Lately, games have been incorporating cinematic sequences that are nearly on a level with high-definition video content. Gameplay has been getting more and more lifelike, with realistic light and shadow detail. As such, high contrast helps to properly display shadow detail, which is often quite complex. Color must be accurate and well saturated.

Of utmost importance is overall image brightness. Home theater projectors seem to average out at 300 to 350 ANSI lumens, which is ideal for a 100" diagonal 16:9 screen in a dark room. However, video games look better if the image is somewhat brighter. Increased brightness not only makes the image appear more vivid, but also provides the game room with enough light that you can easily see your controllers. While many video gamers have the controller layout mapped to their long-term memory (myself included), not all of us have that kind of time to devote to the hobby. Since video game console controllers are not backlit, a little extra light in the room from the screen or an ambient source is helpful.

Contents: Makings of a Good Gaming Projector Our picks