ANSI Lumens – Finding the Right Home Theater Projector

Some home theater projectors have 700 ANSI Lumens, some projectors have
3000 ANSI Lumens…so what’s the difference and how many are you going to
need for your home theater? Anyone who is buying a projector is going to
ask the same question. More Lumens isn’t always better and there are
several reasons why. Be careful, if you spend more money than you need to,
you might be unhappy with the picture and you’ll end up spending way more
money in the future on the same projector that you were unhappy with in the
first place.

* Here’s everything you need to know about ANSI Lumens:

What does ANSI Lumens mean?

ANSI is an acronym for ” A merican N ational S tandards I nstitute”. A Lumen is a measurement of light wave intensity. Every projector that uses ANSI
as a standard have been measured with the same instruments and is an
accurate display of how many Lumens there really are inside a home theater
projector. For example, projector “A” was measured in ANSI Lumens with ANSI
instruments and projector “B” was measured by the manufacturers
instruments. Both projector’s claim to have 1000 Lumens but Its a safe bet
to assume that projector “A” actually has 1000 lumens while projector “B”
may actually have only 700 Lumens because it wasn’t measured by the
national standard.

Always buy a projector measured in ANSI Lumens. That way, you’ll know for
sure you bought the right projector based on how many real Lumens it has
directly effecting the quality of the picture in your home theater.

3 Reasons Why Too Many ANSI Lumens can be bad:

Light Reflection: If you’ve ever taken a laser pointer and pointed it at a white wall in the
dark, you’ll notice the bright red dot on the wall. You’ll also notice that
the red dot is so bright that it creates a fuzzy light around the dot. The
same thing happens when a home theater projector is too bright. The picture
looks fuzzy because the bright image washes itself out with light.

If the image is too bright, it will in turn reflect light around the room
and light up the theater room. Now, not only is the room too bright for a
home theater, but the walls of the room are going to reflect the light back
onto the projector screen and wash out the image even more.

Bulb Life: The more the Lumens, the brighter the projector bulb. The brighter the
bulb, the hotter the bulb gets. The hotter the bulb gets, the quicker the
bulb burns out. I don’t know about you, but spending $200 on a home theater
projector bulb more times than I need to isn’t going to make me very happy.

Cost: Simply put, if your going to buy an expensive projector with more Lumens,
then spend money each year on a bulb because the lamp gets too hot, your
going to throw hundreds of dollars out the window for no reason.

How Many ANSI Lumens do you need?

Low to No Ambient Lighting – 800 to 1200 ANSI Lumens: If you have a completely dark home theater or if you have enough ambient
light to see but not enough to read a newspaper in your home theater room,
all you need is a projector with more than 800 Lumens, but no more than
1200 Lumens.

Low to Moderate Ambient Lighting – 1200 – 1800 ANSI Lumens: If you’d like to watch your home theater projector with ambient lighting
from where you can barely read a newspaper to enough to read a book, you’ll
need at least 1200 but no more than 1800 ANSI Lumens.

Moderate to High Ambient Lighting – 2000 to 2800 ANSI Lumens: If your home theater is lit up with enough ambient light to see clearly,
your going to need at least 2000 Lumens to see the picture. The picture
will seem washed out if your projector screen is white so it is recommended
to purchase a darker screen, such as a silver screen or a black diamond

High Ambient Lighting to an Outdoor Theater – 2800 to 4000 ANSI Lumens: If you plan on using your projector outdoors or in a theater with windows,
outside light or bright lighting, you will need a projector with at least
2800 ANSI Lumens and to be safe, some where around 3200 Lumens should work.
You will notice that the colors will be washed out unless you use a screen
color other than white.

Keep in mind, if you have a dark theater but would sometimes like to watch
your home theater with moderate lighting, there are top quality 1080p Home
Theater Projectors [] with 1800 ANSI Lumens
that you can buy for under $1,200 with an adjustment to lower the Lumens
output. This will accommodate for the darker theater and will save the life
of your bulb, reducing the overall cost of your projector by more than
hundreds over its lifetime. For more information on ANSI Lumens or to
compare the best home theater projector prices, please visit


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