Time to Set Up That Dream Home Cinema for the Perfect COVID-19 Entertainment

Cinemas might have reopened, but in this COVID-19 landscape we can all do our part by staying socially distant with home cinema setups and small scale socialising at home over a blockbuster film.

With a high-quality projector, projector screen and audio equipment, you can have an entertainment setup at home that’s comparable to some cinemas. In this article, we’ll recommend what you need to enjoy a 4K blockbuster experience at home – whether you’re looking at entry-level or a step up in picture quality.

 

Your first 4K projector

For home cinema enthusiasts looking to invest in their first 4K home cinema setup, you couldn’t ask for a much better projector than the BenQ W2700.

The device offers 4K UHD resolution (3480 x 2160 on screen) and absolutely stunning all-round picture quality for just £1,360.00 Incl. VAT.

At this level of resolution you’re getting four times the resolution of Full HD 1080p meaning pixel blur is minimised, and clarity is maximised. The BenQ W2700 takes things further with HDR optimisation for HDR10 formats and an all-glass 8 group 10-element lens – that means crystal clear clarity and vivid colour display.

 

Setup to suit your space

Even if your space is limited, in say a small AV or home cinema room, or perhaps your main lounge, the BenQ W2700 makes it possible to optimise your set up.

Auto vertical keystone correction means you can achieve perfect alignment and counter the common and irritating trapezoid effect that can occur when you install your device off-centre. The vertical keystone function adjusts the image, so that it’s squared – just like at the cinema.

Furthermore, the W2700 has a shorter lens ratio than competitors with a 1.13-1.47:1 / 1.3x optical zoom. This gives you even more flexibility on installation options, so you can place the projector closer to the screen without compromising image size; another great feature for those working with space constraints.

This BenQ projector has one final installation trick up its sleeve: 10 per cent vertical lens shift. This allows for vertical adjustment of the image placement and compensates for any inaccuracies in the height at which you mount the device – all without using keystone correction to warp the image and lose out on clarity.

 

It’s all in the details

The BenQ W2700 has universal connectivity. But the key when setting up a high-resolution projector is to ensure the cables and connections you use support the level of detail the device is capable of.

The W2700’s USB Type-A 3.0 port transfers data at 10 Gbits/s, approximately 10 times faster than USB 2. Two HDMI ports are also included (V2.0a/HDCP2.2 compliant), as well a SPDIF output to make the connection to a surround sound system easy.

The final note here has to be on the picture quality. If you’re looking to create a cinema experience at home it really is all about the visuals.

The impressive technology behind the W2700, including CinematicColor, delivers intense colours with clear definition and a sharp image. In dark rooms the D.Cinema mode brings colours to life for authentic cinema reproduction, while enhanced colour mapping perfectly recreates natural colour cues on screen. All this will mean that colours aren’t biased and greens and reds don’t become oversaturated, which is always a risk.

Key Features:

  • Universal connectivity
  • 2,000 ANSI lumens
  • 3840 x 2160 4K (UHD) resolution
  • 4,000 hours lamp life (typical)
  • 30,000:1 contrast ratio
  • 4K pixel enhancement

 

The full package

If you want to get the most from the BenQ W2700 it pays to invest in the full home cinema setup – or at least a couple of essentials.

A good projector screen will make a huge difference to your picture quality. We’d recommend the Sapphire Electric (16:9) 203.7x 114.5cm as a good option.

If you buy direct from Projectorpoint you’ll benefit from an exclusive five-year warranty, while all other online sellers offer just a three-year warranty. The screen is easy to install on any flat surface, and the fibreglass screen remains taut and smooth – essential for 4K images where you want to maximise the picture quality with sharp images and no shadows.

For an immersive viewing and a full-on ‘cinema experience’, consider adding to your soundscape as well as your visual setup. The premium Sonos Arc offers richly detailed sound, so you can fully immerse yourself in your choice of film or boxset. Dolby Atmos gives a 3D sound experience, so you’ll truly feel like the sound is moving around you, and Trueplay tuning optimises the sound for your room’s acoustics.

To complete the picture, don’t forget to select the right HDMI cabling. The bandwidth necessary to stream 4K content is staggering, choose the wrong cable and you’ll experience quality drop off. Opt for the PixelGen Design HDMI (THX certified 4K interconnect 18Gbps) Cable – and you can be sure of a clear and stable picture without any image loss.

 

Shopping List

Projector: BenQ W2700

Projector screen: Sapphire Electric

Audio: Sonos Arc

Cabling: PixelGen Design HDMI

 

Next level 4K cinema in your home

Are you already a 4K film buff? If the BenQ doesn’t quite do it for you, you might consider taking things up a notch to the Epson EH-TW9400.

The Epson device offers a step up in quality which increases the immersive feel of your home cinema setup and takes things to the next level. Sound good? Read on for a full ‘next level’ 4K home cinema setup.

The Epson EH-TW9400 is in our opinion the best performing 4K UHD enhanced projector in this price category. It’s available for £2,548.80 Incl. VAT; not bad when you consider the exceptional performance and image quality.

So what do you get over and above the BenQ for your extra spend? Let’s take a look.

 

Vivid detail

One of the biggest jumps between the two devices is the contrast ratio. The Epson EH-TW9400 has a significantly higher contrast ratio of 1,200,000:1 compared to the BenQ W2700, which clocks in at 30,000:1.

For the home cinema enthusiast, this means more vivid colours and images that show you every last detail.

Technically speaking, the numbers relate to the difference between black and white. On the Epson device, white is 1,200,000 times brighter than black; while on the BenQ W2700, white is only 30,000 times brighter than black. That’s a 40-fold increase in contrast.

Whether you are watching a nature documentary exploring a dark cave, or a blockbuster film set in the skies, the colour realism and range will make you feel like you are really there.

The Epson EH-TW9400 also makes use of HDR10, HLG HDR formats and 18GBPS 4K signals to further improve image quality and consistency throughout your viewing experience.

 

4K in your living room

Epson’s TW9400 is even a step up within Epson’s own rage thanks to its capability to handle such a range of 4K inputs. From Blu-ray to consoles to streamed content, this device is absolutely packed with the latest technology and it should handle just about anything you can throw at it.

If we take a quick look behind the scenes, we find that there’s more than just the resolution that contributes to the Epson’s exceptional picture quality.

Colour break up, or the ‘rainbow effect’, is a common issue with projectors. It occurs when single chip DLP projectors and screens cause images to blur like a rainbow and separate into the colours that make up the image. The TW9400 has 3LCD technology to negate this by using three LCDs to create images which don’t break up.

On the brightness front, the TW9400’s clocks 2,600 lumens. If you’re watching your film content in a dark room, this will be more than enough to give you a vivid image, even if the device is being used in a larger-than-average living room.

 

Setup essentials

Finally, let’s look at the setup capabilities of the Epson.

Despite being packed with the latest technology, the TW9400 is easy to setup. With motorised optics, the lens is capable of a 2.1x optical zoom and a lens shift of ±96.3 per cent vertical and ±47.1 per cent horizontal, this means that you’ll have a great deal of flexibility when it comes to installation.

As we outlined previously, these features allow you to adjust the device within its casing so you aren’t entirely dependent on lining the picture up with the projector screen purely based on the install location. In short, it will fit just about anywhere you need it to and you don’t have to use pesky keystone to warp the image to square it digitally.

 

Key Features:

  • 2,600 ANSI lumens
  • 3840 x 2160 (UHD) resolution
  • 3,500 hours lamp life (Typical)
  • 1,200,000:1 contrast ratio
  • 3LCD technology

The full package

If you’re looking for a screen to pair with the Epson EH-TW9400, look no further than the Projecta Fixed Frame screen made from 4K screen material and presented in an attractive black velvet frame. Measuring 151 X 256cm, with a 16:9 ratio, it’s designed to optimise the picture quality of 4K Ultra HD projectors.

However, with a gain level of 0.9, this screen should only be used in low ambient light levels, and should not be used in a room with high brightness. So consider it a good fit for a dedicated home cinema space where you can block out most, if not all, of the ambient light.

To enjoy a rich sound field, pair your projector with the Marantz SR7013 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD with Kef T305 AV Speaker Package in Black. Your viewing experience will be enhanced by the highest quality sound, which will make you feel like you’re in the cinema, allowing you to enjoy orchestral scores and bombastic soundtracks as the composer intended.

This product is not yet available on our website, but please contact us for pricing and availability.

Finalise your setup with HDMI cabling and make sure every byte of data makes it to your screen. The PixelGen Design HDMI (THX certified 4K interconnect 18Gbps) cable is suitable for cable runs under 5 metres; when you need your cable to run further, choose NueTec cables, which run from 7 to 15 metres.

 

Shopping List

Projector: Epson EH-TW9400

Projector screen: Projecta Fixed Frame Screen

Audio: Marantz SR7013

Cabling: PixelGen Design HDMI

 

Talk to an expert

Both the BenQ W2700 and the Epson EH-TW9400 are exceptional projectors. Both will see you through years of film nights (the Epson has a lamp life of 5,000 hours – that’s some seven years of watching a film every day – while the BenQ comes in not far behind with 4,000 hours. And both will offer you fantastic image quality to enjoy your favourite films and more.

If you’re serious about your setup, we would suggest making the jump to the Epson. For peace of mind, we also include Epson CoverPlus 5 year return warranty (worth £240) for all purchases, so you’re covered for the future. This offer is exclusive to ProjectorPoint, but you must register with Epson to activate the upgrade. A warranty will give you peace of mind that your projector will be quickly repaired and also sort you out when it comes to things like lamp replacements.

Whichever device you choose, there’s a lot of technical information to take in when researching an ideal home cinema setup. You have to think about the size and brightness of your AV room, the picture quality you are looking for, the audio, compatibility and cabling.

But, now is a great time to plan a home cinema, with limitations to cinema audiences and other precautions you could easily feel that the cinema atmosphere is not the same as it used to be, so why not bring the cinema into your home?

Contact us today to seek advice and ask any questions you might have about creating your own home cinema.

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