There’s very little doubt that 2020 has been among the most impactful and turbulent years in living memory. And that has had a profound effect on entertainment, especially movies. Severely curtailed by COVID-19, movie theaters have sadly become almost irrelevant due to constant shutdowns and annoying restrictions. That means more movie fans around the world are turning to home viewing, and what better way to watch the latest blockbusters than in a big screen format. That’s right, we said blockbusters, because in 2020 box office smashers don’t have box offices to smash, so they release on digital storefronts and streaming services. That makes a home cinema the most logical choice for film buffs.
Because movies now rely on apps to reach viewers, you should aim to get smart projectors. What’s that? Basically projectors that have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth plus an operating system that supports popular apps as pre-installed. That makes accessing content much easier right from the projector without needing extra hardware like a streaming box, game console, or laptop. Smart projectors streamline the home cinema setup process and release you from the burden of cable clutter and balancing a bunch of devices. They’re a laser-focused platform for movie lovers.
Looks like whoever named HBO back in the late 1970s saw into the future, because that’s what we have now, a proverbial home box office. Massive movies that have been in production for years find themselves forced by the pandemic to rely on home digital releases to reach audiences and, let’s face it, make money. This includes Wonder Woman 1984 that we’ve been eagerly anticipating, and also the new version of Dune. Looks like Warner Bros and HBO Max have agreed to jointly release this film in early 2021 digitally, with a limited theatrical run if possible. Note the emphasis on “if possible”, as in this day and age who knows.
Of course all of this is bad for movie theaters, and we sympathize. But film makers and motion picture lovers alike need to adapt, and home projectors provide a good option. Especially the smart and wireless ones as we said. Those just make the process of creating your first home cinema simpler and smoother.
Whether you go with a small portable model or a larger home theater projector, check that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are supported, as those are essential. Then make sure that the projector has at least some sort of onboard app support, so there’s no need to rely on external devices. A connectivity dongle that plugs into a USB port on the projector is acceptable, as those don’t take up space nor require cables or a separate power supply.
Good portable projectors have at least something like the Aptoide TV platform, which supports Netflix and Prime Video. Larger and well-featured home theater projectors, thanks to more memory and better hardware, offer full-on Android TV with services like Prime Video, HBO Max, Google Play, and many others. Those should cover most of the big releases coming out digitally in late 2020 and into 2021.
And since you want to have that cinematic feeling while watching new releases, a home cinema is basically a must now. So please do choose wisely. And that brings us to what should you look for in each category of projectors?
Cinema-class projectors offer superb contrast, brightness, and color. They have excellent built-in speakers for premium sound, and the good ones deliver true 4K visuals with HDR. As they have Android TV included, you don’t even need to download anything – it’s all set up out of the box. And those apps all have 4K HDR content now. The big releases of 2020 and beyond are typically formatted in 4K HDR. So having a projector that supports these standards is the best way to ensure you’re getting the best experience.
While not heavy or overly gigantic, home cinema projectors are supposed to form the heart of your home theater rather than move around a lot. So if you’re a first time buyer, find a good spot where you feel most comfortable and set up there. You will need to get the popcorn and drinks separately, we don’t know of any projectors that make those.
Moving pictures, moving projectors. Portable projectors of the good kind allow a great degree of flexibility. They still offer big picture viewing, albeit not in 4K with HDR. However, the nice ones are quite bright (at least 500 lumens), and do feature a Bluetooth speaker for sound. They’re light and compact and built tough to resist water and drop damage. These portables are designed to be moved from room to room and even for use in the great outdoors, if you’d like to build your home cinema in the backyard or at a campsite. Check that the one you’re getting offers support for 720p and has a three hour battery life at least. Less than that and you may not be able to finish Christopher Nolan’s Tenet.
So while home theater projectors are designed for a fixed home cinema room or spot, portables allow you to take your cinematic enjoyment with you. Which approach works best is up to you. Either way, when life gives you home release blockbusters, you make a home cinema. Have fun!