The history of Movie Projectors
Having come a along way from its humble beginnings in the late 1800s, the movie projector is now as much an icon of film and film making as it is a technologically advanced piece of equipment.
The first machine to project animated pictures onto a screen was the 'praxiscope' invented in 1877 closely followed two years later by the British inventor Eadweard Muybridges 'zoopraxiscope'. This was followed by the Frenchman Lumiere (inventor of the Cinematographie, camera, film processor and projector in one unit.) and American Edison who produced the first commercially successful projector in America, the Vitascope (1896).
Throughout the Twentieth century projectors and the film used grew in complexity bringing countless advances in both picture projection and sound production. As engineering advanced audiences could enjoy movies as long as an hour or more and 'talkies' (movies that included sound) became common by the late 1920's. Color first came to light in the 1930's with the 1960's bringing the revolutionary platter, allowing whole movies to be put on one spool, this leading on to automation which took a strong hold in the next two decades. The 1990's saw the introduction and development of digital sound and LCD technology. From the earliest projection to audiences in the late 1800s to the very different modern day theater experience, the basic principles behind cinematic projection remain almost the same.
However if you, like many other film enthusiasts, would like to recreate the movie theater experience in your own home then there are a huge number of options available to suit you and your budget.
Not always practical for everyday televisual use home-cinema projection units can be very expensive and extremely bulky depending on the technology used. At the top of the market there is CTR projectors (Cathode Ray Tube). These are the best type for high-resolution display; the image is drawn with an electron beam, which means that it's not limited in terms of pixels as other digital, and plasma projectors are. Not as bright as some other projection methods it is best suited to lower room brightness levels. Whilst providing the best quality picture they can take up a lot room and even the cheapest models are very pricey usually beginning at around the $10,000 mark.
The largest part of the home cinema market is taken by LCD projectors (Liquid Crystal Display) and DLP projectors (Digital Light Processing). LCD can suffer from a lack of contrast and a kind of 'cell structure' effect whereas DLP can have a color wheel 'rainbow' problem. When purchasing any kind of home theater projectors, it is well worth seeking out several reviews of the considered product that should reveal any specific problems and provide advice in terms of projector screen size, lighting and any other specifics. These projectors typically start in the $2500 price area with prices expected to fall by as much as half in the next year or two.