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How We Test Projectors

As projectors keep getting better, with the latest ones even offering 4K UHD resolution and high dynamic range (HDR), we're also changing how we test and review them. Here's a quick look at what we do:

CR Staff
By Updated: 2023, Aug 23

Before diving into the world of testing projectors, it is crucial to warm up the device. This simple step allows the projector to reach its optimal operating temperature, ensuring accurate test results.

By turning on the projector and allowing it to warm up for at least 10 minutes, you give it the chance to stabilize and deliver consistent performance. This is especially important if the projector has been in a cold environment or has not been used for an extended period.

Connect the Projector to a Video Source

Once the projector is sufficiently warmed up, the next step is to connect it to a video source. This could be a Blu-ray player, a streaming device, or a computer, depending on the type of content you wish to test.

It is essential to ensure that the connection is secure and that the video source is set to output the appropriate resolution and format for the projector. This step ensures that the projector receives a clear and consistent signal, allowing for accurate testing and evaluation.

how we test projectors

Project a Test Pattern

Adjust the Projector’s SettingsOnce the test pattern is projected, it is time to adjust the projector’s settings. This step involves optimizing the image quality by adjusting parameters such as brightness, contrast, color, and sharpness. It is recommended to start with the default settings and make gradual adjustments to achieve the desired image quality.

By carefully calibrating the projector’s settings, you can ensure that the projected image is accurate, vibrant, and visually appealing.

View a Variety of Content

To comprehensively evaluate the performance of a lumen projector, it is crucial to view a variety of content. This step allows you to assess how the projector handles different types of content, such as movies, TV shows, and games.

By observing the image quality, color reproduction, and overall viewing experience with different types of content, you can determine the projector’s suitability for various applications. It is recommended to test the projector with content that reflects its intended use to obtain the most accurate assessment.

Measure the Projector’s Performance

To obtain precise measurements of a lumen projector’s performance, several factors need to be considered. The brightness of a projector is commonly measured in lumens, specifically ANSI lumens, which is the standard unit for measuring projector brightness. Contrast ratio is another essential metric that measures the difference between the brightest and darkest parts of an image.

It determines the projector’s ability to produce vibrant colors and deep blacks. Additionally, color gamut refers to the range of colors a projector can reproduce accurately. By using specialized equipment and techniques, these metrics can be measured accurately, providing valuable insights into the projector’s capabilities.

Tailoring Tests for Different Projector Uses

It is essential to note that the specific tests performed may vary depending on the intended use of the projector. A projector used for home theater purposes will require different tests compared to a projector used for business presentations.

For example, a home theater projector may prioritize color accuracy and contrast ratio, while a business projector may focus more on brightness and clarity. By tailoring the tests to the projector’s intended use, you can ensure that the evaluation process aligns with the desired performance expectations.


Testing projectors is a crucial step in understanding their capabilities and ensuring optimal performance. By following a systematic approach, including warming up the projector, connecting it to a video source, projecting a test pattern, adjusting settings, viewing a variety of content, and measuring performance metrics, you can master the art of testing projectors.

These steps will help you evaluate the projector’s brightness, contrast, color accuracy, and sharpness, providing valuable insights into its overall performance. Whether you are using a lumen projector for home theater, business presentations, or any other application, understanding and testing its capabilities is essential for a satisfying viewing experience.

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