Best of the Best
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|An extremely high contrast ratio for a smaller projector. Clear, sharp image display.||High quality picture display. Wide color range for accurate presentation.||Offers larger range of color display and clear, vibrant images.||High quality, HD picture capability.||Highest quality image projection with the largest contrast ratio.|
|With DLP technology, colors are not as vibrant as LCD.||Only one HDMI connection port.||Does not come with built-in speaker system.||Very low contrast ratio. Eco-friendly mode affects picture quality.||Very expensive. Does not have built-in speaker system.|
|Overall best product with budget-friendly cost and impressive image quality.||Highly rated product, offering numerous features for a budget-friendly cost.||Despite lack of audio output, the picture quality is outstanding.||Offers great picture quality||A great quality projector for picture and connectivity, though not necessarily budget-conscious.|
The best home theater projectors offer high-quality visual resolution without requiring extreme home remodeling. Projectors should be small in size but capable of producing clear, sharp picture, no matter location or placement. The home theater projectors were chosen for review based on ease of installation and use, resolution and clarity.
Compared to simply purchasing a TV, a home theater projector can be a rather expensive investment. Though there are cheaper options at lower quality, the products reviewed offer the best quality for a reasonable budget. Users should keep in mind that the prices evaluated are of the projectors themselves, though overall cost can increase dramatically with outside purchases of extra equipment.
A home theater projector should typically be used in a single room in a stationary location. Though each projector comes with built-in speakers, it is highly recommended to get a sound-system separate from the projector. Aside from sound, other features include resolution/picture quality, automated shut-off and cooling fans to prevent over-heating and size/weight.
When purchasing an in-home theater projector, users should look at the capability of connecting to outside sources, like sound systems, cameras and other technology. Some allow for wireless connection streaming from devices, as well as connection to various input/output services and numerous formats.
The home theater projectors display the best picture quality at high resolution, offering a clear, sharp image. Projection images should show contrast and brightness adjustments (based on the room and settings of the output). The quality of the light bulb within the projector affects the picture output as well and must be maintained over time.
The Optoma HD141X is the most budget-friendly option available for home theater projectors. It's a great deal at $545, with the higher resolution and widescreen capability.
Only slightly more than the Optoma, the ViewSonic costs $570, though the lower price reflects the lesser features associated with it. It offers full HD resolution and an enhanced speaker, though it requires manual adjustment for certain settings.
The Epson PowerLite is currently only offered from third-party vendors as a "used" model, though the best quality ("like new") items are listed around $1,075.
Another home theater projector that is only offered through third-party vendors, the BenQ W1070 typically costs about $1,240 for a new (unused) model. It is one of the highest-rated projectors, with little to no issues described with the unit.
The Epson 5030UB is the upper end of the price spectrum, at $1,999. A higher-quality projector, the price reflects the enhanced extra features, including 3D capability and highly-rated image quality.
A smaller, more compact projector, the Optoma HD141X weighs just over 5 pounds and is about a foot in width; it is easy to store and move for placement in any location. The model comes with 10-watt built-in speakers that produce high-quality audio and a "whisper quiet" fan to keep the unit cool during use. There is an automated energy-saving standby mode and shut-off, and utilizes DLP technology for enhanced images.
The ViewSonic comes with a 10-watt built-in speaker to produce clear, audible sound. The lightweight, smaller projector allows for ease of mobility and storage. One of the more prominent features of the ViewSonic is the SuperColor technology, capable of producing "true-to-life" image projection.
A heavier-weighted home theater projector, the Epson PowerLite is 16 lbs. and almost 18 inches wide, making it somewhat difficult to move and store. Like other Epson projectors, the unit does not come with built-in speakers and must rely on outside systems for audio output. The model includes a Fujinon lens (typical of Epson high quality) and automatic adjustment for picture clarity.
For a high quality projector, the BenQ W1070 is smaller (though not tiny) in size and lightweight (5.8 lbs), making it easier to move and store. It comes with 10-watt built-in speakers that provide decent quality sound. The projector offers SmartEco technology, which turns off the projection after a set few minutes to prolong lamp life and save energy. One highly-rated feature is the optimized color performance technology, which allows for both day and night modes.
The largest of the home theater projectors, the Epson 5030UB is almost two feet in width, which can present a challenge for mobility and storage. Unfortunately, the model does not come with built-in sound capabilty (even basic speakers), though it can be connected to almost any outside sound system. The Epson 5030UB comes with an energy-friendly mode, a 2 year warranty and lamp life of up to 5,000 hours (while in eco-friendly mode). The model comes with a built-in cinema filter and Fujinon lens.
For a smaller, basic model, the Optoma HD141X offers two HDMI connection ports. It is compatible with most video input format, especially MHL (mobile high definition), which allows the user to stream from any mobile device. However, it is not HDTV compatible. It offers compatibility support for 3D input, but the 3D source must be from a separate device (like a 3D Blu-ray player).
For a cheaper option, the ViewSonic boasts of it's 3D Blu-ray dual HDMI compatibility, though it does not provide the actual video card required to play separate from the Blu-ray player. There is only one HDMI connection port, but it also supports wireless HDMI connection. The ViewSonic is compatible with most typical video input.
The Epson PowerLite offers connectivity to all typical video input sources (composite, component and s-video) as well as higher level formats, like HDTV. Unfortunately, the Epson PowerLite does not offer compatibility with any 3D format. As with most upper level projectors, however, the unit comes with dual HDMI connection ports.
The BenQ W1070 comes with dual HDMI connection ports and video source compatibility, though not all sound connections are compatible as it comes with built-in speakers. It is also 3D compatible, though it does not come equipped with 3D glasses.
The Epson 5030UB offers two HDMI connector ports, allowing for more than one input device to connect at a time. The highest quality projector, the Epson 5030UB lives up to the Epson reputation, offering almost all possible connectivity and compatibility features desired. It is also THX Display certified, meaning it is 3D compatible, and each purchase comes with two 3D rechargeable glasses. The model is not capable of producing sound on its own, though it has the compatibility to connect to any outside speakers and audio output.
The contrast ratio of the Optoma HD141X is a relatively high 23,000:1, using 3000 Lumens to maintain a quality of brightness well-above average. DLP (digital light processing) chip technology displays an immense color range and image detail, though it does not quite match up to LCD projection. The model provides a clear, sharp picture and the "cinematic quality" is one of the highest rated features among customer reviews.
The ViewSonic utilizes DLP (digital light processing) technology to determine the color display for the most accurate display and features 3200 Lumens for the highest brightness capacity. The projector displays at full HD quality resolution, though it has a shorter throw ratio for display distance.
The manufacturer boasts of the C2Fine Technology to produce clear, vibrant images and 3LCD technology to enhance color vibrance by providing a larger range (for red, blue and green) than other projectors. With a contrast ratio of 50,000:1, it maintains the high ratings of the Epson brand name. Picture quality remains constant despite time of day or brightness in the room and an anamorphic lens and scaler allows for all video formats to be displayed in the sharpest clarity possible.
Though the BenQ W1070 only lists a contrast ratio of 10,000:1, the added built-in DLP technology creates a greater, longer-lasting contrast in the overall image production. The full-HD connection capability produces sharp image quality; day and night modes accommodate for the best picture quality at any given time. Lamp life is extended through the SmartEco technology, though it is preserved by decreasing the brightness quality.
The Epson 5030UB boasts of its immense contrast ratio of 600,000:1. The projector utilizes 2400 Lumens to increase brightness and color, as well as a 3LCD chip to provide the most vibrant colors for the highest quality image projection.
Despite the wide range of prices and features, the best overall home theater projector is both budget-conscious and high quality. The Optoma HD141X proves that great things come in small packages.
For a budget-conscious customer, the cost is relatively easy on the wallet for a high quality projector. Though the display utilizes the DPL chip, a lesser quality color display compared to LCD projection, customers rave about the clarity and remarkable image detail. With 10-watt built-in speakers and a silent cooling fan, the audio output is outstanding.
From high resolution to numerous compatibility and connectivity possibilities, the Optoma HD141X is the best overall home theater projector out there.
When comparing price to quality, the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8350 absolutely lives up to its Epson family name. Typically an Epson PowerLite falls in the middle of the price range for home theater projectors, making it relatively budget-friendly to any customer.
Though some may question the lack of 3D capability and lack of built-in speaker system, the Epson PowerLite projector offers numerous connective possibilities to most video formats, including HDTV, and an immense contrast ratio for picture quality, as well as audio output connectivity to outside sources.
The projector uses LCD tri-color range technology to increase the picture vibrancy and image resolution, with auto-brightness adjustment depending on the time of day. The Epson PowerLite offers numerous features on top of the relatively reasonable price that make it the best value by far.