Projectors provide the ultimate home theater experience. Nothing else comes as close to truly re-creating the viewing experience of a movie theater…projectors make it possible to enjoy images that are much larger than even the biggest TVs offer. Imagine the bewitching beauty of Avatar’s planet Pandora spread out before you. Or a close-up shot of Jeff Beck’s fingers coaxing delicate harmonics out of his Stratocaster. Picture a 240-pound linebacker barreling straight at you. Or a video game villain swinging a sword big enough to splinter your coffee table. Projectors deliver all that and more — images bursting with cinematic detail and color across a larger-than-life screen measured in feet, not inches.
14 mins to read
20 products considered
14 products reviewed
46 hours reviewing
Best Overall Home Theater Projector
The Optoma HD 141X 1080p 3D DLP Home Theater Projector is the top pick because it accommodates larger screen sizes and is synced with 3D applications. The projector can view images from 66 inches to 8 feet away with a viewing range of 107 inches to 12 feet. The projector light features 3000 ANSI lumens and a contract ratio of 23,000 to 1. It features a correction lens by Keystone and can be connected by HDMI port, audio output, or USB. It is also synced for 3D.
This projector is perfect for home theater use and can be used for movies, TV shows, Sporting events, video gaming, and other viewing needs. Watch the national geographic and feel like you are swimming with dolphins or get into the action in video gaming. The screen can be up to 300 inches in diagonal and still offers a clear screen. The HD141X delivers optimal performance and a cinematic quality viewing for all your entertainment needs. The HD 1080P video is clear and crisp with true colors and an amazing contrast ratio.
Included are 2 HDMI ports, and it is MHL compatible. It includes a VESA 3d sync port for a complete 3D experience. The projector will seamlessly connect with your TV, Blue Ray, Xbox 360, Xbox one, PS3, PS4 and other gaming devices. There is a 12 volt hack which offers motorized screen automation and a remote back lit for clearer images. The lamp has a life of 6,500 hours and a quiet fan that will not distract from the experience. The projector comes in a black housing and weighs around 5.5 pounds. It is compact at 12.4 X 8.8 X 4.5 inches in size. It comes with a one year warranty.
– Darius Spieth
Best Overall Home Theater Projector – Runner Up
The Epson Video Projector is a top pick because it offers a projector experience that can be operated from your pc or laptop
. This very portable unit comes in white or black and projects up to 2500 lumens with 3840 X 2160 resolution. It features 1080p HD video for a cinema experience at home. The glass lens includes a 6 layer coating to increase transparency and clarity to improve your viewing experience. It uses an LED bulb which will last approximately 20,000 hours and is very cool, compared to typical projector lights.
The Epson Video Projector is able to connect to devices you currently own including iPads or laptops. It can operate wirelessly or with a HDMI adapter, which is included. Both video and Audio are delivered with a high definition experience and clear audio and visual reception. This can be used in the home or office and is perfect for presentations or home theater use. It is supported by multimedia functions and includes HDMI, USB, TV/DTV, and YPBPR inputs. You are able to connect the projector to the TV, laptop, iPad, smartphone or any other USB drive such as a blue ray player or gaming system. The image can be reversed by 360 degrees and can be projected on a wall or ceiling. It can be placed on a desk or table or hung for the ceiling depending on your needs.
Projections can be made from 30 to 200 inches with a range from 1.2 to 6 meters. The best quality can be found at 2.6 meters projected to 80 inches. You are able to adjust the image manually and tilt the projector as needed to fit the space. It also features two built in speakers. This device comes with a 12 month warranty and liking the company on Facebook can double your warranty. In the package you will receive the projector, a remote control, AV cables and a user manual. The projector weighs 6 pounds and is very compact at 13 X 11 X 8 inches in size.
– Darius Spieth
Best Budget Home Theater Projector
The ViewSonic PDJ5155 LightStream SVGA Home Entertainment Projector HDMI is a top pick because it offers best in class viewing and a superior sound system
providing you two devices in one. This unit features a 3300 lumen lens for improved brightness and a 20,000 to 1 contract ratio giving you a top quality projection system for your home theater. This unit is available in either white or black and delivers the richest colors in its price class. It features 3D blue Ray ready HDMI input and you can choose from five different settings making it a very versatile projector. The speakers feature enhanced sound and a powerful amplifier giving you not only quality viewing but also quality sound.
It includes an optimal cable management system, a top lamp door, keyboard, and interface for easy operations. The resolution is 800 X 600 native and can accommodate distance from 3.3 to 32.8 feet or 1.0 to 8 meters away. The ratio is 1.86 to approximately 2.04:1. This projector may be connected through HDMI ports, 2 VGA ports, S video, composite video, and audio input and output. The 3300 Lumen lamp is an LED which burns cooler and brighter than traditional lights and will last up to 10,000 hours. The projector can be used in either home or business environments and is compact at only 9 X 12.4 X 4 inches in size and weighs less than 5 pounds. It comes with a three year warranty.
– Darius Spieth
Home Theater Projector Buying Guide
What is a Home Theater Projector?
When looking for a projector for your home or business needs there are a few important things to consider.
Where will you use the projector? Projectors are used in a wide range of environments from a dedicated home theatre to business meetings. They can be used a range of environments and each of those will have different settings, light levels and screen capacity. Where the projector will be used will help determine the size of the projector and the light requirements for obtaining a quality picture.
How big a screen will it be projected? The size of the screen will be a factor in the power the projector must have in order to show a clear detailed picture. Projectors are built to work at specific distances from the screen and to meet maximum screen dimensions. Check these out and ensure it will provide a clear picture for the size of screen you will most often be using.
How far away will the projector be from the screen? Distance from the screen also impacts the quality of the images. If the projector is placed on a table, you may be able to adjust the distance for the best quality picture. If it will be mounted on the ceiling it will need to be placed at the optimal distance considering the screen size and the size of the projection you want.
What is the lighting in the room? Brightness of the room is measured in ANSI Lumens. The darker the room the lower the lumens needed to get a clear picture. A room that is a dedicated theater with darkened windows can use only 1000 lumens where a room with windows and high ambient light will need a minimum of 3000 lumens in order to get a clear high quality picture.
Features to Consider
Most projectors offer 1080p HD images which provides a good quality picture. Depending on your use and the space you will place the projector you also need to consider the light levels in the room, the size of the screen and the distance the projector will be placed from the screen. These factors will help you determine which projector will provide the highest quality images for your viewing.
Features of the projector that will play into your decision include the following:
Image Quality? Image quality may be listed in HD (1920 X 1080) or Wide XGA (1280 X 800). These are the most common resolutions seen in home theater projectors. The HD has double the pixels as the Wide XGA making it the preferred choice for higher quality images. The signal feed will also impact the quality of the image so if you are viewing in analog with an HD screen the quality will still suffer. An HD quality feed with an HD Projector offers the best quality images even on larger screens. The larger the screen the more the image quality can be distinguished. The source of the image matters. If you are using a blue Ray, Xbox and laptop, the maximum quality of the feed combined with the quality of the image of the projector will result in the overall quality of your viewing.
Do you need 3D? The latest in theater entertainment is 3D movies and images, increasing the demand for this feature in projectors. With the increase in popularity 3D imaging has dropped in price significantly and can now be found in a lot of models. With cable providers now offering 3D and many movies coming out with 3D versions, adding this feature to the projector will increase your ability to enjoy 3D entertainment in the comfort of your own home.
Lamp Life: Lamp life has typically been around 2000 to 4000 hours. With the implementation of LED lighting the lamp life is substantially increasing. The lamps are an important factor in the projector. First they offer the lumens needed to gain a good quality picture and are expensive to replace. The LED bulbs offer a much longer life and burn cooler. Cooler lights reduce the amount of time the fan must run to cool the projector. Fans do not run silently and can be a factor in the quality of the entertainment you experience.
Installation: Projectors can be used on a table or mounted on the ceiling. Ceiling mounts are more stable and will not get bumped or move but a table mount is more portable and can be used in different applications.
DEEP Color: Color impacts image quality. DEEP color offers a higher quality of color and is found in most new models. This gives you 10, 12 or 16 bit ability as opposed to the older 8 bit capacity. This allows the screen to show a wider variety of color shades and provides a truer crisper picture.
Frames Per Second: Most projectors operate with 24p or 24 frames per second. Most TV shows are run at 30p or 1080i HDTV which is run at 60p, making models with 1080 HD the preferred choice among home theater viewers because of the increase in frames per second.
Other factors include how quiet the fan runs, access to operate the projector with a remote control, back lit models, internal scalers and a higher contrast ratio.
Home Theater projectors enable you to watch television, videos, gaming and other on screen entertainment in a movie theater effect. You are able to use existing entertainment sources like your Xbox, blue ray player or laptop computer and project images onto a large screen while still maintaining the image quality. They are becoming more popular as people look for ways to enjoy activities at home.