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Home theater projectors offer a fairly affordable way to view content on a screen, and their size easily trumps that of even the largest mass-market TVs. Please note that in addition to a big-enough room, projectors require the purchase of a dedicated screen for an optimal viewing experience.
Frequency of use is another important consideration when shopping for a home theater projector. The devices' lamps diminish in brightness over time, and they can be pricey to replace.
When shopping for a projector, consider its brightness as one of its key selling points — the feature is measured in lumens. The higher the brightness, the more vivid an image the device will be able to deliver.
The Sony VPLHW45ES is a solid premium proposition that can display 1080p content, as well as 3-D footage. It has an excellent brightness and contrast ratio, a long-lasting lamp (up to 6,000 hours), and a built-in fan that's incredibly quiet. Handy image calibration features are also on board. Sony backs its creation with a robust 3-year warranty.
Best Projector Under $600
The HD142X by Optoma is one of the most affordable home theater projectors with native Full HD resolution. Sure, there are some cheaper projectors that can reach prices as low as $300, but they offer dim colors, weak brightness, and maximum resolutions up to only 800 by 600 pixels.
This one provides a high contrast ratio and can deliver a screen size of up to a whopping 305 inches. The projector displays 3D content, and it has a lamp that lasts for 8,000 hours. It's equipped with two HDMI ports, a built-in 10W speaker, and a bundled backlit remote control.
Best Projector Under $800
The BenQ HT2050A is a highly rated home theater projector that delivers Full HD content at a reasonable price. It offers an easy setup, and it has 3-D support, two HDMI ports, and MHL compatibility for an easy connection to all your devices. The HT2050A can display images with a diagonal of up to 100 inches by being only 8 feet away from the screen. It's a fine option with little fan noise, dark blacks, and impressive colors that perfectly balances value and available features.
Best for Bright Rooms
As you would expect, a projector works best in a dark room, but this one is a great option for those who plan to use a projector in an area with windows. It boasts 4,200 lumens of brightness, and it won't suffer from the dreaded "rainbow effect." It offers an impressive, full 1080p resolution and built-in speakers, but it doesn't support 3D content. Regardless, it's a fine option with vivid colors that's great for watching movies, shows, or gaming.
The Sony VPLVW285ES is one of the few home theater projectors on the market capable of delivering 4K content. It can display images up to a whopping 200 inches in size, and it offers an impressive color range and MotionFlow technology, which reduces blur and maintains brightness during fast-moving scenes.
The device's 225-watt lamp can last up to a stellar 6,000 hours if used in Eco mode. The price of Sony's VPLVW285ES may be jarring, but know that you're getting one of the best home theater projectors available on the market. Not to mention that Sony sells additional projectors that cost $3,000-$20,000 more than this one.
You don't need to drop $5K on for a capable 4K projector. This option from Optoma is much more budget-friendly, while still offering an accurate and detailed picture. It supports 4K resolution and HDR video, and it can project videos up to 302 inches wide. It boasts an impressive 2,200 lumens, and it supports the Rec.709 color standard, which helps it recreate deep blacks and bright whites.
The TK800 from BenQ is a versatile and affordable 4K projector that offers excellent color reproduction and an impressive 3,000 lumens — making it a good fit for rooms with windows. Its inputs include two HDMI ports, dual 3.5-millimeter audio jacks, VGA, and two USB ports. The TK800 is a great option for those looking for a very sharp image and support for HDR at a low price point.