Projector HDTVs are becoming an industry staple. They excel at versatility. How so? On the one hand, they offer the largest size screen possible while still maintaining a crisp, clear picture.
On the other hand, their outputs are resizable, allowing the picture to perfectly match your screen or room. Of course, like their conventional rivals, projector TVs are available in a variety of sizes, resolutions and picture quality levels.
There’s a lot to consider, which is why we’re offering this handy guide to choosing the best home theater projector for your home.
Top-Rated Home Projectors - Comparison Table
Best Home Theater Projector Reviews
A 42” screen is considered a pretty decent size among HDTVs, yet it’s actually the minimum for the Sony VPL. Depending on its distance from the screen, it can actually provide output up to an astounding 167 inches – while still maintain full 4k Ultra HD resolution.
All colors, including white, reach an impressive 1800 lumens. The back lamp is guaranteed for 6000 hours of viewing and is backed by a 3-year warranty.
- Motionflow technology
- Upgrades 1080p output to 4K
- Quiet fan
- Powerful, yet eco-friendly, mercury lamp
- Dynamic contrast of 350000:1
If you’ve ever wondered whether a home projector can produce 3D playback, Epson’s 5040 UB has the answer. It offers its own specialized glasses that provide clear, lifelike 3D rendering. On top of that, it does so on a 4K screen enhanced even further by HDCP 2.2.
The result is the deepest or most vibrant version of each color. And it’s all delivered with a 2500 lumen brightness level. That’s enough crystal clear realism to truly immerse you in the action.
For an even better picture, it also automatically enhances 1080p playback to 4K resolution. This is especially useful given its compatibility with a wide range of devices and formats. Experience the best of your Ultra HD Blu-Ray movies or push your HDR to its limits.
It offers a variety of ports, including HDMI, HDCP2.2, Optical HDMI, USB, and PC. An Ethernet port also gets it connected online.
- Ultra-black output
- Custom settings and positioning memory
- Displays full SRGB spectrum
- Full High Dynamic Range compatibility
The PowerLite lives up to its name by providing excellent playback with lower power consumption. Although it only offers 1080p playback, the PowerLite also reaches an impressive 3000 lumens for a vibrant picture.
It also features integrated enhancement technologies to improve the finer picture details for perfect clarity.
It also offers a massive viewing field – up to 110 inches. And it only needs 10 feet of clearance. Imagine the difficulty of setting up such a standard HDTV of a similar size – then, compare that with the small, 15 lb. PowerLite unit.
In other words, it features a profile similar to a desktop computer, but with an output size that is almost unprecedented for a standard HDTV (unless you plan to pay in excess of $15000, literally).
- 3D playback
- Speakers included
- RoHS compliant
- 70,000:1 contrast ratio
- Ceiling mountable
- 3LCD chip technology
Ever considered adding a mini movie theater to your home? If so, the Sony VPLH is definitely your choice. It can reach a mind-blowing 300 inches while still maintaining crystal clear 1080p playback.
In other words, you can pretty much turn an entire wall into a screen. And with 1800 Lumens for both color and white, it offers the vibrancy to match. Of course, you don’t have to fill an entire wall if you don’t want; it also shrinks down to 40 inches.
Another reason we love the VPLH is its ability to enhance fine details in real time. Its output may be 1080p, but it’ll seem far more lifelike thanks to a partnership with Advanced Reality Creation – an industry standard in home cinematic quality.
It also features a rapid response rate, allowing the VPLH to maintain clarity even as the action gets intense.
- Expansive size range
- 6000-hour lamp life
- Motionflow technology
- Advanced SXRD panel
- 3D playback available
The BenQ DLP is a pretty solid choice for viewers who want a quality projector at an affordable price. Its cost is much closer to that of standard HDTV. And although its output is 1080p (rather than 4k), it still offers some great enhancements that guarantee an excellent picture.
The BenQ features Rec. 709 cinematic color reproduction, which is a fancy way of saying that it matches the quality of a movie theater’s screen. Its colors are vibrant at a 15,000:1 contrast, allowing impressive levels of dark and bright output. Even better, it’s compatible with 3D video.
As an added bonus, it’s also designed with convenience in mind. The BenQ is designed with integrated features that help reduce energy consumption without detracting from its picture quality.
Its lamp features an expected lifetime of 7000 hours, ranking it a little higher than the industry average. It also features one of the quietest fans possible with an overhead projector.
Basically, if you’re looking for a little balance in price and a quality projection picture, you’ll find it in the BenQ DLP.
- Cinematic quality
- Keystone Correction
- Even viewing from an angle
- Less than 10 feet of clearance for a 100” picture
- Preconfigured color settings for convenience and optimal viewing
While reading the reviews, you probably came across several words or terms that really didn’t make sense. Lumens? HDCP 2.2? These terms aren’t always very helpful on their own.
Fortunately, our buyer’s guide will provide a simple explanation of the industry’s most important terms, allowing you to make an informed decision when choosing the best home theater projector.
So you’ve seen numbers like “1080p” and “4K” repeated throughout this guide and probably TV ads as well. But what does that actually mean? Essentially, the HDTV picture is composed of very small squares called pixels (like a computer monitor, but with a few differences). Smaller pixels correlate with a clearer image.
However, the resolution isn’t just dependent upon the TV: it’s also subject to the output device. For example, most cable companies offer HD channels as a premium. If you do not upgrade, the channels you’ll be watching will still be in standard definition.
It may or may not look better on an HDTV, but it certainly won’t take advantage of its full capabilities. Also, if you do upgrade to an HD package, please keep in mind that you’ll typically retain access to both standard and HD channels.
Unfortunately, many cable companies fail to explain this properly. So viewers will still be watching channel 53 when, in fact, the HD version is on 1053, 1238, or some other complete different channel. This leads to a lot of confusion and complaints.
Don’t let resolution numbers fool you; without an adequate refresh rate, the clarity of your picture will still suffer. For example, you may choose to purchase a 1080p TV with a lower price.
However, if its refresh rate is still 60Hz (common among 720p and low-cost 1080p HDTVs), the picture quality won’t be much better than 720p during action scenes.
Basically, try to think about video as one of those rapid flip books you probably had as a kid. The faster you flip through the pages, the more lifelike the movement appeared.
Video kind of works the same way. The faster an image is moving, the more clarity you get. This correlates with the refresh rate, usually measured as “Hz.”
Projector HDTVs require a minimum and maximum distance to display its image clearly. Additionally, distance determines the screen size. The further away your projector is, the larger the image will appear.
Of course, if it’s too far, it’ll appear faded (too close is usually blurry). The ideal distance varies wildly for each unit, so check the details carefully.
Clarity Through Contrast Ratio
Ever notice how looking at the sun on a TV screen doesn’t blind you like it would in real life? Or, how you can tell if some TVs are on even if the picture is “black”? This is an aspect of its contrast ratio.
Basically, we’re talking about how bright or dark a TV can actually get. Traditionally, it’s been challenging to display intensely dark colors because some light is needed for viewing. However, recent innovations are assisting with this.
The darker an image can get, the more overall clarity you’ll enjoy.
As you probably guessed, 3D playback means using a pair of specialized glasses that bring the illusion of visual components flying from the screen. Is this really possible with projection HDTVs? Yes, just as it is in movie theaters.
In fact, projectors are often credited with having even better 3D playback than standard HDTVs. And yes, it’s also scalable to your preferred screen size.
What if you’re unable to place your projector at the ideal angle? This is where keystone correction comes in. Essentially, if you must place it on its side, keystone correction will still ensure an even picture.
It works both horizontally and vertically. However, not all projectors have it. Also, it’s important to note that 3D playback won’t always work with keystone correction.
Corner Fit Correction
Similar to keystone, corner fit correction will ensure consistent playback even if your projection surface is lopsided or otherwise uneven. Even better, it can often be easily customized from the remote control.
However, not all projectors include this feature. Also, some projectors will refer to similar features using a slightly different name (which often vary with the manufacturer’s patent).
Yes, some HDTVs connect wirelessly, but compatibility is still pretty limited. Suffice it to say, you’ll still need to connect a few cords. HDMI is the current standard as it provides the best playback.
However, optical connections, composite and even coaxial can still be found occasionally. We always recommend opting for HDMI, as it offers superior audio and video playback (and has become much more affordable in recent years).
How bright or dark is your room? This will help determine the ideal lumens.
Will It Still Have the Same Features?
Projection HDTVs vary just as much with their feature list as their standard counterparts. Some offer a variety of ports; others are limited to HDMI. Some feature integrated “smart” capabilities; most don’t.
As always, the key is to check the features of each unit individually. However, some (such as wireless connectivity or integrated apps) may drive the price higher than it would on a standard TV.
Also, we tend to recommend against the purchase of smart TVs, as they’re increasingly prone to hacking and, with the vast selection of media players, aren’t really necessary.
Common HDTV Settings
The picture of a projection HDTV can often be customized through a number of different settings. The actual options often vary with different manufacturers, but the following tend to be universal.
Honestly, we’re not sure why some HDTVs still include this. It was once used to correct common color problems with much older standard television sets. Though they’re pretty much useless now, many TVs still include it.
So unless you want playback that appears to run through a green or red filter, it’s safe to leave this setting alone.
As the name implies, brightness controls how bright the screen is. However, this refers to the screen in general, not necessarily individual colors or elements (which are usually enhanced automatically).
Turning this up too high will make the picture appear washed out. Naturally, it’ll become invisible if turned all the way down.
Many consumers have been thrown off by this one. We tend to think, “Hey, sharper has to be better, right?”. In general, yes; but in this context, no.
Sharpness simply attempts to correct certain onscreen edge details, such as the skyscrapers in a city skyline against a setting sun. It’s useful to an extent, but does more harm than good if turned all the way up.
Again, another setting that confuses consumers. More color is better, isn’t it? While color vibrancy correlates with aesthetic appeal, too much can actually degrade the image.
On the other hand, if you’ve always wondered what your favorite movies or TV shows would look like in black and white, feel free to turn it all the way down.
Home Projector Screen
Yes, a projector HDTV does require a screen for adequate viewing. While it isn’t technically, necessary, the picture will be significantly degraded – and definitely not worth the expense of a projection TV.
However, projector screens are versatile and flexible, so you’ll still save more space than with a standard HDTV. Here are a few considerations for the projection screen.
Mounted vs. Retractable
Some screens can be mounted directly to the wall of your home. While this is a space-conscious design, a common preference is for a retractable screen. These can be lowered and raised with the touch of a button.
So, leave it down when watching a movie or TV show, then lift it back into the ceiling for more space. This is especially great if you need more room for guests who are not planning to watch TV. You can even purchase screens that are connected to a moveable tripod.
Since screens are versatile, you’re not restricted to indoor viewing. In fact, outside viewing is one of the many reasons that projection HDTVs have become so popular. Enjoy a film under the stars or even from your pool. It’s like having a drive-in, but with private viewing and restroom breaks.
Obviously, it’s important to keep these clean. That’s why we recommend retractable screens. Most are carefully designed to avoid creases or folds even after continued use. If a screen does get dirty, it will absolutely degrade the picture.
The best cleaning methods vary greatly among different material types. Be sure to check this carefully, as a solution that works on one screen may actually damage another.
While they are sometimes more expensive, it’s hard to ignore the benefits of projection HDTVs. They are the ideal choice for a truly “home theater” experience. With recent technologies, they can project a screen vastly larger than convention selections without degrading playback.
And since they are now exceeding the capabilities of standard HDTVs, the enhanced images and reduced spatial needs truly make up for the potentially higher price tag. Just remember that a little extra planning will be necessary before choosing which projector to purchase.