Home Theater Projectors Review

 By
 

Why Choose a Home Theater Projector?

When it comes to a home theater setup, the most common component is the HDTV, be it LED, LCD or plasma. It’s very important to have the right size and type of television that best suits your needs. But to get that true cinematic experience, the way to go is with one of several home theater projectors. Full HD 1080p; great color, brightness and contrast; and the ability to create images far larger than the standard HDTV.

Imagine projecting your favorite movie, TV show, sports team or video game onto a large wall in your home, say 8 feet by 15. And that image looks as bright and crystal clear as any HDTV. An HDTV that big – if you could get one on the consumer market – would probably cost the same as a Porsche.

But you can do it with one of the 1080p or 720p home theater projectors we reviewed, such as the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8100 LCD Projector, the Panasonic PT-AE4000U LCD Projector, or the Optoma HD20, our first, second and third picks, respectively.

The use of home theater projectors aren't just for the home. They can be used in auditoriums, theaters, places of worship and more. Using software such as Microsoft Office’s PowerPoint or Apple’s Keynote, you could create and project a winning slideshow presentation for business or educational use. With the right projector, you’ll always deliver a bright, clear and colorful image.

There are a few technology options when choosing among the various home theater projectors, such as 3LCD, Texas Instruments’ DLP and Sony’s SXRD. We take a look at all three:

  • 3LCD technology uses up to three chips representing the primary colors of light (red, green and blue) to create full-color images.
  • Texas Instruments’ DLP (Digital Light Processing) provides a more affordable experience, as the DMD (Digital Micromirror Device) light through a color wheel to reproduce the image on screen.
  • Sony uses their own SXRD micro-display panels built into some of their home theater projectors, and also take advantage of the BRAVIA Engine 2 technology. The resulting image is great.
Ads

Home Theater Projectors: What to Look For

There are key things to look for when choosing a quality home theater projector so you can get the best experience:

Ease of Use
This describes how easy -- or hard -- it is to install and set-up the projector. We also discuss navigating through the menu system, using image presets (such as cinema) and if it's easy to customize the image settings to your liking.

Picture
This includes the resolution supported (high definition and standard definition); the type of lamp and brightness; the technology behind the image (LCD, DLP or Sony’s SXRD); the contrast ratio; color processing; aspect ratio (widescreen or fullscreen);

Technical Specifications
The interface found on the back of the projector features all the connections for power and cables, such as HDMI, Composite (RCA, A/V), Component and so on. We also take a look at the dimensions and weight of the projector.

Help & Support
What kind of warranty and support options does the manufacturer provide for both the projector and the lamp? We also evaluate whether their tech support is available by with phone, email or live chat and whether they provide a user manual and a FAQs/Knowledge Base page.

Using our side-by-side comparison and individual product reviews will help you choose the best 1080p or 720p projector to suits your needs, be they home theater, business, education or all three. Also, please check out our articles related to home theater projectors.

At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don’t Have To.™

Ads

 
 
Electronics » TV » Home Theater Projectors Review
LIKE OUR REVIEWS? SUPPORT OUR SITE BY LIKING US ON FACEBOOK OR GOOGLE PLUS
Rank #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10
10-9  Excellent
8-6    Good
5-4    Average
3-2    Poor
1-0    Bad
Epson PowerLite 8100 Panasonic PT-AE4000U Optoma HD20 BenQ W1000 Sony BRAVIA VPL-HW15 Vivitek H1080FD Mitsubishi HC3800 Epson PowerLite 1730W Sony 3LCD VPL-BW7 Acer H5360
Epson PowerLite  8100 Panasonic PT-AE4000U Optoma HD20 BenQ W1000 Sony BRAVIA VPL-HW15 Vivitek H1080FD Mitsubishi HC3800 Epson PowerLite 1730W Sony 3LCD VPL-BW7 Acer H5360
Reviewer Comments Read Review
Read Review
Read Review
Read Review
Read Review
Read Review
Read Review
Read Review
Read Review
Read Review
Ratings
9.88
9.60
9.38
9.03
8.98
8.75
8.60
8.50
8.28
7.85
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
10.00
10.00
10.00
9.38
9.38
10.00
9.38
9.38
9.38
9.38
9.38
9.38
9.38
8.75
9.38
8.75
8.13
8.75
9.38
10.00
8.75
8.75
8.75
8.75
8.13
8.75
8.75
8.75
8.75
8.75
6.88
9.38
8.13
7.50
8.13
10.00
7.50
8.13
8.13
7.50
 
Ads
Picture
1080i/p
   
720p
480i/p (NTSC, North American Standard)
576i/p (PAL, European Standard)
Brightness (Lumens) 1800 Lumens 1600 Lumens 1700 Lumens 2000 Lumens 1000 Lumens 1800 Lumens 1300 Lumens 3000 Lumens 2000 Lumens 2500 Lumens
Lamp (Watts, Life in hours) 200 W, up to 4000 hours 170 W, N/A 230 W, 3000-4000 hours 180 W, 3000-4000 hours 200 W, N/A 230 W, 2000-3000 hours 230 W, 5000 hours 170 W, 3000-4000 hours 270 W, 230 W, 2500-4000 hours
LCD
     
 
DLP   
 
  
SXRD     
     
Contrast Ratio 36000:01 100000:01 4000:01 3000:01 60000:01 5000:01 4000:01 2000:01 1000:01 3200:01
Color Processing Full 10-Bit N/A DLP Full 10-Bit Full 10-Bit DLP DLP N/A N/A DLP
Aspect Ratio 16 x 9, 4 x 3 16 x 9 16 x 9, 4 x 3 16 x 9 16 x 9 16 x 9, 4 x 3 16 x 9 16 x 10, 16 x 9, 4 x 3 16 x 9 16 x 9, 4 x 3
Projected Distance (inches) 117.6 in. Wide x 250.8 in. Tele 45 in. - 711 in. 59.04 in. - 393.6 in. 23.64 in. - 122.04 in. 55.2 in. - 564 in. 36 in. - 360 in. 120.4 in. - 180.1 in. 25.2 in. - 325.2 in. 58.8 in. - 303.6 in. 39.6 in. - 405.6
Image Size (Diagonal, inches) Up to 100 in. 40 in. - 300 in. 37.6 in. - 301.1 in. 24 in. - 300 in. 39.6 in. - 300 in. 25 in. - 300 in. 40 - 300 in. 30 in. - 300 in. 40 in. - 200 in. 27 in. - 300 in.
Technical Specifications
HDMI
 
Composite (RCA)
 
Component
 
 
S-Video
 
Analog RGB
    
  
RS-232c
 
  
VGA  
  
 
 
+12 V Trigger  
  
   
PC Video Input (HD-15 Pin)         
 
Audio    
 
 
 
Width 17.7 in. 18 3/32 in. 12.76 in. 12.8 in. 18 3/8 in. 13.2 in. 13.6 in. 11.2 in. 12.4 in. 10.6 in.
Depth 15.5 in. 11 25/32 in. 9.21 in. 10 in. 16 1/8 in. 10 in. 10.6 in. 7.9 in. 10.6 in. 7.6 in.
Height 5.7 in. 5 3/32 in. 3.82 in. 3.7 in. 7 1/8 in. 4 in. 5.1 in. 2.6 in. 4.4 in. 3.1 in.
Weight 16.1 lbs. 16.09 lbs. 6.4 lbs. 7.5 lbs. 22 lbs. 7.8 lbs. 7.7 lbs. 3.74 lbs. 7.1 lbs. 4.9 lbs.
Help & Support
Phone Support
Email Support
User Manual
FAQs/Knowledge Base
 
 
Live Chat