With its 4,000-lumen brightness, this model can project a saturated image that will not look washed out even in a relatively well-lit environment. Keeping the speakers quiet, this unit is seen, not heard. The Micro USB port will let you recharge USB-enabled gadgets.
The housing gets quite hot during prolonged use.
Featuring a DuraCore laser light source, the Optoma HZ39HDR stretches its lamps' lifespan 30,000 hours. What's more, the source is maintenance-free. Relying upon digital light processing, this device reduces color degradation and keeps the pixel structure intact.
Resolution: Full HD (1920x1080)
Brightness: 4000 lumens
Throw ratio: 1.21 - 1.59
Optical zoom: 1.3x
2 x HDMI, 1 x VGA-In, 1 x Audio-In, 1 x Audio-Out, 1 x RJ-45 port, 1 x USB Type-A, Service ports (RS232C, Micro USB)
Up to 30,000 hours (DuraCore maintenance-free laser light source)
Accurate color technology (with sRGB & REC.709 color profile), 2 x 5 W speakers, Remote control included
1 year (5 years for the lamp)
The built-in picture skew sensor will be able to automatically analyze the picture and instantly correct the keystone, making sure that the image remains square. The Dynamic, Bright Cinema, Cinema, and Natural will allow you to optimize the settings based on what the content requires in a second.
The UI isn't the greatest.
The Epson HC1080 will accommodate work and entertainment alike. With its 3LCD projection system, the model delivers more saturated colors without compromising accuracy. Plus, the same system lets this device output matching brightness but consuming less energy than DLP projectors.
Resolution: Full HD (1920x1080)
Brightness: 3400 lumens
Throw ratio: 1.02 – 1.23
Optical zoom: 1.58 – 1.70
2 x HDMI, 1 x D-sub 15 pin, 2 x RCA, 1 x USB Type-A, 1 x USB Type-B, 1 x Audio-out (3.5-mm jack), Wi-Fi
Normal Mode: up to 6,000 hours
ECO Mode: up to 12,000 hours
Built-in speaker, Picture Skew sensor, Convenient color mode adjustments
2 years limited
The Enhanced Gaming mode doubles the projector's refresh rate and reduces the input lag twofold. Offering 120 Hz and 8.4 ms respectively, the mode enables you to play without noticeable blur or without trailing behind your online competition with 144 Hz monitors.
The fans are a little noisy.
Gaming on the biggest possible screen is most gamers' fantasy. The Optoma HD28HDR makes that fantasy a reality. With its multiple gaming modes, the model lets you enjoy gorgeous-looking visuals without the usual downfalls that 'accompany projectors' and gaming endeavors.
Resolution: Full HD (1920x1080)
Brightness: 3600 lumens
Throw ratio: 1.49 - 4.9
Optical zoom: 1.1x
1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x HDMI 1.4a, 1 x audio out (3.5mm), 1 x USB
Up to 15,000 hours
HDR10 technology, Enhanced Gaming Mode, Dynamic Black technology, HDMI-CEC technology
90-day warranty on the lamp
The VGA and RCA interfaces make the model compatible with legacy devices. The 22000:1 contrast ratio allows the projector to produce a detailed image with deeper shadows and dynamic textures. The ±40 degrees vertical keystone correction lets the model work perfectly fine with various spaces.
The projector's native resolution is middling.
The ViewSonic PA503W makes a really appealing case with its solid specs, long-lasting (up to 15,000 hours) lamps, and overall versatility. Plus, the SuperEco mode will allow you to dim the brightness whenever you want and greatly reduce power consumption, further making the longevity case.
Resolution: WXGA (1280 x 800)
Brightness: 3600 lumens
Throw ratio: 1.55 ~ 1.70
Optical zoom: 1.1x
1 x HDMI-in, 2 x VGA-in, 1 x VGA-out, 1 x Composite Video (1 x RCA), 1 x Audio-in (3.5-mm jack), 1 x Audio-out (3.5-mm jack), 1 x mini-USB, 1 x Service port (RS-232)
Up to 15,000 hours (Dynamic Eco Mode)
SuperColor technology, Quick power off, 2W internal speaker
3 years (1 year for the lamp)
The mirroring function will allow you to bring MHL-compatible devices on a big screen. The 4D electronic keystone correction function, with its ±50° horizontal and vertical correction, will let you play with sharp projection angles knowing that the screen will remain square despite the unit's placement.
The remote feels cheap.
The YABER Y30 offers above-average performance on an almost laughable budget. The model looks good. The visuals that this device projects look good as well. Moreover, the advanced double-sided cooling system keeps the unit quiet and prevents it from overheating.
Resolution: Full HD (1920x1080)
Brightness: 7200 lumens
Throw ratio: ~ 1.2 - 1.5
X / Y Zoom Function
1 x HDMI, 1 x VGA, 1 x USB
Up to 100,000 hours
Adopt Color Matching Algorithm, Mirroring function, 4D electronic keystone correction function, Hi-Fi level stereo audio performance, Temperature control and advanced double-sided cooling system
6 months money-back, 3 years repair warranty, lifetime professional technical support
Optoma HZ39HDR Laser
Laser Home Theater Projector
The Optoma HZ39HDR tosses aside the common playbook that most projectors (including the company's projectors) usually follow to a tee. Instead, this model introduces a DuraCore maintenance-free laser light source. With this light source, this impressive specimen doubles the lamps' lifespan, going from 15,000 hours to a whopping 30,000 hours. Needless to say, this is huge. Scratch that, down the road, this is beyond huge. In fact, there's a pretty good chance you will go with a different device before replacing the lamps once, which is saying something since this device is not bad performance-wise, not in the slightest. First off, the model relies upon the digital light processing (DLP) approach, making sure that the colors are reproduced without noticeable degradation and that the pixel structure remains practically intact.
Before that, however, what catches the eye first, at least when this eye is glancing at the product's specs, is the maximum brightness pushing 4,000 lumens. As misleading as these numbers can be, Optoma projectors always make good on the brightness promise, so these 4,000 lumens will look like 4,000 lumens. What that means is that the image will look rich and saturated and not washed out at all even when there's some noticeable light in the room. Unless the sun is shining right at you, there's a pretty good chance you'll be able to use this projector during the day without closing the blinds.
Expansive and Clean Audio
Lasers are great. What's not great, however, is the model's heat dissipation, which is practically nonexistent despite the holes on both sides. We're not saying that this device will catch fire but, during prolonged use, the housing gets quite hot, so we would not advise against taking occasional breaks between viewing.
While these parameters are seldom paramount, we do not dislike the attention that was shown to the model's size. At 10.5 x 13.2 x 4.8 inches, this device is a little more compact than its Optoma stablemates, taking less space. Also, unlike its BenQ competition that we've discussed above, this projector keeps its operation quiet, making sure that it is seen and not heard. Last but not necessarily least, the two 5-watt speakers are no joke, filling sizable rooms with expansive audio that delivers clean highs, detailed mids, and creeping lows.
Bottom line, the Optoma HZ39HDR will last a decade (maybe even more than that), producing a bright image even in well-lit rooms.
|Last updated price||$1,199.00|
Epson HC1080 (3LCD)
Projectors within this price bracket can reproduce decent visuals but, more often than not, the colors will look less vibrant than optimal. This is not what's happening with the Epson HC1080 though. Unlike its direct competition, the model delivers stunning colors.
First off, this device comes equipped with a true 3-chip, 3LCD system. Mixing and projecting the light beam from the three primary colors (red, green, and blue) so that they can form individual pixel colors, the model offers more saturated visuals. Apart from that, unlike DLP projectors, this bad boy consumes less energy but, with its peak brightness pushing 3400 lumens, is just as bright as its more energy-hungry peers. But, back to the colors, the same 3LCD system ensures that they remain bright and accurate without the distracting 'rainbow' issue that often plagues home theater projectors.
Of course, despite landing on the more affordable side, the Epson HC1080 is not some low-end model, so its Full HD (1920 x 1080p) native resolution comes without saying. And, with it, come sharp visuals, improved clarity, and the crisp image that looks clean without visible pixel separation. A little less welcome feature that comes with this device is its firmware. To be more precise, we're glad that the firmware is there, but its UI part is a little confusing, so it might take you some time to figure out the projector's settings.
The 3LCD Approach
As much as the 3LCD projection system defines and sells this product, one could argue that its more impressive attribute is the integrated picture skew sensor. A tad less sexy-sounding, sure, but the sensor's great at automatically analyzing the picture and correcting the keystone without delay, keeping the image square.
What also sounds a touch less sexy but is almost equally important is the convenient color mode adjustment that this device offers. Switching between Dynamic, Bright Cinema, Cinema, and Natural, the model lets you optimize the output based on the content without wasting minutes fiddling with settings. Last but not least, the projector's dynamic contrast ratio peaks at 16,000:1, which means that the whites will look bonkers bright and the blacks will look deep and dark.
So, as long as you don't mind the somewhat inconvenient UI, there's a pretty good chance you will find the Epson HC1080 to your liking. Plus, its built-in speaker is not as middling as you would expect.
|Last updated price||$649.99|
The Optoma HD28HDR does not quite match the powerhouse that is the company's previous device but, considering that this one also costs almost two times less, this is an excellent product as well. What's more, despite being a much more value-oriented model, the HD28HDR unit has a few tricks up its sleeve that even its less affordable relatives cannot boast.
To start with, though the projector's native resolution stops at Full HD (1920 x 1080p), the model supports HDR10. Because that's the case, this device can present the kind of rich and vivid visuals that only 4K projectors can match. But, as much as we appreciate its HDR10 support, what we're more excited about is its gaming disposition. To name one, the model comes outfitted with an Enhanced Gaming Mode.
Stretching the refresh rate from the usual 60Hz to staggering 120Hz, the mode delivers smooth, lag-free visuals, letting you enjoy practically blur-free gameplay. Furthermore, the same mode shrinks the input lag at least twofold. Capping at 8.4 ms, its input lag will allow you to compete without feeling like you're lagging behind people who are playing on orthodox screens. Also, to go with the Enhanced Gaming Mode, the model incorporates Game Display Mode. Boosting shadows, the mode improves visibility in low-light areas, making sure that you don't miss impending obstacles lurking in the dark.
Likewise (somewhat), the Dynamic Black tech should also prove virtually indispensable. Augmenting the contrast ratio with smooth lamp adjustments, the mode offers crisp bright scenes and deep but detailed dark scenes, with sharp blacks, light, and shade detail.
Multiple ISF Modes
Needless to say, the Optoma HD28HDR has its flaws as well. That said, as far as we're concerned, the only upsetting one is the noise. When you crank up the settings, the projector's fans get a little loud, somewhat ruining immersion. What does not ruin immersion, however, is the ISF modes. Using these modes, you can create and save multiple day and night mode settings, picking between them depending on the ambient lighting situation or preferred viewing experience.
What also does not ruin a single thing is the MHL support that this unit provides. Using the Mobile High-Definition Link, you can view presentations, share content, and stream videos from different MHL-enabled devices.
In short, those who like gaming as much (or even more) than watching movies on the biggest screen at home will not regret purchasing the Optoma HD28HDR.
|Last updated price||$639.00|
Mid-Range Performance on a Low-End Budget
The ViewSonic PA503W is not the company's first foray into projectors but the experience that they have in this field is not necessarily up there with Optoma and Epson and such. Nevertheless, from what we've seen yet, the people behind California- and Taiwan-based corporation hit more than they miss. On that note, let's get back to the subject model. As lame as it may sound, the best thing about it is the price. At less than $400, this is one affordable device. Of course, you cannot reduce the price virtually twofold without making certain compromises. That being said, we're fine with most of its shortcomings barring one.
With its native resolution peaking at WXGA (1280 x 800p), the model does not quite reach the Full HD (1920 x 1080p) standard that most people have grown accustomed to. Truth be told, the difference is not staggering, but the larger you make the screen, the more noticeable the projector's middling resolution becomes, so we would recommend stopping at the midpoint rather than stretching the screen as high and wide as you can. What we would also recommend is turning on the Dynamic Eco Mode from time to time. Dimming the brightness, you can help the lamp's longevity case, making sure that the included lamp lasts the advertised 15,000 hours.
Performance-wise, aside from the aforementioned discount native resolution, this device will have no trouble competing with more expensive home theater projectors. First things first, the company's proprietary SuperColor™ tech uses an exclusive 6-segment color wheel, stretching the color range and making the visuals pop. Moreover, thanks to the projector's 3600-lumen brightness rating, the model will be able to prevent the image from looking muted or washed out even in rooms with some ambient lighting. In the same vein, its awesome 22,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio will bring you deep shadows, dynamic textures, intense whites, and dark blacks.
Naturally, the unit's WXGA native resolution is not the best fit with gamers. But the ultra-low 16ms input latency that this device also offers is. Accelerating frame-by-frame action, the model lets you play without noticeable delay.
Wrapping the package is the ridiculous interface count. Between the HDMI and VGA inputs, VGA output, Composite Video port, two 3.5-mm interfaces, one Mini USB, and one Service port, the ViewSonic PA503W can be paired with pretty much any device out there, both new and old.
|Last updated price||$379.99|
7200-Lumen Peak Brightness
The YABER Y30 has an expensive-looking face and bod, which is a pretty nice surprise considering that this device is anything but expensive. The sleek chrome-ish housing, the rounded corners, the cutouts in the front and on the sides, the model looks more attractive than most mid-range projectors, let alone its budget-friendly peers. But, as much as we can get behind a handsome front, the driving force that propels (and sells) projectors is not performance, not appearance. The good news is that this model is just as impressive in the performance department as it is on the appearance side.
To get the ball rolling, this device starts with almost absurd 7200-lumen peak brightness. Sure, as you would expect, the lamp seldom reaches the 7200-lumen mark but, even averaging above 5k is an incredible feat (relative to the projector's price tag). With this output, the model performs almost as well in low-light conditions as it does in complete darkness. Of course, rooms with ample ambient lighting will still not present optimal conditions but, unlike projectors with ~3.5k-lumen peak brightness, this device can handle a little light with relative ease, delivering rich, vivid, and saturated visuals.
And, owing to the Adopt Color Matching Algorithm, the model also ensures accurate color reproduction. Incorporating careful light source selection and an improved color wheel design, the unit offers authentic shades, making movies look the way they were intended to look.
Advanced Double-Sided Cooling
Besides serving a decorative purpose, the cutouts that we've mentioned in the beginning also provide sufficient heat dissipation, preventing the unit from overheating. Besides that, these ventilation holes hide the fans that dissipate heat without pushing the noise levels above 30 decibels, so the model keeps pretty quiet.
On the feature front, the unit's best representative is the mirroring function. Using this function, you can bring smartphones, tablets, or laptops on a big screen (as long as these devices support MHL). Actually, scratch that, the best rep has to be the 4D electronic keystone correction function. Offering ±50° for horizontal and vertical correction, you can experiment with different projection angles and place the unit pretty much anywhere you want knowing that the image will look square anyway.
To conclude, the YABER Y30 delivers mid-range and, in some respects, high-end performance on a low-end budget, making it a home theater projector you don't want to miss.
|Last updated price||$229.99|
What Is a Home Theater Projector?
According to Statista, 57% of people prefer watching movies at home rather than in theaters or cinemas, so it comes as no surprise, a home heather projector doesn't disappear from the scene, remaining one of the most popular purchases on Amazon. With that in mind, if you haven't been thinking about replacing your old TV set with an updated 55-inch screen yet and are looking for a budget-friendly alternative to enjoy your watching experience to the fullest, buying a home theater projector more than makes sense. Not expensive and pretty compact, this device's capable of reproducing the image with high precision projecting it on any surface, be it a special screen or just your wall. What's more, you can connect it with pretty much any of your devices including external hard drives, laptops, tablets, and more. Not sure which one will be the best one for you? We hope our selection of the five home theater projectors will help you make the right choice.
If you need a conventional TV for playing videos or if you wish to equip your kitchen or bathroom with a TV set, don't skip our reviews of 3D TV & Smart TV, big screen LED TV, curved TV, and kitchen & bathroom TV.
What Features to Compare
When you are about to choose a home theater projector, first of all, pay attention to its image specifications. In particular, you should consider the image projection technology. All projectors are divided into 2 types: LCD (liquid crystal display) and DLP (digital light processing).
- LCD projectors deliver bright and rich image and produce no 'rainbow effect'. However, these projectors deliver quite a mediocre black color and suffer from so-called 'screen door' (when you can see the pixel structure on the screen).
- DLP projectors are notable for smooth display of moving objects and provide an excellent black color, yet they might produce a 'rainbow effect' due to the rotating color filter.
Next, pay attention to image resolution as it affects sharpness and depth of the picture you see. Take a closer look at the models that support the resolution of 1920 х 1080 pixels. Consider the brightness of a projector (it's measured in lumens). If you are going to use a projector in a dim room, it’s better to select the models with the brightness of about 1,000 lumens. The most advanced projectors have a brightness of up to 3,200 lumens, so they can be used even outside. Don't forget to check the aspect ratio. Most contemporary movies are shot in a ratio of 16:9 or 16:10, so look for a projector with the same one. Contrast is another important parameter vital for image quality. The contrast is the ratio between the whitest white and the blackest black a projector can display. The up-to-date projectors feature the contrast from 15,000:1 to 23,000:1. Finally, check the number of colors a projector can display: the more colors, the richer image.
Mounting and Interfaces
Having a home theater projector isn't enough, you need to mount it. The type of mounting heavily depends on the lens as it determines the projection distance and image size. Home theater projectors are generally equipped with standard or short-focus lenses to display the image with diagonal up to 350 inches from the distance of up to 2.6 feet. Home theater projectors are mounted in front of screens on floors or tables. Many models can be mounted on a ceiling with the help of special mounting brackets or on tripods. Pay attention to the interfaces of a projector when you are going to buy it. HDM ports allow transferring digital video/audio signal in high quality. The presence of USB ports enables connection of digital storage devices; VGA connector makes a projector compatible with different video equipment. Projectors can be connected to TVs through analog outputs like S-video, composite, and component video. An SD slot allows you to connect external SD memory cards, while an audio out will help you to connect an audio system. Some sophisticated home theater projectors even have Wi-Fi for online video streaming.
Features and Usability
In the end, pay attention to the features and usability of a home theater projector. We should mention the possibility of 3D video playback among other features. 3D projectors will let you enjoy the whole depth of a 3D movie without leaving your cozy home. Since digital technologies are rapidly developing, some home theater projectors are powered by Android operating system, so consider such models if you need a smart multifunctional device. A lamp life is a parameter of no small account since lamps are among the most expensive parts of projectors. The lamp life determines the amount of your money for projector maintenance. A lot of models feature energy-saving modes that help prolong lamp life. Almost all home projectors have built-in speakers with power varying from 2 to 10 Watts. Besides, every home theater projector has its own noise level depending on its design and the power of cooling fans. The noise level usually ranges from 25 to 50 dB. If a projector is to be mounted in a small room, its noise level should not exceed 30 dB. The noisier models are better for large halls or separated premises. Finally, we’d like to draw your attention to the weight of a projector. The smaller the weight is, the easier it is to carry a projector.
Q: What affects the quality of an image reproduced by your home theater projector?
A: There are three major factors equally important for providing good quality of image: native resolution, video material, and a contrast ratio supported by your projector. For example, if you want your device to deliver rich details of video content, you need to pay attention to models that can handle high-resolution signals. The quality of video materials is crucial since transferring low-quality signals will result in a bad image on the screen. A contrast ratio is another aspect that affects the image quality and is determined by the difference between the blackest black and the whitest white.
Q: What is projector's resolution?
A: A projector's resolution (also used as native resolution) is typically the maximum number of pixels the device is capable of projecting. Basically, the higher the resolution of a projector is, the more pixels it can project.
Q: Is high contrast an important feature for a home theater projector?
A: Yes, it is. High-contrast home theater projectors provide images with a deep black level and a more subtle color detail. Additionally, a contrast ratio can add some depth to the pictures.
Q: Do I need a projector screen?
A: Depending on your tasks and needs. Although you can project images right on a white wall, a good projection screen will help you obtain a better and brighter image. A projector screen is particularly important if you use a projector in a room where you can't control lighting.
Q: Which type of connectivity do I need?
A: It depends on your needs and tasks. Basically, most home theater projectors come with a standard set of connectors. An HDMI port is the most important among them since almost every device is equipped with an HDMI output. Additionally, if this port is missing on your computer, you can still adapt it with a special adapter.
Q: What is the best place to use a home theater projector?
A: Taking into account that home theater projectors are designed to simulate a dark environment of cinemas, it’s better to use such devices in dedicated rooms where you have an ability to control the amount of light. Otherwise, you can take advantage of a projector providing a higher level of brightness.
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