What is a Home Theater Projector
Probably, many of us dream about watching the best movies without even leaving home. Now, you can solve this problem by getting a home theater projector. Of course, you can use a big TV instead, yet it will be much more pricey and require more space. A modern home theater projector is a smart device that is capable of reproducing the image on a screen and playing online videos and any other digital content from external hard drives as well as compatible portable devices. We have picked the best home theater projectors in our review.
If you need a conventional TV for playing videos or if you wish to equip your kitchen or bathroom with a TV set, we recommend you to read our 3D TV & Smart TV, big screen LED TV, curved TV, and Kitchen & Bathroom TV reviews.
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 the lamp life. Almost all home projectors have built-in speakers with the 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.
Optoma HD141X 3D DLP
Providing the Best Image
Optoma HD141X features the cutting-edge DLP image projection technology. The patented BrilliantColor™ processes up to 6 colors at a time and delivers a clear and bright image. Owing to a high-performance DLP chip, the projector has a short response time amounting to 16 milliseconds and provides a refresh rate of 144Hz. The image resolution is 1920 х 1080 pixels, so you can enjoy vivid and realistic Full HD videos. We should note that this is one of the best results among other similar devices. The aspect ratio can be set at 16:9, 16:10, and 4:3, allowing you to watch wide-screen movies and make awesome presentations. The maximum brightness is 3,000 lumens and it makes this projector effective in well-lit rooms and even outside. The contrast ratio is 23,000:1, being up-to-the-mark, and the image is incredibly rich thanks to 1,073.4 million colors. Optoma HD141X is capable of displaying images sized from 41.8" to 300". Hence, you can obtain a really large screen creating an impression of a real-life cinema in your home.
Favorite Games and 3D
Throughout our comprehensive review, we spotted some distinctive features that differentiate this particular model from the others, one of which is its interface with numerous connection options. Optoma Home Projector can be paired with 3D playback devices as well as mobile gadgets through 3D-Sync and MHL v1.2 ports respectively, and reflect high quality image suffice for anybody’s needs. The 144Hz refresh rate stands for ultra-smooth image without a slight distortion or blur, no matter from which device the image has been transmitted. Besides wide connection options and pretty high tech specs, Optoma Home Projector will fit those consumers who love playing games through Xbox, PS3, PS4. Due to the gaming mode, it’s become possible to transfer your favorite game characters and actions right on a big screen and arrange things there remotely from the distance with a remote controller.
More Products To Consider
The WORKFORCE Travel Video Projector carrying hard case is a specially designed case for convenient and safe transportation of the projector. This case will protect your projector from shocks, bumps, scratches, and other damage.
Epson VS240 SVGA 3LCD
The development of 3LCD technology in the late 1980s and the invention of the first 3LCD video projector back in 1989 were the crucial events in the history of Epson. This technology provides a top brightness, natural color reproduction, and gentle impact on eyesight. Epson has been improving its 3LCD technology, reaching new horizons of brightness, contrast, and reliability in home and business projectors. Nowadays, Epson manufactures 3LCD lenses for its own projectors and more than 90% of the similar projectors of other brands. Epson has been the #1 brand on the market of home projectors since 2001, holding this position for over 10 years. It is remarkable that Epson VS240 provides 3x higher color brightness than its closest competitors; that is evidenced by #1 place in Image Quality according to US Projector Brand Customer Perception and Preference Study carried out by TFCinfo in 2015. The image resolution of 800 х 600 pixels (SVGA) allows you to watch video content in high definition of all the objects. The aspect ratio is 4:3 which is not the best for widescreen movies, but perfect for presentations. We should emphasize the projector brightness that amounts to 3,000 lumens and delivers a distinct image even when used in a well-lit room or even outside. Moreover, Epson’s image is really rich and lively thanks to a contrast of 15,000: 1, as well as about 1.07 billion colors, which is the highest rate for home projectors. In the end, this video projector's viewable screen size ranges from 30" to 350" - another top-notch result.
Epson is renowned for not just development and introduction of the new technology, but also for its environmental protection activities. The company strives to design eco-friendly recyclable products with a low power consumption. A lot of effort has been put to avoid using harmful substances for the production of LED light sources, develop efficient packaging and so on. Epson strongly believes that energy-efficient products will bring everyone a better future, keeping the environment safe. Also, we would like to note that Epson released its Environmental Vision 2050 as its long-term guide for activities aimed at reducing the impact on the environment even more. According to Akihiko Sakai, the Chief Executive Officer at Seiko Epson, this is a multi-stage development program targeted at addressing the most urgent environmental issues that mankind is facing till 2050. Epson has set 4 key conditions to accomplish Environmental Vision 2050:
- Reduction of CO2 emissions by 90% for the entire lifespan of its products.
- Recycling of all products.
- Reduction of direct CO2 emissions by 90% and elimination of other gas emissions.
- Biodiversity restoration and preservation in cooperation with local communities.
More Products To Consider
The Epson Carrying Case for projector is the original case designed for carrying and storing projectors and all their accessories. Compatible with Epson PowerLite 1940W, 1945W, 1950, 1955, 1960, and 1965.
iRULU BL20 Pro
Having explored this projector, we came to the conclusion that it is one of the smartest and high-performance projectors in comparison with competitors. The main advantage of the projector, OS Android 4.4, makes it truly eminent and offers a wide range of capabilities, such as online playback of video content from YouTube, Netflix, and other media streaming services. iRULU features the built-in Wi-Fi adapter for accessing the web and synchronizing with tablets or smartphones. Amlogic S805 Quad-Core Cortex-A5 1.5GHz processor and 1 GB RAM provide an excellent performance and a short response time. 8 GB storage space will let you store a lot of media content in the projector, just like on a hard drive. These features show quite a high efficiency, compared to that of several tablets.
When Your Job is Valued
The iRULU company was founded in 2005 with a dream to develop a cutting-edge technology affordable for everyone. This way, the first iRULU tablet was released in 2011. Soon after that, iRULU.com online store was launched and became one of the top e-commerce websites of smart devices to match your needs. Today iRULU manufactures smartphones, tablets, laptops, smart watches, projectors, etc. As iRULU state on their official website, “we’re honored that the media have taken notice of our company and our mission”. We should mention that iRULU is a constant partner of The Balancing Act TV show that promotes different products and solutions for modern women to help them solve their everyday problems. The company produces a multitude of laptops, tablets, and smartphones that will make women’s lives easier. One episode of the show presents iRULU appliances as great holiday gifts. Also, iRULU gadgets are reviewed in such shows as Military Makeover, Moving America Forward, and Behind the Brand.
More Products To Consider
The Gemmy 39127-32 Deluxe Outdoor Inflatable Movie Screen is a wide inflatable projection screen with a 12-foot diagonal that will be a perfect accessory for projection of movies, TV series, sports events, and a lot more in your backyard.
Exploring Roadwi, we noticed that it features the TFT LCD technology used in relatively low-end projectors. Yet, despite this fact, the image quality is quite good for watching movies and other media content. The resolution is 800 x 480 pixels though this projector also supports the resolution of 1080p, so you will be able to watch HD movies. Still, brightness is the main strength of this projector. Yielding 3,200 lumens, the projector will deliver an amazingly bright and detailed image in any light conditions. Thus, you can use Roadwi even in your sunlit backyard. Actually, the brightness level this device has is really high and that's the feature Roadwi can really boast of. The image can be projected in the range from 32" to 200", enabling you to watch widescreen movies, shows, and series. The viewing distance is 3.9-19 feet, so you can use Roadwi both in small rooms and large halls.
History of Projector
Do you know that the first projector was developed in the middle of 17th century - it was a legendary magic lantern invented by Dutch scientist Christian Huygens. He primarily used the lantern for educational purposes but, as it frequently happens, became known thanks to quacks who used it for showing 'miracles' like dancing skeletons or ghosts; subsequently, a lot of wandering illusionists appeared in Europe and they used this device. Amid a quick development of natural sciences in the 18th century, magic lanterns were used by scientists and lecturers. Then, Thomas Edison built a peep-hole viewer known as kinetoscope. Eventually, Auguste and Louis Lumière patented the cinematograph, and magic lanterns became things of private home entertainment. The first step to the development of a real multimedia projector was made in the late 1980s. The overhead projectors featured LCD panels connected to PCs. US-based Proxima brought the first LCD panel to the market in 1987. Later, LCD panels became connectable to video cassette recorders (apart from PCs). Finally, Proxima combined a light source and an LCD panel in 1995, developing the first multimedia projector. The first LCD projectors used halogen lamps and weighed about 9 kg, featuring the brightness of nearly 300 lumens. The pixels of their displays could be seen, and light beams were dissipated when passing through. The scientists and engineers were looking for the ways to improve the LCD-based projection technology and their effort resulted in the development of the DLP technology.
More Products To Consider
The Pyle Laptop Projector stand is a folding portable stand with height adjustment (28"- 41"). This item is designed to place projectors, laptops, sound equipment on it.
Portability and Saving Up
Tronfy Home Theater Projector is a pretty portable and compact device that can be used both indoors and outdoors. The dimensions of the unit are 7.4 x 5.8 x 2.1 inches, and the weight is just 2 lbs. Hence, you can always take the device to recreation facilities or campsites to project movies or sports events. All you will need is some video content stored, for example, on a USB flash drive or external hard drive. Tronfy has all necessary interfaces for that, so you'll not face any connectivity problems. The projector is remarkable for a great lamp life that amounts to incredible 30,000 hours - the best result on the market! It means that the projector will serve you for severals years, so you will surely save some money. In addition, this home theater projector can be ceiling-mounted or installed on a special stand (optional) so you can arrange the device in either way according to your needs.
DIY: Cinema Screen at Home
Nowadays, there are lots of projection screens on the market. Many of us believe that branded projection screens feature some kind of special technology while others think that screens can be made at home and they will be as good as branded models. So, we decided to tell you how to make a do-it-yourself (DIY) projection screen. The material the screen is made of is the most important issue. The banner fabric is usually considered to be the best for making projection surfaces. It's designed for outdoor advertising and is great for making projection screens. Moreover, such fabric is durable and has a good light reflection capabilities. Different kinds of fabric for banners are sold in rolls of various widths, so you can choose the best size to implement your ideas. The fabric with non-transparent inner layers and fine-meshed opaque surfaces is also suitable for projection screens. Once you have decided on the material, you should make the frame for stretching the fabric over. Frames are usually made of wood. It is recommended to choose a rectangular shape of the frame with a crossbar in the middle for improved stiffness. The edges of the fabric should be wrapped around the frame and fixed with staples. The angles of the frame are fixed with steel brackets that are available in any tool store. You can also add the black edge former to a screen to outline a projection area. As an alternative to wood, you can use curtain poles as the frame material, they are available in any furniture store.
Nonetheless, we recommend you to use a branded projection screen to get the best image. Read our best projector screens review and choose the best one.
More Products to Consider
Any home cinema requires a good sound source and that's why we recommend getting Sima XL-PRO-SPK 10 W Computer/Projector Speakers. They have the power output of 10 Watts, which is enough to give you a great audio experience.
Q: What affects the quality of an image reproduced by you home theater projector?
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.
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7. 3LCD, Wikipedia. June 17, 2016.
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9. Tony Hoffman How to Buy a Home Projector, PCMag. November 23, 2013.