Home Theater Projector Buying Guide – Home theaters and projectors have become very popular, but most people don’t understand how they differ from each other or need to buy one.
Luckily, we’ve made this home theater projector buying guide to help you decide on the right equipment and know-how to install it.
In this guide, you’ll learn what the most popular home theater projector brands are, what you should look for when shopping around, and the best places to buy your new home theater projector from.
The Home Theater Projector Buying Guide
Before you buy a home theater projector, think about these factors.
1. Screen size and placement
How big are your projected screen? If it’s small, say 100 inches or less, a front projector will likely be sufficient. If it’s larger than that, you may need to consider a rear- or ceiling-mounted projection system instead.
Keep in mind that if people are sitting off to either side of your projected image, they may have issues seeing it clearly unless it’s pretty large on-screen.
Once you know how large your screen will be, you can determine where you should place it so that everyone has a good view.
If placing it behind or above (rather than in front of) its viewers isn’t an option due to space constraints, then make sure that anyone sitting off to one side has an unobstructed view by ensuring they’re no closer than 20 degrees from centerline; keep objects between those viewers and their desired viewing location at least three times as far away as the size of your projected image.
In other words, if someone wants to sit two feet from where images are being displayed, make sure any obstructions at their seating position are more than six feet away from display output ports.
2. Viewing environment
What kind of lighting conditions do you expect? A room with lots of windows and ample natural light requires a different brightness level for optimal video playback than one with low light levels.
You don’t want to purchase equipment that won’t adequately compensate for such changes based solely on your preference—if it doesn’t work well under normal conditions, it won’t work well when ambient lighting is reduced further during nighttime hours.
Make sure your equipment matches what you see when conditions are ideal!
3. Video sources and inputs
What will you be using to playback content? Are you relying mainly on Blu-ray players or gaming consoles? Will you connect a DVD player via composite connection every once in a while, too?
Do your devices have HDMI outputs—and if so, what resolutions do they support? Are all of the high definition ready (HDMI v1.3) or just some of them?
Make sure whatever solutions you choose are compatible with your existing equipment and future devices.
4. Reliability and service history
Perhaps most importantly: who provides warranty/service coverage for gear purchased in 2015 and beyond versus older gear purchased before 2015?
Unless purchasing extended warranties post-purchase is something that works into your budget quickly, find out who stands behind products before putting cash down today!
Many manufacturers are withdrawing from home theater equipment entirely, leaving niche importers and regional assemblers in a scramble to find new partnerships that can provide 24-7 tech support.
Some firms, like Elumenati and Silent Running Audio (SRA), will be putting out unique and compelling products for years to come.
Still, it’s essential to understand upfront exactly what you’re getting into if you go with their products. All of that said, we hope our home projector buying guide gives you all you need to get started on your home entertainment project today!
5. Price What is your budget?
While you could outfit a home theater for $2,000 or $20,000, that number can vary widely depending on your needs and wants.
Our final piece of advice is to create a list of gear you need before looking into what’s available out there—it’s easy to get caught up in price wars and lose track of what you wanted in the first place!
Finding a Home Theater Projector That Meets Your Needs
When you set out to buy a home theater projector, many different things to consider. How much will it cost?
How long do I need a lamp that lasts? What is meant by contrast ratio? Can I use my speakers, or will they be built in?
These questions are part of buying a home theater projector, and all can be answered with some simple research.
For Home Theater
Look for a projector with at least 2,500 lumens brightness to support picture quality in a dark room.
A higher lumen count indicates more light output, which means better picture quality even when viewed in a dark room.
Most mid-range projectors have between 2,000 and 3,000 lumens; high-end projectors are often 5,000 lumens or more. (Even if you plan on mounting your projector far from your screen, don’t overlook its throw ratio—the distance from the lens to screen divided by the width of the screen.)
Consider a 4K Ultra HD option if you want to future-proof your investment; most models display 1080p resolution as well.
Best home theater projectors
Choosing a home theater projector can be complicated and overwhelming. There are many factors to consider, including price, screen size, refresh rate and others.
To make your decision easier, consider all of these factors before shopping for a projector. There are so many things to consider that spending too much time researching just one aspect can be effortless.
That’s why we created a home theater projector guide that answers your most pressing questions as well as guides you through multiple aspects of choosing, setting up and using your new video projector.
Let us show you how easy researching projectors can be by answering some common questions and providing details on five home theater grade projectors that fit different needs and budgets.
Then here home theater projector recommedation:
- Sony VPL-HW40ES
- Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5020UB
- Optoma HD28DSE
- ViewSonic PJD7720HD
- BenQ HT8050
For less than $2000, home theater projection technology has come a long way.
Not only are they brighter and offer better image quality than ever before, but they come in different sizes, shapes and prices to suit every home theater budget.
A home cinema system isn’t complete without its two other main components: speakers and an entertainment centre.
Fortunately, those items don’t cost nearly as much money as the projector does — unless, of course, you go crazy spending thousands on audiophile-grade equipment.
For Living Room
Choose a projector with at least 1500 lumens of brightness for a living room. Opt for a projector with at least 3000 lumens for dark or dimly lit rooms.
You can get some very bright projectors (like Sony’s VPL-HW50ES) that have over 3500 lumens and are bright enough to watch movies in light as bright as 100 lux—which is equivalent to having two 60-watt light bulbs on in your living room.
If you’re projecting onto a large screen and viewing content shot in 4K Ultra HD resolution, you might even be able to get away with something like Sony’s relatively low-priced HW30ES model, which has more than 2100 lumens.
And if you want something high quality but don’t want to spend much money – consider searching for refurbished models online.
Best living room projectors
This is one of those situations where you need to decide what’s most important: display size or budget. Most projectors will have an image as large as 120 inches at full zoom, but they come with a cost—and it isn’t just in dollars.
Home theater projectors are generally not portable. But if you want to host a movie night at your house, a projector is an excellent option for showing movies on a big screen without paying hundreds of dollars at a local theater.
If money’s no object, take a look at Optoma home theater projectors; these 1080p machines produce HD quality images and feature long-lasting LED lamps (no more costly bulb replacements) that produce brilliant colours even when the lights are off.
These aren’t cheap, though, so consider Epson home entertainment models if you don’t have $1,000+ to spend on a device designed primarily for use in dark rooms.
For The Office
What size room will you be using your projector in? Home theater projectors are extremely helpful for business presentations and home entertainment, but only if correctly set up.
Smaller rooms can get away with a more miniature projector, while larger ones need a larger screen to display an image that isn’t so overwhelming.
Start by measuring your space; then purchase a projector that best fits it. Make sure that you’ve researched how far back from the screen you should sit, as well as what resolution is necessary for the type of content you want to watch or show at home or work.
Choosing between LCD or DLP technology should be based on its pros and cons. For example, DLP is often preferred when viewing dark scenes because it uses less energy than LCD technology to achieve similar results.
Also, consider that many different technologies exist within these two major groups—choose wisely.
Other things to consider include brightness, weight, power supply (AC plug-in versus battery), support systems (VESA mounts) and more.
Best office projectors
The best office projectors are light, portable and long-lasting. Whether you’re after something to replace your old CRT monitor, or you want something that can beam a massive image onto a wall or whiteboard, you’ll find something on our list of top picks.
All projectors come with a built-in USB cable for easy connection to laptops and tablets, as well as VGA ports for connecting up PCs.
It would be best if you also looked out for HDMI inputs so you can easily stream high-quality video from gaming consoles and media players like Apple TV.
We do not recommend Wi-Fi-connected projectors due to speed and connectivity issues. Although they may be cheaper, they won’t give you good enough quality.
Buy a projector that’s bright enough to stand up to classroom lights and big enough to project onto your whiteboard.
Home theater projectors are generally brighter than those used in offices and classrooms, but they’re also more significant, more expensive, and harder to set up.
Home theater projectors can be a worthwhile investment if you have plenty of space for them, but if you’re buying for an office or classroom setting, consider an interactive smartboard instead.
Those devices can do almost everything projectors do. They work with all kinds of screens and don’t cost as much.
If you need something portable or want something cheaper to tide you over until budget time rolls around again, however, home theater projectors are well worth considering.
Best classroom projectors
Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8350, BenQ TH671, InFocus IN7210, Optoma GT1080Darbee/Optoma GT760A.
These projectors come in 1080p resolution and are bright enough to be used in a brightly lit classroom. Also, make sure to buy an HDMI cable to connect your projector to your computer if you don’t already have one.
VGA cables cannot transfer 1080p signals and, therefore, will not work with any of these projectors. The Epson 8350 is about $1500 on Amazon.
For most classrooms, I recommend going with a cheaper model that costs around $600-$800 (but doesn’t have as good of picture quality) because it can get stolen or broken easier than something expensive like the 8350.
Projectors break much more often than laptops do, so it makes sense from a financial standpoint to spend less money on one that still performs well.
You don’t need a 4K television to take advantage of HDR gaming. Many current games are built to support HDR, but they aren’t pushing console technology to its limits.
High dynamic range gaming is one of those nice-to-have features for gamers—you can buy your ultra-high-resolution TV now, and if you decide to get a gaming system that supports HDR in a few years when 4K is more affordable, it will work with your TV.
These are cutting edge TVs, but as any owner knows, they require calibration and picture tweaks to look their best.
Just what adjustments you make depends on how far from technically accurate (HDR10) each picture mode comes out of the box.
Best gaming projectors
With so many projectors on offer, choosing which one to purchase can be hard. With prices ranging from $200 to $30,000 and different projector types offering unique benefits, picking out a good projector for gaming may seem daunting.
However, buying a home theater projector doesn’t have to be difficult when armed with enough information and expertise.
With that in mind, here is our guide on buying a gaming projector that suits your needs. While there are quite a few factors you need to consider before making your decision, we will explain them below:
1. Price of home cinema projector or what kind of budget do you have?
2. Resolution/ picture quality – HD Ready or Full HD (1920×1080) or 4K (3840×2160).
3. Next Step – Aperture ratio – What’s an appropriate size for your space?
4. Beamer vs Projector- Which is right for you?
How Much Do Home Theater Projectors Cost?
Home theater projectors range in price, but you can expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands.
Several factors determine projector cost: Resolution: The resolution rating for a projector is measured in horizontal resolution and vertical resolution lines.
The higher these numbers, the sharper and more detailed your images will be. Newer models offer 4K (3,840 x 2,160) or UHD (3,840 x 2,160) resolution; even better models offer 4K with HDR (High Dynamic Range).
In other words: As display resolutions increase, so do prices. Lumens: Lumens measure brightness. While it’s true that brightness affects picture quality, too many lumens isn’t always better than too few—especially if they come at an increased cost.
It all depends on what you want out of your home theater experience; some people prefer brighter projections with visible pixels while others opt for darker screens without as much definition—this makes it easier to use ambient light sources like lamps and windows without casting shadows over their image.
Things To Consider When Purchasing a Home Cinema System
Depending on your specific needs, there are certain things you need to keep in mind when shopping for a home cinema system.
First, you’ll need to decide whether or not you want a projector with glasses or without. Glasses-free technology is still relatively new and expensive but rapidly growing.
You’ll also need to consider where exactly you plan on using your home cinema system: Are you looking for something portable? Or do you plan on setting up a shop in one location?
This can make a big difference as well. Lastly, price should always be an essential factor.
Though home cinema systems aren’t cheap by any means, if you plan on using yours frequently, it may be worth spending more money to buy high-quality products from reputable brands. That way, your investment will pay off down the road and last for many years of movie night fun!