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The Best Home Theater Projectors of 2016

by Patrick Hyde •

the best home projectors of 2016
  • Make the most out of your home cinema experience with the SONY VPL-HW40ES, the best 3D projector available. It has a special gaming mode for a virtually lag-free playing experience, making it one of the all-around best home theater projectors on the market.
  • If you want only the best of the best picture quality in your theater, get the Sony VPLVW350ES SXRD. It projects true 4k Ultra HD resolution and has HD to 4k upscaling to make the most of your media collection.
  • Sports fans should purchase the Epson Home Cinema 1440. With an astonishing 4400 lumens, this projector can confidently project games in even the brightest ambient light. That means you can leave the blinds up for the day game and still get vibrant colors and crisp images.

The Details

Date night for two at the movies can easily run over $60 dollars in an urban area once you factor in exorbitant ticket prices, concessions, and parking. All that and you risk sticky seats, texting teenagers, and chatty couples. Making your own home theater is becoming an increasingly affordable alternative to pricey and unreliable nights out at the movies, with quality projector prices falling and pixel counts increasing.

Once upon a time you needed a spacious, cave-like room to make owning a home projector a feasible entertainment option. But the proliferation of short-throw projectors and steadily rising lumen counts mean that projectors are no longer exclusive to suburban basements. Even apartment living rooms can benefit from the immersive experience of an HD projector. You just need to make sure to buy the right projector for you.

There are a couple factors to keep in mind when picking a projector. First, determine the brightness of your room and how large your screen will be. If you do have a windowless room without any source of natural light, you don’t need a high lumen (measure of brightness) count. Likewise, if your projector screen is less than 100 inches, there is no need to pay up for a 4k resolution projector.

Since your projector will likely stay put in your house, things like portability and built-in audio playback aren’t a concern. Instead, consider whether the projector has low lag time, if it has 3D capability, whether it supports media streaming services, what its casting distance is, and image quality.

I’ve identified a few of the best projectors for different consumers below:

The Best 3D Projector

Sony-VPL-HW40ES-Front

If you are still deciding between an LCD TV and projector for your home theater, a few minutes with a high quality 3D projector will put an end to your waffling once and for all. The latest 3D projectors give a true approximation of the cinema multi-plex experience. Their grand size and gorgeous colors convey the 3D experience in a way that an LCD TV just can’t. Immerse yourself in three dimensions with SONY VPL-HW40ES, the best 3D projector and gaming projector.

The HW40ES has an integrated 3D transmitter that works in unison with a 240Hz panel drive to create stunning and bright 3D images that is free of “crosstalk,” the blurry illusion created by two different transmission channels.  Like all 3D technology on the market, there is some loss in brightness when viewing in 3D.

A few alignment options give some flexibility in set up. Lens shifting allows for the projector to be slightly off center from the screen, though you will have to manually do any lens shifting.

The 1700 lumen lamp will last 5000 hours in eco or 2000 at the highest setting. In low and medium ambient lighting, this projector gives bright and crisp colors and HD black. The lumen count is a bit low for bright rooms, so this is best in dens and media rooms.

The HW40ES is sold as a “gaming projector,” and users have the option to use it in a gaming mode that is said to reduce lag. Reviewers have empirically proven that lag time is reduced to 24 milliseconds, which is one of the absolute best for gaming.

It does not come with 3D glasses, so you will need to invest in a pair that is compatible with Sony projectors.

The Best 4k Projector

4k

For those that want only the best image quality, sharpest contrast, and latest tech, a 4k projector is the way to go. 4k is the new gold standard for video resolution. The new video technology refers to the 4,000 thousand pixels found alongside the horizontal line display. Right now, Sony enjoys a total monopoly of the 4k home projector market. Of the 4k projectors Sony offers, the VPLVW350ES SXRD is the best value for an unbeatable image.

This behemoth of a projector weighs close to 40 pounds and is a commanding 25.1 x 22.9 x 12.6 inches. Inside comes Sony’s SXRD 4k movie theater technology and anamophic 3D capability. This top of the line tech enables you to cast onto a larger screen than some 1080p projectors. Sony says that full brightness (1500 lumens) and resolution are achieved on a 150 inch screen.

Since 4k is relatively new, not a whole lot of media is specifically made for 4k resolution. This is definitely changing, but 1080p HD is still the standard as of now. Sony equipped with the 350ES with Super Resolution upscaling so you can enjoy your content in 4k in the meantime. It uses a ‘Mastered in 4k’ algorithm to upscale HD movies and shows into 4k content. Sometimes this results in a noticeable difference, other times its hard to make a meaningful distinction.

The VPLVW350ES SXRD comes with a 3 year warranty.

The Best Projector for Football Fans

homecinema1440

Plan to marathon NFL games all Sunday? You will need an extra bright projector if you are going to set up your home theater in a room with any natural light sources to get the most our of your daytime viewing. The brightest home theater projector is the Epson Home Cinema 1440, which has a staggering 4400 lumens.

This model uses 3LCD projectors for Full HD 1080p images that are rated three times brighter than other projectors in its class. This means you get stunning HD imagery in well-lit rooms, even with all the blinds up.

Easy slide horizontal keystone correction and automatic vertical keystone correction make alignment relatively easy. However, a lack of lens shift means you have to mount the projector dead center from where the image will be projected. This model is also lightweight and compact for a home theater projector, weighing just 13 pounds.

Comments 1

  1. Thanks for sharing insight on these projectors. Each of them looks like they have advantages to them, so it will be a tough choice between them. I’m glad you included the pros and some things to consider when buying them. This article will definitely help with deciding which is the best fit for me!

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