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Best projector for home theater of 2021: Reviews and Buying Guides

  • 20 Feb 2021
  • 109

Home entertainment has been on trend these years. Coming with the evolution of DVD players, 4K streaming, high-quality sound, the projector has also evolved a lot. A projector designed for home theaters should satisfy strict requirements of high-quality images, can decode the latest definitions in signal transmission, and even sound compatible with audio output devices. In this article, we will tell you about everything you need to know about projectors and the best projectors for home theaters you can order via Amazon. Let’s start with the best home theater projector.

Types of Products

Projectors are usually categorized by the technology used in the product. There are four types of technologies people are integrating into the projectors, which are the LCD, LCoS, DLP and finally LED. Each of them has their own advantages and disadvantages. Below are the descriptions of them all.

1. LCD Projectors

LCD projectors use the same principles as the ones in your phones or your TVs. A lamp produces perfectly white light and shines the light beam through at least 3 panels, representing the red, green, and blue color. The real LCD screens don’t just consist of 3 layers but multiple ones, joining in the process or finessing, filtering, shaping the light. LCD screens are becoming rare in the smartphone market. However, it’s still hot in the projector market because of the requirements. This is one that’s using an LCD screen, for example Epson 880 3-chip LCD

2. LCoS Projectors

A famous thing always has a lot of variants. The LCoS is one the them, being an extension of LCD. The LCoS works the same way as LCD, instead of shining the lights directly to the panel, LCoS reflects the light to a mirror beforehand. This is the key to producing more natural contrast and color than LCD technology. Check out this one from Sony Home Theater Projector VPL-HW45ES

3. DLP Projectors

Instead of using panels to filter the light, DLP projectors set themselves up with millions of tiny mirrors that can turn left or right, or on or off. One position reflects the light while the other doesn’t, causing the DLP to perfectly portrait the light. The disadvantage of this is that the motors controlling the mirrors are so tiny, making it easier to be broken. However, one motor that’s broken has nothing to do with others. Unlike LCD, the broken point is contagious.

4. LED Projectors

LED is good in terms of making the image at the position it’s sitting. When it comes to shining the light of an image to a screen at a far distance, it doesn’t seem promising. The LED is simply not powerful enough to be able to do that, at least 60 times of change a second. One advantage of LED projector is that due to the simplicity, its size is so small that it can even be fit in one hand or integrated into mobile devices. LED technology is likely to be the thing you see in portable projectors. This one is from viewsonic ViewSonic X10-4KE True 4K LED

Buying Guides

1. Projection technologies

Take the types of products as references, there are four types of displaying technology:

  • LCD technology: The most popular, so the best price-per-quality ratio.
  • LCoS technology: Better than LCD, but more expensive.
  • DLP technology: New technology, but the most expensive.
  • LED technology: Cheap, energy-saving, but not powerful, usually portable.

Choosing the right technology for you is important! Because your needs don’t match many other people. Most buyers draw their attention to the LED technology, while not knowing about the drawbacks of it.

2. The resolution of the projectors

Depending on the purpose of the projector, you can choose the right projector for yourself. Projectors are widely compatible with HD content. Some old projectors can reduce themselves to lower resolution, and some new projectors of upscale the image to 4K or 8K resolution

  • 480p: This is old, measured by 640x480 pixels, suitable for school projects because of the very affordable price
  • 720p: This resolution is also popular in school too, because of its cheap price. It would be good for any teaching materials or work presentation
  • 1080p: This is the best and the most popular in the market. It’s great for home theaters, presentations and even gaming. Check this ARTlii HD Projector 1080P Support Home Theater
  • 4K or 8K: 4K projectors often present in cinemas and home theaters of the super rich families. It creates good-quality images, lifelike colors, but the price is just too high for average people. This one is from viewsonic ViewSonic X10-4KE True 4K LED


3. The brightness

3000 or 2000 are values of luminous flux for the projectors. A projector can do much more than this, but a lot of products don’t say the truth about the luminous flux. That’s why you should not trust any brands that say their products have 1000000 or 1 billion lumens.

4. The sound of the projector

For home theaters, it’s pretty much needed that the sound has to be on the highest quality. From my personal experience, if you’re using normal stereo speakers, any projectors can provide you with high-quality sound. However, if you’re considering a 5.1 surround sound system or a 7.1 surround sound system, or a soundbar from Bose, you need to dig deep into the specifications of the projectors. 

Normal sound encoders and decoders run a 16-bit sound encoding algorithm, but high-quality sound encoders can make it to 24-bit or 32-bit, which makes the sound a lot richer and lifelike, though it requires a decoder with the same specs to decode. Therefore, look for details about the projector sound decoder if your projector supports sound. This one is packed with great sound from Harman Kardon Xgimi H2 4K 1080p HD Smart Projector WiFi Bluetooth Harman/Kardon Speakers

5. Know your room

Before buying a projector, investigating your room is a necessary thing. What it brings is an overview of where to put your projector at and whether that position can be permanent or just temporary. Options available for you are:

  • For personal living room - Put it on the table: temporarily for movie nights
  • For personal living room - Hang it to the ceiling: fixed position for home theaters
  • For work - hang it to the wall: Fixed presentation position


6. The connection to the computer

Projectors usually support standard ports instead of a variety. These standard ports include HDMI, and VGA. Sometimes, a projector has support for a DisplayPort, but there aren’t many. Should your computer not have HDMI or VGA, you’ll need to look for instructions on how to use an adapter to convert signals from your computer to the signals that the projector understands.

To make the best out of home theaters, an HDMI is required because VGA’s bandwidth is simply not enough to deliver high-resolution content.

The best projectors for home theaters

1. Best 4k HDR Projector

Epson Home Cinema 3800 4K PRO-UHD 3-Chip Projector with HDR
Brand: Epson - Home Cinema 3800 Resolution: HD, 4K
Brightness: 3000 Lumens Constract: 100000:1

As a member of the Epson family, Epson Home Cinema 3800 4K PRO-UHD is truly designed for home theaters when it features a 4K projection lense, which is the true resolution of ultra HD for the best viewing experience. 4K resolution consists of 2160x3840 pixels, which is roughly 8 million pixels for great details and as lifelike images as possible.

The technology adopted is the 3-chip LCD, claimed to eliminate any problems with the “rainbow effect” or color brightness issues. Only HDMI connection is supported because it would be pointless for a 4K projector with VGA ports. That’s just ridiculous. The projector supports 10-bit HDR from HDMI sources, using a 12-bit analog-to-digital converter for the best outcome. The contrast ratio claims to be 100000:1 and the brightness is measured to be 3000 lumens. That might not be a lot compared to other projectors; however, home theater projectors don’t often work under bright sky, so that should not be a problem.

2. Best Home Theater Projector

Epson Home Cinema 2250 3LCD Full HD 1080p Projector with Android TV, Streaming Projector, Home Theater Projector, 10W Speaker, Image Enhancement, Frame Interpolation, 70,000:1 contrast ratio, HDMI
Brand: Epson - HC2250 Resolution: HD, FHD
Brightness: 2700 Lumens Constract: 70000:1

On the second place, we have another candidate from Epson - the Epson Home Cinema 2250 3LCD Full HD 1080p Projector uses the exact same technology as the 3800 but with different resolution, 1080p. 1080p still provides great details for your images, though not as detailed as 4K, it reduces pressure on the decoder and your computer, leading to a reduction in power usage. The luminous flux is said to be 2700 lumens. There’s a built-in 10W pair of speakers and surprisingly, built-in Android TV interface. 

Why would you need an external media player when you can do it right from your projector. There’s support for most famous streaming services, such as Hulu, Netflix, HBO, and even Youtube, without anything connected to it. The final quirk we do have in the projector is the vertical lens shift, meaning the projector shifts the lens internally instead of the projector itself, making it easier to adjust the image position.

3. Optoma HD28HDR 1080p Home Theater Projector

Optoma HD28HDR 1080p Home Theater Projector for Gaming and Movies | Support for 4K Input | HDR Compatible | 120Hz refresh rate | Enhanced Gaming Mode, 8.4ms Response Time | High-Bright 3600 lumens
Brand: Optoma - HD28HDR Resolution: HD, FHD
Brightness: 3600 Lumens Constract: 50000:1

Optoma HD28HDR 1080p Home Theater Projector has a native resolution of 1080p, which equals 1920x1080, but it supports inputs up to 4K. What does that even mean? That means the projector is capable of understanding and decoding 4K resolution, and reduces that resolution into 1080p. 

The projector is HDR-compatible to enable brighter whites and deeper black levels. The flux is said to be 4000 lumen bright and the great thing is, the response time is just 16ms. The native refresh rate is 120 times per second. HDMI and wireless cast are supported up to 4K, but be noted again, the native resolution of the projector is only 1080p. The projector is expected to work consistently for more than 15000 hours, averaging about 4 to 10 years of using.

FAQs

1. How do I use the projector?

Usually, following the instructions on the box should do the tricks. However, this is our guide just for references; please prefer following the brands’ steps:

  • Purchase a projection screen if you haven’t owned one
  • Hang the projection to some wall or ceiling or something that doesn’t move
  • Connect the projector to the computer using VGA or HDMI cable
  • Power on the projector
  • Select the corresponding source by using the remote control for the projector
2. How not to break my projector?

Those are advice from brands to keep your projectors good for a long time

  • Avoid using the projector when the mainboard temperature is high
  • Don’t suddenly unplug the projector without shutting it down first. Use a stable electricity source. 
  • Avoid water and other type of conductive liquid
  • Try to clean it regularly if possible.
  • Mount the projector to the ceiling would eliminate any accidental damages caused by humans.
3. What about the warranty?

One year warranty is standard for electronics. However, a projector mounted to the ceiling doesn’t just break regularly. That’s why many brands are trying to extend their warranty policies to 18 months, 2 years, or even 3 years. As I said, projectors don’t break regularly, so even if you have 5 years of warranty, you’ll probably never have a chance to use it 

4. What should I do if my projector gets wet due to outside use?

If the projector gets wet, try as fast as possible to disconnect it from any power source, or signal source because that would permanently damage the device. Do the following to dry the item:

  • Use cloth to clean any leftover water on the projector case
  • Try to use a hair dryer to dry the projector because it can damage the circuit. Instead, let it dry naturally. Using rice to suck the water molecules out of the projector is advised.

After that, wait for 4-5 days for it to complete dry out, then try turning it on

5. I have done everything right, why doesn’t my projector show anything?

You have probably not set your computer mode to projection mode. To do that on Windows, follow this instruction:

  • Press the combination Windows + P to show the projecting panel
  • Select the mode you want:
    • PC screen only: Display only on the PC screen
    • Duplicate: Mirrors the PC screen to the projector screen
    • Extend: Considers two screens as two separate ones
    • Second screen only: Only shows things on the projector’s screen

Final Thoughts

Home theater is an expensive hobby, but as the lives keep modernizing, it has now become a need of many people. This guide was intended to help you understand the difference among various types of projectors and what to buy for your best home theater experience. Here are our final picks for the best projectors for home theaters:

We hope that we have simplified the process for you. Be sure to check out other references before making the decision of buying the projector for the home theater of your dreams. Thank you!


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