Offers a class-leading 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and a top-notch lens. The advanced 3LCD technology provides robust color while the pixel-shifting technology provides an exhilarating 4K experience.
It's a rather larger projector and on the expensive side, but if you are all about superior large-scale image quality, it is a no-brainer.
True 4K UHD resolution. Vibrant color range. Compatible with 3D content. Bright picture. Optimized for lag-free gaming. Dynamic contrast between dark and light colors.
3D glasses sold separately.
Crystal-clear native 4K resolution. Bright picture with lifelike colors and deep, inky shadows. Compatible with HDR and 3D content. Includes 9 convenient pre-calibrated picture modes.
This is a fairly pricy home theater projector.
Immersive 4K UHD resolution. Extra-simple setup. Projects up to 120”. Vibrant colors. Fluid motion. Voice commands with Google Assistant and Alexa. Modern design.
Smart features aren’t compatible with every popular streaming app.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
In the world of home theaters, 4K TVs get a lot of hype, but if you’re looking for a true cinematic experience, you should consider getting a home theater projector.
Home theater projectors have all the same bells and whistles as their TV counterparts, with one big difference: with a projector, you can easily watch your favorite shows and movies on a 100-inch (or larger) screen. The projector works with any content source, so you can enjoy everything from streaming video to video games on a giant screen, and all for less money than you’d spend on a 4K TV.
If you’re ready to level up your home theater, or you simply want to replace your existing projector with a more advanced model, you’ve come to the right place! Read on for everything you need to know about home theater projectors. When you’re ready to buy, check out or top picks, too.
Jaime Vazquez has been writing about technology and geeking out with gadgets since 2000. He loves trying the latest electronics so that his readers don't have to, and using his inner cheapskate to find the best bargains.
Before you start looking at different projector models, answer these questions to help you find the ideal model for your lifestyle:
How big is the wall or screen you’ll use with your projector?
The first thing to determine is your ideal screen size because this will be your most important feature. Most projectors can create an image that’s at least 100 inches (measured diagonally), but some can do up to 300 inches. Consider your viewing area and buy a projector that works with the available space.
How many devices do you plan to use with your projector?
Most home theater projectors have a whole suite of connectivity options, but it’s still a good idea to make sure that every device you need will connect with the projector you like.
How close will your projector be to where you sit?
One thing most projector manufacturers don’t mention in the marketing materials is just how noisy projector fans can be. As you’re comparing models, pay attention to user reviews about the noise level. Some projectors are so loud they can make it hard to hear dialogue.
We spent 43 hours considering 98 projectors and consulting with over 100 consumers. We then purchased our favorite projector and tested it in our lab.
Most projectors are simple to use; you plug it in, connect a content source, press power, and you’re up and running. But if you’re looking for additional functionality or just the projectors that set themselves apart from the rest, keep an eye on these three features in particular:
Resolution: The screen resolution represents how many pixels a projector can display. Today’s projectors usually have a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 (1080p), while some advanced models support 3840 x 2160, otherwise known as 4K. If you see a projector with a native resolution that’s lower than 1080p, don’t buy it.
Portability: Most projectors are made to stay in one place, but a few select models are portable. These projectors are typically more expensive than standard ones, and in many cases, they sport lower resolutions. If you’re looking for a portable projector, be sure to shop carefully and read the fine print about what features they support. If you don’t need a mobile projector, it will be much easier to find a suitable option.
Brightness: Brightness isn’t just about how vibrant an image a projector can produce, it’s also about how dark the room is to begin with. Projectors rely on dark rooms for ideal image quality, so if you’re putting your projector in a room that isn’t completely dark, get the brightest model you can afford – it’s the one with the highest count of lumens.
While you’re shopping for the perfect home theater projector, don’t forget about the accessories that complete the experience.
Extra-long HDMI cables - Twisted Veins 100-ft. HDMI Cable with Ethernet
If you’re mounting your projector to the ceiling or putting it at the back of the room, you may need an extra-long HDMI cable to connect your cable box or streaming device. We like the cables from Twisted Veins because they’re super durable, they’re affordable, and they even include right-angle adapters so you can easily connect to your TV, even if it’s in a tight space or mounted against a wall.
There are a lot of great soundbars out there, but Samsung’s HW-Q80R stands out because it supports 4K HDR passthrough as well as high-end surround formats like Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS-HD Master Audio. Throw in the wireless subwoofer and the Alexa compatibility and you’ve got a soundbar that can control your smart home and sound great doing it.
Universal remote - Logitech Harmony Smart Control
Logitech has a variety of universal remotes, each good for particular use cases — but their ‘jack of all trades’ model is the Harmony Smart Control. It’s got a super-simple remote with all buttons and no screen, plus a hub that can translate remote commands to all of your home theater components and smart home devices. If you’re looking for one remote to control your projector, your content source, and your smart lighting, this is the one.
Inexpensive: Between $500 and $1,000 you’ll find home theater projectors with a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080 (1080p). Projectors in this price bracket are solid performers – if you don’t mind forgoing 4K – and are perfect for modest home theaters.
Mid-range: Between $1,000 and $2,000 you’ll find top-notch 1080p projectors and some excellent 4K options. Be particularly careful in this price range and pay attention to the native resolution of the different models. Many that claim to support 4K can only do so by downscaling the image to 1080p. If you’re looking for an outstanding, truly 4K projector, you’ll need to spend this much.
Expensive: Between $2,000 and $35,000 (yes, you read that right) you’ll find professional-quality projectors. Projectors in this price range are designed for large home cinemas and auditoriums. You don’t need to spend this much to get a great projector for your home, but if you’re looking for the absolute best image quality available, it’ll cost you.
Projector bulbs get hot, so projectors typically have a built-in fan to keep the air circulating and temperatures down.
If you’re planning to mount your projector to the ceiling, don’t forget that you’ll need extra-long HDMI cables to connect your video sources to it.
Q. How long do the bulbs typically last in home theater projectors?
A. It depends. Projector bulbs are usually rated by the number of hours they can last before needing to be replaced, and bulb ratings range from 2,000 to 4,500 hours. Your mileage will vary, but in general, you can at least count on a bulb lasting a couple thousand hours. Conserve bulb life and always shut down your projector when you’re not using it.
Q. What is DLP?
A. Digital Light Processing, commonly known as DLP, describes how some projectors display an image. DLP projectors use thousands of tiny mirrors, while LCD projectors send light through a prism to create an image. DLP projectors generally produce better picture quality than LCD projectors, although some users complain that reds aren’t as vibrant as they could be. DLP projectors are a little more expensive than LCD projectors, but the upgrade in quality is usually worth it.
Q. Can I connect my cable TV box to a projector?
A. Yes. You can connect your cable box to a projector provided that your cable box has HDMI output, and the projector has an HDMI input (both are standard, so in the majority of cases, all you’ll need is an HDMI cable).
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