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Best Home Theater Projectors 2013 Review

Updated on August 21, 2013
Optoma HD25-LV
Optoma HD25-LV

Top Rated Home Theater Projector for Home Use

If you want a truly real theater experience in your own home, then a home theater projector is a good investment. You can see the picture in bigger form, to therefore see more details.

These come in basically two parts - the projector and the screen. They are usually very easy to set up and start using. I love that they can be placed on a coffee table, or even in a bookcase out of sight behind you. Many people prefer to ceiling mount the projectors as well. You can find free standing projectors, wall mounted, or even retractable. You don’t need to have a screen to be able to watch your images since it can be projected directly onto a blank wall; however a screen will give you the best clarity.

Tips on Using Home Theater Projectors

You should be aware that it is best to use your projector in a room that can be made to be very dark. Consider getting blackout shades if the room you want it in is very bright with sunlight. You can find some models of projectors that are made to work well in rooms with some ambient light, but they often cost a lot more. The lamps in these pieces of equipment usually have a life of around 2,000-5,000 hours. This is actually the “half-life”, the place where the brightness is diminished by half. Over time, it will continue to lose brightness until you need to replace it. If you watch an average of 8 hours a week on your projector, you will get around 4-5 years of use with one lamp. If you decide to use a projector as your main TV, you may need to replace the lamp in about a year.

The higher the resolution, the smaller the pixels will be and the better the picture. Most high def projectors are around 1080p-1920 x 1080 pixels. For light output, look for brightness ratings of 700-2500 lumens. The higher your lumens, the better you can see in a room with some light. 3D projectors are becoming increasingly popular of late as well. I suggest finding one with a wireless HDMI. This will keep cords from running through your room. The wireless receiver is built into the projector with the transmitter module placed near your video sources. Last but not least, look for one with a lens shift feature. This will allow you to adjust the image up and down, or left and right for the perfect positioning.

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ViewSonic PRO8200 1080p Home Theater ProjectorEpson PowerLite Home Cinema 8350Epson EX5210 ProjectorOptoma HD25-LVViewSonic PJD5134 SVGA DLP Projector
ViewSonic PRO8200 1080p Home Theater Projector
ViewSonic PRO8200 1080p Home Theater Projector
Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8350
Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8350
Epson EX5210 Projector
Epson EX5210 Projector
Optoma HD25-LV
Optoma HD25-LV
ViewSonic PJD5134 SVGA DLP Projector
ViewSonic PJD5134 SVGA DLP Projector
5 stars for ViewSonic DLP Projector

Best Home Theater Projector Review

Top Rated DLP Home Theater Projector

A highly rated device is this ViewSonic DLP Projector. DLP (Digital Light Processing) technology gives you very clear and crisp pictures that you’ll love. This device is about 1,000 faster than other projectors that only feature LCD bases. One thing that I like the most with DLP projectors is that you don’t have any air filters to clean or change. This can save money through the years since the only thing you’ll ever have to replace is the lamp. Speaking of the lamp, the manufacturer states that you can easily get 10,000 hours of viewing time with this projector as well. You get 3000 ANSI lumens with a 15000:1 contrast ratio. With a 6 segment color wheel, you get very good color projection that is much richer than others. For those that want it, there is an HDMI input so you can get 3D images from your 3D Blu-ray players. You should be aware that 3D television broadcasting will require additional equipment though. I really like the standby mode that reduces your brightness to 30% without having to restart the projector. This device can be used on a tabletop, mounted on the wall or ceiling for added convenience. Measuring only 3.3 inches in height, and being only 4.6 pounds, this is super lightweight and can be easily transported if needed.

New Optoma Theater Projector for Home Use 2013

Another great choice is the Optoma HD25-LV Theater Projector. With this device, you can project images up to 300 inches. It features 1800 ANSI lumens with a contrast ration of 4000:1. You also get full 3D capabilities with 1080p for Blu-ray, gaming consoles, HTPC, cable and satellite. I love that it supports all 1080p formats without needing a converter box. I love that the remote control is backlit for easier viewing in the dark. It has broad connectivity options that include HDMI, v1.4a, VGA-In, component video, composite video, RS-232 and +12V trigger, with VESA 3D ports. It’s a bit bigger than the other one we reviewed at 7.7 pounds and measuring 14.7 x 4.52 inches but it’s still easy to transport when needed. It does also feature DLP with BrilliantColor technology for good saturation in your image quality. The lamp should give you up to 4,000 hours of use in standard mode, and 3,000 hours of use in bright mode. Shutting it down is also very fast to help cut down on energy usage. I like that this particular product was made to be more eco-friendly than others. It features one watt power consumption in standby, it’s made with components that are all lead free and has no polystyrene foam in the packing materials.

Best Epson Projector 2013 Review

You might also like this Epson EX5210 Projector. It gives you 2800 lumens of color and white brightness output. I like the USB Plug ‘n Play connectivity that makes set up very fast. It features HDMI connectivity as well. This can easily project JPEG files from any thumb drive, so you don’t have to use a computer; that has been very handy with my job since I need to give presentations frequently. To ensure you have the best position, it lets you project a rectangular images from any angle and it will automatically correct the image vertically. You simply move the slide control bar to make the adjustments you need. I like how there is no warm up or cool down needed since the on and off feature is instant. However, I did notice that although the unit shuts down quickly, it still remains quite warm to the touch afterwards. Sleep mode will help you save energy as well. You have around 5,000 hours of usage with the lamp. Being able to minimize light diffraction and light leakage means you get more effective operation. It has HDMI connectivity as well. It’s lightweight at 5.1 pounds and measures 11.6 x 9.0 x 3.1 inches. This device does use filters to help extend the life of your machine, though replacing them will add cost to your use.

Epson Home Cinema Projector for Home

On the higher end of the spectrum is this Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8350. This 1080p projector includes a whopping contrast ratio of 50,000:1 for very sharp pictures. You get 2,000 lumens which seems to be quite adequate for use in brighter lighting. I love that it has not one, but two HDMI 1.3 ports for ultimate connectivity. Your lamp should give you up to 4,000 hours of use. This has to be the best projector I’ve used that minimizes the most light leakage and light diffraction that makes the lamp last the longest. It features both vertical and horizontal lens shifting that won’t distort your images. This device projects images eight times larger than they would be on a 40” widescreen television. It will give you 80” from 8 feet away, or 120” from 12 feet away. With a projector that costs this much, I’m very happy that it has a fan that not only keeps the unit super cool, but runs very quietly as well. The only drawback to this projector is that it is quite large. It measures 15.5 x 17.7 x 5.7 inches and weighs 16.1 pounds; it definitely is not a machine for transport. However, all the other features make it worth it in my opinion.

Top Rated ViewSonic Home Theater Projector

The last projector we are reviewing here is the ViewSonic PRO8200 Theater Projector. With 2,000 lumens and a 4,000:1 contrast ratio, it gives you very similar performance compared to other more expensive projectors. As with most, it features DLP and BrilliantColor technology. It has not a six, but a seven segment color wheel for great pictures. It has a dual HDMI input with HDCP so you can connect to any number of devices. Your lamp life is about 4,000 hours in normal mode and 6,000 hours in eco mode. It’s 8.5 pounds and measures 4.8 x 13.1 x 10.4 inches so it’s pretty compact. There are no air filters to clean or change in this device which is convenient. I have been really happy with this projector in my family room which has quite a bit of ambient light, even with the blinds and curtains closed.

© 2013 Bob Miller

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