Selecting a new projector can get confusing fast. There's so much to think about – your room size, screen size, amount of ambient light and your budget – that buying new gear can stop being fun and start being a chore. To help you out, we've compiled a list of some of the best projectors around at a variety of price ranges. We've listed the manufacturer's price for all the projectors in the list, since the street prices can change pretty dramatically depending on the dealer or store.
Optoma HD8600 (MSRP: $7,499)
Optoma is known for their projectors, and the HD8600 is a great indicator of why. This flagship projector, released in 2009, is one of the best around, especially at a price point of under $10,000. It's bright, it's sharp and it's got great black level performance. This single chip DLP sports a 1600 lumen brightness, a stated contrast of 50,000:1 and some of the best color controls available on a projector in its class.
JVC DLA-RS20 (MSRP: $7,495)
The RS20 came out in early 2009, and it's still the go-to for excellent black levels. It's no surprise of course, since black levels are something of a specialty for JVC projectors. The RS20 is an LCoS projector that manages to be bright, vibrant and accurate while only providing 900 lumens. It sports a motorized shift and a motorized zoom, and it's one of few projectors to boast THX certification. That THX certification means there's also a THX setting that makes calibration a lot simpler.
Sim2 Grand Cinema C3X Lumis 3D (MSRP: $79,000)
3D, when it comes to projectors, seems to be synonymous with 720p. You'll find very few 3D capable projectors that do 1080p, but Sim2's Grand Cinema C3X Lumis 3D does it with style. It may look like two Lumis projectors stapled together, but in reality, each has been specially calibrated for 3D viewing.
An added bonus of the Lumis 3D is that due to the choice of Infinitec 3D technology there's no need for active shutter glasses like you'll find packaged with 3D TVs and no need for expensive silver screens – you can use your existing screen with the CX3 Lumis 3D with no issues.
Digital Projection Titan 1080p 3D (MSRP: $75,000)
Digital Projection is a name that pops straight to the front of the mind when thinking about great high-end projectors. The Titan series is especially well received, including the Titan 1080p 3D, which boasts a high bandwidth output that can handle projecting a 3D image without the need for frame doubling.
Sadly, you won't have the option of using the same glasses you wore when you saw 'Avatar.' Digital Projection says that they went with active 3D technology on their Titan projectors to ensure the highest possible quality picture.
Epson 1080UB – (MSRP: $2,799)
The 1080UB is a great projector at the price, offering surprising quality for such an inexpensive unit. It boasts a 1600 lumen output for rooms with a great deal of ambient light, and Epson says the projector sports a 4:000:1 static contrast ratio. Though it does lack support for anamorphic lenses, Pat Pilon called out the 1080UB as "a terrific machine and is a great value" in his review on AVRev.