15 1080p Projectors for Your Home Theater 
Home Theater Feature Articles Video Related Articles
Written by Dick Ward   
Friday, 17 September 2010

 

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 HD8600Optoma 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-RS20JVC 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 Lumis 3dSim2 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.

Titan 3DDigital 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 1080UBEpson 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.


 

 

 

 


LG CF3DLG CF3D – (MSRP: $14,999)

The CF3D made waves at the beginning of 2010 when LG announced the first Full HD Single Lens 3D projector.   It uses a .61-inch SXRD chip, dual engines, and features ISFccc for all your fine tuning needs.  It's also one of a very small number of projectors that lets you equip theater style passive glasses instead of the more expensive active shutter glasses.  The price difference between the viewing devices may not seem like much initially, but think about what happens when 20 of your closest friends want to come check out your 3D projector.

Sony 85Sony VPL-VW85 (MSRP: $7,999)

Projectors are generally designed with functionality in mind, saving the unit's aesthetics for last.  After all, you're not supposed to be looking towards it.  Still, the VPL-VW85 is one nice looking projector.  Of course, it's got an impressive picture to go right along with it.

Sony's VPL-VW85 uses Sony's SXRD design – Sony's variant on LCoS.  It's crisp and clear, produces some fantastic black levels and very accurate colors.  It's regularly praised in reviews as producing some of the best images around, even comparing to projectors in a much higher price range.

Runco 50dRunco SC-50d (MSRP: $88,995)

Still torn between active and passive 3D technology?  With the Runco SC-50D you don't have to make the choice – it's ready for either.  The SC-50d uses a 3-chip system and sports a 16:9 native aspect ratio to match with current HD programming.  This flagship projector uses a two lamp system for increased brightness and redundancy in case of lamp failure.

The SC-50d ships with Runco's Digital High-Definition external video processor, which includes advanced scaling capabilities, ViVix processing and RS-232 compatibility.

Panasonic AE4000UPanasonic PT-AE4000U (MSRP: $2,499)

The PT-AE4000U is another projector that's a fantastic bargain for the price.  It's got plenty in the way of features, including improved Frame Interpolation, advanced gamma adjustments, a pair of 12-volt triggers, and some fairly advanced calibration options.  What's most important though is that the picture is just about unbeatable for a projector at the price thanks to new and improved processing and color accuracy.

Sony 70Sony VPL-VW70 (MSRP: $5,999)

One of the great things about projectors is that – unlike some other gear – they don't stop being good just because they're a few years old.  The VW70 isn't exactly the new kid on the block, but it still holds up as a great projector.

The unit itself runs almost silent, and there's plenty to love in terms of picture quality.  If you're the kind of person that loves to tweak – or you don't mind bringing out someone that knows what they're doing – you'll be able to get a superb picture at an incredibly reasonable price.

 

 

 

 


HeliosProjectiondesign Avielo Helios (MSRP: $69,995)

We'd be remiss if we didn't get Projectiondesign on this list.  They're the guys behind some of the most exciting high-end projectors, including the Avielo Helios.

The Helios uses a 3-chip DLP system and a pair of 330 watt lamps which can be used in dual mode for added brightness or in single mode for redundancy.  It's also got an incredibly slick setup interface with an LCD screen mounted right into the back of the projector.  As you'd expect from a high end projector, video quality is far better than average.

Sony T420Sony SRX-T420

Alright, this one's a bit of a cheat.  The T420 isn't exactly a 1080p projector, but it can definitely produce 1080p video.  In fact, it can produce four individual 1080p pictures thanks to a native 4096 x 2160 resolution.  It's also impressively bright, producing up to 20,000 lumens.

There's no doubt that 4K and higher resolutions are the future, but you won't find Sony's 4K projector in too many homes. If you're considering the upgrade, Sony made it as simple as possible by making the projector compatible with all existing SXRD projector lenses.

Optoma HD20Optoma HD20 (MSRP: $999)

Even if it weren't a great projector, the HD20 would deserve at least some mention as the first 1080p projector to drop under the $1,000 mark.  But of course, this entry level entry from Optoma delivers quite a bit of bang for the buck.

Sure, the HD20 isn't going to compare to higher end projectors when it comes to black levels, and there's a bit of rainbowing since it's using a 4x color wheel.  At the price though, it's a must-buy.

Sim2 Mico 50Sim2 Grand Cinema Mico 50 (MSRP: $19,995)

The Grand Cinema Mico 50 is Sim2's first LED projector, but it certainly doesn't show it.  The Mico 50 uses a 0.95 inch 1080p DarkChip4 from Texas Instruments alongside Luminus Phatlight red green and blue LEDs.  

The picture quality of the Mico is outstanding as you might expect, and Sim2 cites a 100,000:1 contrast ratio.  The use of LED lights adds significantly to the package, since you'll get around 30,000 hours out of each LED with extremely limited lumen decay.

OptixProjectiondesign Avielo Optix SuperWide 235

Projectiondesign's second projector on the list hasn't been reviewed anywhere yet.  In fact, it was only just announced, but it deserves a special mention based on the specs alone.

Time will tell if the Avielo Optix SuperWide 235 can truly be called one of the best, but it certainly deserves mention for being the first to do what seems entirely natural.  As the name implies, the SuperWide 235 has a native aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and a resolution of 2538×1080, making it the ideal projector for watching your Blu-rays the way they were meant to be seen. 

 

If you could have any 1080p projector, which one would you install in your dedicated home theater?






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