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The Best Home Theater Projectors in 2017 – Buyers Guide

A home theater projector is the perfect way to bring big screen cinema quality entertainment to the comfort of your own home. 

Home theater projectors have improved leaps and bounds in the last couple of years and the quality from even very affordable projectors is now incredibly good compared to projectors of old.

Long gone are the days of badly lit and washed out image quality with today’s technologically advanced models.

Projectors are useful for viewing many different types of media from pictures, documents, audio and of course video.

Some projectors excel at different tasks.

A business projector will be geared towards power point presentations and other document based work for example.

We here at ManCaveMafia don’t want to get bogged down in the banalities of office life though, now do we?

Nah. We’re much more interested and focused on the entertainment capabilities of home theater projectors that can deliver a truly authentic cinema going experience to the comfort of your own home whether in your man cave, games room or dedicated home theater room.

In this comprehensive guide we’re going to take a look at ten of the best home theater projectors on the market today and go through what makes them great and what you should consider when purchasing a home theater projector for you and your family based on what type of experience you are looking for.

Top 10 Best Home Theater Projectors for your Man Cave

Optoma HD25-LV 1080p 3D DLP Home Theater Projector

The Optomo HD25-LV is a top of the range home entertainment projector capable of true High Definition in 1080p coupled with a great ANSI lumens rating and 20,000:1 contrast ratio meaning that image quality and clarity is paramount and this bad boy delivers on all fronts but that fantastic 1080p display is the real MVP here outputting some truly glorious image quality.

It’s not cheap which is always a sore point but it wouldn’t be making this list if it didn’t deliver on what you’re paying for it.

The HD25-LV also comes with the WHD200 Wireless HDMI System which is a state of the art wireless connection eliminating the need for HDMI cables being run from your media device to the projector itself.

The wireless system is fully capable of outputting true 1080p and 5.1 surround sound with no compression meaning that this home entertainment projector is fully mobile and can be setup without having to deal with ugly nuisance cables if you don’t want to.

The 3D capabilities on offer here are also very impressive with two different 3D formats to choose from with both DLP-Link and VESA 3D emitters.

You will need to purchase some RF or DLP-Link 3D glasses and these are not included and usually run about 15 bucks or so and of course you will need a media center capable of outputting 3D as well.

This projector is not done there though. No sir.

The HD25-LV is on the bleeding edge of technological innovation and with MHL (Mobile High-definition Link) connectivity technology you are able to hook up your tablet, smartphone, Google’s Chromecast and Amazon’s FireTV wirelessly to this projector, meaning you can play your games or videos on a huge screen delivered straight from your smartphone.

If you’re in the market fora  top of the range home entertainment projector that doesn’t skimp on quality and delivers that authentic cinema experience then the HD25-LV from Optoma is a great option.

  • Lumens: 3500 ANSI
  • Resolution: High Definition 1080×1920
  • Connectivity: 2 HDMI v1.4a, 2 VGA-in, VGA-out, 3D VESA Port, composite video, 2 audio-in, audio-out, RS-232C, USB-B
  • Built in Speakers: Yes
  • Contrast Ratio: 20000:1
  • 3D Ready: Yes

Check out the HD25-LV from Optoma here


ViewSonic PJD5155 3300 Lumens SVGA HDMI Projector

 

The ViewSonic PJD5155 makes our list for one reason. The price.

For this price point you simply cannot go wrong and the 5155 delivers impressive performance despite that extremley desirable price point.

After extensive research I’m confident in naming this the best budget home theater projector available today.

If budget is an issue for you then this is a great option that has proved to be very popular with budget conscious buyers already and it’s easy to see why. This bad-boy packs in a ton of features and delivers surprisingly good image quality for the price.

Sure, you are going to have to compromise somewhere and the SVGA (800×600) resolution is far from the best but the 5155 is still very impressive and you can expect a very enjoyable movie going experience whether you are using it in your man cave or home entertainment room or even venturing outside to set up the projector for some outdoor summer movie time action.

It’s able to cope with such demanding non-optimal situations due to it’s very generous lumen rating that means that the image will be clear and crisp even when the projector is at a distance and contending with some ambient light.

Whilst the ViewSonic PJD5155 is rated for 3D I wouldn’t buy this projector on that selling point alone.

I haven’t tested it myself but I would imagine that relying on the 2D capabilities at this price point should be your focus.

It does a great job in traditional 2D but I am just wary of how well it might cope with 3D so keep that in mind if that is important to you.

Besides that small caveat this is an awesome option for those that don’t want to break the bank but still expect a decent level of quality and performance. It won’t win any awards at the high end of the market but still delivers exceptionally well for this price point. I do love a bargain!

  • Lumens: 3300 ANSI
  • Resolution: SVGA (800×600)
  • Connectivity: HDMI, 2 x VGA, Composite Video, S-Video, 1 x VGA output and Audio in/out
  • Built in Speakers: Yes
  • Contrast Ratio: 20000:1
  • 3D Ready: Yes

Check out the ViewSonic PJD5155 from Optoma here.


Optoma EH500 1080p 4700 Lumens 3D DLP Network Projector with HDMI

From the budget conscious to high performance power user.

The Optoma EH500 is a top of the range consumer home entertainment projector that delivers blistering performance and image quality and a ton of high-end features with a suitable price tag attached.

The Optoma EH500 is not a cheap investment but you are also getting a lot of bang for your buck here and if you are in the market for a top of the range projector for your home theater system then you can do a lot worse than the Optoma EH500.

Keep in mind that whilst this is a fantastic 3D capable projector you will require a separate 3D-RF Emitter and the 3D glasses to enable it. These are cheap though so shouldn’t pose a problem but worth noting if you expect it out of the box.

With a whopping 4700 ANSI lumens this bad boy pushes out some seriously bright and clear images. You won’t find yourself in too many situations where you will need the extra brightness but the upped lumen count really helps when using the projector in well lit environments.

  • Lumens: 4700
  • MHL: 1.2
  • Resolution:  1920×1080 (HDTV)
  • Connectivity: HDMI^Wireless
  • Built in Speakers: Yes
  • Contrast Ratio: 10000:1
  • 3D Ready: Yes

Check out the EH500 from Optoma here.


Optoma GT760A 720p 3D DLP Gaming Projector

Optoma GT760A 720p 3D DLP Gaming Projector
List Price:$498.31
Price:$498.30
You Save:$0.01
Price Disclaimer

The Optoma GT760A is a short throw gaming projector on a mission.

That mission is to deliver a high end gaming experience alongside a fantastic movie going experience at a totally unbeatable price.

Designed exclusively for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, Wii, and Wii U gaming consoles the GT760A looks to cater to the gamer market with this home entertainment projector optimized for big screen gaming without needing a big budget.

It’s short throw lens means you can project a massive 120″ image from only four feet away making this a practical option for those with space restrictions. To get a smaller image you can pull the projector even closer and still get a great 60″ image from only two feet away.

So, whether you want to do some solo questing in the Witcher 3 or some high intensity multiplayer action in Battlefront 2 the Optoma GT760A has you covered.

There really is something extremley immersive when playing games on a projector screen in high def and at this insanely reasonable price you don’t have to break the bank to experience it yourself.

While geared for gaming the GT760A doesn’t skimp in other areas and is a fantastic 3D ready home theater projector as well outputting beautiful screen quality.

The 720p resolution is serviceable but I would have preferred to see a 1080p offering here but that would have also jacked up the price and the 720p resolution on offer with the 2000:1 contrast ratio offers is a crisp and accurate affair.

For this level of performance and versatility at this kind of price is nothing short of remarkable and a bargain well worth taking advantage of.

  • Lumens:
  • Resolution: HD 720p
  • Connectivity: 
  • Built in Speakers:
  • 3D Ready:

 ViewSonic PJD5533W WXGA 3D DLP Home Theater Projector

If you’re looking for a high performance no nonsense home theater projector that delivers some serious bang for your buck then the DLP ViewSonic PJD5533W (such inventive names, huh) is definitely worth taking a closer look at.

This is a projector that performs extremley well in a whole multitude of settings.

Whether business or pleasure the high specs at a reasonable price on offer here are hard to beat.

Crammed with features from 3D Blu-ray ready with HDMI a 6-segment color wheel design to dramatically improve color representation and accuracy and 1280×800 native resolution for 720p HD this will have no problem performing well in presentation scenarios as much as for your home theater needs.

For the former there is also DynamicEco technology that allows closer control over the brightness of the screen at any given time that is very handy when directing attention in presentation settings.

That’s all good and well but this is also a very worthwhile projector to look at if you’re just in it for the home theater experience alone.

Fully HD compatible with its own native 720p HD resolution coupled with a healthy 3000 lumens and a screen throw of 76-inches from 8 feet and a whopping 113-inches from 12 feet this is more than capable of dealing with big screen movie nights. 

This model also comes packed with connectivity options and is remarkably light at only 4.6 pounds making this far easier to transport should the need arise.

If anything can be said against this model it has to be the lack of true 1080p in lieu of the 720p we’re getting here but it’s still decent resolution and the image quality remains top notch.

  • Lumens: 3000
  • Resolution: 1280×800 720p HD
  • Connectivity: HDMI, S-Video, VGA x2, Composite Video, 3.5mm Audio, RS-232, Mini USB
  • Built in Speakers:
  • 3D Ready: Yes

InFocus 1080p DLP Projector, HDMI, 3200 Lumens, 15000:1 Contrast Ratio, 3D

 

 

  • Lumens:
  • Resolution:
  • Connectivity: 
  • Built in Speakers:
  • 3D Ready:

BenQ MH741 1080p DLP 3D Projector

BenQ MH741 1080p DLP 3D Projector
List Price:$820.40
Price:$820.00
You Save:$0.40
Price Disclaimer

 

  • Lumens:
  • Resolution:
  • Connectivity: 
  • Built in Speakers:
  • 3D Ready:

BenQ DLP HD 1080p Projector (HT3050)

 

  • Lumens:
  • Resolution:
  • Connectivity: 
  • Built in Speakers:
  • 3D Ready:

Optoma HD142X 1080p 3000 Lumens 3D DLP Home Theater Projector

There is a lot of buzz going on around the Optoma HD142X at the moment and it’s selling extremley well and it’s not too hard to see why.

Packing great specs at its new and reduced price this is a serious bargain for those serious about their home theater experience.

Featuring a ton of high end specs with true 1080p HD and a best in class contrast ratio of 23000:1 ensuring excellent color accuracy in tandem with its DLP censor and color wheel and great depth to blacks and mid-tones.

It’s the picture quality on this unit that really impresses at this price point though. It’s hard to understate just how gorgeous the image quality is here.

It really brings those big 3D blockbusters to life in a way that belies its price point. We love getting good bang for our buck around here and this is a great contender for one of the best deals we have seen on a high end home theater projector anywhere.

Check out this video of the projector in action to get an idea of how cinematic a top end projector can be and how well the HD142X performs.

 

 

  • Lumens: 3000
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 Full HD Resolution
  • Connectivity: 
  • Built in Speakers: Yes
  • 3D Ready: Yes

Epson EX9200 Pro WUXGA 3LCD Projector Pro Wireless Full HD, 3200 Lumens

 

  • Lumens:
  • Resolution:
  • Connectivity: 
  • Built in Speakers:
  • 3D Ready:

What to consider when buying a home theater projector

 

  • What’s the difference between Home Theater and Home Entertainment projectors?

You probably didn’t know there was a difference but there is. Home theater projectors are suited to displaying films in a darkened room and there design and capabilities are based on fulfilling that role.

Many come with 3D capabilities these days and for the best possible experience, as we noted above in our introduction, we recommend a minimum of 1080p resolution unless you are on a severe budget and only then you might stump for 720p.

Any lower than that is pretty much worthless for watching films in any appreciable quality.

A good thing about dedicated home theater projectors is that given that they are designed to operate in theater-dark conditions they do not require a particularly high lumen brightness output and a lumen rating of 2000 or above will work just perfectly.

A home entertainment projector is the more versatile of the two and aims to fulfill more functions such as gaming and casual television watching in substitute of a HDTV.

That means that these projectors are much more likely to be used in places with much more ambient light meaning that they require a higher lumen brightness capabilities to retain effectiveness.

Given that they are used for more everyday viewing, many models also come with inbuilt speakers which most home theater models lack due to most people wanting to hook up an independent sound system for the full home theater experience but as a trade off the image quality is usually slightly lower than their home theater projector counterparts.

Keep in mind what exactly your main purpose of the projector is going to be and what capabilities are the most important to you.

  • To 3D or not to 3D, that is the question

Many models of home entertainment projectors now offer 3D capabilities to further bring that highly sought after cinema level experience to the comfort of your own home; but is it just a gimmick that you will get no use from or a truly exciting feature that you will come back to time and time again?

With the rise in popularity of 3D in recent years it stands to reason that if people can get it at the cinema they are going to want to get it at home as well.

The applications for a 3D capable projector are numerous with not just being used for the home theater experience but for 3D gaming, in education, and for business presentations and even scientific applications.

 

  • Home Projector Brightness (Lumens)

The brightness output of your home theater or entertainment projector is obviously very important with higher brightness outputs, likewise, obviously being preferred.

Home projectors brightness output is measured in lumens with small and cheap projectors pushing anything from 100 lumens to high end full home theater projectors pushing many thousands of lumens in brightness.

For what we are looking for in the home theater grade market you don’t really want to be aiming for anything under 2000 lumens for the best experience. The darker the room you intend to watch your entertainment in will also factor in to how bright you may want your projector. Higher lumen models offer much better performance in well lit environments.

  • Home Theater Projector Resolution and Aspect Ratio

Native resolution refers to the amount of pixels your projector can output with higher numbers producing a better quality image; whilst aspect ratio refers to the the proportional relationship between the width and height of the projected image. It is shown as two numbers split by a colon, as in 16:10.

Ideally you will not want to go any lower than 720p (1280×720 progressive signal 16:9 aspect ratio) and try and aim for 1080p (1920×1080 progressive signal 16:9 aspect ratio.) Both are considered High Definition) (HD) with 480p being the drop off point to Standard Definition (SD) but in 2017, 1080p is considered the standard HDTV format and the current sweet spot for high quality resolution when it comes to both home theater and home entertainment projectors.

4K Ultra Definition

If you are truly a power user looking for the best possible quality today then you may also explore the 4K resolution market (known as (UHD) Ultra-High-Definition)

4K displays comprise of at least 3840 pixels (H) x 2160 pixels (V) of pixel pushed resolution and the horizontal can go well above 4,000 pixels.

4K is still new and in some cases prohibitively expensive and can be seen mostly on top of the range HDTV’s and monitors but there are some high end projectors that offer this as well. This is still bleeding edge technology so expect the prices to be suitably eye watering.

Unless you are a serious power user you should be perfectly fine looking at the 1080p resolution mark for now though.

  • The Difference between DLP and LCD Projectors

If you have spent any appreciable time shopping around for projectors you have probably noticed that there seems to be two different competing technologies in the home theater and entertainment projector market.

There are a few different types of technology available when it comes to the actual mechanism of projecting the image from your projector but the two most common technologies used are LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) and DLP (Digital Light Projection)

Both technologies aim to produce the brightest, clearest and crispest image possible but they are actually quite different in their applications.

One notable feature of DLP projectors is their ability to display much richer blacks than their LCD counterparts. This has made them very popular in the home theater community due to less light bleeding in darker scenes.