Top Picks Projectors

Projectors
< $3,999
Epson 5030UBe 3D LCD: $2,899
The 5030Ube offers several enhancements over its predecessor, the 5020Ube: Contrast has been improved and the projector comes with a wireless HD transmitter offering five HDMI inputs, one of which is MHL-enabled for sharing content from smartphones and adding streaming capability. Reviewer Al Griffin summed things up in a word: Wow. In addition to “series light output” and “impressive 3D depth,” shadows showed plenty of near-black detail. As Al put it: “I didn’t think I’d ever see blacks this deep come from an LCD projector.” (May 2014, Read Full Review)
Mitsubishi HC7800D 3D DLP: $2,995
This Mits will be a tricky install with anything but a ceiling mount, and there were some minor nitpicky issues with the 2D image that reviewer Tom Norton identified. “But when I fed it a quality source,” he wrote, “the Mitsubishi continually surprised me in ways I didn’t expect, and its picture truly floored me more than once. There are other projectors that cost a bit more that offer additional features and somewhat better black levels. But the HC7800D is definitely in the hunt, and I enjoyed every minute I spent with it. For me, that’s Top Pick territory, and highly recommended.” (September 2012, HomeTheater.com, Read Full Review)
BenQ W7000 3D DLP: $2,999
Although this budget 3D model from BenQ suffers the somewhat weak contrast and less-than-steallar blacks typical of DLP projectors, it makes up for it in good color and excellent brightness, especially on 3D, where it set a high bar for front projection. Reviewer Kris Deering noted that the W7000 “delivered the best 3D experience I’ve had in my home… If you’re seeking out a bright projector with superb 3D performance and sharp images, this is one that should be on your short list. I don’t think you’ll find a better 3D image anywhere near this price.” (August 2012, Read Full Review)
Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5020UBe 3D LCD: $3,000
The 5020Ube can light up a big room with bright sharp images, which makes it ideal for daytime viewing. What’s more, the projector delivers superior 2D color rendition, crisp resolution, and a full complement of adjustments, all of which led reviewer Tom Norton to dub the Epson a “genuine bargain.” Commenting on picture quality, Norton wrote: “Titanic looked gorgeous in its new 2D Blu-ray transfer, with natural detail and near perfect color, including natural fleshtones.” (June 2013, Read Full Review)
JVC DLA-X30 3D LCOS: $3,500
This is scheduled for replacement in the coming months by the DLA-X35 at the same price (so check availability and for our review), but for now the DLA-X30 is a staff favorite recommendation for it’s stellar performance (at least in 2D) at a great price. Kris Deering observed its “class-leading black levels” and “outstanding pixel sharpness,” and though he was “disappointed with the 3D performance” thanks to visible ghosting artifacts, “the 2D picture is truly without peer among the immediate competitors we’ve seen.” (May 2012, Read Full Review)
Sony VPL-HW30ES 3D LCOS: $3,700
The VPL-HW30ES, which is being replaced by the VPL-HW50ES, was one of the strongest under-$4k projectors of 2012. Deep blacks (common to LCOS projectors), accurate color, and powerful brightness that lent itself well to 3D were among its great attributes, said reviewer Tom Norton, who gutsily tried it out on a large 101 inch-wide, 2.35 aspect ratio screen. “Frankly,” he wrote “the quality of the Sony’s 2D performance on this large, 1.1-gain screen shocked me.” (December 2011, Read Full Review)
$4,000-$9,999
Sony VPL-HW50ES 3D LCOS: $4,000
If you’re looking for a thrilling home theater experience, the VPL-HW50ES could well be your projector. Building on the VPL-W30ES, a 2012 favorite of ours, it offers a series of fine picture adjustments that will delight videophiles and delivers superb color, impeccable video processing, and exceptional black levels and shadow detail. Add to that a remarkably bright picture that will light up the largest of screens, 3D performance that wowed veteran reviewer Tom Norton, and you have a winning projector that offers serious bang for the buck. (HomeTheater.com, Read Full Review)
JVC DLA-X55R D-ILA: $4,500
JVC has brought significant improvements to the big screen with the DLA-X55R, resulting in excellent 3D performance and 2D quality that reviewer Kris Deering called “second to none.” Praising its exemplary brightness, shadow detail and deep blacks, he wrote: “I can say without hesitation that this was the best 2D picture I’ve seen from any projector in my room to date.” In addition to providing precise lens control, the X55R has a full color-management system and offers wide range of picture modes so you can dial in the best picture possible. (HomeTheater.com, Read Full Review)
Digital Projection M-Vision Cine 230-HC: $6,995
Digital Projection’s “budget” projector model is strictly a 2D affair and suffers from the usual caveats attendant to DLP projection, primarily so-so blacks and contrast. But it delivers the DPI hallmark of a bright, bold picture with excellent color and ultra-sharp detail. This projector threw a powerful, addictive image on reviewer Tom Norton’s 101-inch wide 2.35 aspect ratio, 1.1 gain screen. “I ransacked my Blu-ray collection looking for all the titles that would profit from a really good big-screen presentation,” he wrote, “and a few that I wanted to watch just because I could.” (November 2011, Read Full Review)
JVC DLA-X700R 3D LCOS, $8,000
The DLA-X700R may look like its predecessor, the DLA-X75R, but inside everything is new, including a dynamic iris system that produces jaw-dropping black levels and shadow detail without the brightness compression you get with other projectors. As reviewer Kris Deering put it: “The new Intelligent Aperture takes the projector’s contrast to a place I’ve never seen from any display, short of OLED or Dolby’s infinite black prototype LED panel.” Beyond the stellar black-level performance, the X700R also delivers an extremely sharp picture. (June 2014, Read Full Review)
Sony VPL-VW95ES 3D LCOS: $8,000
Reviewer Kris Deering found a few nitpicks with his sample’s focus and contrast, but they were just that — nitpicks that wouldn’t be noticed or bother most viewers. On the other side, the VPL-VW95ES’s default calibration was “second to none, and Sony’s outstanding dynamic iris implementation and built-in 3D emitter make this one of the best projector experiences I’ve had right out of the box.” (March 2012, Read Full Review)
JVC DLA-X70R 3D LCOS: $8,000
Set for replacement in late 2012 by the DLA-X75 at the same price with enhanced e-Shift2 4K upscaling; watch for availability and our review. The X70, while it remains available, was the first to feature e-Shift, which uses an interpolation method to deliver twice as many pixels to the screen (with 1080p content) as a standard 1080p projector. Regardless, reviewer Tom Norton noted its “superb black level and shadow detail,” and accurate 2D color. “The DLA-X70R is ready to compete with anything else out there at a similar price—let’s make that double the price,” he wrote. (April 2012, Read Full Review)
$10,000 >
Runco QuantumColor Q-650i LED DLP: $10,000
Runco’s Q-650i was the first projector we tested with an LED light engine, which requires no lamp replacement and remains stable for the life of the projector, and it remains one of the most affordable of its type. As with many DLP projectors, reviewer Tom Norton found it lacked the last word in black level and shadow detail compared to its LCOS competitors, and like other LED-driven projectors, it can’t achieve the brightness of a good lamp-based projector. Nor does it offer 3D playback. Still, it’s color and detail were second to none, and if you like the idea of a maintenance-free projector, this is a recommendable option. (May 2012, Read Full Review)
JVC DLA-X95R D-ILA: $12,000
As you move up through JVC’s projector line performance goes from “spectacular” with the $4,500 DLA-X55R) until you reach the summit where the flagship X95R resides. Noting that the X95R represents the best value in the over $10,000 projector club, reviewer Kris Deering said it delivers the “best contrast performance I’ve seen or measured to date” and raved about its “spectacular pixel focus and uniformity.” If you’re in the market for a topnotch projector, this one is well worthy of consideration—and its covered by a three-year warranty. (HomeTheater.com, Read Full Review)
Digital Projection M-Vision Cine LED DLP: $13,995
A long-lasting light source—as in 60,000 hours long—is just one of the benefits of LED illumination over a conventional lamp. The LEDs used in the M-Vision Cine LED consume less power and their light output and color won’t change over time. And although light output is such that you’ll want a darkened room, this projector delivers impeccable detail, rich yet natural color, lifelike shadow detail, and flawless video processing, proving that LED illumination is, indeed, a viable alternative to traditional lamps. (April 2010, Read Full Review)
Sony VPL-VW600ES 4K 3D LCOS, $15,000
With its compelling reproduction of smooth detail, fine color, and impressive brightness with 2D content, the VPL-VW600ES offers a tantalizing taste of 4K/Ultra HD at a price that is considerably less than it’s predecessor. Projector maven Tom Norton was impressed with its performance: “I had no complaints whatsoever about the VPL-VW600ES’s resolution, 2D brightness, or color. The best Blu-rays in my collection looked as good as I’ve ever seen them—or better.” And native 4K material looked clean, smooth and, in a word, “spectacular.” (May 2014, Read Full Review)
Sony VPL-VW1000ES 4K 3D LCOS: $25,000
A one-of-a-kind discrete 4K-resolution projector for the consumer market, it’s ahead of its time in our world of 1080p/2K-resolution content. But with good quality Blu-ray transfers upscaled with the projector’s own built-in processing, the VPL-VW1000ES produced perhaps the best, brightest, and most silky and film-like 2D images we’ve ever seen in a home theater. Even standing just a foot away from our 118-inch wide test screen, it was virtually impossible to see any pixel structure in the image. On 3D…not so good, where it (surprisingly) lacked suitable brightness without the use of a separate high-gain screen. But if you’re going big, big, big with your screen size and plan to sit close, this is the projector for you. (February 2012, Read Full Review; April 2012, 3D Performance Addendum)
Digital Projection HighLite Cine 260 HC DLP: $29,995
This 2D projector, rated for an uber-bright light output of 2,000 lumens, features a 3-chip DLP design that eliminates the color-wheel required with single-chip DLPs and delivers better color fidelity along with the elimination of so-called “rainbow” artifacts endemic to those projectors. For average size theater screens, there are less costly options out there that offer better blacks and 3D capability, but for really big screen installations, Tom Norton found “the Digital Projection HIGHlite Cine 260 HC’s strengths—brightness, resolution, color, and an off-the-charts wow factor—are so good that it would be churlish to give it anything less than a strong recommendation and a Top Pick.” (April 2011, Read Full Review)
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COMMENTS
idaman@q.com's picture

I use you guys for buying electronics but I notice that you never do recommendations of these larger sizes that are under $3000.00.There has to be some good units out there and I am not interested in 3-D and could live without smart features if I can get a best picture at a down to earth price.

kathleen's picture

Has anyone heard of - AZON DEAL UPDATER (google it)? They have a little gold box on the site that spits out any discount promo codes for any product on Amazon. Bought my Samsung HT-E6500 lower than the discounted price. Don't think too many people know about this.

Aschinck's picture

Good afternoon guys.
As a worker in the electronic industry i often look at your top pick to see if some of my products would find a place in it. Recently i realize that for a buyer your list is kind of shitty. First most of the model are 2-3-4 years back. Would it be possible to have a top pick of 2014 and then 2015 product so we can keep a fair track?

thank you

Vrahode's picture

There has been a lot of new technology in viewing surfaces in recent years as the prior post stated. Draper, for example, who I work for has released a new line of surfaces called TecVision that out perform many competitor products through wider viewing cones, more consistent gain, lower gloss levels and even superior angular reflectivity. We would love to send samples and allow the folks at Sound and Vision the opportunity for objective comparison of these recent breakthroughs in screen technology.

James Smith's picture

ottaman beds - The Limelight Epsilon Upholstered bed has been one of Beds on Legs’ top sellers in the New Year and January sales.

James Smith's picture

About Us - Sealy Mattress Collection including Single, Double, King and Super king size Beds and Mattresses

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