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Home theatre projectors

The best home theatre projectors can produce some very impressive images.
 
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01 .Introduction

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We've tested 10 home theatre projectors, ranging in price from $1799 to $3999.

Through our rigorous testing, we reveal which:

  • have the best picture quality
  • are easiest to operate
  • use less energy when on standby.

On this page, you'll find:

These projectors are designed for dedicated home theatres, and are relatively expensive to run, bulky and can be noisy if you’re forced to sit close, but the best of them filled our 2.44m x 1.37m screen with near-HDTV quality, detail and colour when displaying Blu-ray movies. 

No easy feat, even in our relatively dark testing environment.

We were also interested to see how a projector that's primarily used for business performs in the consumer arena. So alongside the other models we tested the Casio Data Projector XJ-A256, which can accept a 1920 x 1080 input via HDMI, and wouldn’t be difficult to slot into a home theatre set-up. 

If you’re looking for a compromise between doing presentations and showing movies, there are probably many other similarly configured models on the market. That said, it’s not necessarily a cheap option - check our table to see how the Casio compares to the other models on price and performance.

Models tested

• BenQ W7000+ Digital Projector
• Casio Data Projector XJ-A256
• Epson dreamio EH-TW6100W Home Projector
• InFocus DLP Projector SP8604
• Mitsubishi Electric Home Theatre Projector HC7900DW
• Optoma HD33 DLP Projection Display
• Panasonic PT-AE8000EZ LCD Projector
• Sony Video Projector VPL-HW30ES
• Viewsonic Pr08200 1080p Home Theatre DLP Projector
• Vivitek H1085

How we test

• To see how the picture quality differs from one projector to another, our tester first uses instruments to measure the colour and intensity of each projector's output and adjust the controls to achieve the best picture possible.
• The tester then displays test patterns from a Blu-ray player to measure how much of the picture is being cut off and/or any apparent distortions (such as circles that aren't round, or wavy lines that should be straight).
• To check the picture and the colour the lighting in the room is kept very low and three experts evaluate the picture quality and rate it out of 10, watching a variety of footage from various movies from DVD, Blu-ray and as well as video games.
• The experts pay particular attention to the projectors' ability to produce images without colour banding, rainbow or screen door effects, jerkiness in pans, blurred or vibrating detail, or colours bleeding in high contrast or very intensely saturated parts of the image. They also check that there are no trails behind fast-moving objects on the screen.
• To see how easy they are to operate, the tester uses the remote control, on-board controls and on-screen display to perform several common tasks. He looks for clear labelling, buttons and controls that are easily identified and used without interfering with other controls and logical menus. He pays careful attention to setting up, the ease of finding and using the most commonly used controls, as well as how difficult it is to access and use controls that you may only need once in a while.
• The tester uses a power meter to measure the power each projector uses in standby mode and when in use.
Sound levels are measured at one metre from the device in operation after 30 minutes' warm up. This done in both normal and energy-saving modes.

For related articles on home entertainment, including Plasma, LED and LCD TV reviews, see our Entertainment section.

 
 

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