TOP 20 Best Projectors

How to Choose a Good Projector?

Choosing the best projector depends primarily on its purpose.

Features of Home Theater Projectors

Home theater projectors should be able to render dynamic scenes (such as movies, videos, sports) and provide equally good results for different signal sources or standards. Unfortunately, the implementation of these features costs a lot of money, and for models with a “natural” resolution in 4K – even inadequate.

Not surprisingly, manufacturers are looking for different tricky ways to get high definition pictures without using expensive, full-fledged 4K chips. JVC has the corresponding technology called “e-Shift”, Epson has “4K Enhancement”, Texas Instruments has “XPR” (Optoma projectors). In principle, they all implement the idea of an optical shift of half-frames with subsequent overlapping, just each in its own way. By the way, there is a benefit of this pseudo-4K when watching less clear content. The same pixel grid (mosquito) dissolves almost completely. True, at the expense of some loss of sharpness.

A specific requirement for home projectors can be minimal lag time – for gamers this parameter is extremely important. Video in 3D now capable of demonstrating the vast majority of models. The only thing you will have to buy an appropriate acoustic system in order to get a good surround sound in your home theater.

Peculiarities of Projectors for Work and Study

Educational purposes and business needs imply working with static pictures. Therefore, projectors for offices and classrooms can easily do without complex subsystems of hardware and software interpolation and scaling, color management and other expensive chips. Their matrices focus on “computer” resolutions, while “movie” ones are output with a significant truncation of the used area. It is clear that the latter affects the clarity of the resulting image in not the best way. Without advanced functionality in this group as well, but it takes specific forms. For example, the support of interactive modes of operation.

General Characteristics

The main interface to connect projectors is HDMI, and many models are equipped with a couple of these connectors. If you have several signal sources – they are not superfluous.

Almost all projectors learned to communicate with smartphones and other devices using the MHL protocol. They often have USB ports for easy connection of portable equipment. Here a useful feature can be considered the ability to charge mobile gadgets through this connector at the same time. It should be borne in mind that the presence of a USB interface does not mean the ability to work with flash drives. Such “plushkas” are only for projectors with built-in media player. Moreover, the latter is “smarter”, the more video formats can be played in standalone mode.

Depending on the expected distance to the screen projectors should be chosen according to the “length” of focus. The shortest models are able to form an image with a large diagonal, literally in centimeters from the wall, canvas or board. On the other hand, such units (as a rule) are not suitable for projecting from afar. Finally, the brightness of the image depends on a number of factors, the main among which can be considered the distance from the screen, the power of the emitted light flux and the lighting level of the room. For most projectors for home theater and partially shaded rooms a luminous flux of 1500-2000 lm is quite enough.

Here is a selection of very good and popular models of different purposes in the category of inexpensive and medium-priced projectors which earned in 2021-2022 year good reviews from buyers and experts. There can be no universal solutions, so you should choose the best projector for the office or for home cinema based on the range of tasks to be solved and the intended conditions of its operation.

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The Best Budget Projectors for Home

#1 Epson EH-TW750

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Our rating of the best projectors 2021 – the beginning of 2022 opens with an inexpensive projector for small living rooms or other moderately lit small rooms, where even a short-focus projector is required to have high brightness. In dynamic mode EH-TW750 model is able to give the luminous flux of 3400 lm, color rendering accuracy in this case suffers uncritically, and the noise level is quite bearable. An interesting feature of the projector under consideration is a special mode “Bright Movie”, designed to counteract the effects of discoloration just at the strong backlighting of the screen. For games, EH-TW750 is not very attractive because of the decent intuitive lag (about 50 ms.), although a separate preset in the settings is provided. The main advantage of this projector over its competitors is the support of Miracast standard because Epson has implemented the wireless media content transmission almost perfectly.

Pros
  • powerful light output;
  • Bright Cinema” useful preset;
  • longer lamp life.
Cons
  • Mediocre black level;
  • long output delay.

#2 Optoma HD145X

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Quite recently, Optoma has updated its line of affordable DLP projectors for universal applications. The HD145X / HD146X models differ from their predecessors by increased luminous flux, boosted contrast and a longer declared lamp life. In spite of the remaining single-chip imaging system, the novelties have weaker rainbow effect and almost imperceptible flicker. At least that is what the reviews of the owners say. Looking for a good budget projector for your home, capable of delivering a good quality picture at any time of the day, and with acceptable input lag (which is important for gaming applications)? The Optoma HD145X is for you. Honest Full HD, presets from ISF for dark or dimly lit rooms, game mode, ample customization options, and nothing extra.

Pros
  • Suitable for ambient light;
  • 24 f / s mode support;
  • game mode.
Cons
  • There is a rainbow effect;
  • quite noisy.

#3 Rombica Ray Smart (MPR-X1900)

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Rombica Ray Smart continues our review of the best inexpensive projectors. The relatively low price of the projector can be explained by the fact that it is based on a single liquid crystal matrix, i.e. it has an extremely simplified image formation system. The main disadvantages of this solution are mediocre color rendering, distinct visibility of the pixel grid and increased internal power loss of the light flux (due to which the device requires a cooling system of increased productivity). By the way, keep in mind that the 4200 peak lumens claimed for the Rombica Ray Smart correspond to approximately 1800 ANSI-Lumens. Consequently, the projector in question is practically unsuitable for use in rooms without normal shading (during daylight hours). It is worth noting that structurally the device is identical to the well-known model WZATCO C2, but boasts a built-in Android TV. However, slightly reduced in functionality.

Pros
  • built-in Android TV;
  • lamp life of more than 25000 hours;
  • non-directional remote control;
  • attractive price tag for these features.
Cons
  • Moderate picture saturation;
  • lack of brightness for working in diffused light;
  • noticeable fan noise.

#4 Viewsonic PA503X

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Viewsonic offers a whole “brood” of budget projectors for installation at an average distance from the screen or wall, with a conventional hierarchy: simple, even simpler and nowhere easier. I mean the resolution of the picture they display. The senior model is quite suitable for playing movies, and the middle model is quite good for showing cartoons. Thanks to a powerful stream of light in the appropriate mode to fully shade the room does not have even a sunny day, although the black level will be significantly affected. And the noise will increase. When there is little background light, it is more advantageous to use ECO mode. At least it will allow to prolong lifetime of the lamp (up to 15,000 hours). The weakest point of this projector can be considered a small output power of built-in acoustics – another reason not to use maximum brightness.

Pros
  • high maximum brightness;
  • 3D support;
  • reasonable price.
Cons
  • low-power built-in speaker;
  • noticeable noise in bright mode;
  • Low black color depth in bright mode.

The Best Projectors for Home Theater (4K)

#5 JVC DLA-NX9B

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The JVC DLA-NX9B wins in the best home theater projectors category. I would like to say that 8K is no longer a luxury, but the price tag of this chic projector, the only one in the world that can output a picture at 8192×4320 resolution in e-shift mode, does not allow it. Obviously, at the moment there is an abundance of video content of the appropriate clarity is not even close, so the full potential of the JVC DLA-NX9B its owner will not be easy. For starters, you will have to worry about getting a screen with the lowest possible self-grain size. The third (relative) disadvantage of 8K projector can be considered a solid size and considerable weight. In the current realities of technology is not possible to make a super-miniature matrix, capable of delivering cinematic quality. And the projector in question has three of them. Plus the massive “glass” optics and the powerful electronics for instant scanning. But in the end… Any task, from 4K movies to games, and in a wide range of conditions, no problem at all.

Pros
  • super smooth picture;
  • perfectly reproduces motion;
  • excellent contrast ratio;
  • wide versatility.
Cons
  • Difficulty in adjusting to specific conditions;
  • price.

#6 JVC DLA-N5

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We consider the JVC DLA-N5 one of the best projectors for home cinema. First of all JVC brand projectors are interesting because, not being able to develop separate design solutions for devices of different classes, the company is forced to unify them. It is clear that the junior members of the lineup from such an approach only benefit, and their simplifications are often non-critical. For example, unlike the more advanced DLA-N7, the recommended model does not support DCI-P3 color space, which will affect the effectiveness of playback of the corresponding content, but this “defect” for an affordable LCoS-projector with native 4K can be forgiven. As for the “classmates” with a different working principle (DLP and 3LCD), JVC DLA-N5 excels them in terms of contrast and noticeably inferior in light output. Just the case when the projector is ideal to equip the prepared home cinema hall, but not for living room. Note that the DLA-N5 is also of interest to gamers (output delay about 24 ms). And it’s also the best according to the What Hi-Fi? Awards 2020 in the “projectors over £5000” category.

Pros
  • Excellent contrast (for this price range);
  • honest 4K (no shifting);
  • best-in-class playback of HDR content;
  • fully motorized optical control.
Cons
  • “bright corners” (a feature of LCoS technology);
  • cost.

#7 Samsung LSP9T

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Another unique projector (at the time of this rating), also awarded with EISA AWARDS 2021-22. The main advantage of Samsung LSP9T is the triple laser, which provides the widest color coverage (up to full coverage of Rec.2020 space). Theoretically, the absence of a color wheel eliminates the possibility of a rainbow effect, but owner reviews mention its presence. Trick #2 is Filmmaker Mode, thanks to which you will see everything the way the film director intended. The essence is to control some settings of the projector with the help of the viewed content metadata. On the third place in importance we would put the powerful built-in acoustics. Since Samsung LSP9T is a short-focus projector, it is better suited for mobile applications than its competitors and a relatively decent “built-in” is more than appropriate here.

Pros
  • Extended color gamut (147% DCI-P3 coverage);
  • HDR10+ support;
  • Proper setup with Filmmaker Mode;
  • all Smart TV features;
  • 40-watt built-in speakers.
Cons
  • perfect picture is possible only in the dark;
  • special screen is highly desirable;
  • The response time is far from gamer;
  • price.

#8 XGIMI Horizon PRO

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This stylish projector is also an EISA AWARDS 2021-22 winner and we highly recommend considering it as a possible basis for building a simple 4K home theater. The main feature of XGIMI Horizon PRO is the ability to focus the picture and correct keystone distortion on its own. However, there is a manual mode for these settings. But there is no possibility of optical zoom in/out, only a digital zoom. And this way of zooming is not “friendly” with the advanced game mode, reducing the delay to the attractive 20 ms. Of the disadvantages, we should also mention the absence of Widevine DRM certification, which is necessary for viewing high-definition video with streaming services such as Netflix. If we believe the reviews of the owners of this projector, the image of XGIMI Horizon PRO noticeably fades in the diffused light, but remains quite legible. The sound of the built-in acoustics is passable.

Pros
  • Autofocus and automatic geometry distortion correction;
  • HDR10 support;
  • Android TV 10.0;
  • good quality sound from Harman / Kardon;
  • relatively suitable for fast gaming.
Cons
  • no optical zoom;
  • No Widevine DRM certification.

#9 Epson EH-LS500

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The Epson EH-LS500 continues our rating of the best home projectors. The main feature of this ultra-short-focus laser projector is the high power of luminous flux in dynamic mode – about 4 thousand lumens. Basically this brightness is enough for comfortable viewing even with significant background lighting of the screen, but you should take into account that the accuracy of color rendering starts to suffer in such conditions. In accurate playback mode, the figures are about half as much, but 2000 lumens is quite enough for a 100 inch image with moderate backlighting. With full room shading the brightness will be reduced to 1000 lm. Recall that the model is designed for installation in close proximity to a wall or screen. In particular, it will form the mentioned 100 inches from a distance of 39 cm. Like all LCD projectors, EH-LS500 can not boast deep black color, but it will be interesting for the simpler players. In any case, the output delay here is within 27 ms, i.e. in two frames.

Pros
  • high brightness in dynamic mode;
  • a wide range of adjustment of luminous flux;
  • suitable for gaming applications;
  • long service life;
  • there is a version with built-in Android TV.
Cons
  • modest contrast ratio;
  • pixel “grid”;
  • noise in dynamic mode.

#10 Optoma UHD35

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The most “gamer-friendly” 4K projector on our list. Its impressive 4.2 ms doesn’t guarantee superiority in competitive genres, but it certainly won’t cause defeat. True, the minimum input lag is achievable only in [email protected] mode, i.e. when working together with a PC (if its graphics card is capable of this feat). Owners of latest generation consoles will have to put up with a delay of 8.9 ms when displaying picture in Full HD resolution, or 16.7 ms in 4K resolution. To be fair, we should note that the indices of intu-lag in the latter mode is still lower than in the vast majority of competitors. Among other interesting features of the UHD35 model worth mentioning is the “fresh” DMD chip and 8-segment RGBWRGBW wheel, which provides, according to Optoma, the most accurate color reproduction among devices of this class (promising compliance with HDTV Rec.709 standard).

Pros
  • excellent speed characteristics;
  • high maximum brightness;
  • HDR10 support.
Cons
  • Not the highest contrast ratio;
  • mediocre quality of built-in acoustics.

#11 Epson EH-TW7000

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At its core, the EH-TW7000 is an entry-level 4K tube projector, so don’t expect the capabilities of premium devices. For example, the increased clarity of the picture here is provided by the bi-directional pixel shift technology. On the one hand, it made it relatively affordable to show content in UHD format. On the other hand, it has reduced the already low contrast of LCD-projectors to a minimum. When buying the EH-TW7000, don’t count on a deep dive into the movie theater world, even if you have a specially prepared room. But in a half-lit living room this projector will be just right for its place. A nice feature of the device in question can be considered a large range of adjustment of the focal distance, which will not particularly bother with the choice of a suitable place for its installation.

Pros
  • high level of maximum brightness;
  • Good sharpness of the output picture;
  • Inexpensive for 4K.
Cons
  • Low contrast and black depth;
  • Very slow dynamic iris.

#12 Optoma UHZ65UST

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The Optoma UHZ65UST completes the review of the best 4K projectors for home theater. “Only DLP projectors are left out of this category. Short-throw projectors in this category are much more expensive, and here the choice is not so obvious. LG HU85LS attracts us by its quality, and by its price – Optoma UHZ65UST, which we preferred as a more universal solution. From the key advantages of South Korean product we should mention 3-channel laser (the competitor’s 10-bit color support is not even officially announced and rainbow effect is possible). Optoma has a built-in sound panel (there is a good choice of interfaces for connecting active acoustics, including HDMI ARC, and adjustable delay on all outputs), as well as more advanced Smart-functionality.

Pros
  • good brightness;
  • decent sound panel;
  • a wide choice of interfaces for audio with the possibility of synchronization;
  • useful functionality (Smart, 3D, True Motion, etc.).
Cons
  • Rainbow effect;
  • poor black level.

Best Home Theater Projectors (Full HD)

#13 Epson EH-TW9400

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Winner of the Awards 2020 in the “Best Projector for £2000-£3000” price category. If you believe the figurative epithet on the official website of this reputable magazine – the device is on the verge of greatness. Thanks to the projection ratio of 1.35-2.84: 1, it can be installed both at a fairly close distance from the screen and at a great distance. The optics are motorized in every sense, so even a ceiling mount would not be an unacceptable solution for the EH-TW9400 owner. An excellent choice for home theater, if you want a really high-quality picture with 1080p resolution. However, Epson’s lamp flagship uses a clever technique of interpreting 4K content into Full HD, whereby the generated image gains extra depth and even more sharpness. Naturally, the EH-TW9400 also has 10-bit color processing.

Pros
  • 4K video support (including HDR10 and HLG formats);
  • Fully motorized optical control;
  • versatility due to more than 2x zoom.
Cons
  • Unimpressive black depth;
  • noticeable noise in operation;
  • considerable price tag.

#14 Xiaomi Mijia Laser Projection MJJGYY02FM

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If in the category of 4K projectors LG representative was inferior to the competitor from Optoma, then among the models of Full HD in our rating of the best projectors for home the high place was taken by South Korean short-throw projectors from Xiaomi brand. From our point of view, the LG HF85LSR / LG HF65LSR has not the most successful form factor that complicates the accuracy of positioning the device in front of the screen, and frankly mediocre built-in speaker system. But the Mijia Laser Projection with all of the above is fully in order, not to mention the motorized focusing system, a more powerful light flux or a wider range of possible diagonals of the formed picture. In fact, with the Xiaomi nameplate we are offered the products of Fengmi Technology Co. Ltd., which does not detract from its merits. Note that the recommended version (MJJGYY02FM) is a global one and it does not support 3D by virtue of hardware limitations, but it works “out of the box” with Android TV 8.1.

Pros
  • powerful light output;
  • high-quality built-in acoustics;
  • motorized optical control system;
  • the maximum image diagonal of 150″.
Cons
  • noticeable noise during operation;
  • Problems with the display of black shades (ALPD technology specifics).

#15 Epson EH-TW5820

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One of the leaders in the interest of potential buyers is still the EH-TW5650 projector. Unfortunately, Epson discontinued its production, and as a functionally upgraded alternative you can now consider the Epson EH-TW5820. Both devices are designed for installation at a medium-to-large distance from the screen and provide a good level of black, as for devices working with 3LCD technology. And with the EH-TW5820 both luminous flux and contrast are even slightly higher. As for the modernization, its essence is as follows. Instead of the usual Wi-Fi Miracast support the Japanese company embeds Android TV in many new projectors, and Internet access is organized with the help of Chromecast dongle, connected to the HDMI port. Not the most flexible solution, to put it bluntly.

Pros
  • not bad contrast;
  • Good maximum brightness;
  • Built-in Android TV with easy operation.
Cons
  • No Wi-Fi Miracast;
  • USB drives are not supported;
  • overpriced.

The Best Compact Projectors

#16 XGIMI Halo+

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If your goal is not to buy the smallest projector on the market, but to find a portable model with the best combination of compromises, we recommend to pay attention to the updated version of XGIMI Halo. Yes, 900 lumens (ANSI) is not enough to display a picture in direct sunlight, but already in a diffused light its quality will be acceptable. Especially if you do not abuse the size of the diagonal. By the way, the manufacturer recommends to install Halo+ at the distance of 2 meters from the screen. Yes, the power of built-in speakers (2 × 5 W) is not enough to sound a large conference room, but for a warm company in a camping or cottage is absolutely enough. And you will not have to carry a separate speaker system. Yes, you will have to turn down brightness to see a two-hour movie till the end, but running on your own power supply is only force majeure. As a last resort, PowerBank will help to finish the session. However, not any of them will do.

Pros
  • Autofocus and automatic geometry distortion correction (vertically);
  • Android TV 10.0;
  • built-in battery;
  • acoustics from Harman / Kardon.
Cons
  • No Widevine DRM certification;
  • no function to monitor the remaining battery power;
  • rather expensive.

#17 Epson EF-11

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The Epson EF-11 compact projector should be included in the top of the best projectors of 2022. The size of the EF-11 makes it easy and simple to carry not only within the home or office, but also to take with you “on the road”. The good thing is that this Epson novelty is able to form a picture almost on any surface and at any angle. If necessary, even on the ceiling. More versatility has EF-12 (cool sound from Yamaha, built-in Android TV), but it is bigger itself. The company promises a maximum diagonal of 150 inches, but humbly omits the fact that you will have to look at the output image in complete darkness, because the brightness of 1000 lumens is not enough for anything else. In conditions with significant backlighting, comfortable viewing is possible closer to 40 inches.

Pros
  • high mobility;
  • powerful light output for such a compact device;
  • long life of the laser source;
  • Miracast support.
Cons
  • mediocre contrast.

#18 Acer C202i

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Despite its modest size, the C202i is full of surprises. Firstly, it is a self-powered device, capable of displaying for two and a half hours at full brightness (in economy mode – 5 hours). Second, the maximum luminous flux of the recommended projector experts estimate the true 300 lumens, while the vast majority of “noonem” compacts really produces about a hundred lumens. The third, this model has geometric correction on all 4 corners, which allows you to display a rectangular picture, regardless of the position of the device relative to the center of the screen (in reasonable limits, of course, but direct competition for the C202i here). Finally, it boasts a good set of available interfaces, including Wi-Fi, and its light source a solid resource.

Pros
  • autonomous power supply;
  • correction of geometry in four corners;
  • not a bad maximum brightness.
Cons
  • modest resolution;
  • low contrast;
  • Quiet sound of built-in acoustics.

#19 Wanbo T2 Max

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When looking at portable projectors, we strongly advise you to consider their specific features in your plans. The main one is modest brightness characteristics. Only 250 ANSI-lumen does not allow you to use Wanbo T2 Max in low light conditions even if you mount the projector at the distance of one and a half meters from the screen (the diagonal of the obtained picture is 40″). In addition, the lack of space adversely affects the noise of the cooling system, and a kind of indicator of the importance of this problem can be considered the presence of several options for modernization on one of the French forums. But the closedness of the 1LCD-system leveled the problem of dustiness, and the found reviews confirm this fact. From other important disadvantages we should mention the low-powered hardware of Wanbo T2 Max. Owners in general do not recommend to count on the functionality of the built-in Android. At least a smooth picture from online services. Well, the advantages of the projector are the small size and affordable price tag.

Pros
  • small size and weight;
  • not afraid of dust;
  • price.
Cons
  • Only for dark rooms;
  • noisy enough;
  • Weak stuffing.

The Best Inexpensive Projectors for Work and Study

#20 Epson EB-FH52

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If your educational or presentation tasks imply displaying texts in small print, it makes sense to focus on the projectors that can display a picture in Full HD resolution. Let’s complicate the criteria for choosing the best projector with the need to work without shadowing, and with color materials, and we will get very poor range of “candidates”, consisting of 3LCD-projectors with a powerful light output. Let’s throw in some more conditions: you need great zooming range, the ability to simultaneously connect at least a couple of content sources and something like Wi-Fi Miracast – there are very few suitable models left. From our point of view, the Epson EB-FH52 has the optimal combination of features. Do you need extra features, like a microphone input or through-the-wall video path? Then look towards the Epson EB-992F.

Pros
  • sufficient versatility;
  • 4000 ANSI-Lumens light output (including color);
  • optical zoom up to 1.6x;
  • several connection options (with the possibility of split screen);
  • wide range of distortion correction.
Cons
  • primitive built-in acoustics;
  • price.

#21 Epson EB-W51

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In terms of business or educational applications, Epson projectors have practically no real alternative. Firstly, 3LCD technology gives them superior color brightness (with comparable prices). Secondly, the Japanese pay special attention to the issues of optical scaling and multiple connection. You never know in what place of the room there will be a suitable “square” to install the projector and what sources are supposed to be used for projection. In both senses Epson EB-W51 is quite convincing. It is able to display a picture up to 300″ diagonal, is able to work with content up to 1080p resolution, and also supports screen separation technology. Plus automatic keystone correction and quick on/off switch.

Pros
  • high maximum brightness;
  • 1.2x optical zoom;
  • A decent set of interfaces;
  • network control.
Cons
  • Low native resolution (WXGA);
  • low-power built-in acoustics;
  • price.

In Conclusion

As for the quality of the picture, let us note that at the moment the three technologies of image output to the screen are the most widespread. If we are talking about the projectors of budget and medium-price group, the DLP-projectors have poorer colors, but they have quite a deep black level. Their peculiarity is in the presence of the rainbow effect which is evident by the sharp movement of the head relative to the screen, as a specific trail behind a bright object. Not everyone notices it, but still consider this moment when choosing. It is worth clarifying that the DLP-projectors, made by three-chip technology, are free from this drawback. Alas, they are more expensive and larger than the single-chip ones. In general, DLP solutions are preferable for shaded areas.

3LCD technology allows you to get a bright and saturated picture, but in a dark room the lack of black will be annoying. As an option – projecting on a gray surface. Another unpleasant feature of 3LCD projectors is the most noticeable pixelation of the output image (compared to competing systems).

A compromise is always possible and, in this case, it is called LCoS, SXRD, D-LA (underline it). These are simply different proprietary implementations of the same technology, combining the merits of both of the above. An expensive compromise that provides better quality with less light output.

Good luck with your purchase!

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