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Best Home Cinema Video Projector: A Complete Guide

Photo by Dylan Calluy on Unsplash

We’ve selected the best projectors you can buy in 2020. We’ve put in the hours to set-up, test and stare at the top projectors available right now. We’ve then picked the best of the best for you to consider below.

They might seem like a big investment in time and money, but they’re well worth it for many movie lovers and sports fans. The biggest benefit of projectors is they’re a truly high impact workaround for those who don’t want a television screen to dominate their living room when it’s not in use.

What’s more, the best projectors in this guide all offer some level of portability. That means it’s fairly easy to project your favorite movies and TV shows onto a wall and get the true cinema experience, then hide it in a closet or tuck it away on a shelf when you’re not using it. Although it’s worth mentioning that many have great-looking designs, so there’s no problem with leaving them on display if you have the space.

What is a Home Cinema Video Projector?

Video projectors have made a huge comeback in the past decade, and you can now pick from a great range of models, including some that you can mount on the ceiling to get a great effect. Instead of a massive TV screen, you can put together a small movie theater in a box, and get the same feel a catching a movie at the cinema. Anyone who wants to live the home theater life will love them.

It’s worth noting that most projectors are very expensive, but they also require no wires whatsoever, and can be set up anywhere. If you want to have, say, a mini home theater in the attic and load up a pitcher of cocktails for movie night, these are fantastic.

Benefits of Projectors

A projector’s biggest advantages are that they cost a fraction of the price of a decent television, they’re extremely flexible and can be adapted to most room shapes and sizes, they don’t heat up at all while in use, and don’t produce any noise.

The black picture style on most projectors produces no flicker, so you can watch movies, sports and TV shows flawlessly, and you’ll get the same quality as watching it on a high-end TV screen, too.

However, there’s one potential downside that we should mention: light control. This is perhaps the biggest problem with projectors, and also one of the things that causes football fans to turn their back on watching from the comfort of their own home. When watching football, you’ll need to make sure you have the curtains or blinds drawn, otherwise you might find your weekend is ruined.

What to Look For in a Home Cinema Video Projector

Price: This is a major consideration when shopping around for a projector, because they can be quite expensive. You can pay anywhere between $400 to $6,000 for a decent model depending on the size of the image you’re looking for.

This is a major consideration when shopping around for a projector, because they can be quite expensive. You can pay anywhere between $400 to $6,000 for a decent model depending on the size of the image you’re looking for. Brightness: The brightness of a projector has a direct impact on its picture quality. To get the best picture possible, high brightness is a must (2,000+ lumens).

The brightness of a projector has a direct impact on its picture quality. To get the best picture possible, high brightness is a must (2,000+ lumens). Eco mode: Most projectors run extremely hot, so when you’re not using them, you’ll want to make sure you turn them off to save you money. Some models have a smart eco mode feature that allows a projector to power down when it isn’t in use, but automatically turn on and take advantage of a sensor to detect if you want to use it, which prevents it heating up before you manually turn it on.

Most projectors run extremely hot, so when you’re not using them, you’ll want to make sure you turn them off to save you money. Some models have a smart eco mode feature that allows a projector to power down when it isn’t in use, but automatically turn on and take advantage of a sensor to detect if you want to use it, which prevents it heating up before you manually turn it on. Quality Picture: As with any piece of equipment, the quality of the picture directly impacts the overall quality of the set-up. Without this, you’ll find your movie night can turn into a complete distraction when you’re watching a film in the dark and notice the biggest flaw in the picture. For that, you’ll need to go for a 4K resolution or higher.

As with any piece of equipment, the quality of the picture directly impacts the overall quality of the set-up. Without this, you’ll find your movie night can turn into a complete distraction when you’re watching a film in the dark and notice the biggest flaw in the picture. For that, you’ll need to go for a 4K resolution or higher. Lamp: This is something to keep in mind. You might think that you need to replace a projector’s lamp when it gets used up, however, you could be left with a working projector and simply need to buy a replacement lamp once it stops working. The brightness of the lamp will determine how long it lasts, so make sure you’re getting one with high brightness.

This is something to keep in mind. You might think that you need to replace a projector’s lamp when it gets used up, however, you could be left with a working projector and simply need to buy a replacement lamp once it stops working. The brightness of the lamp will determine how long it lasts, so make sure you’re getting one with high brightness. Noise: You don’t want a projector that emits a lot of noise because it’ll distract your home theater experience, and you’re likely to give up on it and watch TV instead. So make sure it doesn’t produce any unwanted sound.

You don’t want a projector that emits a lot of noise because it’ll distract your home theater experience, and you’re likely to give up on it and watch TV instead. So make sure it doesn’t produce any unwanted sound. Image Quality: Make sure you’re getting the resolution you expect. Low-resolution projectors are very blurry.

Make sure you’re getting the resolution you expect. Low-resolution projectors are very blurry. Storage: Most newer projectors come with built-in storage memory, so you can watch files directly from a portable device or USB, but this can vary, so it’s worth checking.

Most newer projectors come with built-in storage memory, so you can watch files directly from a portable device or USB, but this can vary, so it’s worth checking. 4K: 4K projectors give an incredible visual experience, as well as helping to keep future proofed if you ever decide to upgrade your TV.

LG HU85LA CineBeam

This product was recommended by Daniel Carter from Zippy Electrics

We really needed something that could sit on a wall and this sleek projector is just the right fit for our entertainment room. This ultra short-throw Cinebeam is able to project a massive display from just a few inches away. It sometimes feels more like a flat-screen TV than a projector. With this gadget, you get really excellent image quality which is the number one consideration when shopping for video projectors.


Epson Home Cinema 5050UBe

This product was recommended by Rex Chatterjee from Dune Road Lifestyle

It’s got wireless capabilities, and displays 4K resolution at 2600 lumens. And, at a price of less than $3500 USD, it’s an amazing value for money.


Nebula Capsule II Smart Mini Projector

This product was recommended by Jessica Miller from Bike Inquire

Some projector were meant to be portable – and few do it better than the Anker Nebula Capsule II Mini Projector. About the size and shape of a can of Coca Cola, the tiny projector looks more like a battery pack for a piece of AV equipment than an all-out projector, but those looks are deceiving. The Capsule II is very capable for its size, offering a 720p (HD) resolution and strong audio output – and a noticeable improvement on 2018’s Anker Nebula Mars II – even if it can’t compete with the more premium 4K HDR models listed in this guide.


Anker Nebula Mars II

This product was recommended by Jim Costa from Jim Costa Films

The unit makes portability easy with a carry handle and a 4-hour battery life. Simply opening the push down cover automatically turns the projector on.. Either side of the box has 10-watt speakers. Connectivity is a breeze as the unit contains HDMI, USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Screen Mirroring so you can attach to other types of devices. The projection size run from 10” to 150”. You’ll get roughly ten-inches of screen size for every foot-or-so the projector is away from the surface its projecting on. The maximum resolution for the unit is 1280×720 (16:9 HD) and the brightness is 300 ANSI Lumens. This is decent for the brightness, but can be a bit dim for viewing during bright sunlight. The unit does allow for plugging into the wall outlet if the battery is running low. The unit doubles as a standalone Bluetooth speaker that will run for roughly 30 hours on a single charge. Built in is version of Android 7.1 allowing for ready-to-go video sources out of the box including Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube and others. Note: The Android version built-in is limited in the apps that it lets you use with projector so your specific streaming service might not be available. While the unit comes with a remote, you can control it with the iOS and Android Nebula Connect app.


BenQ TK850

This product was recommended by Jim Costa from Jim Costa Films

This is a simpler, older style projector than others on the list, but it still packs a punch. The BenQ TK850 is a 4K resolution unit with 3000 Lumens of brightness making it ideal for projecting at home any time of day. Inputs include two HDMI 2.0 inputs, meaning you can have two sources connected at the same time. There are also ports for SPDIF, audio out, RS232, and USB 3.0 and a 12V trigger to automatically turn on the projector when a live device is connected. The BenQ TK850 is only a short-throw projector so it will be placed out in the open at about eye level. You’ll need to adjust the lens manually upon set up to determine the projector size and the focus. There’s also a lens pitch feature allowing you to square up the image and a keystone feature if the projector is set at an angle to the projected surface. The projectors HDR, High Dynamic Range, offers great image improvement. However, the projector is generally better at showing deep colors and bright scenes and worse at showing shadows or distinguishing between gray tones. The unit comes with 10-Watt speakers, but does allow you to plug in to separate sound outputs.


LG CineBeam HU80KSW

This product was recommended by Jim Costa from Jim Costa Films

The LG CineBeam HU80KSW offers a 4K HDR picture, stereo sound and set up wherever you want due to its compact size in just minutes. Flip the lid that conceals the lens and you’ll find a mirror on the inside allowing the CineBeam to shine at any surface and in any position including the ceiling. LGs smart hub gives you access to a number of TV and film apps, such as All 4 and Netflix or from your smartphone, tablet or laptop. An Ethernet port allows you to wire it into your home network for faster and more stable internet than relying solely on WIFI. There are two HDMI ports and a further pair for USB ports (one 3.0, the other 2.0) that you can use to connect hard drives, USB drives, 4K Blu-ray player or games consoles. Audio is decent thanks to the Harman Kardon 7W-per-channel stereo-speaker system. Built-in Bluetooth allows connection to a wireless speaker or sound bar and there are 3.5mm aux, SPDIF and optical digital connections for wired sound to your home audio system. Image quality is fantastic and sports a sharp, crisp and detailed picture with decent depth and natural color hues. Of course, with 4K resolution (3840 x 2160), 2500 ANSI Lumens of brightness and a screen size up to 150”, you won’t be disappointed.


Hompow Smartphone Portable Video Projector

This product was recommended by Jennifer Willy from Etia

This projector allows you to connect your smartphone (iPhone and Android cellphone) directly with MHL cable (not included) which makes you share videos and photos on your smartphone.


DR. J Professional HI-04 4500L Mini Projector

This product was recommended by Jennifer Willy from Etia

DR. J Professional HI-04 4500L Mini Projector Outdoor Movie Projector has improved not only the brightness, contrast ratio of the projector but also included a 100 Portable Projector Screen in the package. It is great for home theater, indoor and outdoor movies & kinds of video games by HDMI port connection.


Artlii 2020 Upgraded 5500 LUX Movie Projector

This product was recommended by Jennifer Willy from Etia

Artlii 2020 Upgraded 5500 LUX Movie Projector is perfect for watching movies and playing video games. With powerful 5500 LUX brightness, the HD projector produces a sharp and colorful image that can be used under moderate room light and still produces a clear and sharp image.


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