The Best Projectors 2017

Tags: Help and Advice

If you’re looking for a real cinema experience in your living room, then you’ll want to invest in a projector setup.  Though televisions have grown in size over recent years, they haven’t yet reached a point where they can challenge the largest projector setups – and so if you’ve got a suitable room, such a setup might be worth your while. 

Projectors are great for film, but they’ve also applications in the workplace:  if you’re looking to perform a presentation or some other form of public address, a projector might be just what’s required to bring it to life.  They’ll accept inputs from a number of different sources, and they’ll project onto any suitable white surface – even a blank wall.  For best results, however, you’ll want to project your image onto a purpose-built screen – many of which can be made to mechanically retract for maximum convenience.

For a true cinema-like experience, there’s no real substitute for a projector setup – and you’ll find them available at a number of different price-points.  Shell out a little more and you’ll get added features like 3D; stick to a smaller budget, however, and you’ll still be able to get a great cinema experience for a relatively small price.

Let’s take a look at some of the options available to would-be projectionists at the turn of the year 2017...

Sony VPL-HW45ES

Sony VPL-HW45ES

Leading the pack is this offering from Sony, which scooped a five star rating from What Hi Fi?, as well as an award for the best projector of 2016. It drew particular praise from the publication, whose only complaint was that ‘we fretted over the number of ways we could tell you to buy it’.

The projector offers full HD and 3D functionality, as you might expect, but it’s the real strength of the device comes from the brightness and clarity of the image it creates. Sony’s SXRD (Silicone crystal Reflective Display) helps to shrink the gaps between pixels, creating the perception of a vastly more detailed display.

It’s a device that’s capable of outputting up to 1800 lumens, which are sure to provide a picture that’s clear and crisp even in a well-lit room. That said, you’ll likely achieve even better results if you plunge the room into darkness. The VPL boasts a subtle palette, and so you’ll get vivid colours, but not excessively loud ones.

Optoma HD50

Optoma HD50

While Sony is a name that’s known throughout the world, Optoma is one whose renown is restricted to the world of high-end projectors.  Within that space, however, they’ve a reputation for stellar home cinema projectors, of which this is one.  It’ll produce an outstanding image, with pure motion technology that’ll eradicate unsightly blurring that might occur during particularly frenetic action sequences.

The HD50 boasts a vibrant palette, which will help to bring the best from the punchiest Marvel action films, while still helping subtler movies to shine.  You’ll have an adjustable ‘Brilliant colour’ option to manipulate in order to get a more nuanced result – but you’ll likely end up leaving it fun and exuberant.  These features combined make the Optoma worthy of consideration if you’re looking to upgrade your television to something bigger and brighter.

Epson EHTW9200

Epson EHTW9200

This 3D-ready projector offers an immersive film experience, courtesy of Epson’s 3LCD panels, and 2,400-lumens ensures excellent contrast, no matter how unfavourable the ambient light levels.  With its powerful zoom lens and wide lens shift, the EH-TW92000 is easily adjusted and set up into a variety of positions. 

The projector also offers the ability to convert two-dimensional images into three-dimensional ones at the touch of a button, and comes with a lens cover, which will neatly slide to one side the moment the projector is activated, thereby protecting the lens against dust and scratches.  Even the remote control is satisfyingly chunky, with backlit buttons that are easy to use – even in the darkened conditions that projectors like this one thrive in.

Even if you’re not looking to enjoy 3D images, it’s still well worth investing in a TW9200 on the strength of its 2D image reproduction.  It’s able to combine the deepest blacks with an exceptional brightness – which is a requirement for intense 3d images, but which is also extremely useful in drawing the best from a 2D image.  The flexibility of this projector therefore makes it a great candidate for those who’d like to enjoy 3D content, and who’d rather not do so at the expense of 2D quality.

Panasonic PTAT6000e

Panasonic PTAT6000E

This projector delivers exceptional levels of brightness and clarity at a range of projection sizes, thanks to its powerful 2400 lumens bulb and aspherical lens.  With the help of two pairs of TY-EW3D3ME glasses, you’ll be able to view the resulting image in convincing 3D in the comfort of your home.  When this projector debuted in 2012, it scooped a myriad of accolades, including a five-star rating from What Hi-Fi? Magazine, where it earned a second five-star review just a year later.  In the intervening years, it’s faced stiff competition from newer projectors, but it remains a quality projector that can now be obtained for a knock-down price.

The highlights and bright spots on offer from this projector are sharp and well-defined – but the image on display is never lacking nuance, meaning that we don’t get that peculiar hyper-real quality that plagues some projectors.  The edges are clear-cut, meaning that all of the details can be easily discerned – from the hairs on your favourite actor’s head to the creases on their shirt.  Even in slow-panning shots, motion is smooth and strong – meaning that you’ll be able to enjoy your favourite 3d films without disorientation.

Panasonic are a company with considerable pedigree in projectors – and in A/V equipment in general – and this is just one example of their work.  You can now obtain the PTAT6000e for a bargain price – and it’s a classic option that’s still well worth taking in 2017!

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