Televisions have gotten so big and have become such a huge part of our daily lives that they’ve become the focal point of just about every living room in America. While modern HDTV’s are much more sleek and less bulky than tubes of the past, they still tend to dominate whatever room they’re in.
If you don’t want a giant black rectangle taking up a big chunk of your living room space all the time, there’s another way. Wouldn’t it be nice if your TV was only there when you needed it? It can be with a 3D projector.
3D projectors aren’t just for 3D movies. 3D projectors are just as at home displaying 2D images. A 3D projector can do anything a TV can do and sometimes more. You can use it for movies, video games, slideshows, and much more.
While huge, bulky projector TV’s have been out of style for a while, you can still get a traditional projector for your home theater. You might be surprised by what new TV projectors can do.
Here is a list of the top rated and reviewed 3D projectors to help you choose the best products for your home theater.
Best 3D Projectors | Top 6
|Our Rank||3D Projector||Resolution||Lumens||Price|
|1||Sony VPLHW45ES||1920 x 1080||1800||$$$|
|2||Epson Home Cinema 3700||1920 x 1080||3000||$$$|
|3||BenQ W1070||1920 x 1080||2000||$$|
|4||Epson Home Cinema 5040UB||1920 x 1080||2500||$$$$|
|5||Optoma HD142X||1920 x 1080||3000||$$|
|6||ViewSonic PJD5155||1920 x 1080||3300||$|
Who is This Review For?
This review is for anyone who wants a cleaner looking living room. It’s for anyone who wants to simplify their furniture and decor. Maybe you just don’t like having a big entertainment center hogging so much living room space. Having a projector can turn any room in your house into a theater and even allows you to watch movies outside.
It’s also for anyone who wants an amazing television experience. There’s a common misconception that you have to sacrifice some picture quality if you use a projector rather than a screen, but that’s simply not the case. You can get a 1080p full high definition experience and even 3D with modestly priced home theater projectors.
Best 3D Projectors | What to Look For
The key differences in the best 3D projectors is in the display type. Let’s go over the different types of displays so you can figure out which one you prefer.
- LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) – This is similar to the technology in very popular LCD televisions. Most LCD projectors have three panels. As red, blue, and green light goes through those panels, it turns into the image you see projected. LCD projectors are popular for their color definition and brightness. It’s also easy to fit into a compact package that would be good for traveling.
- DLP (Digital Light Processing) – There are two types of DLP projectors, single chip and three-chip. The DLP projectors on our list are single chip because three-chip projectors are extremely expensive and are typically just for commercial use. DLP technology was developed by Texas Instruments. It uses a chip called a Digital Mirror Device (DMD) which has thousands of mirrors, one for each pixel. The mirrors tilt according to the light source to create an image. An advantage is they have rich, deep blacks and high contrast, but they generally aren’t as bright as LCD. The small chip allows them to easily fit in compact packages.
- LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) – LCoS is still a rather new technology. It’s sort of the best of both worlds – LCD and DLP. It’s basically an LCD panel on a mirror. It projects a very high pixel density which means a very high resolution and excellent picture quality. This display type is especially good for moving images and has been described as the most “film-like.” If you want your home theater to be as close as you can get to a real movie theater, LCoS is a great option.
Our Top Pick 3D Projectors
1. Best Overall: Sony VPLHW45ES
- Screen Size Range: 51-82 inches from 8 feet; 77-122 inches from 12 feet, 102-162 inches from 16 feet
- Color & White Brightness: 1800 Lumens
- Calibrated Brightness (cinema 1 mode): 1315 Lumens
- Contrast Ratio: NA; Lens Shift: Vertical +/- 71%; Horizontal +/- 25%
- Warranty: 3 Year Limited
- Lamp Life: 6,000 hours
- Connectivity: HDMI (2)
Sony VPLHW45ES Quick Review
Sony is an old name in home theater and they’re no strangers to projectors. Their experience and expertise is on full display in this full HD 3D projector. It uses a LCoS display resulting in a very film-like picture making you feel like you’re at the movies. If this projector detects any missing images between frames in an action shot, it uses a technology Sony calls Motionflow. Motionflow fills in the blanks between frames to make for smoother, more natural looking motions. It has nine picture calibration modes so if you’re using it for TV, video games, movies, or photos, you can find the perfect calibration for what you’re using the projector for. It has a built-in 3D transmitter that synchronizes with optional glasses to put you in your favorite 3D films.
2. Best for Gaming: Epson Home Cinema 3700
- Color & White Brightness: 3000 lumens
- Full HD 1080p, widescreen 3D performance — for movies, games and more, up to 300″
- Deep black levels — up to 60,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio for rich detail in dark scenes
- Project a 110″ image from just 10.5′ away — ± 60 percent vertical and ± 24 percent horizontal lens shift plus 1.6x zoom allow for flexible positioning and easy setup
- Stream HD videos — compatible with your favorite streaming device, including MHL-enabled devices – just connect your existing sound system
- Up to 3x Higher Color Brightness*, and reliable performance with Epson — 3LCD, 3-chip technology for amazing action scenes with no rainbow effect
- Outstanding support — 2-year limited warranty and toll-free support
Epson Home Cinema 3700 Quick Review
The Epson 3700 is a great, well-rounded home theater projector. It’s an LCD projector with impressive brightness and sharp contrast. It uses Epson Image Enhancement Technology to sharpen and refine the picture making it more lifelike. What’s really nice about this Epson is the built-in speakers. It has two 10-watt speakers that make it a lot more versatile. It means if you want to watch a movie or play a video game outside or in a different room, you don’t have to haul any additional audio equipment with you. For a nice overall 3D projector that you can easily use anywhere with an outlet, the Epson 3700 is a very balanced model.
3. Best Installation & Setup: BenQ W1070
- 3D Support in Full HD 1080p
- 2000 ANSI Lumens Brightness
- SmartEco technology
- 10000:1 Contrast Ratio
BenQ W1070 Quick Review
BenQ prides itself on being a user-friendly tech company and that’s no different with the W1070 Full HD 3D projector. In classic BenQ fashion, anyone can set this unit up with ease. It uses the 1080p DarkChip3 DLP chip providing full HD 1080p resolution. It’s part of BenQ’s Colorific series which delivers sharp, accurate colors adding life to the image. Like the Epson 3700, this one has built-in speakers. If you’re not very tech savvy or know somebody who wants a 3D projector, but is afraid of setting it up, BenQ is a good way to go. It’s also low-cost and a good entry point to the best 3D projectors.
4. Best Picture Quality: Epson 5040UB
- 4K Enhancement Technology — accepts 4K input and supports HDCP 2.2 for truly immersive scenes with 4K content
- HDR compatible — enjoy HDR content, with an extremely wide range of brightness levels for images bursting with real-life color
- Color & White Brightness: 2500 lumens
- Expansive color gamut — get brilliant, color-rich performance that displays the entire sRGB color space, plus DCI in Digital Cinema Mode
- Dramatic Ultra Black levels — an improved iris design delivers up to a 1,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio
- Remarkable new cinema lens — designed and manufactured in Japan, it features a 16-piece glass structure optimized for 4K performance and precision
- Outstanding service — 2-year limited warranty and toll-free support
Epson 5040UB Quick Review:
Like the Epson 3700, the 5040UB is an LCD home theater projector. This is part of the PowerLite series. The resolution on this one is a little confusing. It’s a 1080p full HD projector with 4K enhancement technology. It’s not actually 4K per se, but it can accept 4K input and it’s compatible with High Dynamic Range (HDR) content. The result is an excellent picture, but it isn’t true 4K ultra HD. It’s definitely an improvement over the 3700 and a bit more feature-rich. It uses the same Epson Image Enhancement Technology to deliver a sharp image. This one also has a powered lens position memory. You can have up to 10 preset positions at just the right focus, zoom, and lens shift for different displays. This makes it a good choice if you intend to use it in different rooms.
5. Best Value: Optoma HD142X
Optoma HD142X Quick Review
This Optoma full HD 3D projector is the best bang for the buck on our list. In many ways, it’s just as good as the best 3D projectors on the market, but significantly cheaper. The image quality is on par with many of the other projectors on our list, but doesn’t have a lot of proprietary image enhancement features that some of the bigger names have like Sony and Epson. It can still deliver 3D content, become smart with an HDCast Pro (sold separately), and has a clever USB power input for dongles like Chromecast. One of the few disadvantages of projectors is that not many of them are “smart”, a feature becoming more and more popular on HDTV’s. This is one of the easiest projectors to turn into a smart projector. It has a gaming mode which optimizes lighting response times, contrast, and color to put you in the action of your favorite games. It has one built-in speaker which adds to its flexibility, but you only get mono sound. In the value department, this Optoma is a heavy hitter.
6. Best Budget: BenQ HT6050
- THX HD Display Certification for the Finest Cinematic Color
- Ultra High Contrast Performance
- H/V Lens Shift & Big Zoom Options for Installation Flexibility
- CinemaMaster Advanced Video-enhancing Technologies
- ISFccc Certification
BenQ HT6050 Quick Review
Some people think of BenQ as a budget brand, but the HT6050 is quite simply one of the best full HD 3D projectors you can buy. This DLP home theater projector is near commercial movie theater quality. If you have a room in your house dedicated to being a true home theater, this projector should be towards the top of your list. It achieves outstanding image quality via its 6X Speed Color Wheel which is calibrated to deliver accurate colors as close as possible to the original source, Motion Enhancer which is similar to Sony’s fill-in-the-blank Motionflow technology, Color Enhancer, Pixel Enhancer, and even a Flesh Tone feature which prevents skin tones from being discolored or distorted by the projection beam. BenQ is the world’s number one best selling DLP projector brand and it’s easy to see why with the HT6050. The only downside? All of these amazing features don’t come cheap.