Home entertainment systems with projectors have gained popularity over the last decade or so. They allow people to have a cinematic experience from the comfort of their living rooms. Lamp and LED projectors are the most common types of projectors seen in home theaters. However, laser projectors have also become popular in the last couple of years.3
These projectors make use of one or more laser diodes as a light source instead of Xenon lamps or LEDs. The light produced by the lasers is coherent and projects crisp and detailed images. Lasers also have a longer life and can easily last for 20,000 to 30,000 hours of usage. Laser projectors are available from different brands and come with different features. Here are the top five home entertainment laser projectors of 2018 that are popular among the buyers.
5. Epson Home Cinema LS100
The Epson LS100 is an affordable laser projector that has been primarily designed for home theaters. It makes use of the 3LCD technology along with the laser light source for projecting the images. It has a native resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels and an aspect ratio of 16:10 though it also supports 16:9 and 4:3 videos. The LS100 has a lumen rating of 4,000 and a contrast ratio of 2,500,000:1 allowing it to project bright images even in rooms that have moderate ambient lighting. It is an ultra-short throw projector that can project images with size ranging from 70” to 130” at a distance of a few inches from the screen.
The LS100 comes with a wide range of ports including three HDMI (one supports MHL for capable devices), two type A and one type B USB ports, two audio-in stereo ports, one audio-out stereo port, a D-sub port, and a monitor-out port. Manual focus adjustment and vertical and horizontal keystone correction enable the viewers to adjust the image. It has an inbuilt speaker which provides adequate sound though it is best to pair the projector with a surround sound system.
It can be kept on a table or mounted on the ceiling. The downside to this projector is its resolution as most laser projectors come with either UHD or true 4K resolution. Its black levels are also not as good as seen in laser projectors from other brands. Considering that the Epson Home Cinema LS100 laser projector is lowly-priced, it is a decent buy despite its few limitations.
4. Hisense 100L8D 4K Ultra HD Smart Laser TV 2018
The Hisense 100L8D is more of a home theatre system rather than just being a laser projector. It is a complete package that includes the laser projector with four inbuilt Harmon Kardon speakers, a separate wireless subwoofer, and a 100-inch light-rejecting screen. It is easy to set up and frees homeowners from the hassles of having to shop for individual parts and checking their compatibility.
It is an ultra short throw projector that can project a 100” image at a distance of a mere 8” from the screen. It has a resolution of 3840 x 2160 and also supports HDR 10 format. It uses the DLP technology along with the laser light source for projecting the images. Hisense specifies a rating of 3,000 lumens for the projector which is sufficient for rooms with low to moderate ambient lighting. The images projected have good brightness and vibrant colors, but its HDR performance is not at par with a few other HDR laser projectors in the market.
The connectivity ports are provided on the rear of the projector including a pair of HDMI ports, a VGA port, a couple of USB ports, a 3.5mm audio input jack, an RJ45 port for connecting to the Ethernet and RCA audio and video output ports. Additionally, its rear side has a micro USB port and a 3.5mm port for servicing, an RS232 serial connector, and an antenna connector. The laser projector comes with the Vewd OS enabling the users to install applications on the device.
The Hisense 100L8D is highly priced. However, considering the included 100-inch light-rejecting screen and the powerful Harmon Kardon audio system (each of which will easily cost $1,000 or even more when purchased separately), it is a great option for buyers who are searching for a complete home entertainment system.
3. LG HU80K
Take a look at the LG HU80K laser projector, and you realize why it won the CES 2018 Best of Innovation Award. It has an unconventional design and is like a rectangular box having a six-by-six inches base and a height of approximately eighteen inches. It provides flexible installation options and can be placed on the floor, set on a table, or mounted on the ceiling as preferred. You can project movies on a screen or a ceiling, and the vertical auto keystone correction will adjust the projected images to rectify distortion.
It is a 4K UHD projector with a native resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels and is based on the DLP technology. It can project a 40” image at a distance of 3.6 feet from the screen and a 150” image at a distance of 14.1 feet from the screen. The projector, despite its size and pricing, is rated at 2500 lumens, has a contrast ratio of 150,000:1 and supports HDR10, enabling it to project sharp images even in bright ambient lighting.
The projector comes with two HDMI ports that support HDCP 2.2, one each of USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, an RJ45 jack for connecting to a LAN, a 3.5mm audio-out port, and a video-out port. There are two 7-watt speakers inbuilt into the projector, but you can also connect an external sound system using the 3.5mm audio jack or Bluetooth. It also supports LG’s Smart TV platform and enables you to stream movies and shows from the Internet. It has a handle topside and a retractable power cord making it easy to move from one room to another.
The LG HU80K is a 4K UHD laser projector the perfect choice for individuals who are looking for a portable 4K laser projector that can be easily carried from one room to another.
2. Optoma UHZ65
The UHZ65 from Optoma is aimed at the buyers searching for a home theatre laser projector. It is a DLP projector that employs the 0.66” DMD chip from Texas Instruments along with a laser light source. The projector has a native resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels but can process true 4K signals. It has a standard throw ratio and can be installed on a ceiling or placed on a desk. It can produce images ranging from 25” to 140” depending on its distance from the screen.
The UHZ65 carries a brightness rating of 3,000 ANSI lumens and a contrast ratio of 2,000,000:1. It makes use of the pixel shift technology but still projects sharp and vibrant images as compared to other pixel shifting 4K UHD projectors in the same price range. It also supports HDR and has a decent color gamut range.
Connection options on the Optoma UHZ65 include an HDMI 1.4 port, an HDMI 2.0 port, a VGA-In port, an RJ45 port for connecting to a LAN, a 3.5mm audio-in port, an audio-out port, a SPDIF-out port, a USB A port and another USB 2.0 port for servicing. It has two inbuilt 4W speakers, but it is better to get a surround sound system for enhancing the viewing experience.
The Optoma UHZ65 is moderately priced and boasts of versatile features. There are a few UHD laser projectors that perform slightly better than it, but they are much more expensive. Overall, it is a great projector considering its price and performance earning it the second spot on this list.
1. Sony VPL-VZ1000ES Ultra-Short Throw 4K HDR Home Theater Projector
The Sony VPL-VZ1000ES home theatre projector easily claims the top spot on this list with its best-in-class features and performance. It is a premium offering from Sony that is aimed at the enthusiasts. It is a true 4K projector with a native resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels based on the Sony’s SXRD technology that employs three LCoS chips.
The projector carries a brightness rating of 2500 lumens which is adequate for rooms with low and medium ambient lighting. It has a wide color gamut and supports HDR as well as the Hybrid-Log-Gamma technology. The amalgamation of these technologies enables the projector to project realistic and vibrant images. It also supports the 3D technology and comes with a built-in transmitter. Pair it up with optional 3D glasses and immerse yourself in the world of your favorite movies and shows.
Its ultra-short throw ratio allows it to project images from 80” to 120” at a distance of a few inches from the screen (8.3” for 120” screens). The projector occupies less space in a living room compared to large-sized TVs and can be placed on a table, recessed into cabinets, or mounted on a ceiling. Connectivity options include four HDMI 2.0 ports (one supports MHL for capable devices), an RJ45 port for LAN, a D-Sub port, and a USB port.
The Sony VPL-VZ1000ES has a high price which is the same as that of a mid-sized car from a reputed brand. It is certainly one of the best home theatre projectors available in the market and a great choice for individuals who have the money to spend.