Updated: May 9, 2015
1080p Projector Reviews and Buying Guide:As an alternative to HD plasma or LCD screens, many people opt for a home theater projector for enjoying the HD video experience at home. Projectors have come a long way from the old overhead models some of us might remember from our school days. Today's home theater and multimedia projectors are sophisticated machines that deliver excellent quality, sharp images, and crisp definition -- think a movie projector showing large, HD video on your massive screen. And not least of all, they impress people. Not that that should be your goal in life, but really, who doesn't like to have their boss know how brilliant they are or have their friends be a little (or a lot) jealous of their amazing home theater? It's human nature; go with it. As the quality of projectors has become more advanced, so too has the task of choosing the best projector for your needs become increasing complex. If you have a small screen and want to upgrade from your ordinary television experience, a projector with lower resolution is perfectly adequate. However, if you want to sit in front of a large screen and feel like you're in the middle of the movie or game, then you need a 1080p projector. Why? We'll get to that in this guide, and help you choose the best 1080p projector for your needs.
Why 1080p? And What is That? - 1080p refers to the resolution. This means that you have a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution which is the definition of full HD (high-definition) video. Backing up, resolution is simply the number of pixels (or units) that make up your images; so 1920 x 1080 means that there are 1920 pixels, or individual colored points of light, horizontally across your screen. There are 1080 pixels running vertically. There are a total of 2,073,600 pixels. Ok, so what does this mean? Higher resolutions mean that the picture is crisper, sharper, and more detailed. It also means that you can sit in front of a big screen without it looking pixalated. Have you ever looked at a newspaper image up close? A bunch of tiny dots merge to create the picture: these are pixels. Up close, you can see the individual points. You don't want this to happen with a movie or game, so many people with big screens opt for a 1080p resolution. Again, a small screen doesn't require that level of detail or high resolution. If you have a small- to medium-sized screen, a lower resolution projector, typically 1280 x 720, will work wonderfully. But if you bump up your screen size, you should also bump up to HD quality resolution to get the clearest picture. 1080 Projectors: Which is Right for You? - The process of choosing a home theater projector can be complex. It is like purchasing a pair of shoes: you don't just go in and say, "Oh, these are pretty," and plop down your cash. You can, but you may not get what you want or what is right for your home. As with your shoes, you need to make sure your projector fits before you buy it, or you'll end up being uncomfortable and dissatisfied. The first factor to consider is the size of your screen, as we have discussed. Small screen, lower resolution. Large screen, higher resolution. If you need a HD projector, you also need to consider the quality and the price. You can browse the best selling 1080p projectors here.
Best 1080p Projectors:If money is no object and only the best will do, the Sony VPL-VW200 projector is a steal for a mere $3500-$5000. You'd better watch a lot of movies to make that viable! But the best is the best. The Sony VPL VW200 features:
*3 high frame rate SXRD 1080 chips and MotionFlow technology. SXRD is Sony's liquid crystal on silicon technology will allow for unbelievable image quality.
*Exclusive Carl Zeiss multi-element glass lens to enhance the SXRD performance. (Carl Zeiss is a world class lens producer whose products have been everywhere, even in space.)
*Panel alignment. You can align R/G/B images and specific zones for precision images.
*High out-put Xenon lamp for great color.
*Advanced auto Iris 2-function and up to 35,000:1 contrast ratio.
According to CNet Reviews, the Sony VLP-WV200 delivers one of the best images they have ever seen in any model they have tested. This is the Ferrari of home theater projectors. For those of us on a more Honda Civic budget, however, there are a lot of great alternatives, see the top rated 1080p projectors here.
Middle of the Road 1080p Projectors - The Sanyo PLV-Z700 was recognized by both CNet and ProjectorReviews.com as one of the best choices in HD projectors in the under $2100 price range. ProjectorReviews said this Sanyo has the best 1080p for those on a 720p budget. It is a bit higher than standard 720p models, but not much. The PLV-z700 is a full HD 3LCD projector which delivers great picture quality. It is great for homes because of its size and portability. It has advanced lens shifting technology, a variable iris, and even 3D color management. Both CNet and ProjectorReviews noted some issues with the projector, namely that the black levels could be better and the light could be brighter. Despite this, the projector was extremely suitable for an entry level machine and would provide an HD quality picture. Bottom line: this is a great projector for those who want a 1080p projector and have a limited budget. You can find it for just over $1700. If you want an upgrade in quality without a huge upgrade in price, the Epson Home Cinema 6100 is a great choice. This was named as ProjectorReviews Best in Class for under $2100. The difference between this and the Sanyo model mentioned above can be seen clearly in the brightness and black level, two areas in which the Sanyo is weaker. It features 1800 lumens brightness, D7 3-chip technology for outstanding clarity, and an 18000:1 contrast ratio. Unlike the Sanyo, it has two HDMI 1.3a ports for great connectivity. Like the Sanyo, though, it is ideal for home use because it can be very easily placed and moved. The images and color are sharp; in fact, the Home Cinema 6100 is very similar to the more expensive Epson Home Cinema 6500UB, one of the best home theater projectors on the market, in terms of color accuracy, sharpness, and brightness. The black level is good, not outstanding like the 6500UB, and it lacks frame interpolation that its more expensive counterpart has. Overall, though, it is an extraordinary value for under $2000. Another good one to consider is the Mitsubishi HC3800. ProjectorReviews calls it a great entry-level projector. It even won their Hot Product Award. Why? Because of its brightness, outstanding color, HDMI connectivity, color management system, diamond lens for amazing performance, quiet operation, long lamp life, 1300 lumens brightness, 4000:1 contrast, and its low price. It sells for under $1400 (see all Mitsubishi 1080p projectors here). The earlier models had issues with random shutdowns, but Mitsubishi has issued firmware to clear up this problem, and your newer model should have no problem. Another factor to consider is the cost of replacement lamps for your 1080p projector. The replacement lamp for the Sony VPL-VW200, for instance, costs a whopping $1000. You could buy a very decent 720p projector or most of a low-end HD projector for that. A replacement lamp for an Optoma HD65 projector, by contrast, is $180. Certainly it is something to consider. A 1080p projector can be a great investment if you have a large screen; choose wisely! You'll be happier with your choice, and more than happy with the quality of your viewing experience. Movies never looked so good.