Whether it’s a large home cinema in the basement or automatic series viewing in the bedroom: a projector that makes a huge diagonal screen possible in the home. Stiftung Warentest has taken a closer look at 15 machines currently.
Five devices tested with Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels (= 2k) and nine devices with Ultra HD resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels (= Ultra HD, UHD or 4K). UHD devices also only extrapolate content, this technology is called “upscaling”.
Streaming, Blu-ray, TV
The resolution you choose depends on what you want to watch. “So far, a lot of content, especially on TV, is still only available in full HD,” says Martin Gobbin of Stiftung Warentest.
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While Ultra HD TV images are still rare, Blu-ray discs and streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video now offer many UHD movies, series, and documentaries.
High dynamic range enhances the image
UHD projectors also have what’s called HDR (High Dynamic Range), which provides a high contrast range. “This is almost more important than accuracy, because it guarantees an especially large number of high gradations and contrasts,” Gobbin says.
If you want to avoid cable tangling, you should pay attention to the connection options when choosing a projector. Many projectors can now play content via WLAN and Bluetooth, for example to connect speakers.
Bulbs: bright and cheap
There are also different technologies for light sources. “Traditionally, projectors are powered by high pressure mercury vapor lamps. They are cheap and bright. You can take advantage of this, for example, if you also want to watch TV with your projector during the day,” says Gubin.
However, the brightness of the lamp will decrease over time. The service life of lamps ranges from 3,500 to 5,000 hours of operation, and in eco mode this can be extended to 10,000 to 15,000 hours.
LED/Laser: More vibrant and environmentally friendly colors
Alternatively, projectors with laser and LED light sources or a combination of both (LED hybrid laser models) are also available. With about 30,000 operating hours, these technologies are more durable and cover a larger color gamut. They also use less electricity, operate without mercury, and are therefore more environmentally friendly, according to Stiftung Warentest’s Gobbin. It also allows the production of smaller and more compact projectors.
However, pure LED models have a disadvantage that they provide lower brightness. Laser and LED hybrids have higher brightness, but are much more expensive than LED devices. This was also reflected in the test winners.
The best UHD projectors in the test
Two models share the pilot victory in UHD projectors: the Epson EH-TW 7000 for €1,100 and the Optoma UHZ50 for €2,500. While the Epson model works with a mercury vapor lamp, the Optoma uses state-of-the-art laser technology.
Other UHD models rated as ‘good’: BenQ TK700STi (bulb) around 1,200 euros, BenQ W1800 (lamp) about 1,300 euros, LG CineBeam (hybrid LED laser) about 2,000 euros, Optoma UHD55 (bulb) for 1,500 euros, Acer H6815BD (bulb) for 850 euros and ViewSonic PX701-4K (bulb) for 900 euros.
Price Tip: The Best Full HD Projectors
Among the high-resolution projectors, the BenQ TH585P (the headlight) model scored the most points by about 650 euros. According to Stiftung Warentest, the Acer H6541BDi (bulb) for 625 euros and the Epson EB-FH06 (bulb) for 600 euros was also good.
You need an external speaker to set the correct cinema sound. According to testers, the speakers built into projectors only deliver the sound quality of mobile phones.
It is enough to have a specially painted wall
The projector is usually mounted either on a wall shelf or on the ceiling. A distance of one meter from the wall is enough to make a picture. The canvas is not absolutely necessary, a well-groomed smooth wall, painted with light gray or white scattering paint, is enough. Paint manufacturers offer special canvas paints here.