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CNET Top 5: Home theater projectors
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CNET Top 5: Home theater projectors

3:44 /

Home theater projectors offer the best way to get a big image for a relatively low cost. Here are five of our favorites.

If you?re a home theater nut, there comes a point when you realize that the TV you really want wouldn?t even be able to fit through the front door. Maybe what you really need is a projector. We?re seeing a fresh crop of great new projectors that will leave you just as breathless as a 4K TV, but at a fraction of the price. I?m Donald Bell, and in this Top 5 we?re counting down CNET?s picks for the best Home Theater Projectors, selected by Senior Editor, David Katzmaier. Starting off at #5: the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 3020. Epson is a huge player in this game and at $1,500, the 3020 gives you a taste of what got them there. Great black levels with good shadow detail, and 3D support. You can upgrade this one to wireless HDMI for an extra $300, but at that price there are some other options worth exploring. Plus, something about the grills on this thing give it an evil robot vibe that kinda freaks me out. For the best value, check out #4: the BenQ W1070. At around $1,000, the BenQ is the most compact and inexpensive projector on this list, but the picture quality holds up to that Epson 3020. You can even shift the lens angle a little instead of having to digitally warp the image to get it all squared up. On the downside, the 3D glasses are $99 each. So if your kid wants to watch Avatar, they?ve got to earn it. But for a projector that covers all the bases, check out #3: the Sony VPL-HW50ES. You get two pairs of active 3D glasses, an extra replacement lamp, and a reference-quality picture right out of the box. Unfortunately, the price tag on that box is around $4,000, but this is a big step up in picture quality. Try to think of it in terms of picture quality per square inch and it?s a steal over a 4K TV. Coming in at #2: the JVC DLA-X35. This beauty comes in at $500 less than the Sony, but matches it absolutely in terms of picture quality... once it?s calibrated. Out of the box, the Sony is the clear winner, but having that $500 in your pocket to pay for a professional installation and calibration -- which you should be doing anyway -- makes the JVC a better choice. Also, it?s compatible with some inexpensive third-party 3D glasses, so you won?t have to go broke just to watch some of Hollywood?s crappiest movies. Now, before we get to our #1 pick in home theater projectors, let?s take a minute to acknowledge one of the best TVs you can buy. CNET?s current top choice is the Panasonic TC-PVT60. $3,000 buys you the best picture quality we?ve seen since the legendary Pioneer Kuro. And unlike a projector, there are no bulbs to replace, no fancy screens to hang up, and you can keep the freakin? lights on. But for you cave dwelling videophiles, one projector rises above all the rest when it comes to both picture quality and value: the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5020UB. For under $3,000 you get excellent color accuracy, deep blacks, and two pairs of 3D glasses. Best of all, the projection is bright enough that you can even leave a few lights on without ruining the image quality. That said, maybe your weird home theater dungeon is best left in the dark. So there you have it, 5 great home theater projectors perfect for your remastered edition of Citizen Kane or maybe a Storage Wars marathon -- I won?t judge. For more Top 5?s like this head over to Top5. CNET.com. I?m Donald Bell, thanks for watching.
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