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The best $1,000 projector

The best $1,000 projector
From Engadget - April 13, 2018

Who this is for

A projector in this price range wo not look as good as a TV screen during daytime viewing, and it wo not have the 4K and HDR support of the latest batch of TVs in this price range. But if screen size is your top priority and you do not have a dedicated home theater room, the projectors in this guide are for you.

How we picked and tested

The two most important attributes of a projector are contrast ratio and brightness. Contrast ratio is the difference between the brightest part of the image and the darkest. A high contrast ratio means dark blacks and bright whites. No projector in this price range has a great contrast ratio, but some are certainly better than others.

The brightness, or light output, determines not only how bright the image is (obviously) but also how large an image you can create (image brightness decreases with image size), and thus dictates what type of screen you can use. Brighter projectors also perform better in rooms with lots of ambient light.

After brightness and contrast, color accuracy comes next in importance, followed by (more distantly) resolution and color temperature. In this price range, a 1080p projector with accurate colors on a neutral white screen is the best for most home video uses. You should also look for features that make setup easier, such as a zoom lens with a throw ratio around 1 or lens shift, which makes installation and alignment easier. To read more about how these specs and features can affect a projector's performance, please see our full guide to $1,000 projectors.

To test projectors, we measured their light output, contrast ratio, color and color temperature accuracy, and more using $10,000 worth of professional-grade test equipment. Because numbers do not reveal the whole picture, we also placed each projector side-by-side and displayed the same content on identical screens. This made it easy to see differences in color and brightness in a real-world scenario that better simulates how people actually use projectors.

Our pick: BenQ HT2050

The BenQ HT2050 offers accurate colors, creating an image that's more realistic and lifelike than that of other models at the same price. It produces a bright picture with great motion detail and a great contrast ratio that's about double that of similarly priced competitors. Overall, the image is as good as (if not better than) what you can get from many projectors costing hundreds more.

The HT2050's light output is plenty enough to illuminate a typical home theater screen. It uses an RGB color wheel, which is slightly less bright than the more common Brilliant Color wheel from Texas Instruments, but results in more accurate colors. You can enable Brilliant Color in the Advanced menu if you need extra brightness and are willing to deal with less accurate colors, but the HT2050 is more than bright enough without this feature.

Runner-up: Epson Home Cinema 2100

A short-throw projector for small spaces: BenQ HT2150ST

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