Imagine hosting an outdoor movie party, or watching the big game, or simply enjoying HD cable content at up to 300" size from the comfort of your own home. That 50" HDTV isn't looking so big anymore, is it? People often forget a digital projector can be an awesome addition to a home theater setup for anyone who likes their entertainment at a grander scale. Prices have dropped considerably in the last few years...
The Best value: Infocus SP8600
With a 5,000:1 contrast ratio and full 1080p output, the Infocus is a solid choice when matched with a Blu-ray player.The SP8600 produces vibrant image even when compared with more expensive units; bright enough thanks to the 1,800 lumens capable lamp. And we like even at this price, there are 2x HDMI connectors for hookup.
Great for larger rooms: Viewsonic Pro8450W
With only 1280 x 800 resolution, you may think of the Viewsonic simply as an upgraded office projector (which it is), but we found the unit is more than suitable for gaming and general viewing. The unit comes with decent speakers (at least when external speakers aren't available) and you can add a VPD31 digital processor for 3D experience, while an "eco" setting extends bulb life. The projector is rated for 4,300:1 contrast ratio, but the tradeoff of course is the resolution.
The Budget Gamer's Model: Optoma Gametime GT700
If you want to game at up to a 120' image from only 6 feet away, the modestly priced GT700 is a solid pick. This is a UXGA display (1600 x 1200), with support of 1080p output, rated for 2300 ANSI Lumens, while also being 3D compatible. Pretty darn good deal for a projector available for $700 online.
One to rule them all: Epson VS315W
Easiest to set up and true USB plug and play, the 3 LCD Epson projector is our choice for HD, 16:10 format viewing. The 2600 lumens can be adjusted, with a "Living room" preset for bright rooms, and at just $599.99 with an "up to 5000 hours lamp life", this is a good option for anyone looking to step into the realm of home theater projectors without breaking the bank.