Revisit your favorite movies in outstanding 4K resolution. With deep blacks, industry leading contrast, and plenty of customizable features, a 4K projector is an excellent way to bring the movie theater experience to your home. Whether you’re aiming for an image slightly larger than your existing TV, or trying to fill out a 200-inch screen size, a projector will offer more flexibility than a traditional panel TV.

What should I look for in a 4K projector?

Selecting the best 4K projector is truly a matter of personal preference. Some units require more calibration than others, so if you’re looking for an excellent picture out-of-the-box, you may find your options are narrow. Size and use are also important to think about. If you don’t have room to mount a projector at a sufficient distance from the screen, this list may be limiting. Additionally, many of these projectors function better in a dedicated viewing space. If you’re looking to simply replace your 85-inch 4K TV with a comparable (but larger) image, you’ll want to consider that the projector’s performance during the daytime will be very different than using it in a blackened room or at night.

Pixel Shifting vs. Native 4K

There are entire articles dedicated to the debate over 4K vs. pixel shifting (disparagingly called faux-K). We won’t dwell on the merits of either, but for knowledge sake, it's important to know the technical difference between the two terms. Projectors use DLP, LCD, or other proprietary chips (or a combination of chips) including LCOS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon), JVC's D-ILA (Digital Imaging Light Amplification), and Sony's SXRD (Silicon Crystal Reflective Display). These chips come with a specified resolution. A native 4K projector uses a chip that can produce a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels. These chips can be expensive. In order to cut costs, some companies use a technique called pixel shifting. Essentially, they use a combination of lower resolution imaging chips and offset their pixels. This enables them to produce an enhanced image that looks higher resolution than 1080p.

Lumens

The higher the lumen count, the better your projector will function when subjected to ambient light. However, one should never aim to use a high quality 4K projector in a bright room. Before purchase, consider room size, screen distance and the quality of the screen you plan to use with your device. If you’re short on space, you might want to check out some Ultra Short Throw projectors.

Laser vs. Bulb

Lamp bulb longevity ranges from 3,000 to 4,000 hours depending on type and use. Projectors that rely on LED or lasers for their light source can last much longer. Most of these will offer at least 20,000 hours.


1. Sony Home Theater Projector VPL-VW295ES

The Sony VPL-VW295ES provides an excellent viewing experience, whether you’re streaming, gaming, or watching a favorite movie. The 295ES is an IMAX certified projector and has a native resolution of 4096×2160. It uses a 225-watt high-pressure mercury lamp to produce 1,500 lumens, meaning the unit will excel in a dark room environment. The lens is motorized to adjust zoom, focus, and lens shift. The lens has a vertical shift of +85% -80% and a horizontal shift of +/-31%.
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Calibration on this unit is important, and you’ll find additional features like MotionFlow and Contrast Enhancer helpful after you achieve optimal settings. The 295ES comes with two 18 Gbps HDMI ports. They both have HDCP 2.2 for UHD/4K HDR. Overall, the projector produces vivid colors and deep blacks for a stunning true 4K image.
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Pros:
  • 1,500 Lumens
  • Impressive image clarity with MotionFlow and Reality Creation (4K upscaler)
  • Input Lag Reduction
  • IMAX Enhanced
  • 3 SXRD Imagers
  • 225-watt high-pressure mercury lamp lasts up to 6,000 hours (low mode)

Cons:
  • No lens memory for auto adjustment


2. Sony 4K HDR Laser Home Theater Video Projector VPL-VW995ES

By far the most expensive option on this list, it’s difficult to find fault amidst the list of features that come built in with the 995ES. The 995ES has native resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels. It relies on a laser light source in a compact chassis to deliver a brightness of 2,200 lumens. It has features found in other Sony projectors like Motion Flow and Reality Creation. Unlike other models, the 995ES uses an All Range Crisp Focus (ARC-F) lens. The new lens, along with the Digital Focus Optimizer function delivers a crisp image, allowing it to out-perform other lenses.
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The 995ES is a IMAX Enhanced program participant which guarantees an excellent 4K viewing experience. It also requires the unit to meet 3D immersive sound standards. That being said, the 995ES displays strong contrast and deep blacks, making it a good option for a home theater enthusiast looking to go the extra mile.
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Pros:
  • 2,200 lumens
  • ARC-F lens delivers crisp image
  • Picture Position Memories (setting storage)
  • 3 SXRD Imagers
  • MotionFlow and Reality Creation
  • IMAX Enhanced
  • Laser light source lasts up to 20,000 hours

Cons:
  • Lacks cost effectiveness of other Sony models


3. Epson Home Cinema 5050UB 4K PRO-UHD 3-Chip Projector

The Epson Home Cinema 5050UB is a 3-chip LCD projector capable of producing deep blacks and high contrast. Epson’s UltraBlack Contrast tech offers a contrast ratio of up to 1,000,000:1, though that type of rating can’t be guaranteed in a non-lab setting. It boasts a resolution of 4096 x 2160 and is capable of reproducing the P3 color gamut in its entirety through its cinema filter. The 5050UB relies on a 250 W UHE which lasts up to 5,000 hours on Eco Mode (3,500 at full power).
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This projector has motorized zoom, focus, and lens shift. Using ten different lens presets, you can store your settings and return to them later. With a specified peak lumens rating of 2,600, this projector can technically withstand some ambient light, though a dark room is still preferable for optimal performance. In general, the 5050UB is a great model if you’re looking for something that looks good straight out of the box, offers a wide color gamut, and allows for 4K playback when paired with a 4K compatible game console or streaming device.
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Pros:
  • 2,600 lumens
  • Motorized zoom, lens shift, focus + lens memory
  • 10-Bit HDR Color Processing
  • Full DCI-P3 Color
  • High contrast with UltraBlack Contrast tech
  • 250 W UHE lasts up to 5,000 hrs (Eco Mode)

Cons:
  • Non-native 4K (1080x3) (pixel shifting)

4. JVC DLA-NX7 D-ILA Projector

Want to get lost in your menus? The JVC DLA-NX7 provides ample features for visual enthusiasts keen on achieving the optimal image. It uses an all-glass 65 mm diameter, 15-group, 17 element lens system. The lens is motorized and operators can take advantage of a very generous +/- 80% vertical and +/- 34% horizontal lens shift. The NX7 has a large number of picture adjustments to play with including both preset color modes and customizable user modes. It promises 3,500 hours of viewing with a 265 watt NSH lamp.
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It also has a low latency mode that pairs well with any game console. The projector uses Motion Enhance and Clear Motion Drive technology to significantly reduce motion blur. All in all, this is a highly customizable, native 4K device that delivers an impressive panel of features.
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Pros:
  • 1,900 lumens
  • Native 4K D-ILA imaging
  • Auto Tone-Mapping + Frame Adapt
  • 2.0x motorized zoom
  • Wide color gamut (specified at 100% DCI-P3)
  • 3D compatible

Cons:
  • Non-laser lamp (less longevity)


5. BenQ HT8050 4K DLP UHD THX Certified Home Cinema Projector

The BenQ HT8050 excels in terms of color fidelity, resolution, and low fan noise. The HT8050’s claim to fame is its THX HD Display certification. This means the projector passed a wide variety of tests to ensure image quality and color accuracy. The BenQ renders 3840x2160 distinct pixels for a true 8.3-million pixel 4K/UHD resolution. It has a specified brightness of 2,200 lumens and a 50,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, making for a sharp image, regardless of the content. Setup is simple, and the device allows for a 1.5X manual zoom.
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The HT8050 lacks a powered lens to support Lens Memory, meaning you won’t be able to save any settings. It also lacks HDR and 3D compatibility. In general, this projector delivers a good image with only a few drawbacks.
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Pros:
  • 2,200 lumens
  • 50,000:1 dynamic contrast
  • THX HD Display certification
  • Easy to set up

Cons:
  • No HDR or 3D capability
  • Non-powered (manual) zoom and lens shift


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