Battle of the Budget Projectors

Evan Powell and Bill Livolsi, June 16, 2005
Contents
The Projectors

The hottest selling home theater projectors in the market these days are the inexpensive DLP projectors built around Texas Instruments' 854x480 resolution chip. With some of them selling at or below $1,000, these units deliver the best video quality for the money we've ever seen. They truly shine with NTSC DVD, since they display this high quality 480-line video source line-for-line with no vertical scaling. Furthermore, they generate amazingly good HDTV quality despite their lower resolution format.

If you want to step into the world of large screen home theater and don't want to spend a lot of money doing it, the new 480p projectors are the way to go. To help you decide which one might be best for you, we've lined up these seven popular models for comparison:

* (click here for updated information on the Optoma H27)

These are all small, portable projectors weighing 5 to 7 lbs. However, they are not business class projectors-they are designed for home theater. As a group they are not as bright as comparably sized business projectors might be. However, they produce video quality that is far superior to what you can get from a typical business class projector.

Each of these models features the 854x480 resolution DLP chip, which is the same native 16:9 widescreen format that you see on most of the new plasma and LCD TVs these days. They will display HDTV full-frame without black bars. Meanwhile, regular 4:3 video sources like standard television will typically be displayed in the center of the screen with black pillars on either side. You will want to use a 16:9 aspect ratio screen with these projectors (that is, 16 units in width for every 9 units in height).

Review Contents: The Projectors The Issues Additional Issues Conclusion