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The 12 Hottest Home Theater Projectors of the Summer

All of our Top 10 lists are segmented by price categories, but there is no single list to indicate the hottest home theater projectors on ProjectorCentral simply by total reader response. So here it is...

We track the number of times readers access the spec pages and reviews of all models, and we also track when readers click through to resellers or vendors from each model's pages. This gives us excellent visibility into the projectors attracting the most attention in the market. So ignoring price, resolution, make, and so on, the 12 hottest projectors currently on the market are these:

1. Optoma HD143X ($499)

Of the roughly 1600 projectors in current production, the Optoma HD143X tops the list as the projector currently getting the most reader attention. No surprise -- it is priced at $499, and there are simply a lot more people who can afford $499 than there are people with larger budgets. Though the HD143X (a.k.a. the HD144X in Europe), is extremely low in price, Optoma has other aggressively priced models including the HD27 ($549), the HD27e ($579), and the HD29Darbee ($649). For the small incremental expense, you may find one of these to be the better deal for you.

2. ViewSonic PX727-4K ($1299)

In second place and right on the heels of the Optoma 143X is the hottest selling 4K projector on the market, the ViewSonic PX727-4K. Given that it is pricier than the HD143X it is remarkable that they are so close in overall consumer response -- clearly a testament to the power of 4K to inspire the consumer audience. ViewSonic has a brighter version of the PX727-4K, the ViewSonic PX747-4K, also extremely popular and appearing at #4 on this list. The PX727-4K won our Editor's Choice Award, and you can see the review here.

3. Optoma UHD60 ($1799)

The Optoma UHD60 is the best-selling of the 4K projectors featuring the 0.66" DLP chip which lends it some additional lumen muscle and contrast. However, if you want a more refined version of the UHD60, check out the Optoma UHD65 ($2299), which is not quite as bright, but incremently higher in contrast. The UHD65 has an RGBRGB wheel compared to the UHD60's RGBCY. It also offers frame interpolation and a third year of warranty. For the additional $500, it is the better deal for my taste. But money talks and so does a 3000 lumen rating, and a lot of buyers can get by without frame interpolation, so the UHD60 comes in at #3 in the top selling models this summer.

4. ViewSonic PX747-4K ($1299)

In fourth place is ViewSonic's brighter version 4K UHD projector, the PX747-4K. Since it is also priced at $1299, it is simply a matter of deciding which of the two fits your needs better--the PX727-4K has an RGBRGB wheel and achieves better color saturation, whereas the RGBW wheel on the PX747-4K gives more ANSI lumens and brighter highlights, making it better suited to ambient light situations. Either way it is no surprise that the least expensive of the 4K UHD projectors find their way to the top of the hottest projectors of the summer.

5. LG Electronics HU80KA ($2999)

LG's first 4K projector comes in a tower format with portability as a key design criterion. It can be easily set up and aimed at a wall or screen on a temporary basis, then returned to storage when not in use. It comes with outstanding on-board audio and wi-fi signal enabled to make it all the more suitable for portable or back yard use, and its laser light source renders excellent contrast and eliminates the lamp replacements. It qualifies as the most unique and unusual projector design among all of the 4K projector options. There must be a lot of buyers interested in laser-driven 4K in a portable package, because it ranks #5 in popularity this summer.

6. Epson Home Cinema 2150 ($899)

The Epson 2150 is currently Epson's best-selling home theater projector due to a combination of excellent color brightness along with best in class 3D performance, frame interpolation, geometric correction, and MHL and Miracast compatibility, all for an aggressive retail of $899 with frequently much lower street prices. This high performance fully loaded native 1080p model currently stands at #6 in popularity among the 1600 models currently in production.

7. Optoma UHZ65 ($3999)

Of the 12 hottest home theater projectors, four of them are from Optoma, including the UHZ65, which is #1 on the Top 10 Home Theater projectors priced in the $3000 to $10,000 range. The key to the excitement on this 4K projector is its 20,000 hour laser light engine, combined with a high 3000 lumen rating and high contrast, a 1.6x zoom with lens shift for easy installation, and (for people like me who require it) frame interpolation.

8. Epson Home Cinema 1060 ($649)

Epson's least expensive home theater unit comes in at only $649. Not only that, but it has 6000 hours of lamp life in full power mode, and if you ever need to replace the lamp it is only $49. So when money talks, it shouts on the HC 1060 as one of the most affordable home theater projectors on the market. It is indeed a great value, but for a few bucks more you can step up to the Epson 2150 and get Full HD 3D, a 1.6x zoom lens, MHL and Miracast, and frame interpolation, along with the same cheap $49 replacement lamp. That is a lot more projector for not a lot more investment, so if your budget can swing it that's the one we would want. (On occasion the 2150 is on sale for $699, which is a downright steal when you can find it.)

9. Optoma UHD50 ($1399)

The least expensive of Optoma's large array of 4K projectors is the UHD50, at a mere $1399. The UHD50 has a very similar looking sibling called the Optoma UHD51A at $1699, which as it turns out is currently #13 in the list of most popular home theater models, just slightly behind the UHD50 (and just slightly off our Hottest 12 list because we had to cut it off somewhere). Clearly price is the major driving factor in consumer home theater, so it is not surprising that the aggressively priced UHD50 attracts a bit more click activity and page views. However, for $300 more the UHD51A gives you Full HD 3D capability, an additional year of warranty, and to spice it up a bit, it has Alexa and Google voice command as well a 4K UHD media player and Android OS. Take a look at both -- only you can tell which is the better deal for your needs.

10. Epson Home Cinema 5040UB ($2699)

The Epson 5040UB is a magnificent beast, a more robust and fully featured projector than any of the projectors in this list of 12. It is almost two years old but there are very good reasons it is still among the hottest selling home theater projectors on the market. It is 4K compatible and provides 4K enhanced pixel shifting to not only render native 4K source material in close approximation to native 4K resolution, but it upgrades 1080p source material to much higher apparent resolution as well. Beyond that it has full powered 2.1x all-glass zoom lens and extensive powered lens shift, making easier than just about anything on this list to place and install. Automated Lens Memory lets you automatically reposition the lens to display multiple aspect ratio formats in constant image height on a 2.4:1 screen. It has excellent color brightness that exceeds its lumen rating, Full HD 3D, and frame interpolation. There is a wireless version, the 10. Epson Home Cinema 5040UBe that is available for about $200 more. Pricing varies and you can sometimes find it on sale for as little as $2299, so if you're shopping make sure to check current Epson 5040UB prices here.

11. ViewSonic Pro7827HD ($499)

Price is king in the entry-level home theater game, and Viewsonic is one of the most aggressive price players in the market. The ViewSonic Pro7827HD is priced at $499 with a whopping three year warranty--unheard of at this price level. ViewSonic has been coming on strong in the lower end home theater market with very low pricing and substantially improved performance on many models. This is the first time ViewSonic has had three models in the Top 12 most popular models in the industry for as long as we can remember. In addition to its 4K projectors near the top of this list, ViewSonic also offers the PJD7828HDL which is also pulling excellent popularity numbers (#27 out of 1600 at the moment) at a slightly higher price of $589. The 7828HDL did exceptionally well in our recent sub-$700 Home Theater shootout, so it is well worth a look if you're checking out the Pro7827HD.

12. Sony VPL-HW45ES ($1799)

Sony has a well-deserved and very strong following as the company has been making elegant home theater projectors for some time now. The most popular model at the moment is the HW45ES, a native 1080p projector with pristine color and contrast, now priced below $1800. Just below it in popularity is the native 4K Sony VW285ES, priced at $4999 and coming in at position #15 in the ranks of the most popular models of the summer.

We could go on forever as we've got all 1600 models currently in production ranked by reader interest, but this is enough to give you a thumbnail look at what is catching the attention and imagination of our readers this summer.

To save you the time of emailing, yes we also noticed that BenQ is notably absent from the top 12, but they are not far behind. In case you're wondering where BenQ's models are ranking, the BenQ HT2050A ($749) is at # 14, the 4K UHD resolution HT2550 ($1499) is at # 17, and the HT2150ST ($899), which won our Editor's Choice Award two years ago, comes in at # 21.

One thing is certain -- there is a lot of terrific home theater happening out there at a wide range of price levels. There is a huge array of models to choose from. Which projector is right for you?

Evan Powell


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