The 7 Best 4k Projectors

Updated December 15, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

7 Best 4k Projectors
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 38 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. If you want the full cinema experience in the comfort of your own home, then you need a high-quality 4K projector. Of course, the current cost of these means that only true cinephiles will be willing to buy one. For the average consumer who just likes to have a great home movie night, we have also included a few that use shifting technology to mimic 4K definition and come in at a lower price. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best 4k projector on Amazon.

7. Epson Home Cinema 4000

The Epson Home Cinema 4000 uses 3LCD technology, which allows it to create a full 10-bit color output with no rainbow effect or white segments. It is bright enough to use in rooms that have some ambient lighting, and comes in at a price that won't break the bank.
  • quickly switches between presets
  • supports 3d content
  • requires an external audio output
Brand Epson
Model Home Cinema 4000
Weight 31.7 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

6. Sony VPLVW385ES

The Sony VPLVW385ES produces an incredibly true-to-life picture, thanks to its Triluminos display technology, which offers a larger color spectrum than many other models. It also allows you to enjoy the fastest live sporting action without any blurring.
  • works well in rooms of all sizes
  • stores your screen format settings
  • six thousand-hour bulb life
Brand Sony
Model VPLVW385ES
Weight 37.3 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. JVC DLA-X790R

Watch your movies and sports on a big screen with the JVC DLA-X790R. It replicates the movie-going experience by producing a sharp, flicker-free, super high-definition image on large projection screens, or even a white wall in your bedroom, if you so choose.
  • thx-certified surround sound
  • lots of calibration options
  • low 21 db noise level
Brand JVC
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

4. Epson Home Cinema 5040UB

The Epson Home Cinema 5040UB not only accpets 4K content, but it also upscales non-4K content, too. It has a maximum color and white light brightness rating of 2,500 lumens, and allows for brightness adjustment depending on your viewing situation.
  • comes with hdmi cable clamps
  • handy quick setup guide
  • motorized lens adjustments
Brand Epson
Model Home Cinema 5040UB
Weight 31.9 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. JVC DLA-X990R

The JVC DLA-X990R is a highly capable model that supports 2 to 4K up-conversion and a wide variety of content playback. Its user-friendly lens has adjustable presets to personalize use, and it includes a smartphone app for easy control.
  • focus is razor sharp
  • suitable for screens over 150 inches
  • all components are hand tested
Brand JVC
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Optoma UHD60

The Optoma UHD60 uses HDR10 to produce extremely high contrast, so the blacks look extra deep, making the lighter colors pop. It creates an impressive 8.3-million-pixel image on the screen, allowing you to see all the fine details in videos.
  • wide color reproduction range
  • always stays perfectly aligned
  • flexible zoom and throw distance
Brand Optoma
Model UHD60
Weight 22.9 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Sony VPLVZ1000ES

The Sony VPLVZ1000ES is for true cinephiles who demand the very best movie-watching experience. It has a super short throw distance, allowing for simple installation in a variety of room sizes, and the Triluminos display produces rich, vibrant colors.
  • class two laser
  • displays colors simultaneously
  • digitally processes signals
Brand Sony
Model VPLVZ1000ES
Weight 77 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

In Digital Projection, Mirrors Make The Difference

Mirror technology has come a long way since that dastardly reflective consultant to the Wicked Queen of Snow White. And while somewhere along the way we lost the ability to interact with our mirrors on a personal or prophetic level, we have harnessed other incredible capabilities from mirrors that we've made exceedingly small.

In a digital projector, for example, the light that constitutes your image bounces off of an array of incredibly tiny mirrors called a Digital Micromirror Device before hitting the lens that provides its ultimate focus. Those mirrors, shaped like little squares, are usually only five micrometers across. A micrometer, for the record, is one millionth of a meter.

Despite their diminutive stature, the mirrors inside the DMD don’t add up to the same number of pixels present in the intended image. A 4K projector puts out an image that should contain 8,294,400 pixels, but the average DMD only contains half that many mirrors. On the one hand, this is because it’s rather expensive to produce millions of flawless, microscopic mirrors. On the other hand, it’s because the scientific minds that designed your projector knew that your eyes couldn’t tell the difference.

Thanks to phenomenon called wobulation, these projectors only need to supply you with about half of the necessary information in a given frame, as the projection itself moves on to the next frame before your mind could ever catch up. It’s also convenient for their manufacturing costs that the human brain’s frame rate is shamefully slow, even compared to the 24-frames-per-second speed of the cinema.

Home Sweet Home Theater

Fewer people than ever seem interested in going to the movies. Between the drive, the parking lot, the lines, and the prices, it often makes more sense to stay home. Positive blips in the numbers shouldn't fool you; the industry is in trouble. Every once in a while there will be a good year, bolstered by successive successes among the major studios' big tentpole franchises like Star Wars or Jurassic Park, but these are anomalies within a consistent downward trend. With those few major exceptions, no one can accurately predict what new properties will have any degree of success.

That uncertainty leads, unfortunately, to a steep rise in ticket and concession prices. For example, back in the early 1990s, it cost about $3.50 to get into the movies, and if you kept your ticket stub, many places would let you come back all day. Popcorn was $1.50 for a large, and a little box of candy cost no more than $1.25. Soda cost even less.

Nowadays, all that put together wouldn't even get you a popcorn, let alone get you in the door to see a film. So, more and more people are upgrading their home theater systems to provide them with the kind of moviegoing experience they used to look for down on Main Street.

Which isn't to say these projectors are only meant for movie lovers. Television broadcasts of sports and well-made shows look fantastic on them, especially when played on those units with an upscaling feature to make the most of your 1080p HD streams while we wait for the market and local internet speeds to catch up to 4K resolution. And gamers absolutely love a good projector for the available depth of detail in its blacks.

Some projectors will handle games better than others, however, and others are better suited for high-resolution cinema print transfers. Know what you want to use your projector for going into the purchase, and you'll get the most out it for years.

Projection Born In Darkness

To understand where modern projection began, one must reach back almost 2,500 years to the Chinese philosopher Mozi, who made the first known recorded reference to the camera obscura. This device, which lets light in through a very small hole, concentrates and redirects it onto a makeshift projection surface, could be as small as a shoebox or the size of an entire room.

Take the idea of a periscope, or a child's toy spy glass that lets you see around corners, and you have an idea of how the camera obscura works. Those two examples rely on an eyepiece, where the original designs of the camera obscura let their mirrors reflect the image onto a flat plane like a wall of wood or stone.

Eventually, innovators experimented with the means for preserving the images cast on these surfaces, and gave birth to film photography. About 150 year later, digital image recording revolutionized the industry, leading to a new wave of technologies.

Really, if you follow the path that light travels through a modern digital projector, not a whole lot has changed since those early days. We're just using more concentrated, more powerful light sources, inverting the initial image so that it appears upright when projected, and we have an enormous amount of microscopic little mirrors instead of one single mirror that sends the image through precision lenses.

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Last updated on December 15, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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