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2019 Holiday Guide To Seven Great Home Theater Projectors Under $2000

By Art Feierman
2019 Holiday Guide to Seven Great Home Theater Projectors Under $2000

‘Tis the season to be shopping for your next home entertainment or home theater projector! Welcome to our annual shopping guide, the Holiday Guide for Seven Great Home Theater Projectors Under $2000. In this guide we’ve selected some great projectors for you to choose from, ranging from just under the $2,000 mark, to one just below $200 – hello, stocking stuffers! We’ll give you the scoop on a number of great home projectors at different price points, but also, where appropriate, links to some sweet deals for some of them.

Whether you’re looking for a new projector for your dedicated home theater, or one for your living room that’s bright enough to handle the flicker of the fire light as you sip hot cocoa in your fuzzy socks – this guide has a projector for you. We have projectors to enjoy Holiday films with, binge watch Ducktales on your new Disney+ account, and even those that elevate your sports viewing experience and make your Super Bowl party one your friends will never forget.

Also check out: Your 2019 Holiday Guide to Five Great Home Theater Projectors Over $2,000

Before we introduce the first of our seven recommendations, let’s talk about what you’ll need for your new home entertainment setup!

You’ll need:

  • A projector
  • A screen (ALR – Ambient Light Rejecting – screens are all the rage these days, and are perfect for your bright room!)
  • Source material (Blu-ray/DVD content, satellite/cable/HDTV, streaming content such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Disney+ etc.)
  • Cables (HDMI typically, audio cable if you’ve got an external sound system)
  • An external sound system (these under $2000 projectors will have built-in speakers, but you can’t really beat the sound of external speakers – you may even already have these)
Holiday Guide Under-$2000 Projector Montage

Projectors can be categorized in two basic ways:

Home Entertainment: These projectors do well in bright rooms – normal rooms like living rooms and family rooms – as they are designed with these types of rooms and their typical lighting conditions in mind. They tend come with built-in speakers and, though less sophisticated than home theater projectors, will offer a better, larger image than normal 60” LCD TV viewing.

Home Theater: These projectors are designed for rooms with good to great lighting control, such as a dedicated home theater or “cave,” but any room that can be darkened (blackout curtains/shades do nicely during the day) will usually work with these types of projectors. The main difference between Home Theater and Home Entertainment projects is that Home Theater projectors tend to have superior picture quality and a few extras.

Let’s meet this year’s recommendations for our Under $2000 Holiday Guide, shall we?

ViewSonic X10-4K – Smart and Portable with a Stunning 4K Image

ViewSonic takes their portability claim seriously with the X10-4K – with a small footprint of about 10” x 10” and a height of just over 6”, it weighs only 9 lbs and comes with its own carrying handle. Nice. It even has its own pair of 8-watt Harman Kardon Bluetooth speakers, which should be loud enough for your home entertainment purposes, and, being Harman Kardon, I fully expect the sound quality to be pretty good for onboard speakers. We always suggest an external sound system for your regular home entertainment setup, but these speakers will get the job done (and then some) when you’re on the move!

The 2,400 lumen short throw ViewSonic X10-4K is a smart, 4K resolution projector that brings the cinema feel to any room in your home.
The 2,400 lumen short throw ViewSonic X10-4K is a smart, 4K resolution projector that brings the cinema feel to any room in your home.

The ViewSonic X10-4K claims 2,400 lumens, which is plenty bright for a dedicated home theater, and even has enough horsepower for a living room environment. This is a short throw projector, so it’ll likely sit on a coffee table or other such surface, as it can produce a large image from just several feet away from your screen. Speaking of image size, ViewSonic claims the X10-4K can project an image of up to 200” diagonally! Impressive. Keep in mind, however, that the larger the image, the more lumens you need – so if you’re going much above 120”, better to keep this projector in a dedicated home theater.

We're getting one of these in for review, and anticipate great image quality and color based on previous review experiences with ViewSonic.
We're getting one of these in for review, and anticipate great image quality and color based on previous review experiences with ViewSonic.

Let’s talk smarts. This projector’s got ‘em! It has integrated smart Wi-Fi connectivity that lets you stream from your favorite services like Netflix and YouTube. Want to control the projector with your personal assistant? The X10-4K is compatible with both Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant for voice control capabilities. Dig that!

The X10-4K is $1,499 and can be found on the ViewSonic site, or on Amazon for a couple hundred dollars off. Sweet deal, if you ask us! We’ll be bringing one of these in for review shortly, and will report on its gaming capabilities – I think it’s safe to say, however, that the projector will at least be suitable for the casual gamer, but you might want to stay tuned for the review if you or the person you’re buying this for is the competitive-online-gamer type.

Let’s Talk Sound – What to Get for Your Home Entertainment/Home Theater System

If you’re looking to buy a home entertainment or home theater projector, we think it’s safe to bet that you care about good sound quality. After all, you’re bringing the big screen experience into your home – why skimp on stellar sound? Your movies were meant to be enjoyed with booming low ends and clear highs. While all of these projectors come with onboard speakers that will suffice in a pinch, you’re really going to be missing out on that bass. Die Hard just isn’t the same with tinny explosions.

Not only do you owe it to yourself to get a decent sound system to go along with your home entertainment or home theater projectors, you owe it to the amazing sound designers that work tirelessly to bring you awesome soundscapes, sound effects, and booming explosions in your favorite films and TV shows. The truth is, without some serious speakers, you’re going to be missing out on a good portion of the experience.

Fun fact – all sound affects you hear in a feature film and most TV shows were created in a studio after filming, rather than on a set during production. Oh, sure, sound is recorded on set, but it’s mostly as a placeholder for the work that will take place in a studio. All those footsteps, the creak of a door, the rustle of clothing as the actor moves – those are all created in studio by foley artists and recorded by audio engineers.

Heels walking on concrete, the groan of a floorboard, or horrific sounds like a sword stabbing in Game of Thrones – that’s all created by foley artists. They do this in creative ways, like, in the case of the stab wound, putting a knife or sword through a cantaloupe. Sound design is an art form, and listening to that art through on-board speakers doesn’t do justice to the work of these artists.

With proper speakers, you can “feel the bass” in explosions and epic fight scenes, like in The Avengers: End Game, just as you can in the movie theater. It can really mean the difference between a home entertainment experience and the real-deal, home theater experience. You’re already investing several hundred to $1,000+ for your projector, so why not complete the package with some killer speakers?

Art talks about the $199-399 Home Theater in a Box several times a year, which will have everything you need for excellent sound and then some. It usually comes with surround sound speakers, a subwoofer, a “receiver” and either a DVD (how archaic) or Blu-ray player. You can get this online, at Target, Best Buy, Walmart – pretty much anywhere you buy electronics. This is one of those cases where I think it pays to go into a physical store and talk to an actual human before purchasing – you’ll likely be able to hear the speakers in action, which is a definite plus in my book. Whatever you go with, your external speakers will complete your home theater experience beautifully.

To OLED or Not to OLED? That is the Question

That’s a hard NO from us here at Projector Reviews. We’re all about projectors here! Did our name give us away?

We’re all about the big screen experience here. Yes, you can get a rather large, incredible OLED TV – but be prepared to pay a lot more for one of those than you will for a home theater setup.

It’s no secret that manufacturers have been in a neck-and-neck race to provide you with affordable 4K UHD options for home entertainment and home theater projectors. Many of these options are ultra-bright, and, when paired with the proper ALR screen, can go head to head with those overpriced OLEDs.

Projectors can just give you a bigger and better image for less of the Benjamins. Plus, they’re just a much more awesome conversation piece than a TV ever could be. We’re talking about a seriously immersive experience that beats going out to the movies! My house is the place to go for movie watching, and my friends and family who have TVs are seriously disappointed to watch content on a measly 65”.

If you’re reading this guide, it’s safe to bet that you are, too. Read on to learn about even more affordable options for your living room, family room, spare bedrooms, or dedicated home theater.

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