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Your 2018 Holiday Guide to Six Great Home Theater Projectors Under $2000

By Nikki Zelinger

Welcome to our Holiday Guide for Six Great Home Theater Projectors Under $2000, where you can learn about some awesome projectors and also have an opportunity to win one of two projectors or some smart home products we’re giving away! We'll give you the scoop on a number of great home projectors at different price points, but also, where appropriate, links to some great deals for some of them.

As the weather gets colder, we retreat into our cozy homes, snuggled in soft blankets, warming ourselves with hot cocoa and watch our favorite holiday films. The best way to enjoy those films is, of course, in the warm embrace of loved ones, and – on the big screen. 4K home theater and home entertainment projectors are getting more and more affordable, so why not pick one up to enjoy this holiday season? We promise you’ll enjoy it all the way past The Superbowl.

This year’s guide features six great home theater projectors under $2000, along with some valuable information on home theater extras. These are our top picks for affordable home entertainment, with, of course, our usual useful commentary. ‘Tis the season to be shopping, so let’s get started!

Also check out: Your 2018 Holiday Guide to Four Great Home Theater Projectors Over $2000

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

You’ll need:

  • A projector
  • A screen (or near-white, smooth wall to project onto)
  • Source material (Blu-ray/DVD content, satellite/cable/HDTV, streaming content such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, 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)

Projectors can be categorized in two basic ways:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Now, without further adieu, let’s meet this year’s recommendations for our Under $2000 Holiday Guide.

ViewSonic PX747-4K – The First 4K UHD Projector for Under $1000

ViewSonic PX747-4K Projector

The ViewSonic PX747-4K is the first and only 4K UHD projector on the market you can get for under $1000. That is, for the next two weeks! ViewSonic is currently running a promotion on Amazon where you can get this $1,099 4K capable projector for just $999. With a whopping 3,500 claimed lumens (around 3,200 measured), this projector is ViewSonic’s bright room version of their PX727-4K projector, which sells for several hundred more.

The PX747-4K is designed to tackle a lot of ambient light, such as what is seen in living rooms with large windows and a lack of lighting control. Bright room projectors are excellent choices for sports viewing, as no one wants a dimly lit Superbowl party! This DLP projector has plenty of lumens to go around and features an RGBW color wheel – red, green, blue, and white – and uses a clear slice to allow more white lumens through, lending to a significant increase in lumens over the PX727-4K, which sports an RGBRGB color wheel. Sure, its sibling may have better color, but when it comes to cutting through ambient light, the PX747-4K takes the cake.

Its portability and built-in 10-watt stereo speakers make it so the PX747-4K can be taken with you wherever you want a big picture, whether traveling to the in-law’s for the holidays or taking the projector outside for a movie night once the weather warms up. Though the 10-watt speakers produce adequate sound, we always suggest using an external sound system to get the most out of your projector experience. A home theater in a box or even external stereo speakers will do the trick!

The ViewSonic PX747-4K has an impressive lamp life of up to 15,000 hours – but that’s with SuperEco on. With it off, you can probably expect it air on the higher side of the norm for lamp based projectors. Either way, the projector will give you a lot of bang for your buck – especially at the reduced price – and have you enjoying many thousands of hours of entertainment before you will need to switch out the lamp.

This home entertainment projector has a 1.20:1 manual zoom lens, which isn’t a lot but does provide some placement flexibility. ViewSonic is known for simplicity when it comes to their inputs and connectors panels on their home projectors. Still, you’ll find everything you need for home entertainment purposes – two HDMIs, one 1.4 and one 2.2 for accepting 4K content. Speaking of 4K, the PX747-4K has support for HDR, but does not attempt to tackle the expanded color space of P3/BT.2020.

The ViewSonic PX747-4K has an excellent warranty! Three years parts and labor with one year warranty on the lamp, and a year free of their Express Exchange® Service. That is excellent! Most sub-$1000 projectors only come with a one year limited warranty, so add that 3 year warranty to the $999 price tag and you’ve got yourself a great value!

Art reports that the PX747-4K has entry level color – that is, what we come to expect from home entertainment projectors. It’s not as good as its home theater sibling, but that’s to be expected. The main draw of this projector, aside from the 4K UHD resolution, is its high lumen count to cut through ambient light. At $999 for a 4K UHD projector, there’s no better deal around. If you’re into 4K, have a bright room, and are into serious discounts, look no further than the ViewSonic PX747-4K on Amazon!

Sound for Your Home Entertainment/Home Theater System

If you’re serious about having good sound, it doesn’t pay to skimp on an external sound system. Sure, all of the projectors included in this guide come with their own on-board speakers, many of which have respectable sound, but they are no match for a good surround sound system. Sound designers, whether in film or TV, put a lot of thought and work into creating soundscapes that influence the way you experience the film, and intend for you to experience this through good speakers.

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, we record sound 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 Spiderman Homecoming, 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 investing several hundred to $1000 plus for your home entertainment projector, after all, so why not complete your home theater system 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. Personally, I’m a fan of Amazon Prime. Whatever you go with, your external speakers will complete your home theater experience beautifully.

To OLED or Not to OLED? That is the Question

To OLED or not to OLED, that is the question. Our answer is (drumroll, please)…


Well, not if you want both large and affordable.

Don’t act so surprised, you know we’re all about getting the beautiful, big screen experience using home theater projectors. With the advent of the affordable 4K UHD projectors that hit the market this year, you bet that they’re competitive with those stunning OLED TVs, achieving far larger image sizes than similarly priced TVs. For a 77” OLED TV, you’re looking at a median price of around $6K. For that amount, you can get yourself a nice true 4K projector and 100" or 110" or 120" screen, and call it a day. And with the 4K projector solution you'll be watching a picture that is anywhere from almost double to over 3x the size of that 77" TV.  Can you say wow?

With some of these affordable 4K capable projectors, you can get up to 200” diagonal for under $2000. (Let's be practical, most home theaters are 100" to about 135" screen size.  If you have a 200" screen, my guess is a huge house, and a way bigger budget than $2K for a projector!  Still, that works out to twice the screen size for a fraction of the price. Now that’s a deal. There are entry level home entertainment projectors starting at below $500, and once you get up to around the $2K range, 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”.

ambient light - Hisense

Hisense Laser TV. UST design, ALR screen, in our testing room, with significant ambient light from large picture window - shade is half open

Even if you’ve got a horrendously bright living room, there’s likely an already on the market projector for you. Bright room projectors are affordable and do not require you to have anywhere near the same level of control over ambient light, as you would need for a home theater projector that has low lumens. So don’t let your TV-lover friends try to sway you into thinking TVs are the best way for you to enjoy sports, movies, and your favorite TV shows. They may be well-meaning, but they haven’t got a clue until they’ve experience the glory that is having a giant screen and a projector that’s uniquely suited to your bright room. You’ll show them!

A projector can be a huge money-saver as well, for those of you with a frugal mind. For a family of four, going out to the movies can be a costly affair. If you figure around $50 for tickets, absurdly priced concessions ($5 for a soda that’ll cause you to miss the best parts of the film), and you’re looking at around $100 per visit. If you see just one movie a month, that’s $1200 per year! Congratulations, you could have bought your first 4K projector for that price. Bring the theater to your home, and you’ll save thousands over your kids’ lifetimes.

Oh, sure, you may still want to enjoy a night out at the movies, but you won’t have to leave the house to get the big screen experience. In general, your whole movie-watching experience will improve with a home theater projector, as you will have no noisy neighbors, or Texty Texterson next to you – unless you’ve got a teenager, in which case, their fingers are probably habitually fused to their phone. And, of course, the experience of a fun night in with friends and family is always worth far more than you’ll save money-wise.

Your Chance to Win!


Win one of 2 pico projectors, or one of 2 pieces of home automation gear! This holiday season, we’re giving away one of these products to FOUR lucky winners.

Acer C200 Pico Projector
ViewSonic M1 Pico Projector
Lightify FLEX RGBW Light Strips
Lightify LED Flood Smart Bulb

Enter via the pinned post on our Facebook Page.

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