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Affordable 4K Capable Projectors Comparison

Posted on September 14, 2017 by Art Feierman

There are more coming, but we’ve reviewed to some degree or another, six projectors – none of which are true 4K projectors. These are projectors that can, at a minimum, view Blu-ray UHD content of 3840x2160 resolution. All of these projectors have street prices under $3000, with the lowest listing for $1999. For your convenience, we've compiled these affordable 4K capable projectors into a comparison report.

At the time this is being published, the lowest cost true 4K projector – which, for now, I’ll simply define as a projector that can put 8.3 million or more pixels on the screen without using pixel shifting techniques – is still Sony’s VPL-VW365ES, which recently dropped in price from $9999 to $7999.

Now, just in case you haven’t met our contenders before, such as in our 2017 Best Home Theater Projectors report that this comparison is attached to, here are our contestants – and a little background.

The Basics

First of all, the six projectors represent only three manufacturers, in alphabetical order: Epson, Optoma, and Vivitek. Three are Epsons, two are Optomas and the last is, (obviously) the Vivitek.

That said, the three Epsons are very similar, with two of them being near identical, but with varying prices, and with the most expensive of the three definitely being the higher end performer. The two Optoma’s are also similar to each other, but differ more than the two lower cost Epsons do from each other. And, as there’s only one Vivitek… you get the picture.

When it comes to 4K, there are some basic things to know. With 4K capabilities, most of such projectors support two picture enhancing technologies that aren’t found with standard Blu-ray or other 1080p and lower content: HDR, and the BT.2020 color space – which is the standard, although the goal, as explained elsewhere, is to achieve P3 color space (just like those cinema projectors in your local theater complex).

Of our contenders, none can achieve full BT.2020 or the slightly easier P3, but then, even the expensive true 4K projectors such as the Sonys and a $35,000 JVC can’t do full BT.2020.

But, all six projectors attempt P3 with varying success. And, you can say the same thing for their HDR abilities – High Dynamic Range.

So, I’ve stalled enough. Time to meet the projectors, and what we know about them as far as having reviewed them.

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