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The 2015 Best In Class - Home Theater Projectors: Award Winners

Posted on August 29, 2015 by Phil Jones

This year's list of winning (and runners-ups) awards for Home Theater Projectors are organized into five price range/categories, plus a Best of the Best!  As such, we ended up with more awards than usual.  Go figure!

These awards go to projectors that are current models, which Projector Reviews has reviewed.

We know there are some other good ones out there (mostly over $10,000, and especially over $30,000) that we never get a chance to review.  This year we've added a Best of the Best award, which to put simply, is the projector I would select if someone said:  You can pick one projector out of all those you've reviewed, to use exclusively for the next couple of years, price no object.

You'll notice that some manufacturers have more entries, and win more awards.  Is there some magic involved, or is it just a numbers game.

Truth is, it's a little of both, but mostly a numbers game.  To help explain the numbers portion, Here are the number of 1080p (and 4K) projectors each manufacturer listed in this report currently have on the market.

I count the same basic projector sold under different model numbers through different distribution channels as one projector.  Even a minor difference in projectors won't cause me to count them separately on this table, such as having two versions one with a standard lens one with a short throw. Or the same projector with/without wireless HDMI.

Consider: 1080p and 4K projectors:

Number of 1080p and 4K projectors by Brand
Brand # of Models Awards
Acer 1 0
BenQ 4 1
Epson  16* 6
JVC 4** 2
LG 1 0
Optoma 8 1
Panasonic 2 0
Sharp 1 0
Sony*** 5 4
Viewsonic 6 1

Sony has the the strongest line-up in that they had the highest percent of their model line up win an award (4 of 5).  JVC was close behind with 2 of 4.

Epson, easily won the most awards, but not surprising since they not only have, by far, the most projectors in their line-up, but they are the only company with projectors in all 5 "classes".

Only Epson, JVC, and Sony have projectors over $3500 in this report.  Perhaps the fact that Epson has more models (25 if you count all variations) by far, than anyone else, and that they are in all market segments, is why they has just over 40% of the US market share, per industry research firm PMA. (Purely by coincidence, with 6 total awards, Epson received 40% of all awards.)

* As an example of not counting slightly different versions as separate projectors for this chart:  To get 16 Epsons:  Epson 2040 and 2045, counted as one, 5030UB, 5030UBe, 6030UB, counted as one, 3500, 3600e, counted as one, etc.  In Epson's case, many of these pairs have slightly different brightness and contrast claims and/or extra features such as wireless.

Epson had 25 projectors total if all counted separately, by far the highest, with Optoma second at 9.  If we counted minor spec variations, (i.e. 1800 lumens vs 2000 lumens), wireless, the Epson count would have been 24.  (as of 8/2015), indicating that 3 models were identical to others, but for the marketing aspects (bundling, etc.)  Note, Epson announced (8/25/2015) two more 1080p home projectors (not in the 25).  These are not replacing existing models, but were unavailable for review in time for the report, so obviously not included.

** With JVC's 4, they truly only have 4 different models.  That is, there are four different projectors, performance wise.  Period.  In each case their 3 "versions" of each projector, two are physically identical, but the warranty is different (and one with longer warranty comes with a spare lamp, for $500 more).  The third version (the X models) have silver trim instead of gold as their major difference.

*** Sony uses different model numbers in the EU, compared to the US.  We do not track them separately.  For example, the VPL-VW600ES in the US is the same as the VPL-VW-500 in Europe.

Optoma has the second biggest line-up with 8 listed, but 9 if minor variations counted.

Best Under $1000 (Entry Level) Projectors

Best In Class Performance:  BenQ HC1200

Best In Class, Value:  Epson Home Cinema 2040 / 2045

Best In Class, Value - Runner-Up: ViewSonic PJD-7822HDL

Best $1000 - $2000 Projectors

Winner - Best In Class:  Epson Pro Cinema 4030

Runner-Up - Best In Class:  Optoma HD161X / HD50

Runner-Up - Best In Class:  Epson Home Cinema 3500-3600e

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Best $2000 - $3500 Projectors

Winner - Best In Class:  Epson Home Cinema 5030ub/ube, Pro Cinema 6030UB

Winner - Best In Class:  Sony VPL-HW55ES

Runner-Up - Best in Class:  Sony VPL-HW40ES

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Best $3500+ Projectors

Winner - Best In Class:  Epson Pro Cinema LS10000

Best In Class, Runner-Up: JVC DLA-RS6710/X900R

Best In Class, Runner-Up:  JVC DLA-RS4910/X500R

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Best 4K Capable Projectors

A qualifying note:

This category considers two types of home theater projectors:

A.  Those that are native 4K, with the manufacturer stating that their projectors  support the new Blu-ray UHD standard.B.  Those that are native 1080p, but will accept 4K content including manufacturer support for the new Blu-ray UHD standard.

Another tie:

Winner - Best In Class: Epson Pro Cinema LS10000

Winner - Best In Class:  Sony VPL-VW350ES

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Best of the Best: Home Theater Projector

Best of the Best:  Sony VPL-VW1100ES

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Non-Winners of Note

The following are still other noteworthy projectors, that were seriously considered for but didn’t make the final cut for the Best In Class awards.  All won Hot Product Awards.

Listed by price, lowest to highest:

BenQ HT1075


Epson Pro Cinema LS9600

Epson Pro Cinema 6550WU

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