The Optoma HD142X gets our top pick for best home theater projector under $1,000 because of its clarity, contrast, brightness and resolution all at a great price.
For families looking to build out their home theater systems, a quality projector is a great way to anchor your setup, even when you have a specific budget in mind.
The market offers plenty of home projectors that won’t break the bank, and consumer feedback suggests the Optoma HD142X is considered one of the best home theater projectors under $1,000.
With its high contrast ratio, excellent brightness and above-average clarity for its price point, the Optoma HD142X offers the comprehensive quality and flexibility you need for a home theater system.
It works well in both indoor and outdoor lighting conditions, and with a number of options, adjustments and features available, it’s the perfect home theater project under $1,000 for movies, television, video games and other media.
Here’s a look at the Optoma HD142X and four other home projectors that offer excellent quality for less than $1,000.
Editor’s Choice: Optoma HD142X
Best Sub $1k Home Theater Projector
Optoma is an internationally recognized company that uses DLP technology – a type of mirror-based tech that allows for better color and clarity – to produce some of the most popular home and business projectors on the market.
The HD142X is a great entry-level home projector that offers quality and clarity that’s difficult to find from competing products at this point.
In fact, many users have noted that the HD142X has picture clarity, contrast and brightness that is comparable to models costing thousands of dollars.
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For those reasons, the HD142X is our Editor’s Choice for best home theater project under $1,000. It has an industry-leading 23,000:1 contrast ratio, which outperforms just about every other sub-$1k home theater projector on the market.
Its 3,000 lumens brightness also beats most of its competitors, so the combination of brightness and contrast is difficult to surpass with other models in this price range.
It’s a surprisingly small unit for what you get, and many consumers are surprised at the overall quality that comes from such a small projector. Its size and portability make it a great option for your backyard just as much as your living room, and easy set-up makes it convenient to use in multiple areas throughout the use – or outside.
Optoma HD142X: The Goods
The screen size ranges from about 66 inches to 107 inches, and many users note that even at its largest, the picture clarity is excellent. One of the most convenient aspects of the projector is that it syncs up with smart phones and other streaming devices, such as Roku, so that you can play videos, music or other media without cumbersome hook-ups and connections.
It’s capable of playing 3D video, and users often cite that the 3D quality of the projector is better than expected, though it’s important to remember that 3D video and capabilities are still relatively new and they’re being improved all the time.
The HD142X has a full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080, and the lamp life is an impressive 8,000 hours. Some customers noted that they did have to have the bulbs replaced before that 8,000-hour mark, but that the company (or Amazon) was able to replace the bulb at no cost in many situations.
There is a 1-year warranty on parts and many users have said that for the price point, it’s one of the highest quality projectors they’ve used in a home or business setting.
Nerd Techy claimed the HD142X is “capable of a wealth of high-end technology that’ll likely outperform most other models for the price.” It was also named one of the best home theater projectors for gaming systems, including Xbox One, Playstation and personal computers.
Who’s it Best for?
The HD142X is best for households that want excellent picture quality and clarity without spending over $1,000. It works well for all types of media, so if you have a family that plays movies, TV shows, video games and music, you’ll find the HD142X handles all of these with ease.
Overall, the HD142X is an excellent entry-level, sub-$1k home theater projector that will give you the quality of a higher-priced model without the extra expense. On Amazon, more than 75% of users gave the Optoma HD142X 5 stars, and 90% of all reviewers gave the home projector 4 stars or more.
At this price point, you’ll be able to really put together a strong home theater system without spending too much money, and for that reason, the HD142X gets our number one vote.
The Next Best Thing: BenQ W1070
The reason the BenQ W1070 takes second place is due to its brightness and contrast ratio being slightly less than the HD142X, but these are differences that most viewers won’t be able to notice, depending on the lighting and viewing conditions.
This BenQ models offers excellent color quality and clarity, and many users note that it works great for Blu-Ray and 3D viewing without quality loss.
Where the HD142X has a contrast ratio of 23,000:1, the W1070 is about 10,000:1, which, again, may not be noticeable for most viewers. The lamp life is slightly less – 6,000 hours compared to 8,000 – but the brand’s reputation makes up for some of these differences.
The audio performance of this projector is above-average for its price point, and if audio quality is a big factor for you and your family, you may want to consider this option over the HD142X. Both models will provide integrated audio options that sound great in most rooms, however.
Who’s it Best for?
For those who are willing to spend a little more than for the Optoma HD142X, you’ll get a projector that, while having lower contrast and brightness stats, makes up for in sheer power and performance. The overall picture quality of this model consistently goes beyond customers’ expectations, and the number one thing said about this model is that it overdelivers, even after a lot of use.
This would be best for those who are concerned more with an overall, integrated media experience rather than strictly looking at numbers. For instance, 2,000 lumens of brightness is often more than enough, and the difference between 2,000 and 3,000 lumens might not be as big as you’d imagine.
If you’re looking for a solid projector you can keep around the house for years to come, the W1070 may be your best bet. More than 80% of all Amazon reviewers gave the W1070 five stars, and 92% of all reviews gave the model 4 stars or more. The few negative reviews were due mainly to specific issues related to shipping, returns and the like and were not always a reflection of the quality of the projector.
Best LCD Option: Epson Home Cinema 2040
Best LCD Home Theater Projector Under $1,000
While the Optoma and BenQ models above are based on DLP technology, utilizing lots of mirrors to perfect color quality and performance, there are also LCD projectors (also called 3LCD) that use traditional liquid crystal display technology to show video and media.
There are pros and cons for each type of technology (read more here), but in general, LCD projectors offer slightly better contrast ratios, both have relatively similar brightness aspects, but DLP projectors may have better motion-blur features that make it better for gaming or 3D viewing.
If you’re looking for a solid LCD projector for movies and the like, the Epson Home Cinema 2040 is one of the highest-rated projectors on the market for this price point and usage.
Its LCD technology allows for vibrant, dynamic coloring and even though the brightness isn’t as high as the HD142X, you’ll find that the Epson offers clarity and performance in its own ways. It is one of the few solid home theater projectors that offers higher contrast ratios than the HD142X.
It can be used to expand a screen size up to 300 inches, so if you’re looking for something big without picture quality loss, the Epson can do the job.
Who’s it Best for?
Like the HD142X, the Home Cinema 2040 supports smart phones and other streaming devices, so it’s convenient for tech-savvy families and households. It’s easy to set up and maneuver, which makes it great for parties or outdoor gatherings.
If for whatever reason you’ve chosen LCD in the LCD vs. DLP projector battle, then you’ll find the Epson 2040 offers the quality picture you need without sacrificing brightness and color performance. It’s a workhorse of a machine that gets 4 stars or higher 96% of the time, making it our top LCD home theater projector pick for those looking to spend under $1,000.
Best Middle of the Pack Option: Optoma HD141X
If you like the features and capabilities of the Optoma 142X, but don’t want to pay the extra price for the convenience of smart phone/streaming device connection, then the Optoma HD141X is a great middle of the pack option.
It offers the same brightness, contrast ratio and picture quality of the 142X, but it’s slightly bigger and bulkier, and doesn’t offer the device syncing and connection that the other model offers.
For many users, this is not a deal-breaker, and those on a stricter budget have found that they can get excellent video and picture performance with the 141X.
It can’t create as small of a screen size as the HD142X, but this doesn’t seem to be an issue with most users. It offers the same resolution and 3D viewing quality, so even Blu-Ray video and other media looks great, with no picture or quality loss.
Who’s it Best for?
Users who want the overall quality of the Optoma HD142X but don’t want to spend quite so much can choose the 141X and get many of the same features.
If you or your family consistently uses smart phones, Rokus or other streaming devices, you may find that spending the extra money for the HD142X is worthwhile; otherwise, you’ll find this model to be an excellent middle of the road option that gives you high-quality performance without being as much of a major financial investment.
Best Budget Choice: ViewSonic PJD5155
Best Home Theater Projector Under $500
While a thousand-dollar home projector budget can you get you quite a bit, sometimes you have about half as much to spend on your home theater setup. If that’s the case, you can still pack quite a punch in while meeting your financial limitations.
The ViewSonic PJD5155 is a great choice if you’re looking to keep your costs down without making too much of a sacrifice when it comes to picture quality. You can usually find the PJD5155 on sale, so it’s possible to get this unit at somewhere around $300 to $400, which makes it a great bargain purchase.
The PJD5155 has a native native SVGA 800 x 600 resolution, so if you’re going after 1080 resolution, you’re going to want to look elsewhere. But, if that $500 budget is set in stone, then you’ll be able to work with this resolution with no problem.
Making up in some respect for the resolution is the 3,000+ lumens brightness, which as mentioned, can be good under the right lighting conditions. This allows you enough brightness without washing out colors, though you’ll want to check the ambient light levels to make sure this one works well for your needs.
Who’s it Best for?
The PJD5155 offers all sorts of connection options, and it’s relatively easy to setup, so this is a no-brainer for home theaters in places like apartments, dorms or the like, when you want to focus on value and convenience above anything else.
This ViewSonic model is best for users who have relatively low-maintenance projector needs. If you’re watching videos or playing music and just want something fun and easy to use, the PJD5155 will meet your needs fine. It can also be used for small business things like presentations or data presentation.
College students, families on a budget and those who need a fun and easy projector with a small upfront investment will find the ViewSonic PJD5155 to meet most of their media needs. It’s also great for small business owners or entrepreneurs who need something quick and easy for presentations and video.