Opting for a projector over a television set used to mean sacrificing picture quality for epic proportions. But now, thanks to recent tech upgrades, the days of screening cinema-sized movies that look like they’re stuck in 2007 are behind us. The latest generation’s 4K HDR units pack more pixels into their projections for a more detailed, ultra-high-definition image that lets you finally appreciate the finer things in film — like the individual strands of hair in Scarlett Johansson’s strange Avengers wigs. Best of all, the immersive viewing experience disappears once movie night’s over, so there’s no giant black box overpowering your living-room decor during dinner parties. And with no shortage of 4K video content now available, you might even find yourself renovating your house to install taller, wider walls in anticipation of last summer’s blockbusters hitting streaming and rental services in the new super-crisp format. After all, Jurassic World’s dinosaurs aren’t meant to be contained.
Best For: Clarity.
This is the only unit beaming video in a true 4K format, rather than using pixel-shifting visual trickery to upscale a lower-res picture. Translation: ultra-sharp content. And we like things sharp.
Best For: Contrast.
Thanks to a high contrast ratio able to distinguish between various shades of black, this projector picks up plenty of detail in even the darkest night scenes. Fans of Chris Nolan’s Batman films, rejoice!
Best For: Longevity.
While typical projector lamps have a limited lifespan of about 2,000 hours, this unit’s two long-lasting lasers maintain their full illumination levels for an impressive 14,000 hours of use.
Best For: Budget.
Enjoy the increased detail of a 4K-scaled image at a price point that’s a little less oversized. Integration with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant lets you control the unit without a remote.