Tech Junkie – Home projectors to create a great home theater


VAVA 4K Ultra-Short Throw Laser Projector

In a time when so many of us are spending more time at home and our kids are looking for new movies to watch, new games to play and new shows to binge watch. Now would be the perfect time to setup that home theater in your home. Here are 3 projector options for every budget.

VAVA 4K UHD Ultra-Short Throw Laser Projector

The VAVA 4k laser projector is awesome. It combines 2 cool technologies, laser light and ultra short throw tech. It uses a laser light source instead of traditional bulbs or LEDs which makes for a brighter picture. With the right screen the VAVA projector can be used during the day. The short throw feature lets you set this projector up about 7″ from the wall. You will literally place this on an entertainment center right underneath the screen and it somehow projects a great picture directly above it. It’s almost like magic!

The VAVA includes built-in smart TV functions based on Android but frankly, it’s not great.  I see this a lot from TV makers who try to cram in Android apps or smart TV functionaliy.  Yes, it works but it lacks some important apps and isn’t as streamlined as other standalone smart TV boxes.  If you’re an Apple user I recommend Apple TV, everyone else should go with an Nvidia Shield TV.  Those are the best of the best that I’ve tested.

While the VAVA 4k projector is one of the easiest to setup that I’ve tested and produces an unreal bright and clear picture… you will pay for that quality. At $2,800 the VAVA falls on the high-end of home projectors although it’s relatively affordable for a laser short throw projector. Bottom line, it’s an amazing projector and well worth the price if you can afford it.

You can buy the VAVA Laser Projector on Amazon or directly from VAVA’s website.

Optoma UHD52ALV 4K Projector
Optoma UHD52ALV 4K Projector

Optoma 4k UHD Projector (UHD52ALV)

If an almost-$3,000 price tag isn’t realistic for you but you still want 4K quality, the Optoma UHD52ALV is an awesome option.  It’s more of a classic projector in the sense that you will need to put it near the back of the room to project a 100″-120″ image.  In my testing setup was a snap, the image was clear and bright and the Optoma was simple to use.  You won’t find a ton of smart TV functionality built-in, which I’m OK with, so you will likely want to plug in a set-top box like I mentioned earlier.  I used the Nvidia Shield TV and it worked great.

At 3,500 lumens (a measure of the brightness) this is a pretty bright 4K projector.  It’s not as bright as laser projectors but bright enough for a room with “some” outside lighting.  It works best in a dark room.

On top of all of this the Optoma UHD52ALV works with Amazon Alexa and Google Home assistants.  Just tell Google or Alexa to turn on your projector and VOILA!

The Optoma UHD52ALV is a great budget 4K projector that impressed for under $2,000.  The picture is sharp, bright and worthy of a great family movie night or epic family Mario Kart battle royale.  It’s rated for up to 140″ but I would keep it at 120″ or less if you want to maintain the brightness.  At $1,800, it’s an easy, affordable way to create a home theater in your home.

You can buy the Optoma UHD52ALV on Amazon or from most major retailers including Best Buy and Wal-Mart.

BenQ GV1 Portable Projector
BenQ GV1 Portable Projector

BenQ GV1

Looking for something a little smaller, a little less expensive and a little more portable?  The BenQ GV1 is exactly that.  At under $400 it’s not going to spit out the same quality of picture as a more expensive projector but it’s perfect for a quick game night on the wall in the kid’s room or a fun movie night in the backyard.

The GV1 is tiny.  It has a cool tilt-able top that angles the projector up without having to find a tripod for it.  It doesn’t provide or 4K image, in fact it’s technically only has a 480p image, but it still looks pretty good for such a compact projector.  It’s not super bright, plan to use the GV1 in a dark room.  The less light the better.   The specs say this projector can create an image up to 100″ but remember, the larger you go the less brightness you get.  Save those 100″ projectors on the GV1 for a completely dark room.   It has smart TV functionality built-in but also accepts an HDMI input (via a USB-C adapter).

Bottom line, this is a super cool option that won’t break the bank.  You won’t be setting up a dedicated home theater room but it’s perfect to keep in the closet and break-out for a fun video game session or movie night for the kids.

You can buy the GV1 from Amazon or directly from the BenQ website.

One more thing…

If you’re setting a theater room, plan to budget for a screen.  For the GV1, you can use the wall but for any high-end projector you need to buy a proper screen.  An amazing ambient light rejecting screen will cost $2,000+ but I would at least spend $200 or more on a decent screen.  After all, if you’re going to spend $1,500+ on a 4K projector you need to spend some money for a good screen too.

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