When you’re looking to upgrade your home theater setup with a brand new 4K laser projector, don’t do what I did and forget to read its spec sheet first, or you might be in for a nasty surprise.
I adore projectors and think people should at least consider giving up their TV for one. Sure, the best 4K projectors are usually more expensive than the best 4K TVs, and you have to make sure your home theater is built in the right room—somewhere with a large white surface and no windows (or blackout curtains installed)—for the best pictures. But the atmosphere created by a projection-driven setup and the landscape-filling images it can create are well worth the effort in my opinion.
So, in my campaign to convince others that projectors were the way forward, I took the Epson EH-LS11000W I’d been testing for TechRadar to my parents’ house to show them what it was capable of. In my review, I was really impressed with the laser projector’s crisp 4K picture (which can be blown up to 300-inches) and its brilliant picture colors–although contrast in dark scenes isn’t as good as I would have liked (especially for its price), plus its limited ports and lack of TV OS is a bad combination as you have to waste a port on the streaming stick.
Plus, as I learned at my parents’ house after spending a few hours amplifying and setting it up, it lacks any built-in speakers. This realization immediately brought movie night to a halt, as my family wasn’t keen on letting me borrow their soundbar and screw up my existing TV setup. So I put the EH-LS11000W back in its box. One TV, zero projector.
Right projector, wrong home theater
This is actually not uncommon for projectors. Even fairly expensive options like the Epson EH-LS11000W (which will set you back $3,999 / £4,199 / approx AU$5,750) focus their efforts on producing stellar visuals and leaving the sound to the best and best speakers.
But in my arrogance, I forgot this. Instead, I assumed that the holes on the side of the device were so that its speakers could emit clear sound, neglecting to think that they could actually be holes to mount a 25,000-lumen laser for heat dissipation.
Luckily I didn’t spend any money on this projector because Epson is loaning it to me for review so it didn’t cost me the error. If you’ve just dropped $3,999 / £4,199, that’s your entire home theater budget down the drain on an incomplete setup.
But this moment is a good reminder that even us techies can make mistakes and assume things about a great-looking product that aren’t accurate. That is why we always recommend that you read the tool’s capabilities and reviews before purchasing it (and don’t just look at the result and move on).
Speakerless projectors like the Epson EH-LS11000W aren’t terrible, but they’re not suitable for every home theater setup. This is the case for a lot of technology. It’s not about how great the device is, it’s about whether it’s great for you and your needs.