Stars of the screen

Steve Dinneen
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There is a pleasing symmetry to the renewed popularity of the home projector. Back in the early days of film, all the way back in the 1890s, the cinematograph was the only way most people could experience the thrill of the moving picture. Devices like the Lumière Brothers cinematograph – a film camera and projector in one – saw the pioneers of film begin their tentative experiments with editing and continuity, developing, through trial and error, practices still used in Hollywood today.

Now, the projector is going through a second golden age, with sales rocketing as people demand more of their home cinema experience. Growth in projector sales now comfortably surpasses the internet-connected TV segment, with incredibly sophisticated devices able to project in pin-point detail and glorious 3D.

But, more than that, there is something that makes the projector greater than the sum of its parts. It’s a more sociable, shared experience than watching TV.

Here are some great ways to liven up your living room – and enjoy a little slice of cinema history.

From £6249.99
This projector is one of the finest on the market, providing outstandingly crisp 2D images and impressive 3D. The colours are vivid and the set-up and calibration is easy.

Sim2 C3X Lumis Host
From £30,995
This is a cinema system for a home where money is no object. Everything in here is fine-tuned to projector perfection. If you need a perfect image and have the price of a car spare, this is for you.

Optoma ThemeScene HD33
From £1,350
If you’re an AV connoisseur with a (relatively) small budget, this is an excellent option, combining remarkable full HD 3D and great audio quality. The case design, though, is a little ugly.

Sony VPL-VW90ES 3D
From £4,999
Sony’s TV unit hasn’t had a great few years but its projectors are hard to knock. It has great visuals, deep 3D and little “cross-talk” interference, which can damage picture quality.

Panasonic PT-AT5000E
From £2,599.90
A great “out-of-the-box” system with remarkable contrast and colours, for a not entirely unreasonable price. It is held back by frustrating calibration options and lens control.