For some people, watching the 2010 FIFA World Cup on an LCD or plasma television won't be enough. If you've got a dozen mates around to watch the game, perhaps you should opt for a home theatre projector that can create a massive 300in image with razor sharpness and vibrant colour. Here are our top picks if you're in the market for a projector to watch the World Cup on.
For the budget-conscious buyer
For around the same price as a 42in plasma or LED television, you can pick up one of Sony's VPL-BW7 home theatre projectors. A 1280x800 resolution means 720p video looks great (and 1080p Full HD can be displayed through scaling). You do have to make some compromises when buying a cheaper projector, though; its 1000:1 contrast ratio and 2000 lumen rating mean it will only shine (pardon the pun) in darker environments.
What's Hot: High lumens output, backlit remote control, good image quality overall
The Final Word: This projector's low display resolution means you won't be able to make the most of 1080p high-definition media, but for 720p movies and games, the VPL-BW7 does an admirable job considering its price.
For the enthusiast
The InFocus ScreenPlay SP8602 home theatre projector isn't something you'd go out and buy on a whim, but it'll mean the football looks great on a 300in projection screen. Requiring some serious installation and cabling, the InFocus ScreenPlay SP8602 sports a 1920x1080 Full HD resolution and an over-the-top 30,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio.
What's Hot: Film-like colour gradation, accurate colour reproduction, great fine image detail, excellent standard five-year warranty
The Final Word: The InFocus ScreenPlay SP8602 is a home theatre projector with great colour reproduction abilities. It is designed for long-term installation and its lamp life is shorter than we'd hope for, but for outright image quality it's among the best we've seen.
For the mid-range buyer
BenQ'S W6000 home theatre projector combines reasonably good brightness levels with a high contrast ratio. This means it can be used at night to watch live matches, or in the middle of the day to catch replays and recorded games. It's not the cheapest or the best-looking projector on offer in this roundup, but it is a great one-size-fits-all option.
What's Hot: 2500 ANSI lumen output in maximum brightness mode, good colour reproduction
The Final Word: BenQ'S W6000 projector is exceptionally bright for a home theatre unit, offering a reasonable compromise between colour accuracy and overall light output. It's versatile enough to be used in both dark and bright rooms, and picture quality is good enough to please both average users and enthusiasts.
For the road warrior
The InFocus IN1503 is a portable powerhouse. It packs a 1280x800 resolution, 1800:1 contrast and 3000 lumens of brightness — very impressive given its dimensions of 23x22x9cm and weight of 2kg. You can pack this little projector up and take it to your mate's house for impromptu all-night soccer sessions.
What's Hot: Great brightness levels, striking modern design
The Final Word It might be heavier and noisier than the Infocus IN1102, but the IN1503 is easily more versatile. It has an impressively high contrast ratio and brightness, making it equally at home displaying high-definition movies and business presentations.
For the multitasker
Epson's EH-DM3 projector is a jack of all trades. It's portable at a pinch, has great stereo speakers and a bunch of digital video inputs. You can even entertain the kids in between matches with its inbuilt DVD player. A slightly strange native resolution of 960x540 doesn't stop the Epson EH-DM3 from projecting a pleasing image that is sharp and full of colour.
What's Hot: Very good built-in speakers, inbuilt DVD player with good picture quality
The Final Word: The Epson EH-DM3 may be a bit pricey but it does sufficient justice to its claim of being a home theatre projector, and it comes equipped with all the necessary features — not to mention a very good pair of built-in speakers.
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