If you want to watch the “Big Game” on a really big screen, you might have to start thinking outside the flat panel TV box. While you can get excellent quality 77-inch OLED TVs for around $2,500, a UST (Ultra Short Throw) Projector can get you a screen twice the size (or more) for less money than you might think. And today’s UST projectors are almost as easy to set up as a TV, and come with built-in streaming apps and some even have pretty high quality speakers.
This year’s Super Bowl will be broadcast in 4K with Dolby Vision HDR on select providers (find out more about that in Robert Silva’s “Best Way to Watch the Super Bowl” article). Very few UST projectors currently support Dolby Vision (we’re aware of only two) and both get our recommendations below. Even if the best quality broadcast you can access for the game is 1080p or even 720p HD, the game will look better on a good 4K display as all the action will be upconverted to the projector’s native 4K resolution. Plus an investment in a 4K UST projector will bring a new level of enjoyment to movie nights and binge-watching your favorite TV series.
To reproduce sports well (including the Super Bowl), the same rules apply to UST projectors that apply to televisions. The picture needs to be bright – this is even more important than usual for watching sports as you normally watch the Super Bowl with friends, with the lights on. So the projected image will have to compete with ambient room lighting. Also, the display needs nice vibrant, realistic colors so you feel you’re right there on the 50-yard line watching the action. Lastly, motion resolution needs to be top-notch so those fast moving passes and tackles are reproduced cleanly without smearing or jaggies.
Here are our recommendations for best UST projectors to watch the 2023 Super Bowl (SuperBowl LVII), along with links on where to get them for the best price. Note: eCoustics may earn a commission if you use our links for a purchase.
ForMovie Theater (List: $3499, Street Price: $2999)
Despite its name, the ForMovie Theater UST Projector is good for more than just movies. It is highly rated for contrast, color accuracy and motion reproduction. So it’s a great fit for watching fast-moving sports like football. And unlike most of the competition, the ForMovie Theater supports Dolby Vision HDR. So if you’re one of the lucky ones who has access to the Dolby Vision Super Bowl broadcast, you (and your party guests) are in for a real treat.
Though we always recommend investing in a decent surround sound system, the ForMovie’s built-in speakers actually sound pretty good thanks to the company’s partnership with British High End speaker maker Bowers and Wilkins. The speakers are much fuller sounding and more powerful than most TV speakers and will certainly get you by until you’re ready to make the plunge into full-fledged surround sound. The projector also includes built-in access to most major streaming apps, courtesy of the Android TV platform. The ForMovie can create a 120-inch screen just inches away from the wall, which will make it seem like Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts are right there in your living room with you.
The ForMovie Theater took first place in the competitive “Tri-Laser” category in the most recent UST Projector Showdown, while also being the most affordable projector in the competition. The ForMovie lacks support for 3D content, but that is something that is fairly hard to find these days.
> Check Out the ForMovie Theater on ProjectorScreen.com
AWOL Vision LTV-3500 (List: $5499, Street Price: $4999)
The AWOL Vision LTV-3500 is the only other UST projector that currently supports Dolby Vision HDR, thanks to a firmware update. It is also one of the few UST projectors available today that supports 3D content. So if you’re still rocking a Blu-ray 3D collection and love watching 3D movies on the big screen, the AWOL Vision LTV-3500 makes an excellent choice.
Where the AWOL projector really shines (no pun intended) is in its brightness. It’s rated for 3500 ANSI Lumens of max brightness. When the AWOL was in a room with 4 other UST projectors at the 2022 UST Projector Shootout, the AWOL’s brightness clearly stood out from the pack. It looked more like an LED/LCD flat panel TV than a projector with the image virtually popping off the screen. The AWOL also tested well for motion resolution and color volume. It’s a bit pricier than the ForMovie but the extra brightness and 3D support make it worth the investment if those things are important to you.
> Check Out the AWOL Vision LTV-3500 on ProjectorScreen.com
LG HU915QB 4K UST Projector (List: $6499, Street Price: $5496)
Winner of the Value Electronics UST Projector Shootout, the LG projector uses a higher resolution DLP chip than competitive models to earn the highest overall scores for picture detail. It also excels at picture uniformity, contrast and color accuracy.
At 3,000 Lumens, it isn’t quite as bright as the AWOL or Epson projectors, but this can be solved with a dedicated ALR (Ambient Light Rejecting) screen. In fact, any of the UST projectors on the list will benefit from an ALR screen as that helps minimize reflections and screen washout in a brightly lit room. The LG projector comes with WebOS on-board for native access to all of the popular audio and video streaming services.
> Check out the LG HU915QB UST Projector at ProjectorScreen.com
The only real drawback for the LG is the price. It’s currently $500 more expensive than the AWOL projector and $2500 more than the ForMovie and the Epson.
Epson LS800 UST Projector (List: $3499, Street Price: $2999)
With a brightness rating even higher than the AWOL Vision (4,000 Lumens), the Epson LS800 stands out from the competition as not only the brightest projector among our top picks, but the only one that uses 3-chip LCD technology instead of DLP for its imaging engine. This makes the Epson immune to the DLP’s RBE (Rainbow Effect), which can be distracting to some viewers.
The Epson ties the ForMovie for lowest price among our recommendations, but it can create a gorgeous 120-inch screen just inches away from the wall. It also received the top scores in the 2022 Projector Shootout for motion resolution, which is important for watching sports. The Epson projector has Android TV on board as well as Chromecast Built-in for simple streaming from the popular audio and video streaming apps. The on-board speaker system was designed in partnership with Yamaha so it stands out as one of the best we’ve heard on a UST projector.
> Check out the Epson LS800 UST Projector at ProjectorScreen.com
The only drawback on the Epson projector is that its pixel shifting solution supports only half the native 4K resolution. This did lead to a slightly lower overall score for detail resolution compared to the competition, but the strengths of the Epson (brightness and motion resolution) still allowed the projector to finish third overall in the shootout, at a much lower price than the competition.