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What are the features that make the best RCA projectors? To find the best cheap projector for your needs, it starts with convenience and ease of use. A great projector should also be relatively quick to set up and accept input from a variety of devices.
RCA projectors are simple, relatively inexpensive units designed for versatility and easy setup. While they provide limited resolution and brightness compared to many other projectors on the market, they do come with the ability to pair with a streaming stick such as the Roku TV.
The best RCA projector models can also connect with external speakers to provide a more cinematic experience and let you enjoy a movie night or play video games with surround sound. Considering their price point, they also have decent image quality and an acceptable range of projection sizes. However, they don’t generally come close to the reliability, brightness levels, picture quality, or native resolution of other compact projectors.
Keep reading to learn more about the best RCA projectors and how they stack up to other brands, such as BenQ projectors.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This Full HD projector produces colorful pictures that stand out. It has wireless tech to simplify connecting to wireless soundbars and speakers. The device comes with a bag for easy storage.
The RCA RPJ143 projector is optimized for use in home theaters. This projector is equipped with an MStar advanced color engine that produces brilliant, natural colors. Featuring an LED lamp, this projector delivers vibrant imagery that will stand out. It boasts HDMI and USB connectors to simplify plugging into computers. This device also has VGA and AV interfaces for older devices. However, this projector is not recommended for text and presentations.
This RCA RPJ143 projector has a 480p resolution, producing decent visuals at small screen sizes. With a screen size that ranges from 32 inches to 170 inches, this device produces large images ideal for home movie entertainment and gaming. It has a projection difference ranging from 4.9 feet to 16.4 feet, allowing users a measure of flexibility when setting up this projector. A 3.5mm output port enables connecting external speakers.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This projector supports both 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios, so it’s ideal for movies. The device has built-in 2W stereo speakers that produce sound when external speakers are not available
The RCA RPJ104 projector is a home theater projector. It has two HDMI ports, allowing users to switch between two connected devices fast. It has a durable lamp that runs for up to 40,000 hours before requiring replacement. With a large screen size range of 32 through 176 inches, this project enables deployment for personal use and for entertaining friends. However, its maximum resolution of 1280 x 800 is not adequate for some users, and it’s not recommended for text and presentations.
This RCA RPJ104 projector HAS A USB connector for plugging in thumb drives and other devices. This projector has a throw distance ranging from 3.3 feet to 16.4 feet, supporting deployment in both small rooms and large home theaters. An HDMI port and VGA connector on this device connects to computers easily. This projector is recommended for use in low light. It has built-in 2-watt stereo speakers to deliver sound and comes with a remote control for easy operation
Award: BEST FOR DISC MOVIES
WHY WE LIKE IT: This unique projector has an integrated disc ROM that enables users to watch movies without connecting to an external input device. It features surround speakers and also supports select wireless speakers.
The RCA RPJ140 projector is an all-in-one home entertainment system. It has an HD resolution, delivering decent videos. This device includes a built-in DVD player that renders a wide variety of discs. With a 3000:1 contrast ratio, this device produces deep dark colors that will delight movie lovers. This device has onboard controls that simplify operating the projector and DVD player. However, this device has a low resolution and is not recommended for text and media with intricate details.
This RCA RPJ140 projector has built-in Bluetooth tech for connecting devices such as speakers. It also has a built-in speaker, offering audio playback without the need to connect any external sound system. It supports surround sound, offering a spatial directional experience that will appeal to gamers and movie buffs. Ports on this device included HDMI, VGA, and AV, so it connects to both older and newer computers. This device also has a microSD card slot, so users can add media directly with a memory card.
Award: BEST SMART FEATURES
WHY WE LIKE IT: This device comes with a smart television stick that provides access to a number of internet channels. It features a remote control and supports seamless voice control for convenience.
Users who want to access smart TV services should consider the RCA RPJ133 projector. This model comes with a Roku streaming stick, offering access to thousands of online channels. It supports Roku voice for effortless control. It supports a number of aspect ratios, including 16:9 and 4:3. Featuring a throw distance ranging from 4.5 ft to 16.5 feet, this device can be used comfortably in small rooms. However, this device lacks advanced customization features such as a zoom function.
This RCA RPJ133 projector features both modern and analog inputs, connecting seamlessly to a wide variety of devices. It has two HDMI and two USB ports, allowing users to toggle easily between various connected devices. With a screen size ranging from 36 inches to 150 inches, this device is ideal for individual use and family night. It comes with a remote control, enabling users to change settings from afar.
Award: BEST PORTABLE
WHY WE LIKE IT: This projector has a compact profile that will suit people who travel regularly. It works with select wireless speakers, allowing users to connect to a variety of soundbars and other audio systems.
The RCA Bluetooth projector has a compact profile that’s easy to transport. This device features an optimized design with adequate airflow, keeping the lamp cool. It has a resolution of 800 x 480 and supports inputs of up to Full HD resolution. It has onboard controls for scrolling through media and managing settings seamlessly. However, this device has a relatively small screen size that ranges from 30 to 150 inches.
This RCA Bluetooth projector has HDMI and USB ports, offering plug-and-play connectivity to computers, video game consoles, and other devices. It also has VGA and AV ports for hassle-free connection to older PCs. The projector also features a 3.5mm play, so users can connect external speakers. Featuring built-in Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, this unit enables connecting soundbars and wireless speakers. With an oversized LCD lamp, this device offers decent brightness with good colors.
Award: BEST CONNECTIVITY OPTIONS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This projector has an MStar advanced color engine that offers great fairly color accurate pictures. The screen size reaches 170 inches, making this model a good choice for home theaters.
The RCA RPJ136 projector runs on an MStar advanced color engine, producing exceptional color gradients. It has a projection distance from 4.9 feet to 16.4 feet, and RCA recommends an optimum throw distance of 6.5 feet. The projector boasts a huge selection of useful ports, featuring both HDMI and VGA ports. This device is capable of screen sizes ranging from 32 inches to 170 inches. However, this device doesn’t get very bright, so it’s not ideal for brightly lit rooms.
Alternatively, you may find some better options with our roundup of the leading Panasonic projectors and the best Viewsonic projectors.
This RCA RPJ136 projector also has analog AV-in and VGA ports for connecting older computers, game consoles, and other devices. It comes with a carry bag to protect it from damage during transit or storage. This projector has onboard buttons for changing settings easily. Keystone adjustment enables users to get the optimum image fast. This RCA projector comes with a full-service remote control to enable fast customization and intuitive operation.
Founded in 1919 when General Electric acquired American Marconi, RCA (an acronym for Radio Corporation of America) was once America’s largest radio and telecom company. It moved into the consumer electronics market in 1929 with phonographs and phonograph records after purchasing the Victor Talking Machine Company.
An early innovator in television, video, recording equipment, RCA began making and selling televisions to consumers after World War II. In the decades that followed, the brand proved to be a major innovator, leaving its mark on technologies such as color televisions, LCD displays, VCRs, video discs, 8-track tapes, and many others. RCA also ran one of the world’s largest film studios throughout most of the 20th century.
The RCA brand merged with General Electric (GE) in 1986, and GE sold most of the brand’s subsidiaries to other firms. Today, RCA is a brand name owned by VOXX International. Its various consumer electronics and other products are marketed by Audiovox Accessories.
Ottowa-based Curtis International Ltd. currently uses the RCA Televisions trademark and the SA Technicolor name under license, marketing a wide range of mostly bargain-priced home theater systems and portable projectors. RCA projectors stand out for their simplicity and low price point compared to most other brands’ more serious projector offerings, such as LG, Sony, and Samsung. However, they do lag behind in terms of reliability, image quality and light output. That said, an RCA portable projector with Roku may be the least expensive way to enjoy video content with an ultra-large screen size experience.
(Pro 1) Easy Setup: The simplicity of RCA projectors makes them relatively easy to set up. Plus, most RCA projectors come with a range of compatibility options. Many of the brand’s digital projectors come with Bluetooth capability for convenient smartphone connection. Some of their mini projectors may also come with a Roku streaming stick and HDMI adapter.
(Con 1) Lower Resolution: Most RCA units currently come with WVGA resolution or 480p native resolution. Some do offer 720p and the ability to accept up to 1080p input, however. This may limit viewable screen size due to pixelation at maximum picture size. For most outdoor projector uses, 720p is adequate. But, if you’re using this great projector in the living room, it should perform just fine.
(Pro 2) LED Models Have Relatively Long Lamp Life: RCA’s LED projectors claim up to 50,000 hours of lamp life, which matches most high-quality projector LED light sources and far exceeds the lamp life of an ordinary projector with a conventional bulb.
(Con 2) Lower Brightness Level: As with most inexpensive projectors and pico projectors, RCA models tend to have somewhat lower light output than you’ll find in more expensive home theater and portable projector units. 720p models offer around 150 lumens, as opposed to the 500+ lumens typical of higher-range portable projectors. This will likely mean that you’ll need to choose a setting with not much ambient light if you want a bright image. Lower brightness levels from the projector light source may also limit projection distance and optimal picture size, as you’ll find in our AAXA P300 review.
(Pro 3) Simple Controls: Connecting to Blu-Ray players, external speakers, gaming consoles, or your DVD player is more straightforward on RCA projectors than on most other cheap projector models. Current RCA models come with options such as an HDMI adapter, VGA port, or USB interfaces. Most use a simple control panel with straightforward menu options.
(Con 3) Limited adjustability: RCA projectors tend to offer relatively few adjustments, so your choices for viewing distance and projector placement may be somewhat limited. Some models do include vertical lens shift or trapezoidal correction. Still, most lack the zoom feature and sophisticated lens adjustments other mainstream projectors might offer to correct image distortion and keep the picture in sharp focus on the projection screen. To attain the best image quality and proper focus, the projector may have to stay in line with the center of the projector screen.
(Pro 4) Low Prices for Their Feature Set: RCA’s projectors tend to sell at much lower prices than comparably equipped projectors from other major manufacturers. Even some of their pocket projector models come with remote control and the ability to connect with wireless devices and Bluetooth-enabled speakers. They also feature a USB port and HDMI cable port that can decode content from high-definition sources.
(Con 4) Some Questionable Quality: Unsurprisingly, given that they may retail for 1/4 to 1/5 of what an average projector costs, some RCA models may exhibit poor image uniformity and uneven picture quality, especially when using the largest potential screen size. They also work best in darker environments due to their relatively dim light source. Some users find that RCA’s inexpensive projectors make extra noise compared to other wireless projector types. Still, most find the noise to be in the acceptable range for such uses as outdoor movies.
You might want to consider a projector as an addition to your home theater setup or special event prep if you’re looking for a more immersive experience viewing movies or playing video games. Even a cheap projector offers a viewing experience unlike what you can get from a TV or monitor. In addition, a small and simple unit such as an RCA wireless projector is great for outdoor entertainment and travel uses, making content visible at a glance.
Mini projectors can also have some clever and unexpected uses. If you like to decorate cookies, cakes, and other pastries, for example, a small projector provides a clean way to get a stencil-like image onto the pastries you’re decorating, making for quicker, cleaner results.
If you’re having friends or family over or throwing a garden party, outdoor projection can add ambiance and visual excitement. Cheap projectors make great tools for decorating dance halls, showing background visuals for photoshoots, and adding spooky imagery for Halloween parties.
With a portable HD projector and projector screen, you can also share social content and present text in a format that’s convenient for parties, poetry readings, and holiday gatherings.
Compared to older projectors, even a cheap projector today will offer easier use, quicker setup, and more connectivity options. You’ll also get improved image quality and the ability to show content from a wide range of media and content streaming devices via a USB flash drive or HDMI adapter. At least one RCA model also includes a standard Roku stick.
Depending on the type and frequency of use and environmental conditions, projectors last around three to five years. Common maintenance items on mainstream projectors include lamps and air filters. RCA mini projectors equipped with their LED light source claim up to 50,000 hours of lamp life, which is competitive with other inexpensive projectors, and exceeds that of some much more expensive models. However, these single LED panel projectors don’t have the same light output as typical all-purpose business or home theater projectors.
To maximize the longevity of your projector, make sure to place the unit in an area with adequate airflow when in use and avoid very dusty or damp environments. Overheating is the main cause of early projector component failure, and so keeping the projection LCD lamp and optics cool helps keep the device running longer.
RCA-branded projectors come with various terms of warranty coverage. They may not provide the 3 to 5-year warranties you typically get with major home theater and venue projectors, but this is somewhat to be expected considering the relatively low cost of an RCA model. Users can contact the RCA customer support via phone or the brand’s website. The company requests damage documentation and may take up to 48 hours to respond to claims. According to the information provided, claims generally get processed within 72 hours.
The warranty covers factory and part defects on major components for between 90 days and two years.