PROJECTOR REVIEWS

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Feb 06, 2013 0 comments

Winter is my favorite season, when all the past year’s new flat-panel TVs have been reviewed and I can switch my attention to projectors. This season was particularly bountiful, as I was able to score three of the best projectors on the market for review. Sony’s VPL-HW50ES, plus an Epson and a JVC, all arrived on my doorstep within a few days of one another. Not too shabby, that. Time for a roundup.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 04, 2013 5 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $4,000 At A Glance: Superb detail resolution • Superior blacks and shadow detail • Solid color performance • Includes spare lamp

In Sony’s pantheon of projectors, the VPL-HW models are the company’s solid middle-class family. While a product selling for $4,000 or nearly so isn’t likely to be found at Target or Walmart, in the projector world it sits nicely between bargain basement and “if you have to ask” pricing.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Dec 30, 2012 0 comments

Can I like the idea of a thing, better than the thing? This is the question I'm pondering as I write up this admittedly cool LED/laser hybrid projector from ViewSonic. Instead of UHP lamps or even "regular" LEDs, the Pro9000 adds a laser to the mix, because ... well because it's cool, right?

While it gets an "A" on the technology front, its performance grade is notably lower.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Nov 05, 2012 2 comments

This is a fascinating hybrid of a product: a portable projector with built-in, Roku-powered, media streaming.

There are web streamers, and there are projectors, but this is the first time I've seen them combined into one, easy-to-use product.

Fascinating is one thing. Worthwhile? That's a different question. . .

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 13, 2012 1 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $2,995 At A Glance: Excellent detail • Good black level • Full calibration control • Limited physical setup options

I remember my first exposure to a DLP front projector. It was at a trade show in the late 1990s and was not a warm and fuzzy experience. Blessedly, I don’t recall the manufacturer. But compared to CRT front projection, in which even a bargain-basement model commanded $10,000 or more, the simpler, smaller DLP, a technology developed at Texas Instruments, held out the promise of form factors and prices that would appeal to a wider range of buyers.

Kris Deering Posted: Aug 17, 2012 13 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $2,999 At A Glance: Sets the bar for 3D playback and performance • Extremely bright • Weak contrast performance and black levels • Bright, vivid image

It seems like only yesterday that DLP was the belle of the ball for front projector technologies. Oh, how things have changed these last few years. Now we see a polarized market made up of budget entry-level offerings or cost-no-object three-chip designs with little in the way of middle ground. I don’t know how much this has to do with Texas Instruments almost abandoning development of consumer-based chips (we haven’t seen any developments in DMD design for quite some time) or consumers’ leaning toward the higher contrast numbers of LCOS and SXRD designs. Or maybe it’s the price/performance that LCD has brought to the table. One thing is for sure, though: DLP is still a very capable technology that, when properly implemented, can throw a mesmerizing image. And now with 3D being a key feature in the market, maybe it’s time DLP’s popularity got a significant boost.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Jul 02, 2012 0 comments

Seriously. This thing has a laser. A blue laser that makes. . . green light?  Color me confused, and intrigued.

Sporting Casio's unique "Hybrid" light source firing at a 1,024x768 DLP, the slim $1,399 XJ-A146 is intriguing on many levels. But can it work in a home theater?

We shall see.

Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Jun 05, 2012 0 comments

If there’s a sweet spot for home projector prices right now, it would be $3,000 to $3,500. Over the past few months, we’ve reviewed excellent projectors in that range from Epson and Sony, and promising, similarly priced offerings are also available from JVC and other manufacturers.

Once an LCD projector staple, Mitsubishi made the switch to DLP a few years ago. On paper, its HC7800D ticks all the right boxes: 3D-capable, full-glass lens, and all the other bells and whistles.

But that’s just on paper. So we figured we’d test it for real, right here... on paper. Eh, you get my meaning. Behold, the HC7800D!

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: May 21, 2012 0 comments

There’s a coffee cup on the remote, an icon unmistakably a cup and saucer. Maybe it’s tea. It’s the largest button. It’s backlit. It might be taunting me.

So begins my time with the Epson MegaPlex MG-850HD Projector, a plucky little PJ that makes me question the logic of every flat panel in existence.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 10, 2012 2 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $10,000 At A Glance: Superb resolution • Excellent color • Top-class video processing

Projection lamps: Can’t live without ’em, can’t shoot ’em. Until recently, that is.

Projection lamps are slow to turn on and off, hot, often unstable, and have a nasty habit of getting dimmer with age, while their color balance deteriorates. If you’re fussy about your video—and if you’re reading this review you should be—the 2,000-hour useful lifetime that’s usually specified (to half brightness) for projection lamps will likely be closer to 1,000 hours or less. With a replacement averaging around $400, that’s about $0.40 per hour of use, not including the bottom line on your electric bill.

Kris Deering Posted: May 02, 2012 10 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $3,500 At A Glance: Class-leading black levels • Outstanding pixel sharpness • 3D performance lacking

Last May, I had the pleasure of reviewing the first 3D projector offered from JVC, the DLA-X3. At just under $4,500, it represented an amazing balance of value and performance. This year, JVC has made some radical changes to its projection line, including two new projectors with its e-Shift 4K upscaling feature. Replacing last year’s DLA-X3 is the DLA-X30, which adds lens memory to the package along with some new 3D options. But the biggest news is that JVC has lowered the price by almost 25 percent. So does last year’s amazing value become this year’s doorbuster? Let’s find out.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 24, 2012 1 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
(92-inch high-gain screen)
3D Performance
(118-inch standard screen)
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $25,000 At A Glance: Superb 4K resolution • Excellent blacks and shadow detail • High-gain screen recommended for 3D

Editor's note: This is an addendum to our earlier review of the Sony VPL-VW1000 4K 3D projector, covering only its 3D picture quality. Click here for the orignal review.

In our February 2012 issue, we published an exclusive first look at Sony’s new top-of-the-line projector. In addition to stunning performance with conventional, high-defintion, consumer material, the VPL-VW1000 employs 4K imaging chips, offering four times the resolution of standard high-definition video.

Kris Deering Posted: Apr 20, 2012 3 comments
2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $3,299 At A Glance: Bright 3D picture • Dynamic iris needs work • Easy install and calibration

Last year, we started seeing the first 3D projectors hitting the market, and most of these were reserved for the mid- to high-end customer. This year, we’re seeing a trickle-down effect from the high-end manufacturers, plus a lot of the more value-oriented brands that are stepping into the 3D arena. Epson is at the forefront of the latter with a few new options in its PowerLite Home Cinema lineup. For this review, I got the chance to spend some time with its new PowerLite Home Cinema 5010e, a 1080p- resolution LCD projector that brings 3D capability to the Epson line for the first time.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 19, 2012 4 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $8,000 At A Glance: Superb black level and shadow detail • Accurate 2D color • Complete but complex features

JVC has a problem—a problem more projector manufacturers wish they had. When the company launched its relatively affordable DLA-RS1 LCOS projector several years ago, it created a sensation. Every model year since then brought new updates. Expectations rose, and prior to every CEDIA (the September trade show that is the traditional launching pad for new home theater projectors), we’ve wondered what JVC would next bring to its lineup. The cosmetics have changed several times, but more importantly, a basic run of slow but steady improvements has continued. It has even inspired other projector manufacturers to up their game, and the increased value available to the consumer across the market in general has been substantial.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Apr 04, 2012 0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1,499 At A Glance: Poor blacks & shadow detail • Good color • Good detail with 1080p content • Very limited placement options

In my ongoing quest for low-cost projectors that perform well, I came across the H1085 from Vivitek. Unlike most such projectors, this one is available only through custom installers. How does it perform? Let's find out.

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