PROJECTOR REVIEWS

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 12, 2008 0 comments
What can JVC do to top one of the best bargains in the 1920x1080 home-projector market, the widely praised DLA-HD1? Priced just a bit over $6000 at its introduction, the HD1 set a new bar for black levels from a home projector—make that from any video projector—and it had no obvious weaknesses in any other area.
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Adrienne Maxwell Posted: May 04, 2008 0 comments
A new crop of entry-level projectors makes big-screen 1080p more affordable than ever.

There’s been a lot of fuss over the rapid drop in price of big-screen flat panels, but that ain’t nothing compared with the free-falling MSRPs you’ll find over in the 1080p projection realm. Two years ago, the going rate for one of the first 1080p projectors was about $10,000. Last year, we saw a number of high-quality offerings around the $5,000 mark. This year, companies like Optoma, Sanyo, and Mitsubishi have released 1080p projectors priced under $4,000. These entry-level models feature a nice complement of advanced image-adjustment options and all of the desired video inputs: HDMI 1.3, PC, and component video. But the important question is, how does their performance measure up with pricier competition? You’ll have to read on to find out.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 18, 2008 0 comments
A chip off the old block?

Panasonic has been making pro video projectors for years, but its first home theater projector to catch my eye was the PT-AE700U. Both that model and its follow-up, the PT-AE900U, were competent 720p LCD designs in deceptively small, businesslike black boxes that offered good value for the money.

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Shane Buettner Posted: Mar 02, 2008 Published: Apr 02, 2008 0 comments
The power of contrast.

In the quest for deeper blacks and ever better contrast-ratio specs, dynamic irises that close down and open up the projector's light output automatically depending on the program material are all the rage. But there's no free lunch here. While the best auto-iris designs deepen blacks and increase contrast and are invisible in operation, there are inevitable issues with the varying black levels and brightness compression involved in this sleight of hand.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 03, 2008 0 comments

When it was introduced at the 2006 CEDIA Expo, Sony's VPL-VW50 redefined the entire front-projector price structure. Of course, a few other manufacturers were ready with their own new projector announcements at that show, but the VW50—which came to be widely known as the "Pearl" after the company's code name for the project—generated the most buzz.

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David Vaughn Posted: Jan 21, 2008 0 comments

It is a great time to be a home theater enthusiast. Sure, the format war between rivals HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc has been distracting. But the price of 1080p projectors has fallen from the stratosphere to price levels many can actually afford. Prices of 1080p projectors are now below the $3,000 mark, and we're not talking stripped down bargain units or last year's closeouts either.

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Posted: Dec 26, 2007 0 comments

<A HREF="http://www.ultimateavmag.com/videoprojectors/506marantzvp11s1/">Marantz' VP-11S1</A> was the first 1080p DLP front projector I reviewed, and while many less expensive 1080p projectors have come through the doors since then, none has matched that projector's all around performance. I liked it so well I put my money where my mouth was, buying it to use as my reference projector for some time.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 17, 2007 0 comments

No one imagined two years ago that the cost of acquiring a high quality 1080p projector would drop to the levels many of them sell for today&mdash;levels, it could be argued, that were driven by Sony's own extremely competitive pricing, especially on the $5K <A HREF="http://ultimateavmag.com/videoprojectors/1106sonypearl/">VPL-VW50</A> "Pearl.".

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 03, 2007 0 comments
If projector manufacturers want to compete even in a small way with the flat panels that often go out the door for under $3,000, they need a cost leader—and a full 1080p design—that can slug it out in the trenches. Optoma knows this, and its new HD80 single-chip DLP design, at $2,699 (with a current replacement lamp cost of $349), slides comfortably into this niche.
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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Nov 15, 2007 0 comments
Mid 1080p take II.

Not too long ago (June 2007), we checked out this projector's predecessor. In a roundup and the Mitsubishi HC5000, we chose the JVC as the hands-down winner for picture quality, but that wasn't the whole story. The VPL-VW50 was a close second, and one participant even picked it as a favorite, finding it quieter and easier to live with than the JVC. Now, a scant seven months later, the projector landscape has changed a bit. The new Mitsubishi is down to $4,000, and the new DLA-HD100 from JVC rose up to around $8,000, leaving the new Sony all alone at the same price ($4,999) its predecessor was last year.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 15, 2007 0 comments

The prices on front projectors might not be dropping quite as fast as those on flat panel displays, but they are definitely coming down. And while much of the action is concentrated in the $5,000-$10,000 range, that's still a load of cash for most of us. If projector manufacturers want to compete even in a small way with the flat panels that often go out the door for under $3,000, they need a cost leader&mdash;and a full 1080p design&mdash;that can slug it out in the trenches.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 08, 2007 0 comments

It's been a couple of years since we last tested an InFocus projector. When Fred Manteghian reviewed the $7,000, 720p <A HREF="http://ultimateavmag.com/videoprojectors/905infocus/">ScreenPlay 7210</A> back in September 2005 there was a lot less competition in the front projector market, and InFocus was a major player. It's still a respected name, with a long history in business and home projectors. But the playing field has not only become a lot more crowded, the name of the game has changed to 1080p. Not just 1080p, but 1080p at what would have been seen as impossibly low prices two years ago.

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John Higgins Posted: Jul 17, 2007 Published: Jul 18, 2007 0 comments
Projected 1080p for the masses has arrived.

Since 1080p became the buzzword of the year, most projectors that supposedly employ the technology have been more expensive than those that don't. The inflated price hasn't guaranteed that the projector would actually accept 1080p, just that it possibly deinterlaces a 1080i signal. This is changing; most expensive projectors now accept the signal, but only recently has the price started to drop and reach more people's spending range.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 30, 2007 0 comments
Out with the Cineza. In with the BRAVIA.

Until recently, Sony's popular LCD video projectors carried the Cineza brand name. Apart from the fact that I always wanted to say, "bless you" whenever someone said Cineza, it was perfectly fine name. But Sony has now extended the "BRAVIA" moniker, once used to designate only its flat panel displays, across its line of displays.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Jun 21, 2007 0 comments
JVC, Mitsubishi, and Sony square off.

I admit it; I am an unreserved fan of projectors. I've had one as my sole display since my 38-inch RCA CRT blew up four years ago. There is nothing like watching life-size (or larger than life-size) characters on a 110-inch screen. Now, that is engaging. I don't understand why everyone doesn't have a projector. Guests to my gloomy, cavelike abode could probably offer logical rationales. But come on: Look at the size of Adama's head!

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