3D PROJECTOR REVIEWS

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Mar 23, 2011 0 comments

To understand the greatness of JVC’s DLA-X7 projector, it’s important to understand contrast ratio. Every TV and projector company rattles on about a million-to-one this and a billion-to-one that. How come? Because there’s no standard method to measure it. Result: Manufacturers can pretty much make up whatever they want.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 17, 2015 1 comments
2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,199

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Bright, punchy picture
Excellent color
Compact size
Minus
Mediocre blacks
High vertical offset with limited lens shift

THE VERDICT
You wouldn’t expect the type of performance this BenQ delivers for the price, but it will impress even a fussy videophile and blow away the newbie.

Flat-screen 1080p HDTVs have been dropping in price. Nonetheless, short of a blowout sale, a really big-screen set—say, 70 inches diagonal or larger, even in plain old 1080p, will probably set you back a minimum of $1,500. Compared with prices even two years ago, that’s cheap, but for most buyers it’s still significant cash.

What if you discovered that for less money you could get a picture that’s three or more times the size (by area) of that 70-inch flat-screen set? How does $1,200 sound?

Michael P. Hamilton Posted: Mar 02, 2016 7 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,399

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent, Rec. 709 color palette for long-term, fuss-free accuracy
High-grade optics provide edge-to-edge sharpness
Precision calibration controls for hobbyists; ISF modes for the pros
Minus
Short throw ratio and limited vertical offset require careful planning for permanent installation
Not stealth fighter quiet (but not “arrest me!” loud, either)
3D glasses optional

THE VERDICT
At $1,399, you’ll have a better chance of finding Waldo than another projector that equals the HT4050’s package of color accuracy, image clarity, and overall fidelity.

Beginning in 2009 and yearly thereafter, Taiwan-based BenQ Corporation has claimed the distinction of being the best-selling brand for DLP projectors worldwide. While models designated for the business and education markets bolster the overall sales figure, the company has enjoyed a strong presence in consumer home theater as well. BenQ aims to retain that No. 1 status, aided by their new HT series of home theater machines, which includes our review unit, the range-topping HT4050. Stocking the projector with an assortment of finely honed features, BenQ promises the performance level found in more costly models while targeting an appealing price point. Will the HT4050 deliver winning image fidelity and a winning sales formula for BenQ? Let’s find out.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 28, 2013 0 comments
2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1,000 At A Glance: Stunning brightness • Good color and detail • Mediocre black level and contrast

While our subject here is the W1070 home theater projector from BenQ, there’s more than a little business projector DNA in its genes. How else to explain a single-chip DLP design that’s a third the size and weight of most dedicated home theater models, has built-in audio with grim but usable mono sound, is equipped with a “digital zoom” that magnifies the image within the frame set by the standard zoom control (just the thing for a close examination of that quarterly profit and loss spreadsheet), still offers an S-video input, and has a relatively close-throw lens with a significant vertical offset?

Kris Deering Posted: Aug 17, 2012 15 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.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 13, 2010 0 comments
3D Digital Cinema Comes Home

Tell me you’ve never imagined what you’d do first if you won the lottery. Even if you never play and you know you have a better chance of getting hit by lightning than winning $10 million or (it’s a dream, isn’t it, so why go small potatoes?) even $100 million. Sure, if you take it all at once rather than in $5 million drabs over 20 years, that will drop to $50 million out of the gate. After Uncle Sam gets his cut, you’re down to $25 million. There goes your chance to buy the Seattle Seahawks.

Al Griffin Posted: Apr 04, 2014 5 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,899

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent contrast and black level for LCD
Capable of powerful brightness
Good overall 2D and 3D performance
Minus
Wireless transmitter needs to be in same space as projector

THE VERDICT
Powerful light output and contrast combined with impressive 3D make the 5030UBe a great projector option at an affordable price.

When Sound & Vision reviewed the Epson 5030UBe’s predecessor, the 5020UBe, in 2013, we were impressed by its exceptional brightness and its ability to convey satisfying blacks. Clearly, LCD projection has come a long way in a short time. Home theater projectors like the 5020UBe tend to get reviewed in a cluster with models from companies like JVC and Sony, and while the Epson ultimately didn’t match its LCOS competition when it came to contrast (JVC) or color accuracy (Sony), overall it held up extremely well—especially considering that the Epson cost several hundred dollars less and offers significantly greater brightness than either of those options.

Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Jan 30, 2014 4 comments
2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Bright 1080p for $1,000
No rainbows (for those who care)
Minus
Contrast ratio is mediocre
Color accuracy is only average

THE VERDICT
Despite a bright image, poor contrast and otherwise average performance put Epson’s 1080p budget projector out of contention at the $1,000 price point.

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised it was bright. I mean, it’s an Epson projector; of course it was going to be bright. But 42 foot-lamberts and 1080p for $1,000? That’s not too shabby. It’s perhaps even more impressive that all of that light bursts forth from such a tiny package.

Small, bright, a pair of HDMI inputs, even 3D capability: The PowerLite Home Cinema 2030 ticks all the boxes for a projector in our modern era. But box ticking is one thing, and not the thing we’re interested in.

Kris Deering Posted: Apr 28, 2016 0 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $850

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Fantastic portability
Super bright
High-end features at a low-end price
Minus
No lens shift
Focus uniformity less than stellar
A bit noisy

THE VERDICT
What it lacks in size, it makes up for in features. The Home Cinema 2045 packs a wallop for the dollar, delivering a bright and accurate image from a wonderfully portable unit.

I’ll be the first to admit it: I have become very jaded in my view of home theater projectors. Looking at my history with Sound & Vision (and previously Home Theater), I have always had the privilege of reviewing the upper crop of projectors; rarely do I get to evaluate more value-tier options. This wasn’t always the case, though. There was a time in my life when most of the projectors I used personally or reviewed for other publications were priced for a consumer on a much tighter budget. And so today, I’m intrigued to take a look at a more budget-conscious model. Enter the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045, a three-LCD 1080p 3D projector that, while low in cost ($850), boasts a feature-rich spec sheet.

Michael P. Hamilton Posted: Apr 29, 2015 3 comments
2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,600

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Epson puts the “light” in PowerLite
Well suited for brighter environments
Adjustments galore
Includes two pair of 3D glasses
Minus
Dynamic range short of true black
Default color tracking errors

THE VERDICT
Powerful light output with quiet operation and excellent build quality partner with 3D at an attractive price.

Even for those of us within the electronics industry, the constant evolution and ascending levels of technology combined with an ever-lower price of admittance continues to astonish. In the universe of projected light, a stellar example of this can be found in the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 3500 projector.

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: May 08, 2013 6 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $3,000 At A Glance: Superior 2D color and adjustability • Crisp resolution • Outstanding value

Epson is one of the world’s most prolific projector manufacturers, serving both the business and home markets. The company’s current flagship home theater model, the PowerLite Pro Cinema 6020UB, sells for $4,000. But for $2,700, you can buy the PowerLite Home Cinema 5020UB. The latter omits the spare lamp, ceiling mount, additional warranty year, and all-black case that come standard with the 6020UB.

Kris Deering Posted: May 03, 2011 2 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $4,495 At A Glance: Reference-quality 2D and 3D projection • Amazing value • Could be brighter

Value to the Third Dimension

It’s no secret that we’ve become huge fans of JVC’s string of D-ILA projectors. Ever since the DLA-HD1 hit the market years ago, JVC has been a big player on the projector scene, with industry-leading native contrast and exceptional HD picture quality.

Kris Deering Posted: May 02, 2012 11 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.

Kris Deering Posted: Jun 30, 2015 0 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $5,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Performance close to higher-end models
Excellent dynamic iris
Minus
HDMI slow to lock onto signals
Annoying gamma tracking after 100 hours

THE VERDICT
The combination of the DLA-X500R’s performance and value make it a favored pick in JVC’s current line.

Last year, I went to the 2014 CEDIA EXPO hoping to see some new native 4K projector options from JVC, but unfortunately, I came away disappointed. For the first time in recent memory, JVC decided to skip the annual model refresh and stick with their already superb 1080p projector offerings. This is understandable, given the embryonic state of the 4K market (and other variables that I’ll talk about below). But the line’s extra longevity did give me the chance to review what I believe to be the best overall option in JVC’s current family, the DLA-X500R. This projector may not have all the bells and whistles of its higher-priced brethren, but it does have what some would call “all the right junk, in all the right places.”

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