PROJECTOR REVIEWS

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Kris Deering Posted: Feb 28, 2013 2 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $5,000 At A Glance: Improved 3D performance • Quasi-4K performance at a lower price • Industry-leading contrast

JVC has been Home Theater’s standard bearer for reference quality, high-value displays these past few years, with one model or another finding its way into the reference systems of several members of our reviewing staff. There are projectors out there that outperform it in one way or another, but you’d be hard pressed to find any full line that performs as consistently well overall as JVC’s. This year’s lineup doesn’t introduce a lot of new features but does offer refinements to last year’s already strong line. For this review, I looked at the newest addition, the DLA-X55R. This is the only brand-new model, occupying a middle price point of $5,000 between the $3,500 entrylevel DLA-X35 and the more feature-laden DLA-X75R at $8,000. Notably, it brings JVC’s e-shift 4K technology to a new low price point.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 14, 2013 2 comments
2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $3,499 At A Glance: Crisp and detailed picture • Good black levels • Thorough but com- plex calibration controls

Panasonic entered the home theater projector market in 2001. But the company already had decades of experience in the business projector world, beginning with CRTs in 1975 and later moving into its current mix of LCDs and DLPs. All of the company’s home theater designs have used LCD imaging chips, however, and the PT-AE8000U is the latest link in a long chain dating back to that 2001 model, the PT-AE100.

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.

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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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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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Mar 20, 2012 3 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1,495 At A Glance: Many advanced features • Superb detail and color • Deepest blacks we've seen at this price level • Poor shadow detail

A front-projection system is usually the display of choice for serious home-theater enthusiasts. But such systems are more expensive than most flat panels and rear-projection TVs, especially when you consider the cost of a good screen. So finding a low-cost projector that performs well is the Holy Grail for those who want a true home cinema without breaking the bank.

Scott Wilkinson Posted: Feb 07, 2012 0 comments
2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1,499 At A Glance: Among least expensive 3D projectors • Good detail and color • High black level in 2D, low brightness in 3D • No lens shift

Like it or not, 3D compatibility is becoming nearly ubiquitous in midrange to high-end flat panels and projectors. But what about those who are looking for an entry-level projector with 3D? Are they out of luck? Not according to Optoma, whose HD33 DLP projector sells for less than $1,500, making it one of the least expensive 1080p 3D projectors on the market.

Kris Deering Posted: Jan 27, 2012 4 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $7,999 At A Glance: Outstanding out-of-the-box accuracy • Whisper quiet • Punchy 3D images

The performance we’ve been seeing from the projector world as of late has just been astounding. Sony has been right there at the top of the heap, too, earning our Top Pick for the last three projectors we’ve reviewed. The company continues to push new boundaries with its recently reviewed flagship 4K projector, the VPL-VW1000ES, and price/performance boundaries with its superb VPL-HW30ES. Last year Tom Norton was pleased as punch with Sony’s first 3D projector, the VPL-VW90ES, and I’ve been lucky enough to follow it up with its latest high-end effort, the VPL-VW95ES. Sony claims improvements in 3D performance and value. With a price point that falls $2,000 less than last year’s model, the company’s definitely made good on the value part. But can a lower-priced high-end model really outperform last year’s Top Pick? Let’s find out.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 06, 2011 9 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance   (See Review)
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Editor’s note: Click here for Tom Norton’s review covering the 3D capabilities and performance of the VPL-VW1000ES.

Editors Note: Home Theater is pleased to bring you this exclusive first review of Sony's VPL-VW1000ES, the world's first 4K projector built from the ground up for the consumer market. With more than four times the resolution of HDTV, 4K is already transforming digital cinema, and it now stands to create a more engaging and dramatic home theater experience as well.—Rob Sabin

Price: $25,000 At A Glance: Superb resolution • Excellent blacks and shadow detail • Four times the pixel density of 1920x1080 HD

Things could hardly be looking better for the video projector fan. The quality you can get today for under $10,000—or even under $5,000—is astonishing.

But the competition is fierce, and to stand out in the crowd, manufacturers are constantly on the lookout for the next big thing. True, 3D is still on its run as the NBT of the decade. Beyond that, 4K video lurks, waiting for its time in the spotlight.

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