This is my second time writing this review. I don’t mean that I tweaked and changed it a lot and that this is a second draft. I mean I had to completely rewrite it. No computer error: I simply found something so bizarre, so transformative about Epson’s Home Cinema 5010 projector that it radically changed my opinion of it. So much so that I had to start over completely.
There are two ways to look at the rapidly decreasing price point of 3D HD projectors. The first way: Manufacturers are racing one another to the bottom by finding ways to make 3D cheaper and cheaper. The second, more accurate way: 3D is just a new feature (though one marketed to within an inch of its life) found on cheaper and cheaper products, just as 1080p resolution was a few years ago.
Looked at through those eyes, the Sony VPLHW30ES is less a “new 3D projector” and more a continuation of a long line of excellent SXRD models from Sony that now just happen to also do 3D. Plus, it’s a fantastic value.
Doing its part to bring cutting-edge theatrical digital projection technology to a price point that's still hazy but should at least be less thanstratospheric, Sony announced the VPL-VW1000ES projector - the first of its 4K capable SXRD units to be aimed at the home market.
Let’s go over some of the numbers here: 1080p, 3D, $1,000. Pretty solid specs and pricing for flat-panel TV, except ... this is no flat-panel. BenQ’s W1070 is, as you have probably deduced, a projector. I’ve reviewed a few projectors in this price range as exclusives for soundandvision.com and all came up rather lacking.
Optoma made a name for itself early on by making high-quality, low-cost DLP projectors. But with the HD8300, Optoma isn’t going after the budget end of the projector spectrum. Instead, the company is aiming right at its new heart: $5k-ish 3D.
Sharp was once king of the $10,000 projector class, a class now nearly disappeared. With the 3D era under way, it returns to the game with this $4,995 offering, only to find the market far more competitive than before. Most notable is the $500-cheaper JVC DLA-X3, the baby brother of the X7 model I reviewed in the April/May issue.
I first experienced Runco’s new D-73d 3D projector at the CEDIA Expo last September and was pretty impressed. By “pretty impressed” I mean that it was the best display of 3D technology I witnessed at the show. I find myself prone to headaches and discomfort when viewing many 3D demonstrations, and the D-73d was the easiest-on-the-eyes solution I’d seen. But there is a big difference between being wowed by a 10-minute demo and evaluating something critically for hours on end. So, when an opportunity to review this new projector at Runco’s factory headquarters came up, I jumped at the chance!
Let’s cut right to it: this projector is staggeringly, amazingly, blindingly bright. It’s brighter than any projector I can remember measuring. It’s brighter than any plasma. It’s brighter than most LCD TVs I’ve reviewed. Uncalibrated, on a 102-inch, 1.0-gain screen, I got 87 footlamberts. That means, with a slightly smaller screen, or a screen with even a little gain, you could have an over 100-footlambert image from a projector.
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!