PROJECTOR REVIEWS

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 08, 2010 0 comments
Price: $2,295 At A Glance: Excellent video processing • Stunning resolution • Poor shadow detail

While Mitsubishi might have a larger footprint in your memory with its big-screen TVs and flat panels, the company is focused on front projection. In fact, its Website shows 26 projector models, including four home theater designs.

Mitsubishi projectors are not your father’s Mitsubishi, and by that I mean video displays, not cars. Its projectors are marketed by the company’s Presentation Products division, which is separate from the division that sells flat-panel and rear-projection TVs.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 01, 2010 0 comments
Price: $3,699 At A Glance: Excellent video processing • Superior adjustability • Blacks to die for

Epson’s broad lineup of PowerLite home theater projectors can be a bit confusing, but the important point is that it splits into two parallel lines. At the top are the Pro Cinema models, and just below them are the Home Cinema designs. They track each other closely in performance, but the Pro Cinema versions offer a few extra features. These include an aspect-ratio setting for anamorphic projection on a 2.35:1 screen (the anamorphic lens required to use this is not included, and I didn’t test this feature). They also include ISFccc Day and Night modes, a spare lamp, a longer warranty, and a black case (the Home Cinema versions are white). At the top of the line, and our subject here, is the Pro Cinema 9500 UB.

Description
In appearance, the PowerLite Pro Cinema 9500 UB—one of the few projectors that is currently THX certified—closely resembles last year’s Epson flagship, the Pro Cinema 7500 UB. Its Fujinon zoom lens has a throw-distance range of 9.8 to 20.9 feet for a 100-inch (diagonal) 16:9 screen. The horizontal and vertical lens-shift controls, located at the top front of the case, have convenient mid-setting detents that make it easy to find the neutral settings. Lens shift, zoom, and focus are all manual.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 21, 2010 0 comments

Ever since I first heard about front projectors with LED light sources, I've been intrigued by the idea. LED-illuminated RPTVs were available just before the product category imploded, but front projectors using this technology have only now begun to appear.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 26, 2009 0 comments
Price: $12,999 At A Glance: Fast calibration, accurate color • Superb detail • Video processing under par

Dynamic and Detailed

In these days of increasingly improved LCD and LCOS projectors, new DLP models seem to be few and far between. Some manufacturers have cut back on their premium DLP projector offerings (Sharp), and some have eliminated them altogether (Yamaha).

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 28, 2009 0 comments
Price: $8,000 At A Glance: Solid blacks • Accurate color • Unique adjustability • Color management system could be more effective • Superb resolution

Big Performance

The June 2009 issue of Home Theater featured a glowing report on Sony’s VPL-VW70 video projector. But as they say, time flies when you’re having fun. Building on its enviable past record in cutting-edge, high-value video projectors, Sony has just launched the VPL-VW70’s successor, the VPL-VW85.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 06, 2009 0 comments
Price: $2,999 At A Glance: Excellent video processing • Superior color and color adjustability • Near state-of-the-art black level • Natural detail

Epson is one of the major players in the business projector business, and it’s now making inroads into the home theater market as well. Its Ensemble HD Home Cinema System, which includes a projector, screen, speakers, and electronics, is priced to tempt consumers who would not have otherwise considered a projection setup. The company’s UltraBlack (UB) projectors have also made a big splash at recent electronics trade shows.

The PowerLite Home Cinema 6500 UB is one step down in the Epson lineup from the top-of-the-line PowerLite Pro Cinema 7500 UB. The latter is $1,200 more expensive. However, apart from some added features (an anamorphic aspect ratio option and ISFccc Day and Night modes), a black case, a year longer on its warranty, and a spare lamp ($300 if bought separately), it does not appear to add anything that would enhance its basic performance relative to the 6500 UB. The 6500 UB is clearly the bargain buy.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 06, 2009 0 comments
Price: $2,500 At A Glance: Outstanding video processing • Deep blacks (with auto iris) • Brightness to spare for a big screen

Sharp has a long history in the home theater projector business. It began with a successful run of LCD models. But the company soon shifted its projectors to Texas Instruments’ DLP technology, which appeared to be ready to dominate the projection business for a time.

However, with the development of new and vastly improved LCD chips and designs in the recent past, all that has changed. LCD (and its second cousin, LCOS—a variation on liquid crystal technology) now dominates the projection market. Sharp is sticking to DLP, and its new XV-Z15000 is one of the first DLP designs to sport a new 0.65-inch digital micromirror device (DMD) from Texas Instruments. The DMD is the imaging chip at the heart of the DLP system.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jun 08, 2009 0 comments
Price: $5,295 (with anamorphic lens kit: $9,595) At A Glance: Superb detail and shadow detail • Excellent anamorphic performance • Oversaturated greens and reds

Anamorphic 4 Less

You may not have heard of French projector maker DreamVision, but I sure have. Whenever I’ve seen its projectors at trade shows, I’ve always been impressed by their stylish cabinets, high performance, and high prices.

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Kris Deering Posted: May 27, 2009 0 comments
When most people hear the name Marantz, they probably think of high-quality audio components—after all, the company has been in that business for 60 years. But videophiles know that Marantz is also a highly respected name in front projectors, such as the flagship VP-11S2. Like all the company's models, this one is based on DLP technology with 1920x1080 resolution. How does it stack up against its progenitors? Let's find out...
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 18, 2009 0 comments
Price: $8,000 At A Glance: Superb contrast and black levels • Excellent color • Unique adjustments

It should be obvious that the cost of a great home theater projector keeps coming down. At $8,000, Sony’s new VPL-VW70 includes many features that distinguished its earlier, more expensive designs, improves on them in some important respects (particularly black levels), and brings a few new wrinkles of its own to the party.

Description
The large, relatively heavy Sony is easily the looker of this group. If you replaced its lens with a laser cannon and added a bridge bubble on top, its curvy, sci-fi-inspired shape wouldn’t be out of place swooping overhead at the beginning of Galaxy Quest II: The Wrath of Melmac.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 18, 2009 0 comments
Price: $3,295 At A Glance: Impressive resolution • Good blacks and shadow detail • Oversaturated color • Excellent value

Sanyo has long been a big player in the business projector market. However, while it has a serious presence in home projectors in many markets, it has remained relatively low key for U.S. consumers. This is especially true when you compare it with manufacturers who are more aggressive at beating their own drums. But the PLV-Z3000 proves that the company knows its way around home theater projector design.

Description
The Sanyo lacks the Ferrari-like curves that many of its competitors sport. Still, its relatively plain, boxy shape is functional and well executed. All mechanical operations (horizontal and vertical lens shift, focus, and zoom) are manual. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since these are usually set-and-forget operations. The zoom lens has a throw-distance range of 9.8 to 20 feet for a 100-inch (diagonal) 16:9 screen.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 18, 2009 0 comments
Price: $4,500 At A Glance: Excellent black level and shadow detail • • Bright, crisp image • Oversaturated color

We’re no strangers to JVC projectors around the Home Theater campfire. We’ve reviewed several of their models over the past few years. I’ve been using a DLA-RS1 as a reference since 2007. It isn’t perfect—no projector is—but it does a lot right, and I’m not the only one who says so. At $6,000 when it first came out, it was one of the players that redefined value in the home projector game.

We’re now two generations of JVC projectors beyond that, and things keep getting better. For 2009, JVC offers the DLA-HD350 and the DLA-HD750, plus two exact equivalents from its pro division. We reviewed the $7,500 DLA-HD750 in our April 2009 issue and it’s a current Top Pick.

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Shane Buettner Posted: Mar 30, 2009 0 comments
Price: $7,500 At A Glance: State-of-the-art blacks and contrast • Infinitely tweakable and natural colors • Softer than previous JVC projectors

What You Do for an Encore

JVC’s recent generation of D-ILA projectors have been standard-setters in blacks and contrast. They have exceeded the performance of most dynamic-iris designs while eliminating the artifacts involved with that approach. These projectors were good enough that several HT regulars outfitted their own theaters with these rigs, including yours truly. This explains why I had to pull rank on the lot of these guys and review this new model myself. Usually, the catch with this kind of success is figuring out how to follow it up. Apparently, JVC had no such trouble.

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Kris Deering Posted: Mar 09, 2009 0 comments
Price: $3,500 At A Glance: Price-leading contrast performance • Smooth, film-like images • Limited features

Sony Brings SXRD to the Masses

Sony turned the high-end projector world on its ear with the introduction of the VPL-VW100 SXRD projector. The VPL-VW100 offered resolution and performance far beyond other projectors at or near its price point. Sony has continued to push that envelope with more and more SXRD offerings at lower price points. The latest is the VPL-HW10, which is the lowest-priced SXRD projector yet at $3,500. It brings the high resolution and high contrast of SXRD to the budget market.

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Kris Deering Posted: Mar 09, 2009 0 comments
Price: $3,995 At A Glance: Outstanding video processing, including full-time anamorphic lens support • Razor-sharp images • Color accuracy needs work

Mitsubishi Delivers a Diamond

The HC7000 is Mitsubishi’s flagship video projector and one of only two Diamond Series projectors. This three-chip design uses the latest C2 Fine inorganic LCD panels. It has a native resolution of 1,920 by 1,080 and features a proprietary polarizing filter designed to squeeze a bit more contrast and better uniformity out of the panels. At $3,995, the HC7000 is the most expensive projector in our roundup, and it has some great features. It includes a dynamic iris, Silicon Optix HQV video processing, and a great warranty program for the projector and lamp. It also has full anamorphic lens support, including the ability to permanently mount the lens to the projector. Combined with the great build quality and performance, these features made the Mitsubishi my favorite projector of the group.

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