PROJECTOR REVIEWS

Sort By: Post Date | Title | Publish Date
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.

Filed under
Kris Deering Posted: Mar 21, 2016 0 comments
2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $14,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Native 4K imaging chips
HDR10 compatible
Minus
Lacks full HDMI v2.0a capabilities
Less than perfect focus uniformity
Careful setup needed for best results

THE VERDICT
Sony’s mid-cycle refresh of the VPL-VW600ES offers decent bumps in dynamic contrast, brightness, and features. While it still lacks some key future-proofing and has a few niggling issues, its compelling native 4K imagery is some of the best we’ve seen from front projectors on the market today.

Here we are now a full four years beyond Sony’s debut of the VPL-VW1000ES, the first consumer-level native 4K projector. And yet the bounty of 4K content that was promised at that time is really now just coming to fruition with an assortment of streaming options and a new Blu-ray format springing forth. In late 2015, Sony did what I’d call a mid-cycle refresh on one of our previous Top Picks, the VPL-VW600ES (May 2014; review at soundandvision.com), adding a few new features like HDR capabilities and improved contrast and brightness. But is the VPL-VW665ES the projector to buy as we head into the land of Ultra HD and all its promises?

Al Griffin Posted: Mar 14, 2016 0 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Great brightness for the price
Dynamic iris control enhances contrast
Very good 3D performance
Minus
Low Lamp Control setting greatly diminishes brightness
Manual focus, zoom, and lens shift controls

THE VERDICT
Thanks to its dynamic iris, Sony’s 1080p projector beams bright images with great contrast and delivers performance so good that you may not care it’s not 4K.

The last time I had my hands on a Sony product, it was a 4K projector priced at ten grand. That model, the VPL-VW350ES, had many positive attributes (I gave it a Top Pick stamp, after all), along with one weakness: somewhat lackluster contrast compared with that of projectors that provide a dynamic iris control.

Al Griffin Posted: Mar 14, 2016 4 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Very good brightness for the price
Excellent contrast
Fully motorized lens controls
Minus
Slight enhancement artifacts

THE VERDICT
JVC’s DLA-X550R continues the company’s streak of producing high-value projectors that deliver high-contrast images.

Most projector manufacturers refresh their product lines every fall like clockwork, but JVC opted to sit things out for 2014. The main reason (I suspect) was the state of flux surrounding the HDMI standard, which at that point was evolving to a new 18-gigabit-per-second version designed to accommodate a full range of 4K/Ultra HD bells and whistles, including 60-hertz frame rate, 4:4:4 color sampling, and high dynamic range.

Michael P. Hamilton Posted: Mar 02, 2016 8 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.

Filed under
Kris Deering Posted: Oct 29, 2015 8 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $8,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Laser light engine
HDCP 2.2 compliance
Excellent contrast and accuracy
UHD color support
Minus
Not true 4K
Pricey
Contrast not quite up to lofty claims

THE VERDICT
Few projectors can compete with Epson’s first salvo in the reflective LCD market, and the company’s laser engine delivers bright images with flagship-level contrast and accuracy.

Last year’s CEDIA Expo was a bit of a buzzkill for projectors. We continued to see a dropoff in the number of manufacturers, and two of the biggest names in consumer projectors, Sony and JVC, both decided to forgo new models altogether. But that didn’t stop Epson from unveiling one of the most exciting projectors I’ve seen in years, the PowerLite Pro Cinema LS10000. Not only is it unlike any previous Epson model, but it’s also the first laser-driven home theater projector I’ve seen—and at a sub-$10,000 price point. But can it compete with the juggernauts from Sony and JVC at these higher price levels? 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.”

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.

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?

Al Griffin Posted: Apr 10, 2015 2 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $10,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Accurate color
Ample brightness
Smooth, detailed picture
Minimal fan noise
Minus
No iris control
Doesn’t include 3D glasses

THE VERDICT
Sony’s lowest-priced 4K projector to date is packed with features and delivers a bright, beautiful picture.

When I hear someone question the value of 4K, the first thought that comes to my mind is: projection. Unless your nose is pressed up to the screen, a 4K image viewed on 50-inch flat-panel TV won’t look much different from regular old 1080p. A main advantage to 4K is that you can scale your display up to a massive size without having to worry about seeing the individual pixels that form a picture. And when you’re thinking about scaling a video display up to a massive size, nothing gives you a better return on investment than projection.

Filed under
Al Griffin Posted: Mar 31, 2015 0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,199

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Crisp, bright image for a portable projector
Accurate color
Provides built-in Smart TV and streaming features
Minus
So-so black levels and picture contrast
Visible DLP rainbow effect
Limited installation options

THE VERDICT
LG’s portable PF85U has cool features and impressive picture quality for a portable projector, but its performance isn’t exactly up to snuff for regular home theater use.

LG’s PF85U DLP projector brings some interesting things to the table (literally, in many cases). It’s compact, portable, and driven by an LED light source. It has built-in Wi-Fi, LG’s Smart TV interface, and its streaming options include Netflix, Vudu, and Amazon Instant Video. At $1,199, it’s priced attractively for a 1080p-res projector with decent light output.

Kris Deering Posted: Nov 04, 2014 0 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $27,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Razor-sharp optics
Accurate DCI and Rec. 709 color
True 4K performance
Minus
Contrast could be further improved
Pricey

THE VERDICT
The VPL-VW1100ES is a flagship projector in every sense—from its second-to-none lens to its phenomenal accuracy.

Two and a half years have already passed since Tom Norton delivered the first review of Sony’s initial salvo into the 4K projector world, the VPL-VW1000ES. It earned top marks from Tom, who called it the best projector he’d ever seen. Now, three years later, Sony has a new flagship, the VPL-VW1100ES, which includes an upgrade to the latest HDMI 2.0 connection standard and some video-processing refinements. It retains the core components of the old model but takes advantage of the small market of consumer 4K content available today.

Kris Deering Posted: Apr 23, 2014 1 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $8,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Raises the bar for contrast
Excellent dynamic iris
performance
Minus
HDMI slow to lock on to signals

THE VERDICT
With the introduction of its first dynamic iris system, JVC has set a new standard for black level and contrast.

My dad worked on helicopters when I was growing up. In our garage was a picture of the latest Army Chinook, with the tag line “Only the Silhouette Remains the Same.” When I started my review of the DLA-X700R, JVC’s latest 3D LCOS projector, that phrase came back to mind. The projector looks exactly like my reference DLA-X75R—but on the inside, almost everything is new. After about a month of extensive use, I’ve discovered that JVC has achieved a massive step up in performance, making their new line of projectors the best they’ve delivered yet.

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.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 28, 2014 1 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $15,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Smooth, clean detail
Excellent color
Rich, dark blacks
Minus
Occasional iris pumping
Pricey

THE VERDICT
With its compelling reproduction of smooth detail, fine color, and impressive brightness with 2D content, the VPL-VW600ES offers a tantalizing taste of 4K.

In case you haven’t noticed—or have just returned from an extended spring break in Antarctica—the newest thing in home video is Ultra HD, or 4K. 3D is so 2010. 4K is now.

But 4K home projectors are still a rarity, and so far, there haven’t been any true 4K consumer projectors even remotely approaching the price of a good 1080p model. Until now, that is. Sony’s new VPL-VW600ES comes in at an MSRP of $15,000, or just over half the price of the company’s VPL-VW1100ES, a recent update of the VPL-VW1000ES (Sony’s first consumer 4K model). That’s not exactly chicken feed, but it’s a move in the right direction.

Pages

X