PROJECTOR REVIEWS

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Geoffrey Morrison  |  Dec 28, 2011  |  0 comments

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.

Thomas J. Norton  |  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.

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Nov 30, 2011  |  0 comments

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.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 02, 2011  |  5 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $3,700 At A Glance: Deep blacks • Accurate 2D color • Outstanding brightness

Sony’s VPL-HW projectors go back a few years, with steady model-to-model refinements. Last year it was the VPL-HW20; this year it’s the VPL-HW30ES. Note that the HW30 now carries Sony’s premier ES designation. But there’s more than that to account for its price premium over the VLP-HW20. Not only does the new model build on its predecessor’s already excellent 2D performance, but it’s also 3D-ready, using active shutter glasses you can purchase separately along with an external 3D emitter. Or if you prefer your projector to be 3D-capable right out of the box, you can purchase it with two pair of model TDG-PJ1 glasses and the TMR-PJ1 emitter included as the VPL-HW30AES for $4,000.

Kevin James  |  Oct 26, 2011  |  0 comments

With prices falling faster than confidence in Greece's economy, is there a better big-screen deal these days than a front projector? Back in 2008 even bargain-basement-priced 1080p models cost about $3,000 - about half what they cost just a year earlier, but still a sizable chunk of change.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 13, 2011  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $6,995 At A Glance: Satisfying brightness on a big screen • Excellent resolution and color • So-so black level and contrast

A few months back, we reviewed the Digital Projection HighLite Cine 260-HC (Home Theater, May 2011). But like most three-chip DLP designs, its $30,000 price could buy a nicely equipped new car. Some day, perhaps, the prices of such projectors may come down to earth, but until then, most of us are left to other options.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 21, 2011  |  1 comments
2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $5,500 At A Glance: Bright, punchy images • Good (though not highly accurate) color • Middling black level and contrast

Many of us here at Home Theater are big on 3D, but a lot of front-projection fans have been holding off. Until recently, their only options in the $5,000 3D projector market were two identical JVC models (sold either through that company’s pro or consumer distribution channels).

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Sep 12, 2011  |  0 comments

Perhaps it was because I wasn't paying attention, but I didn't expect a lot of big projector news to come out of this show. Yeah, I was wrong.

Michael Berk  |  Sep 08, 2011  |  0 comments

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.

Michael Berk  |  Sep 08, 2011  |  0 comments

Well, it looks like another major manufacturer has followed Optoma's lead in bringing the cost of 3D projection down to a reasonable figure.

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Aug 24, 2011  |  0 comments

Plenty of people reading this review may exhibit a rather visceral reaction to the Runco LS-10i projector’s $20,000 price. After all, the Sharp XV-Z17000 DLP projector that I reviewed in Sound+Vision’s last issue was 25% as expensive, was nearly as bright, and did 3D. So what gives? What does the extra money get you? A fair amount, it turns out.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jul 29, 2011  |  0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $999 At A Glance: Excellent detail & color via HDMI • Poor blacks & shadow detail • No lens shift • Excellent user interface

In some respects, the Optoma HD20 is an exceptional value, providing a razor-sharp 1080p image for just about as little money as any projector I know of. It's overall detail and color are excellent via HDMI, and it offers extensive controls, surprisingly advanced features, and a well-organized user interface. However, the lack of lens shift makes placement difficult without invoking the keystone control that can degrade the detail a lot. And even if you solve that problem, the shadow detail is poor, which causes dark scenes have large areas of solid darkness rather than subtle low-level details. Finally, at the largest image size I could manage in our studio given the lack of lens shift, the black level was quite high, which means the black of space was dark gray and letterbox bars were obvious. For better performance in this critical area, a larger image is a must.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jul 29, 2011  |  0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1299 At A Glance: Good detail & shadow detail • Vivid colors • Not-so-great blacks • Excellent user interface

I've always liked Epson projectors—they generally produce an excellent picture for a reasonable price, which makes them a great value. The PowerLite Home Cinema 8350 is no exception, though it's not quite the home run that Epson's UB (ultra-black) models are. In fact, my primary complaint with the 8350 is its not-so-great blacks, which isn't helped much by the dynamic iris on real-world material. Granted, its blacks are better than those of the Optoma HD20, but they're still too bright to achieve a really great picture, especially in dark scenes. Also, colors are not spot-on accurate with this Epson, though I didn't find that bothersome when watching Blu-rays, DVDs, and TV programming. Another surprise—despite color fringing and softness I saw in certain test patterns, the detail in real-world content was quite good, if just a tad softer than the DLP-based HD20.

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Jun 16, 2011  |  0 comments

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. 

Thomas J. Norton  |  May 12, 2011  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $9,999 At A Glance: Deep, rich blacks • Accurate color • 3D-to-2D conversion • improved brightness and contrast

3D Gets Big

It seems like only yesterday that I reviewed Sony’s VPL-VW85 projector, but it was a year and a half ago (Home Theater, November 2009). Sony launches a new flagship home theater projector every year at the September CEDIA EXPO, and 2010 was no exception.

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