Projector Reviews

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Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 13, 2010  |  0 comments
3D Digital Cinema Comes Home

Tell me you’ve never imagined what you’d do first if you won the lottery. Even if you never play and you know you have a better chance of getting hit by lightning than winning $10 million or (it’s a dream, isn’t it, so why go small potatoes?) even $100 million. Sure, if you take it all at once rather than in $5 million drabs over 20 years, that will drop to $50 million out of the gate. After Uncle Sam gets his cut, you’re down to $25 million. There goes your chance to buy the Seattle Seahawks.

Scott Wilkinson  |  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.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 11, 2010  |  0 comments
Price: $6,995 (optional Schneider Optics lens: $7,995) At A Glance: Big, bright, punchy image • Black level and shadow detail compete with the best • Excessively wide color gamut

Broaden Your Horizons

If you’ve investigated the subject of constant-height projection, you know that it can be a complicated, slightly intimidating business. We covered the ground rather thoroughly in “Beating the Black Bars” (HT, October 2008). Constant-height display generally involves placing a so-called anamorphic lens in front of a projector’s native lens when viewing true widescreen films—that is, films with an aspect ratio of around 2.35:1 (often called scope films). Such a setup also employs a 2.35:1 screen. For material with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 or less, the lens is normally moved out of the way and the image is projected onto the 2.35:1 screen with black bars on each side. This is sometimes called windowboxing.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 29, 2000  |  0 comments

Audio considerations seem to be the top priority of most home-theater enthusiasts. But once you reach a certain plateau of sound quality you begin to take a good look at your video display, and most of us end up wanting a separate projector and screen for that real movie experience. At <I>SGHT</I>, we've reviewed some of the most exotic video-display products on the planet. But when the daydreaming stops, we realize that these projectors are the video equivalents of Ferraris. As much fun as they are to write and (we hope) read about, only a few lucky readers will ever park them in their homes.

Fred Manteghian  |  Feb 25, 2006  |  0 comments

My wife always wanted twins. I got her the next best thing: DWINs. Hanging on the ceiling is my DWIN HDP-500 CRT projector (wow, has it really been seven years already?), while on a table below and slightly behind it is the new DWIN TransVision 4 DLP projector. Actually, the new DWIN, like the old DWIN, is not just a projector, but a full projection <i>system</i> that manages all your critical video switching and processing needs. Seven years. I feel the itch.

John J. Gannon  |  Sep 02, 2002  |  0 comments

As the Greek mathematician Zeno stated more than 2400 years ago, traveling half the distance toward one's destination, then half of the remaining half, and so on, might mean that one never gets there. The ability to re-create visual reality on a video screen improves with each generation of whichever new technology you choose&mdash;LCD, DLP, D-ILA&mdash;but they seem to be merely continuing to halve the distance remaining from the still-unrivaled performance of the decades-old cathode-ray-tube (CRT) projector. Longtime readers might think that I sound a bit like a skipping CD, but even this late in 2002, the CRT video-projection technology continues to reign as the king of video fidelity.

Al Griffin  |  Apr 04, 2014  |  0 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.

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.

Al Griffin  |  Jun 22, 2017  |  1 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,500

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Very good picture quality for the price
Flexible installation options
Fully backlit remote
Minus
Inaccurate out-of-box color
Some motor noise from Auto Iris
High fan noise in certain picture modes

THE VERDICT
Epson’s mid-range projector delivers very bright images, but it also offers enough refinement to make it a worthy upgrade over cheaper budget-priced models.

Let’s face facts: Budget home theater projectors can be a mixed bag. Last year, I tested a trio of such models from Optoma (December 2016 issue), InFocus (soundandvision.com), and ViewSonic (September 2016 issue). More recently, I checked out BenQ’s HT1070 (May), another projector that proved to be a high-value find. But while I liked the idea of getting a big, bright 1080p-resoluton picture for under $1,000, the less-than-impressive picture contrast and sparse installation features put a cap on my enthusiasm. When I look back at the bunch, it seems clear that “better” means “more expensive” when it comes to projectors.

Al Griffin  |  May 20, 2020  |  2 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,699

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Very good contrast and light output
Low input lag
Generous lens shift range
Fully backlit remote
Minus
Limited DCI-P3 color space coverage

THE VERDICT
Epson's latest 3LCD projector goes easy on the wallet while delivering performance and features typically found in more expensive models.

Epson's Home Cinema LCD projector lineup ranges from basic, inexpensive beamers designed for portable use to high-end models meant for serious home theater installations. Of these, we typically devote space to the company's premium UB (Ultra Black) offerings such as the 5050UB 4K PRO-UHD (reviewed in the August/September issue and also on soundandvision.com), along with mid-range models like the 3800 under evaluation here. A big plus of the Epson projector family is that the costs usually top out at $3,000, with mid-range offerings priced about one-third to one-half that amount while providing many of the same features found in the high-end offerings.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 29, 2017  |  3 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,200

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Good resolution in HD and UHD
Impressive HDR
Low price
Minus
Contrast and black level could be better
Manual HDR/SDR switching

THE VERDICT
The Epson 4000 offers an effective combination of HDR and SDR projection at a price that seemed impossible a year ago.

Native 4K imaging—where the chips display all 8.3 million individual pixels (3840 x 2160) in each frame simultaneously—is still rare in an affordable consumer projector. Currently, the entry price is $5,000, for Sony’s new VPL-VW285ES. But last year, Epson introduced two 3LCD models that use pixel shifting to achieve an apparent resolution close to 4K. The less expensive of the two was the PowerLite Home Cinema 5040UB, still selling, as I write this, for around $2,700. (Its virtual twin, the Pro Cinema 6040UB, was reviewed in the October 2016 Sound & Vision.)

Al Griffin  |  Dec 12, 2018  |  3 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Extended color
Good brightness and contrast
Great value
Minus
Blacks could be better
High fan noise with picture optimized for HDR

THE VERDICT
he Epson 4010’s near-perfect color, good contrast, and wide array of setup features make it a strong under-$2,000 projector option.

Affordable, 4K-capable projectors are very much a reality — Sound & Vision has reviewed several such models plucked from the DLP, LCD, and LCOS camps. And in some cases, “affordable” can equate to $2,000 or less. One drawback you have to contend with when considering such projectors is their dependence on pixel-shifting technology to display a full Ultra HD image onscreen. But given the crisp pictures we’ve seen when viewing with pixel-shifting models from JVC, Optoma, Epson, and others, the lack of true 4K-resolution imaging chips ultimately isn’t much of a drawback at all.

Al Griffin  |  Jul 18, 2019  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Extended color
Excellent brightness and contrast
Great value
Minus
Fan noise with High Power Consumption setting active

THE VERDICT
Epson’s latest UltraBlack model delivers impressive image quality with both standard and Ultra HD/HDR sources at an equally impressive price.

In late 2018, I reviewed Epson's 4010 PRO-UHD 3LCD Projector, a $2,000 model with a bright (2,400 lumens) picture, 4K/Ultra HD display via pixel-shifting, and a wide range of sophisticated setup features such as motorized lens shift and focus that are typically found only on much more expensive models.

Al Griffin  |  Jan 30, 2018  |  4 comments
Epson Home Cinema LS100
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value

Elite Screens Aeon CLR
Performance
Setup
Value
PRICE $3,000 (Epson), $799 (Elite)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Bright picture
Compact form factor
Can be used in average room-lighting conditions
Minus
Below-average picture contrast
Some center-to-edge brightness dropoff
Mediocre remote control

THE VERDICT
This combination of Epson projector and Elite screen represents a great value for those seeking a daylight-friendly, ultra-large-screen viewing option.

Ultra-short-throw (UST) projectors are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to regular front-projection systems. The reason is that, unlike regular projectors, which require careful lighting control to perform their best, UST models can operate in well-lit environments. They beam light upwards and are designed to be mounted only a few inches away from the screen, an arrangement permitting clean installations that not only are free of ceiling mounts or long wiring runs but also avoid the problem of onscreen shadows when someone traverses a projector’s beam.

Al Griffin  |  Nov 25, 2020  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $4,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Bright, living room-friendly image
Packaged with easy to assemble screen
Plentiful picture adjustment options
Minus
Limited contrast and color space coverage
High fan noise in Normal Light Output mode
Basic remote control

THE VERDICT
With its powerful brightness and impressive overall picture, Epson's LS500 offers a compelling alternative to pricey oversize flat-panel TVs.

Remember the rear-projection TV (RPTV)? RPTVs were big, boxy contraptions housing a projector that beamed an image at the rear of a screen mounted on the set's front surface. While necessarily inelegant compared with the sleek flat-panel TVs that eventually replaced them, the RPTV in its heyday solved the problem of getting a big image—screen sizes topped out around 80-inches—without having to resort to a room-dominating two-piece system with a ceiling-mounted projector and separate screen.

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