Projector Reviews

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Kris Deering  |  Nov 26, 2019  |  0 comments
In a departure for JVC, the company didn’t announce new D-ILA projector models at CEDIA Expo in September 2019. Instead, JVC’s key announcement at the show was a firmware update for the native 4K projector line it had unveiled at the previous CEDIA Expo in 2018.
Kris Deering  |  Nov 06, 2019  |  4 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $5,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Easy setup and installation
Excellent image clarity
Extensive calibration options for a projector
Minus
Low light output
Limited contrast performance
Middling HDR performance

THE VERDICT
LG's HU85LA ultra-short-throw projector has high cool factor, but its limited light output and modest contrast will leave movie fans wanting.

If you're a home cinema nut like me, there's always one thing that makes or breaks the experience: screen size. For the last 15 years, I've owned a front projection system that beams images well over 100 inches diagonal, and once you have that at home, it's hard to turn back! Today's flat panel TVs provide truly extraordinary image quality, and although they keep getting bigger and bigger, models with a screen size above 90 inches remain prohibitively expensive.

Kris Deering  |  Jul 24, 2019  |  0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $8,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Reference-level optics
Maintenance-free LED light engine
Outstanding color accuracy
Minus
Lacks lens memories and motorized adjustments
Disappointing contrast
Limited HDR performance

THE VERDICT
BenQ's latest flagship projector outclasses its predecessor with HDR and wide color gamut sup- port, but contrast performance and HDR handling leave much to be desired compared with the high-end competition.

Back in 2017, I had an opportunity to review BenQ's HT9050 DLP projector, a flagship 4K model featuring a spectacular all-glass lens, an LED light engine, and the latest Texas Instruments DLP imaging device. To sum that review up briefly, I had a lot of issues with the HT9050, which lacked both HDR support and convenience features commonly seen on other models at or near its $8,999 price. Now BenQ has brought out the HT9060, another $8,999 model sitting at the top of its "CinePro" projector line.

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.

Kris Deering  |  Apr 17, 2019  |  5 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $18,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Fantastic HDR performance
Reference-level optics
Industry leading contrast
Minus
Some dynamic contrast-related artifacts
Noticeable fan noise in High lamp mode

THE VERDICT
JVC’s second-generation 4K beamer sets a new high bar for projector HDR performance. Add industry leading contrast, reference-quality optics, and exceptional usability and you have a projector that punches way above its price point.

It took a while, but JVC has finally updated its full consumer projector lineup to native 4K (4,096 x 2,160) resolution. Just over two years ago, Sound & Vision reviewed the company's first native 4K model, the $29,995 flagship DLA-RS4500. For this review I am going to cover the flagship model from the new range, the DLA-NX9 (also available as the DLA-RS3000 from JVC's professional division). At $18,000, the NX9 isn't exactly a casual purchase, though it does deliver some new features at a price point we haven't seen before from JVC.

Kris Deering  |  Feb 20, 2019  |  5 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $35,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Breathtaking image quality
Reference-level optics
Laser light source
Minus
Low light output for price point
Lacks dedicated picture mode for HDR

THE VERDICT
The Sony VPL-VW995ES delivers reference-level images with all video formats and benefits from a high-end lens that's optimized for 4K playback.

In 2018, I reviewed Sony's VPL-VW885ES 4K laser projector, a $25,000 model that I hoped would be the successor to previous Sound & Vision Top Pick winners from Sony, the VPL-VW1000 and VPL-VW1100ES, but it fell slightly short of expectations. At CEDIA 2018, Sony unveiled its VPL-VW995ES, a next-gen step-up model in the ES projector line that sported the high-end optics missing from the VW885ES plus a few new tricks. The VPL-VW995ES appears to be a true successor to the earlier designs, but at a steep $35,000, does it have the chops to command such a lofty price? Let's find out.

Al Griffin  |  Dec 12, 2018  |  2 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.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 28, 2018  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $5,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent resolution
Good HDR brightness
Quiet
Minus
Middling black level
Limited BT.2020 and P3 color coverage
No 10-point white balance adjustment

THE VERDICT
Sony’s VPL-VW295ES isn’t significantly different than last year’s VPL-VW285ES, but it’s still a tempting entry in the limited world of affordable true 4K home projectors.

Until recently, most home 4K projectors used lower-than-4K-resolution imaging chips and employed various types of time-offset pixel shifting to display a 4K image on a screen. Such projectors are affordable and widely available, and they can be remarkably effective. True, full 4K projection, on the other hand, has remained something of a golden goose, priced out of the range of mere mortals.

Al Griffin  |  Jun 28, 2018  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Bright picture with powerful contrast
Detailed Ultra HD image
Maintenance-free laser light engine
Minus
Some loss of highlight detail with HDR
Requires calibration for best performance
Limited wide color gamut display

THE VERDICT
The Acer VL7860’s detailed picture and impressive contrast elevate it above the entry-level 4K DLP projector pack. In this case, 4K for 4K is a good deal.

With DLP projectors capable of displaying 4K Ultra HD signals now selling for $1,500 or even less, they present an affordable alternative to higher-cost 4K LCOS models from Sony and JVC. Even longtime LCOS stalwart JVC has jumped in on the game, with the company recently announcing its first DLP projector, a $2,500 4K-capable model.

Thomas J. Norton  |  May 16, 2018  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,995

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Impressive blacks
Wide color gamut
Crisp, natural detail
Minus
Not native 4K
No automated lens cover

THE VERDICT
We’d like to see JVC offer a true 4K design, rather than a pixel-shifted one, at a consumer-friendly price. But you’ll forget about all of that after your first two minutes viewing this outstanding projector—with either a 2K or a 4K source.

True native 4K projectors (those that deliver full UHD resolution to the screen with no reliance on pixel-shifting) are thin on the ground when it comes to prices that most home theater fans are likely to consider. As I write this, only Sony offers one model for as little as $5,000, the VPL-VW285ES.

Al Griffin  |  Apr 03, 2018  |  3 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $10,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Bright picture with excellent uniformity
Crisp detail with 4K sources
Powerful built-in audio system
Minus
So-so contrast ratio
Occasional banding artifacts
No extended color gamut coverage

THE VERDICT
Hisense’s Laser TV strikes a good balance between performance and price for a 4K-res ultra-short-throw projector-and-screen package.

Hisense has been slowly making headway in the U.S. TV market over the past few years, mostly through its lineup of affordable big-screen LCD sets. Another product that the company has teased at trade shows, and is now actively selling, is Laser TV, a flat-screen alternative that consists of an ultra-short-throw (UST) laser-driven DLP projector paired with a 100-inch screen. While other companies including Sony and Epson offer their own UST solutions, Hisense seems especially bullish on the category: At last CES, the company announced a second Laser TV offering that incorporates a dual-laser DLP light engine and comes with a 150-inch screen, and there’s also an 88-inch version in the works.

Kris Deering  |  Mar 13, 2018  |  5 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $25,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
True 4K (4096 x 2160) SXRD panels
HDR support, including HLG
Laser light engine
Minus
Middling dynamic contrast
Limited HDR adjustments

THE VERDICT
With the new VPL-VW885ES, Sony has added a premium laser model to its consumer projector line, but even at $25,000, it comes with some compromises.

These days, if you want a true native 4K projector (no pixel-shifting required) that doesn't have a Sony badge on it, you'll have to spend $35,000 and up for the privilege. Meanwhile, Sony now has four different models below that mark, starting at $5,000. Since the debut of the VPL-VW1000ES (in 2011!), we've been waiting for other manufacturers to join the native 4K fray—and yet, here we are.

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.

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.)

Tom Norton  |  Dec 21, 2017  |  4 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $6,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Standard-setting blacks
Impressive HDR
Solid color and resolution
Minus
Complex setup menus
Some black crush

THE VERDICT
It may not have true native 4K imaging chips, but the JVC DLA-X790R shouldn’t be overlooked by those upgrading a projection system or looking for their first projector. It’s a knockout.

One of the key features of the Ultra HD format is 4K resolution. But to date, the catalog of true native 4K home theater projectors — those with imaging chips featuring a minimum of 3840 x 2160 pixels without relying on any pixel-shifting tricks — is pretty thin. JVC has the laser-lit DLA-RS4500K at $35,000, and Sony has its own premium models above $10,000. But if you're looking for something priced more affordably, you’re currently limited to Sony’s new VPL-VW285ES ($5,000) and VPL-VW385ES ($8,000).

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