Greetings all you fans of projectors!
Let me say, this is a strange year. Normally by the later part of October each year, I’m knee deep in new projectors – for home theater, to review. This year, seems we’re off to a late start. Of the new projectors reviewed so far – the Mitsubishi HC4000 projector, the Sanyo PLV-Z4000 projector, and the Epson Home Cinema 8350 projector, are all updates from those projector manufacturers’ key projectors in last year’s line-up.
On the other hand, there are a number of essentially new projectors to review this fall, in which I’ll include any home projector that is 3D ready. Coming up, when available, will be projectors from JVC’s new 3D RS projectors, the RS40, RS50, and RS60, as well as the HD250 which should be most similar to the older RS15.
Epson will have their R series projectors (no, not 3D)- all new, but like the JVC projectors it’s probably a few more weeks before those are available to reviewers.
So, you ask, what’s next:
This weekend the last of the pico projector reviews goes live – the AAXA P1 Jr. – at only $119. Tony will start a review of the new, 2nd generation InFocus interactive projector, the IN3916 projector.
Though I was hoping to work in some other projectors before tackling another Epson, an 8700UB arrived at my door yesterday, and went into my theater last night. It literally is sitting on top of the Epson 8350 projector who’s projector review posted about a week ago. I’ll just say this for now. The 8350 projector, may have improved blacks compared to the older 8100, but it’s definitely not a match for the 8700UB. That should answer a huge question many of you have been waiting for. I was watching Iron Man 2 and switched from the 8350 to the 8700UB. The difference in black levels is still dramatic. End of that conversation for this blog.
People I’m still slowly writing about 3D. I’ve got to get a couple of short 3D focused reviews – actually more informational than review focused – since I’m not sure a real review is in order – considering the state of 3D and projectors in most segments – especially home. Those projectors include the LG CF3D, which is more commercial projector than home, but it is equipped with HDMI 1.4… and it is 3D. It works. The other is less a projector, than the Lightspeed system. Those guys seem way ahead of the curve compared to the other DLP projectors using active glasses, and their system… well, wait and read…
That said, I’m dying to get one of those 3D JVC’s in here, and, since I have a bit of content, I “can’t wait”.
Panasonic: Panasonic has had me stumped for quite some time, as to what’s going on this year. Panasonic reorganized back in April. My contacts simply haven’t been able to give me a good feel for what’s going to happen in home theater projector space, this fall. Finally, I have something informative to say. Yesterday I was told, one thing, I already knew – that the PT-AX200U projector is “end of life” that is, it’s going away. There is no announced replacement, and if one does surface, I’d be surprised (if still 720p), if it resembles the AX200U (that’ just a guess). They just put too many features into the PT-AX20u projector for it to compete price wise with the competition.
But, it’s the 1080p side of Panasonic that everyone’s wanting to know, and finally. Panasonic emailed me two important things, that I couldn’t be sure of till now: 1. Panasonic fully intends to continue to be a major player in home theater projectors, and; 2. Panasonic does have a new projector under development. (Best I can tell, it’s months away. I now suspect it may be announced at CES in January, but, that folks, is another guess. Want one more? Panasonic has always used Epson LCD panels in their home theater projectors, but it’s quite possible that Panasonic will go to Epson’s “R” reflective panels, or perhaps even DLP since they produce lots of DLP projectors on the education and business projector side. Regardless, though, the good news is that Panasonic says they want to continue to be a major competitor, and that means more choices. Amen to that.
Sony, as usual, is the hardest company to read, in terms of review units. With them, it’s “not yet, not yet”, with most requests, but on the other hand, they occasionally surprise me with. We can ship you one this week, just when I’ve given up hope for a while. Nothing from them yet.
Gamers and 3D’ers on a tight projector budget – I just received the Optoma $399 3D adapter, the Optoma XP8000, that will allow you to take HDMI 1.4 Blu-ray 3D from your (new) HDMI 1.4 player (or upgraded PS3 – hooray), and convert it to 3D that can be accepted, most likely by most of the lower priced 720p and WXGA 3D projectors (from Optoma, BenQ, and several others). Unlike big ticket 3D projectors like the new Sony and JVC projectors, those 720p projectors are mostly under $1000 – aimed at gamers – or the education market, but now can be real HD (ok 0nly 720p) 3D movie projectors. I’m excited, and have machines here to test. The Optoma XP8000 will make for a short, most likely one or two pages, but I hope to complete it this week, or during the move, next week. I could turn out to be a great new product, and offer additional 3D choices to many of us.
I’ll update when I have word on more for ya! Meantime, as I stated, the next mainstream home theater projector to be reviewed will the the Epson Home Cinema 8700UB – because it has arrived, and of course I’ll discuss, the non-identical twin, the Pro Cinema 9700UB projector at the same time. -art