Epson Home Cinema 705HD - Competitors
How does the Epson Home Cinema 705HD compare to other low cost 720p home theater projectors on the market?
1/22/2010 - Art Feierman
Epson Home Cinema 705HD vs. Panasonic PT-AX200U
How does the Home Cinema 705HD stack up against the aging, but highly successful Panasonic PT-AX200U?
To start with, there's a price difference. The approximate difference in street price is about $250 at this time. That makes the PT-AX200U approximately a third more expensive. When it comes to price, though, for those planning to use their projector quite a bit, the Epson is far less expensive in the long run, as its lamp costs $249, instead of $349, and it lasts twice as long at full power. Over a long life, the Panasonic will likely cost twice as much.
On the other hand, if your budget allows, the Panasonic has a number of advantages, and we'll start with those. Placement flexibility is definitely a big advantage for the Panasonic, with its 2:1 zoom lens, and lens shift. The Panasonic can easily be ceiling mounted, or shelf mounted in the vast majority of rooms. By comparison, the Epson can be ceiling mounted or placed on a tabletop, but due to the lack of lens shift, and a relatively short throw lens, it can't be shelf mounted in the rear of your room.
The Panasonic definitely also has an advantage in terms of black levels. When it comes to sharpness, the two projectors are roughly comparable, but thanks to Panasonic's SmoothScreen Technology in the PT-AX200U, the pixel structure is essentially invisible. You might say that the Epson looks a tad sharper, but with the pixel visibility, the Panny has the advantage.
Both projectors - post calibration have very good color accuracy, although the Panasonic is the more accurate.
The Epson projector, however, is not without its advantages, (besides the low cost). It's a very small projector, easy to move from room to room. It also has a small built in speaker, which can come in handy for a quick setup (don't expect any great sound to come out of it), and that too may come into play for folks planning to use the Epson in more than one room.
The Epson also can double as a low cost business projector, thanks to its stellar brightness, although the Panasonic isn't that far behind, when comparing "brightest" modes. Still, the Epson is definitely a size smaller, and therefore more suitable for portable business use.
Lastly, the Epson comes with a better warranty. Two years versus one, and, for both years, the Epson has an overnight replacement program should the projector need warranty repairs.
The Epson is a very low cost "typical consumer" product, while the Panasonic appeals more to the enthusiast on a budget.
Epson Home Cinema 705HD vs. Optoma HD71
The Optoma HD71 is one of two 720p projectors that the company more than a year ago. The HD71 is the more expensive of the two (and typically a couple hundred more than the Epson), although there is a significant variation in price from dealer to dealer.
Like the Panasonic above, the Optoma definitely appeals more to the enthusiast.
Both projectors have similar, limited placement flexibility.
When it comes to brightness, the Optoma HD71 is bright, but definitely not as bright as the Epson. The Optoma, post calibration produces about 750 lumens while the Home Cinema 705HD does over 1500 lumens when both are in "best" mode. In "brightest" mode, the difference is similar, with the HD71 at approximately 1180 lumens, compared to the Epson's 2132 lumens. Any way you look at it, the Epson is far brighter, even though the Optoma is brighter than most. A big win for the Epson Home Cinema 705HD.
The Optoma has the advantage, however, in black level performance. I said this about it in its full review, "while black levels aren't spectacular, by any means, the overall product performed very well, in this regard". The Epson, on the other hand is pretty basic in terms of black levels. The improvements over last year's 700 still don't get it up into the HD71's class in terms of blacks. Fairly close, but, definitely not there. That makes for a noticeable win for the Optoma in this area. Both have very good shadow detail, but the Epson in this case is slightly better (as is often the case with projectors with only so-so black level performance).
The Optoma has more image color control than the Epson, but both do very nice skin tones, and are very watchable.
When it comes to warranty, the Epson's two years with overnight replacement both years easily bests the Optoma's standard one year warranty. I consider this very significant because projector repairs out of warranty can be expensive.
Overall, if you just want a low cost projector with a good picture and fun to watch, the Epson has the advantage. If you are more of an enthusiast, I give the Optoma the advantage despite the extra money, but the Optoma has a lot of additional competition for the enthusiast.
Epson Home Cinema 705HD vs. Sanyo PLV-Z60
This is easy: The Sanyo is extremely versatile in terms of placement flexibility and controls. It is easily the superior projector for the hard core enthusiast looking for overall picture quality performance.
The PLV-Z60 sells for more than the Epson (just about every projector does), but the real "other" difference, is that the Sanyo is a good low cost projector for a home theater room with full lighting control. It sports particularly good black levels for a 720p projector, and good color accuracy, while the Epson is, again, that projector built for a family room or bonus room where ambient light is a real issue.
What I'm trying to say, is they are not competitors, rather distinct alternatives. The Z60 is definitely an enthusiasts projector, and not very bright.
The Home Cinema 705HD is dramatically brighter - this is a case of one of the brightest projectors (Epson), compared to one of the least bright (Sanyo).
Two very different projectors for different users. It should be easy to figure which one is better for your use.
Epson Home Cinema 705HD vs. Optoma HD65
The Optoma HD65 is their entry level projector. It is definitely no match for the Home Cinema 705HD in terms of brightness, with the Epson being far brighter than the HD71, which is the HD65's much brighter sibling.
Out of the box, both are very good projectors, and that makes sense for entry level models, as their target buyer is less likely to be an enthusiast who will spend lots of effort tweaking their projector's performance.
Black level performance favors the HD65, but but probably not enough to be a key decision factor, since great blacks aren't an objective in this class of projector. I'll say that shadow detail performance is close enough between these two home theater projectors as to also not be a real issue.
If you are planning a lot of general TV and HDTV, and especially sports, the Epson's huge brightness advantage gives it a significant advantage. One area where the HD65 has a clear advantage, is in terms of the sharpness of the image. The Epson looks crisp, but the Optoma's single chip DLP has no convergence issues, which always affect 3LCD projectors. Sharpness win for Optoma.
Over all, I'd say these two projectors are more different than the same, but comparable in overall value. Choose the one that works best for the type of viewing, and the room you are placing it in. Obviously, if you want a large screen, the Epson has a distinct advantage.
Epson Home Cinema 705HD vs. Epson Home Cinema 720
Even easier. The Home Cinema 705HD is a couple of hundred less. It is brighter, but not dramatically so, as the Home Cinema 720 is one of the brightest 720p projectors on the market. The Home Cinema 720 is end of life. So far, Epson has not come up with a replacement "enthusiasts" projector with 720p resolution. Not surprising, I should note, new 720p models are becoming few and far between. Consider, the Panasonic PT-AX200u, probably the best selling 720p projector of all time, is now in its third year (our original review was in fall of 2007). This is the result of the smaller differences in price between 720p and 1080p projectors.
I won't even go into the different aspects - black levels, etc. If you are into picture quality - an enthusiast, the Home Cinema 720 is the way to go. If you are into low cost, bright, and even portable, the 705HD is the ticket. Again, here we have a more expensive projector, more features, better overall picture. And, the 720 is fairly bright. But, it's no match in brightness for the 705HD. Different projectors for different folks.
Epson Home Cinema 705HD vs. InFocus X9
I'll keep this one short. The X9 is discontinued. It represented a particularly good enthusiasts DLP projector. Problem is, they seem to be pretty much all gone. If you are looking for a 720p projector with particularly excellent color accuracy, a real enthusiast's or even a purist's projector, though, the X9 fits the bill.
Epson Home Cinema 705HD vs. Optoma HD20, Mitsubishi HC3800
OK, the HD20 is one of a small handful of $999 1080p projectors. This makes us all ask, is it worth about $200 to $250 more?
Once again, it comes down to what you are after. Neither are really enthusiasts' projectors. With the HD20, you will get 1080p resolution coupled with the sharpness of a DLP single chip design. You get an entry level 1080p projector, not particularly quiet and only a one year warranty.
With the Epson, you get far more lumens, a softer image, a bit more fan noise, and a great warranty. The Epson also has the huge price advantage of its low cost, long life lamp.
If cost isn't a big issue, and you really are interested in the sharper image, that's great, although if you need the brightness, you probably need to look elsewhere than the HD20.
Although still not as bright as the Epson , the pretty bright Mitsubishi HC3800 for a few hundred more, is a more formidable step up to 1080p, with more lumens, better blacks. Basically the HC3800 is a nice middle projector - lots going for it, including adequate lumens for familyroom use, with some ambient light, even if still no match for the Epson's brightness. In reality, when comparing "best" modes, the HC3800 musters up almost 1000 lumens - rather impressive. But, unlike the Epson, it doesn't have a whole lot more lumens in "brightest" mode, it's still down around 1200, or barely half as bright as the Epson. The HC3800 projector, though is really a significant step up in overall picture quality, including black levels. An enthusiasts projector that's bright! Too bad it's almost twice the price.