Planar PD8150 1080p DLP Home Theater Projector Review: Overview

The Planar PD8150 is a bit pricey, with a list price of $7999. Unlike the less expensive InFocus IN83, however, it offers a dynamic iris, and produces slightly better black levels. It also has more placement flexibility than any other DLP home theater projector that I can think of. Its zoom has a little more range than most DLPs and it also has lens shift, which is rarely found in DLP projectors for the home. Of all the DLP projectors we’ve reviewed in the last year, only the two BenQ projectors – the W5000 and W20000 offer vertical lens shift, and they have less zoom lens range (1.2:1 compared to 1.3:1 for the PD8150).

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What we have here, is a well endowed DLP projector, with really good performance. It’s on the bright side, in best mode, but well below average in brightest mode. (Similar in that regard to most of the the JVC and Sony projectors, which just happen to be LCoS projectors)

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Projector: Basic Specifications

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Click for full specs, and access to a pdf of the projector’s brochure: PD8150

MSRP: $7999
Technology: DLP
Native Resolution: 1080p (1920×1080)
Brightness:1000 lumens
Contrast: 15,000:1
Zoom Lens ratio: 1.3:1
Lens shift: Vertical and Horizontal
Lamp life: 4000 hours in Economy mode (low lamp), no published spec for full power (Standard) lamp mode
Weight: 24.3 lbs. (11 Kg)
Warranty: 2 Years Parts and Labor

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Planar PD8150 Projector: Physical Tour

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The PD8150 projector definitely has some style. The somewhat teardrop shaped case, finished in a glossy black finish, definitely looks good with the lights on.

Looking from the front of the PD8150, you’ll find its 1.3:1 manual zoom lens to be center mounted. An infra-red sensor for the remote is located slightly below and to the left of the lens. The lens has an outer focus ring, and inner zoom ring for adjustment. For a 100″ diagonal, 16:9 screen, this Planar projector can be placed as close as 13.4 feet, and as far back as 17.4 feet, as measured from the front of the lens to the screen. You can figure out throw distances for other screen sizes, simply by calculating the differences – if your screen, for example is 110″ diagonal, then the closest and furthest distances are 1.1x greater than for the 100″ screen.

Most DLP projectors have only a 1.2:1 zoom, so having 1.3:1 does help. Since it can be as far back as about 17.5 feet, it is possible, in many rooms, to shelf mount on your back wall. For those who need a shorter throw lens, Planar offers an optional wide angle zoom lens as well. (More can be found in the General Performance section.) Though you are not likely to use them, there are two screw thread adjustable front feet on the bottom, by the front.

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Moving to the top of the Planar PD8150, you’ll find two sets of controls. In the center is the control panel. If you press on the left side of the Planar logo in the top front center, the plastic piece pops out to reveal the allen wrench (provided) adjustable vertical and horizontal lens shift.

In the center of the top is the basic control panel. There’s a power button closer to the front, and then the four arrow keys in a round configuration, with the Enter button in the center. Above the top arrow is the Source (select) bar, and below the bottom arrow is the Menu bar. Behind the control panel (closer to the back) is the second infra-red sensor for the remote control. Many manufacturers put it on the back not the top, but Planar provides a cable cover that would hide a sensor on the rear. All considered, it works just fine, the Planar’s remote has very good range.

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