Planar PD8150 1080p DLP Home Theater Projector Review: Overview

Planar PD8150 vs. Sony VW60

I tend to classify the Sony VW60 as most similar to the RS1x, but have favored the JVC. Following through on that, I’ll say the Planar is overall, the better of the two, but they are both in the same class. I’ll leave things there, as the VPL-VW60 is being replaced with the VPL-VW70 which I should have reviewed before year end.

Planar PD8150 vs. Optoma HD81-LV

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Pretty much all aspects of picture quality belongs to the Planar, as does placement flexibility. It’s more film-like than the HD81-LV. These two projectors though, aren’t likely to be direct competitors, as the Optoma is the brightest projector around, with easily double the brightness of the Planar in “best” mode, and even more advantage in brightest modes.

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Planar PD8150 Home Theater Projector: Summary

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You normally pay a premium for projectors that are not sold by local dealers, and it can be argued that this projector is not as good a value as some of those. On the other hand, you pay that extra from a quality local dealer, to get a level of support and service that you just won’t find with online projector brands. There’s serious competition out there, including the brighter InFocus IN83, but, that said, there are always trade-offs between good, competing projectors. In this case, the Planar also has its advantages, including placement flexibility and better black levels. To give you an additional perspective, consider the Planar PD8150 compared to the JVC DLA-RS2, arguably the best under $10,000 projector by many. The JVC is significantly better at black levels (that’s true compared to any other projector), but is noticeably dimmer and has a softer image. No doubt there is a “perfect” projector out there, that is best at everything, but if you can’t live without that, you better plan on adding another “0″ to the price.

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I have mentioned repeatedly, that the PD8150 is not overly bright, in brightest mode, but want to point out, for those of you who do not scour every page of my reviews, that I also point out that their combination of Brilliant Color plus their Adaptive Contrast, really can cut through ambient light rather well, and despite the brightest measurements being under 900 lumens, when I was watching football, it behaved more like a projector with 1200 or so lumens. (There is a price, in shadow and highlight detail, but those are the first things to disappear with a fair amount of ambient light).

As I am finishing off this review, I can report – with six 1080p projectors hanging around here, I’ve now managed over 50 hours viewing on the Planar – and I never put in that many hours on a review projector, unless I’m impressed.

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