Planar PD8150 1080p DLP Home Theater Projector Review: Overview

Welcome to the world of premium single chip DLP projectors sold by local dealers only. Planar, which also owns Runco and Vidikron, offers projectors (Runco’s) that can cost upward of $100,000. Planar sees the Planar projector lineup primarily as their idea of an entry level projectors, that their high end dealers can sell to those less rich, or those needing a lower cost model for a second room (kid’s bonus room?).

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The PD8150 is the flagship of Planar’s single chip DLP lineup, and a very worthy one. With a $7999 price tag (and probably no discounting), one might expect it to be a poor value proposition compared to big name, high volume projectors from the likes of Panasonic and Epson. Truth is, the PD8150 projector is expensive, but provides quite a bit of value for the high price.

In fact, it is right up there with the best of the other 1080p projectors we’ve reviewed. It has its strengths and weaknesses, like all projectors, but it’s mostly strengths, as picture quality is excellent after calibration.

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The only “major” flaw is the limited brightness in “brightest” mode, when you need lumens to fight ambient light, and that “flaw is typical of many of the highest performing projectors, notably the JVC’s and the Sony’s, none of those are appreciably brighter (if at all), and most dimmer, in brightest mode.

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Planar PD8150 Projector: Pros, Cons, and Typical Capabilities

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Planar PD8150 Projector: Pros

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  • One of the best projectors in terms of out of the box color accuracy
  • Even better color and overall image quality, after calibration
  • Brighter than average in “best” mode
  • Extremely sharp image
  • Vertical and horizontal lens shift
  • Extremely good black level performance
  • Very good shadow detail
  • Two HDMI 1.3 inputs, full support for 24 fps, Deep Color, etc.
  • Support for an anamorphic lens
  • Extremely quiet operation
  • Long life lamp – 4000 hours in economy mode, for low cost of operation
  • Good looking projector (physically)
  • ISF certified with the usual ISF Day, and ISF Night modes
  • Low image noise
  • Runs 24fps content at 48hz
  • Comes with a cable cover to hide the connections – a real plus for ceiling mounting
  • Good price performance compared to other local dealer sales only projectors
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Planar PD8150 Projector: Cons

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  • Moderately noisy, typical of DLP home theater projectors. At full power, loud enough to bother those that consider noise to be an important issue
  • Well below average brightness in “brightest” mode, although Adaptive Contrast and Brilliant Color can help a bit
  • Could use an extra two or three user memory modes
  • Menus have small type which may be hard to read at normal seating distance
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