The Art of Home Theater Projectors

1080p Home Theater Projector Comparison Report – Update

UPDATE: The full 1080p Home Theater Projector Comparison Report has been posted.

Greetings all,

OK, I’ve been getting emails asking when the report will be posted.  I’ve got good news and bad. The good news is that I will publish Friday or Saturday (that tends to mean Saturday night).  As is my tendency, each year the report gets bigger.  It’s pretty massive, and will include new sections to help people figure out which ones are best for their situation. One such section talks about which projectors are best for larger projector screens. Another deals with those only looking for movie viewing, and another for those planing on movies and lots of TV/HDTV and sports.   Of particular note there are a large number of side by side photos.  I’ve had many of the mid-priced and higher projectors here for the duration, so there’s plenty to look at.

Now for the bad news.  I don’t see how I can get everything done this week, so I’ll post everything that’s done, and keep adding.

That will include the opening section, the Best In Class awards for each of the three categories.  The three classes are:

Entry Level 1080p projectors – Below $2100
Mid-priced 1080p projectors – $2100 – $3500
Hi-end 1080p projectors – $3500 to $10,000

For placement into these groups I’m using my best determination of street pricing from authorized dealers at this time (3/09).

There’s the image quality section, that’s finished.  There will be a General Performance section which I’m startin on in the morning.  And so on.

There will, of course, be a number of head to head comparison articles, I’m figuring a dozen or more, but only a few will be ready at the time of publishing.  The first one is written – the Epson Home Cinema 6500UB vs. the Panasonic PT-AE3000.

One intention of this report is to make it easy to compare different projectors without having to constantly pop back and forth to the original reviews.  For example, in the Image Quality section regarding Out of the Box Color, I take short quotes right out of the reviews, (such as: “”The X10 is very good out of the box. It’s one of a relatively small percentage of projectors that many can enjoy without any adjustments.”  I usually add a couple of more lines as I feel it necessary.

Ok that’s enough.  Got to get back to the report.  Hang in there! -art

News And Comments

  • Iain

    I’ve been taking a look at projectors for about three years now, and one of the best pictures i’ve seen is one comming from the new ProjectionDesign Spectra.

    I my opinion, one of the closest pictures to cinema quality you’ll find for less than 20k USD. But this projector nor the brand are ever considered as part of your reports and reviews.

    It would be realy interesting to compare it to the JVC HD750 and I suspect it will win in every category bar black levels…..

    *************************
    Greetings!

    Not my fault, I know the guys there, and meet with them at most trade shows. I’ve been waiting for the Spectra, or one of its variations since September. I realize they are more widely distributed in the EU, than here, but that still doesn’t affect my interest in reviewing one of theirs.

    This has been an ongoing issue. They seem to change plans and models from one show to the next. They usually tell me – wait, I’ll have something new for you in few months, but it never manages to materialize. I expect I’ll be meeting with them again, next month at NAB, or if they aren’t there, Infocomm, for sure. My last formal meeting with them was CEDIA in September, and I stopped by briefly at CES, to say hi.

    Keep in mind, the higher end companies are often reluctant to give us online reviewers review units. One reason is we tend to focus on less expensive models, but the other, is that we (or at least I) spend a lot of time comparing models, and that scares the higher priced companies. Afterall, if you have, say a nice Darkchip3 projector for $10K, even if it’s a bit better, you don’t like seeing it compared to other Darkchip3 DLP projectors that sell for $3000 – $5000.

    Oh well, one of these days. I like the company, they are pretty innovative, and the folks I talk with are professional (and friendly). So again: One of these days… -art

  • Steve Atkinson

    Thanks for all of your effort Art.

    Hopefully the cruise was not to stressful!!

    As you know your faithful are waiting with baited breath.

    Steve

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    Ahh, it’s Steve my conscience!

    Keeping an eye on me? Well, the bad news was that the cruise was short, but I didn’t get any work done. And that’s why the report is behind schedule. You can harass me if much of the report isn’t posted by 6pm Saturday night (pacific time). I’ve got a concert after that, and I sure don’t want to have to come back and keep writing. (now let me get back to work :) -art

  • Steve Atkinson

    The “Thanks” were actually quite heartfelt…. it’s just that I am such a smart-alec that sometimes it is hard to spot the compliments among the sarcasm :-).

    I will enjoy your report when it comes out… as always! Unfortunately I got some news that will probably leave me with my 720p machines for a while… the Feds say that because of my surgery I cannot return to work until after November… so “play” cash for projectors is probably not going to be available.

    However, I will still be lurking in the shadows and reading everything possible. Keep up the good work.

    And yes, if I owned a projector company that was selling $25k> projectors I would probably not wanting you reviewing them either. Admittedly they will be better than the $3k – $5k projectors… but not by 1,000% as the price delta might lead one to think.

    To me it is sort of like “pure” water. You can get it 96% pure for a very reasonable price… but that last 4% can get real pricey.

  • Krissi

    Hi.

    Can you comment on, when or if you are going to review the Epson Pro Cinema 7500UB and perhaps include it in the Comparison Report?

    I have been waiting with big enthusiasm for this review that never seems to come. Is it because you already have a review of the Epson Home Cinema 6500UB?

    Best regards,
    Krissi

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    Greetings, and funny that you should ask. As it turns out, I was just speaking with one of my primary contacts at Epson. Here’s the plan:

    1. The 6500UB review and additional thoughts in the Comparison Report really gives you just about all you need to understand the 7500UB. Each year I review one, and usually write a short piece on the other, since they are 95% the same projector. In the 6500UB review I certainly point out all the differences, including pricing and the local dealer aspects.

    2. Epson will be sending me a 7500UB, probably in the next 2-3 weeks, and it should have the new firmware “fix” for the CFI (creative frame interpolation). I’m holding out for that, otherwise, I’d have a 7500UB here now. The 7500UB will still be part shell – it will point to the 6500UB for most sections and topics, and only have details on that which is different, and a different “competitors” section, because of the pricing difference, etc.

    So look for that 7500UB review late April Bottom line, though, you get a black case instead of white, support for an anamorphic lens (meaningless if you don’t plan to go that route), plus a ceiling mount and spare lamp. Factoring those in, you are still paying more net, for the 7500UB, but the theory is you are buying from a local dealer who will be installing, and has been trained. Nothing like a competent local dealer (believe me, many local dealers may be local, but not competent. I encounter good ones, bad ones, great ones…) As I like to say – “choose wisely”.
    Lastly there is the ISF certification and ISF DAy and night modes. Not a big deal (the extra modes), since the 6500UB already has 10. I’ll have to see the 7500UB to see if there is any change in the color management system that allows for a better calibration.

    -art

  • Paul

    I noticed your new lower lumen numbers and they seem very close to what I have observed with my Epson 6100, a PJ I really like.

    Question would I be correct in assuming that the lumen numbers you are quoting are taken off the screen, not pointed at the PJ, from a mid-point of 14’4″ onto a Carada Brilliant White 110″ diagonal 16:9 screen with a gain of 1.4?

    In reading the reviews, I may have missed something, however I am not sure exactly what type of screen, size, or gain you are quoting the lumens from. If I am in error please excuse me but could you clarify this so that I may either compare apples to apples or back-engineer the numbers.

    Thank you for all the time effort you put into maintaing your sites. I find them very helpful.
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    Hi Paul,

    We measure directly off of the projector, not reflected off of the screen. That takes the screen out of the equation in terms of both brightness and color temp measurements, and provides consistent numbers. BTW, I use a Carada with Brilliant White surface in my testing room – 106″ diagonal. Mike has a 100″ Carada Brilliant White. My other screen, of course is a Firehawk G3 (128″ diagonal), which is where I do all of my normal viewing for commenting on the projectors general picture quality, viewing experience, etc. I use the Carada, though for close observation of issues like sharpness comparisons, and color accuracy comparisons when doing side-by-side analysis. I also use the Carada when checking out artifacts, and other issues. The Firehawk G3 is normally “watch a segment of a movie, like everyone else – enjoying the movie. If an issue becomes apparent, then off to the other room for close inspection. That about covers it! -art