The Art of Home Theater Projectors

1080p Projector Comparison Report is Live – At last

Greetings, This is just a quick note for those of you getting our RSS feed.  The rather massive 1080p projector report went live 3 minutes ago.

Naturally, it’s not fully proofed, more links, and more articles, including about 8-10 more head to head projector comparisons will be added over the next week or so.

Still there’s plenty to read, compare, and debate.  Have a blast.  A favor, no need to comment back about minor errors – yet.  The bulk of the proofing will be completed by Monday night – then, if you have found something – let us know!  thanks – and enjoy! -art (I’m off to a concert – for a well needed break)

News And Comments

  • Rick

    Great round-up, it is probably worth mentioning that the Z-3000 can be had for $2279 – $400 rebate totaling out at $1879. Not only does that seem to drop the price into a different category (temporarily), but for me it makes it a big game changer in the under $2000 group.


    Hi Rick,

    There are always lower prices out there. And prices and rebates change frequently However, when Sanyo came to me with the rebate, they were pretty insistent that it would end with the end of their FY, which is March 31. As such, I couldn’t factor it in. (not to mention, that the review was about 75% done. I can’t start over every time there’s a price change.

    I think the Z3000 is a superb projector value at the moment – nothing with ultra high contrast black levels comes close to it in price at this moment in time. Oh, more lumens would be nice, etc., and it would have been really great if the Z3000 was at least the equal to the Panny in black levels. It’s still the weakest of the UHC projectors in black levels, but as I have pointed out, the difference between, say the Z3000 and the PT-AE3000 is small, relative to comparing the Z3000 with non UHC projectors like their Z700, or the Epson 6100. -art

  • Rick

    Hi Art,

    Would you pull the trigger (edited) I can get the Sanyo PLV-Z3000 for the same price as the Epson Home Cinema 6100? I’m down to these two, and I’m thinking that 1200 lumens will work for my light controlled theater (basement, no windows…aka:the man cave). I’m using a Da-lite 133″ diagonal screen with 1.1 gain.

    Well Rick,

    The 133″ 1.1 gain Da-lite scares me due to the size. If you have to end up running a “bright mode” you are going to give up a lot of that black level that makes the Z3000 an ultra-high-contrast projector. That said, brightness issues notwithstanding, yes, the Sanyo for the same or less than the Home Cinema 6100 – I’d go that route for the better blacks.

  • Gary

    My optoma hd72 has broken down . I was pleased with the dlp picture but have had no luck with bulb life. What would I think of the Epson 6100 lcd picture in comparison.
    Able to control light most of the time , 92″ screen
    Greetings Gary,

    Well, besides the higher resolution, the Epson has a lot more lumens should you need it for non-movie viewing. (Obviously your HD72 had enough for your 92″ screen.)

    Black levels should be comparable, with the Epson likely to be a bit better. There is a distinct look to DLP projectors that is different that LCD projectors, etc, and some swear by DLP, but most of the enthusiasm for DLP was originally based on a few years back when DLP black level performance was a whole magnitude better than anything 3LCD or LCoS could produce. That’s not longer true today.

    If you want to stick with DLP, then look to the BenQ W5000 (excellent value, excellent DLP projector), as my first choice as an alternative. The W5000 will likely be only slightly more than the 6100. Personally, I advise most, that if they can afford the extra, to move up from the 6100 class, into the ultra-high contrast projectors – that would include the Epson 6500UB, Panasonic PT-AE3000, and, the one most affordable – the Sanyo PLV-Z3000, which currently is probably only about $200 more than the Epson. Those projectors have superior black levels to the under $2K 1080p projectors. The BenQ, comes close to the Sanyo in black levels, but is the only low cost DLP that I can think of, that does.

    BTW, both Epson’s have extremely long lamp life. -art

    Let me know how it turns out.

  • Jerry

    Art, first I just wanted to say this site is fantastic…thanks and keep up the great work. Over the past few weeks of research, I just keep coming back here.

    I have a question I was hoping you or one of the other bloggers could answer: I’m setting up a basement theater (and have complete control over ambient light), am planning on a 100″ screen, and play videogames just as often as I watch movies…do these points help tip the scales in a clearer direction towards the Panny AE300 or the Epson 6500U? Thanks for your time.


    Hi Jerry,

    I’m going to have to guess here, since I really am not a game player, nor have a method of determining which do best at it.

    That said, my money is on the Panny, for two reasons. I think the AE3000 (don’t quote me) has incorporated some of the same enhancements as the PT-AX200U, a projector where they really enhanced the game mode to deal with, (what’s the word I’m looking for?) – oh yeah – games!

    In addition, the Panny does better dark shadow detail than the Epson even forgetting those Panny enhancements (some relate to making dark areas show better).

    Other than that, hey, I figure the two projectors are pretty much equal – each with its own advantages/disadvantages.

    Thus, my best guess is that the Panny would serve you better. And a 100″ screen is no problem for either. -art

  • Jim Brancato

    Hi Art, I would like your recommendation for a 16×9 screen size for the Epson 8500UB I just ordered. It will be ceiling mounted in a basement that is just 7’3″ in height, it will be roughly 16′ from the screen, and I do have full light control. It will mostly be used for movies and occasional sports . After reading your review I’m leaning toward the Carada Criterion Brilliant White at 118″. I’m not sure if this is pushing the limit, there is also a 114″ as well as the 110″ that you always like. Thanks so much, Jim

  • Siva

    Hi Art,
    Thanks for the fantastic reviews! I just bought my first projector – Panasonic PT-AE4000U (with Elite Screen Cinewhite and Pioneer VSX-33). We did not get a chance to see it in real life and relied on online reviews (yours played a big part!). I did the installation myself and we were blown away by the out of the box quality. My walls are a light shade with satin finish and my ceiling is white. They reflect some light and I think contribute to some loss in contrast in bright scenes. I have to paint it this summer.

    Do you have any suggestions on minimizing that?

    Thanks again for all your reviews. It is invaluable. -Siva

    • Lisa Feierman

      Hi Siva,

      The lower your ceilings the more impact they have. So even if the family requires “white” ceilings, darken them several shades. A medium light gray looks white, if it’s the brightest surface in the room, but reflects back far less light. Darkening the wall the screen is on increases viewing contrast, and makes immersion easier. Side walls, depending on screen, darken as you can. Some screens, however, are better at rejecting the color of the walls. My Firehawk G3 in the old house, “barely noticed” the rust colored walls. By comparison the Screen Innovations reflected some of the rust… And so it goes. You’ve got a white surface, right now, so it will pick up side wall coloring – stay as neutral, and dark as you can.