The Art of Home Theater Projectors

Consumer Electronics Show – Projectors Large and Small

Greetings one and all,

I had intended to do three or four blogs from the CES show.  So much for good intentions.  Part of the problem was that I didn’t see a new home theater projector that I haven’t seen before, until I visited Optoma, Wednesday afternoon – that is, half way through Day 2 of CES.

“That’s not too bad” you say, but, I am under NDA regarding the Optoma projectors (non-disclosure agreement).  You know the old saying:  “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you”  (or me).  I can tell you that Optoma will likely have three new projectors before CEDIA.  The first, probably in the summer.

Plenty of picos and pocket projectors, however.  I will blog about those in the next 24 hours. That said, this year pico’s come in all shapes and small sizes.

This first show blog will be a quick rundown of some of the projectors that I did see there, many of which
were announced at CEDIA and IFA back in September:

On the first day of the show, I met with Panasonic, who was showing

two previously announced projectors, the PT-RZ330 the 1080p model in black, and the PT-RW330 which is WXGA.  Both are 3500 lumens, and claim 20,000 hour life to their solid state Laser/LED light source.  Lest you think that sounds highly energy efficient, at full power these two projectors both draw 460 watts (“Normal” mode).  However, there are two low power consumption modes:  Ecosave 1 and 2, which draw 200 and 178 watts respectively.  Now we’re talking decent energy efficiency.

These two projectors Panasonic showed are LED/Laser projectors, but they are commercial projectors.  These were previously announced.  I believe one had originally been scheduled to ship by now, but running a bit late.

Here’s more skinny on these two Panasonic projectors.  Both sport Digital-Link, which allows them to receive data over a single cable up to 328 feet long.  Both sport 2:1 zoom lenses and full lens shift.

These may not be aimed at the home, but if black levels are respectable, they could be high power home entertainment projectors.   I would, on the other hand, expect to see these projectors in sports bars, and in digital signage.   I did not get to see them in operation, but requested to review one or both of them, over the upcoming months.

Mitsubishi was again showing their HC8000 projector.

Here’s the news on that one.  It’s going to be a race to the finish. Mitsubishi says they will ship me one this coming week.   We’ll see which projector gets here first:

Mitsubishi HC8000D or the JVC DLA-X75R.  JVC said they, too were definitely shipping one of those my way, within days of the show ending.  Folks those will my next two reviews, it’s only a question of which one first!

I did see a new projector for the first time on the first day of the show – Tuesday, but that was the Epson Home Cinema 750HD, their new 720p 3D capable, $899 projector that I blogged about, morning of the 7th.  That, blog, however, was based on a telephone briefing pre-show.  The HC750HD was embargoed until Tuesday morning.  That is, I was briefed, but not allowed to publish.  Well, on Tuesday, I finally got to see the Epson 750HD in action.   They had it set up in their ballroom at the Aria Hotel, in a side by side with Optoma’s venerable (been a round for a while), GT750, a 3D 720p single chip DLP.  In the side by side Epson was touting the advanatages of having the same number of color lumens as white lumens.  (2700).  By comparison, in brightest modes, the Epson easily had richer, brighter colors although the Optoma looked respectable until you looked at the Epson.  In “best mode” the Optoma’s colors were better, but the Epson was noticeably brighter.

That’s it for now.  I’ll be blogging some more about the show, over the next couple of days.  Pico projectors are next, and also the LG “TV”.

LG's new Ultra Short Throw Projector based TV

Wait, gotta mention that one now.  LG in their massive and spectacular booth, was showing a 100″ image coming from a larger black ultra short throw projector (with a digital light source I believe) that sits less than a foot from the screen.  I like that they are marketing the projector as a TV.  Too many folks out there are barely conscious of projectors existing for the home.  LG’s marketing this one could help increase home theater projector awareness.   The room was bright, the picture not quite ready for prime time (nor ready to ship), but you get the idea.  The LG lacks 3D, but my biggest concern, is the high price.  Expected to be under $10,000 but by how much?

In a sense, the LG is trying to accomplish what Epson attempted with their Ensemble HD complete systems, which I thought were awesome.  That is, get projectors into the houses of people who otherwise believed that getting a new LCDTV is easy, and a new projector too complicated.

Of course I visited all the usual suspect booths, including SIM2, BenQ…

That’s it for my first blog post CES.  Hang in their home projector fans.  There will be more.  -art

 

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