The Art of Home Theater Projectors

It’s CEDIA time again some pre-show projector news from Epson Sanyo, etc.

Greetings all,

I’m off to CEDIA on Tuesday (Sept 2) – through Saturday of next week. Already we know of a number of new projectors being rolled out for first looks at the show. I’ll do at least one blog next week, with comments on some of the more interesting new models.

In the meantime, a few things to report, that should be of interest to those hot in the search for a home theater projector. First, the “old”:

Epson – the Home Cinema 1080 UB, is, as reader’s know, one of my all time favorites. Epson, most likely will show a new model, and I’ve just learned that Epson has done significant price drops on both the Home Cinema 1080 UB, and the older, less expensive Home Cinema 1080 (the one that goes in the Ensemble HD 1080 complete system.

Here goes:

The Home Cinema 1080 was $2299. It is now $1999, and you also get a free lamp!

Beter still, the Home Cinema 1080 UB, was $2999 (less $200 rebate). It is now:

$2799 less $300 rebate, and free lamp.

Assuming a value of $350 for the lamp, the math works out to new prices of $1649, for the standard 1080, and the Home Cinema 1080 UB, works out to $2149!

That’s got to be one of the best deals going!

Sanyo has announced a new, low cost 1080p projector, the PLV-Z700. It looks a lot like the PLV-Z2000 (from the images – I haven’t actually laid my hands on it yet), and will ship in October.

And now, the New: Sanyo and more…

Sanyo’s PLV-Z700 should be most impressive, based on past performance of Sanyo’s home theater projector line-up. As with previous models, I expect the PLV-Z700 to produce an especially sharp image. In addition, Sanyo claims to have significantly improved the dynamic iris, and onboard processing. No doubt, the Z700 will be a favorite with the home theater enthusiasts, much as the Sanyo PLV-Z2000 and the lower resolution PLV-Z5 have always been in the past. Sanyo has traditionally offered up models that have had the technical advantage over the competition when it comes to image quality. I would expect no less with the PLV-Z700.

Like other Sanyo’s though, based, again, on published specs, it is likely not to be one of the brighter projectors. Sanyo seems to be willing to sacrifice lumens for performance, so it’s not likely to be suitable for larger screens (over 110″ diagonal), but should be killer on those smaller screens, especially 92″ and 100″ sizes. We shall see.

Looks like Sanyo remains serious about being the low price leader in 1080p projectors. Don’t have any information on the initial October launch promotion, but MSRP is only $1999, so figure selling prices can only go lower from there.

I’ll review the Sanyo PLV-Z700 as soon as I can lay my hands on one. A top priority!

Getting excited yet?

I don’t have any real information either, on the new Panasonic PT-AE3000U, Panasonic’s replacement for the PT-AE2000U. From what little I can find, it is supposed to be a bit brighter (nice!), and improved black level performance (very nice!). MSRP looks to be about the same. So, it looks to be a “better projector – same price” situation from Panasonic – which makes sense, with the weak US dollar.

As mentioned up above, it does seem like Epson has something up it’s sleeve (what could offer blacker blacks than “UB” – Ultra Black? Hmm, maybe the next one will be “IB” for Incredible Blacks, or “BAAB” Blacks Are Actually Black. Who knows, but we’ll see what Epson does to address some of the minor issues of the older models, such as mechanical iris noise, and a bit faster iris (I don’t think either has bee a problem form the vast majority of owners).

OK, who else: projectiondesign has a new line of HT projectors called Avielo. I’ve been following projectiondesign for several years. They are much bigger in Europe (Norwegian company) than the US, and have always had some interesting products. They have promised one for review, but I don’t know which model until I meet with them at CEDIA.

Optoma – haven’t heard a peep from them, but they’ve probably got something up their sleeve. Of course they released the HD65 and HD71 earlier this year (720p models) and Most of the HD80 series earlier this year, so, while they might not have anything new to ship, they might just show some models due for early next year. Stay tuned.

BenQ – Not expecting anything from them, afterall the W5000 has out for six months and the W20000 for a couple of months. You never know, however…

Sony is sure to have something up their sleeves as they always seem to at CEDIA. Their press conference is one of my first activities in Denver, so whatever they announce will be covered in my first show blog.

That’s it for now! Next week should be truly interesting.

I’m not exceptional at writing from shows, as I have a very busy schedule, that typically includes some late night partying, but I will promise at least one detailed blog! -art

News And Comments

  • Dave

    Nice update, I’m watching Sanyo closely as I’m going to purchase a 1080p soon, but still hoping prices get a bit lower.

    From the show, even one paragraph updates or some quick bullet points are fun to read. It’s a blog so don’t feel like you need to write a lengthy post everytime :)

    Have fun at the show.

    **************

    Dave, thanks – good advice. Sadly I’ve never been good at writing short pieces, but I will try, this show. Better to put out 8 concise pieces on 8 products than 2 longer, ramblin’ ones on only two projectors. I’ll keep that in mind! -a

  • TC Collins

    When at the show ask BenQ if they have had any progress with firm ware issues on the BenQ5000. Will be buying this fall, the Epson 1080ub at 2150 with a free lamp is great. Have a safe trip.
    You must love your job,
    TC

    ***************

    Hi TC,

    Oh I will ask them – for sure! Asking them is easy, getting an answer has been the problem for almost 6 months now!

    Yes, it’s a great job. If only I didn’t have to answer tons of emails from you guys, I might even have time for a life. (kidding). -art

  • Scott

    Hello,

    I currently own an Infocus IN72, I know it has been a long time since you reviewed the IN72. Off the top of your head, would you say the X10 entry level 1080p’s black levels are better than the IN72′s? I am very interested in the X10, but if black levels are worse than what I already have, I’ll have to pass on it.

    Thank you,
    Scott S.

    ****************

    Greetings Scott,

    It seems like forever since I reviewed the IN72 (about 100 projectors ago). That said, I seriously doubt that any of current 720p projectors, does any worse than the IN72, in terms of black levels. I would suspect that even the worst of them are probably a little better. It would seem that the Darkchip1 in the X10 is roughly the same as the Darkchip2 (I think – I’m working from memory – I’m at CEDIA and have no time to re-read my reviews), that is in (I think) the IN72.

    If you want an alternative that’s DLP, consider the BenQ W5000 – same Darkchip1, but a little better on black levels (operative term is “a little”). I definitely found the W5000 to be more satisfying in that regard, but the X10 has the lumen advantage, and really does exceptionally well on color. Both are sharp.

    Best of luck… Let me know how it all turns out. -art

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