The Art of Home Theater Projectors

More CEDIA – Epson, Panasonic, SIM2, Runco, etc.

Greetings home theater projector fans,

Couple of busy days, and much partying, I had hoped to do more blogging late last night, but the fates had it otherwise.

This will be my last blog before a final walk through of the show (only an hour of time to spare).

Projectors, Let’s start with the Epson 6010 – and therefore 5010 and 5010e – demo, and, of course, the once expected last year, 61000 Epson with reflective panels.

First the Epson Pro Cinema 61000. This long awaited projector (very long), looked great. Just a guess, (and remember I don’t care about claimed contrast specs – including this one’s 1,000,000:1), but I’d say the Epson can probably take out the JVC RS40 that I reviewed last year, when it comes to blacks, and do so without much trouble. Whether it can equal or beat the RS55 and RS65, I’ll just have to get one in to make an accurate judgement, based on my RS20, but then blacks have not improved of any note as JVC has gone to the RS20 to the RS25. From my look at the RS60 last year, same is true. JVC may finally have some major league competition for the black level champ, although Epson’s using panels and iris.

At any rate the demo of the 61000 was stunning in terms of blacks.

The Pro Cinema 61000 is 2D, and not as bright as the others by virtue of not needing the extra horsepower for 3D. We will of course measure and see how it comes out lumen wise, as soon as we get one in. Ship date is November (with manufacturers when they name a month, it’s usually towards the end…)

Pricing of Epson’s Pro Cinema 61000, Epson says will be “under $5000″. Epson often doesn’t finalize pricing until right before shipping (like many) because they all like to see what the competition’s priced at.

Next – the Pro Cinema 6010, the Home Cinema 5010 and 5010e projectors: All of these have essentially the same performance, with only some feature differences.

Last time I saw the Pro Cinema 6010 was at Epson 2 weeks ago yesterday. What a difference. Then I pointed out the 3D still needed a good bit of work. I am pleased to report, that while 3D still isn’t as clean as we would like to see, I would say that the improvement was rather dramatic in terms of getting things right.

Still a bit more work to do, but they have plenty of time yet to work on all that firmware. The Panasonic, and the new Mitsubishi HC7800D both looked very clean, and the Epson isn’t there yet. The Mits has the advantage of being a DLP, which I’m led to understand, inherently has virtually no crosstalk at all when done well.

Back to the 6010. These new (including the 5010 and 5010e) projectors are all scheduled to ship in November as well. Price wise, the Epson formula is:
Home Cinema 5010 Projector: Under $3000
Home Cinema 5010e Projector: Under $3500
Pro Cinema 61000 Projector: Under $4000

Since you already know that the lower cost 3010 and 3010e are $1599 and $1799, you are wondering why the price spread is potentially larger for the 5010 vs 5010e, both 5xxx models come with 2 pair of glasses while the 3010e does not come with the glasses.

The 6010 looked really good color wise. But then, there isn’t much to do. So far I’ve never reviewed a projector with THX mode, that didn’t have great color out of the box. Sure you can tweak and calibrate for your lamp, contrast, etc, but never even “pretty good color” whether Epson, JVC, Runco, or other projectors sporting that THX logo.

I know you are all going to ask me which to buy, the Panny, the 5010/5010e/6010, the Sony, HW30ES, the Mits HC7800D, etc. for those who want 3D.

Here’s the answer: Not a clue! I can take some decent guesses, but, here’s the GOOD NEWS: I’ll likely have almost all of them reviewed, and have several in house, before most ship in “November”.

Next: Panasonic – I liked it the first time I saw it, and that hasn’t changed. What has is Panasonic has now said: Very soon, which I take to mean before end of the month, or very close to it.

SIM2. They have launched so many new projectors, and they are coming down to the $7000 price point. They need their own blog, but let’s just say they’ve got a host of single chip DLP’s with 3D capability coming out (soon or out), as well as, of course rather expensive 3 chippers (also with 2D and 2D/3D models). I expect to review a couple later this year or first quarter of next.

Runco – I let’s just say, 11,000+ lumens Even doing 3D, Even doing a massive 213″ diagonal screen, was brighter than probably any 2D home theater I’ve ever reviewed! Amazing, truly bright – the way you want your sports, in 3D, truly amazing.

Hey even their $60,000 3D projector is bright but this one defines “light cannon” more in blogs during the week where I can get into individual model information. Just remember Runco, like SIM2 is now playing in the under $10,000 space, so let’s not take them for granted as out of the question when looking at Sony’s and JVC’s etc.

Sorry, wanted to write more, but you’ll all be happier if I spend the next 90 minutes on the show floor. adios for now! -art

News And Comments

  • Kevin Prouten

    I am a little disappointed by the lack of passive 3D
    projectors and also still no sign of a projector using a Sony laser module(s). With HDIs laser projectors being well outside of my price limit.
    My budget of around $2500 means it looks like its the 3010e for me unless the 5010 comes in with a low enough street price.

    • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

      Kevin, most 3D passive with projectors means a stack of 2 projectors – and I do see those coming, but it looks like another year or more, in the lower price spaces. Sure, you can get a stacked SIM2 setup, in the high five figure range, or a Runco that essentially is a stack of 2 projectors… similarly out of most folks range.

      I certainly would like to see someone pull it off, ie. maybe a variation the new Panasonic PT-AL100U, a pair of them and a processor, but that’s still not going to be in your price range. Then for existing owners, you generally need to get a new screen, further upping the price point. We shall have to see. I can say that active glasses have much improved, and they are getting far lighter than last year’s not much heavier than passive… Of course there are other issues to consider as well. -a

  • RafterManFMJ

    I am in the market for a projector but am troubled by all this concentration on 3D, a tech that does not impress at all.

    I’ve watched a dozen odd modern 3D films, and only Avatar had any WOW to it.

    My problem is these projectors are adding complexity and cost – for IMO no or little value.

    Great blog btw

    • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

      Yo Rafterman!
      First thanks. Don’t worry, while many new projectors are 3D capable, and are adding cost, there are plenty of non-3D projectors, some are continuing on from last year such as the Epson Home Cinema 8350, Mitsubishi HC4000, etc. others new: Panasonic PT-AL100U, Epson Pro Cinema 61000, There are probably as many new 2D only projectors this year, as we had last year, which was a poor year in terms of number of new under $10,000 home projectors released. Where models continue, expect at least slightly lower prices. BTW, I tend to agree about 3D movies. I own a bunch, but that’s not what I enjoy most about 3D. It’s the significant amount of content I’m downloading from DirecTV, mostly things like “Revealing China”, and other type content that one might be used to in 2D from the likes of Discovery HD, SyFyHD, etc.
      Now that stuff is awesome in 3D. Unlike movies, which still look like movies in 3D, the best other content – also including Ultimate Wave Tahiti 3D (great animations in that disc too), turns your screen into a picture window on the world. Not perfect, but impressive. I must have 3D for that, even if there are few movies for grown-ups worth watching in 3D. (Lots for kids though!!!). -art

  • Andrew

    Art,

    Love your site and all that you do.

    Question; what are your initial impressions re;
    Epson 5010 vs Panasonic AE7000. And how do you think they compare to the current JVC X3?

    I dont see any talk of the JVC X3 on your site when it’s highlighted on so many others as a great affordable 3D projector.

    Cheers
    Andrew

    • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

      Greetings Andrew,

      OK, regarding JVC. We’ve written extensively about it so far, but my contacts are with JVC’s Pro group, which makes the IDENTICAL RS40. Of course JVC has now announced the RS45 and X30 to replace the RS40, and X3. So bottom line look for the RS40, RS45 on our site, not the X3 and X30 projectors

      I suspect you meant the X30, not the X3, as the X3 was not (by my definition) an affordable projector – at the $4500 price point. The newer X30 / RS45 provides basically the same projector with minor improvements, but $1000 less, and that puts it in the range of the Epson and Panasonic – although probably $500+ more, street price. (still close). the others only MSRP for $3500 (Epson and Panasonic), but sell online, so will have lower “MAP” prices.

      The thing is, if you like 3D, then I think the Panny and Epsons will win the day, due to brightness. And both are excellent projectors in terms of black levels. They should both be close to the X45, perhaps even beating it on really dark scenes. JVC pioneered great blacks, but its their higher end models that still have the real advantage over the Panny and Epson models, not necessarily the X3/X30/RS40/RS45. We’ll never know, though unless they send review units.

      I only recommend from what I have reviewed. Any other comments are simply me conjecturing. That’s why there are no new 3D projectors on our homepage Hot Popular Projectors list, but likely will be several in the next 30-45 days. -art

      Other than that, JVC does not commit to sending out any review units, unlike other manufacturers. All I was able to learn at CEDIA, is that they “might” have review projectors, but claim sales are so strong (on projectors not yet shipping I guess) that they may need every one. That’s fine by me, and other reviewers. If I can’t get JVC projectors to review, it just means we’ve got time for some other serious new projectors. Companies like Runco, SIM2, and Digital Projection are finally bringing interesting new projectors to sub $10,000 pricing, and even one sub-$4000 model…

  • Michael M

    Art Do you know if the 5010 be receiving THX certification? I also thought I read in the press release that the 5010 would not include glasses. could you please confirm this? Thanks for doing a great job. Looking forward to your review of this projector.

    • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

      Michael M. Still sorting things out, but it seems that the 5010 won’t have glasses at its price. That’s based on Epson saying at CEDIA, about the price difference between the 5010 and the 5010e being about $500. It’s only $200 between the 3010 and 3010e, and that’s due in part to the 3010 having glasses included and the 3010e without glasses. Bottom line: no glasses included. Of course we still don’t even know the street price yet – as Epson likely won’t set MAP pricing until they are almost ready to ship. The 5010e is on my list of possible new projectors. It’s time to replace my aging RS20 with 2000 hours on the lamp. There are others, but I’ll probably get something 3D capable, and I have larger screens, so, the Panny, the Epsons, are possible. Even a JVC RS45 is possible, I’d have to see its brightness though. Of course Runco or SIM2 could let me borrow some $30K+ projector for a year… that too would work… -art

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  • Reuben

    Art,

    Do you think Sim2 might offer some sort of upgrade program for current owners?

    I have a Sim2 HT380.

    I’m pretty happy with it (along with a panamorph UH480), but sometimes we get the upgrade bug…

    • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

      Reuben, I have no idea. I never have worked closely with SIM2, so I don’t have a feel for their marketing. You best bet – give them a call. Put a “bug” in their ear! Ya never know! -art

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