The Art of Home Theater Projectors

New Videos from Projector Reviews TV!

Hi all,

Lisa, Art’s daughter here. I’m home from college for the holidays, but we’re hard at work over here to bring you some great Projector Reviews TV videos, including review summaries, special topics and FAQs.

Because December has been a big month for us video-wise, I thought I’d highlight some of our newest videos.

As far as projector reviews, we’ve got video review summaries of two hot Epson projectors, the Home Cinema 5020UB and the Pro Cinema 6020UB.

Remember, a projector or accessory becomes eligible for a video summary when it earns one of the Projector Reviews awards, including our Hot Product Awards and Best In Class Awards.

We’ve also brought you Parts 2-4 of Choosing the Right Home Theater Projector for your Family Room (click here for Part 1, released in October). The new segments include:

“Part 5: 3D” is on its way and will be here by New Year’s.

We have a few other videos currently in post-production, so stay tuned for these in the coming weeks:

  • Epson Home Cinema 3020
  • Panasonic PT-AE8000U
  • Sony VPL-VW1000ES
  • Sony VPL-HW50ES

And there’s still more on the way! Look forward to other topics coming up, including: understanding the importance of black levels, an overview of pico and pocket projectors, a guide to our website, and more!

For a complete list of finished Projector Reviews TV videos, click here.

Happy holidays everyone!


News And Comments

  • Matt

    Great article. When deciding on a home theater, the projector is the main ingredient. There are many things that should be considered when choosing a projector such as the price. Thanks for sharing.
    Matt@ Winnetka Custom Home Theaters

  • Chad Varnadore

    I’ve been reading your projectors evaluations, as our Sony VPL VW60 has developed a green tinge at the top and bottom 1/4 of the image. Desiring to return to DLP to avoid another LCD/LCOS optical block going bad at only 5000 hours, I’m leaning toward the Mits PJs, largely because of your reviews, saying it’s a good fit for the small HT “cave”, which is what we have, projecting onto a 92″ Vutec Silverstar. 2D Blu-ray and some PS3 gaming is about all the PJ will be used for – no 3D or broadcast.

    I’ve pretty much narrowed it down to three Mitsubishi models, which your reviews were very helpful. However, I’m still uncertain if the performance differences between the three justifies their prices, as I suspect coming from a 5 yr old SXRD to a DLP, with it’s inherently higher native ansi contrast and detail, even the poorest of the three will prove a significant upgrade in basic performance.

    The Mitsubishi HC7800D is currently selling for about $1500.00 in many places, the HC7900 for $2000, which seems worthwhile if only for the 6x color wheel (my last DLP was a Marantz 720p VP12S3, which I still saw rainbows using its 7 segment, 5x wheel), and the HC8000 for $2900. I can’t find any of these locally to buy, much less demo. The 8000 is practically impossible to find online. Extra bulb aside, is the 8000 really worth $900 more than the 7900?. Also, as I rather doubt even a 6x wheel will completely eliminate rainbows for me, rainbows aside, are the black levels of the 7900 a more dramatic improvement over the 7800 than it’s 100,000:1 vs 150,000:1 ratio would suggest?

    Mitsubishi seems to have abandoned the market around here, so I’ve pretty much got to buy blind. As you’re the only source I’ve found that’s actually seen all three, I’d really appreciate any further light you might be willing to shed on the subject.

    • Lisa Feierman

      Hi Chad,

      Let’s start with DLP rainbows. You sound about as rainbow sensitive as I am. While viewing the HC8000D and the 7900DW (but that was long ago), rainbows were pretty rare for me. Let’s say, that if I was going to buy another DLP, I would want one this good, in terms of rainbow effect. I owned BenQ’s and while they were good, mostly 5x, the HC8000D is better. BTW I worked with the old original Marantz (one of my first reviews), I definitely saw a fair number of rainbows with it, as well.

      Contrast: an increase from 100,000:1 to 150,000:1 is the same as going from a contrast of 3000:1 to 4500:1. It’s a small difference. That is, by spec, anyway, the blacks are improved rather modestly. If they were improved greatly, they’d be in line, with say the Epson 5020UB, or the Sony HW50ES. That’s why when you close down a manual iris, such as on the JVC projectors, the bulk of the “improved blacks” are because the whole image got darker, rather than the increase in contrast, that also comes from a smaller iris opening.

      Regarding optical blocks. Yes, likely a crapshoot. I have a very good buddy, with an even older Sony than your VW60, who’s is doing fine, in fact I believe he just bought his 5th, or possibly his 6th lamp for it. (heavy user!)

      Back to blacks. (sounds sort of Amy Winehouse) You also get a small increase in blacks moving from the HC7900DW to the HC8000D.

      Sounds like you should at least go for the HC7900DW (if a white casing works for you). You also sound like you are planning another 5 years or you wouldn’t really be worrying about optical blocks, so I have to figure a spare lamp with an HC8000D provides value to you.

      I can’t answer the value question – $900 more for the HC8000D (with lamp) that tends to be rather budget oriented. But I can suggest this: Of these three projectors, and the budgets you will spend on each: Six months after you have chosen, which choice seems to be the one, that you will be most happy with, or suspect you will be least disappointed with. I know I’m the type who in such cases, typically ending up less happy, if I decided not to go for the “best” of the group.

      Finally, brightness. The HC7900DW does deliver an extra 100 or so lumens, but with a SilverStar screen (personally I don’t care for its narrow viewing cone, but I do love it’s gain), I don’t suppose you really have much use for those extra calibrated lumens. And if you should need a ton of lumens, there’s not too much difference between them, as we clocked about 888 usable lumens from the 8000D and about 130 more lumens on the 7900DW.

      Let me know how it all plays out, and how you like whichever you chose, compared to your old VW60. Thanks! -art

  • Chad Varnadore

    Thanks. The added clarification was very helpful. I think I can learn to ignore rainbows again, similar to the way I’ve learned to ignore the similar effect LCD/LCoS has that manifests like phosphor persistence in CRTs. For me, it’s easy to let red color trails distract, in blue-toned night scenes especially. But, I’ve learned to ignore them, just like film judder and other motion artifacts.

    I suspect any of the three Mits models would prove sizeable upgrades in contrast from what I’m coming from, so I wouldn’t think I’d look back with regrets even if going with the 7800, considering the extra clarity of DLP over LCD/LCoS, which our SXRD never recieved great marks in resolution in the first place, though it looked fantastic coming from Sony’s higher end VPL VW100 which couldn’t do 24p. We’re also be going from a PJ that “touts” 35,000:1 on/off contrast to one touting 100,000:1 or higher, depending on the model Mits; and since DLP has inherently higher ansi contrast than LCD/ LCoS too…

    The 8000 has a very competitive price for sure, but I’d hoped to hold out for 4K and some of the new laser/LED tech to mature before upgrading from the VW60. I’ve always had good luck with Mits reliability in the past (knock on wood), but thinking 1080p is about to become about as obsolete as 720p for the HT FP market, I’m hesitant to invest much in what might be an intermediary PJ. If I could find a Mits 8000 for about 2500.00, it sounds like the added performance and bulb would definitely be worth that. 900.00 more than the 7900 and 1400 more than 7800, is harder for me to justify for what sounds like a modest bump in black levels. If I was still reviewing and thus needed to keep my gear as up to date as I could, or I had more money coming in, you’re right, considering the price difference, any performance improvement might seem more worthwhile.

    I hate that the 7900′s case is white, as the ceiling is painted black and the walls are lined with acoustic treatments covered in black expo cloth – our HT was designed as a small studio for disc reviews, so the “cave” designation fits it better than you know. But, I might just finally encase the PJ to vent all the heat these bulbs emit out of the room, something I’ve needed to do for a while.

    Thanks again. Your reply was most helpful and extremely timely. Your help is much appreciated. I’ll be sure to let you know how whichever model we go with works out.