2010 1080p Projector Comparison Report

This in-depth (and rather large) report compares 30 1080p home projectors – that’s both home theater projectors and home entertainment projectors under $10,000. Home Entertainment projectors I should note, generally refers to some of the entry level projectors that are bright and more designed for a family room not a rather dedicated theater.

 

1080P Home Projector Highlights

Click to enlarge, so close. Highlighting key aspects of each projector considered for this review. They are organized by the our three price categories (Classes).

1080p Projector Overview

It’s 2010, and this year’s comprehensive Home Projector Comparison report follows the same writing process as individual reviews. Eight separate pages: Overview, Physical Tour, Image Quality, Performance, Screen Recommendations, Compare Projectors, Warranty and Summary. There is also the “Best In Class” Awards page, (click on the graphic above), which lists each award category, the projectors that won the various awards, and multiple paragraphs on each of those, with my thoughts on why they were selected.

Finally, there are, as usual, a number of direct comparisons between two or more competing projectors. For this report (like last year’s), the Compare Projectors section will not only feature our head to head comparisons, but also a few pages that break out the projectors by aspects such as those suitable for large screens, those best for movie watchers only, those best for watching a variety of content (movies, sports…), those capable of being shelf mounted, and so on. Not all of those will have been completed by the time the Report is posted. We also mention which projectors are available online as well as locally, and those sold only by “local installing dealers”.

The number of home projectors considered this year is just slightly larger than last year’s. It’s been an interesting year. We have a couple of essentially new players, staking out their market share, most notably LG and Vivitek (Vivitek’s been around forever, but below most people’s radar). Also of note, InFocus, now a private company, under new management has released it’s first completely redesigned home theater projector, at the $5K price point. They have, at least for now, dropped out of the lower cost, and online sales projector market.

The recession scared the “heck” out of many manufacturers. This fall, a number of home projector manufacturers, fearing unsold units, did not build enough to meet demand. Epson and others can be accused of product shortages. As it turns out, the fall quarter, turned out to be better than almost any of them expected. The recession, and/or the global purchase of Sanyo by Matsushita (Panasonic), had a real impact on those two companies. Panasonic launched their new 1080p, the PT-AE4000, but decided to leave their PT-AX200U as their only current 720p projector. That AX200U is now in its third year of sales. Sanyo introduced no new projectors, keeping the same three on the market for another year. On a typical year, those two companies normally release a total of 4 or 5 new home theater projectors, but only one, between them this past fall season.

As is normal, this report is concerned primarily with the projectors we’ve reviewed. That said, we can’t review them all, and some manufacturers (particularly high end brands that only sell locally) just won’t send review units to “us” online reviewers (especially those who do big 1080p comparison reports), for fear that those units may be excellent, and have better support in most cases, but are otherwise just not price competitive with higher volume products.

 

Of the 30 home theater projectors covered, we reviewed 27 plus a couple of nearly identical siblings and included, as usual. I will comment on two projectors that lack existing published reviews at the time of this report’s publication: The Samsung SP-A900: I couldn’t talk Samsung out of a review unit, and the Mitsubishi HC6800, a home projector that is in house, has been calibrated, measured and viewed. Getting this report out, though is the priority, so the HC6800′s review will post late in April.

Note, all the screen images on this page are from the JVC DLA-RS35 unless otherwise noted. As usual a lot of images are scattered through the report for your amusement and education. You will find many stand alone images, sometimes two or three images together, from different projectors, and more than a few side-by-side photos.

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