Viewsonic Pro8100 1080p 3LCD Home Theater Projector Review: Overview

This Viewsonic is definitely the largest 3LCD home theater projector I’ve seen in a great many years. The Pro8100 benefits from its large size by being a very quiet projector. The center mounted, motorize focus, large lens, that is probably partially responsible for its size, allows the projector to produce a very sharp image. The projector also has a front infra-red sensor. There are two adjustable, drop down feet, whose release buttons are low on the sides, by the front of the projector. The Pro8100′s 1.6:1 zoom lens provides a good amount of placement flexibility. For a 100″ 16:9 screen, the front of the projector can be placed as close as 10 feet 3 inches, and as far back as 16 feet 6 inches.

Moving to the top of the Pro8100 projector, there’s nothing there but the power and indicator lights. This is due to the control panel being mounted on the right side (if you are looking from the front of the Viewsonic). The control panel:

The control panel is designed to be pretty unobtrusive. The Power button is the usual press one, for on, two for off.

From the back, first is the Power button, and below it, the Menu/Exit button. Moving toward the front are 5 keys in a diamond configuration – up, down, left and right buttons, with the Enter button in the center. Forward of those buttons are three more, Source, then, below Source, are both a Lens Shift button, and below that button, Zoom/Focus, as those lens controls are all motorized.

That takes us to the back of the Pro8100, where the input panel is located. This Viewsonic projector is pretty well endowed with inputs. From left to right there are, an RS-232 input for command and control, as well as a USB input. Below those two, are a 5Volt jack for powering other devices, and a 12 volt screen trigger, to operate appropriately equipped motorized screens. Moving to the right, next comes a pair of HDMI inputs which are HDMI 1.3, and support Deep Color. After those, comes a standard HD15 connector for the usual analog computer input. Two rows of three color coded RCA jacks input Component video sources, and of course (and to the far right), the obligatory lower quality S-video and composite video inputs. A rear infra-red sensor, and the power receptacle finish off the back panel.

My only comment regarding the input panel, is that, in this day and age, I would have rather seen a 3rd HDMI input, instead of one of the component video inputs. After all, that’s the way the world is going, and few AV receivers offer three HDMI inputs, which means you may need to count on the projector if you have more than a couple HDMI sources (not uncommon these days). In all fairness, very few home theater projectors offer three HDMI’s with two pretty much being the standard (although there are still a few with only one).

Overall, the Pro8100 home theater projectors are one of the larger projectors out there for the home, even though there are ones larger still. If physical size is an issue, there are many projector alternatives that are perhaps half to one quarter the overall bulk. Many of the most direct competition for the Viewsonic, however are similarly large, including the Sony and JVC entries. By comparison, the best of the 3LCD projectors so far, the Epson Pro (and Home) Cinema 1080 UB is at most, perhaps 1/3 the bulk – almost tiny by comparison.

The Viewsonic Pro8100, is definitely a physically good looking projector with the lights on, and I imagine it is particularly striking with the optional burgundy top cover, for those with a room where that would look good.

Time to get serious about home theater, and talk about the Pro8100 projector’s image quality.

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