Projector Reviews

The Question You’re Probably Asking Yourself: Buy Now?

It’s August 2015:  Do I pull the trigger and buy a projector right now, or wait until CEDIA and IFA shows to learn what’s coming?

Every year September – and this year – October as well, are the big months for new home projector announcements.  It starts with the IFA show in Europe, and “ends” with the CEDIA show, which is mid-October this year in Dallas, TX.

Before you get too excited, “announcements” and “now shipping” are very different things.

While there will be lots of announcements of new projectors, do remember that most won’t be ready to ship for months.

Using previous years as examples, we would expect any new Epson and Panasonic projectors to ship in the October/November timeframe.

Optoma and BenQ – the major Taiwanese players in home theater space, seem less trade show announcement focused.  I say that, but I should also say they are more likely these days to use CES in January as their launch show.  Optoma, for example,  released their new HD37 (click for review) in June with no major shows in sight.

Optoma HD37 Home Entertainment Projector - Angled view
Optoma’s HD37 home entertainment projector

JVC, on the other hand, announces at these shows but typically doesn’t ship new projectors until the  Jan-March timeframe.  Sony has been shipping their VW350ES for months, but perhaps they will have something new for IFA ad CEDIA?

LS10000_front_beauty
Epson’s LS10000 is the only 1080p projector (under $25K) that supports the new Blu-ray UHD standard.

They launch new models almost time during the year.  BenQ had announced their W7500 back at the CES show in January 2014, rather than CEDIA the September before, but it shipped shortly after announcement.  Their W1070+ sort of snuck up on me.  Not sure if it was formally announced at any show.

This means some new projectors will be shipping in the next 60-90 days, but others might be more than 6 months off.   At that point you’ll learn about which projectors are getting replaced, which aren’t, and you’ll be able to make your decision based on more information.   If your are, like me a sports fan – US football, is my favorite, and you don’t yet own a projector, the time is now.   Sure, you might wait for a projector shipping late September or October but you won’t want to miss the season.

LS10000_MIB-III_camera_close
Heavily cropped image from MIB III. You are looking at the center perhaps 10% of the screen. The content is true 4K but displayed by the Epson LS10000 using pixel shifting. Pixel shifting is the closest we can get short of a true 4K projector. Gorgeous detail and sharpness when viewed on the big screen. (click for closer look)

Already have a projector?  That makes for a tougher call.  If you have the “big bucks” and are thinking 4K, I’d say wait.  I don’t know of any new 4K projectors coming (so far only Sony has 4K models – 3 of them), but JVC just might have real 4K projectors for us.  Even without the big bucks for true 4K projectors, we well might see more 1080p projectors that can process 4K, including the new Blu-ray UHD and 4K HDTV.  JVC’s current lineup supports 4K for photos, but lacks the tech to support 4K UHD, etc.

DLA-RS6710-beauty-right_1000
JVC’s flagship RS6710 projector is native 1080p. Stunning output, but It has limited 4K support as it lacks the HDMI 2.0 and HDCP required for Blu-ray UHD

 

One important thing to consider.  Over the last couple of years, with the exception of the promise of true 4K projectors, the projector industry has been behaving as a mature one.  No longer do most home projector manufacturers replace models annually.

We’re now at the point where many projectors come out and stay current for two or three years.  It’s about four years since Panasonic’s last new model.

Seems each year I have less and less new home theater projectors to review because of that, even if the number of home projectors continues to slowly grow.

What that means is that if you wait, most likely it won’t affect your purchase.  You’ll probably find that most of the projectors you are looking at in mid-August, will be the same ones offered if you plan to purchase in the Christmas timeframe.  But there might be a few surprises.

Good hunting!