HD1000U vs Panasonic PT-AX100U
The Mitsubishi HD1000U projector really isn't a direct competitor to the Panasonic, in terms of price. Whereas, the Panasonic starts out with a street price very close to the $1999 MAP (minimum advertised price), the Mitsubishi launched at $1495, complete with a free spare lamp. Now, most lamps list for right around $400 and few can be purchased for much less than $350. For purposes of my reckoning, I'm going to place the value of the spare lamp, therefore, at a conservative $300. To me that means that the HD1000U projector is, maybe 2/3s the price of the Panasonic, so many of the buyers will be those who find the Panasonic to be out of their budget
Update 11/20/2006 - Hold the presses. Effective today, Mitsubishi has cancelled the free lamp promo, instead, replacing it, with something much better: The HD1000U home theater projector now has a list price of only $995, compared to $1495 yesterday. This represents a significant net price reduction, allowing far more home theater enthusiasts to afford the basic buy-in price.
But, back to the Panasonic. First of all, even though the HD1000U is very bright. In full power, brightest mode, it can't match the even brighter Panasonic, but in Cinema mode, optimized for best movie watching, it is every bit as bright, actually a touch brighter. Very impressive! The Panasonic's big advantages are brightness in brightest mode, and placement flexibility. (And a much better remote control!)
I see this as the most similar competitor, both bright (the HD1000U is the brighter of the two), both offer similar lens offset, both use a similar Darkchip2 DLP chip, although the HD72 is 1280x768 resolution (as opposed to 1280x720 on the HD1000U), but both chips allow use of TI's Brilliant Color processing. The Optoma is priced at $1999 but there is more than a little discounting. Still, that gives the HD1000U a significant pricing advantage. The HD72's AI may give it a slight edge in black levels, although the HD72 runs its slightly louder fan, at full speed in AI mode. The Mitsubishi has better out of the box color, and the Optoma has a 2 year warranty vs the HD1000U's one year.
The Optoma, by comparison is still hundreds more, so the HD1000U is looking really good.