Optoma HD806 vs. BenQ W5000
DLP vs DLP. The BenQ has a placement advantage thanks to adjustable vertical lens shift, which gives you placement height flexibility, as well as in many rooms, the ability to rear shelf mount.
When it comes to picture quality for movie watching, the BenQ definitely has the advantage. When it comes to sports and TV/HDTV viewing with ambient light present, the Optoma has the advantage of being about 400 lumens brighter.
Enthusiasts and purists will definitely favor the BenQ W5000, especially since the excessive image noise issue found in our early review unit has been solved with newer firmware that's been out for months now.
Optoma HD806 vs. Epson Home Cinema 6100
I'll reserve judgement on this shoot-out until I've reviewed the Epson in the next couple of weeks (late December 2008). To take a guess though, my money is on the Epson overall. I expect it to beat the black level performance of the HD806, as users will engage its dynamic iris.
When it comes to sports and general HDTV/TV viewing, the Epson almost certainly will match the Optoma lumen for lumen, making it just as versatile in a family room with ambient light present. Of course, the Epson Home Cinema 6100 is a "classic" 3LCD projector, with lots of the placement flexibility the Optoma lacks.
As an added benefit for the Epson, it is likely to be slightly less expensive, with an MSRP of only $1999!
HD806 vs. InFocus IN82
An interesting comparison. The InFocus is almost as bright as the Optoma projector, but is a more refined projector, and overall, better for movie viewing. The HD806's noisy dynamic iris is loud enough to have most people not want to use it, and its slow operation, often in the middle of scenes, probably will convince the rest to skip it.
When it comes to watching sports with a fair amount of ambient light present, the Optoma has the advantage, and for most non-movie HDTV/TV as well. The advantage, however is small.
The InFocus IN82 is the better choice if you can fully darken your room for movie viewing.
The big advantage of the Optoma is that it is significantly less expensive than the InFocus.
Optoma HD806 vs. Panasonic PT-AE3000
Different strokes for different folks. Once again, the Optoma is at its best in a family room or other setting, dealing with ambient light. In this regard, it is brighter than the Panasonic.
The other advantages of the Optoma, are a lower street price, an extra year warranty, and a slightly sharper image.
After that, however, it's all Panasonic PT-AE3000. It ultimately has better color accuracy, much better black level performance, and all those extra goodies like 96/120 fps support with creative frame interpolation. If you are into movies, and image critical, it's no contest. If you don't need the lumens of the HD806, consider the HD80/HD8000 Optoma's with their faster color wheels, lower lumen output but slightly better overall image quality. Those are more direct competitors to the Panasonic than the HD806.