Projector Reviews

Planar PD8150 Home Theater Projector Review: General Performance

There’s lots of information about the PD8150 to cover in this section. These links will allow you to quickly get to any topics of interest to you.

Planar PD8150 Projector: Menus

I like that Planar puts all the image related controls on two main menus, basic and advanced. The menu surface itself is large, as they put a lot of items on each. I do have one complaint – the text on the Menus is very small. I do believe reading them is going to be tough at normal, or further than normal seating distances. The menus are opaque, but there are three translucent options. Ultimately since the menus aren’t high contrast to begin with, the translucent menu options make readability even more difficult, so you almost certainly won’t use that capability.

Images to follow in a few days.

Planar PD8150 Projector: User Memory Settings

The PD8150 has three user memory settings, an adequate number, although I wish everyone would provide five or six. I for example like to have two versions of “best” two of “brightest” and possibly additional variations.

Planar PD8150 Projector: Remote Control

To put it simply, it’s a very good remote. Larger buttons, lots of space, a very good backlight, and good organization. To round it all out, it has better range than most, and it is not a problem in my room, to sit 11 feet from the screen, with the projector about 16 feet back, and get a good bounce off of the screen. Many remotes have been unable to do that.

Planar PD8150 Projector: Lens Throw and Lens Shift

For a 100 inch diagonal 16:9 screen, the Planar PD8150 (with the standard lens) may be placed as close as 13.4 feet, and as far back as 17.4 feet, measured from screen, to front of the lens, for a 100″ diagonal 16:9 screen. If you plan on a different sized screen, you can use these numbers to figure out the appropriate distances. A 90″ screen would have distances 90% of those of a 100″ screen, and so on.

I mentioned on the first page, that there is also an optional short throw zoom lens for those that want to mount the projector closer than the standard lens would allow. Should you go that option, the wide angle zoom will allow you to place the PD8150 as close as 11.3 feet (or as far back as 13.4).

In terms of lens shift, it’s wonderful to see a DLP projector under $10,000 with a lot of lens shift. Of the higher volume, known brands, only BenQ even offers lens shift, and, while their range is pretty good, it’s less than most 3LCD or LCoS projectors.

The Planar PD8150 has unequal lens shift, meaning it can shift the image more in one direction than the other. If you are ceiling mounting, for a 100″ diagonal 16:9 screen, the top of the image can be as much as about 12 inches above the top of the center of the lens, or as low as about 29 inches below the center of the lens. There is also horizontal lens shift, which as usual, has a lot less range than the vertical lens shift, but more than adequate for most normal installations.

Planar PD8150 Projector: SDE and Rainbow Effect, Pixel Visibility

As a single chip DLP projector, the PD8150, of course, has a spinning color filter wheel. I’ve searched through Planar’s manual, but they don’t seem to think the color wheel speed, or segment make up, is of interest, as I couldn’t find that info anywhere.

So, I am forced, for the moment (hopefully they will get back to me on my request for more info), to conjecture. I expect it is a fast color wheel, probably 5x, maybe even 6x, as I was bothered a bit less than usual by rainbows.

Ultimately my guess is that it is a 5x wheel, but with at least 6 color segments. If I get a straight answer, I’ll replace this conjecture with facts.

Pixels on a 1080p DLP projector are a non-issue from normal seating distance. Pixel structure is fine enough that, if you are seeing any pixels aspects, it is because you are seeing the content, which is the same 1080 resolution. Bottom line, screen door effect is a non-issue.