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1080p Projector Review 2008 - General Performance2

Posted on March 14, 2008 by Art Feierman

Sony remotes: Similar to the JVC, but some buttons (Navigation, Enter, Input, and (strangely) the backlight button itself, are not backlit, Their rocker setup for the arrow keys doesn't have as good a feel as the traditional 4 button diamond most remotes use. Also, for those of us (including me) not doing our source switching through an AV receiver (or computer), the Sony has a single input button instead of discreet buttons for each source.

Optoma Remotes: Very small, very small buttons, but, at least a really bright backlight. More limited in range than most.

Pansonic remote: I mention this one because it is the only "learning" remote of the group. It can not only run your projector, but also three additional devices. It's also the only one to have an LCD display (small). Overall, it had good range, but is a bit cluttered with extra buttons (like channel up/down, and DVD controls), for those not interested in its universal functions.

Mitsubishi remotes: Laid out nicely, but limited range

InFocus remote control: Small, very few buttons compared to most, InFocus has always gone with the idea that less is easier. The blue LED lighting works pretty well, with the lighting very bright, but the blue, offsetting the ease of reading. Also InFocus puts symbols on the remote's buttons and text near the button. I favor the text be on the button, so it reads easily when lit up. InFocus puts the backlight button on the bottom - like a trigger, a very nice touch.

BenQ remote: Large, well spaced, good backlighting, reasonably long range. A BenQ sat where my JVC currently sits, and I was always able to get a bounce, even though it's probably weaker than some, as I had to pay more attention to where I pointed it, to be sure that the projector would see the signal.

Lens Throw and Lens Shift

Consult the individual reviews for specific info for each projector, but here are some of the relavant distinctions:

Those with vertical lens shift (horizontal is important to few folks) include: All the LCD and LCoS projectors. In addition the two DLP BenQ's have vertical lens shift, as does the Sharp XV-Z20000.

That leaves only the five Optoma projectors, and the InFocus IN82, without!

Zoom lens range

All but the DLP projectors have zoom lenses with lots of range. All the DLP projectors have the same 1.2:1 zoom except for the Sharp XV-Z20000 which sports a 1.35:1 zoom. That may not sound like a large improvement, but it can really make a difference if you want to shelf mount.

In most rooms a 1.2:1 zoom is only going to give you front to back placement flexibility of 2-4 feet, depending on the size of your screen. For example, you'll get just over 2.5 feet range on a 100" screen. By comparison, all of the projectors other than DLP models have ranges from about 7.5 feet to about 11 feet, for the same sized screen.

More specifically, all 3LCD, and LCoS projectors, have at least 1.8:1 zooms, except for the two Mitsubishis with 1.6:1 - (which is still far, far better, than any of the DLP's).

Excellent: (with zoom ratios of 2:1 to 2.1:1) this group has tons of placement flexibility: The Panasonic PT-AE2000U, Epson Cinema 1080 UBs, all three JVC projectors,

Very good: The Mitsubishi and Sony projectors: The Mitsubishi models with their its 1.6:1 zoom still provides plenty flexibility, and Sony VW40 and VW60, split the difference with 1.8:1 ratio. I considered putting the Sonys in the Excellent range, since 1.8 is still very impressive, but the Sonys starts with a little shorter (closer) throw distance than most of the others, as a result, it can't be placed quite so far back, and that may limit it for some wanting to shelf mount on their back wall.

Fair: You know the answer here: All the DLP projectors

Projector Lens Shift

The large majority of these projectors have at least vertical lens shift. Once again, most of the DLP projectors lack vertical lens shift, and all of the others have it.

Of the DLP projectors, the Sharp XV-Z20000 and the two BenQ projectors - W5000 and W20000, offer vertical lens shift. That leaves six without - five Optoma projectors, and the InFocus IN82.

The three DLP projectors with vertical lens shift all offer the same or less than those with the least lens shift among the rest. All three can be placed anywhere from even with the top of the screen to even with the bottom. Almost all of the others can go a bit higher and lower than that.

As to horizontal lens shift, it's handy for a sloppy installation (mounting the projector slightly left or right of where it should be, and for those who really need to put the projector somewhere not in the middle. Most with horizontal lens shift (except the Sony projectors) can have the projector at least a foot or more, off center, for a 100 inch screen. (Sony's adjustment is minimal - good for the fixing the "sloppy mounting").

Combining both Lens Shift and Lens Throw here is how I rank them
Excellent All JVC, All Epson, Panasonic PT-AE2000U, Sanyo PLV-Z2000
Very Good All Sony and Mitsubishi projectors
Good BenQ W9000 and W10000, Sharp XV-Z20000
Poor All Optoma's and the InFocus IN82



Please note, the more vertical lens shift you use, the less horizontal is available, and vice versa. Thus, if you need to mount your projector a foot or more off center horizontally with a projector with horizontal lens shift, you will have far less vertical lens shift to work with.

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