1080p Projector Review 2008 – Image Quality3

$3500 - $10,000 1080p Home Theater Projectors

Sony VPL-VW60 LCoS projector

The VPL-VW60 was most disappointing out of the box. The color temperature was significantly too cool (bluish), but the projector calibrated very nicely with some work. Even so, as seems to be the case with all the Sony SXRD (LCoS) projectors that I’ve reviewed, once you get into the “black” and “near black” areas (below where I measure), the background decidely shifts toward blue. Even so, this is rarely detectable.

JVC DLA-RS1 LCoS projector

The JVC RS1 is about as good as it gets, out of the box. I’ve had mine for almost a year, and for movie watching in Cinema mode, I basically use the default settings with no color adjustments. I lower color saturation by -2, and adjusted brightness and contrast settings. The colors aren’t perfect (the red, for example is slightly off what a pure red should be, and greens tend to be a touch oversaturated), but put on a movie, and it always looks great.

JVC DLA-RS1x LCoS projector*

Well, I haven’t reviewed this upgrade to the RS1, that is just starting to ship. More color controls, including more control of gamma, should make the JVC DLA-RS1x, even better “out of the box” but we’ll ultimately determine that once we review it.

JVC DLA-RS2 LCoS projector

Like the JVC RS1, JVC’s DLA-RS2 also has superb color out of the box. It is just a tiny bit warm (red), but so close, it really doesn’t need any adjustment, even though I published some settings that make it a tiny bit better. Not much else I can say, in this section, when your only options are – leave it as is (and enjoy great performance), or adjust it for that extra few percent of improvement.

Optoma HD81 DLP projector

The Optoma HD81 is the projector that’s been around the longest of all the ones in this report. In looking back, I note that the HD81 produces better color out of the box than most of the newer Optoma projectors. Overall, the HD81 is fairly good in this regard. It lacks the heavy shift to green that most Optomas offer, although green is still just a little strong. The major weakness is that with the goal of 6500K for movie watching, the Optoma’s modes were all over 7000K average, making them slighly cool (bluish).

Optoma HD81-LV DLP projector

The HD81-LV was very typical of Optoma projectors, which means not very good color accuracy out of the box. The heavy shift to green is sure to disappoint. Since this is a great projector overall, you better plan to do something about the color accuracy. At this price, I strongly recommend a professional calibrator for the $300 – $600+. You’re spending over $5,000, so you might as well have the colors look great. The difference – to quote my review – “is dramatic”.

InFocus IN82 DLP projector

The IN82 is better than most projectors in terms of out of the box performance. Overall, I found best mode to be somewhat warm (reddish), but the color balance is extremely tight across the grayscale range. Adjusting the InFocus IN82 is basically just a matter of “cooling things down” about 350K, a very small error.

Sharp XV-Z20000 DLP projector

The Sharp XV-Z20000 provides really good colors out of the box (one of the best), just a little cool (shift towards blue), but with grayscale measuring right around 6900K, it is extremely watchable out of the box. Whites tend to be about 250K cooler than the various gray points I measure. That’s not enough to impact overall color balance with any significance.

BenQ W20000 DLP projector*

Sorry, no idea, I was supposed to receive a W20000 the week before I started on the report, but BenQ ran out of product! That said, from past experience, including my owning two BenQ projectors at different times, and having reviewed the original BenQ 1080p W10000, and the recent W5000 review, my best take on the W20000, is that it should offer similar performance to the W5000. In a nutshell, than means very good out of the box performance, just a little strong on greens (less so than the typical Optoma projector). While I definitely recommend correcting for the green, if it behaves the same as the W5000, the projector should be most impressive even without adjustment.

OK, this section took up way to much space and time, but, since some/many of you really won’t have your projector professionally calibrated, or even tackle it yourself with a calibration disc designed for end users, I consider out of the box performance to be an important one for many.

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