Posted on March 14, 2008 By Art Feierman
The SP-A600 is a perfectly good projector, and being a DLP, has a really nice sharp image. Lumens are average (about 700, 1000), so nothing to write home about there. Color is very good. Other aspects not withstanding, you have to ask yourself, this, if HDTV/Sports is your thing: “what is there about the Samsung, that would make me choose it over the less expensive Mitsubishi HC3800. If you figure out that answer, let me know.
It’s tough on last year’s models. And the PLV-Z700 is just that. I’ve always liked this projector, but it’s just not as competitive here, in year two, especially as the street price hasn’t dropped much. It is one of the sharpest looking LCD projectors, which is nice, and for HDTV/Sports it has a healthy 1157 measured lumens in brightest mode.. My personal taste is that I like this projector, and it would make a very good projector for HDTV and sports, as long as you keep the screen size limited. BTW, it has 3 Cinema modes – the brightest still has very good color, and almost 900 lumens. You’ll give up (of course, some of the color accuracy, etc. going to the brightest mode.
The Sharp may be of the “dimmest bulbs” of the projectors in this report, when it comes to “best mode”. We measured a mere 312 lumens. That’s the 3rd lowest measurement in this report, and the least bright in this class. That’s ok though if you are into sports, etc. The Sharp as slightly over average 1099 lumens measured in brightest mode, which keeps it “ball park” with all but the two super bright crossover projectors the BenQ and Vivitek. Since the Sharp isn’t so bright in best mode, it’s not likely that the Sharp will end up facing a large screen, and that means it can kick a bit of butt in brightest mode, on say a 92″ screen.
The optics disapppointed me a bit, the image is very sharp at the focus point but rolls off a bit. If you buy one of these, go for best focus about 1/3 of the way from the dead center to any corner. That will really help, if you focus dead center (you shouldn’t with any projector) you will be able to see the softness at the sides and corners. Hey, even that way (in the corners), the Sharp is still going to look about as sharp as any LCD projector, and it will look sharper overall.
Think Panasonic PT-AE4000 but a lot less money, and not quite as good. In terms of lumens, the Viewsonic is almost identical to the Panny. We measured 23 more “best” lumens and 8 less, “brightest” ones. And it lacks the CFI – creative frame interpolation that the Panasonic has (it’s the only one in this class to sport CFI).
This is just too easy! Since the Vivitek is mostly identical the BenQ W1000… Here’s your trade-off. You can go with the Vivitek for the same price as the BenQ. You’ll give up almost 20% of brightness, which considering how bright both are in “brightest” mode, isn’t too bad. Instead, you receive from the Vivitek H1080FD, a 3x color wheel instead of a two (on the BenQ). That can be a real benefit for those rainbow sensitive – not for watching sports, but when you are back watching movies. That also applies for dark content on Discovery HD type programming. For clarification, when I say “dark content” I’m not talking evil, like Darth Vader, or Voldemort, but rather exploring underwater caves, or deep space, or “A history of night vision googles” if ever there was such a special.
Bottom Line: If sports is all you care about, pick up the BenQ or the Vivitek. Even if you are rainbow sensitive you won’t normally see rainbows in sports types of content. If you are really worried about it, go with the Vivitek over the BenQ, giving up some lumens, but plenty left. Moving up in overall quality, but still very bright, is the Epson Home Cinema 8100. It’s going to look great on sports and HDTV.
The Panasonic isn’t overly bright, but its the only one in this group with CFI – for motion smoothing, which makes it a consideration. The Mitsubishi is sharp, bright and has really good color. Most of the others are ok, most with average brightness.
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