Projector Reviews

Home Projectors – Physical Tour6

Entry Level 1080p Projectors - Under $2000

Greatest Placement Flexibility: Epson Home Cinema 8100, Panasonic PT-AE4000, Sanyo PLV-Z700 – All have at least 2:1 zoom lenses and extensive lens shift

Good Placement Flexibility: None

Fair Placement Flexibility: Mitsubishi HC3800 (1.5:1 zoom, no lens shift),

Poor Placement Flexibility: BenQ W1000, Optoma HD20, Samsung SP-A600, Sharp XV-Z15000, Vivitek H1080FD

Mid-Priced 1080p Projectors - $2000 - $3500

Greatest Placement Flexibility: All Epson projectors, Sanyo PLV-Z3000 (all with at least 2:1 zoom, lens shift)

Good Placement Flexibility: BenQ W6000, LG CF181D, Mitsubishi HC6800, HC7000, Optoma HD8200, Sony VPL-HW15, Viewsonic Pro8100

Yes, this year, every projector in this mid-priced class offers lens shift! All of them have at least a 1.5:1 zoom ratio as well. In other words every projector we reviewed in this price range had at least good placement flexibility. The most signficant difference between “Greatest” and “Good” placement flexibility is that most of the “good” ones may not work rear shelf mounted, if your room is moderately deep, or your screen relatively small for the room size. those with 2:1 zooms normally can be shelf mounted in all but very unusual (read very deep) rooms, even these “greatest” projectors won’t be rear shelf mountable (with a 100″ diagonal screen) in rooms deeper than about 22 feet.

Premium Priced 1080p Projectors - $3500 - $10,000

Greatest Placement Flexibility JVC DLA-RS15, DLA-RS25, DLA-RS35
Good Placement Flexibility Planar PD8150, Sharp XV-Z20000, Sony VPL-VW85
Fair Placement Flexibility Vivitek H9080FD (1.3:1 zoom, but has lens shift)

All projectors in this class have lens shift as well! This year every projector without lens shift, sells for under $2000. Last year, we had some projectors without lens shift, in all three price classes. What has changed? Primarily the DLP projector manufacturers have been getting tired of losing sales to the LCD camp, because of placement flexibility.

Ceiling Height Issues: These projectors are less likely to work in your home theater if your ceiling height is low, or if ceiling height is average, but screen size is rather large. This is due to a lack of lens shift, combined with a signficant amount of fixed lens offset, that requires them to be mounted well above the top of your screen. All of these must be mounted at least 7.5 inches (measured from the center of the lens) and up to 16.5 inches above the top of the screen.