Projector Reviews

1080p Home Theater Projector Comparison Report – Image Quality-14

$2000 and under 1080p Home Theater Projectors

BenQ W1000 Home Projector

The BenQ is the brightest projector of any measured for this report. It’s basically a “crossover” projector, while blacks may not be impressive, this guy lights up a room with over 2000 lumens in brightest mode, and still some respectable color. (Looks better than the typical LCDTV at Best Buy, when it comes to color accuracy.) This guy is great for the bucks, for sports, and still very good for tougher HDTV viewing as long as you avoid a lot of dark underwater Discovery HD content (that’s when you’d want better blacks). The image is sharp. For sports fanatics, sports are bright, the slow color wheel on this DLP probably won’t bother even those more sensitive to the rainbow effect.

(But the 2x wheel will be an issue for just about anyone rainbow sensitive if you are watching dark scenes with fast moving bright objects.) You can hang these suckas in sport bars and they will look outstanding.

Epson Home Cinema 8100 Home Theater Projector

The Epson is well rounded for HDTV and sports. True, its maximum under 1400 lumens is only 2/3 of the BenQ (the brightest), but still healthy and one of the brighter projectors (in “brightest mode) in the entire review. Very good blacks get the job done for movies as well, but defintely work on those darker Discovery HD scenes. Hey, I pulled down my JVC this Superbowl, and put up the more expensive Epson UB (same brightness, mostly same everything, but black levels – which in this case didn’t matter), for our annual party.

If I have one complaint about the Epson for sports and all digital content from HDTV and it’s one shared with every LCoS and LCD projector under $9990 – and that is, it could be a touch sharper

There would have been no noticeable difference between the 8100 and the UB for the entire day’s viewing. I worked out great. It filled my screen, with some shades partially open. My JVC would have required them all closed to be comparable. Made for a much more fun party, having those lumens. BTW, in the 2nd half, when the sun is no longer coming into the room, I changed the Epson Home Cinema 8100 from Dynamic (brightest) to LivingRoom mode (2nd brightest, with still about 1100 lumens. With that mode, color became very good, (get’s rid of some excess green).

Not that my audience would notice! Hey, it’s a key reason I like the 8100, it’s versatile, and pretty bright when you need it.

Mitsubishi HC3800 Home Theater Projector

To watch sports you’ve got a “brightest mode” when needed. That said, the HC3800 in “best” mode, with Brilliant Color on (you would definitely have it on if you have some ambient light in the room, even a little), manages to put out about 950 lumens You get an extra 200 in brightest mode which will help when needed. Color is still pretty good in “brighest”. Ok, it’s not a blinding amount of lumens, but a healthy amount. The clean black level performance and very good color, combining with a really sharp image, makes this a sweet ride for sports and HDTV. It can look truly exceptional for the bucks on all that Discovery HD, etc. content. I really like this projector!

Optoma HD20 Home Projector

Yes, the HD20 is more of a Home Projector, than a Home Theater Projector. It’s not really the price, but the performance. The HD20 has a faster color wheel than the other under $1000 projectors, and they offer their ImageAI dynamic brightness (which I find to be too distracting, I wouldn’t use it), so it “feels” like a dedicated home theater projector. What it really is, is a home projector (family room, bonus room, spare bedroom), for those with smaller screens. It doesn’t have the lumens to fight ambient light on larger screens as it still has just less than 1000 lumens in “brightest” mode. Color is good, blacks are so so, (actually fairly respectable with AI engaged (I’ll still take the HC3800). Even with its entry level price, the sharpness is still very good, as expected from a single chip DLP, and you’ll appreciate that sharpness on all digital HDTV content, and certainly on HDTV sports.