Projector Reviews

2011 Home Theater Projector Comparison- Physical Tour-4


Please see the individual reviews for details and screen shots of various menu pages. Some projectors have great menu layouts, some have type small enough to be a problem for some to read, but, the bottom line is that you almost certainly wouldn’t change your mind about which projector you will by, based on the menu system! For that reason, while it’s a very minor factor in deciding award winners, we won’t take your time up comparing the menus.

Remote Controls

Remote controls have several attributes worthy of discussion. Basically: The layout and ergonomic considerations (large small, one handed use, or two), and especially, effective range.

Each remote is discussed in the individual reviews. While you may or may not like a projector’s remote, I seriously doubt anyone will change their purchase decision because of a remote’s abilities. Hey, if you love your projector, but hate your remote, it’s just one more excuse to go out and buy a nice universal, programmable remote to control all your equipment! For example, last year I write that I loved the layout of my new JVC projector’s remote control, but its range is a real problem. This year, the JVC remotes have tons of range, nice to see an improvement. Ultimately, remote control issues aren’t a big deal in the selection of your next projector.

Lens Throw and Lens Shift

Some projectors have a lot of placement range, while others are severely limited. With few exceptions, 3LCD projectors and LCoS projectors are extremely flexible, with zoom lenses with plenty of zoom, and all of these two groups of projectors have lens shift. By comparison, the DLP projectors consistently have very little zoom range. Some of the DLP projectors have lens shift others do not. Even when they do have lens shift, they don’t have as much as the other types.

Let’s discuss the issues, then get into the individual projector’s abilities.

Lens shift is a requirement if you want to shelf mount a projector in the rear of your room. It allows the projector to maintain a proper, rectangular image on the screen from different heights, and for a projector placed higher than the mid-point on the screen, without lens shift, the projector must be inverted, so, essentially, ceiling mounted.

The other thing you need to shelf mount, is a projector that can be placed far enough back to sit on a rear shelf. Of course your room length and screen size come into play. Let’s say that those projectors without lens shift normally also have lenses with very little zoom range, so their throw distance range is normally kept fairly short, figuring that ceiling mounting is easier, closer to the screen.

Here’s a chart organized by our three Classes. For each projector, it provides placement information in terms of distance and height, for a 100 inch 16:9 screen. Using these numbers, you can determine the ranges for any sized screen just with a simple calculation.




Shift max

in feet

in feet

Lens shift

Ht. (inches)

Under $2100
BenQ W1000 11.5 13.8 N 7.4
Epson HC8100 9.8 20.9 Y 22.7
Mitsubishi HC3800 11.1 16.4


Optoma HD20 10.9 13.1
 Panasonic PT-AE4000U  9.9  19.8  Y  24.5
 Samsung SP-A600  11.1  14.4  N  12
 Sanyo PLV-Z700  9.8  20  Y  24.5
 Sharp XV-Z15000  10.3  11.9  N  7.9
 Vivitek H1080FD  10.9  13.1  N  7.9
 BenQ W6000  11.8  17.7  Y  0
 Cinetron HD700  12.8  18.4  Y  6.9
 Epson HC8500UB  9.8  20.9  Y  22.7
 Epson HC9100  9.8  20.9  Y  22.7
 Epson HC9500UB  9.8  20.9  Y  22.7
 LG CF181D  9.8 20.9  Y 9.9
 Mitsubishi HC6800  10.2  16.4  Y  12.3
 Mitsubishi HC7000  10.2  16.4  Y  12.3
 Optoma HD8200  10.9  16.6  Y  17
 Sanyo PLV-Z3000  9.8  20  Y 24.5
 Sony VPL-HW15  10.1  16.3  Y  7.5
 $3500 – $10,000
 InFocus SP8602***  10.9  16.8  Y  14.9
 JVC RS15  9.9  20.1  Y  15
 JVC RS25  9.9  20.1  Y  15
 JVC RS35  9.9  20.1 Y  15
 Optoma HD8600**  11.2  14  Y  4.9
 Planar PD8150*  13.4  17.4  Y  29
 Sony VPL-VW85  10.1  16.3  Y  7.5
 Vivitek H9080FD  13.4  17.4  Y  9.8