Projector Reviews

Best Home Theater Projector Report – Compare Projectors

To further assist you in comparing projectors easily, this page starts with links to comparisons over the last two years, as we add a number more in the next few weeks.

Accessing the Projector Comparisons

For 2013’s report we have two three way comparisons, and the annual duel between the two series of 3LCD projectors that have defined the 3LCD segment for almost a decade.

This year it’s:
Panasonic’s PT-AE8000U projector vs. the Epson Home Cinema 5020 UB (aka Pro Cinema 6020 UB).

Our other two comparisons are three way’s.

The first is a battle of what I consider the three overall best $2000 to $3500 projectors:
JVC DLA-X35, Sony HW50ES and Epson Pro Cinema 6020 UB.

The second three way pits a pair of DLP projectors:
Sharp XV-Z30000 and the Mitsubishi HC8000D against the 3LCD Depson HC5020UB.

An explanation is in order to understand our comparisons:  For the last several years Epson has provided us with their latest UB series projectors for their entire product cycle. . This has allowed us to always have a current Epson UB projector to use as a reference.  Because we only have most projectors here for one to three weeks, it really helps to be able to compare each projector to a single reference since in most cases when a projector is here, it’s closest competitors aren’t likely to be.  Fortunately the Epson UB’s have always been considered impressive performers in their price class, so they make a good reference.  That’s not to say there aren’t better projectors of course

This year’s comparisons:

Panasonic’s PT-AE8000U projector vs. the Epson Home Cinema 5020 UB

JVC DLA-X35, Sony HW50ES and Epson Pro Cinema 6020 UB

The Sharp XV-Z30000 and the Mitsubishi HC8000D projectors along with the Epson Home Cinema 6020 UB

More to come.

Last year’s comparisons (2012):

JVC DLA-RS45 vs. Sony VPL-HW30ES

Panasonic PT-AE7000 vs. Epson Home Cinema 5010

Epson Home Cinema 5010 vs. 3010

JVC DLA-RS45 vs. Epson HC5010

JVC DLA-X70R vs. Sony VPL-VW95ES

Note that the VW95ES Sony is still current this year.  The JVC X70R is now an X75R projector with significant improvement over its predecessor.

About the Photos in the Head to Head 1080p Projector Comparisons

A half dozen of the top rated projectors have multiple head to head comparison articles.

Please remember that we really can’t deliver to you a picture that truly shows how these projectors look.  There are limits to the photography. First, the image projected by a projector always looks better than the photos here. The reasons are numerous, but include:

  • Shifts in color (slight) due to the Canon 60D dSLR camera not having perfect color accuracy
  • Shifts in color due to the less than perfect color on your display
  • Compression of the image in terms of dynamic range, even with what makes it through the photo process, just resizing the images and converting to jpg files tosses out plenty of dynamic range, and also causes minor shifts in color
  • Sharpness differences are definitely affected by the resizing and compression
  • Black level and shadow detail are also lost because the monitor you are viewing has significantly inferior black levels compared to the projector (for this reason we seriously overexpose most images used for revealing those differences)
  • Saturation of the final image on your screen is also affected by camera, software, resizing/converting to jpg, and your monitor

Most projectors “photograph” rather well, but on occasion we will report when a projector for reasons unknown has more than a subtle shift between what is projected on the screen, and what appears on my reference display, which is my MacBook Pro, (it’s color is pretty good).  Within the individual reviews, on the image quality page I report if the images are noticeably inaccurate in terms of color.

Why So Few Direct Projector Comparisons

First, it would be an impossible task to do head to head comparisons for all of the projectors in the review there are thousands of combinations. Even head to heads with just those that won awards would be at least in the many dozens. Lastly, some of the most interesting comparisons are between award winners and those that did not get an award.

Again, a reminder: Most regular reviews have their own competitor’s section. If you are interested in a projector that was reviewed months ago, but curious as to how it compares to more recent projectors, look to the review of the newer projector, in its Competitors section.