Projector Reviews

1080p Comparison Report – Image Quality17

$3500 - $10,000 Home Theater Projectors

BenQ W20000 projector

Like its lower cost sibling, the W20000 is a really excellent projector for this type of viewing. Start with a really sharp looking image, with above average brightness in its brightest mode, yet very good color accuracy, and you are in business. You’ll want Brilliant Color turned on for the maximum lumens, with the result being an overly dynamic look, which takes its toll on skin tones, but, if you are watching sports, you simply won’t care. Even for more normal viewing, including those stellar Discovery HD features, Brilliant Color isn’t to the point of being a problem, but you can turn it off, and still have an average brightness projector (among brightest modes), and excellent color accuracy and skin tones.

InFocus IN82 projector

While I strongly favor the more expensive IN83 overall, for this type of viewing the IN82 is excellent. The difference in black levels doesn’t really come into play when you have some intentional ambient light, and the IN82 has lots of lumens, more, for example than any of the other projectors in this group, except for the IN83, and that unknown, the Optoma HD8000-LV, which is probably the brightest of the group, since that’s what their LV designation is about. If your thing is sports and TV/HDTV and movies are secondary, the IN82 is a good way to save a chunk of money compared to the IN83.

It’s been about a year and a half since I reviewed the IN82, so my feelings are based on extensive use of the IN83, and the rather consistent way the family of InFocus projectors perform. Should be a really good one for that next football game, American Idol, or CSI: Miami!

InFocus IN83 projector

Well, you can figure this one out from the above paragraph. The IN83 is killer for HDTV, and sports. The image is razor sharp, the color accuracy the best, and, the IN83 has plenty of lumens. Again, only the HD8000-LV has a chance of being visibly brighter. Since InFocus lent me the IN83 for an extended period (many months), I must tell you, that I spent far more time watching sports on the IN83 than any other projector. Saturday afternoons, my JVC would sit idle while the IN83 pushed out hour after hour of college football. I just loved it, great color and roughly probably more than twice the lumens of my JVC RS1, since its lamp had about 1300 hours on it. But, even if the JVC had a new lamp, the IN83 should double the brightness.

I’ve done tons of watching the same type of materials with the Epson Home Cinema 6500UB, but the IN83 wins for sure, for this type of viewing. I’ve got a really well tuned LivingRoom mode (a great balance between brightness and color accuracy, etc.), but the InFocus IN83 has better color, period, and easily matches the Epson lumen for lumen.

JVC DLA-RS10 and DLA-RS20 projectors

No point in doing these separately. While there are a number of subtle differences between the two, none are critical for this type of viewing. The two are almost identical in brightness. The sad part about the JVC projectors is that they simply don’t have a whole lot of extra lumens going from best to brightest. So, while they are both two of the brightest in best mode, of this group, they are below average when outputting maximum lumens. The older JVC RS2 was significantly dimmer than these two, which is why I had to pass on buying the RS2 last year. Having the lumens for proper viewing of sports and HDTV on my 128″ Firehawk screen was my biggest concern. No, that’s not exactly right, I knew what I was getting because its pretty much the same brightness as my RS1. Let’s say that its limited lumens were the one thing I could have asked to be better. My RS20 would be pretty close to perfect, if only it could crank out 1500 lumens or so in brightest mode.

But, it has enough! I’m happy, and I watch hours a day of HDTV content, with Discovery HD, Science HD, Travel HD and similar content, or sports or at night, a movie, running in the background when I’m in writing mode, and that’s typically at least 25 hours a week. (You think writing these huge reviews is easy?)

The JVC projectors compromise virtually nothing in order to get their extra 100 lumens (compared to best mode), so the picture quality for such viewing is gorgeous. It just would be nice to have more lumens. Hey, I dream of a home theater projector that can kick out 5000 lumens so it looks like a huge plasma when you have the window shades up, but, other than large 5 and 6 figure priced three chip DLP projectors, no one is offering that kind of horsepower.

OK, after all that ranting, let’s keep some perspective. My screen is a very large one. If I was firing onto a 100″ screen I wouldn’t need to make a fuss at all.

Optoma HD8000-LV projector

I saw the older HD81-LV easily handle a 150″ screen in movie mode! (OK, it was in those pretty ideal, pitch black trade show demo rooms). It was the brightest around last year. I’d be really surprised if this newer “LV” isn’t the brightest of this group, and probably any in this report. The Optomas have punchy color too. I’ll propose that (without seeing it in action), that the HD8000-LV is as good as any for Sports and HDTV general viewing. I’d figure the InFocus to have more accurate color, but I don’t know many who are as finely critical for this type of viewing as for movies.