Projector Reviews

$3500 – $10,000 Home Theater Projectors

BenQ W20000 projector

Click to enlarge.  So close. The W20000 is BenQ’s flagship 1080p projector. It uses the Darkchip3 for better black levels than the lower cost W5000. The W20000 is one of the more flexible DLP projectors when it comes to placement flexibility, thanks to having lens shift. The W20000 is one of the brighter projectors in “best” mode, and is slightly brighter than average in its brightest mode. The W20000 produces a very sharp image, and once calibrated, very good color accuracy, though not the very best. The W20000 relies on two irises, one you can manually control to adjust overall brightness (and contrast), and also a dynamic iris to improve black level performance in darker scenes. The end result is the best black levels of any DLP projector in this review. A three year warranty, with first year replacement program is one of the best available.

Click Image to Enlarge

InFocus IN82 projector

The IN82 has been around for more than a year. It is a classic DLP projector, using a Darkchip3. Although lower cost than the newer IN83, the IN83’s better black level performance tends to overshadow interest in the IN82. The sleek looking IN82 comes with a two year warranty. the IN82 lacks lens shift and has a limited range zoom, combining to yield the rather limited placement flexibility typical of most (not all) DLP home theater projectors. Overall color performance is extremely good after calibration. Black level performance is about average among the projectors in this price range that are not ones we refer to as “ultra-high-contrast”.

InFocus IN83 projector

Although the IN83, despite its Darkchip4 DLP processor, comes up short in terms of black levels, compared to the ultra-high-contrast projectors in this class, the IN83 makes up for that shortcoming with the best looking image, in terms of natural looking colors, of any projector in this report. The IN83 also provides an exceptionally sharp image, and is one of the brighter projectors in “best” mode, and is also rather bright in its brightest mode. For those interested in a razor sharp image with great color, and are willing to settle for less than great black level performance, the IN83 is hard to beat.

JVC DLA-RS10 projector

The JVC DLA-RS10 offers exceptional black level performance, only surpassed by JVC’s more expensive RS20. This full featured projector has excellent placement flexibility, 2 year warranty, and excellent post calibration color accuracy. In “best” mode, it is one of the brightest projectors, although it’s only slightly brighter in its brightest mode, making it average in terms of maximum brightness. The RS10 is a first class projector for enthusiasts who can’t quite afford the RS20. Sharpness is about average for projectors in this price range, and nothing to complain about. Focus, zoom and lens shift are all motorized, providing some extra flexibility. The RS10 replaces the older RS1 and RS1x projectors, with a number of improvements. I owned an RS1 until recently, and always found the viewing experience to be excellent.

JVC DLA-RS20 projector

The RS20 replaces the JVC RS2, our Best in Class winner in 2008. While the improvements are evolutionary, not revolutionary, hey, it’s not easy to improve upon the best. Black levels are unmatched, surpassing (slightly) the older RS2, and more so, compared to the lower cost RS10. Image sharpness is average, color performance (after a rather tricky calibration), is excellent. Warranty is two years. The RS20 is also a physically good looking projector with a black piano finish, and a touch of gold trim. The RS20 achieves its best in class black levels thanks to its JVC designed LCoS chips, and accomplishes this feat without needing a dynamic iris. The overall performance of the RS20 is exceptional, which is why I purchased one for my own theater just two weeks ago.

Planar PD8150 projector

Planar is the relatively new company in the home theater projector space. They launched their own line a couple/three years ago, and more recently bought Runco (which includes Vidikron) as their ultra high end product line. The Planar 8150 is sold through authorized local dealers only. The PD8150 is a DLP projector, that has the best black levels of any DLP in this report. A most impressive projector.

Sharp XV-Z20000 projector

The XV-Z20000 projector is one of the oldest in the review, it is also one of the most expensive. Picture quality is excellent, but the Z20000 is one of the least bright projectors in this comparison. The Z20000 has some impressive black levels for a single chip DLP, especially considering it lacks a dynamic iris. Last year we said it was good competition for the JVC RS1, but less bright and more expensive.

Sony VPL-VW70 projector

Of the projectors we didn’t get to, before this report, the Sony VW70 is the one I would have liked to have been able to review beforehand. Replacing the older VW60, an excellent performer in its own right, the VW70 should really impress. It is a step up, but looks just like the VPL-HW10, which we did review. For this report we make some assumptions based on the VW60 review. While I personally definately

Click Image to Enlarge