Projector Reviews

Under $1000 Home Theater Projectors

Optoma HD70 720p DLP home theater projector

The HD70 was the first 720p projector to launch below $1000 ($999 of course). It only took weeks, though, for Mitsubishi to drop the price of their HD1000U to $995 to do battle. It’s hard to believe how similar these two projectors are. First of all, in terms of placement they are virtually identical, so if one works for you, the other, most likely will too.

While the Mitsubishi has slight edge in overall image quality, Optoma counters with a longer warranty – 2 years instead of one. For those feeling more comfortable with having that second year, they are giving up very little if they choose the HD70 over the Mitsubishi HD1000U

Sanyo it seems, just hates to discontinue product – at least not until every last one is gone. This has been their way for years and years. When Sanyo started shipping the PLV-Z5 – the Z4’s replacement, they just kept the PLV-Z4 in the lineup – at a lower price. They did the same to the Z3 when they rolled out the Z4. What you have here, in the form of the PLV-Z4, is probably the least expensive LCD projector with 720p native resolution.

This makes it a logical alternative to the two DLP projectors above for those sensitive to the rainbow effect, but will also appeal to two other groups. First, the PLV-Z4 offers exceptional placement flexibility with its 2:1 zoom and full vertical and horizontal lens shift, so it can be shelf mounted in almost any room as well as ceiling or table top.

The image on the right – from “Star Wars II”, standard DVD.

In addition, Sanyo’s projectors have a reputation for superb sharpness, and on that score it is sharper than the HD70 or HD1000U home theater projectors The Sanyo also comes with the longest warranty of the group – 3 years parts and labor.

Out of the box color needs a bit more adjusting than most projectors, and also, on the downside, the Sanyo PLV-Z4 is not very bright (like the Z3 and Z5), and of course, being an LCD projector, pixels are more visible, however sitting 1.5x or more from the screen should make most people happy. The PLV-Z4 has always enjoyed robust sales, and when it was new was thought to be the second most popular home theater projector behind the Panasonic PT-AE900U, in the US. At a drastically reduced price (it started selling for about $2100) half of what it was when it came out 15 months ago, it is a worthy competitor.

Think you might find a few more bucks to spend? Check out the $1500 – $2000 home theater projector category.