Projector Reviews

Home Theater Projector Comparison Report – 1080p Projectors 2010

Greetings all,

Well, sorry, I lied again.  I posted on the site that the big home theater projector report for 2010 would be up before I left for NAB.  Sadly, when I set down the computer at 4am Monday, so I could drive up to Las Vegas for the NAB (national association of broadcasters), it wasn’t even close.  At that point I probably still had 15 hours of writing left.

Only managed to squeeze in a couple of hours of writing of the home theater projector report  at the show.  But, I returned late last night, from the show, and am now back at the grind.

I’ve got a tight window.  I have to leave town again Saturday, (tomorrow) before noon.  Heading to the Coacella music festival for two days.  Plan to catch a lot of good bands, including Muse, Tom Yorke (without Radiohead, but with..?), The Dead Weather (Jack White), MGNT, Gorillaz, Pavement, and many more.  Coachella is a great music festival, and I’ve managed to get there 8 of the last 9 years (or is it 7 of 8?).  And did I mention that my daughter (HS senior), is the lead tonight in the opening of their high school musical (Curtains -for those who have heard of it, one of less well known recent broadway shows.).  That’s at 7pm.

So, I’ve got exactly 6 hours (plus the morning) to get this up.  Here’s the plan.

The Home Theater Projector Report – 1080p projectors – 2010 (the new official name – hopefully google will like it better than the old name:  2010 1080p Projector Comparison Report, and send us more warm bodies to read and click.

Since I was unable to get the report out on the 14th, I figure I owe you a little something for your patience, so, I’m going to list the major award winners, for you, right now.  Of course you guys, my “regulars, fans, stalkers, friends”, who read most of the reviews shouldn’t be particularly surprised.

Here, they are, with links back to their reviews.  The very first pages to post will include the full Winners page, with multiple paragraphs on why each one won.  (Same format as last year).

Where I’m still behind, is in writing the Home Theater Projector report’s head to head comparisons (0 of 12 written, 5 mapped out), and finishing the Image Quality page, still missing the Overall Image Quality, and the HDTV sections.

And about 3 more hours of dropping in images.  Not much time, which is why I’ve ignored the blog since late last week too. Sorry about that.  middle of next week I’ll try to get provide some answers to comments.  Sometime today, I’ll at least post all the comments that have come in, but answering some of them will have to wait.

OK, that’s it, but thanks for reading the blog and site.  Here are the Best In Class, and Best In Class, Runner-Up awards for this year’s Home Theater Projector Comparison Report – 1080p Projectors – 2010.   There are some Special Interest awards too, but I’ll save those for tomorrow.

From the Top:

Home theater projectors:  Best In Class – Premium Class: $3500 – $10,000:

JVC DLA-RS35 projector: Yes, Alice, putting all the best components in one box really does make a difference, unlike the pill your mother gives you…  which as the song says, does nothing at all.  I’ll give you a clue – while the blacks might be a little better than the DLA-RS25, the near perfect convergence, is the magic.  This JVC  RS35 is the sharpest looking LCoS or 3LCD home theater projector, I’ve ever seen, and rivals a lot of those single chip DLP projectors. Wow!

You will ask, so I will answer now.   If I was replacing my RS20 this year (nope, decided to hold off at least until the end of 2010, to see the next generation), and both the DLA-RS25 and DLA-RS35 are in my price range, I WILL spend the extra for the RS35, based on my viewing experience of both.

Home theater projectors: Best In Class, Runner-Up – Premium Class  (tie)

JVC DLA-RS25 – It’s the next best thing, based on my criteria, yes, there are other projectors sharper, but, the blacks… and the great color…

InFocus SP8602 – Surprise!  From the “new” InFocus, and all new projector, great color, good blacks, and if mounted properly, tons of lumens… compared to the others in this class.

Home theater projectors: Best In Class – Mid-Price Class: $2000 – $3500

Epson Home Cinema 8500UB (OK, are any of you surprised?)  – Good best mode brightness, lots of lumens for sports HDTV and ambient light, and unmatched black level performance anywhere near the price.  Third generation to take top honors in this price range.

Home theater projectors: Best In Class, Runner-Up – Mid-Price Class: (tie)

LG CF181D projector: Ahh, a new player.  Tons of lumens, really great on color. Blacks could be better, but, if they were in the same “class” as the Epson, the LG would have been the likely winner of the Home Theater  this year.

BenQ W6000 projector: Another light canon, but this time DLP.  Different from the LG, but in many ways the same: Brightness, good placement flexiblity, etc.  But the BenQ has that DLP look and feel, and has a really sharp image, as, for the most part, only single chip DLP’s can.

Home theater projectors: Best In Class – Entry Lvel  Class: Under $2000

Panasonic PT-AE4000 projector – The Panasonic snuck into the entry level price class with its $1999 price (just barely!)  The rest of the competition in this class just couldn’t match the black levels and the most extensive feature set of perhaps any projector in this review.  Still could use a few more lumens, but hey, it’s “entry level”.  Doesn’t look like it though.  It completely lows away the really low cost $999 projectors.

Home theater projectors: Best In Class, Runner-Up – Mid-Price Class (tie):

Mitsubishi HC3800 projector – No dynamic iris, no lens shift, limited placement flexibility.  Actually not much but good blacks, really sharp image, and extremely bright best mode performance. This projector sizzles – that is, that pop and wow factor that blows away your friends.  Better blacks than any other “affordable” DLP projector I’ve seen, without a dynamic iris, it blows away the $999 models, for a few hundred more.  It may be simple but it looks great, especially for the bucks.

Epson Home Cinema 8100 projector – Better than last year’s Winner, in this class, but except for value proposition, it just can’t compete with the Panasonic PT-AE4000 projector. This lowest cost 1080p Epson projector, has very good blacks for a non ultra high contrast projector, good best mode lumens, and lots of brightest.  Great placement flexibility, and great warranty.

But, back to my comment about the value proposition.  As I’ve reported many times, the cost difference of owning the Epson vs the Panasonic is huge.  Since both projectors will almost certainly be run with lamp on full, heavy users (40 hours a week) will save about $500 in lamp costs, for every 2 years of use.  So, at 4 years, the Epson will have cost less than half.  I do the math in the review and in the Home theater projector comparison report.

That’s all for now (could have written one comparison in the time I took for this, but I owed ya!)

Hang in there.  Remember, Home Theater Projector Comparison Report –  most of it tomorrow before noon, pacific time (US).  -art

News And Comments