New Home Theater Projectors – Review Activity Update

UPDATE: The BenQ W6000 and  Mitsubishi HC3800 projector reviews have been posted.


OK, here’s the lastest.  Lots of new home theater projectors to review, the next couple of months!

BenQ W6000:  Almost done!  While I still may post this weekend, the review will not be fully finished.  To properly finish the W6000 (an otherwise excellent projector, but with a dynamic iris that definitely can stand some reworking). I’m waiting for some real feedback from BenQ (hopefully Monday, they tell me).  I’ve been discussing the DI with BenQ.  They have noted my comments about the DI, and are talking to the engineers in Taiwan.  They said they’ll get back to me on Monday, hopefully with word of a fix in the works.  What they do about the DI will be the difference between a good and a great projector.  With the DI turned off, (by those who may find it occasionally annoying), the black levels will leave much to be desired, so the path they take is critical to how really good the W6000 is.

Mitsubishi HC3800.  It’s back from Cedia, arrived today.   That full review will follow the W6000, with a target of next weekend, perhaps even sooner, as I’ve pretty much completed most viewing, and mostly have to finish the photo shoot, and a few last looks.

InFocus ScreenPlay 8602 projector:

Yes, for those who asked, the InFocus ScreenPlay 8602 has arrived, delivered via Product Manaer.

I’ve already fired it up.  Needs some tweaking of color, but initially looks very good.  This is an engineering sample (not even a “pre-production” projector, so not every feature operates.  Still, should provide for an excellent assessment of the SP8602’s overall performance.  If there are any significant issues, InFocus has promised a full production unit when they start shipping, which is likely in the 3 – 6 week timeframe).

That should get me through the rest of September, and to mid October.  After that, it looks like several weeks of Epson reviews – hey, they have the biggest lineup.  I expect the new Mitsubishi HC6800 in in October, as well.

Before beginning of November, I should have the Epson’s in for review, and hopefully two of them finished:  The 8100 and 8500UB.  The just announced today – 705HD (hey, see, someone has actually launched a new 720p projector this season), will be later.   Epson also announced a new MovieMate today, the MovieMate 60, which I’d like to review, especially since I never got around to its predecessor the MovieMate 55, and Epson’s Moviemate series of all in one projectors has been selling rather well.

Hmm, also high on the list for Oct and November, are:  the $999 Vivitek and $999 BenQ, and the Optoma HD8600.

And of course the new JVC’s will be high priority as well.  With luck I’ll also have in a projectiondesign projector, for late Nov, or early December, and perhaps a Digital Projection projector as well.  That should give the folks with lots of money, a couple of interesting reads!

That’s about it, for now.  Except for any of you who happen to own a sports bar.  I just plugged in the Epson Z8000 their flagship WUXGA business projector  (which Mike is reviewing) – dual lamp and zillions of lumens – (ok, only 6000) but I’ve got a Georgia Tech, Miami Thursday Night Football game on, the sun’s still up, and I have almost every window in my room open with sunlight pouring in.  The projector hardly notices it.  Projecting about 115″ diagonal, it’s brighter than a typical LCDTV or plasma!   (perhaps I should hang on to it for my superbowl party.)  We’re talking wall melting lumens here.  I turned on my JVC RS20 at the same time, and you could barely tell it was on.  -art

News and Comments

  • Slarity

    Well I understand your a busy guy, too bad I’ll have to buy before I can get your opinions on the Epson 8100. Hopefully I’ll at least see the Mits 3800 before making my final decision.

    Have fun with your slew of new toys!

    • Well, the Epson is probably still 5-6 weeks before shipping and the Mits HC3800 about the same. Expect the Mits to have the slightly more natural and “film-like” image. Expect the Epson to have a lot more lumens when you need them, and an advantage in black levels (although I don’t expect the 8100 to be dramatically better in this regard). Basically black levels of the 8100 should be just a tad better than the 6100, thanks to a new dynamic iris. I believe it’s using the same LCD panels. The HC3800 might prove to be preferred by people primarily focused on movie viewing, while the Epson likely favored by those into sports/TV as well as movies. Of course a lot of that will be determined by how good each really is, relative to my current expectations. Remember, I’m working with an engineering sample of the HC3800. I’ll be getting a full production one, once they start shipping. -art

  • Ryan

    Any chance you could post your impressions on rainbows/color wheel of HC3800.


    • I’ll do so shortly, the HC3800 is back in house, but I’m still finishing playing with the BenQ W6000. I’ll be firing up the HC3800 tomorrow night (Sunday). I plan to view side by side, with the HD20, to see if they are about the same (re Rainbows). The only other DLP I have in house right now is the engineering sample of the InFocus 8602. That one should be very good in terms of rainbows, so I’ll also put it up against the HC3800.

      I should be able to give a better answer by Tuesday! -art

  • Steve Atkinson

    Art… don’t you still have the IN83 hiding in a closet?

    I am looking for replacements for my SP-7210 and HD1000U. Hoping that either the BenQ W6K, IF 8602,& HC3800 might be able to fill the bill… otherwise it is be grateful for what I have and wait for next season’s crop again.

    Sort of surprising that projectors that are supposed to be shipping in 3 weeks still only have an “engineering sample” available… I would have thought a “pre-production” model would have been circulating by then at the very least. Seems like a few months back the IF rep was talking about an August release for the 8602… so something must have slowed down the wheels of progress.

    You do a Great Job Art…… and we are all counting on you!! 🙂

    • Naw, the IN83 just went back though – about 4 weeks ago. As to your replacing both projectors, well, replace at least one I should think. You’re missing out on the fun. Not a surprise at all, re engineering samples. Keep in mind pre-production units, best I can tell, existing only a couple/ few weeks before full production. That’s one reason why up until recently, even pre-production units weren’t common for review. As to 3 weeks, specifically, I received the Sony, for example almost 3 weeks before CEDIA, so until first shipment, that’s well more than 3 weeks. This wasn’t a case of only having it for a couple of days.

      I’m a fan of the earlier the better, and for the last couple of years I’ve even been pitching for them. My logic is, the sooner I (and maybe others) get a look and report, the better off for everyone. Keep in mind, that CEDIA was in the middle. So, the Mitsubishi HC3800 for one, actually had to go back to Mits, to be on the show floor. Remember not all these projectors “ship on time”.

      We can’t draw every conclusion from an engineering sample, but we can help position the product, give or take an “assuming that’s fixed in the production units” or “full production projectors rarely show such problems”. We can’t always accurately calibrate it (for example the InFocus 8602 was challenging, with some controls not fully functional.) Also the calibration settings we normally publish, aren’t useful when I work with an engineering sample, as those film tables are rarely finalized. As a result I’ll need a production unit to publish settings helpful to readers. (give or take lamp differences).

      But I find getting them sooner, to be better than getting them later, and I can always get another one in, later, to verify. That’s more exposure for the Manufacturer, gives users a head start, and so on. A win-win, usually. -a

  • Jeff

    What time frame are you looking at for the reviews of the Vivitek H1080FD and BenQ W1000? I found your review for the Optoma HD20 and I really liked it. I am a college student on a budget but I have worked hard this past summer and wanted to get a projector. I found the three 1080P projectors for under $1000 and I liked the idea, but I wanted to wait until you have reviewed the other two before making a final decision.

    • I’ve been in touch with both companies. I should have answers from both this week. I will post when I have something definative.

  • Logan Ross

    Hi Art,
    1) I am hoping that when you review the W6000, you will include detailed comparisons against the Sharp Z15000 and Sony HW15. They seem to be great alternatives. I am evaluating each of these now and boy is it a tough call.

    2) Also, from a zoom based cinescope standpoint, I would like to point out that the W6000 joystick is the greatest thing since sliced bread (other than motorized lens shift)

    3) Can you comment about the sharpness of the W6000? The sharpness setting seems to have an unusually large impact on the image and there does not seem to be a middle ground. A 1 point reduction of the setting makes the picture blurry.

    4) Finally, my ears are sensistive so it may be just me – have you heard the iris electronics working (a high pitched tone) on the w6000? I have experienced this previously when the network connection is in use on certain computer motherboards.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Logan, First re the whine – no I don’t, but then I’m getting up there in years – haven’t heard the sonic alarms in malls in a decade. If it’s real high frequency, I may well miss it.

      I’ve commented on both Sharp, and HW15 in the W6000 review, as you’ve probably seen by now. As to the joystick for lens shift – ok, if you like that – Personally, it’s the lens shift I like. I much prefer two separate controls, only in that they are usually easier to get exactly the way you want them. Overall I found the W6000 to be very sharp. I don’t recall reducing the setting at all. I was just admiring the sharpness last night, and didn’t notice any more than the usual slight oversharpening, which, btw, I mostly attribute to the way they setup the content on Blu-ray. -art

  • James M

    Any chance of reviewing the Sim2 Domino 60 DLP projector?

    • James M. Would love to get in a SIM2. We tried once (the D80) but the unit had a problem. Right now, though I have to concentrate on the high volume projectors that most are waiting to hear about – Epson, Panasonic, Mitsubishi, Optoma, etc… -art

  • Richard


    Did BenQ contact you today about about the W6000’s DI issue? Is there a fix?

    When will you post the review?

  • Titus

    I noticed that the audible noise from my HD20 changes to a lower pitch when I switch from 1080p/60Hz input to 1080p/24Hz, and increases in pitch when I switch back to 60Hz. The change takes a few seconds and sounds like the color wheel is slowing down for 24Hz mode. That would explain why I see stronger rainbows with 24Hz input than with 60Hz.

    Any chance you could look at this in both HD20 and HC3800, and find out what the actual refresh rates are for 1080p/24? 48, 72, 96 or 120 Hz?


    • hmm, interesting I’ll see what I can do. There’s a question whether you are hearing the fan noise change or the color wheel rpm rate. Also, with the Optoma, do you have the ImageAI on? If I recall, the fan changes speeds depending if Image AI is on. Also, as to whether that relates to rainbows, or the fact that it is simply 24fps not 60, is causing you to be more rainbow sensitive, rather than the color wheel itself. -a

  • Steve

    Any update on the W6000 review?

  • Peter Miller

    Hi Art,

    Did Epson give you an idea when you’ll have full production models of the 8500 – 9500 to review? Also a firm date for release to the public… oh and pricing?


  • Titus

    I’m quite sure the sound comes from the color wheel changing rpm for 24Hz mode. ImageAI was off and the projector was in low lamp mode all the time. I had my Oppo BDP-83 on pause, displaying exactly the same frame. The only change I made was switching back and forth between 24Hz and 60Hz. Every single time, switching from 60 to 24Hz resulted in part of the noise lowering its pitch, and switching back to 60Hz consistently brought the noise back to its previous, higher pitch.

    There is a second, equally loud component of noise coming from the HD20 which remains unchanged when switching between 24 and 60Hz, but increases in pitch and gets much louder when going from low lamp to bright mode. That must be the fan.

  • Ivan Nunez

    Hey Art, I know this isnt a place to talk about Mitsubishi hc3800, but I realized that in your “Len Shift” section, you said that in order to achieve a 120″ diagonals screen in a 8ft ceiling assuming the center lens of the projector are 10″ below the ceiling; the bottom of the screen will be just 25″ off the ground. Is that having the projector tilted up or perpendicular to the ground? I just wanted to clarify if that is correct because after doing my calculation it should be just 16″ off the ground since its offset is about 29% then 96″(8ft ceiling)- 10″ (center lens below ceiling) – 16″ (projector offset) -54″ (height of 120″ screen) = 16″. Can you verify if this correct because depending on your answer it may not fit my accommodation. Sorry for the long paragraph. Just to let you know, keep up the good work I find your reviews to be the most insightful.

    • My error, I botched the whole calculation. I updated it yesterday, after 4 or 5 readers like yourself reported the faulty math (on several levels). BTW, for a 100″ the offset is an official 16.53 inches. So, for 120 inch diagonal (59 inch high screen – not the 54 inches you mention), and an 8 foot ceiling: 96 inches, -10 inches from ceiling to center of lens, -20 inches (approximate offset for 120 inch screen, puts the top of the screen surface down 30 inches – in other words, at 66 inches. With a 120 inch screen being 59 inches high, that puts the bottom of the screen surface, way down around 7 inches. Sorry, that math probably doesn’t help you. The HC3800 joins a long list of Optoma and other DLP’s with that huge amount of offset (including all recent 720p Mitsubishi DLP home projectors. -art

  • Ivan Nunez

    Thank you Art for the response. I realized I made a mistake too, thank you for correcting me. Yes, being down around 7 inches will be a problem. My only option would to be tilt the projector and use keystone correction. Would you recommend this Art? I’m thinking of tilting the projector enough to make it raise about at least another ten inches. I don’t know if you have tested the keystone correction on the Mitsubishi hc3800, but in-case you have was the image quality degraded to a point where it a makes a huge difference? Some people say its bad while others say it really isn’t. Your professional opinion would be of good use here Art.

  • Logan Ross

    Hi Art,
    Any chance you could do a comparison of the Sony HW-15 to the JVC RS10/15? Considering they ar their copanies respective entry level machines and use the same technology, it would be great to understand how they stack up against one another.

    • Not a full article, but it will be covered in the competitors section of the RS15 review. With both Sony and JVC replacing models, it makes little sense over here (where it’s crunch time), to spend time comparing it to the older RS10. I’m hoping to have the RS15 in in November, but no confirmation yet.

      That said, the HW15 isnt that much of an improvement over the older HW10, but it is a lot less money. Last year I had a definite preference for the RS10 over the HW10. From a performance standpoint, I suspect the same will be the case. The difference this time though, is that they are not as price competitive. Sony has lowered its cost enough to slug it out price wise with the Epson 8500UB, BenQ W6000, and others in the market “sweet spot” of $2000 – $3000. The JVC is now priced a good well over $1000 more. So, most likely, the JVC will still be the preferred product from a performance standpoint (thanks primarily to noticeably better black performance, and accomplishing that without a dynamic iris – and the baggage that comes with those), while many will choose the Sony, because of the lower price point. It will be interesting to see of the RS15 has any substantial improvements over the RS10. -art