Upcoming Projector Reviews for July and August – InFocus, Epson, BenQ

Greetings everyone!

This is just a quick piece to let you know what is planned for home theater projector reviews over the next two months.   Of course, summer is a bit slow for new home theater projectors, but there are a few, I’m hoping to get my hands on.  I’ve got confirmations from the manufacturers for most of these.  Here’s the scoop:

BenQ W20000:  I’ve been waiting, and waiting, and waiting.  However, I did receive an email this week indicating that they are sending me the W20000 that they were showing at Infocomm two weeks ago.  At this point, I’ll believe it, when it arrives (or actually, they call me to pick it up, since they are only 25 minutes from here).  The W20000 should be formidable, but whether it (with Darkchip3) can hold its own against the Darkchip4 InFocus IN83… we shall have to wait and see.

InFocus: The IN83 (most impressive) review will be posted in a few days.  

In addition, I’m expecting their new lower cost, $2299 MSRP X10 1080p projector by end of the month, so anticipating a completed review in early August.  This X10 projector is available from online resellers, and is definitely one of the least expensive 1080p projectors on the market.

Epson Ensemble:  I’m a huge fan of Epson’s Ensemble concept.  Basically, a turnkey system built around the Home Cinema 1080 UB.  the system includes a 100″ motorized screen (white casing), with left, center and right speakers built into the screen case.  A “platform” for the projector itself is also white, and includes left rear, and right rear speakers (it can be shelf or ceiling mounted).  There’s also a subwoofer and separate AV control center, which includes a standard DVD player.  There are two HDMI inputs as well (cable/satellite, and Blu-ray player), which should be all the Epson Ensemble needs.  

The system includes all wiring, etc, and even an equipment cabinet for those that need one.    

The Epson Ensemble should be here also late July, but as it’s a complete system, give me an extra week or so, to have everything installed.  The beauty of the Ensemble, is that it should make a projector installation not significantly more challenging than the average plasmas display or large LCDTV.  I’m really excited about this one, as it is designed so even those basic Best Buy, and Circuit City type installers can knock off a full installation in less than a day, at a reasonable price.

Other than that, probably one more home theater projector review in this timeline (July – August) as I have some biz projectors to review, and will be taking a a week of vacation as well.  Other possibilities, if I can pry one loose:  a 1080p projector from SIM2, possibly a projectiondesign 1080p projector, and, I’m also hammering a few other companies.  For those with tomorrow off, have a great 4th of July!  -art

News and Comments

  • Dave Jacobs

    Say Art. Are you no longer reviewing the SIM 2 product line?

    ********

    Greetings Dave,

    On the contrary, I’m hoping to review one SIM2 short term, and a second one not far after. Problem is, SIM2, it seems, like many other high end – local installing dealer only – brands (Runco/Vidikron, etc.), it’s hard work to convince them to provide review units for online publications.

    Still, I have reason to hope for one of the under $10K units to arrive in August, and I’m also hoping to get my hands on the the C3X 1080 later on.

    Doing the best I can… -art

  • Alex

    Do you have a preview on the X10 yet?

  • Claus T. Wiebe

    Art, I’m really looking forward to your review of the new Mitsubishi HC5500 (as are a lot of other AVS members). From what has been posted on the AVS forum so far, it looks like a real winner (with most, if not all, of the drawbacks of the HC4900 addressed).

    However, the comments of the initial owners implying it is close to the performance of the 1080UB (my interpretation from reading between the lines), but I am skeptical about that (it would be nice, if true). One owner (leckian), commented that it isn’t quite up to the 1080UB in terms of black levels, but it is very close to the HC6000 in performance, for less money (than either the PT-AE2000 or the Epson).

    It is zoom ratio challenged and a reduced offset adjustment, but has built-in CIH capability, without having to move the anamorphic lens. With its quieter fan, it looks to be a good compromise for me (shelf mount 18″ behind my left ear).

    With anticipation,
    – Claus

    ***************

    Hi Claus,

    It’s a little to early to start commenting, but, let me say this. Yes, the HC5500, in terms of performance, is much more like the HC6000 than the HC4900, although it’s brightness is roughly the same as the HC4900.

    However, (and this changes if Mitsubishi rolls out rebates, etc.) it’s $2495 pricing puts it too close to the Epson, for me to be really impressed. Oh, it’s got more lumens in best mode, and of course, it’s far quieter (audible noise), but I do not see it as really serious competition for the Epson UB. The epson Home Cinema 1080 UB is still, in my opinion, the first choice for those looking for the best possible picture quality, without spending on far more expensive projectors like the JVC RS2, etc.

    In other words, Epson moved up the bar, for under $4K projectors when it hit. The HC5500 is nice, but, overall, not the same class. I believe it needs to be selling for $2000 or less (like the old HC4900), to offer a really good value proposition.

    Yes, to the zoom challenged. As to the anamorphic issue, I haven’t gotten that far, but as we all know, the Epson needs an outboard processor for an anamorphic, so that completely changes its price/performance for those who must have 2.35:1 without letterboxing.

    Stay tuned! -art

  • I would have to disagree that the HC5500 is roughly the same lumen output as the HC4900. The HC5500 I am currently using is considerably brighter than the HC4900 that it replaced. Quite simply when my son was using the HC4900 during the day with the PS3 we had to switch out of the low lamp mode to get acceptable results. With the HC5500 this is no longer necessary and I no longer find it necessary to ever switch out of the low lamp mode. Although I have been and continue to be a big booster of the 1080UB for many people I do find myself more willing to sacrifice some contrast and image brightness for the substantially sharper picture that the Mitsubishi 1080P projectors provide. As long as Epson continues with their current optics and lack of LCD panel alignment the door is very open for the competition.

    **************

    Greetings Leonard,

    Well, I assume your HC4900 has some hours on the lamp. From this end, measuring the HC5500, and comparing with the HC4900, the lumens are close, close enough that there should be little/no visible difference in brightness, at least when both have lamps with roughly the same number of hours. However, I do believe it is safe to say, that projectors with better black levels do appear to have a bit more punch, but between these two Mitsubishi projectors, I still wouldn’t expect any significant difference in brightness. Remember, even a few hundred hours affects the brightness, then of course there is variation from lamp to lamp.

    As to the sharpness, yes I can appreciate that. I still definitely lean to the Epson UB, but, as with everything, there are trade-offs. I tend to be one of those that will accept a little softness in the image, in exchange for significantly better black levels (not that one precludes the other), which has me favor projectors like the Epson and the JVC models. I have no problem with those who’s preferences lean towards very sharp projectors like the mitsubishi line, the InFocus IN83, BenQ W5000, etc.

    It would be great if someone had the best of all worlds, and the lowest price. We can only hope… Of course, then what would I do for a living? It’s like if a Mercedes AMG coupe cost less than a two door Toyota Camry, and got better mileage. No one would need to read beyond that.

    Enjoy! -art

  • greg little

    Hi Art,
    I am putting together a ht in the basement and was almost ready to buy the mit hc6000.I spoke to the store rep who said he felt the in focus 82 was a better projector for the 1000 price difference, he deals with both products.After hesitating I became aware mitsu has just annonunced their hc 7000 diamond series, set to retail in the states for 4000 us.The mitsubishi is stating a 70000/1 contrast albet w/ dynamic iris..have you seen this at the cedia show and if so what are your thoughts
    compared to the in 82 or even moving to the in focus 83..thx Greg

    ***********

    Greetings Greg!

    Where to start – the HC7000 should be very good, but, when it comes down to comparing, it’s mostly guesswork until tested. I consider the IN83 to be worth the difference over the IN82, but the HC7000, should be very good, no doubt it will do better black levels than the IN83 on most dark scenes. The In83’s big thing is excellent color + tons of lumens. Question is, how will the Mits compare to the Panasonic PT-AE3000U (which in a side by side had visibly and significantly better black levels than the PT-AE2000U) (of course I don’t get to see all the settings – at a show). And the next question then, is how they both compare with the current Home Cinema 1080 UB – my guess, based on the Panny side by side, is that the PT-AE3000U may be close to the Epson HC 1080 UB in black levels, but I seriously doubt if it’s any better. My instincts say Panasonic has closed the gap dramatically in black levels, but then, in December, the Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB, the HC1080 UB’s relacement, will ship. That one claims 75,000:1 contrast… The numbers, these days, are only good as guides, but, we know what the existing Epson can do, so, with them significantly ramping up the contrast ratio spec, we should expect a small, but real improvement with the Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB, over the HC 1080 UB. In all likelyhood, it will probably end up like this, in terms of black levels – (again, guesswork)

    Epson 6500 UB (best)
    Mitsubishi HC7000 and Epson 1080 UB: (almost as good)
    Panasonic PT-AE3000U (still very good, but not as good as the Mits and older Epson

    Then, of course, you have all the other trade-offs.

    I think (not sure) that the HC7000 will have frame interpolation (the HC6500 doesn’t, for sure).

    The Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB and Panasonic PT-AE3000U both definitely have frame interpolation.

    The current Epson HOme Cinema 1080 UB, the lower end Mitsubishi’s and I believe, the Sanyo PLV-Z700 do not have frame interpolation.

    All support 24fps, all support HDMI 1.3/deep color.

    etc. etc.

    Hope that helps! -art

  • greg little

    thanks Art for taking the time, I think I will wait 1 more month or as soon as a review of the mit hc7000 is done. Then I will go for it or move to the infocus 83. cheers Greg

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