The Collapse of 1080p Prices

Evan Powell, February 27, 2008

Believe it or not, it was about this time last year when we were wondering when the prices of 1080p projectors would drop below $3,000. Most industry folks were predicting September. And at the time it was almost inconceivable that 1080p prices would drop below $2,000 before the end of the year. As it turns out, 1080p projectors went below $3,000 last July with the release of the Optoma HD80 at $2,699. After that it only took five more months for 1080p to break the $2,000 barrier when the Mitsubishi HC4900 dropped to $1,995 with rebate. The prices continue to fall ... a few weeks ago the Sanyo Z2000 dropped to $1,795 with rebate. Moreover, these are official prices-quite often actual selling prices are even less, and sometimes a lot less than you'd expect.

Overall, this is an amazing collapse in prices, considering that less than four years ago the wealthiest among us were required to shell out $30,000 and up for projectors in 1080p resolution. Being the first kid on the block with one of these babies was an expensive proposition back then. But the revolution has happened. High quality, inexpensive 1080p home theater projectors have arrived on the scene much faster than anyone had anticipated, and today they represent a magnificent value for the consumer.

Certainly many people are jumping on the 1080p bandwagon these days because the price of projectors is ridiculously cheap. But now that Blu-ray has won the 1080p disc format war, there is more motivation than ever. People can now buy that Blu-ray player without worrying that it might not win the war. And with a high resolution 1080p source, you need a 1080p projector to show that material in its ultimate glory.

Here is a fact: Today you can get a beautiful 1080p projector and a high quality 120" diagonal screen for as little as $2,500 for the total package. That means you can get a picture four times the size of a 60" plasma TV, and you can get it for half the price of the cheapest 1080p 60" plasma TV on the market today. The trade-off is that you can watch the plasma TV in a well-lit room, whereas your big 120" screen needs to be viewed in the dark for best results, just like in a movie theater. But the value proposition offered by today's 1080p projectors for the home theater enthusiast is nothing short of phenomenal.

There will always be some consumers who remain frozen in fear at the spectacle of falling prices. They are chronically afraid to buy anything for fear that they could get a better deal if they wait till next year. And yes, absolutely, you can always get a better deal next year. Always!! So some folks will end up watching standard definition on their antique televisions the rest of their lives, for fear that they might miss out on a better deal than the one that exists today.

But for the rest of the public who has been waiting for a great time to jump into high resolution home theater, this is it. The format war is over. You can buy Blu-ray with confidence that it won't be going away. You can get hundreds of movies in 1080p resolution from NetFlix, Blockbuster, or your favorite movie supplier. And you can get a large scale 1080p projection system that smokes anything you've ever seen before, for prices that were unimaginable just a year or two ago.

You might be one of the many who have been thinking about a big home theater rig, but have never taken the plunge. You may spend a lot of time reading reviews, lurking or participating in forums, and dreaming about the day you have one of your own. Let me invite you to jump in today, and begin to experience the dramatic reality of HD on the super large screen in your own home. There is nothing else quite like it.