Mitsubishi HC5000, Optoma HD81,
Panasonic PT-AE1000U, Sony VPL-VW50
November 17, 2006
NOTICE [Friday, 12/15]: In November, we reviewed a late pre-production sample of the Panasonic AE1000, and notes based on that review were used for this Shootout article, originally posted November 17. However, we received a final edition production model of the Panasonic AE1000 on Wednesday of this week that incorporates some last minute improvements. These improvement have been incorporated on all production units shipped, so the buyer need not worry about getting the final production improvements in models being sold by dealers. The AE1000 review has been updated, and the notes in this shootout comparison have also been updated as of this posting. [EP]
We've just spent a few weeks looking at four of the most exciting digital projectors to hit the market in a long time. They all feature high resolution HD 1920x1080 light engines, and they all bring 1080p to the consumer at prices previously unheard of. Perhaps the most important observation we can make about them is this: no matter which one you buy, you will be thoroughly delighted with the results. Our task has been to evaluate them closely side by side, so that we can detect the differences between them. Many of those differences are quite subtle, and some are more apparent. In most cases, unless you have them sitting side by side, you'd never recognize the particular advantages and limitations to each of them since on their own -- they all look great.
Another important conclusion we came to is this: there is no single projector that could possibly "win" this shootout. Each projector does something better than the others. It is up to you to determine which of the features and image quality characteristics are most important to you, and which you can accept a little compromise on. These are matters of personal taste, and what is important to us may not be to you.