The arrival of the new lower-priced 1080p projectors has got everyone about as excited as they have ever been in the home theater projector industry. The focus is on four aggressively priced models in particular--the Mitsubishi HC5000, the Optoma HD81, the Panasonic AE1000, and the Sony VPL-VW50.
We already have the Optoma HD81 and Sony VW50 in house and under review. The Panasonic AE1000 is due to arrive shortly, and by next week we will have all four models on hand. As we look at them side by side, we see some subtle and not-so subtle differences between them in terms of lumen output, color balance, sharpness, digital noise, fan noise, lensing, ease of use, and so on. They are each beautiful projectors in their own right that substantially raise the bar in pure video quality for the home theater enthusiast. No matter which one you choose it will no doubt smoke anything you've had in your home to date. However, they each have their own idiosyncrasies. It has been quite helpful to see them in a shoot-out format with identical signals so that the subtle differences between them are more readily apparent. For example, the Optoma HD81 has an edge over the Sony VW50 in image sharpness which is not obvious until one sees them side by side. Meanwhile, the VW50 is the stronger of the two in color accuracy. We will do our best to put all of these nuances in perspective in a round-up commentary.
Since we have the opportunity to evaluate all four of these models together, extra time will be required to prepare the final reviews. Each model will be given a stand-alone review that addresses just that model, as we have already done with the Mits HC5000. In addition, once we have completed the comparative evaluations we will post a separate article that discusses how they stack up with one another. If all goes according to plan, all of this material will be posted by November 17.