Projector News and Industry Commentary

Bulletins about upcoming product reviews and releases, tradeshows, new technology and advanced product features as well as our thoughts and observations on all things related to projectors.

Beginning of the End

We are rapidly approaching the fall season. Accordingly, we will soon be inundated with the barrage of new product releases that always occurs at the CEDIA home theater trade show, to be held this year in Denver on Sept 5-8. Since most projector manufacturers are keeping their powder dry until that convention opens its doors, we've taken the opportunity to focus attention on some of the newest and hottest XGA portable multimedia projectors. And there have been some dramatic price/performance advances in this class of product in case you haven't looked at them lately.

In the past ten days we have posted reviews of the Hitachi CP-X400, the Planar PR5020, and the Toshiba XD2000U. The Hitachi and Planar models are rated at a blazing 3000 ANSI lumens, and sell for under $1500. Meanwhile, the Toshiba is one of the best performing XGA projectors we've yet seen for a mere $699. If you have need for portable presentation equipment that gives you brilliant light output for the money, check out these new high performance models.

In the world of the HD DVD and Blu-ray format wars, you may have noticed the recent announcement from Samsung of their newest HD disc player, the BD-UP5000. This is a combo player that will play both HD DVD and Blu-ray discs, and will be the first that is fully compatible with the features of both formats. It outputs all signal formats including 1080p/24, offers HDMI 1.3 compatibility, and provides Ethernet access which is a standard on all HD DVD players. It is scheduled to ship in the fourth quarter at a retail price of $1049.

The really good news is that this signals the beginning of the end of the format war, at least as far as its relevance to the consumer is concerned. This is just the second of many combo players to be coming to market (the LG offering was the first, but its HD DVD compatibility was limited). Street prices on these units will fall rapidly. And as combo players proliferate, it will become increasingly irrelevant whether studios embrace one or the other of the competing HD disc formats. HD DVD and Blu-ray are both here to stay. We welcome the competition between them, for it will continue to drive prices lower for the consumer at a more rapid pace than we would have seen if either of the formats had been able to monopolize the market.

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