We are in a fortunate position at the moment. We have the opportunity to set up and test six 1080p projectors side by side. These include the new Panasonic AE2000, the Sanyo Z2000, the Sony VW60, the InFocus IN82, the JVC RS1, and the Optoma HD80. Normally review samples come in at different times, but we got them all at once. This enables us to look at them side by side and see the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) differences between them.
We want to do some thorough side by side evaluations before posting reviews, so we can comment on the relative merits of each projector. Accordingly, it will be another week or so before we begin to publish individual reviews. Each model reviewed will have commentary regarding its advantages and weaknesses relative to the competition, and it is taking some time to get this data together.
From our testing so far, one word of caution I can offer is this: do not take the contrast ratings on any of these products seriously. The official contrast ratings do not reflect in any meaningful way how the human eye actually sees the images of these products. For example, the Sony VW60 is rated at 35,000:1 contrast, but our testing so far indicates that it is showing less apparent contrast than models with contrast ratings in the 12,000:1 to 16,000:1 range. We do not yet have a sample of the Epson Cinema 1080 UB, which is rated at 50,000:1, but we would not be surprised to find that its performance, in terms of how the eye actually perceives the image, is more in line with competitors that carry more conservative ratings.
This group of reviews will illustrate in concrete terms why the buyer will be wise to take published ANSI lumen and contrast specifications with a large grain of salt. Though they may be technically accurate, they have little bearing on how the eye perceives the image.
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