Now that most of the 1080p models from the fall season have been released, you've been asking for a round-up to put it all together...
Before we can do that, there are two remaining models of interest to many home theater enthusiasts that we have not reviewed--the BenQ W7000 ($2500), and the Acer H9500BD ($1600). At the moment, the Acer H9500 is scheduled to arrive tomorrow, and the W7000 should be here by late next week. We hesitate to do a round-up type article without these two models, so that is the hold up at the moment.
Overall, competition has gotten very tight in the world of 1080p. The 3D-enabled models released in the last six months have all shown significant improvements in both 2D and 3D performance over prior year models. And since every vendor is converging on the same definition of theoretical video perfection, the differences in image quality between models are becoming less dramatic. Though differences are still apparent when viewing two models side by side, it is not likely that a user would find too much to complain about when viewing any one unit on its own. In many cases, the choice between competing models will come down to personal preferences.
As an example, two of the strongest 1080p 3D models in the $3000 price range are the Epson 5010 and the Panny AE7000. These are both dynamite projectors, but they each have unique idiosyncrasies. When viewed side by side, the 5010 can achieve deeper blacks and more satisfying shadow detail in dark scenes. On the other hand, the AE7000 has a smoother, more film-like quality to the image. This smoothness advantage is subtle in HD and more apparent in SD. Since smooth, film-like quality and deep blacks are both characteristics that appeal to the videophile, it is not possible to declare one model better than the other--they are both great projectors that each have a unique advantage over the other.
The advent of 3D complicates things as well. Each of the 3D models varies in brightness and image stability. Would you rather have a bright 3D picture with artifacts or a dimmer picture that is more stable and smooth? And many people don't care about 3D at all (if you think 3D is tedious gimmicky stuff, you are not alone). Bottom line, projectors need to be evaluated separately based on their capabilities in 2D and 3D since they often do not deliver both 2D and 3D equally well. Would you prefer a projector that does outstanding 2D and middling 3D, or one that does stellar 3D and only average 2D?
We will have to factor all of this into our upcoming round up of 3D 1080p models, so the task is more complicated than it has ever been before. But as noted at the beginning...first things first. Next up on the schedule will be the reviews of the Acer H9500 and the BenQ W7000.