Shoot-out: 1080p Home Theater Projectors
We currently have six of the latest 1080p home theater projectors in house:
- BenQ W6000
- Epson Home Cinema 8100
- Mitsubishi HC6800
- Panasonic AE4000
- Samsung A900
- Sony BRAVIA VPL-HW15
Reviews on all of these units have been completed, so we can now post a report on how these models stack up against one another.
Shoot-outs are always a challenge, because there is always one more model coming just around the corner that we want to include. For example, we just received the Epson Home Cinema 8500 UB yesterday. We will begin the review on it today, but it won't be completed until later next week. So we are not yet prepared to include it in this write up. We are also awaiting delivery of new units from JVC and others in the weeks to come. Thus, this shoot-out will be updated as we finish reviews on upcoming models.
Three Preliminary Comments
1. Cinema Mode Light Output. If there is one consistent theme in this year's crop of 1080p home theater projectors, it is brighter Cinema modes. These projectors are all brighter than previous generation units when calibrated for optimum video. It used to be that Cinema modes measured in the 350 to 450 lumen range. Almost all of the models we've seen thus far are now pumping out at least 500 to 600 lumens or even more. These brighter images have been achieved with higher contrast as well.
2. Price Volatility. Epson and Panasonic have both been more price aggressive than usual this year, which caught us by surprise. We did not expect to see a model of the quality of the Epson Home Cinema 8100 coming in at $1,599, nor did we expect to see the Panasonic AE4000 at $1,999. These moves will create some pricing volatility in the market in the short term. The assessments we make today regarding price/performance on any given model will need to be revisited quite soon as prices shift and promotional rebates are offered.
3. Comparison Format. Since we've got six 1080p home theater projectors to discuss, we have the logistical problem of comparing any one against the other five and making this an endless article. To simplify it, we will use the Panasonic AE4000 as the basis for comparison, and discuss how each model either exceeds or falls short of the AE4000 in picture quality, brightness, features, and value. This approach will let us highlight the strengths and weaknesses of all six models in the group.
|Review Contents:||Preliminary Comments||PAN AE4000 Notes||BenQ vs AE4000||Epson vs AE4000|
|Mitsubishi vs AE4000||Samsung vs AE4000||Sony vs AE4000|