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Best Home Theater Projector
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BenQ PB6200 Projector BenQ PB6200
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2000:1 Contrast Ratio
1700 Lumens
Street Price: n/a

BENQ PB6100 & PB6200
Projectors for Home Theater

Evan Powell, March 24, 2004


The BenQ PB6100 and PB6200 are both impressive machines, especially considering their low prices. Both are easy to recommend for those who are on a restricted budget, but who nevertheless want to get a high quality picture for the money.

Though they are rated at 1500 and 1700 lumens respectively, they can only come close to those numbers in their high brightness presentation mode. They do not put out that much light when calibrated for best video. We measured the PB6100 at 705 lumens, and the 6200 at 725 lumens when set for best video performance. This is still notably brighter than many competing home theater units in any price range.

Contrast, black level, and shadow detail on these units is also as good as it gets in this price range. There are no other projectors under $2,000 that exceed the performance of the 6100/6200 on these particular performance parameters.

Color accuracy and saturation are well above average considering these units were built for the presentation market. While there are better color decoders in more expensive units, there are no obvious errors that would distract the viewer. Flesh tones in particular look naturally pleasing.

The 6100 and 6200 both perform at their best with component progressive scan DVD input. Component interlaced signals, as well as of course S-video and composite, are displayed with a significant softening of the image when compared to component progressive. Thus these inputs are to be avoided when you want the best picture possible. You should therefore order a video cable that will enable you to input component video through the VGA port. That means either a cable with 3 RCA jacks on one end and a 15-pin VGA connector on the other, or one with 5 BNCs on one end and a 15-pin VGA on the other, depending on the output configuration of your source equipment. Ask your dealer about the right cable for your needs, and make sure to order the appropriate cable as these special cables do not come standard with either unit. (By the way, these cables tend to be available through professional AV dealers that handle the BenQ product line.)

Both the PB6100 and PB6200 look a bit flat and soft with standard television signals. They are certainly watchable, but non-stellar television quality is one of the trade-offs you must live with in an inexpensive projector. DVD always looks better than standard TV on any projector of course, but the performance gap between the two is more noticeable on these units than it is on higher performance projectors.

If you plan to watch a lot of HDTV, the 6200 has the ability to retain more image detail in a 1080i signal than does the 6100 simply due to its higher resolution. However we found a number of distracting artifacts on both models with a 1080i signal. Thus if high performance HDTV is your primary interest and more important to you than DVD, we'd suggest saving some extra cash for a higher performance projector.

Visible pixelation is not a problem on either unit. On the higher resolution 6200, visible pixelation disappears completely at a viewing distance of 1.6 times the screen width. On the 6100 it is about 1.9 times the screen width.

We did not find fan noise to be objectionable on either unit, even in normal mode. It is somewhat quieter in eco-mode, but the difference did not rise to the level of a big issue. Fan noise is not entirely steady; there is a noticeable oscillation in pitch if you listen to it. However, this was not a distraction once normal audio was present in the viewing room.

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Performance and Conclusion
Review Contents: Overview Performance Performance and Conclusion