ProjectorCentral editor-in-chief Rob Sabin shares insights on the latest front projection trends, technologies, and products.
ProjectorCentral Month in Review: November 2018
In case you missed some of it, here's a summary of the recent highlights from ProjectorCentral.com. If you'd like to receive our email blasts to be alerted to new reviews and features, you can subscribe here. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. — Rob Sabin, Editor-in-Chief
Epson Home Cinema 4010 4K PRO-UHD
As the calendar was about to flip to November, we posted our review of the Epson Home Cinema 4010 4K PRO-UHD projector. This projector is the replacement for Epson's popular HC4000 model, and brings with it all the benefits of its predecessor with updates that include 200 extra lumens of brightness and a boost in rated contrast ratio. Bottom line: The HC4010 is a surprisingly well-featured and well-built projector that creates dazzling, color-accurate pictures, and represents a steal at its $1,799 street price.
Later in the month, we followed our HC4010 review with a shootout of the Epson Home Cinema 4010 vs. Epson Home Cinema 5040UB. Given the updates to the HC4010, which also included upgraded pixel-shifting and HDR tone-mapping, readers were curious about how well it closed the gap with its step-up sibling, which is otherwise the same projector but with significantly higher rated contrast and deeper black level. Bottom line: Differences in pixel-shifting and HDR between the projectors were minor at best, and with most bright or mixed content the difference in contrast/black level was undetectable, even in a dark-room theater. But on overall dark scenes or movies, the 5040UB's contrast and blacks were undeniably beneficial. Whether they're worth the 5040UB's $500 premium depends on whether you watch in ambient light (which washes away the 5040UB's advantage), and how serious you are about your home theater.
Optoma took its popular UHD51A 4K DLP projector and swapped in a different color wheel to add 600 extra lumens of rated brightness for high ambient light conditions. We did a shootout of the new Optoma UHD51ALV vs. the UHD51A to assess the differences. Bottom line: Optoma successfully punched up the brightness in the ALV for those who need it, with only a tiny sacrifice in color fidelity that won't be missed or even detected in the absence of a direct comparison.
Another Great Projector Deal
We featured an item in November about the recent price-cut on the JVC DLA-X790 high-end projector. Reducing it to $3,999 from $5,999 doesn't exactly put it in bargain basement territory, but it does represent a 34% slashing on what many serious enthusiasts and even reviewers called the projector of choice from the 2017-2018 crop. JVC is about to introduce new native 4K models, but kept this 4K HDR-capable, 1080p pixel-shifter in its line as their entry level LCoS projector for the coming year because its contrast and black-level performance are so high and the projector was so well-reviewed. Bottom line: If you've ever aspired to a JVC with near state-of-the-art contrast and blacks, and have the budget to spare, this projector surpasses some comparably priced native 4K models and constitutes a tremendous value for the serious enthusiast.
All About Lumens
Our October feature explaining Brightness Uniformity was followed in November with a tech primer on that most basic of projector specs: the lumen. Contributing editor David Stone explained what lumens really are, why they're important, and how they're measured. Bottom line: We follow the ANSI lumens industry standard for our measurements, though some manufacturers take shortcuts or use other accepted methodologies to pump up their specs. Being knowledgeable about how these measurements are performed, and having a reliable, trusted source like ProjectorCentral.com to double-check the manufacturer's numbers, are your best defense.