ProjectorCentral editor-in-chief Rob Sabin shares insights on the latest front projection trends, technologies, and products.
Reviews & Features Update: 12/6
It's a good time of the year for hot new home theater projectors, not to mention new commercial models, and we've got some in the works and some on the way. Plus, we're planning some informative and helpful tech features. Here's a bit of what you'll see in our coverage in the coming weeks.
Epson Home Cinema 4010 vs.
Optoma UHD51A. A shootout between Epson's new $1,999, 1080p pixel-shifter and Optoma's popular (and less pricey) UHD51A 4K DLP projector is near completion and due any day. Both have been well-reviewed here and elsewhere, and each represents excellent value in the under-$2,000 4K category. We'll tell you exactly how they differ in features and performance characteristics.
Optoma HD27HDR. Optoma made the clever decision to release a highly affordable ($649) 1080p projector with a twist: it plays back 4K signals with HDR encoding, keeping the HDR while downscaling the video to the projector's native resolution. With bright 3,400 lumen rated output, a 50,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, 3D playback, up to 15,000 hours of lamp life, and an enhanced HDR mode with 16 ms of input lag, it's a gamer's delight. David Stone's review is in the can and will be out late next week.
Sony VPL-VW295ES. Sony's new entry level native 4K projector, the $4,999 VPL-VW295ES, is now in-house and ready for its unboxing. Putting aside the 4K DLP models that use pixel-shifting to achieve their rated resolution, this Sony SXRD LCoS unit replaces last year's VPL-VW285ES and retains the throne as the industry's least expensive, true native 4K projector. We should have our review posted before the holidays.
JVC DLA-NX5. The internet is buzzing as everyone anticipates the arrival of JVC's new native 4K LCoS projectors, a line-up of three models that will join a 1080p e-Shift piece carried over from last year (see below) to form the 2018-2019 family. We've requested the entry-level DLA-NX5 (1,800 lumens, 400,000:1 contrast, $5,999) and mid-level DLA-NX7 (1,900 lumens, 800,000:1 contrast, $7,999) for possible review, but all the new JVCs have now been delayed until January. We'll keep you posted and move whichever model we get first into the review cycle as soon as it arrives.
JVC DLA-X790. We recently spotlighted the
dramatic price reduction on the JVC DLA-X790, the middle model among JVC's 4K-compatible pixel-shifting projectors up to this point. This projector is being carried over into the new model year at $3,999, and offers up 1,900 lumens with a 130,000:1 native/1.3 million:1 dynamic contrast ratio. That contrast is, of course, coming off of JVC's traditional deep black levels. So although it's not brand new, we've got a sample in house now to use as a reference and will commence with a review in due course. And we will most certainly be comparing it directly with competitively priced projectors as we move forward.
High Power Home Theater Blasters. Back in August we did an analysis of five 5,000 lumen laser projectors, ranging in price from $2,999 to $4,999, to compare and contrast performance specs and feature sets. These are commercial projectors geared at the educational, house of worship, and sports bar markets. Then it dawned on Evan: could any of these highly affordable 1080p laser projectors function for day-to-day, high ambient light home theater viewing? We thought we'd find out, and so David has assembled a collection that includes the BenQ LH770
($4,999), Optoma ZH500T-B ($2,999), and Epson Pro G7905U ($4,499). The first two are 5,000-lumen, 1080p laser models; the last is a lamp-driven, 7,000-lumen 1080p pixel-shifter with Epson's 4K enhancement technology. To make sure it's all like real-life, we've set David up with a 110-inch Screen Innovations Slate ALR screen to try them out on. This project is ongoing and we're feeling it out as we go along, but we hope to get the results to you by mid-January after we return from the 2019 CES in Las Vegas.
News & Features
Speaking of CES, we'll be taking a break between Christmas and New Year's Day, then hope to issue a pre-CES teaser with any information that's not formally embargoed. Either way, we plan to share some highlights from the show and issue a full show report after the fact.
Also coming, this month and next, are some additions to our ongoing series of Projector Tech 101 features. We've already done articles on brightness uniformity and lumens, what they are and how we measure them. Next up is a deep dive on the subject of bit-depth written by Michael McNamara, a new contributor and former tech editor and product tester at Popular Photography, now a consultant for the projector industry. David Stone will follow that up with an article that explains how to use the descriptions of lens offset and lens shift found in our projector reviews to figure out projector positioning. We get a lot of questions from confused readers about that.
Happy reading, and as always, feel free to post comments or send us questions. —Rob Sabin, editor