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Overview of 1080p models coming

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.

Evan Powell

Comments (10) Post a Comment
Keith j Posted Jan 19, 2012 10:23 PM PST
Is there anyway you could do a comparison between the Epson and Panasonic with input lag. I am leaning toward the Epson with it's deeper black level and higher brightness, but I play a lot of video games and I want to see if the two projectors are noticeably different with lag. Thanks, this would be such a huge help.

Paddy Posted Jan 20, 2012 12:42 PM PST
Looking forward to rankings regardless of the 3D mode, it's just too gimmicky. I'm anxious to see rankings based solely on 2D evaluation. Thanks guys!
Van Posted Jan 20, 2012 9:32 PM PST
Game performance makes a big difference to me. Between the Epson 5010 and the Panny AE 7000 which is better and why for use w/a PS3?
iaw Posted Jan 21, 2012 9:49 PM PST
hmmm...if the $3,000 projectors are getting close to video perfection, then maybe it is time to focus more on buying and comparing the $1,500 projectors.

of course, there are also various environmental factors. for me, heat and noise sitting next to the projector matters a lot. as the picture differences are decreasing, these other factors may make more of a difference. maybe these sections should be upgraded in future reviews.

thanks for the great job on this site.
Brad Posted Jan 23, 2012 9:34 AM PST
I continue to notice many people after your reviews are asking for input lag numbers, but notice once again on the above article, it is not mentioned. A lot of peeps will use these for games 50% of the time or more. Please please please in your round up discuss input lag with games like Halo. As you stated, picture quality is so close these days, but this one measurement could make all the difference.
Paul Posted Jan 23, 2012 5:19 PM PST
So any updates on the acre [Acer] review?
GSwany Posted Jan 23, 2012 6:56 PM PST
I'm on the fence with the Epson 5010. Any idea if/when you all might review the 6010? It's $900 more street price, but comes with 2 pairs of glasses and a spare lamp. I'm really wondering if the image is improved enough over the 5010 to make it worth a couple hundred bucks more to me.
Roger Posted Jan 24, 2012 8:39 AM PST
I am also very interested in input lag for gaming. It should be a part of every review.
Zirb Posted Jan 24, 2012 8:29 PM PST
I agree, a section for the input lag would be great. I too am a man-child with a love for the games. And oh, ya, the wife says 2D video performance is a must as well.
PatB Posted Jan 26, 2012 9:33 AM PST
One reason why there will always be disputation and controversy in HT is that the major pieces are usually bought separately. When you buy a flat panel TV you get the whole package as one unit. But people buy projectors and screens separately. I use a Da-Lite HP with a 2.4 gain. This retroflective screen works in my room set up. So if you report that a certain projector is admirable but has only 400 lumens, I figure 960 lumens in my HT. I went through every projector review you posted and all of them gave me at least 15 Foot-Candles. An HP screen also lets you use a bulb for an extra thousand hours, or allows you to run in econo mode for lower noise.

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