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New Projectors at CES

The CES show in January is never a big venue for projector releases since the industry tends to cluster its new product releases around Infocomm in June and CEDIA in September...

However, there are always a few interesting developments. Last week three noteworthy new projectors were announced: The Sony VPL-VW350ES, the Epson Home Cinema 600, and the Viewsonic LightStream PJD5555W. Announced a couple of months ago but making an appearance for the first time was the BenQ HC1200

The Sony VPL-VW350ES made waves being the first native 4K resolution projector to be released under $10,000. And to add some marketing sizzle, Sony is offering an aggressive introductory price of $7,999 through the end of February. This puts it (for the moment) at the same price as the Epson LS10000, Epson's laser-driven flagship model with 4K enhancement. We just posted a review of the Sony VW350ES on Friday. A separate side by side shootout between the 350ES and the LS10000 is underway and will be posted this week. [UPDATE: Shootout posted Thurs Jan 15)]

The BenQ HC1200 is a 1920x1080 model priced at an MSRP of $2,299. Putting out 2800 lumens in sRGB mode, it is designed for both home and business use. BenQ's new color optimization is a key feature of this unit, which has started shipping this week. We will be reviewing it soon.

At the low end of the price spectrum was a surprising new unit from Viewsonic, the LightStream PJD5555W. This little 1280x800 DLP model is rated at 3200 lumens and has a MAP of $499, but the remarkable thing was that it was delivering exceptional color fidelity in its standard factory preset mode. We've been accustomed to inexpensive DLP projectors being bright due to the white segment in the color wheel, but also the colors looking a bit dull for the same reason. Viewsonic has come up with an innovative variation on the basic commercial DLP light engine that appears to go a long way toward addressing the color deficiencies. We are anxious to get this one in for review. It is targeted for classroom and business presentation, but we will be curious to see how it functions for gaming and home entertainment as well.

Finally, the new entry level Epson Home Cinema 600 was released (see press release. This compact 5 lb. portable is an SVGA 800x600 resolution model that will pump out 3000 lumens for just $379. It is intended for living room, back yard and party entertainment applications and should be a cost-effective way to get a really big picture on the wall.

We will be reviewing both the Viewsonic and the Epson Home Cinema 600 as soon as we get them in house, which should be another week or two.

Evan Powell


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