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Cheap but great home theater

As technology improves and prices drop, home theater on the cheap just gets better and better...

Yesterday we posted Paul's review of the exciting new LG PF1500, a small LED-based projector with an estimated 30,000 hour light source. This unit has native 1920x1080 resolution and puts out about 800 calibrated lumens, so it is getting a lot of attention from people who don't want to spend more than $1,000 on a good home theater projector.

Meanwhile, a very hot little home theater solution has been overlooked due to an error in our system. The Viewsonic PJD5555W review was posted in March, but it was inadvertently categorized as a portable projector rather than home theater, so it did not show up in the list of home theater projector reviews. It IS portable for sure, and it sells for about $500, but it has remarkably solid contrast, and much better color accuracy and color saturation than most DLP projectors in this price range. It has some rainbows, but nothing in this price range is flawless, and for the money it is one of the best home theater solutions on a budget out there at the moment.

The Epson Home Cinema 600 review was posted on Monday. This is dirt cheap at $359. It is SVGA resolution, which is to be expected for such a low price. That means you will get some pixelated screendoor effect if you sit too close. But it is very bright and has no rainbows, so if you're willing to sit back from the screen a bit, you can get a very big screen image for almost nothing. It is a significant step up from the cheap Chinese junk that is being hawked on Amazon and eBay.

As far as upcoming reviews, the Acer H6527ST is on the bench and we hope to have that one up by end of next week. Also the Optoma HD50 review was posted two weeks ago, but it did not include any competitive comparison data since Paul did not have the Panny AE8000 on hand to compare it. Since this 1080p projector sells for $1599, we are setting up a shootout between it and the Panasonic AE8000. Yes it is an old warhorse, but it is still highly competitive at its current price of $1499. We will also do a side by side of the HD50 with the BenQ 1075.

Evan Powell


Comments (1) Post a Comment
davidm Posted May 20, 2015 7:26 AM PST
Why would anyone want to project a 100" image at 800x600? For most material it would look terrible, unless one is sitting quite far away. Might as well use your notebook screen.

Is there really more than a few dollar difference for a manufacturer between an SVGA and 1080P assembly?

If a consumer has any sense, they're not going to want to spend money and time on such a compromise, which leads them into the upgrade maze and no sale.

This industry is deadening itself with these enforced tiers. I hope a manufacturer can come out with a breakthrough product to shake things up, but there are probably innumerable agreements to prevent that from happening.