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Bulletins about upcoming product reviews and releases, tradeshows, new technology and advanced product features as well as our thoughts and observations on all things related to projectors.

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Impressive High Contrast Image from the Hitachi JDPJ52

We've just posted the review of the Hitachi HDPJ52. This elegant looking unit features black high-gloss casework, so you get styling along with an impressive, high contrast image. This is Hitachi's best home theater projector yet, and should compete extremely well against the other new high contrast LCD projectors. It has a higher MSRP than the others, but street prices will tell the real story, so it is worth getting quotes on this one as well as its competitors if you are shopping in the $2,000 to $3,000 range.more
Topics: Hitachi HDPJ52

Epson Poised for a Bigger Chunk of the Market

We have just posted the review of the Epson Cinema 550. As you may know, we had a technical problem with the review sample and we needed to sort out how to interpret it and put it into proper context for the review, which required some extra research. We discuss it in the review, so I won't go into it again here. But I will say that the Cinema 550 is a surprisingly strong release for Epson, and for the money it is extremely competitive, showing well against the Panny AE900 and the Sanyo Z4. Epson is positioning itself to take a bigger chunk of home theater market share than it has in the past.more

A Bum Sample

We have been working on getting the Epson Cinema 550 review completed. It was scheduled to be posted no later than today, but we have a technical problem with the review sample that we are trying to sort out. So, since a whole lot of readers are anxiously awaiting this review, let me tell you where we stand with it at the moment.more

Personal Thoughts on the Z4, AE900 and HC3000

We received some email this week asking for more commentary on the relative merits of the Sanyo Z4, the Panasonic AE900, and the Mitsubishi HC3000. So despite the plan to finish up the review of the Epson Cinema 550 this week, I decided to respond to the emails in article form. Thus I have just posted The New 720p Projectors. These are my personal thoughts on the Z4, the AE900 and the HC3000, and I hope they will be helpful to those trying to sort out which one to order.

The Epson 550 and the Hitachi HDPJ52 reviews are in process. However, I am taking next week off. So we won't get these reviews posted until later in the week of November 28.

Sign Up for News Alerts

We posted the new review of the Mitsubishi HC3000 on Friday afternoon. Those on our free NewsAlert email list were notified by email when it was posted. If you are not on our email list and want to be, just enter your email address in the NewsAlert block on the home page. We never sell or distribute our private email list--we just use it to notify regular readers of newly posted reviews and updates.more

It is a Wild Ride

As you may have noticed on the home page, we have just posted the results of our side by side testing of the Sanyo PLV-Z4 and the Optoma H79. Things are changing rapidly in this industry, and it is a wild ride, to be sure.

Next up on test bench are the Mitsubishi HC3000 and the Epson Cinema 550, both of which have just arrived. Assuming they are in working order, we will get reviews of both of them done as soon as possible.

How Good are the New High Contrast LCD's?

The big question now is just how good are the new high contrast LCD projectors in comparison to the DLP competition? We have been looking at the Panny AE900 side by side with the BenQ PE7700 to get a better feel for it. These are both 1280x720 resolution projectors in the same general price range, with the most fundamental difference between them being that the AE900 uses LCD technology, while the PE7700 features a DLP light engine. Bill's comments on this mini-shootout have just been posted here. We are also doing a separate mini-shootout of the Sanyo Z4 against the more expensive DLP-based Optoma H79. The results of that study will be posted by the first part...more

The Hottest Home Theater Projectors These Days

As you may have noticed, we have just posted two reviews, one for the Panasonic AE900, and one for the Sanyo PLV-Z4. I have also written a commentary that discusses the relative advantages of each of them.more

Which One is Best?

I know everyone is anxious to see reviews on the newly announced products at CEDIA. Currently we have (in alpha order) the Mitsubishi HC3000, the Panasonic AE900, and the Sanyo PLV-Z4 in the lab. We are spending a lot of individual time with each of them, and also viewing them side-by-side with a variety of sources.more

Thanks for Using the DVD Store

As you can tell from the CEDIA trade show review, this year's CEDIA did not disappoint those who were anticipating some revolutionary releases. We will be reviewing all of the newly announced models as soon as we can get production units in hand, so we look forward to a busy review season in the coming weeks. I will post which reviews are underway as soon as the units arrive and we can verify that they are in undamaged, reviewable condition. We know that everyone is anxious to see reviews on all of the new models as soon as possible, and we will work hard to get them done in a timely manner. There will be a lot of projectors to look at, so your patience and understanding is kindly...more
Topics: CEDIA

Panasonic AE900 Shipping at the End of the Month

On the eve of the CEDIA convention which happens this weekend, we have already seen two significant announcements from LCD makers that will undoubtedly gain a lot of attention. First, the Panasonic AE900 was announced today, representing another step forward in price performance for 1280x720 resolution widescreen LCD technology. At 1100 ANSI lumens, it is 10% brighter than the popular AE700 released last fall. But the AE900's contrast rating of 5500:1 is what will really cause the buzz. This unit features a dynamic iris that is capable of reconfiguring itself on a frame by frame basis every 1/60 of a second. In addition, gamma is similarly reconfigured frame by frame. The result is a projector with markedly...more

CEDIA Next Week

September is upon us already, and we've turned the corner into the fall season. That always means lots of new home theater projectors being announced at the CEDIA trade show, which happens next week in Indianapolis. We will be there as always, and we'll report all the latest product news on these pages as soon as we can.more
Topics: CEDIA

Calibration DVD's

We've received a lot of email asking for comments on the Optoma H78DC3, which many have noticed is extremely similar to the H79. According to Optoma, "the main difference is that the key optical components of the H79 are hand selected to meet a higher quality standard befitting the H79. This ensures that the brightness, contrast and sharpness meets a higher standard than what our component supplier can guarantee. Some of the key optical components include: DMD, projection lens, prisms, light rod, color wheel, condensing lens, UV filter and lamp." We will be taking a closer look to see exactly what this translates to in terms of any noticeable...more

New DVD Store

We are excited to announce the launch of our new DVD Store, which you can access via the button on the left. We call it the Videophile's Ultimate DVD Collection because it has been stocked with titles that are collectible for one of several reasons. Some have been selected simply for their outstanding video quality. Movies like Batman, Lord of the Rings, The Fifth Element, T2, and Shrek look beautiful when blown up and projected onto a 120" diagonal screen. DVDs featuring uniquely outstanding video quality are presented in two groups—those in 16:9 format, and those in formats wider than 16:9. These...more

Black Bars

Black bars--that black dead space that you get above and below the picture when the video frame does not match your screen or TV frame. Nobody likes them. Video material always looks much better when it fills the frame of your video display. Black bars are a particularly serious problem when you view widescreen material on a conventional 4:3 television. But to the surprise of many new home theater enthusiasts, black bars can also appear on widescreen systems as well.more

Specific Uses and Market Niches

There is no such thing as the perfect projector for all applications. That is why there are hundreds of different models on the market. InFocus is one of the manufacturers that puts a lot of effort into designing projectors for very specific uses and market niches. And nowhere is this more obvious than in the comparison between the Screenplay 4805 and the X3.more
Topics: InFocus X3

Congratulations to Texas Instruments

We just posted an update on the NEC HT1100 to alert you to the fact that its price has just been dropped to $1,995. This is a unique product because it is loaded with home theater features while maintaining a native 4:3 format. This is rare in the industry. There are some who prefer native 4:3 for good reasons, and the HT1100 is now an excellent choice for those in the sub-$2,000 budget range who want high quality large screen 4:3.more
Topics: NEC HT1100

DLP Passes LCD for Most Projectors on the Market

The latest installment of The Great Technology War: LCD vs. DLP has been posted. This remarkable story continues to develop and evolve as both technologies get better and better with each new year. LCD is the original digital video projection technology, and hundreds of LCD projectors had been built by the time Texas Instruments' fledgling DLP technology saw the light of day. Thus a particularly significant milestone for Texas Instruments has just been achieved: as of last week we had 349 DLP projectors currently in production, as compared to 330 LCD projectors.more

Check out the Oppo

In case you happen to be looking for an outstanding DVD player for a mere $199, you need to check out the Oppo OPDV971H digital DVD player. Dave has just posted a review of this little wonder. You won't find it everywhere. As a matter of fact, you won't find it anywhere except via direct order on Oppo's website. But it is definitely worth tracking down if you are in the market to replace that old, antiquated, three-year old DVD player that you are still hanging on to.[See the review for details.]more

Latest Competitive Developments

In response to many requests for reviews of the Mitsubishi HC900, we have just posted a review not only of that unit, but of the Studio Experience 30HD as well. These are both impressive home theater projectors using the 1024x576 Matterhorn DLP chip. They are quite distinctive, as we came to discover. See Bill's shootout evaluation of these two very interesting projectors.

We are about to take a long weekend for the July 4 holiday. I plan to have another update at the end of next week focusing on the latest competitive developments between LCD and DLP technology. That subject never fails to stimulate a few emails! Stay tuned.more

Neutralizing the Competitive Edge

We just posted a new article entitled A Great Home Theater Concept. The purpose of this article is not only to suggest an idea that you might not otherwise think of, but in general to illustrate how important it is to consider what you want to do with your home theater before deciding on the equipment. Too often people get driven by specs before giving thought to applications. After posting this article, one reader sent in pictures of a unique mounting solution that addressed the same 16:9 vs. 4:3 problem in a different way--he ceiling mounted the projector to a rail system that allows him to move the projector forward and back a full three feet, thus eliminating the need for...more

InfoComm This Week

A new review of the InFocus Screenplay 7210 is now posted. Infocus has established itself as a major force in home theater projectors ever since its launch of the Screenplay series of products. The 7210 is the latest in the line, and it is a dynamic projector for the money.

A further note from Infocus....as of a few days ago, the Screenplay 4805 pricing was dropped to $1,099, and a $100 rebate was instituted for the month of June, bringing the net price on this top-selling model down to $999.more

Will be Optoma's Best Seller Ever

A review of the Optoma H79 is now posted. This is one of the hottest products we've seen in a while. The H79 is a remarkable achievement on Optoma's part--without a doubt the best home theater projector they've ever produced. It is likely to become one of the best selling projectors featuring the DarkChip3. The picture is elegant, smooth, stable, bright, and very high contrast. And it is easy to install in a variety of environments. With the H79 on the high end, and the equally impressive (for the money) H31 at the entry level, Optoma is making major headway in establishing itself as a serious designer and purveyor of home theater projectors.more
Topics: Optoma H79

Several Models in the Queue

We have just posted a review of the Toshiba MT200. This is another 854x480 resolution DLP projector in the entry level, sub-$1500 street price marketplace. It has gained a lot of attention due to its 5x speed color wheel, a unique feature among this group of products. And while it is among the best in the category in terms of image quality, we were surprised that a product with such a fast color wheel would be so lacking in other features commonly found in home theater projectors. Unfortunately, the specification of the 5x wheel speed gives the impression that it is fully loaded for home theater, when in fact it is not. Overall, the MT200 will be an ideal home theater solution for...more

Price Erosion in the Industry

We have just posted a review of the BenQ PE7700. This is the first of the HD2+ 1280x720 DLP projectors to drop below $3,000. It was just seven months ago that the SharpVision Z2000 took HD2+ below $4,000 for the first time, so we are continuing to see some significant price erosion in the industry.more

Interpret the Ratings Within Categories

We have just posted the new Highly Rated Home Theater Projectors page, complete with updated comments and the 5-star ratings. Please make sure to interpret the ratings just within each resolution category. It makes no sense, for example, to compare the performance of a $1200, low-resolution product to an expensive high resolution model. So the ratings reflect relative values between models within a given resolution group.more

Strong Contender in the Sub $1500 Marketplace

We've just posted Bill's new review of the Mitsubishi HC100. This is the most dynamic entry-level home theater projector that Mitsubishi has yet released, and it will be a strong contender in the sub-$1,500 marketplace.more

Where did the List Go?

Many of you have asked where the High Recommended Home Theater Projectors list went. The answer is that it has been taken down temporarily for updating and adding the new 5-star ratings to each model. If all goes well we will have it reposted on the home page this week.

Also planned for posting this week is a review of the low-priced Mitsubishi HC100. The new entry level DLP home theater projectors featuring the 854x480 DLP chip are making a big hit, and the Mits HC100 is one of them.

We've had a lot of requests to review the BenQ PE7700 and the Toshiba MT700, so we will get one or both of those done as soon as possible. Thanks very much for the feedback.more

A Robust Performer

We've just posted Bill's new review of the Optoma EzPro 739 multipurpose data and video projector. This product deserves a spotlight due to its robust all-around performance with a lot of different subject matter, from textual data to graphics to video. It was not designed to be a dedicated home theater projector, but many are using it in that role with good success.

Next up will be the Canon Realis SX50, the review of which will be posted by the end of the week. Also currently in the lab is the Mitsubishi HC100, which will follow next after the review of the Canon unit.more

Big Screen Forums

We've just posted Bill's review of the NEC HT410 entry-level home theater projector that is now selling for under $1300. This is an intriguing product that has a unique combination of features and video performance. In particular, we found its HDTV performance to be remarkable for a product in its resolution and price class. If you want an inexpensive bigscreen HDTV, and you are not bothered by rainbows on DLP projectors with 2x speed color wheels, the HT410 could be an ideal choice for you.more

HDTV Solutions

For quite a while now people have been asking for two things. The first is for information on plasma TVs, LCD TVs, rear projection TVs, and how they compare to projectors as video display products. The second request is for ProjectorCentral to host a forum. As of today, both of those requests are being fulfilled.

We are happy to announce the opening of HDTV Solutions. This new companion site to ProjectorCentral will focus on flatscreen TVs, monitors, and rear projection TVs. Projectors are not for everyone, and these alternative video systems for home theater and big screen entertainment will be the focus of HDTV Solutions.more

Changes and Expansion

We are in the process of making some fundamental changes at ProjectorCentral. Of primary note, we are discontinuing the use of the Highly Recommended rating on projectors, and we will no longer have a separate Highly Recommended Home Theater Projectors list. The reason is that it is too binary--it has come to be interpreted as a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" call, which is overly simplistic as a method of product evaluation.

In place of the Highly Recommended concept we will offer a five-star rating system. For each product reviewed, we will assign a value of 1 to 5 stars in each of four categories: Performance, Features, Ease of Use, and Value for the Money.more

Epson on the Road

Epson has always done extremely well in the market for presentation projectors. If you do much presentation work, especially on the road, the Epson 745c is a unit you will want to be familiar with. It only weighs 3.9 lbs, and it puts out more light per pound than any projector ever built. We've just posted Bill's review, of this hot little projector.more

A Beautiful Performer

Yes, I know, updates have been sparse in the last few weeks. However we've had a lot going on behind the scenes. First, we've hired a new associate, Bill Livolsi, who will help us increase the production of reviews that everyone is asking for. Bill is working side by side with me in our Las Vegas office, and we are excited to have him on board.more
Topics: Optoma H31

Mitsubishi Announces Price Drops

The big news this week for entry level home theater consumers is that Mitsubishi just dropped the price of their HC3 Home Theater Projector from its original $2,795 MSRP to a new official selling price of just $999. We liked this unit at the old price when we first reviewed it. But at $999 it is an extraordinary value for new home theater buyers--it is the first widescreen 16:9 projector to go below the $1,000 mark. You can read an updated review here, or just click over to a list of authorized Mitsubishi dealers who you can get it from.more

New Pricing Announced by Infocus

InFocus has just announced some new pricing on several home theater projectors. Their new ScreenPlay 7210 announced at CES which uses the new DarkChip3, will be priced at $6,999. Meanwhile the ScreenPlay 7205 using the HD2+ DLP chip has been reduced to $4,999 (from $6,999) and the ScreenPlay 5700, featuring the Matterhorn 1024x576 DLP chip, has been reduced to $3,499.more

Planning Editorial Schedule

Well, there is all sorts of news this week coming out of the CES 2005 trade show. Often this show can be a dud when it comes to digital projectors. Most of the new commercial models show up at Infocomm in June, and the big home theater show is CEDIA in September. By comparision, the annual CES show in Las Vegas is hit and miss. This year it was a hit though, with a wide variety of models appearing. See the CES 2005 review for all the details.

Now that the holidays are over and CES is behind us, we can get busy planning the editorial schedule for the coming months. We have a lot of reviews in the mill and on the schedule, so stay tuned for further info.
Topics: CEDIA, CES