Front Projectors

Review: Sony VPL-VW100 Projector

Sony VPL-VW100 Ruby SXRD ProjectorSony’s flagship SXRD front projector is the bomb, the bling, and yes it’s all that. This baby is finally shipping in numbers, and here’s a new review from UltimateAV. (Here’s the first VPL-VW100 review I covered from HD Blog.

They were not able to fully calibrate their test unit, and have titled this review Part 1. A couple of problems were noted, which is not unusual for a new production unit, but high praises are still ringing out for this gem of a projector. They will continue to evaluate this unit and finish part 2 when full calibration is complete, so check back for the final results.


As good as the blacks are in the VPL-VW100, they could be even better. The problem is with the evenness of the black level. It’s a little lighter in the corners—twice as high in the upper right hand corner as in the center—though still as good or better than any other digital projector I’ve measured.

Our sample also produced a rare but odd glitch. Four times in the 60 hours or so I’ve put on the projector so far, the image turned to a bright, multi-level white, with details roughly outlined by fields of multi-colored dots of noise. I don’t know how else to describe it. I would have loved to get a picture of it—it was startling when it occurred just as a fake dinosaur was being brought down in King Kong–but it only lasted a couple of seconds each time and would never repeat on the same section of program material. I’m virtually certain that this was a pre-production sample flaw, and did not appear to affect any other aspect of the projector’s performance (I mention it only because its our policy never to ignore any operational problem we experience with a product). Sony indicated that this same sample was demonstrated at CEDIA and an engineer there experienced the same problem—a good indication that it was a pre-production glitch in this specific projector. This sample, by the way, did not look anywhere near as good at CEDIA as it does in my system).


My final conclusions will have to wait for the completion of Part II. How well does the projector calibrate? What affect does the Advanced Iris have on the gray scale and gamma tracking? And I’ll have a lot more to say about my on-going experiences in watching real images, both standard and high definition, on this projector. Our usual Highs and Lows section will wait until then, too.

But if you can’t wait, I see little downside in taking the plunge. Those yet to be completed measurements may reveal a flaw or two we haven’t discovered yet, but it will take an earthquake (just kidding, San Andreas), to shake my enthusiasm for the VPL-VW100 so far.

Full Review – found via

Review: Panasonic PT-AE900U LCD Projector

Panasonic PT AE900U LCD ProjectoreCoustics have reviewed this popular Panasonic LCD projector, the PT-AE900U.

SDE (screen door effect), again is reportedly “under control” on this machine. A notorious problem for older LCD projectors, the new tech is finally here that puts LCD on a level playing field with their DLP brethren.

Rather than focusing on viewing of movies and HD material, this is a more technical review, with graphs for colors, gamma, luminance, etc.

Their conclusion?
“The Panasonic PT-AE900U is a terrific little projector. It has a good image quality, reasonable brightness and contrast, and all the preferred features, including Dynamic Iris and lens shift.

At the $2,000 price point, this Pannie is one of the projectors to beat.”

Yep, I’ve had it on the most popular list (top of the page) for a while now. Definitely a contender in the projector arms race.

Full Review


Epson PowerLite Home 20 Projector Now Shipping

Epson Powerlite Home 20 Cinema Projector Epson has released the PowerLite Home 20 home theater projector, and she is now shipping.

This is an entry level projector, probably a good choice for first projectors for home theater beginners.

Here are the specs:
– 480p widescreen resolution
– Up to 1200 ANSI lumens
– Up to 1000:1 contrast ratio
– Epson 3LCD technology
– Short Throw Distance
– Epson Cinema Filter
– 6 optimized color modes
– Vertical and Horizontal Lens Shift
– Includes an 80″ floor standing viewing screen in 16:9 widescreen format

This is a great deal at under a grand, with screen!

Press ReleaseMore info at Epson

EPSON PowerLite 550 Review

epson powerlite 550Projector Central gives the 550 Cinema projector from Epson the once-over. This is the same model we took a look at with projector reviews earlier.

This is a native 720p, (3) LCD 16:9 unit with 3000:1 contrast ratio.

Home theater inputs include HDMI, Component and VGA.

The review covers the fact that this machine is a solid contender among the latest 720p LCD units. However, they did find an issue with misaligned LCD panels causing color convergence and pixel structure problems. (Part of the screen had an obvious color tint, and half seemed a bit out of focus.)

Review Conclusion

“The Epson Powerlite Cinema 550 is among the strongest of the new high contrast LCD projectors released this fall. Those who make their projector selections based on manufacturer’s specs will tend to overlook the Cinema 550 with its official 3000:1 rating, and go for one of the competing units rated at 5000:1 or higher. They do so to their detriment, for the Cinema 550 is fully capable of meeting or exceeding the actual contrast, black level, and color saturation performance of the other high contrast LCDs in its price range.”

This machine could be a good choice, if you get one without the LCD panel alignment problem. If you buy this unit, make sure the dealer will work with you if there is a problem. Epson should work with you as well, but I think you’d be better off with a dealer who can ship something out faster and is very interested in keeping your sale.

Review: EPSON Cinema 550 Home Theater Projector

Marantz VP-12S4 DLP Projector Review

Marantz VP12S4 Projector
Well, while we’re covering high end projector reviews this week, here’s another one on the Marantz VP-12S4.

This high-end DLP unit uses the TI HD2+ DLP chipset with DarkChip 3. This means the pixels are closer together resulting in less SDE (screen door effect).

Other features include:
Vertical lens shift of up to 80 percent of screen height above the screen
O.R.C.A. (Optically Reproducing Color Accurately) filter
4500:1 contrast ratio
700 ANSI lumens
200-watt lamp
seven-segment color wheel
adjustable iris
sealed optical path
double-sealed cabinet
auto color temperature calibration system
black level selection

Though this machine costs quite a bit for a single-chip DLP, it is definitely worth a look.

“There is no doubt that the Marantz VP-12S4 is one of the best single-chip DLP projectors currently on the market. Many participants in the online video forums have expressed concerns about buying any 720p video device at this time. I understand their concerns but disagree. As I stated above, I believe it will take a couple of generations of 1080p DLP chips to get performance up to levels commensurate with the resolution. Second, mainstream 1080p sources are a rarity right now and probably will be a few years to come to market. So why not get the best possible picture you can get now and enjoy it now? That is what I did. I bought the sample projector to use for my reference system.”

Review: Marantz VP-12S4 DLP – Via HDBlog

MT400 – New DLP Projector from Toshiba

Toshiba MT400 dlp projector

Just have announced a new DLP home theater projector, the MT400. It is a widescreen 16:9 unit with the Matterhorn 576p DMD chip from Texas Instruments.

“The days of high-quality DLP Home Cinema projectors being unaffordable are over, thanks to the MT400, Toshiba’s latest dedicated 16:9 DLP home cinema projector.

This affordable home cinema projector has been designed and configured specifically for the consumer market. Thanks to the acclaimed Matterhorn 576P DMDâ„¢ chip from TI, its native Wide PAL resolution (1024 x 576) perfectly matches the format of our European broadcast TV and DVD, avoiding the need to rescale and therefore delivering exact and undistorted pictures from the source.

Its 3000:1 contrast ratio and 6-segment colour wheel produce exceptional picture quality and life-like tones, while the TrueVision De-Interlacer and Scaler ensure a smooth, enhanced visual performance.

The MT400 features excellent connectivity, including component video, S-Video and composite video inputs for increased versatility. An all digital DVI (Digital Visual Interface) connector is also included that is HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) compatible via an adapter. Both HDMI and DVI have the capacity to support high definition video formats, 720p, 1080i and even 1080p.

The MT400 has the looks to match its performance with a stylish silver and pearl exterior to complement any home, while the low operating noise will ensure the projector remains unobtrusive when in use.

Weighing just 2.8kg the MT400 is highly portable and can be easily transferred between rooms. Its lightweight design is coupled with compact dimensions (298x101x275mm) so it is also easy to store when not in use.”


InFocus ScreenPlay 777

infocus 777 projector

Here is another high end projector beauty, this time from InFocus. The 777 is their new flagship model, and she is one slick looking machine.

CreativeMac give this home theater masterpiece the highest marks of 10 out of 10. Here are their final remarks:

“Summing up, the InFocus ScreenPlay 777 is the standard against which we will judge all other projectors coming into our facility for evaluation. Well, at least for the time being. There are native 1080p projectors on the way, but until they can reach the 777’s $15,000 price point, this is as good as it gets. For the money, this projector represents a remarkable value. Highest recommendation. 10 out of 10 stars.”

Wow, that’s pretty strong. Those Mac freaks pros know image quality. Let’s see, if I can get that 2nd mortgage…

Here is another Infocus 777 Review from last month.

InFocus ScreenPlay 777 Review

Sony “Ruby” VPL-VW100 Review

Sony Ruby VPL-VW100The high end projectors are dropping in price, and the newer models are becoming available.

Henning over at HD Blog has found an extensive look at this new SXRD projector from Sony. I have been waiting for a review on this machine.

“This projector really impressed the testers: there were no major weaknesses! They were first impressed by the great colour representation. Then they were impressed by the contrast ratio, which is among the best of any projector ever built. The level of detail is amazing due to the 1920 x 1080 resolution and lack of pixel structure. The lack of digital artifacts was amazing – no noise on dark scenes, no false contouring, no rainbow effect (of course, there’s no colour wheel!) etc. ”

Sounds like a winner, if you’re shopping in this price range. Review: Sony VPL-VW100

Huge HDTV, Tiny Price

hdtv projector screenIGN gets it! Well, almost.

They buy a $450 projector, and build a screen for $80 to end up with a 9 foot TV! That’s what home theater DIY is all about, baby.

Now, they didn’t exactly end up with HDTV, you can’t get a native HD projector unless you get close to the $2k range, but these machines can still produce an awesome image.

And for some gaming goodness these guys desire? A 9 foot screen can’t be beat.

IGN: Huge HDTV, Tiny Price

Spyder2PRO Studio Review – Projector Calibration

spyder 2 pro studio projector calibrationNot long ago, we took a look at a review of the Colorvision Spyder TV. This unit, the Spyder2Pro Studio, is the bigger brother and includes a mount for attachment to a tripod.

Then you can easily calibrate your home theater projector. You definitely want to calibrate your projector.

Review Conclusion:
“We were already sold on the capabilities of Spyder2PRO Studio for use with our motley crew of CRT and LCD monitors we have installed here at the Midwest Test Facility. It’s an instrument that serves us well, keeping all of these monitors, which are in various stages of decay, honest. Now with its new projector calibration routine, it’s even more versatile. Highly recommended. 9.5 out of 10 stars.”

Spyder2PRO Studio: Projector Setup