Front Projectors

BenQ PE8720 Now Shipping

I came across a press release on this gem today, it looks like it should now be readily available.

This machine has been touted as the best projector under 10 grand. Benq themselves say it’s the best according to the claim to world’s best contrast ratio of 10,000:1.

Review of the PE8720 here.
AVS thread on this machine here.

Press Release

Panasonic PT-AE900U, Sanyo PLV-Z4, and Mitsubishi HC3000 Projector Comparison

Projector Central has written a nice comparison piece on the three hottest 720p projectors currently available. Two of these models are LCD. I must confess I have been a DLP man up to now, but with the latest LCD performance of these two models, I am thinking about switching to the dark side. (I can feel the force growing stronger there.)

If you’re in the market for an HD projector in the 2-3 grand range, these are the units to check out.

Here are the final comments on each:

Sanyo’s PLV-Z4
This year, Sanyo’s PLV-Z4 has matched the 2.0x zoom range of its competition from Panasonic, and added the numerous other performance features noted above. For my tastes, it is an outstanding projector that outperforms every other 720p projector that we’ve put it up against so far, whether it be LCD or DLP.

The fact that it is also the least expensive of the new 720p products, as well as one of the few to include a standard 3-year warranty, is a strange anomaly in the marketplace to be sure. But someone at Sanyo decided to get very aggressive this year, and they did it in spades. It is difficult to beat the overall value proposition represented by the Z4.

Sanyo PLV-Z4 Full Review

Panasonic AE900
The Panasonic AE900 is also one of the elite price/performers on the market in the 720p category, selling for a very aggressive price in the low $2,000s. Many consumers will prefer it to the Z4 due to the absence of pixelation and its exceptional color accuracy.

Together with the Z4, these two models represent a one-two punch that will cause many people to question the traditional supremacy of DLP as the preferred video technology. Few people expected LCD to show this well against its DLP competition.

Panasonic AE900U Full Review

Mitsubishi HC3000
The Mitsubishi HC3000 is an aggressively priced WXGA resolution DLP projector with unique features that are absent from the LCD competition, such as native 768-line display and maintenance-free operation as far as filters are concerned. It is one of the lowest priced DLP products in this general resolution group, and produces a picture that is equal to or better than many more expensive DLP products.

Deep black levels and good shadow detail are strong suits, and for those who place a premium value on these picture attributes, the HC3000 is an excellent choice for the money. The optics produce some inherent restrictions as to where it can be placed to achieve a particular image size, but if it fits into your viewing space geometry it will produce a brilliant sparkling picture that will dazzle friends and neighbors.

Mitsubishi HC3000 Full Review

The New 720p Projectors
Via HD Blog

Sony HS-60 Review

Sony VPL-HS60As front projector fans anxiously await the availability of the Sony HS-60 front projector, here is a review from avbuzz.

“The black level is so impressive that you never imagine such solid black coming from an LCD projector. The black is pure [and] does not have green bugs like DLP projectors… The picture is sharp and clean. The color is vibrant and vivid, but not over saturated.

Although the HS60 is more expensive than other 720p LCD projectors, its build quality is worth the extra cost. Sony has already eliminated or minimized the typical weaknesses of LCD projectors. Nothing is perfect. I hope Sony will improve the response time of the dynamic iris to get rid of the blinking effect… Comparing DLP projectors in the same price range, I reckon the HS60 presents better color than Benq 7700 and the Sharp Z2000. The contrast is not lagging behind the DarkChip2 DLP Projectors. ”

If you are looking for a 720p LCD projector, make sure you include this model as an option.

Sony HS-60 details – AVS Forum

Epson Cinema 550 Review

epson cinema550 front projector Here’s a new review from Projector Reviews, on the Epson PowerLite Cinema 550.

I’m not real wild about the projector reviews on that site, as the reviewer doesn’t calibrate the projectors beforehand. That can be a plus to some, especially if they just want something that looks great out of the box. However, I’m a tweaker. A $30 disk and a couple hours of tweaking adjustments produces worthwhile gains.

That said, on to the review:

Excellent “Living Room” mode for dealing with rooms with ambient light, yet produces very good color, and contrast balance
Good color in Theater Dark modes, but requires minor adjustment for best color accuracy
Brightest projector in its class
The greatest range in lens shift of any projector we have tested, for maximum flexibility in mounting, or allowing the projector to be placed well below the bottom of the screen.
Very quiet in Theater Dark modes
Excellent warranty with overnight replacement program
Many u ser savable settings
Excellent remote control
Many preset modes for handling everything from darkest modes for best black levels, to bright modes for dealing with ambient light.

Noisier than several other competing projectors in it’s non Theater Dark modes
Image slightly soft on DVDs (480 resolution)
Black levels are good, but others exceed the Epson’s performance

“Overall, the Epson is excellent for users with mixed viewing requirements, (sports, HDTV, movies, and probably gaming), especially if you don’t want to fully darken your room. For those primarily interested in DVD viewing, however other projectors do exceed its performance. While black levels and shadow detail are very good, a few others do better.”

From this review and other opinions I’ve heard, I would recommend thoroughly checking out the Sanyo PLV-Z4 or the Panasonic AE900U before making a decision. I think these models offer more bang for your buck than the Epson.

Epson Cinema 550 – Overview

Sanyo PLV-Z4 Projector Review

sanyo plv z4 projector

Here is another review of Sanyo’s awesome PLV Z4 Projector from HDTV Expert.

This machine is one of the top LCD projectors under $3500, and sits in the same class as the Panasonic PT-AE900U.

Review Summary:

“The PLV-Z4 is one of the best HD-resolution LCD projectors I’ve ever tested and a big step up from its predecessors. Color quality is improved – it’s as good as the Panasonic PT-AE700U — contrast levels are up, and grayscale tracking is getting better. The dynamic iris has a lot to do with it, but so do the expanded color controls. Dynamic irising is all the rage now; numerous LCD projectors and some LCD rear-projection TVs have incorporated it to kick out better black levels.

The longer zoom lens is probably the best idea of all. The 145W UHP projection lamp has enough juice in it to overcome the smaller aperture of this lens, and my measurement of 350 lumens should be more than enough to light up an 82-inch to 100-inch diagonal screen in a controlled lighting environment with a 1.5:1 projection throw.

The PLV-Z4 does an excellent job with 480p, 720p, and 1080i signals. To put the icing on the cake, add a good video processor for 480i or 576i composite or component video sources and take SDTV signal quality to the next level.”

Full Review

New InFocus IN76 720p DLP Projector

InFocus IN76 – new photos.
infocus IN76 projector

This is the new InFocus 720p DLP projector. Not many specs are available yet, but on the back panel we can see the following inputs:

* Composite
* Component
* S-Video
* M1-DA
* 12v Trigger

infocus IN76 projector back panel

This thing looks sweet, I’ll post more info as soon as it’s available.

InFocus 720p DLP Projector – Gizmodo

Review: Mitsubishi HC3000

mistubishi hc3000 The latest and greatest under 3 grand for DLP projectors is the new Mitsubishi HC3000.

This machine just started shipping, and some reviews are starting to trickle in.

So, what’s the buzz all about? This thing has a native 720p resolution, the first DLP projector at that resolution to retail under $3000.

It’s also the first front projector to use the all new BrilliantColor tech from Texas Instruments. BrilliantColor uses a new chipset and color wheel design for, well you guessed it, more brilliant color. (tough stretch, that)

Being brand-spanking new, you won’t find this gem much less than the $2995 retail right now, maybe 100 bucks off. The other consideration, is this is a new machine with new tech – there may yet be some gemlins to indentify and eliminate from this product and its manufacturing.

Projector Central’s Review Conclusion:
“The Mitsubishi HC3000 may be viewed as a breakthrough product in the world of DLP technology for having pushed 1280×768 resolution to the lowest price points yet.

The pixel matrix of 768 lines, which is rare at this time in home theater projectors, adds a valuable dimension for those who wish to use their projector for both video and data display, as XGA and WXGA computer signals can be viewed in their native unscaled, and/or uncropped formats.

The BrilliantColor feature brightens up the picture and is an added benefit for most types of viewing material.

Overall, the HC3000 is a solid, impressive projector. We would have liked to see a longer zoom range and physical lens shift, features that would make the HC3000 more adaptable to a wider array of installation challenges and less dependent upon ceiling mounting.

Nevertheless, for those who have a room and seating layout into which the HC3000 can be accommodated with ease, it is an excellent product that will be able to deliver years of beautiful home theater entertainment.”

Mitsubishi HC3000 Full Review

[Via HD Blog

Panasonic PT-AE900U LCD Projector Review

panasonic pt-ae900u review
Following up our first review of the Panasonic PT-AE900U LCD Projector from Audioholics, ultimate AV give us their take on this popular machine.

Film-like images with fine subjective color
Impressive blacks
Nearly silent operation (in Low lamp mode)

Non-defeatable sharpness enhancement in 480i and 480p
Some softness and grain
May not be compatible with some HDMI sources

$3200 may sound like a lot of money for a video display to those accustomed to buying a $500 TV every 10 years. But in the world of front projection, it’s relatively cheap. You can go cheaper, but at this price level you definitely get what you pay for.

And with the Panasonic you get a lot—a compact, quiet projector with fine color, solid black levels, no DLP rainbows, and a range of adjustments that is the equal of projectors costing several times as much. It definitely deserves a close look. ”

Here’s a more recent review as well
Full Review
Comparable to Sanyo PLV-Z4

Spotted at HD Blog

Sanyo PLV-Z4 Projector Review

Sanyo PLV-Z4
Here is a review on this new PLV Z4 LCD projector from Sanyo, from Projector Reviews.

This unit receives the “Hot Product” award, and generates a favorable review.

The summary findings are:
* Sharp image
* Good color accuracy, that can be improved with calibration
* 2:1 zoom lens for placement flexibility
* More range in the vertical lens shift, than in competing models
* Very quiet
* Extensive control of colors, image handling, and other settings
* Wide choice of preset modes work well from fully darkened rooms to those with significant ambient light
* Long warranty
* Two component video inputs in addition to 1 HDMI
* User saveable settings


* Poorer than average performance on low resolution signals (regular TV, VCR…)
* Remote control – cramped buttons, limited range
* Ability to resolve dark scenes, not quite as good as some competing projectors and more expensive DLP models
* Lamp life, at least Sanyo does not publish typical lamp life. Historically, older models seemed to have shorter lamp life than their competing products


* Manual – good, actually better than average, but does not fully explain many of the adjustments and capabilities.
* Menus – easy to navigate, although engaging some features is slightly awkward (no big deal)
* Price Performance

“The Sanyo PLV-Z4 projector is an excellent choice, and should be one to consider if your budget is $2000+. Since its overall performance is extremely close to one or two other projectors, you may find that certain features, rather than image quality itself might be the reason to select the Z4 or another model.

In fairness, if you budget allows, there are projectors a cut above, starting at under $4000, but in its price range, the Z4 truly impresses.”

Full Review
Another PLV-Z4 Review
This projector is comparable to the Panasonic PT-AE900U

Plasma Display and Front Projector Sales Hit Record Highs Q3 2005

Both plasma and front projection HDTV sales have hit record highs for the third quarter of 2005. The hd movement is picking up even more steam. I knew the rest of the world would start to come around.

Plasma display panels – 1.9 million units shipped in Q3:

Traditional seasonal strength — along with plasma TV street pricing below sweet spot levels — has boosted plasma panel shipments to a record 1.9M units in Q3’05, reports DisplaySearch. That’s an increase of 37 percent over the previous quarter, and a 118 percent increase year on year.


Front Projectors – 1.1 million units shipped in Q3:

Pacific Media Associates (PMA), the global leader in value-added demand-side market information on large-screen displays, announced that combined professional and consumer front projector sell-in shipments during Q3 ’05 reached 1,069,000, representing 20% year/year growth and besting the previous quarterly high set in Q4 ’04.