Home Theater Reviews

Fujitsu P55XHA40US Plasma Review

Fujitsu P55XHA40US
The third and final plasma screen reviewed in Sound & Visions “Plasma in Steps” article is the 55 inch Fujitsu P55XHA40US.

This unit is a bit different than the others, it is more expensive, has no hd tuner, but has some quality video processing for watching standard definition content. If you’ve ever watched regular broadcasts on a nice set, and gasped at the wasted tech, you know what this means.

1366 x 768 Resolution
HDMI, DVI, VGA, component and RS-232 inputs
Color Focus fine color adjustment
Ambient Sensor daylight contrast control

Pros:
•Crisp HDTV and DVD picture.
•Clean video processing of standard TV programs.
•Wide array of picture adjustments.

Cons:
•Expensive.
•Limited shadow detail with some programs.
•No built-in HDTV tuner or speakers.

BOTTOM LINE Fujitsu’s 55-inch offers a small but noticeable step up in size over a 50-inch model. In this case those few inches come at a steep price, and you don’t get extras like a built-in HDTV tuner or even a complimentary TV stand. But what you do get is exceptional video processing — something that really makes a difference with standard programs — and an usually high level of tweakability that lets you hone in a truly satisfying picture. If you’ve got ten grand to spend and want a bigger and, in many ways, better than average picture, this plasma TV is worth checking out.”

Psst… see above for street price.

Sound And Vision Magazine: Fujitsu P55XHA40US Review (popups)

BenQ PE-8720 Projector Review

BenQ PE8720
I came across a preliminary review of this awesome Darkchip 3 DLP home theater projector that should be available very soon.

Keep in mind, this review was done an an evaluation, pre-production PE8720 unit. However, it should be pretty close to the final product.

Basic stats:
-1000 lumens
-Powered by a single Darkchip3 DLP chip
-Maximum contrast: 6200:1
-Lamp life: 2000 hours at ful-l power, 3000 in economy mode
-Noise: less than -26db full power, less than -23db, economy mode
-Faroudja video processing, (DCDi, etc.)
-Sealed light path

Looks like this one is going to be a winner.
(Possibly the best yet, under $10k)

Excellent image quality. (After tweaking)
2000 hour lamp life
No discernable light leakage.
100″ picture from 13 to 17.8 feet.

Expected street price is 7-8000.

Kudos to BenQ for an excellent overall projector, whos most notable issues should be corrected with new gamma, IRE, color tables in the upcoming production models. (And if they don’t get it all fixed, there shouldn’t be anything that a professional calibration won’t cure!)

If you are torn between those under $5000 projectors available online, and the $10,000+ models available only through local dealers, this new home theater projector from BenQ appears to deliver that $10K+ performance at a somewhat more affordable price.

Full Review

Philips 50PF9830A Plasma Review

Philips 50PF9830A
Part of Sound and Vision’s Plasma in Steps article – the Philips 50PF9830A is reviewed. Let’s take a look at their findings, shall we?

The specs on this 50 inch plasma:

1366 x 768 Resolution
Inputs – HDMI, component, CableCARD, ethernet, flash card and USB
Built in HDTV tuner
Ambilight 2 whizbang yeow backlight technology (Sorry, I just don’t get it.)

Unit lists for $5300, street price for us homeys is around 4500 or less!

Pros
•Crisp-looking HDTV pictures.
•Sleek, attractive design.
•Swiveling TV stand.

Cons
•Single custom picture preset for all inputs.
•Mediocre shadow detail.
•Dark scenes look patchy.

BOTTOM LINE Crisp HDTV pictures, stylish looks, and a bunch of cool features like Ambilight 2 backlighting and a swiveling stand make the Philips 50PF9830A an appealing option for your flat-TV needs. The set’s overall image quality falls a solid notch below the other two models tested here, however, and the lone Personal picture preset for all of its video inputs was disappointing. But you can’t argue with the price, which is among the cheapest I’ve seen for a 50-inch plasma set.”

Sound And Vision Magazine: Plasma in Steps (popups)

Via HD Blog

ColorVision SpyderTV Review

SpyderTV HTGuys just took a look at the ColorVision SpyderTV.

If you’re like me, and you think anything is worth doing to the utmost perfection – at almost any cost, this thing is for you, too.

It basically attaches to the HDTV screen and detects when your set is optimally adjusted, taking a lot of guesswork out of the process. They ain’t cheap, at around 250 bucks, but it’s one of the tools of the trade, if you’re in it to win it.The entire calibration took about 30 minutes and was simple to do.

The experience consisted of making a selection on your DVD player, starting a measurement, and then making an adjustment on the TV. There is no subjectivity to the process. The only limitation is that the only inputs that can be calibrated are those that you can connect to a DVD player (same is true for the DVE DVD). What you can do for the inputs that you can not connect a DVD to is start with the settings from the DVD input and then make adjustments by eye if necessary,

The SpyderTV is an easy way to get the best picture out of your TV.

SpyderTV Review

Panasonic TH-42PX50U Review

Panasonic TH-42PX50U

Sound and Vision Mag take a look at this Panny Plasma as well as a couple other models. I prefer to stick to one model per topic here, so I’ll cover each separately.

Ok, this thing, first off is 1,024 x 768 resolution. That ain’t HD. It’s better than EDTV and most people probably won’t see a difference. If that’s cool with you, then your decision is cool with me. Just know what you’re getting. (1280 x 720 is the minimum for HD quality specs.)

Now, on to the rest.

Features of this 42″ model:

HDMI, component, cableCARD inputs
Built in HD tuner, built in speakers.

Unit lists for 3 grand, street price less than 2600. See above for best deals.

S&V Lowdown:
Pros:
•Crisp HDTV and DVD picture.
•Clean video processing of standard TV programs.
•Wide array of picture adjustments.

Cons:
•Expensive.
•Limited shadow detail with some programs.

BOTTOM LINE
With its clean, natural-looking picture, reliable built-in HDTV tuner, and, most important, affordable price (for a plasma TV, that is), Pana­sonic’s TH-42PX50U is a great option for plasma on a limited budget. If a 42-inch screen is big enough for you, this is a set that I can easily recommend.”

On the vanity side (yes I know), I like the stand. I prefer black, though…

Full Review: Plasma in Steps (WARNING – popups)

Panasonic PT-AE900U 3LCD Projector Review

panasonic pt ae900u
Our Home Theater brethren over at AA, I mean Audioholics, have taken the Panasonic PT-AE900U for a thorough test drive. Here is what they found:

Pros
* ZERO screen door effect from real viewing distances
* Excellent contrast
* Deep, rich colors
* Consumer adjustment of RGB gain, cut and gamma
* Backlit LEARNING remote
* Finely adjustable color temperature
* 3000 hour lamp life
* Can move OSD position

Cons
* Requires calibration out of the box
* IR sensor on front only
* Overscan enabled by default
* More optical zoom would be welcome
* Friends may show up unexpectedly to watch movies
* No 12 V trigger

Conclusion

Settling back in and enjoying the Panasonic PT-AE900U I realized that this just might be one of the best price-for-performance projectors I’ve seen in a long time. By far, the best attribute of this product is the Smooth Screen technology that puts the nail in the coffin for screen door effect. Add to those decent blacks, exceptional color reproduction and a slew of features like lens shift and user-calibration of RGB brightness/contrast/gamma levels and you’ve got a winner for its $2200 street price. I would have no problem recommending this projector to anyone in the < $2500 budget range looking for an excellent front projection system." Looks like a winner, these guys can be trusted.

Panasonic PT-AE900U 3LCD Projector Review

And another review by ultimateAV here :PT-AE900U Review

Via HDBlog

Cinego D-1000 Review

cinego D-1000

Htguys take the Radio Shack Cinego D-1000 for a spin. Though they had some trouble with their demo unit, but they give it good marks overall.

Overall the Cinego was a great piece of equipment. It rendered an excellent DVD image, and the external subwoofer really added to the audio to give it that extra punch it needed. As a portable home-theater-in-a-box system, it was a lot of fun.

It would work great for outdoor movies, or as an impromptu movie player anywhere, anytime. For $1300, you really can’t beat it’s ease and simplicity. There’s virtually no setup required, just plug it in, plug in the subwoofer, connect one cable between them and you’re ready for action.

There are more advanced features, such as component video inputs and digital audio outputs, but they really aren’t necessary.

If you try one of these, be sure to buy it at your local RatShack and keep your receipt. They usually have easy returns, but be ready in case you need to send Guido in.

Full Review

Sony KDS-R50XBR1 50-inch SXRD HDTV Review

sony kds-r50xbr1
HDBeat reader, Thom McCann, writes a personal review of his new 50″ Sony SXRD HDTV. I love reader reviews – no hype, no crap. They may not always be as technical as we sometimes like, but I’ll take authenticity over fanfare or specs any day.

At $3999, this set is on the expensive side for a rear projection system. It was $500 more than the equivalent Samsung. If not for the simple fact that it fit on my existing TV stand, then this review might have been about the Samsung HL-R5078W. All in all, the Sony SXRD 50 (it also comes in a 60 inch screen) is an awesome HDTV with a large range of features and high quality screen. I might just keep it.

I’ve read a lot about how great the picture on this set is. The only problem I have with this piece is the plastic frame around the screen which houses the speakers.

To me, it looks like Sony took the set chassis and mounted it to an outer speaker frame designed for something elese.

Being a straight-freak perfectionist (yeah the pictures in my home get adjusted regularly), I don’t think I could handle this.

Nonetheless, a great HDTV.

Full Review

Samsung HL-R5078W Review

samsung hl-r5078w

I noticed Crutchfield has a review of Samsung’s DLP 50″ rear projection 1080p HDTV set.

Features include “dynamic iris” which helps with the blacks, OTA and cable HD tuners, 2 HDMI inputes, and 2 firewire ports.

Street prices are currently starting around $2600.

Samsung hit the nail on the head
The HL-R5078W does so many things so well that it’s hard to come up with even minor complaints. (OK, it would be nice if the remote control was backlit, but that’s about it.) It combines hot technology (1080p resolution, dynamic iris), high-performance HD tuners for over-the-air and cable signals, plus the connections you need to enjoy current (and future) high-definition sources. ”

Full Review

Hitachi 42HDT52 Reviews

hitachi 42hdt52 Hitachi’s new UltraVision 42 inch 42HDT52 plasma screen conjures up a decent review at cnet. The machine is designed with motorized swivel stand. Now that’s a useful feature, not.

This thing is second from the top of the Hitachi line, but doesn’t quite measure up to the $4400 list price tag. However, it can be found for less than $2800:


The good: Solid video processing with 2:3 pull-down; separate Day and Night memories per input; comprehensive connectivity; extensive feature package; power swivel stand.

The bad: Expensive; incorrect color decoding; poor black-level performance; visible false-contouring artifacts; no PC input.

The bottom line: While the Hitachi 42HDT52 plasma is full-featured and downright beautiful to look at, its image quality doesn’t quite measure up to that of the tough competition.”

HTdude says keep on looking.

Hitachi 42HDT52 Full Review