More $999 1080p Projectors on the Home Theater Horizon

Last week we posted about the new Vivitek H1080FD sub-grand home theater projector. Since that press release hit the streets, we have also seen two additional $999 1080p home theater projectors announced – the BenQ W1000 and the Optoma HD20.

Since naturally potential buyers will want to compare all three projectors, we are putting together this quick chart for you. We have yet to see them all in action, but we can compare the specs published by the three manufacturers. Since these seem to be very similarly designed projectors, the actual performance differences will probably be minimal – but we look forward to putting them through the paces here at Projector People.

Three New $999 1080p Home Theater Projectors

BenQ W1000 Projector ($999)

BenQ W1000 Projector
  • Resolution: HD (1920 x 1080)
  • Display Type: DLP Single Chip
  • Brightness: 1800 lumens
  • Contrast: 2700:1
  • Weight: 7.5 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Lamp Life: 3000 hours
  • Also has 2 HDMI (1.3) connections, keystone correction, 3D color management
  • View complete BenQ W1000 specs here »

Optoma HD20 Projector ($999)

Optoma HD20 Projector
  • Resolution: HD (1920 x 1080)
  • Display Type: DLP Single Chip
  • Brightness: 1700 lumens
  • Contrast: 4000:1
  • Weight: 6.4 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Lamp Life: 3000 hours
  • Also has 2 HDMI connections, S-video, and 12v screen trigger
  • View complete Optoma HD20 specs here »

Vivitek H1080FD Projector ($999)

Vivitek H1080FD Projector
  • Resolution: HD (1920 x 1080)
  • Display Type: DLP Single Chip
  • Brightness: 1800 lumens
  • Contrast: 5000:1
  • Weight: 5.7 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Lamp Life: not published
  • Also has 2 HDMI connections, S-video, and 12v screen trigger
  • View complete Vivitek H1080FD specs here »

Quick Tip : Use our Projector Comparison tool to compare these new projectors head to head, or to match them up against current best selling home theater projectors.

What are these new low-priced 1080p projectors missing? For starters, the new projectors don’t specify the 120hz frame rate that really set the Sanyo PLV3000, Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB and Panasonic PT-AE3000U apart from the entry level home theater projectors. There is also no lens shift or power zoom, which could arguably be considered a necessary feature for the DIY projector installer. But for $999, you might be willing to get creative in the way you mount your projector. We will be doing more comparison as the new units roll in. Stay tuned!

Vivitek 1080p $999 Home Theater Projector Coming Soon!

Vivitek introduces $999 1080p projector

Some good news today for the casual videophile with a hankering for bargain home theater. There will soon be a true HD 1080p home theater projector on the market for just $999. The new Vivitek H1080FD projector is expected to ship in August 2009, and it’s burying the price barrier by taking entry level 1080p downtown to $999. So how can 1080p be so cheap?

[ In Photo : Christopher Yang, Vivitek senior product manager. Photo via Twice.com ]

Compromising Contrast?

We don’t have the official Vivitek spec sheet just yet, so there may be additions or changes before the projector hits the streets. But based on what has been reported, the features appear to be similar to previous low-priced home theater projectors with a couple nice additions.

So what are the compromises buyers will have to make to get a true HD projector for this price? We haven’t seen the product in person yet (and we hope to soon) but if we just compare spec for spec it looks like the biggest loser on this projector is the contrast ratio. At just 5000:1 contrast, the H1080FD doesn’t compare to the current 1080p champs at around 60,000:1. This means blacks may appear more gray, and that the image may be a bit less punchy.

But if you’re not picky about contrast, this projector will save you a few hundred bucks. And for buyers who care mostly about price, a lower contrast ratio may not be a big issue. That is as long as the video quality is up to true high-definition par.

Features of the Vivitek H1080FD Projector

There is no lens shift mentioned which makes sense, as it is not common in an entry level projector. The H1080FD is a DLP home theater projector and using DarkChip II technology. But with 1800 lumens the H1080FD should produce a nice bright picture. It also has two HDMI inputs, a 12v screen trigger, and RS-232 control, which are all strong features in entry level home theater.

So When Can I Buy a 1080p Projector for $999?

Vivitek should have models on the streets by August of 2009 – next month. We also expect to see some other manufacturers coming out with $999 1080p projectors soon. So you should have a bit more selection in this low-end 1080p category after Summer and into the holiday season.

How Much Am I Really Saving?

Currently entry level 1080p projectors hover at around $1499 to $1799, and have reached as low as $1299 for close out models early this year. That means your actual savings is around $300 – $700 for a comparable unit today – but with lower contrast. It also remains to be seen if the video quality matches the quality of current entry-level projectors, or if this projector represents a new lower entry level category that may just open up 1080p front projection to a broader audience.

You can check out an article on the Vivitek H1080FD here. [ via Twice.com ]

Projector Central Reviews the Epson Ensemble HD Home Theater System

Projector Central got a hold of an Epson Ensemble HD 6100 package and has just published their review. We wanted to make you aware of it and throw in one or two thoughts which you can take or leave. Below are some quotes pulled from the review. You can also just read the full review on Projector Central.

Projector Central says :

“The Ensemble is designed not to be the ultimate in home theater, but to be an all in one, easy to install solution that eliminates the mystery of assembling all of the components on your own. It is meant for the person who likes the idea of big home theater with a front projector and big, bold surround sound, but isn’t quite sure where to start, but doesn’t want to spend a lot of time in research and product selection. It is meant for the typical consumer who wants home theater but doesn’t want to turn it into a full time job or hobby.”

Exactly sir! The real reason this product should be a big seller is in the details. Our customer service team installed the entire system in one of our conference rooms and they were able to complete the task in a work day.

Projector Central says :

“But the real “Wow” factor of the Ensemble isn’t found in the spec sheets. It’s actually very simple: if someone told you five years ago that you could have a complete home theater, with 5.1 surround and a high-definition front projector, for less than $7,500, you would have laughed. Today, it is available at over 200 dealers around the country, as well as two authorized online resellers for the do-it-yourself crowd. If you are looking for a great big screen solution with the full surround sound experience, and want it installed in short order with no muss or fuss, the Epson Ensemble may be just the solution.”

We second (or third that if you read the Projector Reviews overview) that emotion. And not only have they made the price reasonable (not cheap, but very reasonable), they have removed a great cost to the customer in hassle. So the customer who is willing to pay a little more (and not much more) to spare the cost of hassle, should recognize that an Epson Ensemble system is a serious bargain.

Anyway, enough of our overview. Slide on over to Projector Central and read the complete Epson Ensemble HD system review here.
http://www.projectorcentral.com/epson_ensemble_hd_review.htm

Mitsubishi Projector Rebates Update

If you have purchased a Mitsubishi projector with a rebate over the past year or so – and have not received your rebate yet, then this may affect you. We post this primarily to ease any concern from our customers who may have purchased a Mitsubishi projector with a rebate recently.

The company that Mitsubishi had used to manage their rebate payments has declared bankruptcy, which means Mitsubishi will have to find another provider soon, or manage the rebates themselves. It is possible that there will be some delay in processing, but Mitsubishi still plans to meet the requirements as posted in the rebate documents.

Mitsubishi has assured all of its resellers that they are already working on securing another promotional agency to take over, but warns that it may take some time. However, they also provided to answers to what are likely to be the most common questions from our customers. We have posted their two question Q and A below.

Mitsubishi Projector Rebate Questions:

1. Where do I send my mail-in rebate?

Please continue to send the rebates to the address listed on the rebate form. The rebates will be forwarded to the appropriate location for further processing.

2. Will my mail-in rebate still be honored?

All mail-in rebates as advertised are still valid and would be honored with their original terms and conditions. They should continue to be submitted as written for consideration of the promotion.

We hope this answers any questions you may have. We will keep you updated if there are any changes to the situation. This should be just a short term bump in the road for Mitsubishi, and will not likely have an effect on many consumers. However, I wouldn’t expect any aggressive new end-user rebates on Mitsubishi projectors till they get the details nailed down.

Projector People is Now a Black Diamond Screen Dealer!

We are very excited to announce a new partnership with an innovative screen dealer, SI Screens. SI Screens is the maker of the buzz-worthy Black Diamond screen system. We are proud to now have the opportunity to offer this product to you. In case you aren’t familiar with SI Screens, we thought we’d give you a quick rundown. If your attention span wanes, just watch the shorter video below and you’ll get the idea.

What’s SOOO Great About Black Diamond Screens?

Three things come to mind : improved contrast, clarity and color. These are the top reasons the Black Diamond screens are so sought after by home theater enthusiasts. Let’s discuss more about each.

Contrast : Better Black and Better White

As the name suggests, a Black Diamond screen is black – not just the velvet border around the screen – but the screen surface itself. The black color, as you might expect, pumps up black levels, making for a deep, dark black experience when projecting black. Producing dark black is a challenge for projectors even though great strides have been made in just the past five years. The Black Diamond screen offers an even greater improvement in black levels.

So, the next obvious question is, how does the black screen manage white? The answer, amazingly well! It may be an optical illusion or something, but white really punches off the BlackDiamond screens. I am sure there is technical information on how it works somewhere. But it’s really something you just need to see to appreciate. We have video below so you can get a look for yourself.

Since contrast is a comparison of black to white in an image, you can imagine that improving both black and white performance is going to make for a dramatically higher contrast image.

Clarity : Brightness That Lasts All Day Long

As somebody who was probably famous once said… a picture is worth a thousand words. So, moving images must be like 24x that. Here’s a quick video to give you a visual of how the Black Diamond screens do (compared to a white screen) in a room with ambient light. Check it out below.

Color : Vibrant and Accurate

ISF calibration, or home DVD color calibration, is a big deal for many home theater enthusiasts. And whether they know it or not, it also makes a big difference with people who just like great looking video. You know, people who like grass to look green, and the sky to look blue. So, those who live and breathe home theater will want to have their projectors ISF calibrated so that the image looks the way the director intended. And everyone else will just want what they watch to look ‘normal’ and consistently good while watching a dark action film, or a daytime game.

One of the claims to fame for the SI Black Diamond screen is that it keeps that ISF calibration ‘valid’ in rooms that have varying light levels. When the lights are on, the Black Diamond screen keeps the color in the image consistent, and does not allow the ambient light in the room to affect the image. Since many people want to use their projectors for daytime – for watching football or other daytime sports for example – this is a real benefit, and keeps projectors more in line with the performance of an LCD or plasma TV.

QUICK TIP : Watch the video below. It provides a great example of how well the Black Diamond screen can perform in lights on situations. Before the Black Diamond screen, projecting a 100-inch image on a screen outdoors was really somewhat of a leap of faith. Viewers had to accept a far less than perfect image, and in some cases, would have to strain to catch all the action.

So, bar owners and restaurateurs, take note of the video around 1:50. This is an alternative to an LCD or plasma that would cost much more for a display of that size. A projector can also be easily put away when not in use – at the end of the night or in bad weather. The Black Diamond screen can simply be covered, and can be washed down if it gets dirty.

So, as you can imagine we are very excited to offer these high quality – potentially industry changing – screens to our selection of home theater screens. Orders can be placed today online at ProjectorPeople.com. You can also speak to one of our Projector Experts about pricing and shipping information for Black Diamond and other SI Screens.

Click here for a list of available SI Black Diamond screens from ProjectorPeople.com.

Or click here to visit the SI Screens website.