Get Olympic Gold in HD Package Savings!

Olympic Coupon Deal

Were you one of those kids that dreamed of the day that an official looking person wearing a sweatsuit would carefully drape a shiny gold (or silver cuz you’re modest) medal over your head and onto your neck while playing your national anthem? Or, perhaps you dreamt of scoring the winning goal over the Russians in an unbelievable finish… a miracle on ice! Or, maybe you dreamt you were a major underdog from the Jamaica bobsled team racing for the first time for your country, and that your life would eventually become a Disney movie. Or, did you ever want to strike someone in the knee before a major competition?

Okay, then were you one of those kids who dreamed of having a giant home theater in your home so that you could watch movies and sports on a screen the size of your garage door? Yeah, now we’re talkin. AND in that dream, did you have to pay a LOT of money for your giant big screen? Of course not!! So, in the spirit of competition, and bigger dreams, we’re offering you $50 off select HD Home Theater packages throughout the 2010 Olympic Winter games. Get the details here:

Use Coupon Code : GIMMIEGOLD for $50 off!

Choose from one of our packages below and save an additional $50 off the already discounted price. (or see more here) :

Offer Dates : Sale offers valid Wednesday, February 10th – Sunday, February 28th
Shipping Costs : In stock projectors include free ground shipping within the continental US, but shipping charges will apply for accessories and out of stock projectors. For a limited time there will be free shipping on all items in the BenQ W6000 package. All offers are while supplies last and subject to change without notice.

Complete list here »

3D Projector Technology : The Good. The Less Good. The Backstory.

House of Wax trailer image

The good people at Projector Central have recently posted a highly informative article on 3D projectors and we wanted to share it with you ASAP. They beat us to the punch, and have provided an in depth look at 3D projector technologies, and for that, we thank them. Here is the full article on “The Renaissance of 3D“. Below are some excerpts from their contribution and some additional thought-shares.

From Projector Central:

3D projection has been available in various forms for a very long time. The first mainstream 3D films made their debut during the 1950s. People at the time were convinced that 3D was the Future of Cinema. Films like Bwana Devil, Man in the Dark, House of Wax, and It Came from Outer Space thrilled audiences with this new technology. Despite a strong push, 3D didn’t stick. The few 3D theaters that existed had a hard time with the expensive, complex equipment. Small mistakes could send the two-projector system out of synchronization and destroy the effect. Audiences were dissatisfied with the lackluster image quality and poor viewing conditions. For a number of years, 3D lay dormant…
[ Note: I added links to the trailers, you are very welcome! ]

With all the classic camp films mentioned above, and really since the re-mergence of 3D into our projector world, I keep having flashbacks to the 90’s movie Matinee. The movie celebrates all the great theater gimmicks from yesteryear; seat buzzers, explode-o-vision, smell-o-rama, and even 3D. The movie is only partially about the movie business, it’s also a coming of age story that takes place during the Cuban Missile Crisis, but it’s the look into the creative brain of a slightly sleazy theater manager (Lawrence Woolsey played by John Goodman) in the 60’s that sticks with you. In a world where television is becoming a household item, theaters have to compete for business and Woolsey is not above any crowd-pleasing idea that will keep kids in the seats. No, this isn’t a review of the movie. But I’d give it 3 1/2 out of 5 stars for fun. Roger Ebert agrees.

Anyway, as they mention over at ProjectorCentral.com, the concept of 3D has been around for as long as the majority of our demographic can remember. But till now, it’s always been considered a bit gimmicky. So why is it having a ‘renaissance’ now? And is it for real this time? Read on.

…Now, 3D has made yet another comeback with films such as The Polar Express, Coraline, Monsters vs. Aliens, and (of course) Avatar. This time around, there are several key differences which indicate that 3D might be here for good. With the advent of digital cinema, synchronization and timing issues have been eliminated. Decreases in the cost and complexity of cinema projection equipment have made it possible for 3D systems to be installed in many more theaters. And filmmakers are learning how to work with 3D, leaving behind the gimmicky effects of the previous generations in favor of more immersive, integral applications of depth.

So, better content, a more immersive experience, and a lower cost to produce and project have suddenly (after 50 years) made 3D a viable technology. The challenge for manufacturers now will be to convince buyers like you that it is time to make an investment in 3D. This will be much easier if the cost of upgrading hardware is minimal. And, it will also help if there is a solution that does not require $100-$200 glasses for each viewer. Many buyers (like those who already wear glasses) would probably prefer no glasses at all, though they do seem to be a part of the fun. Also, as with any new technology, standardization will be necessary to convince weary buyers to upgrade any time soon. So, where are manufacturers with standardization? What are the old technologies we have seen before? What is the new technology and why is it better?

In the article, Projector Central explains all the primary varieties of 3D creation today; Anaglyph Method, Polarizer Method, Interference Filter 3D, and the LCD Shutter Glasses Method. These represent the old red/blue glasses variation (Anaglyph), as well as what we have previously referred to as “active glasses” method that has been adopted by many projector manufacturers (like the Optoma HD66 home projector, Mitsubishi XD600U for business, among several other new models). Here’s a bit about the new active glasses method:

LCD shutter glasses are the first high-quality 3D implementation suitable for home use. In systems that use these glasses, the video display shows alternating left-right images very rapidly–up to 120 frames per second. The viewer wears a pair of active LCD shutter glasses which alternately block the left or right eye. Much like the effect of a DLP color wheel, this happens so quickly that your brain melds the two images together and creates the impression of a single image with 3D depth.

{ Advantages of Shutter Glasses }

They offer a great review of the pros and cons of each method, and knowing all this is great way to impress your friends when they first get wind of the third-dimension’s return. It’s a highly recommended read if you like to know.

In a previous blog post we talked about the HDMI 1.4 standard and HDMI, and explored some of what will be required for an upgrade on the cable side (hopefully nothing). There is still more information to come about 3D compatibility with current projectors, and what kind of upgrade potential is possible. We will keep you informed as we learn more details on the product level.

As you may have been able to tell, this blogger is a little concerned about the staying power of 3D. I’d hate to encourage people to make upgrades if 3D is going to fade away into the abyss for another 30years. And I’d hate to recommended it if rolling your eyes for two hours gives you a headache. But there is a good deal of promise for 3D in the near future. For the moment, it’s still in the land of the early adopter. But, with all the potential fun of 3D back in theaters, wouldn’t it be fun to bring back more of that old cinema feel back in the day?

Now is the time for inventors to consider some new fun cinema technologies. And what if they brought back the ‘news reels’ before each show? Imagine the headlines to the pre-show reel for Avatar “150,000 acres of rain forests destroyed in the last 24-hours.” That’d be a crowd pleaser! On second thought, 3D sounds like more fun. And this time, we hope they’ll make it truly immersive, and not just another gimmick.

[ Read complete story at ProjectorCentral.com ]

High End 1080p Home Theater Projectors Compared

As you wish, readers! That’s our motto!

We have had many requests to see the Epson Home Cinema 8500 UB and the Panasonic PT-AE4000U head-to-head, so we’ve put together a video comparison just for you! We are also including a lesser known (perhaps ‘underdog’) DLP projector; the Vivitek H5080 to the shootout.

So, let’s start with the video (view it here or below). Then we will move on to some additional analysis of what we saw in our shootout.


Video Timeline Breakdown : Hammer Time


  • 0:00 – 0:21 – Introduction to yellow shirt
  • 0:22 – 0:40 – Epson Home Cinema 8500 UB overview
  • 0:45 – 1:00 – Vivitek H5080 overview
  • 1:00 – 1:20 – Panasonic PT-AE4000U overview
  • 1:20 – 2:00 – Three projectors compared for color in default dynamic range
  • 2:05 – 3:15 – Lens shift and zoom capability, and additional features on Panasonic PT-AE4000U
  • 3:15 – 3:40 – Close up video from the Panasonic PT-AE4000U
  • 3:40 – 5:30 – Lens shift and zoom capability on the Vivitek H5080
  • 5:30 – 6:00 – Close up video from the Vivitek H5080
  • 6:00 – 6:40 – Lens shift and zoom capability and features on the Epson Home Cinema 8500 UB
  • 7:00 – 7:25 – Close up video from the Epson Home Cinema 8500 UB

High End 1080p Projectors : Pros and Cons

As you can see, Rodney looks ravishing in yellow! And he’s given a nice rundown on the primary differences between the three projectors. Feel free to share your own opinions below, and here is a cheat sheet for shoppers of pros and cons between the three 1080p projectors.

Epson Home Cinema 8500 UB projector review

Epson Home Cinema 8500 UB

Pros: 2-year warranty with no specified hour limitation*, 120hz, THX color mode, (best in class) 200:000:1 contrast ratio, broader zoom range than Panasonic AE4000 and H5080

Cons: Manual (but not cumbersome) lens shift and zoom, x2 HDMI inputs (versus x3) , mid range MAP price at $2499 ($200 rebate may apply. See here for latest promotions and best price.)

* There is no specified limit to the number of hours you can use the Epson Home Cinema 8500 UB within the 2-year warranty period. This won’t be an issue for most users, but to those who use the projector over 2000 hours in the first year or two, it can provide some peace of mind. The Panasonic AE4000 has a 1 year warranty standard, with an additional year of warranty with mail in rebate. Both the AE4000U and the 8500 UB have a 90-day lamp warranty. Vivitek offers just 30 days on the lamp and 1 year on the projector.

Vivitek H5080 projector review

Vivitek H5080

Pros: Two (2) optional lenses available for short or long throw if needed, DLP technology (a plus for some buyers) with lens shift (not common on a DLP projector), very good color out of the box.

Cons: 60hz, 25000:1 contrast (lower than AE4000U and HC 8500 UB), limited lens shift and zoom, cumbersome lens shift controls, highest MAP price at $2999.

Panasonic PT-AE4000U projector review

Panasonic PT-AE4000U

Pros: Power zoom, lens shift, and focus, very good zoom and lens shift range, preset for recognizing aspect ratios (video from AVForums explains feature here), 100,000:1 very good contrast ratio, lowest MAP price at $1999.

Cons: Slightly red color space out of the box (possibly due to red rich lamp technology), warranty limited to just 2000 hours of use.

[ For a complete comparison chart of specs, click here ]

Projector Shootout : In Person Opinions

During the shootout, our Projector Experts shared their opinions about the three head-to-head. We were given a demo Vivitek H5080 projector that several took home – out of the goodness of their hearts – to review. The H5080 won over over most all of those who took it home. One or two even reported that it was among the best DLP home theater projector they have seen to date.

In our shootout, the Vivitek H5080 got the most positive reviews of the three for color representation with out of box settings. The H5080 was also lauded for its 120hz-like clarity, even though it’s a 60hz unit. There were others who gave the Epson Home Cinema 8500 UB the nod (including myself) for color. Color wise, most felt the Panasonic PT-AE4000U was pushing red (possibly because of the ‘red rich’ lamp technology). Whatever the out of the box settings were, all three are fine tuneable, including a “THX” mode on the Epson Home Cinema 8500 UB and a bunch of tweak-friendly features on the Panasonic PT-AE4000U.

As for features, the Panasonic PT-AE4000U, has all the right moves. Power zoom and lens shift are nice features to have (even though some may only use them once) and the menu includes lots of tools for tweakers. It also featured the widest lens shift range, though it appeared to be second to the Epson HC 8500 UB on the zoom range. The THX setting also looks nice on the Epson 8500 UB, and will be a plus for some buyers. If you have a very short or very long room, the Vivitek is one of the only home theater projectors in this price range that offers optional lenses.

Panasonic PT-AE4000U, Epson Home Cinema 8500 UB, and Vivitek H5080: All Good

The short story, as it usually is, the that the average home theater buyer would be happy with the picture quality of any of the three high end home theater projectors we included above. The decision for most buyers will probably come down to the more technical elements like throw distance, and desired features like 60hz or 120hz frame rate, number of HDMI inputs, or a coolness factor like power zoom and lens shift. And for those who are flexible about features, at least you have this low rez youtube video to help you choose! No problem. You are welcome!

Projector Showroom Updates Coming Soon!

We will soon be adding the Epson Home Cinema 8500 UB, BenQ W1000, and the Optoma HD20 to our HomeTheaterPeople.com showroom. Also the new brand new LG Electronics CF181D has just been added to our site as well as the showroom.