New $999 Projectors vs. Today’s Best Sellers

[ This is a repost of our August 2009 Projector People Post Home Theater Newsletter ] Optoma HD20 Projector in action

Newly announced $999 True HD 1080p projectors are the latest buzz in the projection world. These cheaper entry level 1080p projectors are stirring up questions. Most commonly, questions about their level of performance versus the current best selling 1080p projectors. We will do a more thorough investigation later, once we have all three models in stock to compare. We should have inventory on $999 models from BenQ, Optoma, and Vivitek in stock and ready to ship by the end of September. But here is a quick look at the new products to help answer a few questions we’ve heard floating about.

[ Photo : Image from the Optoma HD20 in action. More photos here. ]

Head to Head : Entry Level 1080p versus High End 1080p

Our current best sellers – the Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB, Panasonic PT-AE3000U, and the Sanyo PLV-Z3000 – all come with advanced features the new $999 projectors don’t have (lens shift and zoom lensing to name two). There are also some serious spec advantages like significantly higher contrast ratio and 120hz frame rates in particular. So, here is a quick look at what we currently have to go on for our head-to-head comparison based on the published manufacturer specifications. To make things easier, let’s use the (first to ship) Optoma HD20 and the Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB. You can compare more specs and up to three projectors using our projector comparison tool.

Basic Specs Compared
Projector Epson HC 6500 UB
($2599*)
Optoma HD20
($999)
Vivitek H1080FD
($999)
Contrast 75000:1 4000:1 5000:1
Technology 3LCD DLP single chip DLP single chip
Brightness 1600 lumens 1700 lumens 1800 lumens
Connectivity 2 HDMI, 1 component video, (S-video) 2 HDMI, 1 component video, (no S-video) 2 HDMI, 1 component video, (S-video)
Weight 22 lbs. 6.4 lbs. 5.7 lbs.


Advanced Features Compared
Projector Epson HC 6500 UB
($2599*)
Optoma HD20
($999)
Vivitek H1080FD
($999)
Lens shift Yes No No
Zoom lens 2x zoom 1.2x n/a
Frame Rate 120 Hz 60 Hz 60 Hz
Warranty 2 year and 90 day lamp 1 year and 90 day lamp 1 year and 90 day lamp
Lamp replacement cost $299 (subject to change) $249 (subject to change) n/a
12v screen trigger Yes Yes Yes

* The Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB is currently $2599 and includes a free replacement lamp with purchase.

So, while there are distinct advantages to the higher end home cinema projectors, the new $999 units are a new breed of 1080p product that opens up true HD to a new level of affordability. All you need to do is determine which product fits your budget and will give you all you want for your investment.

Expected Ship Dates for New $999 Projectors

The dates may change, but here’s a the latest on when we expect to receive our first/next shipment* of three new sub-$1000 1080ps.

* Dates subject to change, but this is our best currently available information on the new projectors.

The Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB, Panasonic PT-AE3000U, and Sanyo PLV-Z3000 are all currently in stock and ready to ship. Click to see all our HDTV 1080p projectors. Call for details!