Wanna Buy a $10,000 Home Theater Projector for $3,000?

Just two or three years ago, a 800-1000 lumen, 720p native resolution, 2000:1 contrast ratio DLP™ projector would have cost you around $10,000. We can now offer you one for just $2,999 with a three-year warranty to boot. If you have been biding your time for the prices to drop, it’s time to start paying attention again.

Lower Prices on DLP™ Home Theater Projectors

Low price, high-resolution, LCD home theater projectors have been selling like hotcakes for the past year, as their prices have approached the $1,000 mark (see Sanyo Z2). But high-resolution DLP™ projectors are among the most significant price reductions to date. A look inside DLP™ technology

More about DLP™ Projection Technology

DLP™ front projectors come in two varieties: single-chip and three-chip. Projector People carries primarily the single-chip variety, which compile the majority of DLP™ projectors sold. Three-chip DLP™ projectors cost significantly more, pricing them out of the average consumer’s pocket book. Inside the single-chip DLP™ projector is a Digital Micromirror Device (DMD) which has up to 1.3 million tiny mirrors (depending on resolution) each representing a single pixel. These mirrors tilt back and forth, deflecting light as indicated by the source and create an image by reflecting the light of the lamp. Color is produced by a fast-spinning color wheel that alternates the light hitting the mirrors in red, green, and blue.
Popular High-Resolution Home Theater Projectors Compared
Specification Optoma H77 (DLP™ – HD2 plus) Optoma H78 (DLP™ – DC3) Panasonic PT-AE700U (LCD)
Resolution WXGA-H (1280 x 720) WXGA-H (1280 x 720) WXGA-H (1280 x 720)
Brightness 900 lumens 800 lumens 1000 lumens
Contrast Ratio 3500:1 4000:1 2000:1
Regular Price $2,999 $3,999 $2,199
Warranty 3 years 2 years 1 year

Comparing DLP™ Projectors

When comparing DLP™ projectors, you will want to understand the two critical components: the type of DMD chip and the style of color wheel used.

DMD Chip

Texas Instruments is the sole manufacturer of DLP™ chips, and is the brain-trust behind DLP™ technology. You will most likely find one of three different kinds of chips in a new DLP™ home theater projector. The brand new DarkChip 3, HD2 plus or the original HD2. The newer chips will have the highest contrast ratios, at approximately 4000:1 (Optoma H78). The HD2 produced contrast ratios around 2500:1, and the HD2 plus as high as 3500:1 (Optoma H77).

Color Wheel

Color wheels are broken into segments. Early DLP™’s had 4-segment wheels with red, green, blue, and white (RGB-W) while newer projectors (like the Optoma H78) can have as many as 8 segments with 2 windows of red, green, blue, and dark green. The newer color wheels allow for brighter images while maintaining DLP™ color saturation. Our most popular Optoma projectors are among the best DLP™ values on the market. Consider some of the following features in our two most popular Optoma projectors.
  • Eight-segment Color Wheels (Red, Blue, Green, Dark Green x2)
  • 3500-4000:1 contrast ratios (DarkChip 3 and HD2 plus)
  • 3,000 hour lamp life
  • 3-year warranty on H77 (third year offer exclusive to Projector People)
  • High-altitude sensor for improved lamp life in high altitudes
  • Advanced cooling systems for quieter operation and cooler chassis
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Panasonic PT-L500U Home Theater projector

Steve Perry, Panasonic PT-L500U owner since February 2005 says…

"We really love the theater and have been buying widescreen movies ever since it was completed. Even the guys at the home builders supply yard have been keeping track of my progress and want to check out the theater. They sort of feel like they had a hand in its creation since I bought all the wood there! People who have visited don’t have a clue when they walk into the theater how impressive the image is going to be. Many have been "converted" to home theater fans…

Click here to view full showroom.

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Let Your Light Shine

Ambient Light, Brightness, and Color

Just a few years ago, a projector was considered ‘ultra-bright’ if it was able to produce 1000 lumens of brightness. Now 1000 lumens has become a benchmark for a value projector. A 1000 lumen projector can still produce images that are visible in a room with the lights on. However, it typically takes a brighter projector to make the colors ‘pop’ the way they do when the lights are turned off. Contrast ratio can also impact the boldness of color, but brightness often reduces the effects of high contrast. Projectors that are both bright and high contrast generally cost more than the value models.

New ‘Daylight View’

Free Casio EX-Z55 Digital Camera

Free digital camera

Retail: $349 (FREE with purchase of Casio XJ-360 or XJ-560 projector.)

The Casio EX-Z55 Exilim is a thin, stylish, 5 megapixel digital camera with 3X optical zoom. Features large, 2.5-inch LCD monitor screen and a SUPER LIFE BATTERY: approximately 400 shots on a single charge. That’s 10% longer than the previous model (EX-Z40), with a greater number of pixels and a larger display screen.

Limit one camera per customer. Offer good thru 7/31/2005 or while supplies last. Please contact your sales representative when placing your order. Visit ProjectorPeople.com for other rebates and special offers: http://www.projectorpeople.com/projectors/projector-rebates.asp.

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How to Shop for a Home Theater Projector

Typical Home Theater Setup How can you tell if the price is right for a home theater projector? Projector People offers you shopping tips for the best buys in home projection. Read on.

Determine Your Price Range

It’s always a good idea to determine a budget before making a major purchase. For an idea of how much to allow for this purchase you can look at package offers. Even if the products in the special offers are not what you want, it can at least give you a general idea of what a system costs. In a front projection home theater system, your projector should be your most expensive line item, because it will be the primary focus. Surround sound speakers, a screen, a projector mount, and other components such as a DVD player will round out your total package. See our Typical Home Theater Scenario for more information.

Basic Specs to Check

The specifications that have the greatest impact on projector price are internal technology, brightness, and resolution. Here is a quick look at which specs cost more and which typically cost less.
Typical Specs and Price Breakdown
Specification Costs Less Costs More
Resolution WVGA (854×480) WXGA (1280×720)
Brightness 700 lumens 1000+ lumens
Technology LCD DLP™

Features that Add Value

Beyond the basic specifications there are additional features that add value to a projector purchase. These extras should be factored into the overall value of the projector you choose.
  • Lower noise level – Less than 30 dB is preferable
  • Zoom lenses are more desirable than fixed lenses.
  • Multiple video inputs are a plus
  • Longer lamp life will save money down the line
Mitsubishi projectors such as the HC3 have a feature called “Natural Color Matrix” which is a color adjustment system that allows users to adjust a wider spectrum of color. Beyond the usual RGB (red, green, blue) to include a broader YMC (Yellow, Magenta, and Cyan) adjustment, Natural Color Matrix allows each of the six colors to be individually adjusted without affecting the hues of the other spectrum colors. For example, red can be increased to appear richer and more intense without altering yellow and magenta.

Special Offers and Rebates

Don’t forget to factor in the manufacturer and reseller incentives available on specific models. High-volume purchases by resellers and end-of-life specials from manufacturers are great ways to save money or add value to your purchase. Projector People is currently offering a number of special offers on home theater projectors, some of which are exclusive to ProjectorPeople.com. Check out our rebates and promotions for current specials.   , , ,