New $999 1080p Projectors Compared

BenQ W1000

Just about all of the new and exciting home theater projectors have already hit the shelves here at ProjectorPeople.com. In fact, unlike distributors of Eggo Waffles, we should be well stocked for the holiday season for the most popular projectors. However, the $999 1080p home theater projectors have kept buyers in waiting, as some models shipped more quickly and in greater supply than others.

So, naturally, one question we keep hearing is, “Which of the new $999 1080p projectors is the best?” So, we thought we’d talk about some of the differences between our top three $999 1080p models (BenQ W1000, Optoma HD20, and Vivitek H1080FD) to help folks sort out which might be the best choice for them.

Similar, But Not the Same

Optoma HD20

We should probably start by mentioning that these are all very similar projectors. The same basic technology (DLP chip) is used in each of the three. If you saw an image each of them individually for a half hour, then were sent out of the room, came back in and saw all three together (with the chassis covered), I’d bet a dollar that you wouldn’t able to tell which image belonged to which. And you’d probably think they all looked pretty darn good. However, there are some differences in features. And although all of these entry-level projectors are light on features, some of the differences may matter to you. Check out our quick comparison chart below.

Comparison Chart : New $999 1080p Home Theater Projectors


Projector BenQ W1000 Optoma HD20 Vivitek H1080FD
Resolution HD (1920 x 1080) HD (1920 x 1080) HD (1920 x 1080)
Panel/Chip DLP DLP DLP
Brightness 1800 lumens 1700 lumens 1800 lumens
Contrast 2700:1 4000:1 5000:1
Video Inputs HDMI (x2), Component (RCAx1), Composite (RCAx1), S-Video (x1), VGA (x1), USB Type B (x1), RS-232 (x1), Analog Audio (x1), Stereo Mini-Jack (x1 in and 1 out) HDMI (x2), Component (RCAx1), Composite (RCAx1), 12v Screen Trigger (x1), VGA (x1) HDMI (x2), Component (RCAx1), Composite (RCAx1), S-Video (x1), 12v Screen Trigger (x1), VGA (x1), RS-232 (x1)
120 Hz No No No
Throw Distance 1.59 – 1.9 1.5 – 1.8 2 – 2.4
Weight 7.5 lbs. 6.4 lbs. 5.7 lbs.
Built-in Speakers 3W mono n/a 5W mono
Warranty 1 yr. pj, 90-days lamp 2 yr. pj, 90-days lamp 1 yr. pj, 90-days lamp
Street Price $999* $999* $999*
In Stock? Week of Thanksgiving In stock at time of publication* In stock at time of publication*  
Full specs BenQ W1000 Optoma HD20 Vivitek H1080FD
We Have Video Not yet High-end comparison video Official Vivitek guy talks video

* For current prices and availability please check the ProjectorPeople.com website.

And Now a Break Down…

So, now you see some of the key specs. And if you want more, you can see a complete comparison chart here. But let’s discuss the potential differences between these very similar projectors.

Brightness

1800 or 1700 lumens. What’s the difference? Not much! But at least you can tell your friends who bought the Optoma HD20 that you have 100 more lumens in your living room. And if you bought the Optoma HD20, you can tell your friends that bought the BenQ W1000 or Vivitek H1080FD that Optoma is just more careful and conservative. And if you haven’t bought any of them yet, then don’t worry about the brightness. It’s not a significant differentiator here.

Contrast

Vivitek H1080FD

Contrast might actually be visibly different between these units, but having not seen them all in person head-to-head, we can only really say, they all actually look almost better than they spec. DLP, the technology used in each of the three projectors, has always had nice contrasty look. The blacks look very deep, and the colors are full and rich, even on a 2700:1 DLP projector.

Now if you’re comparing a projector with a 200,000:1 contrast ratio to a 5000:1 model, what you’d see is a difference in detail. The beauty is in the gradients, grays and color accuracy. And make no mistake, there is a significant difference between the two. But from 2700:1 to 5000:1 in two projectors the same technology, any difference you see initially can probably be ‘tweaked’ away. So mark this one as another spec not to worry too much about.

Speaker

Built-in speakers are not terribly common on home theater projectors, but it is an admittedly handy feature to have. There’s nothing like just plugging in a DVD player to your projector and having a 100-inch screen pop up in front of you. Add to that the instant gratification of sound to go with it. This is likely to be a popular feature for traveling presenters, who want to have an instant movie theater on the road. Of course, most home theater enthusiasts will hook up some speakers. Unless they are insane.

Throw Distance

There isn’t a huge difference between the three projectors, but the Vivitek H1080FD does specify a longer throw distance, which might be handy in some cases. Essentially that just means you can mount/place the projector a little bit further back and make a smaller image. There isn’t much zoom on these and if you have a specific place you need to place the projector, call a Projector Expert to make sure that you can get the screen size you want from the location you want to place the projector.

Connectivity

All three units have two (2) HDMI inputs, which is what most folks will want to use. But there are connections that are available on some and not others. S-video, VGA, and 12v screen trigger are all included on the BenQ W1000, as well as a specified support for 1900×1200 computer signals (the others may do this also, since they have a VGA connection, but it is not quoted on their spec sheets). The Optoma seems to have the sparsest connectivity options, but it has what most will need. So, if you want to hook up something that’s not HDMI, make sure your $999 projector choice has that function.

Other Stuff?

Our customers are very good at letting us know if we missed something in a review. Please leave a comment below if you have something to add! And we will make updates if there are surprises – or stuff we didn’t think about – with any of the models here.