Why is now the perfect time to buy?
See the Panasonic PT-AE7000U in action:
What are you waiting for?
Why is now the perfect time to buy?
See the Panasonic PT-AE7000U in action:
What are you waiting for?
[ this is a reprint of our Projector People Post home theater tech story ]
Ho! Ho! Ho! The Holidays are here again! And the decade will end on a particularly joyous year for the home theater enthusiast on a budget. Why? Well, you could say it’s because our best selling new projectors are aggressively priced right out of the gate. Or you might also say it’s because there is so much wonderful HD content out there. Or maybe it’s just because the newest projectors produce the best looking video you’ve ever seen on a 120-inch screen. Whatever reason resonates, this is a great year for big screen, home theater projection. So, let’s move on to some of our usual holiday buyers guide. You’ll get some tips for saving money, and fast and easy tech information that’ll help you pick the best home theater projector for you.
Before we get into our technical guide, here are a few pages that might lead to savings for you. Our demo projector inventory (usually very limited use projectors), rebates and promotions, Deal of the Day, and other specials we may featured are linked below.
SAVINGS TIP: Due to manufacturer regulations, authorized resellers have to be a little creative in order to offer you our best price. So add your projector to your cart to see the lowest prices on most projectors. Or, request a quick quote for a Sanyo product to see the lowest price. Packages are also a good way to find additional savings. Call for the most up to date pricing or to create a custom package.
As usual, we will start with brightness. Brightness is an important specification, but not much has changed over the past year. In general, dedicated home theaters (ceiling mounted projector in a room with controlled lighting) are still your best space for achieving a flawless image, even with a low lumen projector. Media rooms, backyard theaters, converted garages and basements will most likely require a projector with more brightness to get the best image. But really, about any new home theater projector is going to be bright enough in most environments. Still, we have put together a chart for brightness in general conditions. Call a Projector Expert if you have special considerations in your space.
|Room Type||Recommended Brightness|
|Small Theaters*||900 – 1500 lumens (or more)|
|Large Theaters**||1200 – 2000 lumens (or more)|
|Outdoor Theaters||1500 lumens (or more)|
|Media Rooms***||2000 lumens (or more)|
* Dedicated space with controlled lighting and a screen under 100-inches.
** Dedicated space with controlled lighting and a screen over 100-inches.
*** A media room as defined here is a space with windows that is used for multi-purpose entertaining.
SAVINGS TIP: If you see higher lumen ratings on a low priced projector, there is usually going to be a trade off for contrast, video processing and/or optics. When buying, ponder the importance of image quality versus image brightness. Do you want a flawless image in a dedicated space? Or a more flexible media room projector that will work with the lights on? The more expensive projectors will offer you both brightness and image quality, but may lack portability. Ask a Projector Expert for more about what is right for your viewing habits.
Last year we said ‘if you can afford 1080p HD, then get 1080p HD.’ This year, there are plenty of ‘budget’ 1080p options. So the question becomes, entry level (low priced) 1080p or high end (higher priced) 1080p projection? Our 720p category has all but disappeared, with just one or two strong products left on the market. So, the answer to which resolution is right for you, is in most cases 1080p. No chart needed for that. However, there are certainly more questions to be asked about the technical differences between high and low-end 1080p projectors. For that, I am going to share a few blog entries where we cover the details in depth.
Compare Three $999 High Resolution Projectors
BenQ W1000, Optoma HD20, and Vivitek H1080FD featured in this article. Brightness, contrast, and more are explored. Click here to read »
Compare Three High End 1080p Projectors
Panasonic PT-AE4000U, Epson Home Cinema 8500UB, and BenQ W6000 discussed within. Brightness, contrast, and more are explored. Click here to read »
Compare Entry Level $999 1080p to High End HD Projectors
Video comparison and information about the differences between the two categories. Click here to read »
This has been a breakthrough year for low prices in home theater projection. Projectors have broken two price barriers. Entry level true HD 1080p home theater now under $1000 (at $999) and high-end home theater for as low as $1999. That’s good news for buyers that have been watching and waiting for lower prices. For those who prefer suggested products mentioned directly, here’s a quick breakdown of products in the three home theater categories.
Entry Level Home Theater : $999
Mid Level Home Theater : $1199 – $1499
High End Home Theater : $1999 – $2499
If you’d rather just see the projector in action, we’ve got some video for you. We have recently added the Panasonic PT-AE4000U, BenQ W6000, and Vivitek H1080FD to our Home Theater Showroom. We’ve also taken some video of the Vivitek H1080FD, Panasonic PT-AE4000U (low quality), and Optoma HD20. We will be adding more as soon as we have a chance to do some head-to-head shootouts.
If you aren’t already following us on Twitter, or Facebook, then you may not know that our first shipment of the new Panasonic PT-AE4000U has just arrived!
We’ve got a couple truckloads full of them, so we are happy to report that all of our customers who pre-ordered their AE4000U should have theirs on the way to them before the end of the week – aka today or tomorrow.
One of our Facebook fans is already planning his first movie night with new J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie (available November 17th on Blu-Ray and DVD)!
If you don’t already know about the new Panasonic PT-AE4000U, then we have some stuff for you to read. Just a few weeks ago we didn’t even know if it would be available in the U.S. Then, we found out it would be coming here, and we dropped the price on the old AE3000U and sold through our remaining inventory in short order.
Also popular, the Epson Home Cinema 8500 UB and the BenQ W6000, can be compared here. Also, we had a Panasonic representative here a few weeks ago, here’s some not so good video of her AE4000U presentation.
Alright, so now you are up to speed on the Panasonic PT-AE4000U. Now all you have to do is wait a few days for yours to roll in – or upgrade your shipping ASAP and have it for Halloween.
And just for fun… here is some video of the unloading – because we have iPhones, a Flickr account (we won’t bother YouTube with this one), and are very excited
[ The first truck this morning, almost unloaded ]
We’ve been getting lots of questions about when the new $999 projectors will be in stock here at ProjectorPeople.com. Here’s a very quick review of when we expect to receive our first/next shipment* of three new sub-$1000 1080ps from BenQ, Optoma, and Vivitek. (Updated October 5th, 2009)
* Dates subject to change, but this is our best currently available information on the new projectors.
You can check out our complete selection of 1080p Projectors here.
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 ]
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.
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.
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.
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 ]