More $999 1080p Projectors on the Home Theater Horizon

Last week we posted about the new Vivitek H1080FD sub-grand home theater projector. Since that press release hit the streets, we have also seen two additional $999 1080p home theater projectors announced – the BenQ W1000 and the Optoma HD20.

Since naturally potential buyers will want to compare all three projectors, we are putting together this quick chart for you. We have yet to see them all in action, but we can compare the specs published by the three manufacturers. Since these seem to be very similarly designed projectors, the actual performance differences will probably be minimal – but we look forward to putting them through the paces here at Projector People.

Three New $999 1080p Home Theater Projectors

BenQ W1000 Projector ($999)

BenQ W1000 Projector

  • Resolution: HD (1920 x 1080)
  • Display Type: DLP Single Chip
  • Brightness: 1800 lumens
  • Contrast: 2700:1
  • Weight: 7.5 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Lamp Life: 3000 hours
  • Also has 2 HDMI (1.3) connections, keystone correction, 3D color management
  • View complete BenQ W1000 specs here »

Optoma HD20 Projector ($999)

Optoma HD20 Projector

  • Resolution: HD (1920 x 1080)
  • Display Type: DLP Single Chip
  • Brightness: 1700 lumens
  • Contrast: 4000:1
  • Weight: 6.4 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Lamp Life: 3000 hours
  • Also has 2 HDMI connections, S-video, and 12v screen trigger
  • View complete Optoma HD20 specs here »

Vivitek H1080FD Projector ($999)

Vivitek H1080FD Projector

  • Resolution: HD (1920 x 1080)
  • Display Type: DLP Single Chip
  • Brightness: 1800 lumens
  • Contrast: 5000:1
  • Weight: 5.7 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Lamp Life: not published
  • Also has 2 HDMI connections, S-video, and 12v screen trigger
  • View complete Vivitek H1080FD specs here »

Quick Tip : Use our Projector Comparison tool to compare these new projectors head to head, or to match them up against current best selling home theater projectors.

What are these new low-priced 1080p projectors missing? For starters, the new projectors don’t specify the 120hz frame rate that really set the Sanyo PLV3000, Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB and Panasonic PT-AE3000U apart from the entry level home theater projectors. There is also no lens shift or power zoom, which could arguably be considered a necessary feature for the DIY projector installer. But for $999, you might be willing to get creative in the way you mount your projector. We will be doing more comparison as the new units roll in. Stay tuned!

Vivitek 1080p $999 Home Theater Projector Coming Soon!

Vivitek introduces $999 1080p projector

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 ]

Compromising Contrast?

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.

Features of the Vivitek H1080FD Projector

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.

So When Can I Buy a 1080p Projector for $999?

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.

How Much Am I Really Saving?

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 ]

Panasonic PT-AE3000U Projector : First Look

Panasonic PT-AE3000U slide versus AE2000U

Today at Projector People we had a sneak preview of the new Panasonic PT-AE3000U projector which is expected to ship somewhere between now and the end of October 2008. We had the great honor of hearing a presentation from Tetsuya (Terry) Koyama on the differences between the AE2000U (last years top selling 1080p home theater projector) and the new AE3000U. We took some notes, video, and photographs for our readers.

You can see a spec by spec comparison of four of the newest 1080p projectors to be released soon in our 1080p Projectors Compared post from last month.

Panasonic PT-AE3000U slide versus AE2000U

Compared : Panasonic PT-AE3000U and Panasonic PT-AE2000U Specs

AE3000 is brighter than the AE2000 by 100 lumens, 1600 vs. 1500
Contrast is much, much higher, 60,000:1 vs. 16,000:1; here’s how:

  • New D7 panels
  • Sandwiched a new “Pure Contrast Plate” onto LCD panels to stop light leakage
  • Doubled the control speed of the dynamic iris mechanism that synchronizes light output to light required by image frame

Cleaner, fast motion graphics; here’s how:

  • New 120Hz drive processor
  • Added a “frame creation” drive to fill in the gaps in fast motion, eg. where this is most visible is panning across type (the map), moving cars (the license plates), and a plane flying across the sky (or a football thrown across the field)

New Lens Memory; what that is:

  • AE3000U can read and playback true HD video in cinemascope format, or 2.35:1 format
  • Keeping the projector in the same place, as when installed, but changing the projector format from 16:9 to 2.35:1 means the zoom and focus of the images need to change to appropriately fill the screen
  • AE3000U has lens memory to install recall the zoom and focus settings that are best for each format

More of the same, great, legacy features:

  • Still collaborating with Hollywood colorists at the Panasonic Hollywood Lab to fine tune the color reproduction of the projector to match the original film content
  • Improved optical lensing; Panasonic still making their own lenses, but this time in the same factory where they produce the sophisticated lenses for the Leica and Lumix cameras
  • Smooth Screen Technology here again
  • Second generation Detail Clarity Processor
  • Same lamp as AE2000

Panasonic PT-AE3000U in Action Images

Panasonic PT-AE3000U left and AE2000U right

Panasonic PT-AE3000U on the left and the AE2000U on the right. (scene from Space Cowboys)

Panasonic PT-AE3000U left and AE2000U right

Panasonic brought two 2.35:1 screens to illustrate the very cool new Lens Memory feature.

Panasonic PT-AE3000U left and AE2000U right

The new AE3000U does a better job with fast moving images. It is difficult to see in this photo, but the image is clearer while in motion. Note the clarity of the license plate. See video below.

See more Projector People photos

Panasonic PT-AE3000U in Action Videos

Panasonic PT-AE3000U on the left. AE2000U on the right. Note at the end the broader spectrum of white/gray visible on the AE3000U. (Scene from Space Cowboys)

Panasonic PT-AE3000U on the left. AE2000U on the right. Note the clarity in the words in motion on the new AE3000U. This is much clearer in person than it appears in this video.

Again, note the clarity in motion on the AE3000U (left).

See more videos of the AE3000U »