New 1080p Projectors Compared

What’s the latest in 1080p high definition projection? Four new 1080p projectors show promise as the best selling HD projectors of tomorrow. Those are the Sanyo PLV-Z700, Optoma HD806, Epson Home Cinema 6100, and the Panasonic PT-AE3000U. We thought we would compare the initial specifications (they are often tweaked before their final release) for those of you just waiting to get your hands on the best new stuff coming out. Essentially we see higher contrast ratios, lower introductory prices, and more high performance features. Okay, let’s start with our chart.

New 1080p Projector Comparison Chart

[ Based on preliminary specs only. ]

  Epson Home Cinema 6100 Optoma HD806 Panasonic PT-AE3000U Sanyo PLV-Z700
Resolution 1920 x 1080 1920 x 1080 1920 x 1080 1920 x 1080
Panel/Chip D7 LCD DLP 0.95″ DMD D7 LCD D6 LCD
Brightness 1800 2000 1600 1200
Contrast 18,000:1 8,000:1 60,000:1 10,000:1*
HDMI Inputs 2 2 3 2
HDMI Version 1.3a 1.3 1.3 1.3b**
Lens 2.1x Optical Zoom, Manual Focus 1.2x Manual Zoom and Focus 2x Optical Power Zoom/Focus 2x Manual Zoom
Lens shift H 50% & V 100%, manual None H 40% & V 100% H 50% & V 100%
Noise 22 dB 32 dB Not yet spec’d 21 dB
Warranty 2 yr. pj, 90-days lamp 1 yr. pj, 90-days lamp 1 yr. pj, 90-days lamp 3 yr. pj, 90-days lamp
Street Price $1999 MSRP $2599 MAP $3499 MSRP $1995 MSRP
Extras   optional anamorphic lens
DVI input too
2.35:1 w/o anamorphic lens  
Full specs Coming Soon Optoma HD806 full specs Coming Soon Sanyo PLV-Z700 full specs

* Expect Sanyo to post dramatic improvements to this spec before release date.
** We are trying to confirm this. Sanyo reports the HDMI 1.3b input on their projectors is the same dimension as 1.3a HDMI, but with more pins.

A Big Contrast

Contrast ratios are coming in around the 10,000 to 60,000:1 range. But as the numbers get higher, the specification seems to mean less and less. Back in the day when people wanted to bring their work projectors home on the weekends – with 400:1 contrast ratios – contrast ratios were a serious consideration. But the visible difference between 10,000:1 and 60,000:1 contrast is not nearly as dramatic as it sounds. That is not to say that it doesn’t mean something, at least, but a 10,000:1 projector looks MUCH better than a 400:1 contrast projector. But unless you can make your room nearly black, the difference between 60,000:1 and 10,000:1 is not nearly as noticeable.

More Sizzle for your Nickel

This year there seems to be an emergence of more high-performance HD options around the same prices as some of last year’s entry level products. That’s good news for buyer’s who have been planning to spend around $3,000 based on last year’s prices, since they will get more for their money this time. Here’s a link to a blurb on Gizmodo about the Panasonic PT-AE3000U, dropping prices, and the high quality of this new $3000 projectors.

New 1080p Projectors : Product Photos

These photos were not taken by a professional photographer, as you can clearly see. They were taken by a professional product manager with many years of experience in the audio visual industry, and no natural photographic talent. I would show his photo but he doesn’t photograph well either. 🙂

Panasonic PT-AE3000U

Panasonic PT-AE3000U and the AE2000U Upgrades

Panasonic PT-AE3000U projector

Panasonic PT-AE3000U projector

Panasonic PT-AE3000U projector with Panasonic developers

Panasonic PT-AE3000U projector and developers

Sanyo PLV-Z700 projector

Sanyo PLV-Z700 projector