Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) is the most exciting display technology since plasma, but there are a few things it needs to overcome before hitting the mainstream.
Here at CNET we are really excited about big-screen OLED technology. While plasma is the present standard
for videophile-quality displays, OLED is the future.
After finally getting a chance to test one of the first shipping OLED TVs in person, CNET's David Katzmaier says the Samsung S9C OLED
is the best display he's ever seen. It offers almost infinite contrast levels, high light output, and no motion blur, uniformity or off-angle issues. .. More
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BenQ has been on a roll lately. Their W1070 and W1080ST, reviewed earlier this year, are both excellent projectors for home video and gaming. The BenQ W1500 can be thought of as a bulked-up version of the W1070, with a more flexible zoom lens, improved image quality, stereo speakers, and wireless HDMI.
That last feature is sure to raise a few eyebrows. Wireless HDMI makes ceiling mounting the W1500 a breeze, since the projector only needs a power cable connection and is otherwise cable-free. While the system has some limitations, it adds value to what is already a feature-packed budget powerhouse. The W1500 has an MSRP of $1,999 but is available for $1,599 from authorized resellers.
The Viewing Experience
Just looking at the case, the W1500 looks like a sleek, streamlined version of the W1070. The contrast trim on the top of the projector has been replaced with an all-white panel, while the sliding lens shift door is now a swing-open door with a push latch. The lens shift knob is now larger and easier to turn using just your fingers; the old knob required a screwdriver or a coin for easy adjustment. More..
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Last month we published our review of the Optoma HD25, a sub-$1000 1080p DLP home theater projector with full 3D compatibility. The HD25 turned out to be a great value, but its limited light output constrained its use to darkened theaters and other low-light areas.
These days, a lot of folks are looking for a projector that can perform in areas with mild to moderate ambient light. The Optoma HD25-LV
is a higher brightness version of their popular HD25 built for living room use. The HD25-LV costs a little bit more; it sells for $1299 while the HD25 currently retails for $949. However, that extra $350 gets you over double the light output of the smaller model, making the HD25-LV an excellent choice for dedicated 3D theater, living room use, video gaming, and exceptionally large screens.
The HD25-LV is mostly the same as the HD25. The two projectors use the same body design, and it can be difficult to tell them apart at a glance. Once the projector starts up, though, the difference becomes obvious. The HD25-LV is much, much brighter. more
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This year, it seems like each week we see a new low-cost, 3D-capable 1080p projector -- and the year isn't even close to over. The Optoma HD25
, at less than $1,000, is a full HD 3D 1080p projector with a crisp, clear, reference-quality image in both 2D and 3D. For those who want a great picture and don't have a lot of money to spend, it is one of the most attractive projectors to surface this year.
The HD25 has features usually reserved for higher-tier products. It uses radio frequency 3D glasses that don't require line-of-sight or light pulses in the image to maintain synchronization. It has a full color management system and excellent default color, making it a great projector for people who like to tweak as well as people who want their equipment to "just work." Add a ten-watt onboard stereo sound system and over 1100 calibrated lumens and the end result is a powerful, portable home theater projector at a knock-out price.
The HD25 is a small projector in a sleek white case shared with several other models in the Optoma line, all the way back to the HD20 from 2009. It has a 1.2:1 manual zoom lens with no shift capability, mounted off-center in the projector's case, that can throw a 120" diagonal 16:9 image from a throw distance of 13' 1" to 15' 8". It has a fixed upward throw offset of 15%, so the bottom edge of the image will appear about nine inches above the centerline of the lens for that same 120" diagonal picture. more
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Sony's newest home theater projector, the VPL-HW50ES
, is making quite a splash. This is not because it brings any revolutionary new features -- its feature list looks largely the same as other home theater projectors -- but because it produces an image that is technically perfect. Its picture is razor-sharp, crystal-clear, perfectly color-balanced, with outstanding contrast and black levels. It manages to do all of this while also cranking out north of 900 lumens.
However, for that additional technical picture precision, there is a commensurate increase in cost. The HW50ES costs $3,999 direct from Sony, putting it above direct competitors that are under $3,000. While the HW50 does come with some extras like a spare lamp and two pairs of 3D glasses, some will see value in the HW50's incrementally precise picture while others will not.
If there's one thing we learned about the Sony HW50ES it's that a light-controlled room is required to bring out the best this projector has to offer. While the HW50ES can produce upwards of 1300 lumens in a 6500K color-calibrated mode, using it in a living room or other area with significant ambient light will neutralize some of the projector's best features... more
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This year, BenQ has released a pair of full 3D 1080p projectors that are just perfect for home video or home theater. The W1070, reviewed earlier this year, has a conventional 1.3:1 lens and some vertical lens shift. The BenQ W1080ST
, on the other hand, has a 1.2:1 short throw lens and no shift. Both projectors offer excellent 1080p video performance, high light output, great color, and an affordable price.
The W1080ST is a great projector for home theater or home video on a budget, but its low input lag and short throw lens also make it a good option for video games. If you're a gamer looking for an affordable way into the big screen experience, the W1080ST might just be for you.
As a short-throw projector, the W1080ST has a slightly different setup procedure than most conventionally-lensed projectors. As such, they require a different kind of setup and fit in a different sort of room. more
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The Epson Home Cinema 8350
arrives fresh from this year's CEDIA show, and it is a sight to see. Epson has really outdone itself this year--the Home Cinema 8350 is a sub-$1300 1080p projector that delivers some serious performance.
The Home Cinema 8350 is the successor of last year's Home Cinema 8100. The Home Cinema 8100 earned our Editor's Choice Award
for being an exceptional value for the money. It had high brightness, great placement flexibility, and affordability both in purchase price and maintenance costs. The Home Cinema 8350 continues this tradition, bringing even better 1080p film and video performance into your home theater for less than $1300. There is no doubt this one earns this year's Editor's Choice Award for entry level 1080p home theater projectors.
There's no sense beating around the bush: the Home Cinema 8350 is a fantastic value. It produces a great picture for a very low price. Out of the box, its factory presets are geared for high light output in ambient light. So the first picture you see is bright, with decent color and average black level for illuminated rooms. To get it set for optimal video quality, the first order of business was to turn on Epson Super White, engage the auto iris, and change color temperature from 6500K to 7500K (more below on this). After these simple adjustments, the projector is transformed into an inexpensive 1080p powerhouse for dark room viewing. Epson Super White and the auto iris bring black level down, while highlights are brilliant and sparkling without any loss of detail. Color is accurate and true-to-life. These minor changes are all it takes to bring the Home Cinema 8350 into the big leagues. more
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Acer, the fourth-largest maker of PCs in the world, has become well-known in projector circles for building affordable home theater projectors that perform exceptionally well for the price. Their latest effort, the H6510BD
, is a 1080p projector with full HD 3D capability that sells for less than $1,000.
The H6510BD has full HD 3D compatibility, making it one of the least expensive full 3D projectors on the market. As such, it is getting a lot of attention as an affordable way to bring 3D into the home. While it certainly has its issues, chief among them being color performance, for certain users the H6510BD is a good choice. Whether you need a projector for the theater or the living room, the H6510BD can hold its own.
The H6510BD is a small projector clad in a square-edged white case with a small lens mounted off center. It has a 1.3:1 manual zoom/focus lens and no lens shift, so projector placement is critically important. As such, the best mounting options for the H6510BD are either a ceiling mount or a table placement. Ceiling mounts have the advantage of being up and out of the way, and with the H6510BD's white case the projector can disappear into the ceiling. On the other hand, a table placement requires no additional hardware and has the advantage of being portable. With a projector as small as the H6510BD, bringing it along to friends' houses isn't out of the question. As a bonus, it does have a small 2W speaker. more
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Almost every year, Panasonic comes out with a new home theater projector, and each time it incorporates several significant improvements to the previous year's model. Last year's AE7000 was a groundbreaking home theater projector that, in addition to being the world's first LCD projector capable of full 1080p 3D, also raised the bar on what one should expect from 3D home cinema.
Now Panasonic has introduced the PT-AE8000
. The AE8000 is not as outwardly different from its predecessor as was the AE7000 from its own, but outward appearances mean very little. The AE8000 has significant improvements in all areas of picture quality, from brightness (both in 2D and 3D) to contrast (both in dynamic range and shadow detail) to color accuracy and the clarity of detail. Any one of these improvements can seem rather small, but taken in sum they constitute a major upgrade that will interest both videophiles and more casual users.
Update September 12:
We have received further information from Panasonic regarding the price of the AE8000 and its replacement lamps. We have also been told that Panasonic will offer consumers two free pairs of 3D glasses with the purchase of a Panasonic AE8000... more
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The newest home video projector from BenQ is called the W1070
. Sporting native 1080p resolution and a max light output of 2,000 lumens, the W1070 has the pixels to show HD moves in their native resolution and the power to light up your living room, even if you can't get the space completely dark.
Home video projectors, as the name implies, are designed for multipurpose use in family rooms and living rooms; i.e. places other than a home theater. They are more likely to have higher light output, onboard speakers, and more modest contrast than home theater projectors since black level is less of a concern when ambient light is present. Conversely, home theater projectors are optimized for darkened rooms and typically have very high contrast.
The W1070 defaults to Dynamic mode, which like other projectors' Dynamic modes is very bright and very green. Dynamic mode will be useful any time you need to prioritize light output over the projector's other qualities, such as contrast and color saturation, as these take a beating in order to increase overall power... more
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