There is so much innovation in projectors right now. My buddy Mac has done a great job looking for some that really work. Really bright, small and light. “Laptop Magazine”:http://www.laptopmag.com/review/projectors/projector-reviews.aspx has a good summary of reviews. Also you can use “Projectorreviews.com”:http://projectorreviews.com and in particular 1080p “projectors”:http://www.projectorreviews.com/Best1080pProjectors032008/projectorawardwinners.php and “Projector Central”:http://www.projectorcentral.com/projector-reviews.cfm
The most confusing thing about this is that there are different technologies for displaying on a projector. There is the traditional CRT (cathode ray tube) like the monster 9″ CRT Mitsubishi that sits like a 400 pound boat anchor that are direct view. BTW, beside being bulky and expensive, it is still amazingly high in quality according to “Displaymate.com”:http://www.displaymate.com/ShootOut_Comparison.htm. The other “technologies”:http://www.cnet.com/4520-7874_1-5108443-4.html are LCD, 1-Chip DLP, 3-Chip DLP and LCOS.
DLP. In general, “audioholics”:http://www.audioholics.com/education/display-formats-technology/display-technologies-guide-lcd-plasma-dlp-lcos-d-ila-crt says
* 1-chip “DLP”:http://www.audioholics.com/education/display-formats-technology/display-technologies-guide-lcd-plasma-dlp-lcos-d-ila-crt (this is TI technology called a Digital Micromirror Device that like it sounds has lots of mirrrs in it) c have a color wheel that spins fast with red, green and blue, so there can be “rainbow”:http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-6029_7-6405175-1.html where you see white against black in high contrast. The 3-chip DLP has a dedicated DLP for each color so no rainbow, but way more expensive. 1080p high resolution DLP are very expensive and DLP in general will be more than an equivalent LED projector. And in general, they are better than the old LCD technology with better black levels and brighter images. Right now DLP
LCDs and DLP are very close in performance in general but in general and there are very few 1080p projectors in LCD. LCoS is the latest technology that is pioneered by Sony. The VP-VW100 was the firt 1080p LCos and its cheaper brother the VPL-VW50 is $5000. It has good black levels and does 1080p.
Here is what I’d pick in quality order for “best 1080p projector”:http://www.projectorreviews.com/Best1080pProjectors032008/index.php (“pricegrabber”:http://electronics.pricegrabber.com/projectors/p/38/st=category has good street prices) and most folks think that “1080p”:http://www.projectorreviews.com/advice/1080p_vs_720p_projectors/index.php makes most sense for projectors with greater than 50″ diagonals. Also looked at “Projector Central”:http://projectorcentral.com although their reviews are less complete.
# “Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB”:http://www.projectorreviews.com/epson/powerlite-home-cinema-1080ub/ (see also “Projector Central”:http://www.projectorcentral.com/epson_cinema_1080_ub_review.htm). Best in class $3K projector that has the best black levels. There is a pro version which is $4K which is ISF certified so truer and has a 3rd year of warranty and a spare lamp. 1080p, 3LCD that out performes both CD and DLP, 11.5 pounds. The reference level is very close the JVC RS1 which is a $10K LCoS projector. “Pricegrabber”:http://electronics.pricegrabber.com/projectors/m/60743099/zip_code=98101-1621/qlty=n/st=sort/sort_type=bottomline has it for $2650 and claim a full US warranty. One drawback is the fan noise is definitely there.
# “Panasonic PT-AE2000U”:http://www.projectorreviews.com/panasonic/pt-ae2000u/index.php is a $2000 street price projector and nearly as good as the Epson. It is also 3LCD and a “comparison”:http://www.projectorreviews.com/Best1080pProjectors032008/EpsonHomeCinema1080UBvsPT-AE2000U.php say what you get for the additional $1K is Epson is brighter so in places where there is external light, the Epson produce 1500 lumens vs. 1019. But, the Panasonic doesn’t have visible pixels, but Epson image is slightly nicer and both look right without calibration. The big difference is the Panasonic black levels are not as good. Still good, but not excellent. Because Panasonic uses lots or rebates sometimes it is the same price as Epson and other times more expensive. Net, net the Panasonic is very nice but Epson is really just excellent and with Panasonic at a street price of $2580 at “Pricegrabber”:http://electronics.pricegrabber.com/projectors/m/54341186/st=sort/sort_type=bottomline, the Epson seems way worth it, although Panasonic fan noise is less and AE2000 is really quiet.
# “Mitsubishi HC4900”:http://www.projectorreviews.com/mitsubishi/hc4900/index.php is very bright but the color. 3LCD also. $3K MSRP but the big advantage is that it is very quiet. The big drawback is black levels aren’t too good.
Other ones are either too expensive
# “InFocus IN83”:http://www.projectorreviews.com/infocus/in83/index.php just got a terrific review. 1100 lumens, very film-like image when it is there, although you can push to 1900 lumens if needed. You can put an anamorphic lense on it. 2 year warranty. Only available through local dealers not online. It is a small update to the IN82:http://www.projectorreviews.com/infocus/in82/index.php. It has the Darkchip4 DLP processor in it with a 4000:1 contrast ratio. $6000 MSRP but native 1920×1080. 14 pounds. At the high-end, it compete with the JVC RS2 and the Sony VP-VW40
# “Optoma HD65”:http://www.projectorreviews.com/optoma/hd65/index.php is an 720p DLP projector and at just $1000 is a good deal. 1600 lumens and 4000:1 contrast. Fan is noisy though although color accuracy is good.
# “Optoma HD71”:http://www.projectorreviews.com/optoma/hd71/index.php. $1200, Single chip DLP, 720p as well. So a little more and slightly brighter at 2400 luens, 4000:1. 6.3 pounds.
Here are some others not sorted particularly:
* “Panasonic PT-AE2000U”:http://www.projectorreviews.com/panasonic/pt-ae2000u/index.php. 1080p, $2700, accurate out-of-the-box colors, 16000:1 contrast, 3-LCD based, 1200 lumens
* “Mitsubishi HC4900”:http://www.projectorreviews.com/mitsubishi/hc4900/index.php, $3000, 7500:1, 3LCD, 1080p, 12 pounds.