Projector Review: PowerLite Home Cinema 1440 1080p 3LCD Projector

Written by Evan Powell, January 19, 2016 | ProjectorCentral.com

Angled Product ImageThe Epson Home Cinema 1440 is one of the new cinema projectors released by Epson that targets ambient light situations from Super Bowl parties to sports bars. If you want big screen display of live music concerts to liven up your cocktail parties, the HC1440 is a natural. This new model pumps out 4400 lumens of HD 1080p video, enough to light up 150″ to 200″ screens without having to turn the lights off. And it is a compact, 10 lb model that you can install yourself with no muss no fuss. Best yet, all of this lumen power will only set you back $1,699.

Picture Quality

The whole point of the HC1440 is getting the brightest HD picture possible for the money. The projector is rated at a maximum of 4400 lumens, and on our test sample the brightest preset, Dynamic, measures 4350 lumens, essentially on target. Meanwhile, the two Cinema modes which have a more neutral color balance measure about 2800 lumens. The Dynamic mode has a somewhat greenish bias, although not severe or objectionable. The big question is whether you’d want to give up 1/3 of your total light potential to get more accurate color?

The answer for most users will be “no way.” This is a Super Bowl party projector, intended for big screen use in ambient light. You are buying it because you want 4000+ lumens. Even at its default settings, the HC1440’s Dynamic mode delivers an engaging and exciting picture. Despite what a professional would describe as a greenish bias, nobody at a party would think the picture looks green, or notice any color biases in the image at all–for the most part colors look perfectly natural. A low-saturation light blue sky may appear bluish-green, but saturated colors all look solid and accurate.

However, there is an easy way to improve the picture quality without bothering with a professional calibration. In the onscreen menu, go to Image/Advanced/RGB and drop Offset G from 0 to -1. Believe it or not, this tiny adjustment takes out a noticeable amount of the green, improves color saturation and contrast, and renders better flesh tones. Meanwhile it reduces lumen output by only 3%, so you still end up netting out 4200+ lumens. This is the way I would run this projector at my own Super Bowl party.

As far as sharpness is concerned, the HC1440 has a Sharpness control that ranges from -5 to +5, and it is set to default to 0 in all color modes. This produces a picture that, to my taste, is not quite sharp enough. The interesting thing about the HC1440 is that the sharpening algorithms do not produce gross edge enhancements like they do on many other video displays. Instead it gives you an artful refinement of the image. You can boost sharpness to +2 or +3 to produce a noticeably sharper picture without imparting any sense of artificial processing that makes it look harsh or digital. You can experiment with it yourself to find your own preferred setting, but the traditional mantra of us videophiles who insist that Sharpness controls be turned off does not apply to this projector.

The same is true of the noise reduction filters. The projector’s color modes default to a setting of NR1 out of the three options Off, NR1 and NR2. Noise reduction filters reduce digital noise at the expense of some image detail, but in this case the trade-off is worth it. To my taste the NR1 is the overall optimized solution, as there is a bit too much noise in many sources with noise reduction set to Off.

The HD1440 has three color presets other than Dynamic. They are Bright Cinema, Cinema, and Game. Oddly enough, they all measure about the same 2800 lumens. The two Cinema modes have more accurate color than Dynamic as well as a slightly smoother, more refined image quality. But the difference is quite subtle. The primary difference between Bright Cinema and Cinema is the default gamma settings rather than total lumen output. These operating modes would be more appropriate for use in lower ambient light, and if I did not need Dynamic’s lumen power I would opt for the Cinema modes.

As far as Game mode is concerned, the fastest input lag we could measure on this projector is 56 ms. So it is not going to be the ideal choice for gaming enthusiasts who want the fastest response times possible (Epson’s HC 2040 measures 24 ms, so if your interests are primarily gaming you’d probably want to look at something like that.)

Overall, the HC 1440 is a party projector, ideal for big screen HD video and sports presentations in ambient light, whether in the home or a sports bar. And for this purpose it is outstanding.

Key Features

Excellent value. Superb combination of high resolution, high lumens and color brightness, for a great price.

Epson 1440 connection panel

Mobile/portable. At only 10 lbs, the 1440 is easily transportable. An onboard 16-watt speaker gives you some room-filling audio if you need it in portable applications.

Long zoom range. A 1.65 zoom ranges lets you fill a 120″ diagonal screen anywhere from 12 to 19 foot throw distance.

Stream HD shows. Supports MHL-enabled devices, Chromecast, Roku Streaming Stick and Amazon Fire TV Stick.

Split Screen Viewing. Watch two shows at once. Pictures are displayed either side by side in equal sizes, or one large and one small. A full image of both signals is always 100% visible (no picture in picture where one is overlaid on the other).

Low fan noise in eco-mode. Fan noise is surprisingly low in eco mode for a projector of this size and brightness.

Inexpensive replacement lamp. At just $149, new lamps are noticeably cheaper than competing lamps that often run $250 or more.

H+V keystone. +/- 30 degrees Vertical keystone, +/- 20 degrees horizontal

Security. Password protection is an option if you want to use it, and the projector comes with a Kensington lock.

Performance

Brightness. The Epson Home Cinema 1440 is rated at 4400 lumens of white light and 4400 lumens of color brightness. It has four factory preset operating modes and no separate user programmable modes, although all four factory presets can be modified by the user. With the lamp on full power and the zoom lens set to its widest angle position, our test unit produced ANSI lumens readings as follows:

Epson Home Cinema 1440 ANSI Lumens

MODE Normal Lamp Eco mode
Dynamic 4350 3175
Bright Cinema 2810 2051
Cinema 2800 2044
Game 2790 2037

Zoom lens effect.The HC 1440 has a 1.65x zoom lens that will curtail light output by up to 36% as you move from its brightest, most wide angle position, to its most telephoto (longest throw for a given image size). This light loss is not particularly unusual for a 1.6x zoom lens, but it means that if you need the full lumen power of the projector, you should plan to install it as close to the screen as you can in order to use the wide angle end of the lens.

Eco mode. The 1440’s eco mode reduces light output in all modes by 27%. It also curtails fan noise considerably and increases anticipated lamp life from 3000 to 4000 hours.

Brightness Uniformity. Uniformity measures a very good 84%, with light fading off just slightly to the upper right and left corners. But uniformity throughout the rest of the image is excellent.

Epson 1440 remote

Input lag. The Bodnar meter measures 73 ms input lag in Fine mode and 56 ms in Fast mode.

Fan noise. If you are in a quiet room, fan noise on the 1440 Audible noise is moderate and quite noticeable in full lamp mode — normal for a data projector that produces this amount of light, and certainly louder than a typical home theater projector. If you are using it for party entertainment to show music concert videos, or football parties, the fan noise will never be heard. If you are watching Bubba Watson about to tee off and the Quiet signs are up, you will become aware of the fan if the projector is anywhere near you. This is not surprising since the unit is rather small for the amount of light it produces so there is little opportunity to baffle fan noise internally.

In eco-mode, it’s a different ball game. Fan noise drops substantially to where it becomes remarkably quiet and perfectly acceptable for even a relatively small home theater room. On the other hand,High Altitude Mode is required at elevations above 1500 m, or about 5000 feet. In this mode the fan noise is increased loud enough that you’d want to take steps to baffle it behind a wall if it is used in a home theater room. But for party environments (the most likely usage) it is still not a problem.

Lamp life and price. Epson estimates lamp life at full power to be 3000 hours in Normal lamp mode and 4000 in eco-mode. Replacement lamps cost $149, which is noticeably less than most of the competition.

Set Up

The Epson Home Cinema 1440 will thrown a 120″ diagonal 16:9 image from a distance of between 11.7 and 19.3 feet, give or take a couple inches. It is easily bright enough to fill a much larger screen. At 180″ diagonal, you’ll need to set it back between 17.5 and 29 feet. Use the Projection Calculator to determine your actual throw distance options based your desired screen size.

Since the zoom lens curtails light output at the telephoto end by 36%, if you need the full lumen power of the projector you will want to place it relatively close to the screen in order to use the wide angle end of the zoom.

There is no lens shift. The HC1440 throws the image so that its ideal placement is on a shelf or stand behind and just above the heads of the audience. About 88% of the projected image is above the centerline of the lens and 12% is below the centerline. So it can be positioned on a shelf or stand without requiring much if any tilt.

If you wish to ceiling mount it, that’s no problem, but the projector will likely require an extension drop tube so that it is placed at a height that will accommodate its throw angle without a tilt. The manual does not stipulate any maximum tilt, but 15 degrees is about the maximum recommended for most projectors due to the fact that tilting the unit will interfere with its cooling system. A few projectors are built to withstand non-horizontal installations, but the 1440 is not one of them.

As you can see below, the 1440 has a form factor with relatively shallow depth, about 11.5 inches. So it can be placed on a bookshelf as long as there is sufficient clearance to the sides and above it for heat dissipation.

Important warning. Due to the unique throw angle of this projector, you might be tempted to invert it and set it on a high shelf. Never invert a projector and set it on its top in direct contact with a shelf — it is pretty much guaranteed to overheat in that situation.

Epson 1440 top view

Installation Trade-offs

Ideal throw distance. The big question is this — where is the ideal placement when you’ve got a 1.6x zoom and you can choose to ceiling mount it anywhere between 12 and 19 feet to hit a 120″ screen? The trade-offs are these:

1. If you place it at 12 feet, you get the maximum light output from the projector which is good if you need it. The downside is that in this position it throws the widest angle cone of projected light, and light striking the screen toward the sides of the image will tend to bounce off away from the center viewing position. So it is a bit less than ideal for even screen illumination.

2. If you place it at 19 feet, you get the minimum light from the projector, but if that is already enough it doesn’t matter. The advantage is that you narrow the cone of projected light, providing a more even illumination of the screen since light hitting the sides of the screen does not bounce off at as much of an oblique angle.

3. If you place it at 15-16 feet, you get equal trade-offs of the above. Also, in theory the midpoint of the zoom lens is its optical sweet spot, but a 1080p resolution image is not going to tax the optical resolution of the lens enough for you to notice.

Plan for lamp degradation. In planning your installation, keep in mind that a good rule of thumb is to anticipate that high pressure lamps will lose 25% of their brightness in the first 500 hours of operation, then degrade more slowly after that. With this in mind, many people choose their screen size and screen gain assuming they will use the projector’s eco-mode for the first 500-750 hours, then switch to full lamp mode for the remainder of the lamp’s life. By following this strategy you can even out the average light levels on the screen over the lamp’s entire life.

On the other hand, if you need the full 4000+ lumens, you can keep it up at that level by replacing the lamp more frequently than the estimated lamp life. This is particularly easy to do with the HC 1440 since replacement lamps are only $149.

Limitations

No 3D capability. If 3D is your thing, look elsewhere as the 1440 does not do it.

No lens shift. A bit of lens shift would have been helpful for easier installation. Since there is none, make sure to take extra care while planning the set up.

No frame interpolation or detail enhancement. These features are present on many Epson home cinema projectors, but they are not on the 1440.

Fan noise. In normal (full lamp) mode the fan noise is higher than desirable for home theater applications, although it is remarkably quiet in eco-mode. On the other hand, it is no issue if you are using it for Super Bowl parties, live concert videos, or in general for any sports event viewing.

16:10 Aspect Ratio. For cinema use you will probably be using a 16:9 screen. You can set up the 1440 to fill the screen with a 16:9 image, and the small black bars top and bottom will project onto the black frame and become invisible. If you have a need or desire to use a 16:10 format screen, a 16:9 image will be displayed with small black bars at the top and bottom of the screen image.

Air filter. The air filter needs periodic cleaning which is easy to do with a small computer keyboard vacuum cleaner swiped over the intake vent. How often you need to do this depends on how much dust there is in the room. If you forget to do it at all, the filter will eventually clog and the unit will overheat and automatically shut down.

Competition

We’ve given the Epson HC 1440 five stars for value. You may wonder at this given that there are a number of HD 1080p DLP projectors rated at 4000 or more lumens that sell for prices much lower than $1700.

The issue is that in this brightness range, most DLP projectors continue to rely on a large white segment in the color wheel to boost the ANSI lumen rating. This does indeed boost white light output, but it leaves colors relatively flat. As an example, we are currently reviewing the new Dell 4350, a 1080p DLP projector rated at 4000 lumens and selling for several hundred dollars less. And indeed, when we do the standard ANSI lumen test our sample measures 3907 lumens, or very close to its rating. However, when we measure the red, green, and blue components individually, they add up to 694 lumens. By comparison, the Epson 1440 still measures 4200+ lumens when the color components are measured individually. The result is that when you put these two units side by side, the color on the Epson 1440 is much more vibrant and saturated than it is on the Dell 4350.

This is not to say that all DLP projectors behave this way. DLP projectors built for home theater quite often have RGBRGB color wheels that deliver as much color light as they do white light. And in a number of recent DLP projectors that do have white segments in the wheel, we’ve seen a trend toward a reduction of the size of the white segment. This leads to much higher color brightness measurements than we’ve seen on DLP projectors in the past. On models with a reduce white segment there can be excellent color saturation and a very well balanced video image despite the presence of the white segment in the color wheel.

Nevertheless, when we look at inexpensive DLP projectors that are rated at 4000 lumens and above, it is still generally true that most of that lumen power is coming from a white segment, and that color brightness falls far short of the white potential. So if you are in the market for a bright video projector and are looking for 4000+ lumen models, keep these performance differences in mind. The lumen ratings can be quite misleading.

Conclusion

For what it is, the Epson HC 1440 is an outstanding projector at a superb value. It gives you full HD resolution and 4000+ lumens of reasonably well balanced color brightness for a relatively moderate price — perfect for home entertainment with some ambient light in the room, or any venue where you need bright video in some level of ambient light. The HC 1440 does not have the extra processing and performance features found on other Epson cinema projectors like frame interpolation, detail enhancement, and 3D capability. But for straightforward, bright, HD video in ambient light situations, the 1440 is tough to beat.


Ready to purchase? Click here to see the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 1440 1080p 3LCD Projector on Projector SuperStore!


Written by Evan Powell, January 19, 2016 | Originally seen on ProjectorCentral.com. View original posting here.

ViewSonic Launches Latest 1080p Entertainment Projectors at #CES2016

ViewSonic Launches Latest 1080p Entertainment
Projectors at #CES2016

By Jasmine Geider | January 5, 2016

LAS VEGAS (Jan. 5, 2016) – ViewSonic Corp., a leading global provider of visual solution products, introduces the newest members of its LightStream™ family with the Pro7827HD and PJD7828HDL entertainment projectors at #CES2016. The Pro7827HD and PJD7828HDL projectors offer incredible color accuracy for stunning image quality, and enhanced sound technology for an immersive multimedia experience.

The ViewSonic® Pro7827HD is the first in the LightStream line to feature a RGBRGB 6-segment color wheel, powered by ViewSonic’s SuperColor™ technology providing detailed pictures and brilliant color gradient coverage. Along with ISF™ certification for color optimization and five viewing modes, 2200 lumens, and vertical lens shift, the Pro7827HD can create a cinematic experience in any home.

“The Pro7827HD and PJD7828HDL deliver the perfect big picture for home entertainment,” said Aaron Campbell, product marketing manager at ViewSonic Americas. “With advanced color and audio technologies and PortAll™ to wirelessly stream content or play games on a giant projected screen, these two projectors ensure an immersive visual experience.”

With Full HD 1080p resolution, both the Pro7827HD and PJD7828HDL projectors deliver a wider color range for true-to-life picture quality. Combined with a built-in 10W speaker that incorporates ViewSonic’s proprietary SonicExpert™ sound enhancement technology, the Pro7827HD and PJD7828HDL are high-performance projectors ideal for big screen home entertainment. Both projectors come with PortAll™, a uniquely designed enclosure that houses an HDMI/MHL connection and supports wireless HDMI media streaming devices. The PortAll feature on these projectors also includes an integrated micro USB cable that allows users to quickly and easily power micro USB-enabled devices. The smart design of the Pro7827HD and PJD7828HDL includes a cable management hood that eliminates cable clutter.

Pro7827HD

The ViewSonic Pro7827HD is a 1080p native projector with 2200 lumens of brightness and a 22,000:1 contrast ratio. It comes with one standard HDMI and two HDMI/MHL inputs, along with RGB, Composite, Component, Audio, micro USB, RS232 and RJ45 connectors. With a 1.1-1.5 throw ratio, vertical lens shift and 1.3x optical zoom, the Pro7827HD provides extreme flexibility for easy set-up and installation.

PJD7828HDL

With 1080p native resolution, SuperColor technology and 3200 lumens of brightness which ensure bold and vivid colors for any projected image, the PJD7828HDL delivers the perfect balance of color quality and brightness. The projector features multiple connectivity options, including HDMI, HDMI/MHL. Its sleek design includes PortAll and a cable management hood that allows users to wireless stream via HDMI/ MHL connectors. Ideal for entry-level home entertainment enthusiasts, the PJD7828HDL features a smooth white finish that can blend into any home.

Pricing and Availability:

  • The Pro7827HD will be available for an MSRP of $1,299.00 (USD) and starts shipping in February
  • The PJD7828HDL will be available at a MAP price of $599.00 (USD) and starts shipping in January

For more information about ViewSonic’s LightStream series of projectors, visithttp://www.viewsonic.com/us/projectors/lightstream.html.

For further news and information about ViewSonic, visit ViewSonic.com and follow on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

About ViewSonic

Founded in California in 1987, ViewSonic is a world leading visual solutions provider. As an innovator and visionary, ViewSonic keeps the world connected with a portfolio of professional level visual solutions that enhance the way we compute, collaborate, communicate and connect. Our products include LED monitors, interactive commercial displays, touch displays, projectors, thin client, zero client and smart displays. To find out more about ViewSonic, visit viewsonic.com.

Ready to buy? See the PJD7828HDL at Projector SuperStore by clicking here!

Home Theater Projector Shootout: Home Theater Projectors under $1,000

If you want to spend less than a thousand bucks on a good home theater projector, here are five of the best new options on the market. This shootout compares five newly released 1920×1080 resolution home theater projectors that are priced between $799 and $999, including in alpha order the BenQ HT3050, the BenQ HT2050, the Epson Home Cinema 2040, the Optoma HD28DSE, and the Viewsonic LightStream PJD7835HD. To start with, here are the prices, warranties, and technology type:

MODEL PRICE WARRANTY TYPE
BenQ HT3050 $999 1 year DLP
BenQ HT2050 $799 1 year DLP
Epson Home Cinema 2040 $799 2 years 3LCD
Optoma HD28DSE $799 1 year DLP
Viewsonic PJD7835HD $899 3 years DLP

 

Which is the BEST Projector?

There is no such thing, at least in this group, as the “best” projector. Why? Because each of our five projectors has unique attributes that may be of more or less importance to you. For example, when one projector has deeper black levels but is not quite as sharp as another, people would disagree on which is the “best.” One projector might do an outstanding job with 2D but its 3D image is lackluster, while a different model has terrific 3D, but its 2D image is less impressive. Which of these projectors is the “best” for you depends on how important 3D viewing is to you.

No single projector in this shootout does everything the best — they’ve all got advantages and they’ve all got flaws. Our purpose here is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each product, and let you decide which one most closely meets your needs.

The Calibration Issue

There is a lot of discussion about color balance and calibration in these reviews. Let’s put this into perspective right up front. There are two truisms to bear in mind:

  1. Most consumers will think the factory calibrated pictures they get from any of the five projectors in this shootout are just fine as they are coming out of the box, without any need for adjustments or calibrations.
  2. The picture quality on virtually all projectors can be improved with a professional calibration.

Projector manufacturers are paying more attention to proper video calibrations than they used to. Some are promoting the fact that they are making a specific effort to target HD Rec 709 standards in their Movie or Cinema factory calibrations. Other vendors have created Cinema or Movie calibrations designed to target HD color standards without specifically marketing them as such. So the good news is that you are much more likely to pull a new projector out of the box, fire it up, and get a picture that blows you away without having to bother with a professional calibration.

HOWEVER. Though vendors are paying more attention to calibration for best video, it is only by the rarest of accidents that a projector comes out of the box perfectly calibrated. Factory calibrations are always approximations, as each unit and (more importantly) each lamp is different. The high pressure lamps used in inexpensive projectors do not emit the ideal 6500K white light; they tend to be biased toward blue-green. The Cinema or Rec 709 factory calibrations help to compensate for the anticipated color errors introduced by the lamps, but there is no way that vendors could afford to custom calibrate each unit for each individual lamp during the manufacturing process.

Bottom line, if you set up two different projectors side by side that have both been “factory pre-calibrated to Rec 709,” odds are the colors will look different. And, odds are, they are both wrong. But they will both look a lot better (that is, a lot closer to the theoretical ideal) than if no attempt at calibration had been done.

If you want your projector to be tuned up to its absolute best potential, a certified technician will need to spend a couple hours dialing it in. And even then, one person’s “optimal” picture may not be another’s. While there are objective targets defined as ideals, there is a lot of room for personal taste when it comes to setting up a video picture to your ultimate satisfaction.

The problem is, professional calibrations can cost $300 or more, which is a huge chunk of change to add to the cost of an $800 projector. Most buyers won’t do that. And for most buyers, it isn’t necessary. Think about this — TVs are just as erroneous as projectors, often more so. But when’s the last time you heard of anyone needing to hire a professional to calibrate their TV before they could enjoy the picture? Probably never.

So take the discussion about color balance and accuracy in these reviews with a grain of salt. They will mean something to serious home theater fans, and the issues are legitimate because people going to the trouble to install a projection system generally want better performance than the typical TV watcher. But all of the projectors in this group have factory defined picture modes that will dazzle and delight most consumers. They give you a big screen experience you can love without messing with any calibration at all. Once you install one of them and get familiar with its features, how much of a stickler you may want to be for fine tuning and technical precision is up to you.

Performance

This section contains meter measurements on the five projectors pertaining to lumen output, brightness uniformity, and input lag.

2D Brightness. For traditional 2D movie and video display, all five of these projectors produce more than ample light for dark room home theater. In their brightest configurations that are still balanced for very good video, four of the five come in so close that it would make no sense to choose one or the other based on brightness. The Viewsonic PJD7835HD is the one exception that puts out more light.

ANSI Lumens in Brightest Cinema Modes

MODEL Lumens
BenQ HT3050 1550
BenQ HT2050 1688
Epson 2040 1725
Optoma HD28DSE 1667
Viewsonic PJD7835HD 2310

 

ANSI Lumens in Standard Cinema Modes (lamps on full power)

MODEL Lumens
BenQ HT3050 1160
BenQ HT2050 1255
Epson 2040 1519
Optoma HD28DSE 1601
Viewsonic PJD7835HD 1616

 

In their preset Cinema modes, the Epson 2040, Optoma HD28, and Viewsonic 7835HD are somewhat brighter than the BenQ HT2050 and HT3050. But even the least bright measurement of 1160 lumens is more than ample light for most dark theater applications.

Eco modes. All five projectors have eco-modes that reduce total lumen output in all modes in the event light output at full lamp power is too much for your needs. Optoma’s eco-mode cuts light by 26%, Epson’s by 34%, and the two BenQ models are reduced 32%. The Viewsonic has two eco modes. The standard Eco cuts light by 27%, and the Super-Eco cuts it by a whopping 78% (a curious option for which we cannot see a high demand).

Zoom lens effect. The 1.3x zoom lenses on the two BenQ models will allow you to reduce lumen output by up to 27% as you move to the telephoto end of the zoom range. Why? As you move the lens from wide angle to telephoto, it reduces the amount of light that is transmitted through the lens. The Viewsonic has a 1.36x zoom that will reduce light up to 23% at the telephoto end. This gives users of these models a bit more latitude for lowering maximum brightness if they need to. Meanwhile the Epson 2040 and Optoma HD28 have shorter zooms of 1.2x and 1.1x respectively. The light output of the Epson and Optoma projectors is not significantly altered by the zoom position.

3D Brightness. Though these five projectors are similar in 2D image brightness, the similarities evaporate entirely when switching to 3D operation. The Epson HC 2040 has a commanding advantage in 3D image brightness over all four of its competitors. It is well over twice as bright as the closest runner up, the Optoma HD28DSE. In turn, the HD28DSE is obviously brighter than the remaining three.

Brightness Uniformity. A theoretically perfect projector will have 100% uniformity, displaying identical illumination across the screen side to side and top to bottom. We’ve never seen one do this. Practically speaking in today’s world, 90% uniformity is excellent, 80% is good, 70% is fair to mediocre, and 60% is poor. These numbers represent ratios between the brightest part of the image and the dimmest. So a projector with 60% uniformity will be 40% less bright in the dimmest area of the image than in its brightest.

For the most part, low brightness uniformity is not noticeable when viewing a video or film image. What you generally get is fading toward the sides or corners that you are not conscious of unless the projector has some visible vignetting. So the flaw is subtle — you are not seeing the picture as it is meant to be seen, but you are not aware that it is wrong. Once you throw a 100 IRE white test pattern onto the screen, the degree of unevenness of your projector’s image becomes apparent.

Our five 1080p projectors in this group yield brightness uniformity measurements as follows:

MODEL Uniformity
BenQ HT3050 73%
BenQ HT2050 67%
Epson 2040 84%
Optoma HD28DSE 71%
Viewsonic PJD7835HD 65%

 

Input Lag. The time lag that exists between the time the projector receives the signal and the time it appears on the screen is called input lag. A lengthy input lag will produce visible lip synch issues and may have some impact on video gaming results. The lip synch problem can be easily overcome with the use of an audio delay that brings the sound and the picture back into synch. But there is no fix for video gaming, so those who are into serious competitive gaming tend to look for video displays with the lowest input lags.

MODEL INPUT LAG
BenQ HT3050 49.7 ms
BenQ HT2050 33.1 ms
Epson Home Cinema 2040 24.6 ms
Optoma HD28DSE 49.7 ms
Viewsonic PJD7835HD 49.7 ms

Set Up / Installation

None of these five projectors have long zoom lenses or extensive lens shift, so your options are limited on where you can place them to fill your particular screen. The BenQ models have a 1.3x zoom lens and some limited lens shift, and the Viewsonic has a 1.36x zoom, so they offer a bit more latitude.

The throw distances for the BenQ and Epson units are almost identical. If you have a 16:9, 120″ diagonal screen, the HT3050 and 2050 will fill it from a distance of 10 to 13 feet, and the Epson 2040 will fill it from 10.5 to 12.75 feet. The Viewsonic gives you the ability to position it slightly closer, from 9.6 to 13 feet. The Optoma HD28DSE needs a bit more throw distance, 13 to 14 feet, to accommodate the same 120″ screen. This can be a good thing since it may allow placement of the projector behind the seating area and a bit further from the audience.

If your screen is something other than 120″ diagonal, you can find throw distance details using the Projector Central Projection Calculator. Here is the Projection Calculator pre-loaded with each of the five models … BenQ HT3050BenQ HT2050Epson HC 2040Optoma HD28DSEViewsonic PJD7835HD. Adjust the screen size and throw distance parameters to suit your needs.

Image offset is another factor to keep in mind. Each of these projectors throws an image that is entirely or mostly above the centerline of the lens. The two BenQ models and the Optoma throw a picture so that the bottom edge is above the centerline of the lens by about 8% of the picture height.

In addition, the two BenQ projectors have a lens shift capability that will let you raise the picture up to another 10% of the picture height (or about 6″ on a 120″ screen). This lets you compensate for minor errors in mounting in a way that the other products don’t, and makes it easier to target a pre-installed screen.

The Epson HC 2040 is unique among the five in that its projection offset is quite a bit lower — the bottom edge of the projected image is located below the centerline of the lens, by an amount equal to about 13% of the picture height, or about 8″ below the centerline on a 120″ screen. The advantage of this placement is that it makes it easier to install on a rack or shelf located behind the audience without having to tilt it to position the image properly on the wall. This lets you avoid the keystone correction that would be required to square up the image if you had to tilt the projector downward, as you would need to do with the BenQ, Optoma, and Viewsonic units.

There are two further issues to be aware of if you plan to place the HC 2040 on a rear shelf behind the seats. First, it will require you to sit at a position of about 1.3x the screen width or closer. You may or may not want to sit that close to the screen, and it is worth sorting that out before you make your final decision. Second, fan noise may be bothersome if the projector is placed immediately behind and too close to the heads of the audience. This is especially the case if the projector is to be run in full power mode.

The downside to the Epson 2040’s lower throw angle is that if you place it on a coffee table it may throw the image too low, or if you invert and ceiling mount it, it will throw the image too high. For ceiling mounting, this is fixed by using an extension drop tube. The HC 2040 will need to be suspended one or two feet lower from the ceiling than would be required with the competing units.

The bottom line is that the lens throw geometry of the BenQ HT3050 and HT2050 favors a ceiling mount or coffee table placement, and its lens shift makes it easier to target a pre-installed screen. The Optoma HD28DSE and Viewsonic 7835HD also favor a ceiling or table mount, but they have no lens shift. All four of the DLP projectors are a bit more problematic for rear shelf placement due to the probable need to tilt the units downward and use keystone to square it up (which is scaling that compromises the 1 to 1 pixel mapping from an HD 1080p source). The Epson HC 2040 is designed to accommodate a rear shelf placement more easily, and if you ceiling mount it, you will need to position it at a greater vertical distance from the ceiling than you would the competing units by using a longer drop tube.

Lamp Life and Replacement Lamp Cost

Lamp life has continued to improve in the industry. Keep in mind that lamp life specs are based on the anticipated time the lamp’s brightness will diminish to 50% of its original luminance. However, high pressure lamps do not degrade on a straight-line basis; they lose about 25% of their power in the first 500 to 1000 hours, and then degrade more slowly after that. For this reason, many serious home theater users replace lamps more frequently than the official lamp life in order to keep their projectors performing their best. If you want to follow this strategy, the lamp replacement cost becomes a factor in your decision.

Lamp Life Specifications

MODEL FULL Power ECO Mode
BenQ HT3050 3500 hours 6000 hours
BenQ HT2050 3500 hours 6000 hours
Epson Home Cinema 2040 4000 hours 7500 hours
Optoma HD28DSE 4000 hours 8000 hours
Viewsonic PJD7835HD 3500 hours 8000 hours

 

Replacement Lamp Prices (as quoted by the manufacturers)

MODEL Price
BenQ HT3050 $249
BenQ HT2050 $249
Epson 2040 $  79
Optoma HD28DSE $179
Viewsonic PJD7835HD $329

BenQ HT3050

The BenQ HT3050 is an impressive projector that succeeds in part by avoiding the common flaws typical of home theater projectors in this price range. It delivers an exceptional picture out of the box that many will find perfectly enjoyable without any tweaking. On our sample, we selected the Cinema mode, and preferred to open up the mid-tones a bit by boosting Brightness to 51, Contrast to 53, and adjusting gamma from 2.2 to 2.1. This is not a recommendation, as your unit and your tastes may vary.

Strengths / Advantages

Pre-calibrated Rec 709 Cinema mode. One of the key features of the HT3050 is its Cinema mode that has been factory set to target Rec 709 standards. No factory precalibration will be ideal for all units coming off the line, but this one gets the picture closer to standards than typical factory settings. The picture looks great standing on its own, and we suspect few users would want to bother with the expense of a custom calibration. It can be improved with further tweaking, but it is not necessary.

Rainbows? What rainbows? The RGBRGB wheel configuration and rapid refresh rate bring rainbow artifacts to an absolute minimum, which for all practical purposes will be non-existent for many users.

Outstanding Audio. The twin 10W stereo speakers blow all the others away. If you want or need your projector to have some robust audio, this is the one to get.

Low Fan Noise. The fan noise on the HT3050 (and HT2050) in full power mode is the lowest and least noticeable in the group in both sound pressure and frequency. It also does not vary in pitch or pressure which is a good thing that is not true of all projectors in this shootout.

Lens shift. While not extensive in range, the HT3050 (and HT2050) lets you shift the lens in order to move the image up and down about 10% of the picture height. This can make it much easier to target a pre-installed screen, or make a small adjustment after you’ve made an error in screen installation after the fact. None of the competing units have this.

1.3x zoom lens. The 1.3x zoom lenses provide a bit more flexibility in throw distance, and the choice of throw distance can be used to fine tune the projector’s light output if necessary.

Black levels. Black levels, while not as deep as the Optoma HD28, are the second best in the group, and are sufficiently deep to produce good snap. Contrast is equally competitive, not quite at HD28 level but solid and nothing to complain about.

Weaknesses

3D performance. The HT3050 has the least bright 3D picture in the shootout. Color saturation is somewhat muted compared to the Epson 2040 and Optoma HD28. Standing alone, the HT3050’s 3D picture is certainly quite engaging and enjoyable, so if you have only a passing interest in 3D, this projector will get you by. But if you are a big 3D fan and tend to complain about the dimness of 3D imagery, the HT3050 would not be the first choice.

Light output. Light output in 2D display is around 1160 lumens in Cinema mode, which is plenty sufficient for most home theater needs. It is only a weakness by comparison with competing units in this group that average closer to 1600 lumens and thus would be able to accommodate more ambient light, should that be desired.

Input lag. The HT3050’s 49.7 ms matches the Viewsonic and the Optoma, but it is not as quick as the HT2050 at 33.1 ms, or the Epson 2040 at 24.6 ms. If you are not into serious gaming this is a non-issue, but if you are, this may be an issue to consider.

Brightness uniformity. The HT3050 and HT2050 both have relatively low brightness uniformity compared to ideal home theater standards. However, they share this limitation with the other DLP models in this shootout, so they are not uniquely poor in this regard. This is a flaw that tends to get lost and unnoticed in a video image, so as flaws go it is easy to live with.

Slow signal lock. The HT3050 is the slowest of the five units to find and lock on a signal. This is noticed typically when loading a new disc. You see a lot of “searching for signal” messages when the Blu-ray player is sending different signals that alternate between 480 to 1080/60 to 1080/24. The practical consequence is that you may never see preliminary notices like the MPAA rating screen or the FBI warning, and you may hear the dramatic fanfare of the movie studio’s logo on your sound system before the video image appears on the screen. However, once the projector locks onto a stable 1080p/24 movie signal it is fine, so most users will consider the initial instability to be a minor nuisance. All of the DLP projectors in this shootout do this to some degree; the Epson 2040 is the only one in this group that rapidly locks on a new signal format.

One-year warranty. BenQ offers a one-year warranty on the HT3050, which is the minimum found in the industry today.

Price and Replacement Lamp. The $999 price is the highest in the group and the $249 replacement lamp price is rather hefty; it is not as bad as the Viewsonic lamp at $329, but Epson’s $79 lamp price stands in a league of its own.

Summary Assessment

The BenQ HT3050 produces a solid and thoroughly engaging picture without the need for pro calibration. Its black levels, shadow definition, and contrast are competitive, rainbows are rare, and fan noise is low, steady, and unobtrusive. The 1.3x zoom lens with lens shift makes it the easiest of the projectors in this group to ceiling mount. Part of the charm of the HT3050 is that BenQ has eliminated most of the common flaws people object to in lower priced projectors.

Furthermore, the weaknesses that it does have do not rise to the level of big problems for most buyers. Its 3D is the least bright and saturated of the competing models, but for those who watch 3D only occasionally this is not a big deal; it provides sufficiently good 3D performance to satisfy the occasional use. Brightness uniformity is lower than ideal, but it is not generally noticeable on the screen. Input lag of 49.7 ms may be a concern for serious gamers, but not for the rest of the world. And its slowness to lock on a signal is a minor nuisance that only happens before the movie gets going.

The HT3050’s price of $999 is the highest in this group, the one-year warranty is minimal, and $249 for a replacement lamp may be a concern for people who plan to put a lot of hours on their projector. But overall, we expect that many will see the particular configuration of benefits offered by the HT3050 to be a very attractive value proposition.

BenQ HT2050

The BenQ HT2050 is built on the same platform as the HT3050, and it also is an impressive projector that succeeds in part by avoiding the common flaws in home theater projectors in this price range. It lacks a few features that are found on the HT3050, including a factory calibrated Rec 709 Cinema mode, stereo sound, horizontal keystone adjustment, MHL-compatibility, and the option to add a soon-to-be released wireless module for an additional $399. But you save $200 by going with the HT2050 instead of the HT3050.

Strengths / Advantages

Rainbows a non-issue. The RGBRGB wheel configuration and rapid refresh rate bring rainbow artifacts to an absolute minimum, which for all practical purposes will be non-existent for many users.

Low Fan Noise. The fan noise on the HT2050 (and HT3050) in full power mode is the lowest and least noticeable in the group in both sound pressure and frequency.

Input lag. The HT2050’s 33.1 ms is quite good. It is faster than the HT3050, the Optoma HD28 and the Viewsonic which all measure 49.7 ms, but it is not quite as quick as the Epson at 24.6 ms.

Lens shift. While not extensive in range, the HT2050 (and HT3050) lets you shift the lens in order to move the image up and down about 10% of the picture height. This can make it much easier to target a pre-installed screen, or make a small adjustment after you’ve made an error in screen installation after the fact. None of the competing units have this.

1.3x zoom lens. The 1.3x zoom lenses provide a bit more flexibility in throw distance, and the choice of throw distance can be used to fine tune the projector’s light output if necessary.

Black levels. Black levels, while not as deep as the Optoma HD28, are the second best in the group, and are sufficiently deep to produce good snap. Contrast is equally competitive, not quite at HD28 level but solid and nothing to complain about.

Above Average Audio. The single 10W stereo speaker does not compare to the twin 10W configuration on the HT3050, but it outperforms the audio on the other competing units in this group.

Price. At $799 the HT2050, along with the Epson 2040 and Optoma HD28, are the three least expensive models in the group.

Weaknesses

3D performance. The HT2050 is just slightly brighter than the HT3050, but one of the least bright 3D pictures in the shootout. Color saturation is muted compared to the Epson 2040 and Optoma HD28. Standing alone, the HT2050’s 3D picture is certainly engaging and enjoyable, so if you have only a passing interest in 3D, this projector will get you by. But if you are among those who complain about the dimness of 3D imagery, the HT2050 would not be the first choice.

No MHL Compatibility. The HT2050 is the only projector in this group of five that does not have MHL.

Brightness uniformity. The 2050 and 3050 both have low brightness uniformity, which they share with the other DLP models in this shootout. This is a flaw that tends to get lost and unnoticed in a video image, so as flaws go it is easy to live with.

Slow signal lock. The HT2050 is relatively slow to find and lock on a signal. This is noticed mostly when loading a new disc. There are a lot of “searching for signal” messages as the Blu-ray player may alternate between 480 to 1080/60 to 1080/24. However, once it locks on to a stable signal it has no problem retaining it. The HT2050 appears to be a bit faster than the HT3050 in this regard.

One-year warranty. BenQ offers a one-year warranty on the HT2050, which is the minimum found in the industry today.

Replacement Lamp. The $249 replacement lamp price is rather hefty; it is not as bad as the Viewsonic at $329, but Epson’s $79 price stands in a league of its own.

Summary Assessment

Much of what was said of the HT3050 can be said of the HT2050 as well. At $799 it is competitively priced and delivers an impressive picture for the money. Its factory calibrations are perfectly watchable as they are, but color in Cinema mode is not dialed in quite as well as it is on the HT3050. Though not required to enjoy the projector, a custom calibration will noticeably improve the picture quality. If you DO plan to spend $300 on a custom calibration, the HT2050 would be the more cost-effective choice over the HT3050 unless you want or need the HT3050’s other features — MHL, horizontal keystone, more robust stereo on-board sound, and the option to add a wireless module.

As with the HT3050, black levels, shadow definition, and contrast are competitive, rainbows are rare, and fan noise is low and unobtrusive. The 1.3x zoom lens with lens shift makes it the easiest of the projectors in this group to ceiling mount. Most of the common flaws people object to in lower priced projectors do not appear on this one. Furthermore, the weaknesses that it does have are not big problems for most buyers. Though slightly brighter than the HT3050, its 3D is similarly low in brightness and saturation compared to the competition, but for those who watch 3D only occasionally this is not a big deal; it provides sufficiently good 3D performance to satisfy the occasional use. Brightness uniformity is lower than ideal, but it is not generally noticeable on the screen.

The HT2050’s input lag of 33.1 ms will look more attractive to gamers than the 49.7 ms on the HT3050. On the other hand, the absence of MHL compatibility will hinder the use of smartphones and tablets as sources, and the HT2050 is the only projector in the group without this feature. The one-year warranty and $249 price for a replacement lamp may be a concern for people who plan to put a lot of hours on their projector. But overall, we expect that many will see the HT2050’s particular configuration of benefits to be a very attractive value proposition for $799. People who buy it will love it.

Epson Home Cinema 2040

The Epson HC 2040 is the best home theater projector yet produced by Epson in this price range. It is the only 3LCD product in the group of five, and in many respects it is radically different than its DLP competitors. It has performance features and advantages none of the others have, along with a couple of unique weaknesses. To the videophile, the 3LCD picture looks qualitatively different than DLP, with both advantages and disadvantages. Preference for one over the other is a matter of personal taste, so we’ll try to describe the differences and let you decide which appeals to you the most.

Strengths / Advantages

3D Performance. The single most dramatic advantage of the 2040 is its performance in 3D. Image brightness is the chronic problem with most 3D implementations, and the 2040 is by far the brightest of the five units in this comparison. When in full power mode it is double the brightness of the next closest competitor, the Optoma HD28, which in turn is twice as bright as the rest of the competition. And even when the 2040 is in eco-mode, its 3D picture is visibly brighter than the HD28 in full lamp. Not only is the 2040’s 3D image bright, it is rich and vibrant in color, and high in contrast. The black level limitations that appear in 2D display do not exist in 3D; instead you get deep solid blacks and ample shadow detail definition. For buyers who are heavily into 3D, the 2040 is the standout choice among the five.

Very Sharp Picture. Perhaps the sharpest image of the five, rivaled only by the Optoma HD28. Sharpness is due in part to the Detail Clarity Processor brought down from the 5030/6030 models. As with any sharpening algorithm, it can be overdone to the point where the picture looks artificially harsh. However, in modest use (we set ours to 30%) it lends a natural refinement of detail and makes the picture look higher in resolution than it does on competing units.

Film-like image. The 3LCD picture on the 2040 has a more natural, analog looking aspect to it than do the DLPs in this group. This is difficult to describe, but there is a qualitative smoothness in the image that will appeal to videophiles.

Input Lag. The 2040 measures 24.6 ms input lag, the fastest of the group, and in fact the fastest projector we’ve measured in a long time.

Frame Interpolation. The 2040 is the only product among these five that has frame interpolation. This optional feature can be set to Low to reduce the occasional camera panning judder in movie projection. If set to Medium or High it will produce too much hyper-reality (the soap opera effect) for movie viewing. However, the High setting works well for stabilizing video of live performances such as concerts or dance, where the more visual reality the better.

Rainbows are non-existent. The 3-chip light engine delivers simultaneous color updates, so rainbow artifacts do not exist.

Low Fan Noise in Eco-mode. The fan noise in eco-mode is identical to the noise on the BenQ models, which is to say the lowest that it gets among these five models.

Lower throw offset. The 2040 has a lower throw offset than any of the DLPs which makes it more suitable for mounting on a shelf behind the seats. This may or may not be an advantage depending on how you plan to install it. Shelf mounting saves you the cost of a ceiling mount and long run cables as well as the work to install it. However, if you do plan to ceiling mount your projector, the 2040 will require a longer drop tube than you would use with any of the DLP models.

Brightness uniformity. Our 2040 test unit measures 84%, compared to the low 70’s or worse on the other four units. So the 2040 is the only model among the five that can be said to have good uniformity.

Miracast, Intel WiDi Option. Epson offers a variation of the 2040 called the Home Cinema 2045. It is $50 more than the 2040, and it includes support for Miracast and Intel WiDi.

Rapid synch on new signals. The 2040 is the fastest of the group to recognize and synch on a new signal format. So when loading a Blu-ray disc, as it initially cycles through varying signal formats for the MPAA rating, the FBI alert screen, and the movie studio logo splash sequences, it displays these without any stumbling around or multiple intermittent “searching for signal” messages. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it is a difference you experience every time you load a new disc.

Price. At $799 the Epson 2040, along with the BenQ HT2050 and Optoma HD28, are the three least expensive models in the group.

Cheap Replacement Lamp. The $79 replacement lamp price is pretty much unheard of, and seriously undercuts the high prices of the competition. At this price, there is a real benefit to be aware of. You can always expect high pressure lamps to lose 25% of their initial brightness during the first 500 to 1000 hours of operation. They will then degrade more slowly until they hit 50% of their initial brightness at end of life. Because of this, serious home theater users with higher priced projectors often replace lamps more frequently than the lamp life would suggest, in order to keep their equipment performing at its best. At a price of $79, you can adopt this practice on the 2040 without serious financial impact.

Two-year warranty. Epson’s two-year warranty on the 2040 beats the one-year programs offered by BenQ and Optoma, but Viewsonic’s three-year deal is the best in this group.

Weaknesses

Black levels in 2D. The most notable weakness in the 2040 is black level in 2D display, which is not as deep as it is on the DLP competition. By comparison, the Optoma HD28 has the deepest blacks and highest contrast. The weakness in black level is most apparent on a 2D image that is mostly black, such as rolling credits, and in predominantly dark scenes where there is a lot of shadow detail. With this subject matter the DLP projectors will render a blacker background and provide better shadow detail definition.

Fan noise in full lamp mode. The 2040 is the loudest of the five models when in full lamp mode. We presume many users will opt for eco-mode, which brings fan noise down to the equivalent level of the BenQ units. The good news is that even in eco-mode the 2040 has a brighter picture than most of the competition.

No lens shift. The two BenQ models have some lens shift range that will make them easier to install. The 2040, the HD28, and the PJD7835HD lack this feature.

Average on-board audio. It’s not bad for a portable unit and it beats the anemic HD28 audio, but the audio on the 2040 pales in comparison to what you get on the HT3050 and even the HT2050.

Summary Assessment

The Epson Home Cinema 2040 is the most impressive home theater projector yet produced by Epson under $1000. It is uniquely outstanding in 3D, easily outperforming the competition with this type of content. Its image with 2D content is bright and sharp with excellent color, clarity, and a natural film-like quality.

The HC 2040’s factory calibrations in its Cinema and Bright Cinema modes are reasonably good and certainly watchable without calibration. However, some tweaking by a knowledgeable user or a professional calibration will improve its ultimate performance. We ended up making some tweaks to the Bright Cinema mode that produced a brilliant and very satisfying image. Its primary weakness is black levels and shadow definition in scenes with an abundance of dark and shadow. Fan noise is also louder than desirable when the projector is run in full power, but it is quiet in eco-mode. Since the projector produces exceptional brightness in eco-mode and we suspect most users will opt for that.

Epson’s consumer friendly 2-year warranty and $79 replacement lamp price, along with the fact that its $799 price is attractive in itself, will make it easy for many to make a decision for the HC 2040.

Optoma HD28DSE

The Optoma HD28DSE is capable of producing what many might consider to be the best 2D picture in this group of five models, but it does not come that way out of the box. When you first fire it up, its factory default calibrations are disturbing. Saturation and sharpness are way overdriven, white is extremely out of balance, and the picture looks quite harsh. However it is remarkably easy to fix with a few simple adjustments. First, switch it from Vivid to Cinema mode. Second, reduce the Sharpness control from 12 to 8. Third, reduce color saturation from 10 to 0. Fourth, reduce Brilliant Color from 8 to 2. Fifth, reduce the DarbeeVision video processing from its factory 80% setting to 20%. And voila, you have a vastly improved 2D video image with solid black levels, sparkling contrast, impressive three-dimensionality, and reasonably well calibrated color that will compete well against any of the competition in this shootout.

Strengths / Advantages

Deepest blacks, best contrast. The HD28DSE carries a contrast rating of 30,000:1 compared to the 15,000:1 ratings on the BenQ models and 22,000:1 on the Viewsonic. In this instance the contrast ratings do translate to a visible competitive advantage. We see marginally deeper black levels, better shadow detail separation, higher overall contrast, and more image three-dimensionality on the HD28 than on any of the competing models. However, we would describe the differences as more subtle than dramatic.

Rainbows are scarce. We see a few more rainbows on the HD28 than we do on the BenQ models, but they are scarce enough that they don’t rise to the level of a concern. By comparison there is more rainbow activity on the Viewsonic.

Very good 3D performance. The HD28 cannot match the Epson 2040 in 3D brightness or richness, but it occupies an impressive second place, surpassing the other DLP models handily in both image brightness and color vibrancy.

Sharp picture. The HD28DSE is unique in that it has the DarbeeVision video processing system which none of the other models have. (“DSE” in the model name stands for Darbee Special Edition). This can be enabled or not as the user wishes. In our experimenting, we find that using the DarbeeVision system in a modest setting of about 20% contributes beneficially to image sharpness and clarity without making it appear unnaturally processed. So it is a significant feature that places the HD28DSE in a tie with the Epson 2040 as the two sharpest projectors in the shootout.

Four corner correction. The HD28 has not only vertical and horizontal keystone correction, but independent four corner correction as well. So if you need to install this unit at oblique angles to the projection surface, it is easy to square up the image. Anyone setting up the projector for permanent use in a home theater should make every effort to position the projector square with the screen to begin with so no keystone adjustments of any kind are required, but if you need this feature it is available.

Weaknesses

Variable fan noise. The fan noise oscillates somewhat and appears to be related to average picture level and internal operating temperature. There is an intermittent higher pitched tone that comes and goes, which does not exist on any of the other units. Moreover, overall loudness of the fan increases and decreases over time. The varying pitch and tone of the fan noise draws more attention than does any fan with a constant pitch and sound pressure.

Factory presets excessive. When first firing it up, the HD28 defaults to a rather bright, oversaturated, very harsh image. The good news is that it is easy to fix as described above.

1.1x zoom and fixed throw offset. With no lens shift and almost no zoom, the HD28 is the most restrictive of the five models in terms of the precision required to install the projector.

Lower than expected lumens. The HD28 has ample firepower for most home theater and home entertainment use and it is competitive with the other units in the group. But it falls noticeably short of its 3000 lumen rating.

Weak onboard speaker. If you listen carefully the speaker will give you an idea what a movie’s audio track is all about, but despite its 10-watt rating it is not very loud even at max volume. Onboard sound is the worst of the five models here.

Input lag. The measured lag of 49.7 ms matches the BenQ HT3050 and Viewsonic PJD7835HD, but it is slower than the HT2050 and Epson 2040. If you’re a serious gamer, this may be a consideration.

One-year warranty. Optoma’s one-year warranty on the HD28DSE is an industry minimum, matching BenQ, but falling short of Epson’s two-years or Viewsonic’s three years.

Price and Replacement Lamp. The $799 price is attractive and the $179 replacement lamp price looks good compared to BenQ and Viewsonic, but it is quite a bit more than Epson’s $79 lamp.

Summary Assessment

After getting rid of the overdriven factory presets, the Optoma HD28DSE turns into a beautiful projector with best in class black levels and contrast. The DarbeeVision system is a unique feature that can enhance the picture if used modestly, but can destroy the picture if used at aggressive settings. The HD28DSE’s Cinema and 3D modes in particular can be enjoyed without calibration, other than the initial adjustments needed to remove the excessive processing. Rainbows occur infrequently enough that they do not amount to an issue of consequence.

3D performance is above average in the group. It is more robust than the other DLP projectors, but falls short of the Epson. The only ongoing annoyance is the unpredictable fan noise. The HD28DSE is best suited for low table or ceiling mounting. Be careful where you put it, as the 1.1x zoom and zero lens shift severely limits placement options for any given screen size and location.

At $799, you get a projector that is capable of delivering a beautiful, relatively bright high contrast 2D image that is highly competitive with the BenQ models, but it needs a bit of tweaking to get it there. The DarbeeVision system gives it an edge in image sharpness/acuity when used modestly. Overall, a great value in an entry level projector.

Viewsonic LightStream PJD7835HD

The Viewsonic PJD7835HD, priced at $899, is in many respects the best home theater projector yet released by Viewsonic. It comes with several pre-calibrated operating modes including Viewmatch, which targets Rec 709 standards. On our test sample, the Viewmatch mode is rather lackluster and slightly biased toward green. We get a far more dynamic, balanced, and exciting picture when switching to Movie mode and adjusting the color temperature to Warm. In this mode the PJD7835HD puts out a beautiful, bright, and very competitive image.

Strengths / Advantages

Brightest of the bunch. The 7835HD is rated at 3500 lumens, and our sample measured 3503 lumens. This is the brightest of the five models in the group. It produces a reasonably well balanced video image at about 2300 lumens, notably brighter than the brightest of the competition. So it offers a unique advantage in combatting ambient light.

Solid red, excellent color. The red primary on this projector is more solid than on any of the competing units which tend to have a touch of orangish hue in the reds. Once calibrated, the 7835HD is capable of extremely accurate color.

1.36x zoom A slightly longer zoom range than the 1.3x on the BenQ models gives the 7835HD the award for the longest zoom range in the group. Practically speaking, it means that you can place the projector slightly closer to the screen for any given screen size than you can any of the competition.

Good onboard audio. While the HT3050 is the king of audio and the HT2050 is in second place, the 16W speaker is a good performer with reasonable volume and no distortion. It comes in third, but very close to the HT2050. It is much louder and clearer than the speakers on the Optoma or Epson units.

Black levels and contrast. Despite the higher light output, the 7835HD is capable of generating solid black levels. They are not quite as deep as the Optoma or BenQ’s but they are very close. Contrast is highly competitive with the BenQ models, matching or edging them just slightly.

3-year warranty. Viewsonic includes an aggressive 3-year warranty in the price, which is something nobody else does.

Weaknesses

Rainbow activity. The 7835HD’s most problematic weakness is rainbow artifacts, which tend to show up more frequently than on the other DLP projectors in this group. This comes from an RGBCYW color wheel rotating at 7200 RPM. Rainbows will tend to be most problematic for people who like to sit close to the screen, a practice that maximizes the eye movement. You will never see rainbows if you don’t move your eyes, so sitting farther back from a screen reduces your cone of vision and thus eye movement.

Fan noise. In full power mode the fan noise is somewhat more present than it is on the BenQ models in full lamp mode, or the Epson 2040 in eco-mode. But you get a brighter picture for that as part of the trade off. It is not as loud as the Epson in full power mode. It is very low in pitch, so it is not terribly distracting. However, as with the Optoma HD28 it does tend to vary up and down apparently in response to internal operating temperatures.

3D picture. Though the 7835HD is quite bright in 2D it loses its brightness advantage in 3D.

Input lag. The measured lag of 49.7 ms on the 7835HD matches the Optoma and the BenQ HT3050, but it is slower than the Epson 2040 and the BenQ HT2050.

Low Brightness Uniformity. None of the DLP projectors perform well on this parameter, but the 65% measured on the 7835HD was a tad lower than the competition.

Replacement lamp. If you want or need a new lamp, the price is a hefty $329, which is noticeably more than any of the competition.

Summary Assessment

Viewsonic is on the move, looking to become a significant player in home theater projection. Their beautiful little PJD5555W, a 1280×800 resolution projector now selling for under $500, was the first model in their line to offer the Viewmatch Rec 709 mode. The PJD7835HD boosts resolution to 1920×1080 and continues their focus on excellent color dynamics.

At $899, the LightStream PJD7835HD is priced in the middle of the group. Its key advantage is extra brightness and it is capable of putting out a superb picture. Its extra brightness comes in part from the white segment in the color wheel. In its very brightest preset modes the extra white light compromises color saturation and rendered an imbalanced picture. But the projector offers sufficient controls to dial in a very appealing trade off that gives you a picture that is brighter than the competition with ample color saturation that is not visibly compromised.

The biggest concern for some buyers will be the level of rainbow activity which is higher than any of the competing units. But if you are among those who are not sensitive to or bothered by rainbow artifacts, the Viewsonic PJD7835HD is a solid alternative for buyers who want a bright 2D picture with great color, black level and contrast.

Tips For Choosing Portable Sound Systems For Any Event

Anchor Audio specializes in portable sound systems, and they have for over 40 years. Theystarted out with one portable sound system, but long ago expanded to include options and features to cover all kinds of events. Their systems are most commonly used in settings such as education, worship services, weddings and other community events, sports and band, auctions, government, as well as specialty systems for first responders and military.

What they have found is that customers who have never purchased a portable sound system aren’t really sure what they need in a sound system. Taking the time to consider carefully what you need in the way of a sound system or public address system and also considering what you may value in the future can help narrow down your options.

How and Where to Use a Portable Sound System

The most significant advantage of a portable sound system is there is no restriction on how or where it can be used. This makes it ideal for community centers, schools, businesses and event managers to have on hand.

Knowing a little bit about your application will help in picking the right system for your needs. Some factors to keep in mind are approximate crowd size, indoor vs. outdoor use, and who might be using the system. Anchor offers portable sound systems for smaller crowds (ideal for education applications), larger crowds (a great versatile option), as well as systems that will do it all (best value). Knowing where you will use the system also helps in deciding if you want a traditional speaker set up on a stand or if you’d be better off with a simple setup line array.

By choosing a system with multiple uses there is a greater range of possibilities and applications for the sound system. This is an important consideration for the future as well as for your current needs. Making the choice to purchase a top-quality, US made, portable sound system is rewarding to those who value both intelligibility in their sound as well as longevity in the life of their product.

Battery Power Means Portability

To Anchor, portability means having the ability to provide top quality sound, anywhere. They believe portability means location that is not dependent upon a power outlet.

Give yourself 6 – 8 hours or more with a battery powered system. Perfect for indoor and outdoor use alike, these come as a fully contained sound system, just connect a microphone and a media player you are ready to go.

Sound Requirements

Anchor and PSS always recommend our clients look to a portable sound system which will exceed their maximum requirements for today. This keeps your options open to address different sound needs in the future without needing to upgrade or add on services.

In addition, many portable sound systems can be doubled in capacity and crowd coverage by just adding a companion speaker. This is the most cost effective and versatile way to upgrade so that you are ready for your next event, before it’s even ready for you.


This post was brought to you by Anchor Audio, a PSS Featured Vendor.  Anchor Audio is a manufacturer of top quality portable sound systems that are made in the USA and are covered by a six year warranty. Click here to browse all of their products.

BenQ HT3050 and HT2050 Projector Review

Written by Evan Powell, October 30, 2015 

The BenQ HT3050 is one of three new full HD 1080p resolution home theater projectors being released by BenQ this fall. Priced at $999, it is the middle option, being a step up from the HT2050 at $799, and flanked on the high side by the HT4050 at $1,399. Since the HT3050 and HT2050 are the same basic projector with some noteworthy variances, this review will focus on the HT3050 and note where the HT2050 diverges. We will address the HT4050, which is a different projector altogether, in a different review.

BenQ HT3050HT3050 vs. HT2050: The Differences

The HT3050 is the same basic projector as the HT2050 with the following differences:

1. The HT3050 Cinema mode is more carefully calibrated to target Rec 709 standards while the HT2050’s Cinema mode is not.

2. On the HT3050, one of the HDMI ports is MHL enabled. This does not exist on the HT2050.

3. The 3050 has dual 10W speakers for much more robust onboard stereo audio; the 2050 has only one mono 10W speaker.

4. The 3050 has horizontal and vertical digital keystone adjustments, the 2050 has vertical keystone only.

5. The 3050 is a bit heavier at 8.1 lbs vs. 7.3 lbs for the 2050.

6. The 3050 has a brushed gold front bezel, and the 2050 is brushed silver.

7. The HT2050 is rated at 2200 lumens vs. the HT3050’s 2000 lumens, a difference of no practical consequence.

8. We measure 50 ms input lag on the HT3050 and 33 ms on the HT2050.

As you consider this list of differences, you may see reasons to spend the extra $200, or you may not. These are both solid and attractive projectors for the money.

Picture Quality

The big question of course is what differences there may be in image quality? When both projectors are put into the factory default settings in Cinema mode, theHT3050 produces a more refined picture with much closer to accurate color tones, simply because it has been more carefully calibrated at the factory. The differences are not huge, and the HT2050 puts out a very attractive image on its own if you had nothing to compare it to. But if prospective buyers were shown these two units side by side (in their factory default calibrations) without being told anything about them, they would invariably choose the HT3050 as having the preferred image. We suspect most viewers would say that the incremental image quality is worth the additional $200.

Having said that, it should be noted that once the HT2050 is professionally calibrated it is capable of producing a picture that exceeds that of the HT3050’s factory Rec 709 calibration. That is because there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” factory calibration that perfectly optimizes every unit coming off the production line. So if you have the ability to calibrate a projector or you plan to hire a technician, you might want to go with the HT2050 instead.

Since the HT3050 is the more substantial of the two models, we’ll focus on the 3050 in the following comments. You can assume they apply also to the HT2050 except where noted.

When you light up the HT3050 and open the menu, you will find four preset operating modes — Bright, Vivid, Cinema, and Game. A few words on each of these…

Many who buy this projector will be opting for Cinema mode. Though it is the least bright of the four, it puts out 1160 lumens in its brightest configuration which is more than ample for most dark room home theater needs. The factory programmed color balance is reasonably close to accurate Rec 709. It is certainly watchable out of the box without any need for calibration. However, after some viewing we became a bit frustrated with closed-off mid-tones, so several minor adjustments helped solve the problem: Brightness was increased from 50 to 51, Contrast was boosted from 50 to 53, and the default gamma setting of 2.2 was reduced to 2.1. On our test sample this produce a more open and satisfying gray scale.

We also made some minor adjustments to color. However, a professional calibration of the HT3050’s Cinema mode is not going to yield significant improvements in image quality (on the HT2050 a pro calibration would yield more noticeable improvements). Results will vary from unit to unit, but in general the adjustments needed to dial in a balanced and satisfying picture were minor. For all but the most fastidious of videophiles, the HT3050’s Cinema mode is quite satisfactory out of the box with little or no tweaking.

BenQ HT3050 Front Bezel

Game mode is a bit brighter and slightly cooler in temperature than Cinema mode, but it is also perfectly serviceable for video/film. It activates the “Brilliant Color” feature, whereas the Cinema mode does not. Adding Brilliant Color to the image boosts brightness, and shifts color temperature toward a slightly cooler bias. White objects appear brighter than they should, but the effect is not nearly as heavy-handed as we’ve seen on other Brilliant Color implementations. The picture is overall quite pleasant. Some users will prefer Game mode over Cinema for most of their movie viewing, not just gaming. It isn’t precisely accurate, but it is attractive.

Vivid mode is incrementally brighter than Game mode. It exaggerates color saturation and contrast somewhat. Color balance is still within the general ballpark of reasonable, but saturation and contrast are boosted to the point where it looks, well, artificially Vivid. However, this can be a good thing. If you are one of those that likes to boost color saturation of your pictures in photo editing to make them look extra rich, you may enjoy the Vivid mode of the HT3050. At the recent CEDIA trade show, LG was demonstrating OLED TVs that pushed contrast and saturation to outrageous extremes, so that the picture is dazzling, eye-catching, mesmerizing, and utterly fake. Many folks like this effect. The Vivid mode on the BenQ projectors tends in this same direction but it is nowhere near as extreme. As far as Vivid calibrations go, this one is nicely done.

Bright mode is the only one of the four that is radically off in color temperature, producing a picture that is tinted an obvious green. This makes grass look brilliantly green, blue skies look cyan, while anything red or magenta becomes dull and brownish. We cannot think of a good use for Bright mode. But it follows the long-established industry tradition of including a bright green operating mode to show that the projector is capable of getting within shouting distance of its lumen spec.

In general, the HT3050 delivers solid black levels and high dynamic range, consistent with what we’ve come to expect from DLP. The picture is reasonably sharp with no excessive noise. Colors are (or can be) naturally saturated and well balanced due to high color brightness (see Performance section for details).

The only flaw we continued to notice on both of our test units was related to brightness uniformity. The image on the HT3050 fades noticeably to the right side, where brightness falls off as much as 30% from its levels in the rest of the picture. Essentially this produces a subtle vignetting effect on the right edge of the picture. This becomes noticeable in scenes that contain continuous tones that should be even across the screen (like skies and seascapes). On our HT2050, brightness uniformity is also mediocre, but in a different way. The picture is brightest in the lower center and it fades most to the upper left instead of the right. On this unit the fading is incrementally progressive across the image, so it does not produce a vignetting effect, but the upper left corner is 40% less bright than the lower center. The substantial difference in uniformity patterns between our two samples suggests manufacturing variances in the alignment of the light engines, so what we see on these units many not coincide with what users may see on theirs.

Brightness uniformity is not something most users would notice while viewing video. It is most obvious when viewing a solid white test pattern. Flaws in uniformity usually get lost in the complexity of a video/film image. Unlike excessive digital noise, rainbow artifacts, or dull black levels, you can watch a whole movie without being distracted by this particular flaw. So as flaws go, it is easier to live with than most.

Key Features

Ideal brightness for home theater. Rated at 2000 lumens, our test sample comes in around 1160 lumens in Cinema (Rec 709) mode. This is good for rooms that are not entirely blacked out, or for a very large screen installation. If you want to cut lumens, you can do that either by using the zoom lens or putting it into Eco mode. This flexibility lets you hit the sweetspot of brightness for most dark room home theater needs.

6x, RGBRGB color wheel. This color wheel configuration maximizes DLP performance potential for video by optimizing color brightness and virtually eliminating rainbow artifacts.

Zoom lens and lens shift. Traditionally inexpensive DLP projectors have minimal zoom range and no lens shift. The HT3050 has a 1.3x manual zoom and some limited vertical lens shift as opposed to none.

Terrific sound. The HT3050 has great audio. The dual 10W speakers produce the loudest and clearest we’ve ever heard on a projector of this size. Of course it still lacks the bass, dynamic range, and spatial surround features you’d like to have for movies, but this is the best on-board substitute for a surround sound system we’ve ever encountered on an inexpensive portable projector.

The HT2050 eliminates one of the two 10 W speakers, so it does not have nearly the audio performance of the HT3050. However, if you have an external surround system, you won’t want to use the audio on either of these models.

Color Temp and Color Management. Both models provide the ability to fine tune color temperature with Red, Green, and Blue gain and offset controls. Both have the ability to adjust Hue, Saturation and Gain on RGBCMY.

BenQ HT3050 Rear Panel and Speakers

Connections. You get two standard HDMI ports, (one of which is MHL enabled on the 3050, but not on the 2050). You also get one VGA port, one 3-RCA component, one composite, one USB, one mini-USB, one RS-232, one audio in, and one audio out. The connection panel is on the rear of the unit, set between the speakers which are on the rear corners.

You also get a 12-volt trigger, which is a feature beginning to show up on more sub-$1000 home theater models these days.

Projection options. For those new to projectors, virtually all projectors are made with the ability to project upright from a coffee table, inverted in a ceiling mount, or placed behind a screen for either table/shelf mounted or ceiling mounted rear projection. All BenQ projectors have these options as standard features.

Full HD 3D. Both projectors are full HD 3D compatible, and automatically recognize a 3D source. The DLP-link glasses synch instantly.

White casework and white remote. Many with white ceilings prefer a white projector because it does not stand out as obviously in the room. White remotes are easier to find in the dark. The remote is nicely backlit, tactile response is excellent, and the common sense layout makes it easy to use once you are familiar with it.

H+V keystone. If you need to use keystone adjustments, you’ve got both horizontal and vertical on the HT3050 (vertical only on the 2050). This function is accessible only via a function button on the remote; it is not available in the on-screen menu. As always, on all native 1080p projectors we recommend avoiding the use of this feature if you can, simply because it adds scaling to the 1080p image, and it will reduce image brightness by turning off a portion of the chip.

Anamorphic lens compatibility. If you have an A-lens and want to use it with this projector, the vertical stretch required to accommodate it is an option in the aspect ratio selections.

Security. Password protection is an option if you want to use it, and the projector comes with a Kensington lock.

Performance

Brightness. The HT3050 is rated at 2000 lumens. It has four factory preset operating modes. With the lamp on full power and the zoom lens set to its widest angle position, our test unit measured as follows:

Bright — 1760
Vivid — 1550
Game — 1420
Cinema – 1160

The HT3050 has a 1.3x zoom lens that will curtail light output by up to 27% as you move from its brightest, most wide angle position, to its most telephoto (longest throw for a given image size). You can also reduce the projector’s brightness 32% by putting it into Eco mode.

Therefore, if the Cinema mode’s 1160 lumens is too bright for your dark room set up, you can cut it to about 800 lumens by switching to Eco mode, or you can reduce light output anywhere from 1% to 27% by moving the projector back and using a longer throw portion the zoom lens.

BenQ HT3050 Remote

Brightness Uniformity. Based on the nine quadrant ANSI lumen meter readings, our HT3050 measures 73% uniformity and theHT2050 measures 67%. (See comments regarding uniformity in the Picture Quality section of this review.)

Sharpness. The HT3050 is what we’d call reasonably sharp and competitive in its price class. It is never noticeably soft and, standing alone, it looks perfectly well defined. We have seen marginally sharper projectors, but the difference would be visible only if they are displayed side by side. The Sharpness control has a rather subtle effect on image sharpness. We found the optimal setting to be 9 on a scale of 1 to 15. This is the point at which the image appears it sharpest without introducing unwanted artifacts.

Color brightness is outstanding compared to many DLP projectors. In Bright and Vivid modes it measures 77% of white, in Game mode it measures 85% of white, and in Cinema it is the full 100% of white.

Input lag. We get difference readings on the two models. On the HT3050 the Bodnar meter registers 50 ms lag in all operating modes, including Game mode. On the HT2050 it reads 33 ms.

Fan noise Audible noise in full power mode is relatively low in both pitch and sound pressure. This is one of the quieter HT projectors under $1000, but it is not as stone quiet as more expensive models can be. The vast majority of users will have no problem with it, but those who want a close to silent projector may want to opt for a more expensive unit.

High Altitude Mode is required at elevations above 1500 m, or about 5000 feet. In this mode the fan noise is increased, but it is still quite livable and relatively unobtrusive compared to most units in this price class. This is a good option if you live in Denver, you don’t want to spend more than $1000, and you want to keep fan noise to a minimum.

Lamp life. BenQ estimates lamp life at full power to be 3500 hours. There are two eco modes — Eco and Smart Eco — that boost lamp life up to an estimated 5000 hours and 6000 hours respectively. Replacement lamps cost $249.

Set Up

The HT3050 will thrown a 120″ diagonal 16:9 image from a distance of between 10 and 13 feet. With this size screen, if you choose to place it at 10 feet, image brightness is maximized, if you put it at 11.5 feet, brightness is reduced by 14%, and if you set it back to 13 feet, image brightness is reduced by 27%. So choose your throw distance carefully while keeping your desired image brightness in mind. Use the Projection Calculator to determine your actual throw distance options based your desired screen size.

The projector is designed to be used most efficiently either table mounted or inverted and ceiling mounted. As is typical with this design, placing the projector on a rear shelf and projecting over the heads of the audience will be problematic. You would probably need to tilt the projector downward to position the image properly. This will require keystone adjustment, and it may require more than the maximum allowable tilt, which is 15 degrees. Also keep in mind that the manual stipulates a clearance of 20 inches between the rear of the projector and the wall.

Furthermore, if the projector is very much behind you, it is likely that the screen size at that throw distance will be too large for your viewing distance (unless you are among those who prefer front rows in a movie theater).

If you prefer to sit at a distance of about 1.3x the screen width, which is a common preference, the ceiling mounted projector will be pretty much directly over your head. This is the best way to install the unit for optimal screen illumination, as it will project slightly downward to the screen, and the screen will reflect back downward again to the position of the viewers (angle of incidence = angle of reflection).

The projector has a built in upward throw angle that puts the bottom edge of the image slightly higher than the centerline of the lens (or lower than the centerline of the lens if inverted and ceiling mounted). The offset is approximately 10% of the image height. From that point you can elevate the image up to another 10% of the image height using the Lens Shift control.

Limitations

Input lag. The 50 ms input lag on the HT3050 may be enough to make serious gamers think twice since many DLP projectors (including the HT2050) have a lag of 33 ms, and occasionally we find one that is faster. 50 ms is also enough of a delay that it will create minor lip synch issues, so an audio delay would be nice.

A little bit o’ lens shift. This is both an advantage and a limitation. It is an advantage because most projectors in this price category don’t offer lens shift at all. So to that extent it is a genuine benefit. The only reason it is a limitation is because higher priced models offer much more extensive lens shift range than just 10% of the picture height. But the fact that the HT3050 has it at all is progress, so we must keep that in perspective.

Brightness uniformity. As noted in the Picture Quality section, the 3050 and 2050 test units we have are both below average on this metric but in different ways. If you must settle for at least one flaw in a projector, this is probably the one you’d want, but many competitors are doing better than this these days.

Slow synch on new signals. These projectors take their own sweet time figuring out new signals. Once they lock onto a steady signal they are fine, but when you fire up a Blu-ray disc, they are initially confused by the changing formats in the start up sequences. You may or may not see the FBI alert screen, as during the time the player is outputting that image the projector is fumbling around trying to determine what the signal format is. When the Blu-ray player starts outputting, say, the Universal Studios logo splash screen, you might see only the last few seconds of it on the HT3050, as it can take that long for it to identify and lock onto the new video signal–you hear the audio long before you see the picture. In general, you see a lot of “searching for signal” messages and intermittent snow screens during the start up phase for any new source or when switching movie discs. This is more pronounced on the HT3050 than on the HT2050, which is a bit faster in figuring it out. Once they lock onto the movie signal it is fine, but this is a messy way to start a film presentation.

One-year warranty. Several vendors in this market niche offer two or three year warranties, but some offer just the conventional minimum one-year. BenQ is one of them.

Conclusion

BenQ has developed a solid reputation for producing inexpensive home theater projectors that deliver impressive quality for the money. The HT3050 and HT2050 will enhance that reputation even further. The BenQ HT3050 is ready to go, out of the box, with a reasonably well calibrated Cinema mode that approximates Rec 709 standards. It has an attractive trio of usable preset color modes and a 1.3x zoom with a touch of lens shift that provides a little extra installation latitude. The HT3050’s most apparent flaws (brightness uniformity and ability to quickly synch on new signals) are unfortunate but for the most part easy to live with compared to weaknesses in other projectors. The HT3050 also has outstanding onboard stereo sound for those who need it in portable applications or occasional use in a backyard theater. So it will be an easy decision for many buyers.

The BenQ HT2050 will be a better choice than the HT3050 in a couple of situations. Gamers for whom the reduced input lag is meaningful may find it more attractive. And for those who can tune up their own projectors, or for anyone planning to retain a technician for a pro calibration, the HT2050 is the better bet, since you save $200 and it is highly likely that a professional calibration of the HT2050 will yield a picture that exceeds the precision of the HT3050’s factory programmed Cinema Rec 709 calibration.


 

Ready to buy? Click here to see the BenQ HT2050 and HT3050 at Projector SuperStore.

 


This review was written by Evan Powell on October 30, 2015. It was originally seen on ProjectorCentral.com. View the original post here.

 

Top 10 Portable Projectors

When it comes to an impactful presentation, refining the message and delivery are essential. Equally important though are the tools used to convey the message to the audience. You’ve spent countless hours developing your product, brand, or idea, now it’s time to tell the world. What is the best, and most efficient, way to do that? For most of us, it will mean utilizing a portable projector. These projectors have come a long way in recent years. Weighing in at just a few pounds, with a footprint that allows them to fit into your briefcase, these projectors are often equipped with advanced features such as wireless connectivity and are capable of displaying high definition images.

With so many portable projectors to choose from though, which ones are the best? Here are 10 current options that we like, and would highly recommend to you.

  1. Epson PowerLite 1264 Wireless HD WXGA 3LCD Projector
    • Up to 10,000 Hours of Eco Mode Lamp Life
    • MHL Connectivity via HDMI
    • USB Plug and Play Connectivity
    • Built-In 2W Mono Speaker
    • Includes Soft Case
  2. NEC NP-L102W 1,000-lumen Mobile Projector
    • Solid state LED light source improves total cost of ownership
    • Compact size and lightweight design simplify transport
    • Filter-free design eliminates hassle and time spent monitoring and changing filters
    • 1GB internal memory and SD input to expand storage up to 32GB
    • HDMI input connects you to high-definition sources
  3. Optoma W304M 3100 Lumens WXGA Mobile Projector
    • Ideal for on-the-road presentations
    • HDMI connectivity for maximum compatibility
    • 3D Ready for the most amazing, most immersive viewing experience
    • Advanced energy saving features to reduce the cost of operation
    • Easy to operate
  4. Epson PowerLite 1776W WXGA Multimedia Projector
    • Brilliant Widescreen Performance – HD WXGA resolution and 16:10 aspect ratio
    • iProjection App – Project documents and photos wirelessly from your iOS device
    • Eco Features – Energy-efficient 3LCD light engine and a recyclable product
    • Quick Start – Minimize energy use during start-up, shut-down and non-operation
    • USB Plug ‘n Play – Compatible with Windows and Mac
  5. Casio XJ-A257 Slim Series 16:10 Multi-Media Projector with Wireless LAN Adapter
    • Small footprint – Less than 2” thick
    • Lamp Free Technology – LED/Laser light source lasts up to 20,000 hours
    • Versatile connectivity options – HDMI, VGA, Composite, and more.
    • Give “PC-less” presentations – USB port and 2GB Built-In Memory
    • Wireless – Includes Wireless LAN adapter for easy networking
  6. Optoma ML1000P WXGA 1000 Lumens Ultra Portable Projector
    • Perfect for traveling presenters
    • Wireless presentation capability included
    • Intuitive touchpad control for ease of operation
    • LED light source lasts for the life of the product
    • HDMI connectivity for maximum compatibility
  7. InFocus IN1146 LED Projector
    • 30,000-hour LED light source
    • Only 1.8 lbs (0.8 kg)
    • PC-less presentation via USB or SD card
    • Optional USB wireless connectivity
    • Built-in stereo speakers
  8. NEC NP-M282X 2800-Lumen Portable Projector
    • Easy wireless communication enhances portability.
    • Maintenance free design eliminates hassle and time spent changing filters
    • USB Viewer allows you to present without a PC using a USB flash drive
    • Powerful 20W speaker provides volume needed for large rooms
    • ECO Mode™ technology helps extend lamp life and lowers power consumption
  9. Sony VPL-DW127 2600 Lumen WXGA Mobile Wireless Projector
    • Lightweight and portable at less than 6lbs.
    • Up to 10,000 hour lamp life
    • Auto brightness adjustment function, depending on the contents
    • “Off and Go” technology for convenient tear-down and mobility
    • Includes carrying case
  10. InFocus IN1112a Portable Projector
    • Less than 3 lbs. for easy travel
    • High Definition WXGA resolution
    • Present and annotate wirelessly from tablets and smartphones with free apps
    • Display files from a USB drive
    • Includes carrying case

If you don’t see the one you’re looking for, you can browse over 400 other options on our site here. Not quite sure what you need? Feel free to give us a call at 888-525-6696, and we’ll be happy to help you find the perfect projector for your application!

 

Optoma’s Latest 1080p Home Projector Range

Movie fans, TV buffs and keen gamers can now enjoy a super-size cinema quality picture in any room in their home. Packed with features, Optoma’s range of 1080p home projectors deliver vivid clarity with pure, deep colors and high contrast thanks to deeper blacks and crisp whites. This means live sport, action-packed games, TV and movies can be enjoyed in stunning Full HD resolution any time of day.

See Optoma’s full line of projectors on the Projector SuperStore website here.

About Projector SuperStore – For over 20 years, Projector SuperStore has been the premier source for affordable Audio and Visual equipment online. We have worked with hundreds of businesses across the nation and have the expertise to help you integrate the right technology for your specific needs and bring your message to the masses. Whether you’re looking for a projector for a meeting room, a portable system for use in multi-purpose rooms, a state-of-the-art projection system for your main auditorium, the latest home theater technology or anything in between, we can help you create a system that is right for your needs and fits within your budget. View more information on our website here.

Casio Receives Prestigious Education Award for its Ultra Short Throw Projector

DOVER, NJ, December 10, 2014 –Casio America, Inc. is proud to announce that its Ultra Short Throw Projector, the XJ-UT310WN, has received a 2014 Award of Excellence from Tech & Learning magazine (a NewBay Media publication). The awards program recognizes software, hardware, network and web products that feature innovative applications that break new ground as well as those that added significant enhancements to proven education tools. All entries are given a rigorous test-driving by qualified educators in several rounds of judging. Products are also carefully screened by the publication’s editorial team. Winners are showcased in the December 2014 issue of the magazine.

“It’s a proud moment when Casio is recognized by the very community we aim to serve for having a high-quality product that meets educators’ needs and enables them to more efficiently teach the leaders of tomorrow,”said Matt Mustachio, General Manager of Casio’s Business Projector Division. “After launching earlier this year, the Ultra Short Throw Projector has been extremely well-received among the education community and simply illustrates the importance of providing products that are forward-thinking and deliver quality technology results for the classroom.”

Primarily designed for the education market where Ultra Short Throw projectors are becoming the standard, Casio’s XJ-UT310WN is the world’s brightest LampFree® Ultra Short Throw projector* available. It features an ultra short throw ratio of 0.28:1, produces 3100 lumens of brightness, and boasts WXGA (1280 x 800) resolution which is ideal for displaying HD content from video and computer sources. The XJ-UT310WN utilizes Casio’s 5th generation LASER & LED Hybrid Light Source technology which delivers a 20,000 hour estimated lifespan and achieves an increase in color spectrum compared with a mercury lamp. This LampFree® light source also eliminates the need to replace unsafe mercury bulbs which helps to lower the projector’s total cost of ownership and maximize the investment.

Casio’s XJ-UT310WN comes equipped with the required connectivity and application tools needed to easily integrate today’s mobile technology into the classroom, as well as a standard three (3) year parts and labor warranty plus a five (5) year or 10,000 hour warranty on the Hybrid Laser & LED light source. The XJ-UT310WN is available for purchase through Casio’s National Pro AV dealer network and authorized distributors for an MSRP of $1,999.99. For additional information on Casio’s XJ-UT310WN and its full portfolio of LampFree® projectors, visit www.CasioLampFree.com

*Based on Casio Market research of available non Mercury Lamp source Short Throw Projectors as of March 31, 2014

About Casio LampFree® Projectors – Casio’s portfolio of LampFree® projectors combines a laser, a fluorescent element and an LED light to deliver a mercury-free hybrid light source that lasts up to 20,000 hours while sustaining a high brightness and keeping maintenance costs to a minimum. Casio has four series of LampFree® projectors that are available for home, business, education and commercial applications – Slim, Signature, Pro and Short Throw. For additional information on Casio’s projector series and LampFree® technology, please visitwww.CasioLampFree.com.

About Casio America, Inc. – Casio America, Inc., Dover, N.J., is the U.S. subsidiary of Casio Computer Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of consumer electronics and business equipment solutions. Established in 1957, Casio America, Inc. markets calculators, keyboards, digital cameras, mobile presentation devices, disc title and label printers, watches, cash registers and other consumer electronic products. Casio has strived to fulfill its corporate creed of “creativity and contribution”through the introduction of innovative and imaginative products. For more information, visit www.CasioUSA.com.

About Tech & Learning – For over 30 years, Tech & Learning has been – and continues to be – the leading resource for K-12 leaders. Its publications, Web sites and events provide factual and evaluative information on trends, products, and strategies to educators who purchase technology products in their districts and schools. Tech & Learning, published by NewBay Media LLC, delivers the highest quality content and essential resources to manage, train, and teach technology. For more information, visit www.TechLearning.com.

About NewBay Media LLC – NewBay Media is positioned at the center of the world’s most dynamic industries-Music, AV/Pro Audio, Consumer Electronics/Gaming, Video & Broadcast, and Education. We connect and inform millions of constituents in these industries through our award-winning content, integrated media capabilities, and high-profile network-building and informative events. NewBay proudly serves some of the broadest BtoB professional and music enthusiast communities in the world through over 60 print and digital publications, 100 integrated web and mobile applications, 75 conferences and conventions, custom marketing services and ecommerce capabilities. Find out more at www.newbaymedia.com.

About Projector SuperStore – For over 20 years, Projector SuperStore has been the premier source for affordable Audio and Visual equipment online. We have worked with hundreds of businesses across the nation and have the expertise to help you integrate the right technology for your specific needs and bring your message to the masses. Whether you’re looking for a projector for a meeting room, a portable system for use in multi-purpose rooms, a state-of-the-art projection system for your main auditorium, the latest home theater technology or anything in between, we can help you create a system that is right for your needs and fits within your budget. View more information on our website here.

NEC Display Solutions Named Tech & Learning Magazine Awards of Excellence Winner

NEC Display Solutions of America, a leading provider of commercial LCD display and projector solutions, announced today that its 3,200-lumen M322W widescreen portable projector with advanced networking capabilities, extended lamp life and eco-friendly features was named a winner in Tech & Learning magazine’s Education Awards of Excellence program.

Now in its 32nd year, the Tech & Learning Awards of Excellence Program honors software, hardware, network and web products that break new ground, as well as those that add significant enhancements to proven education tools.

The M322W projector, using the latest DLP® technology from Texas Instruments, delivers essential features for the education market, including high contrast images (10,000:1), a powerful 20W speaker, dual HDMI inputs for connection to multiple digital sources and is filter-free. It also includes eco-conscious features like ECO Mode™, which increases lamp life up to 10,000 hours, while lowering power consumption to help schools decrease their overall total cost of ownership.

“The Tech & Learning magazine award is a great honor for NEC Display, which prides itself on the strong relationships it has established with schools and educators,” said Ashley Flaska, Vice President of Marketing for NEC Display Solutions. “Schools are looking for technology to help elevate the learning experience in the classroom, and products like the M322W projector deliver on that goal.”

The M322W projector can transmit images from computers, tablets and smart phones usingNEC DisplayNote Software, an app that lets leaders and participants present, share and annotate content from any device so their notes are automatically saved.

About NEC Display Solutions of America, Inc.
Headquartered in Itasca, Ill., NEC Display Solutions of America, Inc., is a leading designer and provider of innovative desktop LCD monitors, commercial- and professional-grade large-screen LCD displays, a diverse line of multimedia and digital cinema projectors, and integrated display solutions. NEC Display Solutions develops leading-edge visual technology and customer-focused solutions for a wide variety of markets, including enterprise, healthcare, education and digital signage. For additional information about NEC Display Solutions of America products, call (866) NEC-MORE, or visit the website at www.necdisplay.com. For digital images, please visit http://necdisplay.com/digital-media-library. Follow us on our social media channels: Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn.

About VUKUNET
VUKUNET, from NEC Display Solutions of America, is the engine that powers the digital out-of-home advertising business. VUKUNET is the only universal ad serving platform that drives ads to any digital out-of-home network, regardless of content management system. VUKUNET makes the buying, flighting and reporting of digital out-of-home ad campaigns easy. For additional information about VUKUNET, visit www.vukunet.com, or call (877) 805-VUKU. For VUKUNET logos and digital images, please visit http://www.vukunet.com/pressresources.aspx.

About Projector SuperStore – For over 20 years, Projector SuperStore has been the premier source for affordable Audio and Visual equipment online. We have worked with hundreds of businesses across the nation and have the expertise to help you integrate the right technology for your specific needs and bring your message to the masses. Whether you’re looking for a projector for a meeting room, a portable system for use in multi-purpose rooms, a state-of-the-art projection system for your main auditorium, the latest home theater technology or anything in between, we can help you create a system that is right for your needs and fits within your budget. View more information on our website here.

Christie Expands its Industry-leading 1-chip DLP Family with Three New Christie Q Series Projectors

CYPRESS, Calif. – (December 2, 2014) – Christie® is adding three powerful and cost-effective solutions to the Christie Q Series family. The new whisper-quiet Christie DWX851-Q, Christie DHD851-Q, and Christie DWU851-Q models deliver 7900, 7500 and 7900 ANSI lumens respectively and are usable in either single or dual-lamp mode. Operational in portrait or landscape setup and suitable for auditoriums, board and conference rooms, government, video mapping, rental staging and more, the three new models provide 2500:1 contrast ratio, Christie eClarity™ for improved control over image sharpness, gloss and shading, and built-in High Dynamic Contrast Range (HDCR) that eliminates image washout in high ambient light conditions while preserving image clarity.

With two color wheels built-in, users can select the one that best suits their content and application. The High-Brightness color wheel provides superior whites for enhanced graphic presentations while the Ultra-Rich color wheel delivers an expanded color gamut and lifelike images. The Q Series is equipped with a software function that allows for easy switching between the color wheels.

“Christie DWX851-Q, Christie DHD851-Q, and Christie DWU851-Q deliver the high performance, flexibility and reliability demanded by today’s user – all at a low ownership cost,” said Curtis Lingard, product manager, Christie. “These industry-leading 1-chip DLP® projectors require less power without sacrificing performance. They also have software that works with an optional camera for fast and easy edge-blending and warping in multiple projector setups to create panoramic or stacked displays.”

Features of Christie DWX851-Q, Christie DHD851-Q, and Christie DWU851-Q include but are not limited to:

2 HDMI input
Dual 350W UHP lamps
Christie eClarity and HDCR
Built in Ultra-Rich and High Brightness color wheels
HDBaseT
Portrait mode capable
Edge blending and Geometric correction
DICOM® (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) Simulation Mode for training
Status monitor display
Motorized zoom, focus and lens shift with memory
PC-less presentation
Black or white design
3G-SDI (HD model only)
Christie Q Series models ship in December with a three-year warranty, backed by Christie’s industry-leading customer service and support.

About Christie – Christie Digital Systems USA, Inc. is a global visual technologies company and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ushio, Inc., Japan, (JP:6925). Consistently setting the standards by being the first to market some of the world’s most advanced projectors and complete system displays, Christie is recognized as one of the most innovative visual technology companies in the world. From retail displays to Hollywood, mission critical command centers to classrooms and training simulators, Christie display solutions and projectors capture the attention of audiences around the world with dynamic and stunning images. Visit www.christiedigital.com.

About Projector SuperStore – For over 20 years, Projector SuperStore has been the premier source for affordable Audio and Visual equipment online. We have worked with hundreds of businesses across the nation and have the expertise to help you integrate the right technology for your specific needs and bring your message to the masses. Whether you’re looking for a projector for a meeting room, a portable system for use in multi-purpose rooms, a state-of-the-art projection system for your main auditorium, the latest home theater technology or anything in between, we can help you create a system that is right for your needs and fits within your budget. View more information on our website here.