5000-home-theater

$5,000 Home Theater Guide

We are currently working on an update to our $2,000 Home Theater Guide that is coming this week, but today we created the $5,000 Home Theater Guide. Putting this together really showed how good of a system you can get for this much today. You can have a reference quality display and a high-end audio system that will put most theaters to shame. There are really no sacrifices to be made here, and it’s a system that any of our reviewers could run for all of the gear we use.

$5,000 Home Theater Guide

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  • Basil

    How does Sony VPL-HW45ES compare against BenQ HT2050? There’s a difference of $1200 between the two models. I plan to install the projector in our basement with a Silver Ticket 120″ screen mostly for watching movies. There are no windows – but the walls, ceiling, and floor are lightly colored. Projector placement will not be an issue, so a large lens shift is not necessary. We are not bothered by rainbow effect but would prefer less motion blur. VPL-HW45ES has better contrast but not sure how much better….would there be a “significant” night vs day difference (considering we don’t have a theater quality “dark” room)? I don’t want to skimp on image quality and can spend the extra for the Sony provided it’s much better. Please recommend. Thanks!

    • Given that you have no windows you’ll see a big increase in contrast with the Sony. The contrast ratio is a good 4-5x as high, so it will look much better in a dark room than the BenQ. The BenQ will be a little sharper (as it’s single chip over three panels) and a little bit less motion blur, but the Sony image is going to look much better with movies. With sports the BenQ might come out ahead, just because of the motion with 60 Hz content, but since your room can handle it I’d really look into the Sony.

      • Basil

        Thanks for the quick response. I’ll put the Sony on my list. Do you think using darker colors for the walls, ceiling, and floor will make a huge difference to the contrast? Also, I read that LCD/LCOS panels degrade over time. Does that still apply to the newer projectors?

        • Darker colors will help, but I went with a neutral gray for mine since it was dark enough with the lights out and it made it more inviting during the day. One friend just redid his whole room in flat black and put protostar flocking material (http://fpi-protostar.com/flock.htm) on every surface in the whole front of the room so there is no light bleed at all.

          LCDs and LCOS are fine over time. I’ve known people with JVCs that are 5-6 years old and they’re still great, same with Epson LCDs. The filters should keep dust out of the light path, and the only reason you’d get dust in there is if some gets in while changing a bulb after 3,000 hours or so. Epson’s used to have issues with this, but I don’t know anyone that’s had an issue with Sony.

          • Basil

            Using gray is a great idea…I might do that too. Thank you for answering my questions. Very helpful HT guide! Thanks again.