Review Types Archives: Video Hardware

Video Hardware Review

Epson 5040UB Review

For years Epson and Sony have battled it out in the $2,000 projector space. This year Epson moved up to a higher price point with the Check on Amazon 5040UB. In doing so they’ve added an impressive amount of value to their offering. Compared to the prior 5030UB the new model has motorized zoom, focus, and lens shift with memory positions, optical shift for enhanced resolution with 4K sources, support for HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2, the ability to display HDR and WCG content, and LAN control. All these updates put the Epson 5040UB into a value proposition that no other projector currently occupies. After proper setup and a calibration, the Epson 5040UB puts out a fantastic image and offers a great value. (more…)

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Roku Premiere+ Review

In 2016 we finally got the UltraHD TVs we’ve been waiting for. Not just offering resolution, but offering expanded color gamuts, dynamic highlights, and a visual experience that goes beyond what we’ve had before. The Roku Premiere+ is the media streamer for those UltraHD displays. The Roku 4 only really offered added resolution, while the Premiere+ adds full HDMI 2.0a and HDCP 2.2 support for wide color gamut and HDR, removes the noisy fan, and costs less. Notably for Vizio and projector owners, it can do Amazon Instant Video with UltraHD resolution, HDR, and WCG. It is the best media streamer today if you want the widest selection of UHD content with HDR and WCG along with the easiest interface. (more…)

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HDHomeRun Connect Review

I recently reviewed the Vizio P65-C1 and liked it to the point that I kept it. There was one drawback for us: no integrated TV tuner. As a household that ditched cable years ago, we rely on an OTA tuner to watch live sports, presidential debates, and other programming. We had an old TiVo HD with a tuner laying around, but since we no longer paid for service it worked as a dumb box with no channel guide at all. Instead of buying another standard tuner to use with the Vizio, I decided to try out an HDHomeRun. (more…)

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Vizio P65-C1 Review

Over the past decade, Vizio has managed to transition from a TV company that makes a great value TV to one that makes a great TV. This year that transition is finally complete with the updated P65-C1, which is the best looking LCD set I’ve used this year. To get a picture that beats the Vizio, you’ll have to spend way more than $2,000 to do so and even then it still might not be as good. The P65-C1 is so good for the price, and overall, that I bought one for my new AV room to serve as my reference UltraHD display.

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LG E6 OLED Review

The LG E6 is the best looking TV I’ve ever reviewed. It’s not perfect, but it comes closer than anything else I’ve used to date. There’s no reason to bore you with a long introduction or exciting story: if you can afford it and you want the best TV out there today, the LG E6 OLED is it. It’s compatible with both HDR formats on the market today, covers almost the entire color gamut current content uses, and looks better in action than anything you’ve ever seen.

The only thing keeping me from replacing my Panasonic VT60 plasma with the LG E6 OLED is price. $4,000 for a 55” and $6,000 for a 65” is a lot of money for a TV. What makes the LG E6 worth that is a package that other TVs can’t compete with: absolute blacks, wide viewing angles, cutting edge styling, HDR and WCG support, and even 3D that looks better than the competition. The LG E6 TV is a cut above the competition.

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JVC X550R Projector Review

Sometimes I wish I were an engineer. Being able to understand how products are different at the lowest level would help me see why some companies can do things that other ones cannot. Whenever I get in a projector from JVC I wonder how they can produce such deep, dark blacks that no other projector company can. The JVC X550R is no different, producing some of the best contrast ratios I have ever seen on a projector with images that are stunning. (more…)

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Roku Streaming Stick (2016) Review

Roku has released two other Streaming Stick media players. Despite their superior selection of apps and user interface, competing sticks have been better. Prior Roku sticks are slow to boot and unresponsive to the remote, making the whole experience one you don’t want to come back to. With the new 2016 Streaming Stick, Roku has finally gotten it right. Quick to boot, a smooth user experience, and extra features that the competition doesn’t offer make it a winner. Throw in a low $50 price point that includes a remote, and you have the best media streamer on the market today.

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Epson 1440 Projector Review

The Epson PowerLight Home Cinema 1440 is an LCD based projector that offers exceptionally high light output in a convenient and approachable package. If your set-up requires lots of light, or if you enjoy watching your projector with the lights partially or even fully on – then the Epson 1440 is an excellent option. The footprint is such that it can easily be put away between uses, and it measures well out of the box. The Epson 1440 does come with compromises to achieve this high light output: It is a bit loud, the blacks are lacking, and no lens shift means that installation can be a challenge. Those caveats aside, for the right user, this is an attractive option. (more…)

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BenQ HT2050 Projector Review

We reviewed two of BenQ’s new projectors for 2015, the HT3050 and HT4050, recently at Reference Home Theater. We found that they offered some improvements over the prior models while keeping the price close to the same. What we didn’t know is that the real star of the new lineup was the BenQ HT2050. For only $800 BenQ has made a 1080p DLP projector with improved contrast and color accuracy that is a no-brainer pick in the price range.

I would pick the HT2050 over the HT3050 and the HT4050 myself. It offers the same level of performance and you get to save enough money to buy yourself a nice projection screen to go with it. Unless you have an issue with DLP rainbows, in which case the Epson 2040 is for you, the BenQ HT2050 is the best value going in projectors today. (more…)

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Epson 2040 LCD Projector Review

We’ve reviewed a number of sub-$1,000 projectors here but they’re all had one thing in common: they are DLP-based. For many people, this is just fine, but all DLP projectors have one drawback in rainbows. If you don’t see rainbows, then this isn’t a problem for you and you may not even know what they are. For those that do see them, they can cause a DLP projector to be almost unusable.

The Epson 2040 is a $800 projector that uses 1080p LCD panels instead of a DLP light engine. It is very bright, with good color and all the controls needed to calibrate it accurately. It even includes features like motion interpolation that videophiles will scoff at but can really help for watching sports on a projector. If you don’t have a problem with rainbows, a DLP like the BenQ HT3050 or HT2050 is a better bet, but the Epson 2040 is a very good alternative that produces a nice, bright image. (more…)

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