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…)
Review Types Archives: Video Hardware
Video Hardware 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.
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…)
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…)
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…)
BenQ has been making the best $1,000 projectors for a number of years now. Their HT1070 and HT1075 projectors offer a lot of value for your money, with high lumen output and a sharp, accurate image. The new HT3050 is the successor to the HT1075 and improves upon it in many ways. Also new this year is the step-up HT4050 model that offers more install flexibility. Both are very good projectors and unless you have an issue with rainbows out perform the LCD brethren at this price range.
Both the HT3050 and HT4050 offer a number of improvements over the HT1075. Most importantly the image is more accurate that before. Both colors and the grayscale have improved, and the calibration controls work better than on the HT1075. The lenses are very sharp and the intra-scene contrast ratios are very good. For a projector in the $1,000 price range you still can’t beat the options from BenQ. (more…)
The 55” LG 55EG9100 OLED display is the entry-level LG OLED for 2015. For plasma fans, OLED has been billed as the great savior. Not only would an OLED be thinner than our plasma sets, but it could be brighter and have pure blacks. We wouldn’t have to live with the LCD compromises of worse off-axis viewing and backlights that can’t deliver the darkest blacks. OLED promises the potential to make us forget about plasma once and for all.
Having spent time with the LG 55EG9100, I can say it is the first display I might give up my Panasonic VT60 for. The blacks are pure and provide you contrast ratios no LCD can touch. The colors are vibrant and accurate while still looking great off-axis. Even the curve, which I typically dislike, is not as much of an issue. There are a couple quirks that hold the LG back, no set is perfect, but for those that miss plasma you might finally have the replacement TV you are after. (more…)
The Vizio M43-C1 offers UltraHD resolution, superior contrast ratios, and full array local dimming in an affordable package. The integrated streaming supports UltraHD from both Amazon and Netflix, the two main sources of UltraHD material today, and it has an HDMI input with HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 support for the future. Finding another TV with all these features from another manufacturer costs hundreds more today making the Vizio M-series a true bargain.
The Epson LS10000 brings laser projection to the mainstream. At $8,000 it isn’t cheap but it offers great performance. The contrast ratios are better than all non-JVC projectors I’ve used while offering more lumens than the JVC models. Colors are accurate and it offers almost the entire DCI/P3 color gamut for UltraHD Blu-ray. It runs dead quiet while producing more than enough light for almost any home theater screen and has lens memory for a Cinemascope setup. It won’t noticeably dim for over 20,000 hours and should not need a recalibration while you own it. It lacks native 4K resolution, and is expensive, but is a great projector for daily use. (more…)
The Optoma HD37 is a DLP based 1080p multimedia projector featuring a single 0.65” DC3 DMD chip. It features a rated 20,000:1 contrast, high light output with an advertised 2,600 lumens, and sharp, quality optics. It isn’t the quietest unit, especially when not in Eco mode, and it puts out quite a bit of heat, but it does feature some vertical lens shift for increased installation flexibility. For those looking to calibrate, the Optoma HD37 features ISF day and night modes.
At a street price of $999, the Optoma HD37 is a bit more expensive than our recommended pick, the BenQ HT1075. Even in Cinema mode the Optoma HD37 pumps out enough light to combat some ambient light, plus you wont miss out on much shadow detail since this DLP projector does not have the best black level. The Optoma HD37 makes a great budget gaming projector with low input lag and a built in speaker for portable gaming sessions. (more…)