Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity

Home Video Display Reviews

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Video Display Reviews

JVC DLA-X700R Three-Chip D-ILA Projector

JVC DLA-X700R ProjectorFor years JVC has produced the best contrast ratios of any home projector thanks to their D-ILA technology. They have been able to manage these stellar black levels despite being the only major company to not utilize any sort of dynamic iris system in their projectors. This year they have added a dynamic iris system to their projectors that promises to provide even deeper blacks than ever before. The JVC X700 also features their updated e-Shift3 that now accepts a 4K signal and offers more control than before. As everyone seems to be clamoring for UltraHD, can the JVC X700 deliver the goods while still using a regular 1080p panel?

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Seymour Screen Excellence Enlightor 4K Acoustically Transparent Projection Screen

Seymour Screen Excellence Enlightor 4K ScreenAt home, acoustically transparent projection screens have been around for years, but have always had flaws. The size of the holes required for allowing sound to pass through are often visible from normal seating distances in the home. Also, much of the light passes through the screen, and this reduces the brightness of the image you will see. A projector you can buy for $3,000 now has more than enough brightness to allow some loss through the perforations. We have also seen the introduction of woven screens that allow sound to pass through, but also have a fine texture that is invisible from a normal distance. One such screen material is the Enlightor 4K from Seymour Screen Excellence. Boasting ISF certification for image quality and said to be acoustically transparent from 100 Hz to 20 kHz, it looks to be a screen material that can give you that movie theater immersion at home.

 

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Samsung UN85S9AF 85" 4K UHD LED Display

Samsung UN85S9AF LED Display

Reviewing the Samsung UN85S9AF 4K UHD TV is far from a simple task. The entire construct requires around 4 people to stand upright. This 85" behemoth is a self contained home theater experience – it stands on its own and although it can technically be wall mounted, this really breaks from its design statement. Apparently, Samsung discovered that many of its customers prefer to use the built in stand – which is why they've invested a great deal in the built-in stand designs. When Samsung first showed off this design at CES in Las Vegas, I really didn't like it. From afar, it looked like a folding beach chair or scissors. However, when the UN85S9AF is right next to you, the feeling changes. The design is elegant and looks much better in person than it does on the Vegas show floor or in pictures.

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BenQ W7500 Single-Chip DLP Projector

BenQ W7500 Projector

Looking over Secrets' last few years of projector reviews, it quickly becomes evident that the pricing sweet spot has settled around the $3000 mark. This makes sense since it's only a little more or less than you'd pay for a top-quality 65-inch flat panel. A few years ago, any TV over 50 inches carried a big price premium. When I bought my Pioneer Kuro in 2009 for example, I paid $2,900 for a 50-inch screen. I really wanted the 60-inch model but it was almost double the price at $5,600!

The REALLY BIG screen experience is still only available from front projection. Last year, I got to check out Mitsubishi's DLP, the HC8000D. This time, BenQ sent me their new W7500. For $2,799, it offers some great features and very high performance coupled with tremendous light output. Let's take a look.

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JVC X55 Three-Chip D-ILA Projector

JVC X55 ProjectorWith their updated e-shift technology, a full-featured CMS, and black levels that are untouched by other projector manufacturers, the new JVC X55 projector is capable of some truly stunning images. The kind of images that will likely have you painting that room, covering the carpet up with a dark rug, and putting electrical tape over the LEDs on your system components to prevent any little thing from entering the room to distract from its performance.

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SIM2 SUPER LUMIS Three-Chip DLP Projector

SIM2 SUPER LUMIS ProjectorProjectors are often described as having a "film-like" image. We are all trying to replicate that movie theater experience at home and so it seems that achieving that look is what we would strive for. The SIM2 SUPER LUMIS has shown me that in a modern projector; film-like is no longer what we want. All our sources now are pixel-perfect digital sources. Ideal projectors are razor-sharp and incredibly bright. We can focus down to a single pixel on the screen. Very little we see in the theater today is film sourced or projected from film, and nothing we watch at home is stored on film. So "film-like" is not what I'm after in a projector. What I'm after is something that shows me every last detail and imperfection in what I'm watching. A projector as true to the source as possible. With that in mind, the SIM2 SUPER LUMIS projector is a machine that is capable of doing just that. Powerful, precise, and utter revealing of everything it projects onto the screen.

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Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5020UBE 3D LCD Projector

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5020UBE 3D LCD Projector

Recently I reviewed Epson's new Home Cinema 3020e projector and found it to be a tremendous value in the under $2000 class. It offers killer 3D, wireless HDMI, and superb image for less than the price of a 60-inch TV. It was only natural that I should also check out its big brother, the Home Cinema 5020UBE.

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Sony VPL-HW55ES Three-Chip SXRD (LCoS) Projector

Sony VPL-HW55ES ProjectorIn 2012, Sony produced my favorite projector of the year, the VPL-HW50ES. While many other projectors did certain things a little better, none has the combination of attributes that the HW50ES has. From movies to sports, bright rooms to dark, it managed to excel at everything I asked it to do. In 2013, we some improvements with the VPL-HW55ES, including longer lamp life, contrast ratio, and brightness.

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Dune HD - Base3D and TV-303D High Definition Media Streamers

Dune HD - Base3D and TV-303DStreamers have been around for quite a few years. It took them quite a while to reach maturity. When this field was at its infancy, HD was just starting to get popular and Streamers offered a way to play back a DIVX or TS file without requiring a Home Theater PC in your living room. The beginning was very slow and tedious, early streamers were buggy and often had serious image, sound and build quality issues. Typically, you had to place your content in a hard drive inside the unit, or even burn a DVD containing your desired content - not exactly something that most people are prone to do.

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LG 55EA980 55" Curved OLED HDTV

OLED Curved TV LG 55EA980For the past decade, we've been hearing about a miraculous new technology called OLED that will reshape our lives.  Both Samsung and LG now produce and sell OLED TVs, which cost around $10,000 retail - in both flat and curved form factors.

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Mitsubishi HC8000D-BL 3D DLP Projector

Mitsubishi HC8000D-BL 3D-DLP Projector

Whenever I attend the CEDIA Expo, I visit all the projector manufacturers, both large and small. While Mitsubishi is a large company, their projectors are not as well-known as other brands. At the 2012 Expo, I had a chance to check out their all-new DLP models. In this review, we test the Mitsubishi HC8000D-BL single-chip DLP 3D projector.

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