Home Theater enthusiasts and manufacturers are always in a race to produce a larger and more lifelike picture. Here are two recent trends that we love!

Lasers

No, this isn’t something from science fiction or an Austin Powers movie — we’re talking about a technology that is making its way into the home theater world.  

I’ve always preferred front projection video to televisions. Something about the way the light reflects back at the viewer on a huge screen makes the image seem more realistic. In the early years of front projection, the systems were plagued by low light output.  You needed a totally dark room (which didn’t seem like an issue because movie theaters are dark as well), but even then, the picture did not appear to be as bright as a TV.  

Recently, laser light engines for consumer home theater projectors have started to hit the market.  Laser engines have several advantages over lamp-based systems.  First, you can get about 20,000 hours of life out of a laser projector before you have to do anything.  Most current home theater projectors need a new lamp about every 2,000-4,000 hours.  Second, the laser engine puts out a ton of light, so no more worries about a dim picture with a laser light engine!  Perhaps my favorite benefit of laser projectors are the colors! I haven’t seen a laser projector recently that isn’t stunning and incredibly lifelike. If you have a chance, stop by one of our showrooms to see the difference for yourself!

Widescreen (or 2:35)

Perhaps you’ve noticed that some movies in your local theater have a wider screen aspect ratio than your HDTV. While standard HD is 16:9, we’ve recently seen a spike in requests for the wider 2:35 screens. In fact, Audio Advice is installing more 2:35 home movie theaters than we have ever done in the past.

To get the widescreen experience, you need a front projector capable of lens memory.  It used to be this was a pretty expensive option, but as with all things tech, the price of entry keeps getting better.  

When you have a movie in 2:35, the image can literally fill up your entire wall!  If you have not experienced widescreen, we have it set up in both of our stores. It is a truly immersive experience.

Two new products that do both!

For anyone interested in laser technology or 2:35, there are actually a few products out there that can do both!

The first is the Epson LS9600e. This laser projector produces 2,000 lumens of light output — more than enough to light up a huge screen, even in a room without controlled lighting! The 9600 also has lens memory which means you can set it up in 2:35. Now for the best part… Epson just lowered the price of the 9600 to $4,999! The fact that you can get a front projector today that uses laser technology AND 2:35 for under $5,000 is simply amazing.

At the other end of the laser, 2:35 spectrum, is Sony’s new VPL-VW500ES. The 500ES has been on a national tour lately and we were lucky to recently have it in our showroom for a full week!

At $59,999, the 5000ES is all business!  It weighs in at 94 pounds and looks like it should belong in a commercial theater.  The primary lens is huge and is a one piece system like you find on very expensive cameras.  The 5000ES also has the ability to do 4K and HDR (high dynamic range) color.  We thought the Epson was bright, but this guy can produce 5,000 lumens!

Everyone who saw the 5000ES in action had to pick their jaw up off the floor. You’ve just never seen anything that looks this good.  The images just jump right off the screen.  Sony was able to get us some material shot with their new HDR 4K cameras, and I have to say, it’s by far the best video I have ever seen, including an IMAX theater.

When you look at the build and picture quality of the Sony 5000ES, even at its $59,999 price, it’s still a bargain.  As short as 15 years ago, it was not uncommon to pay that for a projector that was less than 5 times the light output, had a $2,000 lamp that lasted 1,500 hours, and was only capable of 1080i.  It is just incredible how far video has come.

If you want the biggest and best picture on the planet right now, with a projector that looks like it came off a tank, I can’t think of any reason not to invest in the Sony 5000ES.  It is just stunning!

We invite you to come into our stores and experience for yourself just how much fun the latest in video tech can be.  While you are here, be sure to also listen to Dolby Atmos, the newest audio tech.  You can start planning now for that dream home theater you have always wanted.  I’d love to help you design it!