SW15 is 4:3 SVGA (800X600) LCD with 300:1 CR. This gives an effective 16:9 resolution of (800X450) with 850 lumens. Its older brother XW15 has been well-reviewed and respected here except for its mediocre contrast ratio which means letterbox black bars will look dark gray. Its video processor is average at best. Screendoor will be the same as AE100 due to similar 16:9 resolution.
If you watch a lot of 4:3 then this is a better choice as AE100 is native 16:9 which shrinks 4:3 to its middle; however, for HT, 16:9 or 2.35:1 dominates which makes me favor AE100 due to 1) better CR (400-500:1), 2) cheaper price ($1400-$1500 from Japan), 3) 16:9 panels (no or little letter box bars for 16:9 or 2.35:1 tittles which really helps enhance appeared contrast further--SW15's bright gray letterbox bars really detracts from picture and needs masking off to help image), 4) quieter. Lumens wise I think they will look similar despite the 850 vs. 700 listing between the 2--hard to tell apart unless side by side comparison. Of course the Sanyo SW15 will have a better warranty due to availability here.
I agree about the Sanyo W-series having hazy blacks. The contrast, however, is excellent on these units. A projector can have excellent contrast w/o having good black levels. And the video processing in the W-series is VERY good. Putting a DVDO Iscan Pro on one of these units doesn't improve video by much. In fact, it turns out that Sanyo actually quoted ANSI contrast on these units, while most pj's (including most Sanyo's) quote full On/Off sequential contrast.
Jim's right. The Sanyo W-series is a very solid performer. The contrast and color are quite good at that price point. The Sanyo scaler is nothing short of amazing. The excellent scaler onboard an otherwise average budget projector produces a fabulous image.
On the other hand, a person doesn't have to spend much time on this forum to hear about the merits of the mighty AE-100.
My advice: call around and try to demo both - preferably side by side.
Check around the web for latest XW15 pricing - I bet you can find one for well under $2000. Especially with all of the AE100 failures posted recently, you should consider this hardy PJ. I've got about 600 hours on mine and not one problem.
PS: XW15 has less screendoor than the AE100 - unless you can find a SW15 for ~$1200, I'd say go for the XW15. Even a better choice than the AE100 if you plan on watching 4:3 material (TV, Kubrick films, gaming). The "hazy grey" bars top and bottom for 16:9 or 2.35:1 do not bother me, if you mask them with black felt they will dissapear entirely.
Pricing on the XW15 just dropped last week (...pausing amidst the shocked gasps...). You should be able to find it for around $1700.
Agreeing again with Huey, the XW15 will really shine with a gray screen. If you are in total darkness, a Da-Lite High Contrast Da-Mat or Stewart GrayHawk. If there is ambient light, opt for the D-L High Contrast CinemaVision or Stewart FireHawk.
"Pricing on the XW15 just dropped last week (...pausing amidst the shocked gasps...). You should be able to find it for around $1700."
Thats higher than I would have guessed. Only ~$400 drop since I bought mine 8 months ago. Be sure to check if Sanyo has any monthly promotions going on - I got a nice Sanyo DVD player with mine (non-progressive, but I compared it side by side to a progressive Panny RP56 and couldn't tell the difference - both gave a kick-ass picture through component cables)
Went to see Star Wars 2 yesterday - what a bummer. The top part of the screen was darker than the bottom, and there were two large, light shapes constantly on the screen - like LCD burn-in or something - really visible in dark scenes. Other than that - I really like the movie. Gave great insight into Anakin's psyche and built up tension between him and Obi Wan. Great job Lucas! Go ahead and add Natalie to the originals - shes smoking hot!
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