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PROJECTOR REVIEWS

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Steven Stone Posted: Jun 29, 2003 0 comments

A year ago, Texas Instruments' new HD2 chip for DLP projectors, with a native resolution of 1280x720, was little more than a promise. Today you can hardly walk into a home-theater dealer without being hit in the eye by a DLP projector based on the HD2. It's just too bad that most HD2-equipped projectors cost more than $12,000.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 17, 2003 0 comments

The CRT is a relatively stable, mature technology, but the new digital projection systems, particularly Texas Instruments' Digital Light Processing (DLP), are moving targets. Last year, DLP really came into its own for home theater with the introduction of TI's HD1 Digital Micromirror Device (DMD). Not only did the HD1 have a true 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio with 1280x720 resolution, but DLP projectors based upon it were significantly better than earlier designs, particularly in the depth of their blacks.

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Peter Putman Posted: May 14, 2003 0 comments

The struggle to displace CRT front projectors from their lofty perch continues in the home-theater world. Cathode-ray tubes still produce the most lifelike images, with wide gray scales and excellent contrast, but they require a fair amount of setup, calibration, and periodic maintenance to keep looking their best.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 19, 2003 0 comments

The Sony VPL-VW12HT is the latest version of Sony's flagship consumer LCD projector. In appearance it's a twin of its pre-decessor, the VPL-VW11HT (reviewed in the July/August 2002 <I>Guide</I>). Its 16:9 LCD panels have the same specifications. It will accept all of the most common source resolutions&mdash;480i, 480p, 720p, and 1080i component or RGB&mdash;and scale them to the panels' 1366x768 native resolution. The user can select any of the most common aspect ratios: widescreen (anamorphic or letterbox), 4:3, and several others, including two that pass the source through without scaling. There are six programmable video memories to store different setups, including picture adjustments, color temperature, and aspect ratio.

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Mike Wood Posted: Feb 11, 2003 Published: Feb 12, 2003 0 comments
The upright gets upgraded to a grand.

You'd think there would've been a flood of entry-level DLP projectors since PLUS came out with their HE-3100 last year (see our review in the December 2001 issue). PLUS has even dropped the original Piano's price to $2,700. Usually, this would entice or force others to do likewise. There have been some new entries in the sub-$10,000 price range, but few projectors have reached below $5,000 (except for projectors aimed at the business market). This makes PLUS's step-up model, the $3,299 Piano Avanti HE-3200, even more interesting.

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Steven Stone Posted: Feb 08, 2003 0 comments

For such a tiny projector, the new Plus Piano Avanti HE-3200 has an absurdly long name. The HE-3200 is the next step up the Plus line from the Piano HE-3100, which I reviewed in the December 2001 Guide. For an additional $600, you get more features, greater setup flexibility, and maybe even a better picture.

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Peter Putman Posted: Feb 01, 2003 0 comments

When it comes to selling front projectors into the home-theater market, JVC has always gone its own way. When other manufacturers were jumping into Digital Light Processing (DLP) and high-temperature polysilicon LCD, JVC introduced the direct-drive image light amplifier (D-ILA)&mdash;basically, a liquid-crystal-on-silicon (LCoS) imaging device. When others were adopting short-arc metal-halide and vapor lamps, JVC opted for xenon arc lamps to improve white balance.

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Peter Putman Posted: Jan 22, 2003 0 comments

Epson's entrance into the home-theater projector arena has long been anticipated. For years, Epson has had the best color-management system of any maker of LCD projectors, and their ability to tame the uneven spectral output of short-arc metal-halide lamps has been impressive.

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J. Gordon Holt Posted: Dec 11, 2002 0 comments

At 27 inches long, 77 pounds, and $7895 list, the SVP 420HB from SIM2 Multimedia is the least expensive, smallest, lightest CRT projector I've ever had in my home&mdash;although it's not exactly what I'd call portable. (Normally, my personal schlep limit is 55 pounds. One martini takes it to 65, but 77 pounds would mean a week in bed.)

John J. Gannon Posted: Oct 24, 2002 0 comments

In the November 2000 <I>SGHT</I> I reviewed the HD800, an 8-inch CRT video projector from a Florida Internet startup called Theater Automation Wow!, or TAW. Phil Tuttobene and his crew promised then to "change the way America buys home theater." Since then we've seen the term Internet startup lose more than its sparkle, but TAW is still shining. They've succeeded in a tough marketplace&mdash;a high percentage of new companies fail in their first year of operation&mdash;but that same market has changed the way they do business. At first, TAW sold products directly to consumers; now, they work through a traditional dealer network, with 43 U.S. dealers. Not a bad start in less than 24 months.

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Kevin Miller Posted: Oct 05, 2002 Published: Oct 06, 2002 0 comments
The Marantz VP-12S1 1,280-by-720 one-chip DLP projector is certainly a contender for the best product in its category. The new crop of high-resolution, 16:9, one-chip DLP projectors delivers significantly better picture quality than the earlier 4:3-chip designs. The VP-12S1 is extremely well built, provides superb video processing for NTSC sources, falls in the middle of the category's price range, and therefore represents a really solid value.
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 30, 2002 0 comments

When a video product is arguably the best of its kind, it's hard to find the right words to describe it without blubbering. "The Next Best Thing to Being There" sounds vaguely familiar. "The Real Thing" might perk up your thirst, but doesn't quite gel. And "Must See TV" is only two-thirds right. With the Reference Imaging CinePro 9x Elite CRT projector and Teranex HDX Cinema MX video processor, we're definitely not in TV-land anymore.

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John J. Gannon Posted: Sep 02, 2002 0 comments

As the Greek mathematician Zeno stated more than 2400 years ago, traveling half the distance toward one's destination, then half of the remaining half, and so on, might mean that one never gets there. The ability to re-create visual reality on a video screen improves with each generation of whichever new technology you choose&mdash;LCD, DLP, D-ILA&mdash;but they seem to be merely continuing to halve the distance remaining from the still-unrivaled performance of the decades-old cathode-ray-tube (CRT) projector. Longtime readers might think that I sound a bit like a skipping CD, but even this late in 2002, the CRT video-projection technology continues to reign as the king of video fidelity.

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Mike Wood Posted: Aug 05, 2002 Published: Aug 06, 2002 0 comments
If you call Runco's company headquarters and get put on hold, you'll hear about Roger Ebert's love for the film and Runco products, as well as his opinion that the latter makes home theater look much like the former. As my wife and I recently watched Panic Room in a real movie theater, I couldn't help but wonder if Ebert's comment was much of an endorsement. The picture quality was good. We just realized that, among other things, film has a lousy black level. Dark scenes were dark enough, but the blackout drapes along the sides of the screen were much darker. I've often used to the black level of CRT-based home theater projectors; I've been spoiled. I wondered, if film isn't the panacea of imaging, what is?
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 28, 2002 0 comments

The Sony VPL-VW11HT LCD projector is an update of the VPL-VW10HT, reviewed in the June 2000 <I>SGHT</I>. It uses the same 16:9 LCD panel as the Grand Wega KF-60DX100, but wraps it in a compact front-projector chassis. It offers the same wide range of aspect ratios plus a few additional ones, and accepts 480i, 480p, 720p, and 1080i component or RGB sources, scaling them all to the panel's native resolution of 1366x768. (Unlike in the Grand Wega, 720p is not first converted to standard-definition 480p.) There are also composite and S-video inputs, but no digital input. Six user-programmable video memories store, among other things, the user's calibrated picture settings, selected color temperature, and a default aspect ratio.

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