Plus Piano Avanti HE-3200 DLP Projector Measurements
I set the Plus Piano Avanti HE-3200's black level with a PLUGE pattern, and its white level to a point just below where the peak whites crushed together. The Avanti's maximum (full on/full off) contrast measured 560. (Full on = a center measurement on a full-frame 100 IRE pattern. Full off = a center reading on the black screen produced by an open input.) On a 16-square checkerboard pattern, the projector's ANSI contrast measured 54. When I compared the output of a 100 IRE window pattern with an averaged reading of the black border surrounding it, the Avanti's contrast measured 121.
Before calibration, the Low color-temperature setting measured 6450 kelvins at low levels (30 IRE) and 5700K at peak white (100 IRE). At the Medium setting it measured 7550K low and 7000 high, and at the High setting, 9150K low and 8900 high. (All readings shown are to the nearest 50K.) After calibration (see graph), the gray scale was quite respectable: the readings were very close to the correct D6500 coordinates, particularly through most of the middle of the brightness range.
Unlike Steven Stone, I was able to test the HE-3200 with high-definition signals. Test patterns looked crisp, but on both 720p and 1080i color bars there were 50 or so vertical bands running from top to bottom across the screen. I was unable to determine what caused these, but they did not appear with regular 720p or 1080i hi-def programming—only on patterns from our test generator.
In addition, when the HE-3200 was set to Y-Cr-Cb DVD, it would not lock on to an HD signal in Auto mode—I had to manually select Y-Pr-Pb HD in the Picture 2 menu. But making this switch wasn't straightforward. In Auto mode, the HD source flickered on and off and would not allow me to call up the menu I needed to make the change. I got around this by turning off the HD source completely—just stopping it didn't do the trick—then switching to the correct format and turning the source back on. This tap dance was not addressed in the manual, and may have been peculiar to my D-VHS HD source.
That minor glitch aside, the Plus Piano Avanti HE-3200 looked amazingly good with HD material—so good that the casual viewer could probably be convinced that he or she was watching full high-definition, despite the fact that it was being downconverted to 480p.—Thomas J. Norton