Runco VX-1000c DLP Projector Page 2
Once I was satisfied with the display's performance with test signals, I sat back to watch a few movies (or lengthy clips from movies). Quite frankly, given the VX-1000c's ergonomics, I was ready to write the whole thing off. The picture quality, however, is outstanding. I loaded a number of demo discs into our DVD changer: Moulin Rouge, U-571, Planet of the Apes, Pearl Harbor, and old faithful, The Fifth Element. The first three movies have one thing in common: They're dark. The VX-1000c had no trouble with any of them. Sure, CRTs produce better black levels than DLPs; however, with the VX-1000c, I wasn't acutely aware of it.
From there, I focused on detail and motion artifacts. The processor does a fine job of detecting and compensating for the 3:2 frame sequence that occurs when 24-frame film material is transferred to 60-field video. This makes the rolling tanks in chapter 10 of The Phantom Menace seem as smooth and solid as they did on the film screen. The processor exhibits a slight loss of resolution when it switches to video processing, but, with anything other than test patterns, it's difficult to notice. You might see a loss of resolution in the fraction of a second during which the processor re-syncs to the signal when there's a break in the 3:2 sequence (at a commercial or a cut from film to video in a documentary, for example).
While the HD component input will accept progressive DVD signals, I suggest that you stick to the interlaced variety. The projector's internal scaler does a fine job of upscaling 480p sources to the chip's native 720p resolution, but the external processor does a better job of it when you use interlaced material. This isn't an uncommon quirk among high-end projectors, but it would be nice if the external processor could handle all of the signals.
Regular DVDs look great, however—as does HD material. This projector produces excellent detail. Although there was a bit of what seemed like digital noise, the picture had reasonable snap (or contrast range) on our 100-inch-diagonal, 16:9 Stewart GrayHawk negative-gain screen. Both associate editor Geoffrey Morrison and I preferred a slightly smaller image or would suggest using the VX-1000c with something like our reference screen material, Stewart's Studiotek 130. Stewart's new FireHawk material (a gray screen with gain) might also be interesting.
It's very easy to say that the VX-1000c is as good as or better than film. Then again, I've come to realize that even the best film presentation may not be all that great. Assuming that you connect it to a control system, and given its brightness and relative ease of setup compared with a CRT, the VX-1000c is one of the first DLP projectors that I could be happy replacing my CRT with. I'm not saying that I'm going to, just that I could. The VX-1000c has some tough competition in the high-end, single-chip DLP-projector arena. Sharp, SIM2, and Marantz have interesting offerings, and for different reasons. However, if you want and can afford the best and you don't want to deal with the hassles of CRT, the VX-1000c is worth a look.
• Outstanding black level
• Excellent scaler