Shootout: Three Budget HD Front Projectors Page 8

Planar PD7060

Planar PD7060

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If you've never come across the name Planar before, you're not alone. That's because the company, a major player in the industrial and commercial display world, is a relative newcomer to the home theater scene. Planar's initial lineup of entertainment-targeted projectors includes the PD7060, a $3,000 DLP model that's sold exclusively through custom installers. I know, I know - in this era of three-grand 1080p projectors, that's steep price to pay for a 720p model. Let's see what it's got.

The gloss-black PD7060 has a sleek, rounded design and is compact enough that it won't dominate the room if mounted on a ceiling. Its light engine is built around a single Texas Instruments DarkChip3 DMD, the company's latest and greatest 720p offering. Compared to the setup features provided by the other models in this test, the Planar's can be considered minimal, at best. Zoom and focus controls are manual, and the projector lacks a lens shift function. Also, its modest 1.16x zoom lens allowed for a throw range of just 11 to 12.8 feet with 100-inch screen.

Things start to look up a bit when you check out the PD7060's back panel. Along with both an HDMI and an installer-favored DVI input, the projector has component-video and VGA connections. There's also a 12-volt screen trigger output and an RS-232C port for connecting the PD7060 to an advanced home control system. The projector's remote control could use some work. It has a backlit keypad, but the layout's a bit cluttered, and I often found it difficult to locate the exact black-toned button I was seeking. One thing I did like was two sets of direct input keys for switching sources and selecting custom picture memories. To switch between aspect ratios, meanwhile, you repeatedly press the Aspect button to toggle through them. Choices include 16:9, 4:3, Letterbox, and Native (displays incoming signal as-is without scaling), with all options selectable for both standard- and high-def signals.

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