Sim2 HT3000 1080p DLP Front Projector Page 2

The Short Form
Snapshot
A pricey 1080p projector with a stunning picture that reveals every last shred of detail in HDTV programs.
Plus
•Very crisp HDTV picture •Punchy contrast and satisfying brightness •Negligible rainbow effects
Minus
•Somewhat pale greens •Noise-reduction feature removes picture detail at high settings •No DVI input
Key Features
•1,920 x 1,080 resolution single-chip DLP projector •Accepts native 1080p-format signals •1.5-2.0x zoom lens •Motorized zoom and focus •Vertical lens shift •Inputs: 2 HDMI, VGA, component-video/RGB+H/V, composite-/S-video, all with analog stereo audio; RS-232, USB 1.1 •Outputs: Optical digital audio; 12V trigger •17.1 x 7.5 x 17 in; 24.3 lb
Test Bench
The Low color-temp preset measured closest to the 6,500° kelvin grayscale standard; tweaks in the User submenu brought it to within 250°K from 30 to 100 IRE - a very good performance. The HT3000 showed fairly substantial color-decoder error on its HDMI inputs, measuring -20% green (said to be intentional) and +5% red; the component-video inputs measured only -5% green and +5% red. Color points were pretty accurate, although the green primary measured yellowish-green. The Sim2 fully resolved 1080i/p and 720p test patterns, though some noise was evident in the last two bars of a multiburst pattern via component-video. Max brightness measured 16 foot-lamberts on my screen, making this one of the brightest projectors I've tested. Full Lab Results
SETUP I set the HT3000 up on a low table 12 feet away from a 93-inch-wide Da-Lite HighContrast Da-Mat screen, which uses a negative-gain material to enhance picture contrast with digital projectors. Viewing images from around the same 12-foot distance put me squarely within the THX-recommended viewing angle and also close enough to fully appreciate all the detail in 1080i-format HDTV.

The picture-tweaking features Sim2 packed into the HT3000 proved useful and very easy to manipulate. Every adjustment you make gets independently stored for each video input, and there are nine additional picture memories you can customize and create labels for - "Daytime TV," for example. But what most impressed me were the color-temperature and gamma controls. Along with a handful of presets (one of which, Low, measured close to the 6,500-degree kelvin grayscale standard), the projector has a User color-temperature mode that lets you actually adjust its grayscale by moving X and Y points on an onscreen CIE chromaticity diagram (see Test Bench). The projector's 12 gamma presets range from standard curves for dimly lit home theaters to curves optimized for high ambient light. I used the ST5 setting, which deepened blacks and boosted highlights slightly without changing other parts of the picture.

PICTURE QUALITY With the HT3000 arriving around the same time as my new Toshiba HD DVD player, I felt like I had died and gone to home theater heaven. My first movie choice was Happy Gilmore - one of the more psychotic flicks Adam Sandler starred in before he went mainstream. In an early scene where Happy first discovers his incredible golf ball-whacking ability, the Sim2's punchy contrast revealed a subtle play of sunlight on the white stairs in the background while the shadows beneath the trees remained a solid, deep black. The picture was also satisfyingly bright - an observation that our measurements back up. Skin tones of the actors in this scene had a neutral and completely realistic hue, while the red geraniums and blue hydrangeas dotting the yard showed rich, well-saturated color.

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