SIM2 RTX-45 DLP HD Monitor
The consumer electronics industry has a unique way of making a mess of things. Take HDTV, for example. Competing and completely different connection standards have made a mess of what should be a simple but substantial advancement in picture quality. Analog connections are fine, but they don't have the copy-protection capability to appease content providers. Then there's IEEE 1394, a copy-protected and network-enabled solution that only works with displays that have built-in HDTV decoders. Finally, you have the digital visual interface (DVI), a modified computer-display connection. DVI works well with satellite and cable systems that use interactive program guides, but it uses an expensive connection type that's difficult to run longer than 10 to 15 feet.
Enter SIM2. The Italian-based projector manufacturer recognized the need for a high-end rear-projection display but didn't want to get mired in this connection conundrum. So they came up with a unique and appealing alternative. Based on Texas Instruments' Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology, the RTX-45 is a rear-projection display housed in a stylish cabinet. Our sample had a silver-and-black finish and a 45-inch screen. SIM2 also offers a 55-inch version and various other finishes. A separate control unit that links to the display via a proprietary fiberoptic cable adds to the RTX-45's uniqueness. SIM2 provides the user with a 40-foot cable, but they also offer lengths of up to 1,600 feet.
A single-chip DLP with a 1,280:720 array of microscopic mirrors creates the image that the RTX-45 projects onto its screen. At this resolution, the monitor is capable of displaying high-definition images. The single chip flashes the images sequentially through a six-segment color wheel, which has two segments each for the red, green, and blue primary colors. The duplicate segments allow the wheel to run faster, significantly reducing the rainbow effects that a four-segment color wheel might produce. All of these elements mix together to create a seamless image.
The set doesn't have any connections beyond the fiberoptic cable and the detachable power cord. The separate control unit contains all of the system's numerous video connections, including two composite inputs, two S-video inputs, four component inputs that you can configure as Y/Pb/Pr or RGBHV, two 15-pin RGB connections, and a DVI input. There's no built-in TV tuner, either analog or digital. The DVI input should be compatible with appropriate satellite tuners; but, since it doesn't include HDCP, it won't accept any encrypted programs. You may notice that there aren't any audio connections, and, in fact, the display doesn't have built-in speakers. This might be a first in the home theater world. We always recommend an external audio system anyway and appreciate not having to waste money on components we won't use. For video, you must assign the component and 15-pin inputs as interlaced, progressive, or high-definition inputs. Unfortunately, the inputs won't auto-sync to the source. This means that you can't easily route video signals of different scan rates through an external switcher. You can, for example, route interlaced sources through an external receiver, then to the RTX controller, as long as you feed progressive DVD and/or HD signals to the controller separately. This certainly won't hurt performance and, in many cases, is likely to improve it, but it requires some consideration during installation.
Setting up the RTX-45 is simple, although, if you're buying at this price point, you'll likely hire a professional to install the display. The menus are well laid out and easy to navigate. Even configuring the component inputs is relatively straightforward. A back-panel RS-232 port allows for software upgrades, among other things. This is an ever-important element in consumer electronics, as manufacturers constantly introduce incompatible products. SIM2 has, on numerous occasions, updated their legacy displays to accommodate new products, ensuring that their customers don't get left out in the cold.