PROJECTOR REVIEWS

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 30, 2004 0 comments

Apart from a slight change in the color of the case, there's little that visibly distinguishes Sharp's new XV-Z12000 DLP home theater projector from its predecessor, the XV-Z10000. The winner of our last Editors' Choice Platinum Award, in January 2004, the Z10000 sailed through the viewing sessions for its coverage in SGHT: a full review in October 2003 and a "Take 2" in November.

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Gary Merson Posted: May 01, 2004 0 comments
SIM2's new HD2+ DLP projector delivers the goods.

Digital Light Processing front projection has a short but interesting history. It began in the late '90s when the first consumer DLP projector was marketed. This new type of display—which uses a tiny, reflective chip called a DMD (digital micromirror device) that contains hundreds of thousands of hinged mirrors (instead of miniature LCD panels)—provided consumers with an early look at all-digital imaging. This primitive effort made big pictures, but it had many picture-quality issues.

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Steven Stone Posted: Apr 11, 2004 1 comments

Every time I go to a party and people find out I write about home theater, they ask me about flat-screen plasma TVs. No one asks me about DLP projectors. Perhaps folks don't realize that, for the same money they'd spend on a 40-inch plasma display, they could have a DLP projector capable of producing a 90-inch picture. If they compared the ease of installing a 10-pound projector on their ceiling with the drudgery of attaching a 150-pound plasma set to their wall, I think more folks would be excited by projectors.

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Joel Brinkley Posted: Jan 25, 2004 0 comments

Survey a panel of true video experts and ask them which of the many competing technologies, old and new, is capable of producing the very best picture, and the majority—perhaps even all of them—will still answer: "A top-of-the-line, data-grade CRT projector with 9-inch tubes." If asked who makes the best such CRT projector, many of those experts will cite Runco and its DTV-1200 model, though some also will praise Sony's VPH-G90U, the projector I own. The differences between two top-of-the-line 9-inch CRT projectors are modest at best.

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Peter Putman Posted: Nov 16, 2003 0 comments

During a panel discussion at the recent Home Entertainment 2003 show in San Francisco, a few of the panelists (including me) indicated that, despite all the new flat-screen imaging technologies found in front projectors, rear-projection TVs, and plasma and LCD monitors, our preference was still for images created by CRTs. A manufacturer's representative on the panel retorted that CRTs were fine in their day, but that his company was in the business of providing the nearest thing to a theater experience in the home—and CRTs just don't cut the mustard anymore.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 03, 2003 0 comments

It's easy to visualize the operation of a CRT projector: three tubes, each operating much as the picture tube in the TV on your kitchen counter, flashing overlapping red, green, and blue analog images onto the screen. If you have a good model in top operating condition, and if you or your installer have slaved over its setup, you'll see an incredible picture—one that, on a home-size screen (not so large as to accentuate a CRT's main limitation of light output), is still as good as home video gets.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Nov 10, 2003 Published: Nov 01, 2003 0 comments
The PT-L300U is the little projector that could.

Some of the most affordable front projectors are coming from the pro divisions of well-known companies. Want to pay around $2,000 for an LCD projector? Consider the Panasonic PT-L300U. It hails from the Presentation Systems Group of the Panasonic Broadcast & Television Systems Company, but don't let that deter you. This projector is fully home-theater-worthy. Judging from the happy-android family pictured on the cover of the instruction manual (as opposed to happy-android executives), that must be intentional.

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Peter Putman Posted: Oct 13, 2003 0 comments

Reviewing Optoma's H56 DLP front projector has been an issue of karma for me. The H56 has crossed my path several times in the past two months, the first time at the 2003 Consumer Electronics Show, where news of its debut was lost in a sea of PR from other companies. At the time, I paid it little attention.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Sep 09, 2003 Published: Aug 01, 2003 0 comments
This projector's so bright, you've gotta wear shades.

18.1 foot-lamberts. This light output would be impressive for any front projector. What makes it amazing is that I measured 18.1 ft-L on a 7.5-foot-wide (100-inch-diagonal) Grayhawk screen with a 0.9 gain. If you were to use this projector on a 6-foot-wide (82.5-inch-diagonal) Studiotek 130 screen (which has a gain of +1.3), you'd get an almost-blinding 48.6 ft-L. With that kind of light output, you'd be able to use a screen larger than 12 feet wide (165 inches diagonally) and still have a bright, watchable image. And that's in the low-power mode.

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Kevin Miller Posted: Jul 14, 2003 Published: Jul 15, 2003 0 comments
One giant leap closer to CRT.

Marantz's VP-12S2, the company's top-of-the-line one-chip DLP projector, has a native resolution of 1,280:720 and utilizes the latest Texas Instruments HD2 Digital Micromirror Device (DMD) chip. This new chip offers a significant increase in contrast ratio and black-level performance over last year's VP-12S1 model. The VP-12S2's video processing also incorporates Faroudja's proprietary DCDi deinterlacing for video-based sources and 3:2 pulldown for film-based material. In fact, Marantz uses the full Faroudja chipset, which includes the video decoder, the video enhancer, the 2D comb filter, and DCDi. The latest Marantz DLP offering is definitely one of the top performers in its category.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 12, 2003 0 comments

To a videophile who cut his or her teeth on CRT units, a 7-pound video projector that is no larger than a fat dictionary and can be mounted inconspicuously on a ceiling or table is hard to believe. It can even be stored out of sight and set up again, when needed, in minutes. How good can it be?

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Steven Stone Posted: Jun 29, 2003 5 comments

A year ago, Texas Instruments' new HD2 chip for DLP projectors, with a native resolution of 1280x720, was little more than a promise. Today you can hardly walk into a home-theater dealer without being hit in the eye by a DLP projector based on the HD2. It's just too bad that most HD2-equipped projectors cost more than $12,000.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 17, 2003 0 comments

The CRT is a relatively stable, mature technology, but the new digital projection systems, particularly Texas Instruments' Digital Light Processing (DLP), are moving targets. Last year, DLP really came into its own for home theater with the introduction of TI's HD1 Digital Micromirror Device (DMD). Not only did the HD1 have a true 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio with 1280x720 resolution, but DLP projectors based upon it were significantly better than earlier designs, particularly in the depth of their blacks.

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Peter Putman Posted: May 14, 2003 0 comments

The struggle to displace CRT front projectors from their lofty perch continues in the home-theater world. Cathode-ray tubes still produce the most lifelike images, with wide gray scales and excellent contrast, but they require a fair amount of setup, calibration, and periodic maintenance to keep looking their best.

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