NEC HT1000 DLP projector Page 3

U-571 presents a different challenge—the dark, dank scenes in the submarine's interior often transition rapidly to brightly lit exterior shots. Bright scenes look great on this projector, as they do on most DLPs, but if a projector can't do dark scenes well, that rapid shifting back and forth will transition from bright and beautiful to dark and muddled, constantly reminding you that you're watching a video display. The NEC did not disappoint here, sailing smoothly through both types of material.

Properly calibrated or at its factory 6500K setting, the HT1000 produced excellent color, with realistic flesh tones and hues that were as vivid as they needed to be without looking unnatural. I never felt any need to tweak the six Color Correction controls, but left them as they were when I received the projector.

Images were also sharp. They were marginally less crisp than from HD2 projectors such as the SIM2 HT300 Plus, with its higher native resolution, but not dramatically so. Without a direct comparison to such projectors, the level of detail from good DVDs was never less than impressive. And there was no unnatural edginess, except when it originated in the program material.

On the optimum viewing axis I was able to squeeze 12.6 footlamberts (fL) out of the NEC on my 80-inch-wide FireHawk screen. That was competitive with any single-chip DLP we have reviewed other than the InFocus ScreenPlay 7200. The picture never looked dim, even from my seating position where the brightness was even lower. And the illumination held up well across the whole screen and into the corners—a strength of non-CRT projectors.

The NEC's onboard deinterlacing was also outstanding. I've come to expect this from any video display using Faroudja's DCDi processing, and I wasn't surprised. (Curiously, NEC doesn't mention the Faroudja processor in the owner's manual or on their website.)

We all have our favorite demo discs, and these change constantly as new discoveries are made. The first DVD I reach for these days when I evaluate a video display is Charlotte Gray. I noticed some edge enhancement on this DVD when I first viewed it on the combination of Reference Imaging projector and Teranex video processor I reviewed in the October 2002 issue, but I've rarely seen this problem on any other display. Apart from that, Charlotte Gray has nearly everything you need to evaluate a video projector. The image is sharp but not razor-sharp—that is, it's truly filmlike. Colors are rich and warm, from the rolling green hills of France to the excellent flesh tones. There are scenes at all levels of brightness, from dark (both low contrast and dim with bright highlights) to full sunlight.

The NEC got it all right—the only reminder that I was watching a DLP projector was the occasional rainbow artifact (to which I'm particularly susceptible) on bright highlights in otherwise dark scenes. This sort of performance would be amazing enough coming from a 250-pound CRT. From a 7-pound device, it's incredible.

I was more than excited by the performance of the NEC HT1000. Within its standard-definition limitations it produced, to my eyes, at least 80% of the performance of the best 16:9, HD2-chipped DLP projectors at 50% of the price. It's a whale of a projector in a guppy-sized package.