Runco Q-750

One of the big buzzes at this year's show is LED illumination in front projectors, and Runco is in the thick of it with the Q-750, marketed under the QuantumColor moniker. This projector uses Luminus PhlatLight LEDs and recalibrates the color every time it's turned on, which guarantees no color shift over the life of the projector. Speaking of color, it can reproduce a gamut 135 percent larger than NTSC, and it comes with several preset gamuts, including Rec.709, SMPTE C, DCI (the digital-cinema standard), sRGB, Adobe RGB, and the native gamut of the LEDs.

Several features were emphasized at the press conference, such as Personal Color Equalizer, a color-management system that provides hue, saturation, gain, and white point controls for all three primaries and three secondaries. SmartColor increases color saturation while maintaining accurate flesh tones, two goals that are often mutually exclusive. This also allows you to change the color gamut without altering the grayscale. Finally, Color Contrast increases the contrast ratio of each color, which improves the perceived brightness of the image. This is important considering that the maximum light output is a fairly dim 450 lumens at D65. (ISF president Joel Silver was at the press conference, saying he had measured a peak white level of 23 foot-lamberts and an ANSI contrast of 240:1 on an 80-inch-wide Stewart StudioTek 100 screen, both of which are remarkable results.)

The demo was presented in a completely darkened room on a 105-inch-wide Stewart StudioTek 130 screen, and it looked fantastic. The black level was amazing—the blackouts at the beginning of Cars were completely invisible, and after each quick shot between them, the psychophysiological afterimage was clearly evident. I was surprised they chose to project the demo material with the native color gamut rather than Rec.709—the uniforms of the St. Louis Cardinals looked more crimson than red, but I was told that's actually how they look in person. Still, I'd prefer to see the correct reproduction gamut, which is easy enough to select in the menu.

The Q-750 will be available in two versions—the Q-750i ($15,000, available November) with internal video processing and the Q-750d ($18,000, available 6-8 weeks later) with Runco's new DHD 3 external processor/input box. I have seen the Q, and it is beautiful.