Runco Reflection CL-710 DLP Projector New vs. Old

New vs. Old

My reference video system consists of a Sony VPH-G90U connected to Faroudja's VP-5000 video processor, one of the best scalers in the world. And while it's clear that pitting the $10,000 Runco against a $58,000 projector-processor combination, both rigs calibrated to perfection, wasn't strictly fair, how could I not do so? It seems likely that DLP projectors will one day supplant CRTs, so it does seem fair to ask what we'll gain and what we'll lose in the transition.

Of course, you can't compare two projectors side by side; even if you had two screens, each would have to be in its own light-sealed room. Otherwise, the light from one projector would wash out the other, and vice versa. Both models also need time to warm up, so nothing even close to an A/B test was possible—but here's what I saw.

Even with the Faroudja processor set to output a 720p signal to the VPH-G90U, the same resolution as the Runco, the Sony was definitely crisper and sharper with all source material. The Sony was easily able to convey true black and display the brick patterns on the buildings in Dark City, and had no trouble showing the full details of the three-block black pattern on Video Essentials. The VPH-G90U has its own trouble with green, however, and can look a bit yellow.

The VPH-G90U can portray high-definition material in its full glory, as if it were real. That, too, is no surprise. But the one conclusion that I did not expect was that the Sony's rendition was warmer, more alluring. Some scenes in Black Hawk Down, showing servicemen's faces carefully lit against a dark background, were stunning and wholly involving on the VPH-G90U, but flatter on the Runco.—JB

[While the Runco may not be able to equal a state-of-the-art CRT projector and scaler, it's fair to say that it will be at least as sharp, and likely sharper, than any CRT device selling for up to twice its price. The only remaining limitations I see relative to CRTs are shadow detail and the rainbow issue—and in those respects, any good CRT can beat any single-chip DLP we have tested.TJN]