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Video Review: Digital Projection iVision 30-WUXGA-XB

Mar 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By Jeff Sauer

Lightweight, single-chip DLP projector packs a quality punch.


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MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS

Out of the box, the color-calibration setup on the iVision 30 was excellent, belying the single-chip imaging device. Not only were the primary colors strong and accurate, but the secondary colors — as well as subtle shades across the spectrum — were also very accurate. And Digital Projection's configuration tools allow you to maintain that degree of color accuracy to very specific room or installation environments.

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On the test bench, the iVision 30 fared just as well. Admittedly, the native 1920×1200 pixels help a great deal when it comes to maintaining the sharpness of a variety of tough test patterns. Yet resolution by itself is no panacea for handling a variety of source inputs, and I'd put the iVision's scaling ability in a class beyond even its admittedly expensive price. More impressively to me, in the course of working with the iVision, I had normally jaded lay viewers who have seen a good number projectors comment on what a good picture it was — both in terms of sharpness and color.

As with any projector these days, Digital Projection lists a set of brightness and contrast specifications. Frankly, I don't really know how they were measured — nor do I particularly care, and neither should you. I actually found iVision 30 brightness specs ranging from 2500 lumens to 3100 lumens and contrast as high as 4000:1. But with a projector like this, there's no reason to mess with the picture just to play the spec number game — and I didn't try. Under normal viewing settings I measured brightness at roughly 2500 ANSI lumens, although that obviously varied depending on settings. More importantly, I viewed content in the middle of the afternoon on a sunny day with no shades drawn, and the image looked bright and crisp. Similarly, I'd put usable contrast in the 1900:1-to-2000:1 range depending on setup.

Does all that make the iVision 30 worth its $18,495 price tag? I put it straight up against a couple other projectors with different imaging engines and similar pricing that I happened to have in the lab at the same time and I came away impressed. Admittedly, the price tag means the iVision 30-WUXGA-XB isn't for everyone. But if you need quality, the price tag here shouldn't get in the way.

Looking at the output of the iVision 30-WUXGA-XB reminded me of a conversation I had with a Texas Instruments (TI) DLP expert more than 10 years ago, when the technology was still fairly young and focused heavily on bright business presentations. I was begrudging the poor video quality and color accuracy of typical DLP single-chip models, and the TI representative said, “There's no reason why a single-chip-and-color-wheel combination can't produce excellent color. The micromirrors and the color wheel can turn more than fast enough.” Finally, after more than a decade of reviewing numerous single-chip DLP projectors, I've seen one that proved he was correct.



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