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Video Review: Hitachi CP-X10000

Apr 10, 2009 12:00 PM, By Jeff Sauer

Large-venue projector provides the right combination of price, performance, and features.

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Hitachi CP-X10000 projector.

Large-venue installation projectors have a reputation for carrying hefty price tags and for having the portability of boat anchors. In the past, they've needed both heavy dollars and chassis weight to deliver the much-needed brightness and image quality that large spaces demand. Yet Hitachi has just introduced three new Professional Series large-venue projectors that take a bite out of both reputations.

The new XGA-resolution CP-X10000 is the most traditional of Hitachi's new threesome, and it is rated at 7500 ANSI lumens. The CP-WX11000 is a native widescreen data projector rated at 6500 ANSI lumens with a 1280x800 resolution, and the CP-SX12000 features a native 4:3 resolution of 1400x1050 and 7000 ANSI lumens. The unifying features of the trio are a commitment to low cost of ownership from a large-venue installation projector and a chassis that weighs less than 30lbs.

That begins with low initial pricing for a large-venue projector and lower longer-term maintenance costs and overall cost of ownership. Each of the three is expected to have an estimated 10,000 hours of maintenance-free operation thanks to a dust-resistant cooling system. Tangibly, eliminating dust means that the air filter needs changing far less often, and it contributes more generally to longer life of other system components, including the LCD panels and filters. With an Ethernet connection built-in, these projectors further assist administrators by emailing reminders of lamp and filter hours when they are close to needing replacement, thus allowing for planned maintenance rather than reactionary repairs. Hitachi's PJLink software allows for remote administration and monitoring.

In addition to the RJ-45 network connection, the chassis' back panel includes a full array of AV and control ports. For data, there's a DVI-D input, two 15-pin RGB inputs and one output, and one set of five BNC ports for RGBHV. That same BNC set can be used for component video—although there's a dedicated set of three RCA ports for component, a BNC port for composite, and an S-Video port. There's even an HDMI port for connecting a DVD or Blu-ray player as a video source. For additional control options, there are ports for both RS-232 and a wired remote.

Security functions include an onscreen password function that can be set to lock out unauthorized users from making configuration changes and a PIN-code lock-out that can completely prevent the projector from being used at all. What's more, a built-in transition detector can sound an alarm if the projector has been physically moved since it was last turned on. Of course, as with any projector, the best theft deterrent is a physical restraint, and Hitachi has included a security bar for use with a cable. It also includes a slot for a Kensington lock.

Other helpful installation features include keystone correction—both automatic and manual—and seven image presets that account for different lighting conditions and projection surfaces. Hitachi's menu structure allows you to drill down into the color, gamma, and active-iris settings, as well as overscan, positioning, color space, and image processing. That might get complicated if you're switching back and forth between source types, but that's not necessarily so with the CP-X10000 or one of its siblings. The My Memory feature allows you to save up to four specific configuration settings and recall them with a click of one of four dedicated buttons. The My Screen feature allows you to capture and store a custom startup screen image.

Picture-in-picture and picture-by-picture used to be common data-projector features in installation models and small travel projectors, but price competition has all but eliminated picture-in-picture as a standard feature. Admittedly, it's been a sparingly used feature, and leaving it out can save on the cost of materials. However, it can also be handy in more modest installation environments that don't have the luxury of a separate presentation switcher or a second video display. Hitachi goes halfway, supporting picture-by-picture but not a picture-in-picture inset, which means you'll have an option for displaying a motion image of a speaker next to, for example, presentation visuals without the substantial cost increase of full picture-in-picture.

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