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Video Review: Sharp XG-P560W

Nov 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Jeff Sauer

Native wide business projector benefits from three DMDs.

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Review XG-P560W

Over the last dozen-plus years, DLP has earned a solid reputation as the enabling technology behind the industry's highest-brightness projectors. After all, the technology is based on mirrors that waste very little available light. However, conventional wisdom says three image devices (a red, a green, and a blue) are needed for top-notch color, rather than a spinning color wheel. High DMD costs have kept 3-chip DLP models limited to the heavyweight rental-and-staging and digital-cinema models that focus on motion video. But that's changing.

Sharp introduced the first corporate-level 3-chip DLP models last year, and now it has added the new, native wide XG-P560W. It uses the same 0.65in., 1280×800-resolution DMD as Sharp's wide single-chip PG-F320W business projector, except it has three DMDs instead of one plus a color wheel. It's an admittedly curious resolution, with a 16:10 aspect ratio, and one that hasn't brought Texas Instruments wide success. Yet reduced costs on the chip enable Sharp to build it into a 3-chip configuration at a list price of $16,995 — a price that now makes 3-chip DLP competitive with 3LCD in the midsize conference/corporate/education venue installation space. And it's a chip that's squarely aimed at the corporate world and geared toward larger conference rooms, boardrooms, lecture halls, and houses of worship where computer text, spreadsheets, graphics, and slides are the most likely sources.

At more than 58lbs., the P560W is fixed-install projector in a large rectangular chassis that's big enough for dual lamps, seven different lens options, and an array of computer-centric inputs. The connection panel is on the rear of the unit and focuses on computer inputs. There are three of them: a DVI-D/HDCP, a standard analog 15-pin D-sub with passthrough output, and a 5-BNC RGBHV set. Not surprisingly, those BNCs can be used for analog component video, and the P560W includes an HDMI input for DVD, Blu-ray, or cable box sources, as well as the S-Video and composite of virtually all projectors.

For control, there's a full array of button controls on the rear of the unit next to the connections that will aid installation. Sharp also includes a wired remote jack as well as an RS-232, but also, and more interestingly, an RJ-45 connector. A built-in web server affords remote administration, diagnostics, and control from potentially any networked computer anywhere in the world without any additional software. What's more, Sharp's Display Manager software can allow a single administrator to monitor and control several networked projectors from a single interface. Naturally, the P560W can be password-protected to prevent unauthorized use or control of the projector settings.

I reviewed the standard (1:1.18-2.25 throw) lens configuration, although the same projector is also available as the XG-P560W-N for $15,995 MSRP with no lens. Sharp's six other lens options include two fixed zoom options — throws of 1:0.8 and 1:1.2 — and four other powered zoom lenses with throws ranging from 1:1.5 to 7, supporting screen sizes up to more than 23ft. diagonal. All lens options have powered focus and both horizontal and vertical lens shift. And installing a new lens is quite straightforward: A simple push-button on the chassis front pops off a hard plastic casing to afford easy access to the lens housing, and removing or installing a lens can be accomplished without any special tools.

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