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.
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.
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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