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Catching the Wave of New Projectors at CEDIA 2006

Sep 5, 2006 12:00 PM


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HDMI may still be a work in progress, but that’s not stopping the wave of 1080p projectors from launching at this year’s upcoming CEDIA show in Denver. Runco, Marantz, Optoma, Faroudja, JVC Professional, Brillian, and others are among the trendsetters pushing the next upgrade in high-res TV.

Runco is taking the wraps off seven DLP projectors, each boasting resolution of 1920x1080p. Company President Bob Hana says the company goal is to offer its dealers 1080p solutions across the board for every installation challenge they encounter. All Runco 1080p projectors will feature CineWide and CineWide with AutoScope technology as options. AutoScope automatically eliminates black bars onscreen while maintaining a fullscreen image and constant height on 2.35:1 source material.

Prices for the Runco projectors range from $11,995 for the single-chip DLP model to $115,000 for the 3-chip DLP Video Xtreme with AutoScope and McKinley anamorphic optics.

Sister company Vidikron will unveil four 1080p models in its Vision line, including two single-chip models and a pair of three-chip projectors. All four projectors offer CineWide and CineWide with AutoScope as options. Vidikron will also make the CineWide options available on all 720p projectors. Target prices for the 1080p line start at $10,995 for the single-chip Vision 70 to $62,990 for the three-chip Vision 120 with AutoScope.

At the Meridian booth, Faroudja by Meridian D-ILA 1080p projectors will have their CEDIA debut after the licensing deal announced by Meridian and Genesis Microchip last year. In Denver, the three-chip D-ILA1080MF1 ($20,995) and D-ILA1080MF2 ($14,500) will be on display along with Meridian audio gear.

The higher-end MF2 claims a 15 percent boost in contrast ratio and vertical lens shift of +/-60 degrees for easier installation. The MF1 features motorized zoom/focus optics and an advanced ultra-low-noise fan system that cools down the projector roughly a minute after switch-off. Both projectors accept 1080p signals via an HDCP-compatible DVI input, and both are designed to be used with the DVP1080MF digital video processor.

Optoma will bring the price for 1080p to the sub-$10,000 level with the HD81 DLP projector. The company will also have on display the BigVizion 1080p in-wall, customizable display that’s currently shipping to distributors.

InFocus, which had planned a CEDIA launch for its 1080p DLP projector, has delayed introduction until CES, a company spokesperson says. The company is still working out details with DLP chipmaker Texas Instruments “to ensure they have a quality 1080p projector when the technology and market conditions warrant it,” she says.

Installers are poised for the next step up in video. Despite a lack of native source material and a less than enthusiastic response to the warring Blu-ray and HD-DVD formats, installers are eager to pad their portfolios with the latest high-res video technology.

“Progressive format displays are more revealing than their interlaced counterparts,” says Scott Jordan, systems consultant for Electronics Design Group in Piscataway, N.J. For many people, the differences may be negligible, Jordan says, but side-by-side comparisons show clear improvement with 1080p. “The 1080p has a depth and clarity that the interlaced does not. It does matter with the client who wants the very best and will pay for cutting-edge technology.”

Educated customers don’t need much prodding, Jordan says. “Clients are slowly becoming aware of what is available. Some will delay a project or purchase so they can have the latest.” The upgrade in performance is a natural for high-end theaters. “People are spending big bucks to create a ‘destination’ in their homes with fantastic performance,” he says. “Great picture and great sound go hand in hand.”



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