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Home Theater Projectors

Jul 28, 2010 12:00 PM, By Bennett Liles

Brighter pictures, quiet cooling, and high-tech color tweaks pack the silver screen to go home.

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BenQ W600

BenQ W600

The movement toward home-centered entertainment has produced some personal theater systems that until recently might have appeared suited only to the ultrawealthy, but imaging technology, longer-lasting lamps, and more sophisticated picture tweaks are bringing big-screen performance to the masses. It was only natural for home projection to make the same leap that affordably priced surround-sound systems had already accomplished, and the marriage of the two was a sure thing. Newer is smaller and quieter, but the same color adjustment presets, lens features, image sharpness, and light intensity that first made their way into the big venue and corporate projector lines have tapped the home cinema market with more user-friendly interfaces and automatic adjustments. The models covered here are typical of the march of new projection technology from the movie theater to the living room.

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For those who like to travel light or need a home theater projector that is economical and simple to set up, the X1261 from Acer is a good candidate offering DLP imaging at a native 1024x768 resolution and going up to 1680x1050. At 3000 ANSI lumens with a contrast ratio of 3700:1 and a 4000 hour lamp life, the X1261 presents either a 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio with auto and manual ±40-degree vertical keystone correction and wall color compensation. The unit has an internal 2W loudspeaker, and the fan noise level is rated at 26dB. There is also a computer sound input on a stereo mini jack. Video signal inputs include analog RGB on a 15-pin D-Sub, composite on RCA, and S-Video on mini DIN. It is Nvidia 3D Vision-ready with 3x color wheel rotation speed, closed captioning, auto-ceiling-mount correction, Acer ColorBoost II+ technology to improve optical color performance, and automatic safety shutdown.

Targeted specifically at the home theater market, the BenQ W600 DLP projector offers just the features needed for an easy installation and setup with 2600 ANSI lumens of brightness and a 3000:1 contrast ratio. The unit can produce a diagonal image size from 26in. to 300in. in a native 720p resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio with 3:4 selectable. Its 230W lamp is designed to last 2500 hours in normal mode and up to 4000 hours in economic mode. For this display, the W600 can input video signals in analog RGB, composite, component, S-Video, and HDMI 1.3. It also offers RS-232 remote control, uses 290W (1W in standby), and weighs only 6lbs.

Casio Green Slim XJ-A245

Casio Green Slim XJ-A245

The Casio Green Slim XJ-A245 combines a blue laser, green light converted from the blue laser, and red light from an LED through a DLP chip to produce 2500 ANSI lumens with consistent brightness and color over 2000 hours of use. All of Casio’s Green Slim line of projectors can operate in four user-selectable color modes to suit content and projection conditions for a WXGA image on a diagonal screen size from 18in. to 300in. Video inputs are RGB, HDMI, composite, and component. RS-232 control is possible with the addition of an optional serial conversion cable.

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