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Technology Showcase: Home-theater Projectors

Aug 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Jay Ankeney

The most innovative front-projector systems.

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Planar PD8150

Planar PD8150

To eliminate the need to position that expensive lens, some projector manufacturers have even come up with clever schemes that let you leave the anamorphic squeezer in place all the time and compensate with internal circuitry to get originally sized 16:9 images to come through it.

So whether widescreen, letterboxed, 4:3, or 16:9, here is a look at some of the most innovative front-projector systems intended for home-theater installations being offered today.

The value-oriented X1160 4:3-native projector from Acer features complete wide-format support with its SXGA (1280×1024) resolution and 16.7 million displayable colors. Using a six-segment color wheel, the X1160 includes Acer ColorBoost and SmartFormat technologies for rich, vibrant imagery. The X1160 boasts an innovative Blackboard mode that allows users to instantly project onto a green chalkboard without setting up a separate white screen. It provides a USB connector for remote computer control. If the user is in a hurry to leave, the power cord can be unplugged right after the projector is turned off without needing to wait for the projector to cool down.

The BenQ W5000 and W20000 projectors with Senseye technology present 1080p full HD with BenQ's ultra-high-contrast-ratio Dual Iris technology that combines an advanced continuous mechanical electronic iris with Texas Instruments' DynamicBlack software. To remove burrs along edges of moving objects, BenQ's advanced filtering technology can effectively handle this — even those at shallow angles of 5 degrees to 7 degrees. Its VIDI lighting technology pulses electricity at different frequencies through the bulb to produce enhanced color, smooth video-stream performance, and HQV (Hollywood-quality video) that renders standard-definition material in full-HD-like 1080p video quality even from analog, 480i, 480p, or 720i sources.

Having evolved out of the film-oriented Rank Organization, Digital Projection International (DPI) produced the world's first DLP projector in 1997. This earned DPI two Emmy awards for in 1998. Today, Digital Projection's dVision 30-1080p home-theater projector features cutting-edge DLP technology using a .95in. DarkChip3 DMD for native 1920×1080 resolution. Dual seven-segment color wheels produce a user-adjustable 500 ANSI lumens to 5500 ANSI lumens and 7500:1 contrast. Its VIP image processor, an external video processor featuring the Realta integrated circuit from Silicon Optix, provides connectivity to input devices.

Digital Projection also offers the single-lamp Titan 1080p-250 projector, producing 2000 lumens and 5000:1 contrast. The Titan 1080p-250 also has a user-selectable Xenon color modem. Its super-accurate user control over the projector's colorimetry ensures precise white-point definition with extensive control over gamma, color, and grayscale tracking.

Epson has launched a new projector called the PowerLite Home Cinema 1080 UB that delivers true 1080p (1920×1080 pixels) resolution and contrast ratios measuring up to 50,000:1. This value-priced projector takes advantage of the newest-generation 3LCD optical engine, the D7 chip set with C2Fine and UltraBlack technology. Epson's 3LCD technology maximizes the visual benefits of today's advanced multimedia entertainment devices — such as HD cable and satellite tuners, Xbox 360, and 1080p-based technologies such as Blu-Ray Disc and Sony PlayStation 3. It also offers 12-bit video processing, two HDMI 1.3 inputs, a 96-degree vertical lens shift, and a 47-degree horizontal lens shift.

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