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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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The Meridian 810 projector, launching at CEDIA Expo 2008, is the world's first projector capable of delivering 10-megapixel resolution. It features a 4000×2400-pixel D-ILA 4K light engine, an 850W lamp, a video processor and scaler, and custom lenses to accommodate different screen and room sizes — along with an additional 2.35 widescreen lens. Each unit undergoes four days of custom calibration in the Meridian U.K. facility, which gives it perfect white field and color uniformity.

Mitsubishi is boosting the features of its entry-level 1080p-resolution home-theater projector, the HC5500. It is designed with inorganic LCD panels, which are more durable and provide a more consistently toned color image than previous-generation LCD panels. It also includes an improved automatic iris function for quicker black-to-light image shift and increased the contrast ratio to 10,000:1. It comes with the Silicon Optix Reon-VX video-processing chip that is often found in more high-end devices and a HQV high-performance video processor for an enhanced 1080p display.

As a low-cost 720p option, Mitsubishi's HC1600 DLP projector puts out 1700 ANSI lumens and 2500:1 contrast. It benefits from Texas Instruments' BrilliantColor and a seven-segment color wheel. The HC1600 DLP projector operates at a hushed 25dBA in low mode. It includes both vertical and horizontal digital keystone correction.

With a high-brightness level of 2400 lumens, the Optoma HD71 native 720p-resolution crossover home-theater projector has multiple HD inputs — including HDMI v.1.3, DVI with HDCP, and component video. With the latest in multicolor processing capabilities, it delivers rich and deep textures with ease in non-light-controlled environments. Optoma also features its new 1080p DLP-based HD806 projector. At 2000 lumens and with HDMI 1.3 support, the HD806 is targeted toward the entry pricing for 1080p projectors.

The Panasonic PT-AX200U is a 720p projector designed for watching sports or playing video games in daytime conditions as well as for viewing movies in a dark room, thanks to its 2000-lumen brightness and new Light Harmonizer 2 technology. Its Game mode features improved signal processing for optimized frame response, enabling gamers to enjoy lag-free play. It also benefits from expanded detail reproduction, which reveals gradation in saturated areas otherwise lost in darkness.

For full-HD 1080p reproduction, Panasonic's PT-AE2000U LCD projector was developed with the cooperation of leading Hollywood filmmakers. It features onscreen vectorscope and waveform monitor displays. It delivers 1080p images with a carefully tuned lens system for enhanced detail and clarity with 1500-lumen brightness and a 16,000:1 contrast ratio. It offers a split-adjust mode that allows you to freeze a scene and make adjustments while comparing the original and adjusted images side by side. It also incorporates next-generation, full-HD C2Fine LCD panels — which are characterized by an inorganic alignment layer and vertically aligned liquid crystals for enhanced black-level performance.

Planar's home-theater division now encompasses three brands: Runco at the highest end for limited specialized installer distribution, Vidikron for custom-channel system integrator access, and Planar for value-oriented home theaters. The Runco line just introduced its 3-chip DLP, THX-certified VX-22d projector with Runco's latest next-generation, all-digital DHD controller — featuring advanced Vivix II video processing, superb scaling and aspect ratio control, and 1920×1080 SuperOnyx DLP resolution. Runco's exclusive CineWide and CineWide with AutoScope technology options are available on the VX-22d for true 2.35 presentations.

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