Flagship Home Theater - Part 1: Anthem LTX-500 LCoS Projector and SI Black Diamond II Screen


Projector Installation and Setup

Once I had the projector in place it was time to explore the LTX-500’s vast menu structure.  This display has absolutely everything you could possibly want for a complete calibration.  There are full controls for gamma, color management and grayscale.  As you’ll see later in the bench testing, I was able to achieve nearly perfect results in all areas.

There are five main menus labeled Picture Adjust, Input Signal, Installation, Display Setup, Function and an Information screen.

The Picture Adjust menu includes all the controls necessary to calibrate the projector.  There are six preset picture modes (Cinema 1, Cinema 2, Natural, Stage, Dynamic, THX) and three customizable user modes.  The THX mode locks out all other calibration settings.  I made all of my adjustments in the User 1 mode.

After the traditional picture controls (brightness, contrast, color and tint), there are selectors for color temperature and gamma.  The color temperature list has four presets ranging from 5800K to 9300K plus High Bright and three Custom memories.  Each memory has a wide adjustment range for both RGB highs and lows.  The gamma selector has a similar arrangement with four presets plus three Custom memories.  The gamma curve adjustment screen lets you change the overall value (1.8-2.6) and the values for each step in the curve starting at 5%.  You can adjust the curves of the individual colors if you wish.  Once you save a gamma or color temp memory, it is accessible from any picture mode (except THX) and any input.

In the Advanced sub-menu there are controls for Sharpness, Detail Enhancement, Noise Reduction and Color Transient Improvement (CTI).  CTI and Noise Reduction are only adjustable for non-HD signals.

Also contained in the Advanced menu is the Color Management System (CMS).  Again there are three memories available to save your settings to.  The CMS on the LTX-500 is the best and most complete I’ve yet encountered, with one caveat.  You must update the projector’s firmware to version 1.1 to make it fully functional.  I’ll explain this in more detail in the Bench Testing section.

The CMS allows adjustment of hue, saturation and brightness of each primary and secondary color.  This makes it possible to achieve a perfect gamut with perfect luminance.  Once I installed the firmware update, I was able to make this projector more accurate than any display I have previously worked with.

Finally, there is a Lens Aperture control with 15 steps and a button to reset all parameters to the factory defaults.

The Input Signal menu lets you set the Input level (Standard, Enhanced or Auto) and Colorspace (RGB, YCbCr 4:4:4, YCbCr 4:2:2 or Auto) for HDMI signals.  You can usually leave these set to Auto.  In my case Auto Input level worked fine for my Accupel signal generator but I had to select Enhanced with my Panasonic Blu-ray and Denon DVD players to see below-black and above-white information.  You can also toggle HDMI control on and off.  There are Level and Colorspace options for the component, composite/S-video and PC inputs as well.  You can also adjust Picture Position, Aspect Ratio (4:3, 16:9 and Zoom (SD signals only)).  There is a V-Stretch mode for use with an anamorphic lens.  The Overscan control lets you toggle a 2.5% overscan for SD signals.  Mask will hide the outer area of the image and Film Mode will perform inverse-telecine when an interlaced signal is input.

The Installation menu has controls for the lens (shift, focus and zoom) and the geometry patterns.  If you want to use a different pattern than the built-in ones, you can turn them off here.  The Pixel Adjust is a convergence control that lets you move each color horizontally or vertically one pixel at a time.  This is a bit coarse to be practical but the convergence out of the box was excellent so I didn’t have to make any adjustment.  The Installation Style option lets you flip the image for ceiling or tabletop mounting and front or rear projection.  Keystone correction is available in this menu as well though I don’t recommend using this at any time as it will degrade the image slightly.

The Display Setup menu has options for controlling the background color, menu position, menu display, line display (input), source display (signal type) and whether or not to show the logo on startup.  The menu display option is of particular interest.  When set to on, all menus will remain on the screen until you turn them off.  This includes individual adjusters displayed at the bottom of the screen.  This is one of the coolest features I have seen on any display.  It’s so nice to be able to take my time with a particular setting without having to worry about the menu timing out.  Bravo Anthem!

The Function menu has options for lamp power (normal or high) and the function of the 12v trigger.  One neat option here: you can activate the trigger when you select the V-Stretch option.  This will work in conjunction with an anamorphic lens mount so the lens will slide into place at the appropriate time.  The test pattern selector runs through the six built-in patterns.  There are color bars, grayscale steps, steps for red, green and blue and a crosshatch pattern for setting geometry.  The Off Timer has options to turn off the power automatically after 1, 2, 3 or 4 hours.  The High Altitude Mode increases the fan speed to maintain proper lamp cooling in altitudes above 3000 feet.

The Information Screen shows the current input, signal type, resolution, and frequency for PC signals, the color depth, and lamp hours.