Projectors

Runco LightStyle LS-100d DLP LED Projector

ARTICLE INDEX

The Runco LightStyle LS-100d Projector In Use

Once positioned correctly I fired up the LS-100d and started by watching a bit of Cars 2.  As I hadn't adjusted the CMS yet, I was amazed to see the colors that were jumping off the screen at me.  LEDs can produce a much wider color gamut than traditional bulbs, and so there were shades of red, green, and blue that I hadn't seen on a home projector before.  It was very inaccurate, but it was also eye-popping to see that a projector could produce these colors, and really with CGI content the extra pop was nice.  After admiring the colors for a bit, I set the CMS to Rec 709 and Cars 2 looked normal again.

With the opening scene on the oilrig, blacks were a bit darker than I was used to with a DLP projector.  I'm not sure if the LEDs allow for this, or if it is that Runco uses a much higher quality glass lens instead of plastic that has less light bleed, but the letterboxing bars blended into the edge of the screen much better than usual.  Geometry issues from the mirror setup were not noticeable in regular viewing, nor were any other side effects of the mirror setup.

As you would expect with a DLP, the image was razor sharp.  CGI can be good for evaluating the sharpness, as there is no possible issue with the focus or a bad film transfer to introduce a soft image.  Cars 2 looked great, with all the details coming across.  DLPs are also fantastic with motion resolution and here it looked superb as well.  There was no smearing or blurring of the image, as the cars flew around the track in Japan and Italy, and with the LEDs also no rainbows visible.

With The Fifth Element, skin tones from Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich were spot on without excessive reddish or sunburnt tones, but the rest of the color palette certainly popped off the screen.  The last DLP I had around was an earlier Samsung RPTV model and not an LED based projector, but I never had colors that were as accurate yet vivid as these.  On Drive, the shadow detail was rendered well, which is very important in a film as dark as this, though the nighttime aerial shots of Los Angeles lacked some of the pop that projectors with higher native contrast, instead of using an iris, can manage.  All 24p content was shown at 48 Hz, and despite my worries about the lower rate I had no issues with the image showing flicker or any other artifacts.

Watching Casino Royale, the opening scene had good, rich shadow detail and blacks that blended into the letterbox bars and edges of the screen.  Once the location moves to the Bahamas, the LS-100d can put out stunning, rich blue water tones that I think most displays would be hard pressed to match.  Even though when calibrated an LED display should look the same as a conventional display, the shade of water from the LED seemed to be a bit different.  Letterboxing bars were not visible at all, and tones that were supposed to look neutral and natural did, while the bright water and other items in the Bahamas had a ton of pop to them.

After a week, I got quite used to the LS-100d being at the front of the room, where I didn't walk in the light path every time I stood up or moved around.  For a smaller room where it would be used, this makes it easier for your guests to move around while watching something without disturbing the image for everyone else.  It also makes it a far better solution for those who would play motion-based video games, like the Wii of Xbox Kinect, as you don't constantly interfere with the projector.  That LED lights are able to power up and run in seconds instead of minutes, and that you don't shorten their life by turning the projector on for 30 minutes to watch a TV show makes the LS-100d better suited to a living room than most projectors would be.

With the ability to turn the LS-100d on and off and not worry about shortening the life of the bulb, I was able to treat it more like a TV.  I'd turn it on to watch an episode of a TV show, or for 30 minutes of a movie, instead of having to ensure I had a long block of time so as not to waste my bulb hours.  This ability lets the LS-100d operate more like a TV in a living room or other common setting instead of only as a projector for when you have a lot of time to sit down and watch a full movie.  The LS-100d can easily work as a typical projector, but its design and setup allows it to also work as something more.