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Video Display Reviews

Optoma HD8600 Single-Chip 1080p DLP Projector

Optoma HD8600 DLP Projector My favorite reviews are those of flagship products so I was understandably excited when the opportunity came to test Optoma’s new HD8600 DLP projector. The HD8600 includes all of Optoma’s latest features and advances. Topping the list is a special set of controls called PureEngine which include enhancements for detail, color and motion. This projector has joined its competitors in offering smoothing technology to eliminate the judder and motion blur inherent in 24 frames-per-second film content. Coupled with Pure Detail and Pure Color, you have at the call of the remote the means to add extra vividness and sharpness to picture if you wish. If accuracy is your goal, as it is mine, the HD8600 offers extensive adjustments for gamma, grayscale and a color management system.

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Runco LS-5 Single-Chip 1080p DLP Projector

Runco LS-5 Projector When one thinks of home theater, it’s difficult not to think of Runco. Since 1987, Runco has been at the forefront of home theater video technology. Founder Sam Runco is even credited with coining the term “home theater. ” They are one of a handful of companies that concentrate solely on video products. Their product line includes LCD and plasma displays, DLP projectors and even two new LED projectors. They also market a video processor and an in-wall rear projection system. Runco’s current line of front-projectors includes 13 models that cover every kind of installation. The LS-5 reviewed here is designed for small to medium theaters with screens ranging from 72 to 120 inches. It has full 1080p resolution, via a single DLP chip.

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VIZIO VF551XVT 55" LCD LED HDTV

vizio-vf55-hdtv-teaserVIZIO has introduced a 55" (diagonal) LCD HDTV (1080p) that uses 960 LEDs in 80 control blocks as the backlighting. The control blocks change their brightness according to the brightness of the part of the scene that they responsible for illuminating. The result is absolute black, where there is supposed to be black. We measured a contrast ratio of nearly 300,000:1. It also has 240 Hz refresh rate (120 Hz plus backlight scanning) which allows for interpolated frames in between actual frames, and this delivers smooth motion during panning or objects moving across the screen. Best of all, it is available (street price) at $1,899 which is not an increase over last year's technology at the same screen size.

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Optoma HD20 Single-chip 1080p DLP Projector

Optoma HD20 One of the difficulties in writing a series about affordable front projectors is deciding what constitutes “affordable.” A few years ago, that would have meant anything under $5,000 for a 1080p projector. But advances in technology, manufacturing efficiency and market demand have caused the prices of entry-level front projectors to plummet. Soon a 1080p front projector could be had for $3,000; only a year later there were $2,000 (street price) projectors that put out a surprisingly good picture. Surely $2,000 was the floor for a 1080p projector?

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Sony VPL-HW10 LCoS Projector

Sony VPL-HW10 front projectorThis is the third in a semi-regular series looking at affordable front projector systems, particularly projectors that don’t require a dedicated theater space. So far, we’ve looked at Sanyo and Mitsubishi projectors. Until recently, I had not considered Sony’s SXRD front projectors as candidates, for a couple of reasons. First, Sony projectors were not what I would classify as “affordable,” with MSRP’s typically starting at $5,000. Plus, the Ruby and Pearl models were really designed for dedicated rooms; they have limited lens adjustments and are not known for exceptionally bright output.

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Optoma HD8200 Single-chip 1080p DLP Projector

Optoma HD8200 DLP Projector It seems every year projector prices fall a little more. The $4999 Optoma HD8200 single-chip DLP 1080p projector offers features and image quality that would have cost you over $10,000 just a few years ago. Though it has some stiff competition from JVC and Sony in this price category, Optoma has met this challenge with some unique motion processing and image enhancement features.

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

anthem-beauty-small-fig1Flagship Home Theater.  The very words evoke the highest quality in audio and video reproduction.  Anthem, a well-established maker of high end audio products has just released their first display, the THX-certified LTX-500 LCoS Projector.  Like their audio gear, Anthem is marketing this unit as a reference quality piece.  In their own words, “A full HD 1920x1080 ‘Reference’ point of view… brings the scale and excitement of the Cinema experience home.”  Have they achieved their goal?  Boy did I ever have fun finding out! In this review, which we call Flagship Home Theater - Part 1, I take a look at Anthem's top of the line projector, and also an SI Black Diamond II projection screen.

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Samsung SP-A900B Single-Chip 1080p DLP Projector

Samsung SP-A900B DLP Projector What if a videophile were given total control over the design, production and distribution of a projector? You would expect a high degree of color accuracy, great optics, easy calibration for different screens and environments, no unnecessary features, consistent quality and of course a stunning image. Samsung has answered this question with the help of Joe Kane. The result of this collaboration has been a series of DLP projectors, the latest example being the SP-A900B.

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DreamVision Dream'E 1080p LCoS Projector

DreamVision Dream’E LCoS ProjectorIt has been my privilege recently to sample DreamVision’s latest addition to the 1080p LCoS front-projector market, the Dream’E. With attractive Euro-styling, a choice of case colors, excellent performance, and suitability for medium to large theaters, the Dream’E deserves a serious look by those wanting to satisfy their big-screen desires without breaking the bank.

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NuVision NVU65FX5 65" LCD Flat-Panel HDTV

NuVision LCDPRICE DROP AS OF 1-18-10. When shopping for an LCD panel, NuVision is not one of the first manufacturers that come to mind. Sold only through a network of CEDIA-member dealers, NuVision is firmly in the category of boutique brands. Their line of televisions are “built by connoisseurs for connoisseurs” to quote their website. Here, we review the NuVision 65" NVU65FX5, which is their 65" LCD Flat-panel HDTV. At an MSRP of $10,499 ($9,999 for black bezel version), it is a pricey HDTV. Read our review to see if it cuts the mustard at the checkout counter.

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Affordable Projectors for Non-Dedicated Home Theater Rooms - Mitsubishi HC5500 & Elite Cinema Screen

Mitsubishi HC5500 I am continuing my journey into the world of affordable front projector systems, with a special emphasis on systems that are suitable for multi-use rooms.  My first foray, the Sanyo PLV-Z2000, was a success. But I didn’t have anything to compare it to, at least in my own home environment. Now comes the first challenger, the Mitsubishi HC5500, another affordable 1080p projector. These projectors use the same basic display technology (LCD panels), so provide a pretty good apples-to-apples comparison. We also review the Elite Screens ezCinema Plus Pull-up Projection Screen.

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