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Video Display Reviews

Epson Powerlite Home Cinema 8100 Projector

Epson Powerlite® Home Cinema 8100 Projector Even as an audio guy, it’s hard not to be seduced by the amazing video demonstrations sprinkled around the main shows like CES or CEDIA. I think it makes me admit I’m just as much a movie fan as I am music. An offer came my way to review an entire in-wall speaker package so I thought it a perfect opportunity to add a projector and screen to my otherwise exclusive two-channel space. My hunt was on for an affordable projector, Epson immediately came to mind. They’ve proven over the last several years that they could design and manufacture not only value packed projectors, but actually very well performing units. For this review, we selected the Epson Powerlite Home Cinema 8100.

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Screen Innovations Black Diamond II HD Front Projection Screen

si-screen-teaserOne of the major problems affecting those of us with projectors is the ambient room light that tends to desaturate colors of the images on the screen when we watch movies. Screen Innovations (SI) has designed a new material that helps solve this problem. It's called the Black Diamond II HD. The screen can be wall mounted, or ceiling mounted with or without motorized control.

The company also offers other types of screen material such as fabric that lets sound come through so you can place your speakers behind the screen.

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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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Dream Vision Starlight1 LCoS Projector

DreamVision Starlight1 Dream Vision, an emerging brand in America, has been developing and marketing high-end models in Europe since 1996. In 1999, they became available on this side of the Atlantic when they introduced, with the help of Audio Plus Services, the world’s first consumer-targeted DLP projector, the DL500. Today their DLP and LCoS designs offer cutting-edge features and most importantly, high performance. They’ve also made some of the most stylish projectors I’ve ever seen. Created by leading French industrial designers; their chassis’ make a bold statement as a centerpiece in a modern media room. With unique options like fixed anamorphic lenses, Dream Vision has projection systems to suit a wide variety of home theater installations. In this review, we cover the Dream Vision Starlight1, which is a three-chip LCoS projector.

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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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NuVision NVU46FX5LS 46" LED LCD HDTV

nuvision-46-fx5-hdtv-teaserNuVision is a company that hand-builds LCD flat panel HDTV displays. So, instead of a mass produced TV, you get one that has a lot of fingers putting things together and then having tests run on that particular unit to make sure it meets all specifications. It uses top quality parts through and through. As a result, NuVision's 46" HDTV, the NVU46FX5LS, at $4,499 MSRP, costs more than mass produced models from other brands that could be as large as 65". So, what is it you would want to know about such a TV? The performance. Read our review to see what we found.

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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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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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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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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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