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Video Display Reviews

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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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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Toshiba Regza 46RV53OU 46" 1080p LCD HDTV

toshiba-46rv53ou-hdtv-teaser.jpgIf an HDTV like this had been available three years ago, it would have been spectacular. However, this is mid-2008, and there are lots of excellent 1080p units out there. In short, although the contrast ratio on the Toshiba 46RV53OU was exceptional, the overall performance was disappointing.

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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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Marantz VP-11S2 Single-Chip DLP 1080p Projector

marantz-vp-11s2-projector-teaser.jpgRemember back a few years when projectors were 720p resolution, had modest brightness, not so great contrast, and you could spend $15,000 to get one? Well, you can still spend that kind of money and a lot more, but it gets you a lot more too. The buzzword now of course is 1080p and HDMI all the way. Marantz' latest donation to this category is called the VP-11S2. It has two HDMI inputs, will accept and project native 1080p, has Deep Color capability, and is built like a tank.

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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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Sony Bravia KDL-46X3500 46" 1920x1080p LCD HDTV

sony-46x3500-tv-teaser.jpgWhen the local Sony dealer asked me which model I wanted to check out, I wasn’t sure if I should get the smaller 40” or the larger 46” model. On the one hand, statistics say that the 40” model will be a lot more popular, but they also suggest that the 44-50” segment, particularly in the US, is growing at an amazing rate.

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Affordable Projectors for Non-Dedicated Home Theater Rooms - Sanyo PLV-Z2000 1080p Projector

Sanyo PLV-Z2000 ProjectorFront projectors have been the gold standard in home theater for many years. But until recently, front projection meant a CRT-unit the size of a coffee table mounted to the ceiling. It only looked good if you turned your room into a bat-cave, was very finicky about set-up, needed regular calibration, and probably cost more than the family sedan. Well, now front projectors are very affordable and are small and easy to set up. Perfect for that family room that has other uses than just home theater. Secrets takes a look at the Sanyo PLV-Z2000 as the first in our series on affordable projectors that you can use in just about any room of your home.

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Panasonic TH-50PZ77U 50" 1080p Plasma HDTV

panasonic-th-50pz77u-plasma-tv-figure-1-front-main-teaser.jpgChristmas shopping is over, and this could be just the right time to walk into a store and say, "I want to buy a flat panel TV." Here is one that could end up on your shopping list. Plasma, 50", 1080p. Nice, very nice.

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Panasonic 65PY700 65" 1080p Plasma HDTV

Panasonic-65PY700-HDTV-figa-thumb.jpgA typical display will go quite easily into my house. When I call up the local importer, they are usually quite inclined to lend me their displays. The 65PY700 was no exception, but it did require quite a bit of work to verify that it would fit into my test lab area. The hallway and staircase leading up to the second floor are quite tight, and I’ve never actually tried a display larger than 55” in height . . .

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Marantz VP-15S1 1080p Single-Chip DLP Projector

marantz-vp-15s1-projector-figure-1.jpgThe Marantz VP11S1 is one of the best projectors I’ve had the opportunity to review. It recently won our Secrets Best of 2007 award in the projector category, and in my opinion is still one of the best reference projectors on the market today. But the 11S1 does come with a steep price tag compared to a lot of the 1080p projectors on the market. Well, Marantz decided to trim the design down just a touch and bring most of what made the 11S1 such a great design into a more affordable package, the VP15S1. I think you will be very interested to see what I found . . .

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