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Video Displays

The principal difference between DLP technology for cinema vs. home installations is the former's use of three DMDs dedicated to red, green, and blue respectively, eliminating the need for the color wheel compromises inherent in single-chip designs. The prohibitive cost of three-chip DLP projectors has confined the technology to professional and commercial product offerings. Earlier this year, Panasonic broke many price, size, and power consumption boundaries with its DLP™-Based SXGA/XGA PT-D7600 DLP cinema projector, which uses a newly developed fluid-cooled optical system, three DMD™ chips, and a dual-lamp system. In news of more direct interest to cost-no-object home theater owners, Panasonic reps revealed that a consumer-level version is in the works, which will retain the basic PT-D7600 feature set but forego the commercial model's broad selection of optional lenses and input board modules in favor of a single standard configuration to lower cost. Pricing and availability are not finalized, but the unit is reported to have a projected cost in the $30-$40,000 range. Hardly a casual purchase, but a clear signal that 3-chip DLP technology for home use is well on its way towards becoming a practical reality. (In other Panasonic DLP news, this month the company begins shipping its PT-52DL52, a 52" single-chip DLP rear projector TV, for $6,000 without stand).

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Hitching its new Mustang DLP chip to an optimized light path from Minolta, the Marantz VP12S2 ($12,500, available this month) improves on the company's highly regarded previous DLP projector with higher brightness, better black level and a 2600:1 contrast ratio. First generation DCDi deinterlacing and video decoding/enhancement, and 3:2 pulldown detection are included, along with a redesigned user-friendly menu system to simplify setup and calibration. The projector can be optimized for either 16:9 widescreen or standard 4:3 aspect ratios, and a Lens Shift feature allows vertical compensation for non-parallel mounting relative to the screen. Picture quality was stunning – a clip from a Victoria's Secret fashion show caused one enthusiastic viewer to proclaim it "the breast demo of the show.

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Sharp Electronics unwrapped its SharpVision XV-Z10000U ($10,995), a Mustang-based projector augmented with Sharp's proprietary video scaler circuitry that upconverts all inputs to the unit's native HD resolution. Sharp offers a switchable brightness/contrast function; in High Contrast mode, it delivers 2500:1 contrast (vs. 1500:1 in High Brightness mode), but the increase in contrast comes at the cost of a significant drop in brightness (from 1500 lumens to 500). Click for a Larger Image
InFocus Corporation, a company that made its name with high-quality LCD projectors for business use, continued its transition into the home theater arena with its new $9,995 ScreenPlay 7200, its second generation DLP projector. A major plus for installers and end users alike is the emphasis on plug-and-play – out of the box, the compact, installation-friendly ScreenPlay 7200 comes fully pre-calibrated to the standard D65 color palette. Built around the TI HD2 chip and Zeiss optics, and optimized for high definition, the unit is also one of the first products to incorporate the next-generation DCDi FLI2300 video processing, which now includes built-in scaler and adaptive luma/chroma enhancement. Belying its modest 1400:1 contrast and 1000 ANSI lumen ratings, the ScreenPlay 7200 yielded impressive black levels and a bright, filmlike image, holding its own very well against an array of Mustang-based projectors in the Texas Instruments booth – proof yet again that broad brightness/contrast specifications don't tell the whole story. [] Click for a Larger Image

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Show report last updated: 10th November 2002 ~ 122 original images on-line.


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