Register Hardware reports: [edited]
Following the extinction of gloriously bulky CRT video projectors, big screen aficionados have had a clear choice between LCD and DLP. Both technologies are capable of great results, yet have distinct weaknesses: single chip DLP projectors often suffer from rainbow fringing, created by the use of a spinning colour wheel, while LCD models struggle to distinguish tomatoes from oranges.
But now there’s a third option, Laser Hybrid LED. Viewsonic’s £1600 Pro9000 is the first such out of the gate, although a number of brands will also be introducing the technology. It’s a good-looking 1080p model aimed at the mainstream home cinema market.
Just to put things in perspective, the Epson EH-TW6000 is a typical LCD-based home cinema projector, priced at around £1300. It has a typical quoted lamp life of around 4,000 hours but will gradually lose colour intensity and brightness. Brightness is quoted at 2,200 ANSI lumens and contrast at 40,000:1.
A replacement bulb will set you back around £200. The average power consumption of the Epson is 356W. The Viewsonic, by comparison, is rated at 186W in its brightest configuration. Hence, using a solid state glow stick means no replacement lamps will be required and more efficient power consumption. ViewSonic quotes a life span of 20,000 hours for the LED light source, as well as a 100,000:1 dynamic contrast.
he projector offers Instant On. The image is at full intensity immediately, there’s no prolonged warm up period. Secondly, it runs cool, even after hours of use. It’s a tad noisy at 28dB. You’ll need to enter Eco while in Theatre mode to really drop the volume to a more socially acceptable 22dB.
The projector doesn't exhibit the same clinical delineation commonly associated with single chip DLP. The result is very cinematic, with colour performance a particular strength. Skin tones are nuanced and believable; deep reds, so often the bane of LCD, exhibit stunning fidelity.
The projector’s light output is rated at 1600 lumens, which in a fully dark room is generally acceptable. At 4m you can throw an image measuring 120-inches diagonally. However, stray ambient light quickly diminishes contrast and colour. You can’t use the Pro9000 effectively in a partially lit lounge.
There are other caveats too. Truly deep blacks prove elusive and shadow detail is hard to find. Trees by night take on a blobbyness that wouldn't disgrace Noel's House Party. On the plus side, there's no overt pixel noise either, which at least lends a smooth sheen to darker scenes.