Hardware Spotlight ? Yamaha
Yamaha LPX-500 Home Theater Projector
By Grant Clauser
As is the case with many of the latest home theater projectors, the spiritual ancestors of Yamaha's new, LCD-based LPX-500 lit up PowerPoint presentations in corporate boardrooms everywhere. Because the competing DLP technology has usurped much of the home theater market, it's somewhat surprising to see Yamaha come out with a high-definition LCD model, particularly when the company is also already in the DLP camp. So why do it? In a word: price. The LPX-500 does HD for under $6,000, while DLP projectors at that level cost at least $10,000.
There are both benefits and trade-offs to be considered when comparing LCD to DLP. First, LCD has had a little more time to mature in the home theater market, though until recently it has been outperformed by the DLP competition. In the past, LCD pictures also suffered a reputation for being washed out and pixelated, with noticeable screen-door effects. Of course, at the same time, DLPs had a reputation for objectionable color artifacts and occasional softness. Both technologies have gotten considerably better over the years, so much so that today, they make excellent alternatives to costly and bulky CRT projectors. In fact, at the recent Consumer Electronics Show, you had to put in considerable effort to find CRT pictures.
The LPX-500 is smaller than the receivers and DVD players to which most people will connect it. The inputs include composite, S-Video, component, 15-pin RGB and DVI for uncompressed digital video from HD set-top receivers. There's also a 12-volt trigger for automatic screens and an RS-232C port for control systems. The resolution is 1,280x720, and the unit accepts seven different digital video formats. The brightness rating is 800 ANSI lumens, and Yamaha states a contrast ratio of 800:1. Using the manually operated zoom lens, the projector's picture size can run between 30 and 300 inches for a 16:9 presentation.