At Home in the Commercial District
At InfoComm 2007—held this year at the Anaheim (Calif.) Convention Center—my mission was to cull the residential news from this largely commercial A/V and information systems show. Amid the A/V switchers with mind-boggling numbers of connections and the 10,000-lumen projectors that would scorch the retinas of home users, I discovered a few new finds ideal for the custom installer.
Audio for the residential market was virtually nonexistent, so I focused on video.
Among the mammoth commercial projectors with crazy brightness, a few new home theater projectors were on hand. I saw three distinct trends in the category: “inexpensive,” 1,080p, and models with Texas Instruments’ BrilliantColor technology, which adds cyan, magenta and yellow segments to the standard RGB color wheel for more saturated colors and additional spectral energy, in turn increasing brightness.
Optoma showed a DLP projector that incorporated all three of these trends. Its HD80 is a low-cost ($2,999) 1,080p projector that incorporates the BrilliantColor light engine. The projector has 1,300 lumens and both HDMI and DVI inputs. Perhaps more interesting to the custom installer is Optoma’s $7,999 model, the 2,500-lumen HD81-LV, which will be offered with an anamorphic lens for 2.35:1 images. This projector can handle a little ambient light; in fact, it looked very good on the show floor. Additionally, its two-piece design means fewer cables going directly to the projector.
At the Digital Projection booth, all of the company’s single-chip DLP home theater projectors got TI’s BrilliantColor treatment. The iVision 20, iVision 30 and dVision 30 all looked bright and vibrant.
Though not the most high-end of the bunch, I thought ViewSonic’s $1,399 PJ258D portable DLP projector was way cool. Okay, well, maybe it’s more of an iPod accessory than a projector—it has a built-in iPod dock on top, enabling users to watch videos directly from an iPod Video! Curiously, the projector doesn’t have an HDMI input, but it supports 720p and 1,080i. This means it’s not really intended for use with home theater components; it has only VGA and S-video ins.