Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Business projections

Back in college, everyone would dread being entrusted any work with the ancient projector. Reason: the projector bulbs were notoriously flimsy and expensive. So, if the bulb blew up, which it did at regular intervals, anyone within a 10-metre radius would have to chip in for the replacement. But that was over a decade ago.

So the first thing that interested me in NEC’s new NP500G projector was its Eco-mode which ensures that the lamp lasts longer and reduces noise to a minimum. The unit also uses less power in this mode. Moreover, it even has a meter indicating how much longer the bulb and filter will last in normal course.

That’s not all. This was the first projector I’d seen where the colour split was not so obvious—in most the projected image splits into the Vibgyor from certain angles. The unit also has wall colour correction so that the image looks good even on coloured walls. The auto adjust button puts the image to the best fit for the conditions, while the aspect ratio selector allows users to choose the best screen mode—this is ideal if you are watching movies.

Though the company would like to project this as a business accessory, it works fine for home viewing too. I used it to watch a DVD movie and the effect was big-screen all the way. To add to the viewing pleasure, the menu has presets for movies, presentations and so on, which pick the best setting for the task at hand.

But no doubt this is a business projector. Just consider the number of sources it can handle—two computers plus a direct LAN input, S-video as well as a regular RF input. It can also play sound from all these sources using its two 7w speakers. The picture can be magnified too—I zoomed in on a word file and got a comma which was two feet high. This function is ideal if users need to focus on a specific chart in a presentation.

The projector is easy to plug in on computers and laptops. The extra long power cable, as well as the carry bag, is a very thoughtful addition.

But I did have some trouble with the keystone correction and image was slightly skewed at the sides. I found a way around in by beaming the image at an aspect ratio that stayed clear of the corners.

The NP500G costs Rs 75,000 plus taxes.

The others

VIEWSONIC: A cheaper option would be ViewSonic’s new portable DLP Projector PJD6210, with the latest BrilliantColor Technology. Its sophisticated five-segment colour (RGBWY) wheel promises to provide greater colour accuracy than any standard DLP projector with a four-segment colour wheel. The high 2700:1 contrast ratio guarantees bright images in virtually any setting. The 2.4-kg projector has a high brightness of 2,200ANSI lumens and also comes with the eco-mode option which extends lamp life to 4000 hours. The PJD6210 is priced at Rs 55,000.

CANON: On the other end of the scale is the Canon SX80 which features the new AISYS technology and LCOS reflective panels to ensure light efficiency, uniformity, and expanded colour space for extremely accurate colour reproduction. The projector has a 3000 lumens brightness coupled with a 1.5x zoom lens to reduce distortion. The USB / Pictbridge Connection allows for PC-free presentations. It also operates at a near-silent 31 decibels. Priced at Rs 2,49,995.

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