Home cinema projectors to beam you up

Nothing says, “I take my films seriously, me,” more than packing a projector in your viewing armoury. From high-definition home-cinema majesty to versatile portable media players, Matt Hill investigates the brightest big-screen sparks…

[Originally published in INDUSTRIA in August]

1) For big spenders
SONY VPL-VW1000ES 4K

No, 4K is not the price – if only – but the newest-fangled type of lens, which somehow manages to output a super high resolution of 4096×2160; that’s four times that of those piffling Full HD tellies everyone’s flogging. Alas, no one of note’s actually making films in such a high-spec format yet, so you’d be an early adopter in every sense of the word, although this beast (pictured above) will upscale your Blu-ray discs to similar levels in the meantime.

With 2,000 ANSI-lumen brightness and a rather ridiculous 1 million-to-1 dynamic contrast ratio, the image is as unparalleled as its futuristic HAL-eye styling, slaying 2D and 3D while taking on both DCI and Adobe RGB specs to produce a colour space so wide it would please even the most picky of pros. Inputs aplenty, from ethernet to HDMI, also mean every media source is up for grabs, but at this price you’d be a bit vexed if they weren’t.
£16,799, sony.co.uk

 2) For movie moguls
JVC DLA-X70 

If your wallet’s not quite up to the above’s full 4K levels of impressing, at less than half the price this active 3D projector is a snip, yet still a serious movie machine. It’s packed full of proprietary tech called e-Shift, which through some clever off-setting manages to double the pixels and deliver a 4K image at a 3840×2160 resolution despite it running natively at a mere 1920×1080. Show off.

The results are very good indeed, its 70,000:1 native contrast ratio and decent 1,200 lumens of brightness powering impressive 2D media and fine 3D once you’ve attached the external transmitter and synced the two pairs of glasses, all of which is included. A plethora of input holes even features a D-Sub PC port for those desperate to have their laptop blowing up YouTube ‘Fails’ to a humble 200 inches across.
£6,995, jvc.co.uk

3) For home-cinema start-ups
BENQ W1200 

You wouldn’t expect superior visual leaps from a sub-£1,000 projector, but this utilitarian unit utilizes 1,800 lumens and 12 separate lens elements to fuel sharp, well-focused Full-HD images at 1920×1080 resolution worth twice the price. It also uses both digital light and frame interpolation processing to counter blur and judder on its projected pictures, which can be beamed at up to 300 inches.

It doesn’t quite have the sleek, Bond-esque looks of many of the others here, and the lack of vertical lens shift adjustment means it’s better in a static set-up rather than an impromptu table-top blast, but its combination of professional options with user-focused simplicity make it an excellent home-cinema hub.
£985, benq.co.uk

4) For iDevice owners
EPSON MEGAPLEX MG-850HD

You’re reading this on an iPad, meet its new home-cinema pal, because at the rear of this HD projector is a dock you might just recognise. Whack in your iDevice (iPhones and iPod Touch also invited) and you’re instantly beaming whatever your tablet’s rocking – be it INDUSTRIA’s superior video content, Netflix’s digital library or your own torrented Troma collection – on to a wall up to a whopping 25ft diagonally across.

With a stunning 2800 lumens of light powering its 720P images, and HDMI, VGA and USB ports for hooking up everything from an Xbox to Apple TV, it’s a very flexible filmic friend indeed.
£550, epson.co.uk

5 For media on the move
PHILIPS PICOPIX 2480 

As at home bashing out another side-splitting sales presentation on the fly as it is episodes of Veep in your hotel room, Philips’ little box of tricks is a real portable player. Projecting up to 120 inches of 854×480-resolution imagery at a contrast ratio of 1,000:1, it’s not going to win any picture awards so focuses on nimble versatility rather than big numbers.

It attains this through a man bag-friendly 0.29kg, 10cm-deep frame and a raft of inputs from USB to HDMI, backed up with 2GB of internal memory and SD card support, not to mention an integrated MP4 player and built-in speaker. Although at only two hours’ battery life, you’ll need to keep the plug handy for anything Nolan-shaped.
£300, philips.co.uk

6 For the passing interest
SAMSUNG GALAXY BEAM

If all the others here seem to be taking things a little too seriously, you can always just realign your next smartphone upgrade. Samsung’s dualcore Android blower has an integrated HD projector that uses an in-built app to throw 15 lumens of brightness at any wall you choose. Well, any wall that can handle its full 50-inch image output, we’d suggest.

The 2,000 mAh battery should plough through more video than most mobiles, but we’d still keep the charger nearby if you’ve just downloaded a box set to its 8GB of in-built storage. You can squeeze in 32GB more of Google Play-sourced media via its MicroSD port, too.
Free on £25 per month contract, £430 sim-free, samsung.com/uk

NB: For the full original article with image gallery, download INDUSTRIA

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