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The Authority in Entertainment Intelligence • www.hometheatermag.com March 2010 Volume 17 No. 3
SPECIAL PROJECTOR ISSUE
US $5.99/Canada $6.99

HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR PERFECT PROJECTOR

MATCHING YOUR PROJECTOR & SCREEN

OUR EDITORS' TOP PICK PROJECTORS
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O
f all the outstanding products reviewed by
Sound & Vision in 2008, only one was
selected as “Audio Product of the Year,”
not merely “Speaker of the Year” but “Audio
Product of the Year.” And that product is the
Definitive Technology Mythos STS SuperTower
multichannel speaker system.
Where’s the Subwoofer?
Built right in!
Each STS features a built-in 300 Watt
SuperCube™ powered subwoofer for soul-stirring
bass impact, earth-shaking dynamics along with
tight, detailed musicality. You’ll enjoy double the
bass while saving floor space and enhancing the
beauty of your room.
“…prepare to be amazed. The Mythos
STS is one of the most exciting products
that I have come across in a long
time…unrivaled at its price point.”
— Roger Kanno, SoundStage.com
More Praise
The Mythos STS SuperTowers earned
SoundStage.com’s 2008 Reviewer’s Choice Award
for Aesthetics and Sound. Home Theater Magazine
called the STS system “Crisp, Lush, Focused” and
tagged it with a Top Pick award. The STS also won
two Innovations Design and Engineering awards at
CES 2009, one for High Performance Audio and
the other for Home Theater Speakers. One industry
award is an honor, five is a sweep. Yes, this system
is that good.
“…in a class by themselves – rich fine
detail, full-bodied mid-tones, and
adjustable self-powered bass, in fact
considering what you get, these are value-
priced speakers. " — Piero Gabucci,
Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity.com
Get the Whole Story
There’s not enough room on this page to tell the
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the details, including where to get a demonstration,
visit the web address below today.
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“one of the best values going in
high-end speakers”
Mythos STS
SuperTowers,
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and Mythos Gem
system: MSRP $4355.
“…the Definitive
Technology Mythos STS
SuperTower just might be
the best loudspeaker I've
heard for $3000/pair.”
—Wes Phillips, Stereophile
— Al Griffin, Sound & Vision
TEL 800. 228.7148
The Mythos STS system is
Sound & Vision Magazine’s
2009 Audio Product of the Year.
March 2010 Volume 17 No. 3
on the
web
LOG ON TO HomeTheaterMag.com and sign up to receive our
new, free eNewsletter for first-rate, up-to-the-minute reporting
of everything that’s hot in the world of home theater.
ON THE COVER Special projector issue. Our projector buyer’s guide, how
to choose a screen, new reviews, and more. Gear from Epson, Marantz,
Mitsubishi, and Sony. Screen image courtesy of 20th Century Fox.
24 32 49
49
24
Video Projectors
Bringing the theater home.
32
Set and Match
Choosing the right projector and the right screen.
36
Three for the Show
Projectors go Main Street.
Home Theater Design The Savant Experience
Center lets you see the latest technologies first-
hand. Plus, Part II of our Going Retro feature.
90
Curtain Call Calibrate? Good Times!
(Home Theater) by Michael J. Nelson
22
Ask Home Theater
Your how-to and technical home theater
questions answered. by Scott Wilkinson
49
FEATURES COLUMNS
36
Three for the Show
MO
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With Sanus Systems, you’ll always get smart design, high quality and
patented technology. Our new, innovative products are easy to install
and easy to use, giving you more time to enjoy cherished moments
with friends and family. Learn more at www.SANUS.com.
Make room for life
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14 20
FROM THE
PREVIEW
8
Prologue Front Projection is the New Rear
Projection by Shane Buettner
Denon AVR-4810CI A/V Receiver
Need supersizing? P58
Atlantic Technology FS-7.0 Soundbar
and SB-800 Sub Seven channels plus. P62
Pioneer Elite SC-27 A/V Receiver
What? No 8-track? P66
Sharp LC-60E77UN LCD HDTV
A worthy contender. P70
Marantz SR6004 A/V Receiver
Restraint and simplicity. P74
12
14
Letters
The makings of an A/V receiver review.
AV News Comcast and NBC in historic merger,
and Lord of the Rings makes a bittersweet
debut on Blu-ray.
DEPARTMENTS HIGH END P58-61
MIDRANGE P62-77
78
78
84
20
86
Cinema Scope The Hurt Locker, Paranormal
Activity, Jennifer’s Body, and more of the hottest
new titles on Blu-ray.
Top Picks Not sure what to buy? Check out
this exclusive listing of our reviewers’ recom-
mended gear.
Premiere Design Digital Cinema Comes Home:
Wolf Cinema DCX-1000i
Dealer Locator Before you run out to buy a prod-
uct we’ve reviewed, find a quality dealer near you.
VISIT THE “HOW WE TEST” link on our Website for a detailed explanation of
our testing regimen and a list of our reference gear. HomeTheaterMag.com
hometheatermag.com
on the
web
70
62
picture simulated To join our community, go to livinginhd.com
O
ne of the home theater market’s unequivocal triumphs in the last several years
is the ascendance of the front projector. Once upon a time, rear-projection big-
screen TVs were a force in our corner of this industry. Specialty stores catered to
this crowd, marketing, selling, and nancing these beasts. ese RPTVs drove a
ton of sales in electronics for people who wanted sound that was of proper scale
to match that big-screen TV. Front projection was based on three-gun CRT behemoths that
were inaccessible to most enthusiasts in every way. ey were prohibitively expensive,
physically imposing to install and live with, challenged in light output, and very nicky to set
up and maintain over time. In our quest for really big screens, we proud few did live with and
maintain these things, but not one of us who is standing here today looks back on that era as
the good old days.
Today, it’s a whole new ball game. Digital front projectors are bright, increasingly less
expensive, and oen only a little more di cult to point and shoot than a digital camera. I’m
exaggerating somewhat, but the point is valid. Front projection is more accessible than ever, in
every way. Although control over room light is a necessity for front projection, brighter
projectors and screens that reject ambient light oer exibility that we didn’t have in the past.
Digital projectors are much easier to mount or place in a
room. With the generous zoom range and lens shi of
today’s projectors, you aren’t locked into a single location.
Perhaps best of all, the real big-screen experience today,
with full 1080p resolution, costs less than what a pre-
mium rear-projection TV cost ten years ago. And as the
projector reviews and articles in this issue make clear,
we’re not talking about stripped-down loss leaders hit-
ting a price point. ese days, $3,000 to $4,000 buys
you a fully loaded name-brand projector that’s capable
of excellent performance. A 50-inch-diagonal at screen
is awesome for certain. A projector with a 100-inch-
diagonal screen oers an image that’s a full four times
the screen area of that 50-inch at screen. at’s the
dierence between a compelling image and complete
immersion in the experience.
While we most oen review projectors, don’t forget
that the projector and the screen form a system. e most
critical choice you’ll make in setting up your front-
projection system is choosing a screen that’s the right
size, material, and gain for your projector, your system,
and the room you’re using them in. Senior editor Tom
Norton’s article on choosing a projector and screen (page
32) is essential reading. When you’re done and the lights
drop, movie night at your house will leave the local
multiplex in the dust!
BY SHANE BUETTNER, EDITOR
Front Projection Is the
New Rear Projection
Digital front projectors
are bright, increasing-
ly less expensive, and
often only a little more
difficult to point and
shoot than a digital
camera.

MARCH 2010
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It Was Something We Said
I have enjoyed your magazine for several years
with only the most minor nits to be picked,
usually silently. However, Mark Fleischmann’s
review of the “entry level” Yamaha RX-V1065
A/V receiver (HT, January 2010) compels
me to write. For several issues, I have noticed
that Mr. Fleischmann seems to evaluate new
equipment in a curious sort of vacuum
occupying his Manhattan apartment, one in
which considerations of retail price, value, and
common-sense purchasing decisions all take a
backseat to the joys of writing, watching
movies, and listening to music with new gear.
While your HDTV reviews almost always
oer the reader comparisons to other models,
both in terms of price and feature perfor-
mance (thank you, omas Norton), your
AVR reviews of late are bere of this.
e Yamaha RX-V1065 AVR is just the
latest egregious example. Mr. Fleischmann
reports that the unit eschews “licensed
goodies” that other AVR manufacturers
employ, which would seem to save Yamaha
money. OK, ne. Maybe those savings are
incorporated in performance elsewhere? But
wait, there’s more: is model doesn’t allow
the use of DSP modes on DTS-HD Master
Audio or Dolby TrueHD lossless surround
tracks, the kind found on most Blu-ray Discs.
But wait, there’s even more: Mr. Fleischmann
couldn’t hear any height channel output from
his seating position, forcing him to park his
ears next to a speaker he knew was in proper
working order to determine if there was any
height output.
And all this for $1,000. “e Yamaha
RX-V1065 is notable for its originality,” he
writes. Uh, yeah. Why not substitute the word
“audacity” for originality? If Mr. Fleischmann
was aiming to damn this product with faint
praise, his subtlety eluded me. A casual read-
ing of the review suggests that the RX-V1065
is a relatively decent performer, with not a
word about its price or the fact that so much
more can be had in the AVR space for the
same amount. I’m also 99.9999 percent cer-
tain that he wouldn’t spend $1,000 (nearly a
month’s rent) of his own money for this thing.
It’s further notable that not a single Yamaha
AVR resides in HT’s current Top Picks lists,
either in print or online. Given that most of us
are living through a terrible recession, one in
which nearly everyone must keep closer guard
of income and spending, it would be a tremen-
dous reader service if your AVR reviews would
at least follow the HDTV reviews’ example
and alert readers when a product clearly
doesn’t pass the value smell test.
Justin Bachman
Brooklyn, NY
A/V receivers are challenging to our word
counts in ways that other products aren’t by the
simple virtue that they do so darned many
things. Today’s A/V receivers do everything that
yesterday’s AVRs did, all that our most advanced
outboard video scalers and switchers used to do,
and now they oer networking and streaming
features, sophisticated setup and room
correction, and more advanced surround
processing than ever before. In the past year and
WE WELCOME QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS. E-mail them to htletters@sorc.com. Please note: Be sure to check the FAQ page on
our Website (HomeTheaterMag.com) to see if we’ve already answered any questions you might have. Questions about the features
and functions of a particular product are best directed to the manufacturer. Questions about what product you should buy are best
directed to a dealer who knows all the details of your system, your preferences, and your personal habits. All submissions are consid-
ered the exclusive property of Home Theater magazine and Source Interlink Media. Due to the volume of mail that we receive, we regret
that we cannot respond to every letter.
HOME THEATER
change, we’ve seen the introduction of several
signicant new surround processing enhance-
ment algorithms—height from Audyssey and
Dolby, width from Audyssey, and low-volume
listening/leveling compensation from Audyssey,
Dolby, and THX. at’s a lot of ground to
cover. We’ve been doing our best to cover the
old-school bases and also oer meaningful
reports on what these new wrinkles bring to the
home theater party. But I agree that we need to
make sure we’re oering strong comparative
analysis. We get to experience all the dierent
components out there, and you readers don’t.
We need to maintain focus on oering that
critical perspective, and we will.
With that said, I don’t think Mark gave the
Yamaha a pass in the areas you discuss. As
noted, we didn’t call out the Yamaha as a Top
Pick. On height, Mark said that in his previous
experiences its benets were subtle and that the
Yamaha “presence” version was not only subtle
but also not usable with Dolby TrueHD and
DTS-HD Master Audio lossless audio signals.
He reiterated that criticism in the conclusion,
noting that Yamaha needed to rectify that for its
proprietary DSP modes to remain relevant in
today’s market. at’s strong commentary that
doesn’t require reading between any lines. I
think there’s something else important here for
you to consider, something I wrestled with
when I reviewed the Denon DVD-A1UDCI
Blu-ray player. ere are products that perform
very well and don’t do anything poorly but still
aren’t quite good enough to get over the hump
to being a Top Pick. at doesn’t mean the
reviewer has so-pedaled the product or that
we need to issue a consumer alert that the
component under review is some kind of fraud.
I think Mark’s back-to-back December and
January reviews of the Onkyo TX-NR807 and
this Yamaha, and his respective ratings of ve
stars versus four stars for Value pretty much says
it all. e Yamaha was good, but the Onkyo was
a little better in Mark’s opinion—and a better
value. And that’s the one that grabbed the Top
Pick.—SCB
From His Cold Dead Fingers
It seems your readers usually start o with a
qualication statement such as, “I have been
a reader for many years”; well, I have. Your
magazine has been an extremely good
investment for me. I’ve learned more about
our art, if I may, through Home eater than I
could possibly obtain from any other source.
I’ve saved hundreds of times the cost of the
magazine in building my modest home theater
and outtting it with the best stu within my
means. You have changed your format from
time to time, you don’t always editorialize to
please all, but who can? Some readers retaliate
with cancellations. I feel little empathy for
them. ey are the ones that keep junk dealers
in business. If you ever receive a cancellation
to my subscription, it’s because I’m dead!
As you might expect, I have a purpose for
writing. In the December 2009 issue, you had
12 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
Yamaha RX-V1065 A/V Receiver
a comparison chart of Blu-ray players. For the
last couple of years, you’ve compared players
under review to the Sony PlayStation 3. It is a
valid Blu-ray player, so why wasn’t it included
in the chart?
Jim
Mooresville, IN
Nice catch, Jim. e mighty PS3 was in our Top
Picks, but not the charts. is was unequivocally
a mistake. e PS3 is not only valid, it’s still
one of the best choices you can make in a BD
player. Our April issue will feature a review of
the most recent “slim” version of the PS3, which
runs quieter and adds bitstream output for Dolby
TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. Manu-
facturers ll out their respective charts, and I’m
guessing that Sony’s home electronics folks didn’t
pencil in the PS3 since it’s a gaming division
product. Snafu! I appreciate your dedication
to HT. If I hear from the sub department that
your subscription has lapsed, we’ll y our ags
at half-mast. You are feeling well, aren’t
you?—SCB
1080p Projectors and 32 Flavors
of Ice Cream
I’ve been enjoying your latest issue of HT. I
noticed that you stated that the JVC DLA-
HD750 D-ILA projector, which received Top
Pick of the Year, has improved since it was
reviewed. Have there been additional changes
since it was reviewed?
Also, I’ve read the reviews of the Marantz
VP-11S2 and VP-15S1 DLP projectors and was
interested in your preferences since you really
like these systems as well. What do you nd to
be the single most important aspect of a great
image—detail, blacks, or something else? (I love
the blacks in my Pioneer KURO at screen, so
I do appreciate that quality.) I realize the two
systems are dierent technologies, but if it came
down to one system, which one would be your
rst choice?
M. Kayser
When I reviewed the JVC DLA-HD750, I noted
that its color management system didn’t oer
quite enough range in adjustment to dial in
saturation, hue, and brightness values for all
six primary and secondary colors to perfection.
It was close, but not quite there. A subsequent
rmware update solved that. You can now dial
in the DLA-HD750’s colors so tightly that the
measured results are below widely accepted
thresholds of visibility. I don’t know of any other
improvements, but to me that was the only area
where I thought the JVC could really be improved
with soware.
I understand your desire in wanting a single
1080p projector champion, but it’s really not that
simple. A number of these projectors are good
enough that even a nitpicky editor like myself
could live with them—blissfully, and without
looking back. Comparing the JVC DLA-HD750
to the Marantz projectors and some other DLP
projectors I’ve seen (Samsung’s SP-A900B and
Planar’s PD8150 come to mind) illustrates this. In
addition to essentially perfect color, the JVC has
more top-end light output than the Marantz
projectors, and yet it has much deeper blacks for
contrast that’s vastly superior to any DLP I’ve
seen. For many people, perhaps KURO owners
most of all, impenetrably deep blacks and the
sequential or on/o contrast that results from
great blacks can be the single most important
aspect of a great image, provided all else is equal.
But all else is seldom equal. e Marantz
projectors’ colors don’t measure as accurate,
but they never look unnatural. And being
single-chip DLPs with excellent lenses, the
Marantz models and some other top performer
DLPs oer a slightly but noticeably sharper image
than the three-chip, LCOS-based DLA-HD750.
With Blu-ray especially, that level of resolution
can be mesmerizing once you see it. While I
wouldn’t begrudge anyone who found that nth
degree of sharpness to be their particular trump
card for image quality, single-chip DLPs also
show color separation or rainbow artifacts. at
bothers some viewers more than others. While
the Samsung and Planar projectors I mentioned
have some of the same advantages in sharpness as
the Marantz projectors, and they also oer color
accuracy that’s right in there with the JVC, they
can’t dethrone the JVC for blacks and contrast
even with their dynamic iris systems engaged.
Even the best dynamic iris system isn’t entirely
free of artifacts.
At that level, it’s really a matter of deciding
what your favorite avor of ice cream is. In the
parlance of our times, it’s all good. Ridiculously
good, in fact. Our job is to accurately report on
the particular combination of strengths and
weaknesses, which arms you with the informa-
tion to nd the blend of avors that works best
for you and your tastes.—SCB
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California TV Efficiency
Specs Lead Nation
BY MARK FLEISCHMANN, AUDIO EDITOR
TOP STORY: CEA FEARS NEW ENERGY LAWS
FRONT PAGE
D
espite strenuous
objections from the
Consumer Electronics
Association (CEA),
California has become
for regulations that would apply
to TVs up to 58 inches. ey
would have to use no more than
183 watts by 2011, which is an
average reduction of 33 percent.
By 2013, the requirement would
drop to 116 watts, which would be
a reduction of 49 percent. e
CEC said the new rules would
save a typical household $18 to
$30 per year.
TVs and other video gear
consume 10 percent of
power in a typical California
household and 2 percent in the
state as a whole. Interestingly,
the state’s power consumption
has been at for the past three
decades—versus a 40-percent
rise in the nation as a whole—
thanks to its requirements for
other household appliances
such as refrigerators, air
conditioners, and washing
machines. Presumably, the
new rules will help the state
maintain that enviable record
despite the relatively recent
popularity of large-screen
at-panel sets.
e merger of Comcast
and NBC Universal
brings together the nation’s larg-
est cable operator, a major TV
network, a heavy-duty motion
picture studio, dozens of cable
channels, and some heavily
tra cked Websites. All of this
has consumer watchdogs bark-
ing. ey predict everything
from exclusive cable or ISP
program deals, to rising cable
rates, to the death of free
streaming video.
Comcast and NBC in Historic Merger
the rst state to adopt sti energy
e ciency requirements for
television sets.
e California Energy
Commission (CEC) voted 5 to 0
Comcast paid $6.5 billion in
cash and $7.25 billion in pro-
gramming for a 51-percent stake.
at le outgoing owner General
Electric as a minority stakeholder,
aer it paid Vivendi $2 billion for
the latter’s 38-percent stake.
How might the merger change
the media landscape? One
possible loser may be ESPN,
which could lose content to
Comcast’s Versus channel.
Viewers who are used to getting
free online content might nd it
e CEA greeted the new rules
with a scowl, calling them
“dangerous for the California
economy, dangerous for
technology innovation, and
dangerous for consumer
freedom.” It predicted that the
rules will result in “higher prices
for consumers, job losses for
Californians, and lost tax revenue
for the state.” CEA also asserted
that the rules were based on an
“outdated and inaccurate” analysis
by a major power utility.
Despite predictions that the
new regulations would kill sales of
plasma sets in California, the rules
don’t specically mention
plasmas. However, many existing
plasma models would not meet
the stricter standards.
One thing both sides agree on
is that other states are likely to
adopt California’s TV energy
requirements, eventually
becoming a de facto national
standard.
e state says that more than
1,000 models already meet the
stiened requirements. Find out
more about the sets that meet the
federal government’s voluntary
TV energy e ciency require-
ments at energystar.gov.
moved behind a paywall or
even restricted to Comcast
ISP subscribers. But so far, all
of this is speculation.
And what about the
Federal Communications
Commission (FCC)?
Incoming chair Julius
Genachowski kept his cool,
saying: “e FCC will
carefully examine the
proposed merger and will
be thorough, fair, and
fact-based in its review.”
14 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
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Loud TV Ads
are being targeted by the
Advanced Television Systems
Committee (ATSC), which has
issued voluntary guidelines
to broadcasters. Meanwhile,
legislation that would regulate
them has passed the U.S. House of
Representatives and is moving on
to the Senate...
Managed Copy
became mandatory on Blu-ray
Discs as of December 4, 2009.
Hardware lags but we expect that
to change this year...
Rental Kiosks Are Being
Fruitful
and multiplying, with Redbox now
counting 22,210 units in operation
according to owner Coinstar.
DVDPlay, recently acquired by NCR,
expects to add 1,300 kiosks...
3-D for Blu-ray
is on the way thanks to a spec
finalized by the Blu-ray Disc
Association. Existing Blu-ray players
will be able to play 3-D discs
in 2-D but you’ll need both 3-D
hardware and 3-D software to get
the full effect...
3-D Fans
would rather get their three-
dimensional video fix from cable
or satellite than from Blu-ray,
according to Quixel Research. In
fact, says a researcher, “They
are willing to pay more for a 3-D
movie channel”...
Blu-ray Players
outsold DVD on Amazon late last
year, accounting for 8 out of the
top 10 players sold, as well
as 5 of 10 movie titles...
Verizon
has agreed to forward copyright
violation warnings from NBC
Universal and other studios, CNET
This Just In ...
Is your Blu-ray player outnumbered by the DVD players in your bedroom, car,
and laptop? Two studios have interesting propositions. Universal is offering
a flipper disc that has high-def BD goodness on one side and standard-def
DVD compatibility on the other. Initial titles include a Matt Damon trifecta: The
Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatum at $30
each. This is a great idea for consumers who want to cover all bases as well as
studios that are looking for a way to boost Blu-ray sales.
Warner is employing a few other approaches. All new titles will be released
as combo packs, including both BDs and DVDs. Older titles will be released as
Blu-ray Double Features, with pairs of movies such as Dirty Harry and Magnum
Force sold together for less than $25. Finally, Warner is offering to swap new
BDs for old DVDs at just $8 per disc. Get your order up to $25, and shipping
is free. The 50 initial titles include Body of Lies, Training Day, and Michael
Clayton. See DVD2Blu.com for details.
reported. “Virtually no users have
contested the accuracy of the
notices,” says NBC Universal...
Fancast Xfinity
is a subscriber-only Internet video
service from Comcast, the nation’s
largest cable operator—and recent
purchaser of NBC Universal. Will it
become a gated online community
for the content colossus?...
Greenpeace
has released version 14 of its
Guide to Greener Electronics. It
ranks manufacturers based on
their policies on toxic chemicals,
recycling, and climate change...
Westinghouse Digital
meets all conceivable energy
efficiency requirements throughout
its TV line. All models are
compliant with California’s new
regulations and with the voluntary
ENERGY STAR 4.0 specifications...
HDTV Ruled
in 53 percent of U.S. homes last
year, up from 35 percent in
2008. And 69 percent got HDTV
service, versus 56 percent the
year before. Let’s celebrate
with a movie or two...
The World’s Thinnest
LCD
has been announced by LG.
The 42-inch prototype is
2.6mm thick and weighs less
than 9 pounds. This should
make wall mounting even
easier than it is now...
Best Buy
is lobbying A/V
manufacturers to adopt
its Rocketboost wireless
multizone technology
in A/V receivers,
TVs, BD players,
and other products.
It’s currently used
in Rocketfish, a
BB store brand...
Lord of the Rings BD
Debut Is Bittersweet
We’ve got some good
news and some bad
news. e good news is that the
Blu-ray version of the Lord of the
Rings trilogy is hitting the streets
on April 6th. e bad news is that
this initial BD release will include
only the theatrical
cuts—so don’t
discard your DVD
special editions just
yet. Amazon user
reviewers responded
with a couple
thousand one-star
reviews, which
dragged the set’s
overall rating down
to one and a half stars (at press
time). Is the studio just biding its
time while it prepares new special
features? e extras on the DVD
set would be hard to beat—but
unlike DVD, BD is an interactive
medium. Amazon is also listing
an “extended
edition,” but no
release date is given,
so it can’t be
pre-ordered let alone
bought. In the
meantime, if you
want to see Peter
Jackson’s master-
piece on Blu-ray, you
can always rent it.
UNIVERSAL AND WARNER
MAKE HIP BLU MOVES
AV NEWS
16 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
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In December of last year, I spent a
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20 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com

consistent image quality regardless of
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Wolf Cinema projectors start at
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WOLF CINEMA DCX-1000i

The sleek lines of Wolf Cinema’s
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The DCX-1000i’s lens can be
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range of 1.4x to 6x screen width.

hometheatermag.com 21
Seeing Spots
BY Scott Wilkinson
WE WELCOME QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in 20 years as a home theater journalist, it’s that people
have questions—lots of questions. This is no big surprise, since using the average home theater is far more complicated than TV watch-
ing used to be, and it’s been getting more and more frustrating ever since VCRs started blinking “12:00.” To address this ongoing need,
I’ll be answering readers’ how-to and technically oriented questions in this column. Questions regarding the magazine’s content will
continue to be addressed in “HT Letters” and should still be sent to HTLetters@sorc.com. But if you have a how-to or technical
home theater question, please send it to me at scott.wilkinson@sorc.com.
others say to run it through the receiver. e
SC-05 AVR simply passes HDMI with no
picture upconversion. If I run directly to the
plasma, I will need to run audio from the
Blu-ray player to the AVR, which will
require extra wires. As it is now, I have a
4-foot Monster Cable M1000 HDMI cable
from the Blu-ray player to the AVR and an
8-foot M1000 cable from the AVR to the
plasma. Is my current method the best
quality?
Xavier Alvarez
You’ve got the HDMI connections exactly
right. I wouldn’t run HDMI directly from the
Blu-ray player to the plasma because that
would prevent you from hearing the new
high-resolution audio formats. Actually, you
could run six or eight analog cables from the
player’s multichannel output to the AVR’s
multichannel input and hear the high-
resolution formats that way, but as you point
out, that would mean more cables and not
necessarily improved performance.
Running HDMI from the Blu-ray player to
the AVR and then from the AVR to the
plasma is the best way to go, as long as the
AVR doesn’t degrade image quality with its
HDMI passthrough (our tests show that the
Pioneer does not). e fact that the AVR
simply passes HDMI signals without
processing is no problem in my book since the
KURO PRO-141FD deinterlaces 1080i very
well.
Black Is Black
My Samsung HL61A750 HDTV has an
HDMI Black Level setting. e two choices
are Normal and Low. Normal tells the TV
to expect an RGB range of 0 to 255, and
Low tells it to expect a range of 16 to 235.
Does this setting have to match the RGB
output range setting of my source? How
does this aect the display of below black,
above white, and color banding in general?
What Black Dots?
I enjoy your segments with Leo Laporte on
e Tech Guy radio show and podcast, but I
really must disagree with your comments on
plasma versus LCD. I agree that plasma
blacks are blacker and that colors are more
vivid. I just can’t stand the matrix of black
dots on plasma screens. I also dislike the
reective screen—the reections are very
distracting.
I live in a bright house with lots of
windows, so plasma is at a disadvan-
tage from the start. But I’d like to hear
your comments on plasma’s black dot
matrix. at alone was the tipping point
for me.
Bill Jackson
I don’t recall saying that plasma colors are
more vivid than LCD—both can be plenty
vivid. As for plasma’s “matrix of black dots,”
I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean. Each
pixel in a plasma screen consists of three tiny
cells—one each for red, green, and blue. ese
cells, sometimes called subpixels, are separated
by thin walls, so I suppose the intersections
of horizontal and vertical walls might look
like black dots. But I’ve never seen anything
like this at a normal viewing distance. Also,
LCDs have the same type of pixel structure
with boundaries between the red, green, and
blue subpixels. If this is what you’re talking
about, you should see it on LCD screens as
well.
Bottom line—if you see something that
bothers you in a plasma TV, get an LCD,
which is better in a bright house anyway.
Pioneer All the Way
I recently purchased a Pioneer Elite A/V
system: a KURO PRO-141FD monitor,
an SC-05 A/V receiver, and a BDP-05FD
Blu-ray player. My question is, what’s the
best HDMI connection scheme? Some say
to run HDMI directly to the plasma, and
Which is the better setting for it to be
calibrated to?
If this control is set to receive 0 to 255, I
can see below black in test patterns and
adjust my brightness accordingly. If it’s set to
16 to 235, I have to crank it back up, as the
black level drops considerably and below
black disappears from the test patterns. I’ve
heard arguments both ways and want to
know what the experts are using.
Al Vucic
I always set a TV to display 0 to 255 so I can
see below black and set brightness precisely.
is is also important so the TV can display
above white, which exists in some content,
even though video content is theoretically
limited to 16 to 235. You should also set the
source to output 0 to 255 so it will send
below-black and above-white information.
I should note that, in some cases, a TV
will stretch the video range of 16 to 235 to
encompass 0 to 255 in one of these settings.
e most important thing is to select the
setting that displays below black and above
white from your source device.
By the way, this setting shouldn’t aect color
banding, which depends on the bit depth with
which color levels are represented.
Please Pass the HDMI
I’m planning to use an Onkyo TX-SR606
A/V receiver in my home theater room. Like
many other AVRs, this one has HDMI
passthrough. My understanding is that I can
hook up all the video sources to the AVR’s
inputs and run a single HDMI cable from
the AVR’s output to the input on the pro-
jector without any loss of video quality.
is seems like a good way to hook up
the components, because it would save the
expense of buying multiple 30-foot HDMI
cables to run across the room. It would
also be simpler for my family to operate the
system because they’d only need to select the
input source on the AVR to change from,
say, the cable box to the Blu-ray player. Do I
understand passthrough correctly?
Alan Hurley
By Jove, I think you’ve got it! However, the
term passthrough isn’t really accurate in this
case. What you’re describing is more correctly
22 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
called HDMI switching. Some A/V receivers
do pass the HDMI signal through the AVR
without processing it in any way, which is the
real denition of passthrough, but others apply
various processing to it.
In any event, connecting all of your sources
to the AVR and connecting one HDMI cable
from the AVR to the projector is exactly how
modern AVRs are designed to work. In fact,
you can connect not only HDMI sources, but
analog sources to the AVR’s inputs, and the
AVR will convert them to HDMI for output to
the display. Be aware that not all receivers will
do this conversion or do it well; some will
degrade the image quality. If the source in
question isn’t critical, that might not be a
problem. But if it is, I would compare a direct
component feed to the set against the com-
ponent source converted to HDMI by the
receiver and choose the option you like best.
One point of caution—30 feet is probably
too long to run a cheap HDMI cable without
a booster of some sort. I use a 10-meter
Ultralink HDMI cable that works ne, but
long, cheap cables can cause sparklies,
dropouts, and other picture problems.
Buzz Buzz
I just purchased a Panasonic VIERA TC-
P50S1 plasma, and I’m extremely pleased
with its performance except for the high-
pitched CRT-like buzz during bright scenes.
I can’t hear it when I watch TV at normal
volume levels, but I can when the volume is
low. Is this a defect? Should I purchase a line
conditioner? Should I even worry about this?
Quentin Lucas
I jumped into the deep end and bought my
rst HDTV, a Pioneer Elite KURO PRO-
151FD. Unfortunately, I’ve come across an
issue that others also seem to have with the
PRO-151FD—panel hum. Some people
report that it diminishes if you sit o center
or more than 2 feet away. e rst time I
turned on the panel, I noticed the sound at
my seating distance of 10 feet at a normal
TV volume. e hum’s frequency changes
when the picture changes; lighter images
seem to generate a higher frequency than
darker ones.
ere are online threads about this issue,
and others have given accounts of Pioneer’s
response: everything from, “Replace the
panel because it shouldn’t be audible sitting
at normal distance,” to, “is is normal for
plasma.”
Have you or your colleagues ever come
across this with the PRO-151FD? Is this a
design issue? An abnormal uke?
Ryan Barclay
I haven’t had this experience with any of the
Pioneer KUROs I’ve reviewed. Tom Norton
says he heard a very so buzz coming from
the PRO-151FD he reviewed, but only from
very close and with no other sound on. At a
normal seating distance and with normal TV
sound, he didn’t hear it. You are correct that
this seems to be a problem for a few people
who write about it online. Still, many more
people write about how great the Pioneer
is and have no complaints, so I have a hard
time believing it’s systemic. Same with the
Panasonic.
Possible factors could be quality-control
issues in some panels, extreme sensitivity in
some people, and using the plasma at high
elevations. My best advice is to exchange the
TV for another sample and see if the problem
persists. If you live at a high elevation (say,
Denver or Santa Fe), the buzz might be un-
avoidable, but it’s nothing to worry about.
Living Legacy
Why is it that most A/V receivers still have
two-channel RCA inputs? Why doesn’t
a company make an AVR that has only
HDMI, maybe with a few component video
and digital audio ins and outs? Why do they
need to include legacy stu?
Bob Aldridge
Because lots of people still have legacy
products, and an AVR is intended to be the
central switching station in a home enter-
tainment system. It’s the same for HDTVs,
which still have composite video and S-video
inputs.
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PROJECTORS BUYER’S GUIDE
A
at-panel HDTV can be great, but when you get down to
it, only a video projector and a big screen can come close
to duplicating the experience of seeing a great movie in a
great theater. e good news is that you can buy a digital projector today
that in every respect (apart from absolute black level) will exceed the
performance, usability, and reliability of all but the very best CRT
projectors of the past. And at a fraction of the size and price.
Projectors
Bringing the theater home. BY Thomas J. Norton
All digital projectors employ a light source
(usually a projection lamp), a lens, and one or
more xed-pixel imaging chips that respond
to the source when driven by appropriate
electronics. ree dierent types of imaging
chips are currently in use: Liquid Crystal
Diode (LCD), Liquid Crystal on Silicon,
(LCOS), and Digital Light Projection (DLP).
Manufacturers usually market LCOS under
more proprietary names, such as JVC’s D-ILA
or Sony’s SXRD.
Most DLP projectors in the home and
business markets employ a single DLP chip
(also known as a DMD, for Digital Micromir-
ror Device). is is used in conjunction with a
• Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 9500 UB LCD Projector
• JVC DLA-HD750 D-ILA Projector • Sony VPL-HW15 SXRD Projector
24 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
PROJECTORS BUYER’S GUIDE
hometheatermag.com 25
most obvious when you move your eyes, even
a little, on a dark scene with a few bright high-
lights such as street lamps. Not all viewers are
sensitive to this artifact, and DLP projectors
have now been improved to minimize it. But
none, for us, have completely squelched it.
You’ll also want to make sure that this won’t
bother other family members who will likely
be frequent viewers.
Look closely for white-eld uniformity,
which can be a problem on LCD and LCOS
displays but not with DLP. To check for it,
watch scenes from a black-and-white lm and
look for patchy, subtle hints of color (like
magenta) on various parts of the screen. Also
check a white-on-black crosshatch pattern to
see how well the three primary colors overlap
to form a uniformly white-on-black grid, par-
ticularly in the center. Errors here can result
from misaligned color panels (on multi-chip
models), lens imperfections (called chromatic
aberration, and likely to some extent on any
projector), or both. Few projectors will align
the three colors perfectly across the entire
screen, but more than a pixel-width of error, if
non-correctable, should be a red ag. (A few
projectors provide controls that can improve
color convergence.)
Projection lamps will begin to dim with
age long before they reach their rated useful
life (generally around 2,000 hours). Replace-
ment lamps average around $300, with a few
notable exceptions that cost more. Check the
lamp replacement cost before you purchase
the projector.
PROJECTORS Entry Level
Why We Like It:
The Epson’s performance is truly remarkable
for the price. It’s not as bright as JVC’s more
expensive projectors, but it isn’t a night-and-
day difference. No projector we’ve yet tested
exceeds the Epson’s color quality and accuracy.
Reviewed August 2009
Replaced with PowerLite Pro Cinema 8500 UB LCD Projector, $2,499
Specs/Features:
1920 by 1080 resolution »
HDMI 1.3 inputs (2) »
Component video input (1) »
Manual horizontal/vertical lens shift »
Dynamic iris »

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema
6500 UB LCD Projector, $2,999
Why We Like It:
The Sanyo produced a very impressive picture.
Two years ago, you wouldn’t get this sort of
performance for even twice the price. If you
have the space, you might consider this as an
alternative to a one-piece, flat-panel HDTV for
your home theater.
Reviewed June 2009
Specs/Features:
1920 by 1080 resolution »
HDMI 1.3 inputs (2) »
Component video inputs (2) »
Horizontal/vertical lens shift »
Dynamic iris »

Sanyo PLV-Z3000 LCD
Projector, $2,795
synchronized color wheel, which includes red,
green, blue, and sometimes other segments to
produce a full range of colors. LCOS and LCD
designs dispense with the moving color wheel
and instead use three imaging chips, one for
each primary color (red, green, and blue).
At the current state of the art, none of these
dierent technologies has a lock on the best
video performance. e quality depends
on other aspects of their design and oen
the price. We’ve seen and reviewed superb
examples of each. You should focus your
search on designs made for home theater use,
such as those shown in our charts. Business
projectors can be less expensive, but they’re
usually optimized for showing spreadsheets,
not movies.
You should expect to pay between $2,000
and $8,000 for a digital projector, although you
can spend less—or a lot more. Even at the low
end of this range, you’ll nd full 1920-by-1080
models. ere’s no longer any reason to settle
for a 720p projector, except in the most
budget-conscious designs.
You’ll also need a good screen, which can
cost $1,000 (for a xed, non-retractable
model) or more, depending on its size and
features. How big should your screen be? It
depends. e quality of the projector’s optics
and its peak brightness level become increas-
ingly important as screen size increases. A
good $3,000 projector of average light output
can produce a striking picture on a 7-foot-
wide (not diagonal), 1.3-gain screen. If you
substitute a 10-foot-wide, 1.0-gain screen
with the same projector, you’ll be a lot less
impressed. All else being equal, the image
becomes dimmer as the screen size increases
and/or the gain decreases. For most home
applications, we recommend a white 16:9
screen between 7 and 9 feet wide, with a gain
of no more than 1.3.
Do you need a completely darkened
environment to get the best from a video
projector? Generally, yes. ere are new types
of screens that claim to improve projection in
a room without full light control, and they do
work up to a point. But if you want the best
image quality your projector can produce,
nothing equals a good, conventional screen in
a fully darkened room. When was the last time
you went to a movie in a theater where they
le the house lights on throughout the show?
Even when you can nd one, an in-store
projector demo can range from (sometimes)
awesome to (more oen) dismal. It will likely
tell you less about the projector’s true quality
than a good review. But if the demo is con-
ducted in a dedicated, light-controlled room,
it could give you a feel for the projector’s color
quality, contrast, black level, and resolution.
Bring along some of your own discs, partic-
ularly material with very dark scenes, such
as the rst few minutes of Master and Com-
mander: e Far Side of the World or the
night scenes in e Dark Knight. Watch both
high-denition and standard-denition
material. Ask about the size and gain of the
demo screen, which hopefully will be similar
to what you plan on using, and whether or
not the projector has been calibrated. If the
salesperson doesn’t know these details, nd
out or go somewhere else. Ditto if you call up
the picture menu and it’s set to Vivid or
Dynamic.
With a single-chip DLP projector, you
should check for rainbows, which is an artifact
of the multi-segment color wheel. is eect,
sometimes called color fringing, looks just like
it sounds: It’s a eeting ash of red, green, and
sometimes blue in some program material. It’s
Even when you can
find one, an in-store
projector demo can
range from (some-
times) awesome to
(more often) dismal.
It will likely tell you
less about the projec-
tor’s true quality than
a good review.
PROJECTORS BUYER’S GUIDE
PROJECTORS Midrange
Why We Like It:
The VPL-HW15
offers a useful lineup
of features and a picture
that we didn’t expect at
this price. It has exceptional
color, impressive (barely
short of state-of-the-art)
blacks, and vivid, almost 3-D
images on the best program
material. The Sony kept us
glued to our seats when it
was 1:00 a.m. and long past
time to shut things down
and go to bed. We’re sure it
will do the same to you.
Reviewed March 2010
Specs/Features:
1920 by 1080 resolution »
HDMI 1.3 inputs (2) »
Component video input (1) »
Manual horizontal/vertical »
lens shift
Dynamic iris »
Why We Like It:
Mitsubishi really
impressed us with the
HC7000. Its design delivered a
razor-sharp image with excep-
tional video processing capabili-
ties. The ultra-quiet design and
great features make it one to
add to your short list in this price
range.
Reviewed March 2009
Specs/Features:
1920 by 1080 resolution »
HDMI 1.3 inputs (2) »
Component video input (1) »
Powered horizontal/vertical »
lens shift
Dynamic iris »
Why We Like It:
This is an amazing
value and a tweaker’s
delight. The image didn’t
quite topple the Mitsubishi
HC7000, but it held its own. If
you’re looking for cutting-
edge features and solid video
performance, you should give
this one a spin.
Reviewed March 2009
Replaced with PT-AE4000U, $2,499
Specs/Features:
1920 by 1080 resolution »
HDMI 1.3 inputs (3) »
Component video inputs »
(2)
Horizontal/vertical lens »
shift
Dynamic iris »
Why We Like It:
It’s hard to
imagine anyone
being disappointed with
this projector. It handles
everything beautifully,
whether the material is dark
and foreboding or mostly
bright. With excellent video
processing, superior adjust-
ability, and blacks to die for,
the Epson is definitely a Top
Pick.
Reviewed March 2010
Specs/Features:
1920 by 1080 resolution »
HDMI 1.3a inputs (2) »
Component video input (1) »
Manual horizontal/vertical »
lens shift
Dynamic iris »
Why We Like It:
Out of the gate, the
JVC was priced at $5,500,
but at its current price of
$4,500, it’s a knockout. Things
are getting very interesting
in the projector market, and JVC
is in the thick of it. Highly
recommended.
Reviewed June 2009
Specs/Features:
1920 by 1080 resolution »
HDMI 1.3 inputs (2) »
Component video input (1) »
Vertical lens shift »
Panasonic PT-AE30000U LCD
Projector, $3,499

Mitsubishi HC7000 LCD
Projector, $3,495

Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema
9500 UB LCD Projector, $3,699

JVC DLA-HD350 D-ILA
Projector, $4,500

PROJECTORS High End
Why We Like It:
The JVC DLA-HD750
is equipped like a
flagship ought to be. You’ll
be digging through your catalog
of new and old favorites to
watch on this rig, enjoying mov-
ies more for being able to watch
them on the DLA-HD750.
Reviewed April 2009
Replaced with DLA-HD950, $8,000
Specs/Features:
1920 by 1080 resolution »
HDMI 1.3 inputs (2) »
Component video input (1) »
Horizontal/vertical lens shift »
Why We Like It:
The PD8150 has
one of the best contrast
ratios of any DLP and image
accuracy that you rarely see
in the front-projector market.
This is also one of the only DLP
projectors that offers both high
light output and dark blacks for
high contrast.
Reviewed July 2008
Specs/Features:
1920 by 1080 resolution »
HDMI inputs (2) »
Component video inputs (2) »
Manual horizontal/vertical »
lens shift
» Dynamic Iris
Why We Like It:
Sony has continued
to refine its SXRD pro-
jectors while chipping away at the
price. The result is a great projec-
tor that, while not inexpensive,
should be on your shopping list
even if you’re willing and able
to pay much more.
Reviewed November 2009
Specs/Features:
1920 by 1080 resolution »
HDMI 1.3 inputs (2) »
Component video input (1) »
Horizontal/vertical lens shift »
Dynamic iris »
Why We Like It:
Although this Marantz
is less than half the price
of its big brother—the VP-11S2—
it’s still $1,000 or more above
its competition. The VP-15S1
deserves a strong look from
anyone in the market for a
superior projector.
Shane Buettner reviewed this
model for UltimateAVmag.com
Specs/Features:
1920 by 1080 resolution »
HDMI inputs (2) »
Component video inputs (2) »
Vertical lens shift »
Sony BRAVIA VPL-VW85 SXRD
Projector, $8,000

JVC DLA-HD750 D-ILA
Projector, $7,500

Planar PD8150 DLP
Projector, $8,000

Marantz VP-15S1 DLP
Projector, $9,000

26 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
Sony VPL-HW15 SXRD
Projector, $3,000

©2010 Schneider Electric, All Rights Reserved. Schneider Electric, APC, and APC AV are owned by Schneider Electric, or its affiliated companies in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.
e-mail: esupport@apc.com • 132 Fairgrounds Road, West Kingston, RI 02892 USA AV2B7EA4_EN
Enter to WIN an H15 Power Conditioner - valued at $449 ERP.
Call 888-289-APCC x8285 Visit www.apc.com/promo Enter Key Code p564w
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You’ve spent thousands of dollars on equipment
and countless hours on research and installation…
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Unfortunately, the demands on our antiquated power grid increase
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and regulating the voltage. Some advanced models even offer
battery backup power to reduce interruptions when the power
goes out. The new S20 provides multiple options for managing
the unit and monitoring environmental conditions, which can
reduce service calls and improve the performance of your system.
The S20 is also easily integrated and managed with Crestron,
AMX, and any other whole-home automation network or vendor.
Designed to maximize your home theater experience, APC AV
Power Solutions boast the engineering expertise to guarantee
protection of your investment against the dangers of unstable
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More than 30 million customers already trust us to protect their
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APC AV Power Solutions for every level of protection
AV Power Conditioners
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Premium surge protection,
isolated noise filtering, and
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AV Power Conditioners
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Premium surge protection, isolated
noise filtering, automatic voltage
regulation, and battery backup for
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AV Power Filters
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with or without
a coax splitter)
Premium surge protection
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UUUUUUUUUNNNNNNLLLLIIMMIIIITTTTTEEEEEEDDDDDDDDD
Anthem LTX 300 D-ILA 1920x1080 2/1.3a 1 1 1 • • Both
LTX 500 D-ILA 1920x1080 2/1.3a 1 1 1 1 • • • Both
Avielo helios DLP 1920x1080 1/1.3 1 1 1 2 • • • • Both
optix DLP 1920x1080 1/1.3 1 1 1 2 • • • Both
radiance DLP 1920x1080 1/1.3 1 1 1 2 • • •
quantum DLP 1920x1080 1/1.3 1 1 1 2 • • • V
kroma DLP 1920x1080 1/1.3 1 1 1 2 • • • Both
prisma DLP 1280x720 1/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • V
spectra DLP 1920x1080 1/1.3 1 1 1 2 • • •
BenQ SP830 DLP 1280x768 1 1 1 1
SP831 DLP 1280x768 1 1 1 1
W20000 DLP 1920x1080 2/1.2 1 1 1 1 • V
W500 LCD 1280x720 1/1.2 1 1 1 1 Both
W5000 DLP 1920x1080 2/1.2 1 1 1 1 • V
W6000 DLP 1920x1080 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • Both
W1000 DLP 1920x1080 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 •
W600 DLP 1280x720 2/1.3 1 1 1 1
Digital Projection International dVision 30-1080p XB DLP 1080p 1/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • Both
dVision 30-1080p XC DLP 1080p 1/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • Both
dVision 30-1080p XL DLP 1080p 1/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • Both
dVision 30-WUXGA XC DLP 1200p 1/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • Both
iVision 20HDL-XC DLP 720 1 1 1 1 1 • • • V
iVision 20HDW-XC DLP 720 1 1 1 1 1 • • • V
iVision 20HD-XC DLP 720 1 1 1 1 1 • • • V
iVision 30-1080p XB DLP 1080p 1 2 1 1 1 • • • V
iVision 30-1080p-C DLP 1080p 1 2 1 1 1 • • • V
iVision 30-1080p-W-C DLP 1080p 1 2 1 1 1 • • • V
iVision 30-1080p-W-XB DLP 1080p 1 2 1 1 1 • • • V
iVision 30-1080p-W-XL DLP 1080p 1 2 1 1 1 • • • V
iVision 30-1080p-XL DLP 1080p 1 2 1 1 1 • • • V
LIGHTNING 40-1080p 3D DLP 1080 2 2 2 2 1 • • • • Both
LIGHTNING Reference 1080p-30 DLP 1080 1 1 1 1 1 • • • Both
LIGHTNING Reference 1080p-40 DLP 1080 1 1 1 1 1 • • • Both
TITAN 1080p-3D DLP 1080 2 2 2 2 1 • • • • Both
TITAN 1080p-250 DLP 1080 1 1 1 1 1 • • • Both
TITAN 1080p-500 DLP 1080 1 1 1 1 1 • • • Both
TITAN 1080p-700 DLP 1080 1 1 1 1 1 • • • Both
TITAN HD-250 DLP 720 1 1 1 1 1 • • • Both
TITAN HD-500 DLP 720 1 1 1 1 1 • • • Both
TITAN HD-600 DLP 720 1 1 1 1 1 • • • Both
TITAN Reference 1080p DLP 1080 1 1 1 1 1 • • • Both
M-Vision 1080p-260 with 1.56-1.86 lens DLP 1080 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • Both
M-Vision 1080p-260 with 1.85-2.40 lens DLP 1080 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • Both
M-Vision 1080p-260 with .73 lens DLP 1080 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • Both
Epson MovieMate 55 LCD 854x480 1 1 1 Both
MovieMate 72 LCD 1280x720 1/1.2a 1 1 1 1 Both
Home Cinema 700 LCD 1280x800 1/1.3 1 1 1 1
Home Cinema 6100 LCD 1920x1080 2/1.3a 1 1 1 1 • • • Both
Home Cinema 8500 UB LCD 1920x1080 2/1.3a 1 1 1 1 • • • • • • Both
Pro Cinema 7100 LCD 1920x1080 2/1.3a 1 1 1 1 • • • • Both
Pro Cinema 9500 UB LCD 1920x1080 2/1.3a 1 1 1 1 • • • • • • • Both
JVC DLA-HD350 D-ILA 1920x1080 2/1.3 1 1 1 • • • Both
DLA-HD750 D-ILA 1920x1080 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • • Both
DLA-HD990 D-ILA 1920x1080 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • • • • Both
DLA-HD950 D-ILA 1920x1080 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • • • • Both
DLA-HD550 D-ILA 1920x1080 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • • Both
DLA-RS15 D-ILA 1920x1080 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • • Both
DLA-RS25 D-ILA 1920x1080 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • • • • Both
DLA-RS35 D-ILA 1920x1080 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • • • • Both
Marantz VP-11S2 DLP 1920x1080 2/1.3b 2 1 1 1 • • V
VP-15S1 DLP 1920x1080 2/1.3b 2 1 1 1 • • V
KEY: L = Learning; S = Standard; U = Universal; V = Vertical
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Projectors
28 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
hometheatermag.com 29
KEY: L = Learning; S = Standard; U = Universal; V = Vertical
• 2,000 30,000:1 • • S 14.4x6.6x18.8 24 $5,299 Gamma correction
• 2,000 50,000:1 • • S 14.4x6.6x18.8 24 $7,999 Color mgmt sys, gamma correction
• 6,500 ANSI >10,000:1 2.5k • • S 19.7x9.8x23.6 57.3 $65,000 Three chip/selectable colorspace
• 2,500 ANSI >7,500:1 2.5k • • S 20.7x8.7x14.8 27.7 $25,995
• 1,700 ANSI >5,000:1 2.5k • • S 11.8x4.1x10.5 7.7 $13,995
• 900 ANSI >5,000:1 3k • • S 10.9x3.7x9.2 7.5 $9,995
• 600 ANSI >7,500:1 50k • • S 20.7x8.7x14.8 27.7 $32,500 ReaLED light source
• 1,000 ANSI >4,000:1 3k • • S 10.9x3.7x9.2 6.6 $7,495
• 1,000 ANSI >5,000:1 3k • • S 10.9x3.7x9.2 7.5 $10,995
• 3,500 ANSI 2,000:1 4k • S 14.7x4.6x11.1 10 $2,399 HQV, split screen
• 4,000 ANSI 2,000:1 4k • S 14.7x4.6x11.1 10 $2,999 HQV, split screen
• 1,200 ANSI 20,000:1 3k • • S 16.5x7.1x16.5 21 $7,999 HQV and Senseye
• 1,100 ANSI 5,000:1 3k • S 13.7x4.7x10.9 8.6 $999 HQV
• 1,200 ANSI 10,000:1 3k • • S 16.5x7.1x16.5 21 $4,499 HQV and Senseye
• 2,500 ANSI 50,000:1 3k • • S 16.8x6.1x13.6 15 $3,499
• 1,800 ANSI 2,700:1 4k • S 13.8x3.7x10 8 $1,299
• 2,000 ANSI 3,000:1 4k • S 12x3.7x8.5 6 $999
• 5,100 lumens 7,500:1 1.7k • • S 14.8x20x8.8 27.8 $29,995
• 4,100 lumens 7,500:1 1.7k • • S 14.8x20x8.8 27.8 $28,995
• 6,000 lumens 7,500:1 1.7k • • S 14.8x20x8.8 27.8 $29,995
• 4,300 lumens 7,500:1 1.7k • • S 14.8x20x8.8 27.8 $32,995
• 1,400 lumens 4,000:1 2k • • S 9.2x10.9x3.7 6 $14,495
• 1,400 lumens 4,000:1 2k • • S 9.2x10.9x3.7 6 $14,495
• 1,400 lumens 4,000:1 2k • • S 9.2x10.9x3.7 6 $7,995
• 2,800 lumens 2,500:1 1.7k • • S 10.9x10.9x4.4 7.5 $15,495
• 1,200 lumens 5,000:1 1.7k • • S 10.9x10.9x4.4 7.5 $11,995
• 1,200 lumens 5,000:1 1.7k • • S 10.9x10.9x4.4 7.5 $17,495
• 2,800 lumens 2,500:1 1.7k • • S 10.9x10.9x4.4 7.5 $20,495
• 3,400 lumens 2,500:1 1.7k • • S 10.9x10.9x4.4 7.5 $20,495
• 3,500 lumens 2,500:1 1.7k • • S 10.9x10.9x4.4 7.5 $15,495
• • S $144,995
• 6k-10k lumens 5,000:1 750 • S 40.5x28.5x19.5 249 $119,995
• 8k-14k lumens 5,000:1 500 • S 40.5x28.5x19.5 249 $129,995
• 4,500 lumens 2,000:1 2k • S 25.4x21.4x10 68 $84,995
• 2,000 lumens 5,000:1 • S $45,995
• 6,000 lumens 2,000:1 3k • S 22.1x20.7x10 59.5 $52,995
• 1,000 lumens 2,000:1 4k • S 25.4x21.4x10 59.5 $67,995
• 1,600 lumens 4,500:1 1.5k • S 22.1x20.7x10 53 $22,995
• 4,500 lumens 1,800:1 4k • S 22.1x20.7x10 60 $27,995
• 8,000 lumens 1,800:1 4k • S 26x21.5x10 60 $37,995
• 4k-6k lumens 5,000:1 4k • S 26x21.5x10 68 $69,995
• 3,500 lumens 2,000:1 2k • S 17x7.2 20 $8,995
• 3,500 lumens 2,000:1 2k • S 17x7.2 20 $8,495
• 3,500 lumens 2,000:1 2k • S 17x7.2 20 $8,995
1,200 lumens 300:1 3k S 12.6x5x9.1 8.3 $700 Built in DVD player
1,200 lumens 1,200:1 3k S 12.9x6.9x10.2 15.2 $1,100 Built in DVD player
2,000 lumens 2,000:1 4k S 12.9x3.6x9.6 6.2 $800 Built in speaker
1,800 lumens 18,000:1 4k • • S 17.7x5.4x14.2 16.1 $2,000
1,600 lumens 200,000:1 4k • • S 17.7x5.4x15.5 16.5 $2,499 HQV Reon-VX
1,800 lumens 18,000:1 4k • • S 17.7x5.7x15.4 16.1 $2,999
• 1,600 lumens 200,000:1 4k • • S 17.7x5.4x14.2 16.5 $3,699 HQV Reon-VX
• 1,000 lumens 30,000:1 2k • S 14x7x19 24 $4,500 HQV Reon-VX
• 900 lumens 50,000:1 2k • • S 14x7x19 24 $7,500 HQV Reon-VX
70,000:1 2k • S 14x7x19 24 $10,000 HQV Reon-VX
50,000:1 2k • S 14x7x19 24 $8,000 HQV Reon-VX
30,000:1 2k • S 14x7x19 24 $5,000 HQV Reon-VX
32,000:1 2k • S 14x7x19 24 $5,500 HQV Reon-VX
50,000:1 2k • S 14x7x19 24 $8,000 HQV Reon-VX
70,000:1 2k • S 14x7x19 24 $10,000 HQV Reon-VX
• 850 ANSI lumens 15,000:1 2k • • S 15.9x6.2x19.3 28.6 $14,999 VP-11S2L (long throw): $17,999
• 1,000 ANSI lumens 10,000:1 2k • • S 15.9x6.2x19.3 28.6 $8,999 VP-15S1L (long throw): $11,999
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KEY: L = Learning; S = Standard; U = Universal; V = Vertical
Meridian 810 Ref Video D-ILA 4096x2400 1 • • • Both
MF-10 D-ILA 1920x1080 2/1.3 1 2 1 2 • • • Both
Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America HC3800 DLP 1920x1080 1/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • •
HC6800 LCD 1920x1080 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • • • Both
HC7000 LCD 1920x1080 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • • • Both
Runco LightStyle Series LS-3 DLP 1920x1080 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • • • Both
LightStyle Series LS-5 DLP 1920x1080 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • • • Both
LightStyle Series LS-7 DLP 1280x720 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • • • Both
QuantumColor Series Q-750i DLP 1920x1080 2/1.3 2 1 1 1 • • • Both
Reflection Series RS-440/440LT DLP 720 2/1.3 1 1 1 • • • Both
Reflection Series RS-900 DLP 1080 2/1.3 1 1 1 • • • • Both
Reflection Series RS-1100/1100 Utlra DLP 1080 2/1.3 2 1 1 • • • • Both
Video Xtreme VX-6000D DLP 1080 2/1.3 1 2 1 1 • • • • • • Both
Video Xtreme VX-8d DLP 720 2/1.3 1 2 1 1 • • • • • • Both
Video Xtreme VX-22i DLP 1080 2/1.3 1 1 1 • • • • • • Both
Video Xtreme VX-22D DLP 1080 2/1.3 1 2 1 1 • • • • • • Both
Video Xtreme VX-44D DLP 1080 2/1.3 1 2 1 1 • • • • • • Both
Video Xtreme VX-55D DLP 1080 2/1.3 1 2 1 1 • • • • • • Both
Signature Series SC-1 DLP 1080 2/1.3 1 2 1 1 • • • • • Both
Sanyo PDG-DWT50L DLP 1280x768 2 1 1 1 • • Both
PLC-WXU30 LCD 1280x800 1 1 1 2 • •
PLV-80L LCD 1366x768 2 1 1 2 • • V
PLV-WF20 LCD 1366x800 1 1 1 1 • • Both
PLV-Z3000 LCD 1920x1080 2/1.3b 2 1 1 1 • • • • Both
PLV-Z60 LCD 1280x720 2 2 1 1 1 • • Both
PLV-Z700 LCD 1920x1080 2/1.3b 2 1 1 1 • • • Both
PLV-HD2000 LCD 2048x1080 1 • • • Both
PDG-DHT100L DLP 1920x1080 1/1.3b 1 1 1 • • • Both
PLC-WTC500L LCD 1280x800 1 2 1 2 1 • • Both
PLC-WXU700 LCD 1280x800 1 1 1 1 1 • •
PLC-WXE45 LCD 1280x800 1 1 1 1 • •
PLC-WXU300 LCD 1280x800 1 1 1 1 2 • •
Sharp Electronics XV-Z15000 DLP 1080p 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • •
SIM2 C3X 1080 DLP 1920x1080 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • • V
C3X LUMIS HOST DLP 1920x1080 6/1.3 4 2 2 2 • • • • • V
C3X-E DLP 1280x720 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • • V
Domino D60 DLP 1920x1080 2/1.1 2 1 1 1 • • • V
Domino D80E DLP 1920x1080 1/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • • V
HT3000 HOST DLP 1920x1080 6/1.3 4 2 2 2 • • • • V
HT3000E DLP 1920x1080 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • • V
HT380 DLP 1920x1080 1/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • • V
HT5000E DLP 1920x1080 6/1.3 2 2 2 1 • • • • Both
PRO C3 DLP 1280x720 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • • V
Sony BRAVIA VPL-HW15 SXRD 1920x1080 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • • Both
BRAVIA VPL-VW85 SXRD 1920x1080 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • • •
BRAVIA VPL-VW200 SXRD 1920x1080 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • • • Both
Vivitek H1080 DLP 1080p 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • •
H1082 DLP 1080p 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • •
H1085 DLP 1080p 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • •
H5080 DLP 1080p 3/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • • Both
H5082 DLP 1080p 3/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • • • Both
H5085 DLP 1080p 3/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • • • Both
H9080FD DLP 1080p 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • • Both
Wolf Cinema DCX-500i DLP 1920x1080 6/1.3 2 1 1 1 • • • Both
DCX-500FD DLP 1920x1080 6/1.3 2 1 1 1 • • • Both
DCX-1000i DLP 1920x1080 6/1.3 2 1 1 1 • • • Both
DCX-1000FD DLP 1920x1080 6/1.3 2 1 1 1 • • • Both
DCX-1500i DLP 1920x1080 6/1.3 2 1 1 1 • • • Both
DCX-1500FD DLP 1920x1080 6/1.3 2 1 1 1 • • • Both
Projectors
30 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
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hometheatermag.com 31
KEY: L = Learning; S = Standard; U = Universal; V = Vertical
• 3,500 ANSI lumens 10,000:1 1.5k • • L 31.6x12.5x26.1 135 $185,000 Includes scaler, lens, 2.35 lens
• 600 ANSI lumens 30,000:1 2k • • S 17.9x6.8x16.5 25.6 $14,995
• 1,200 3,300:1 5k • U 13x5x10 7.9 $1,495
• 1,500 30,000:1 4k • • U 17x17x6 16.5 $2,295 Diamond series
• 1,000 72,000:1 5k • • U 17x17x6 16.5 $3,495 Diamond series
• 1,000 ANSI 10,000:1 4k • • S 17.9x7.8x20.8 24.3 $4,995 Starting price, CineWide
• 1,000 ANSI 15,000:1 4k • • S 17.9x7.8x20.8 24.3 $6,995 Starting price, CineWide
• 2,000 ANSI 10,000:1 2.5k • • S 20.4x8.9x25.3 41 $15,495 Starting price, CineWide
• 700 ANSI lumens 10,000:1 NA • • S 20.8x9.1x22.5 49.4 $14,995 LED, starting price, CineWide A/S
457 ANSI 2,800:1 2k • • S 14x6x16 37 $4,995 Starting price, CineWide AutoScope
13.9-19.8 ft-L 3,000:1 2.5k • • S 20x9x18 34 $8,995 Starting price, CineWide AutoScope
14.5-21.6 ft-L 1,500-3,100:1 2k • • S 20x9x18 34 $11,995 Starting price, CineWide AutoScope
17.3-29.8 ft-L 4,450-5,000:1 2k • • S 21x9x28 73 $34,995 Starting price, CineWide AutoScope
110 ft-L 10,000:1 2.5k • • S 21x8x25 55 $19,995 Starting price, seven lenses, CineWide
58.7 ft-L 4,000:1 2k • • S 21x10x29 99 $34,995 Starting price, CineWide AutoScope
58.7 ft-L 4,000:1 2k • • S 21x10x29 99 $44,995 Starting price, DHD3, CineWide
87 ft-L 1,500-2,000:1 1.5k • • S 29x12x28 120 $79,995 Starting price, DHD3, CineWide
107 ft-L 1,500-2,000:1 1k • • S 29x12x28 130 $99,995 Starting price, DHD3, CineWide
6,887 ANSI 1,500-2,800:1 1k • • S 26x17x57 342 $299,995 Starting price, DHD3, CineWide A/S
4,500 ANSI lumens 2,100:1 • • S 19.9x8x15.2 36.3 $6,995 DVI-D, dual lamp, lens options
3,700 ANSI lumens 500:1 S 13.1x3.1x10.1 7.9 $2,995 DVI-I
3,000 ANSI lumens 1,000:1 S 12.6x6.6x16.9 19.2 $9,995 DVI-D, lens options
6,000 ANSI lumens 2,000:1 • S 20.9x10.5x29.8 60.8 $14,995 DVI-D, dual lamp, lens options
1,200 ANSI lumens 65,000:1 • S 15.7x5.7x13.6 16 $2,795
1,200 ANSI lumens 10,000:1 • S 15x5x12 11 $1,295 Optical lens shift
1,200 ANSI lumens 10,000:1 • S 15.7x5.7x13.6 16.5 $1,995
7,000 ANSI lumens 1,000:1 • S 22.9x9.9x30.8 82 $64,995 SDI input x2, DVI-I, four lamp
6,500 ANSI lumens 7,500:1 • S 15.7x8.5x20.6 43.6 $21,995 DVI input x2, DVI-D
5,000 ANSI lumens 3,000:1 6k • S 17,8x6.9x21.7 32.4 $6,995 Dual lamp, auto lamp selection
3,800 ANSI lumens 500:1 • S 13.2x3.1x10.1 7.9 $2,995 P in P and P by P
2,000 ANSI lumens 500:1 • S 12.6x5.7x11.8 7.5 $1,795 Short focal length, RJ45
2,500 ANSI lumens 500:1 • S 12.8x3.3x9.1 6.2 $1,495 1.6x zoom, RJ45
• 1,600 30,000:1 3k • S 15.75 x 3.9 x 13.2 12.8 $2,499
• 2,100 ANSI 10,000:1 2k • • S 17.2x7.5x16.9 24.3 $32,495 Other lenses available
• 3,500 ANSI 35,000:1 1.5k • • S 17.1x7.5x16.9 24.3 $39,995 Other lenses available
• 2,500 ANSI 6,800:1 2k • • S 17.2x7.5x16.9 24.3 $19,995 Other lenses available
900 ANSI 10,000:1 2k • • S 19.4x7.1x16.5 21.2 $4,999
• 1,000 ANSI 4,500:1 2k • • S 13.9x6.85x12.5 12.8 $9,499 Live color management
• 1,200 ANSI 6,500:1 2k • • S 17.2x7.5x16.9 24.2 $21,495 Other lenses available
• 1,200 ANSI 6,500:1 1.5k • • S 17.2x7.5x16.9 25 $17,495 Other lenses available
• 1,000 ANSI 5,000:1 2k • • S 13.8x6.8x12.5 12.8 $11,995 Other lenses available
• 5,500 ANSI 8,000:1 2k • • S 22.4x10.24x28.7 99.2 $68,000 Six optional lenses available
• 4,000 ANSI 2,800:1 2k • • S 17.2x7.5x16.9 24.3 $19,995 Other lenses available
$3,500
$8,000
U 19.5x6.9x22.6 44.1 $15,000 Xenon lamp, Motionflow 120 Hz
1,600 lumens 4,000:1 4k • • S 11x8x3.5 5.7 $999
1,800 lumens 4,000:1 4k • • S 11x8x3.5 5.7 $1,299
2,000 lumens 5,000:1 4k • • S 11x8x3.5 5.7 $1,499
1,200 lumens 25,000:1 4k • • S 18x13x6 27 $3,599
1,200 lumens 30,000:1 4k • • S 18x13x6 27 $3,999
1,500 lumens 35,000:1 4k • • S 18x13x6 27 $4,999
800 lumens 100,000:1 20k • • S 20x21.6x8.8 36 $14,999 LED-based technology
• 2,500 2.5k-50k:1 4k • S 29x12x22 $65,000 500W Xenon Integrater version
• 2,500 2.5k-50k:1 4k • S 30x13x42 $72,000 500W Xenon Cosmetic version
• 5,500 2.5k-50k:1 4k • S 29x12x22 $85,000 1000W Xenon Integrater version
• 5,500 2.5k-50k:1 4k • S 30x13x42 $92,000 1000W Xenon Cosmetic version
• 7,250 2.5k-50k:1 4k • S 29x12x22 $110,000 1500W Xenon Integrater version
• 7,250 2.5k-50k:1 4k • S 30x13x42 $117,000 1500W Xenon Cosmetic version
Set and Match
Choosing the Right Projector and the Right Screen BY Thomas J. Norton
The Room and Screen
e size of the screen, both its
width and height, will be limited
by the dimensions of the wall you
plan to install it on. at location
should also allow enough space
on either side of the screen to
keep the speakers close to the
screen and at least a couple of feet
away from the corners of the
room. e room should be deep
enough to let you sit a reasonable
distance from the screen and at
least a few feet from the back wall.
Just how far from the screen
should you sit? Recommenda-
tions for the optimum viewing
angles for a home theater range
from about 30 to 40 degrees. e
viewing angle is the angle the
screen subtends in the viewer’s
front vision from the far le of the
screen to the far right. At larger
angles, the image will be more
awesome and immersive but also
dimmer (all else being equal). It
will also be more likely to reveal
picture aws and artifacts—a
particular problem with standard-
denition sources. e formula
below will help you calculate the
seating distance relative to screen
width for three dierent angles
of view:
Stewart Filmscreen Director’s Choice Screen
32 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
I
vividly recall those freeway signs that once
littered the sides of the clogged Los Angeles
freeways. “If You Lived in Nutty Oaks, You
Could Be Home by Now,” they trumpeted.
is could apply to your home theater as well. With
a big screen in the house, you’re always just a door-
way removed from the theatrical experience. And
with rare exceptions, getting that experience means
getting a video projector and screen.
But where do you start? A custom installer is usually
involved in such setups. But a reasonably well-informed
enthusiast can get just as great of a picture (and sound),
even if it’s accompanied by the humble trappings of a
family room rather than a miniature movie palace.
ANGLE SEATING DISTANCE (W=WIDTH OF THE SCREEN)
30 Degrees 1.86 X W
35 Degrees 1.58 X W
40 Degrees 1.36 X W
in all directions; you’ll lose very
little image brightness as you
move o center. Higher-gain
screens tend to focus more
of their reected light toward
the middle. is increases the
brightness for viewers seated there
but reduces it for those on the
sides. But high gain can result
in hot-spotting and other non-
uniform characteristics, and it’s
best reserved for a very large
screen where image brightness is
all important.
A screen that has a gain of
about 1.3, which oers about 30
percent more brightness in a
center seat than a 1.0-gain screen,
is a safe and widely accepted
motorized), and screens that let
you mask for various aspect
ratios. ere are even at and
curved screens that have an aspect
ratio of 2.35:1 that you can use
with an anamorphic lens (a
specialized application not
discussed here). Many of these
options are expensive.
Our recommendation for most
budgets is to choose your screen
size and then, depending on your
budget, select either a xed or
retractable (preferably motor-
ized), nonperforated, 1.3-gain
16:9 screen. If the screen is
retractable and will be ceiling
mounted, make sure the drop (the
black material above the screen) is If you only have the diagonal
measurement (for a 16:9 screen),
you can calculate the width by
multiplying it by 0.87.
I recommend that you choose
the seating distance based on
room size limitations and on your
desired distance from the front
speakers. (It’s assumed that the
front face of the speakers is
located in the same plane as the
screen.) For example, if the
listening distance is 12 feet and
the desired viewing angle is 40
degrees, the screen should be 8.82
feet (106 inches) wide.
Keep in mind that projection
lamps dim with age. Replace-
ments are expensive (generally
$300 to $400 each), so it’s best to
be a little conservative on size
when you choose a screen. 84 to
96 inches wide is probably the
best option for most aordable
projectors.
The Room: How Dark
e best projection setup requires
a completely dark environment to
maintain the performance you
paid for. Room light washes out
the image on a home theater
screen in the same way that it
would at your local multiplex.
A bright projector will produce
a watchable picture with some
room light, although it will be a
little dim, with poor blacks and
shadow detail. is may be
tolerable for brightly lit sports,
but it’s a mess for movies. Some
screens are specically designed
for use with at least some room
lights on—as long as the light
doesn’t fall directly on the screen.
ese screens provide some
benet, but there’s no magic
feather here. You’ll get peak
performance from any projector
only with a good, conventional
screen in a fully darkened room.
It’s also a good idea to paint
your home theater room a reason-
ably dark, neutral color. Gray is
best, but that may meet with
resistance from the decorator of
the house. In any event, try to
avoid white, particularly on a low
ceiling. Light reected back on the
screen can reduce image contrast.
Gain, Perfs, and Other Stuff
ere’s more to choosing a screen
than size and room lighting.
Space won’t allow for a detailed
discussion of all the factors here,
but screen manufacturers’ Web-
sites have plenty of information
on the various options and
features. Some of the main
considerations are:
Gain
Screens are passive devices, so
they don’t have gain per se. How-
ever, they do have dierent reec-
tive characteristics. A screen with
a gain of 1.0 is equally reective
hometheatermag.com 33
Sony VPL-VW85 DLP Projector
The best projection setup
requires a completely dark
environment to maintain the
performance you paid for.
Room light washes out the
image on a home theater
screen in the same way that it
would at your local multiplex.
Runco LightStyle LS-5 DLP Projector
option. It will provide reasonable
brightness for the average home
theater projector. Lower gains
may oer superior performance
in subtle ways, but they require
careful projector selection if you
want a pleasing image brightness,
particularly in larger screen sizes.
To Perf or Not to Perf
Some screens are acoustically
transparent—more or less. ey
use a woven material or a material
with scores of tiny microperfora-
tions. You can position your
center-channel speaker (or all of
your front speakers) behind them.
While it’s certainly an advantage
for dialogue to come directly from
the center of the picture, such
screens have visual limitations.
Because some light passes
through them, they lose
brightness. ey can also aect
resolution or even cause moiré
patterns. If you insist on using an
acoustically transparent screen, it
may be best to use an experienced
custom installer who has
experience dealing with these
issues.
Configuration
ere are xed screens, retract-
able screens (both manual and
su cient to bring the screen
down to your desired height.
The Projector
e options in home theater
projectors come in three
technologies and four avors:
LCD, LCOS (Sony’s SXRD is an
LCOS variant), single-chip DLP,
and three-chip DLP. All of these
can produce a stunning image. In
our experience, a single-chip DLP
oen produces a slightly crisper
picture, but no one will complain
about the resolution of a good
LCD or LCOS design.
Single-chip DLPs (which are
much less expensive and less
bulky than the three-chip alter-
native) use a spinning color wheel
to generate color. is can pro-
duce an artifact called rainbows,
or color fringing, which can
appear as random ashes of color.
is problem has been greatly
reduced since the early days of
DLP, but it’s still occasionally
visible to viewers who are
sensitive to it (not everyone is).
ree-chip DLP, LCD, and LCOS
designs all use three imaging
panels rather than color wheels
and do not have this problem.
Manufacturers oen argue
passionately for their design
choices, but in our view, none of
these technologies is inherently
better than the others. We’ve seen
superb examples of each. Your
projector decisions should be
based on other factors.
Basic Features
Home projectors usually have
zoom lenses to accommodate a
variety of projector-to-screen
new projectors employ LED light-
ing. ese oer reduced energy
consumption, almost unlimited
LED life with no age-related
dimming, and other advantages.
e main limitation is the price
(and sometimes brightness).
Current models sell for $15,000
and up.
Brightness
A larger screen (of the same gain)
than those used in our reviews
will have reduced measured
brightness in roughly direct
proportion to the increase in
screen area. A projector that can
generate 20 foot-lamberts on our
reference 78-inch-wide screen
should provide at least 12 -L on
a screen up to about 100 inches
wide. 12 -L is a comfortable
brightness level for most viewers,
even if some viewers demand
more.
Color
If the projector deviates from the
standard color temperature and
color gamut, the result won’t be an
accurate reproduction of what the
director intended. Even the best
projectors oen come out of the
box with poorly calibrated
color temperature. At a
minimum, you’ll want both
high and low controls for
red, green, and blue to get
this right. You should also be
prepared to pay an experienced
and fully equipped calibrator to
do the job (it’s not a DIY
operation for most of us). A
properly implemented color
management system (CMS) can
also help you get the color points
right, although it’s best if the
gamut is correct on arrival. Unlike
color temperature, color gamut
sometimes is.
Contrast
ere are a number of ways
to measure contrast, or more
precisely, contrast ratio. But
there’s some disagreement among
experts as to which is more
signicant. e type we measure
is peak contrast ratio, or full-on/
full-o contrast ratio. is is
the spread between the bright-
ness of a peak-white window
(100 IRE) and a full-screen black
test pattern (0 IRE). e higher
this number—assuming it’s
measured with the projector set
up for the best and most accurate
picture quality it can produce—
the better.
Lens shi controls are also
common, although a few
projectors still lack them. ey
move the image up and down and
(oen) le to right as well, to
compensate for the position of the
projector.
Some lenses have powered
adjustments. Others use manual
control. Powered functions make
it easy to stand next to the screen
and check the focus, but
manual controls are oen
easier to ne-tune.
A dynamic iris is a widely
available feature that can
signicantly improve both
contrast ratio and deep
blacks. It closes down on
dark scenes and opens up
on brighter ones. While
not everyone likes them, a well-
designed dynamic iris can darken
blacks without obvious side eects.
You can usually switch it o, if
desired.
Most manufacturers have made
great strides in reducing the noise
that their projectors’ cooling fans
produce. Some of them are eerily
quiet, but not all. It’s worth
checking for this. (We check for
this in our reviews.)
Other useful features to look for
include multiple lamp brightness
modes and, if you plan to use an
anamorphic lens setup, an ana-
morphic aspect ratio setting.
Most projectors use a conven-
tional projection lamp, but a few
34 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
Above: Screen Innovations Black Diamond Screen;
Below: Mitsubishi HC6800 LCD Projector
Elite Screens StarBright 7 and Raptor Series Screens
distances (thrown distance). Be
sure to check and see if a projec-
tor’s throw distance is compatible
with your screen size and the setup
distance available in your room.
Black Level
e full-on/full-o contrast ratio
alone isn’t enough to characterize
the eective contrast. You also
need the black level. Without
deep blacks, the image may look
pale, two-dimensional, and
washed out. At the current state of
the art in projectors, a black level
that’s much above 0.01 -L (under
our measurement conditions) is
mediocre at best. At or below
0.005 -L is good, and 0.002 -L
or less is superb. You won’t get this
number from any published
specs; check out our reviews.
Gamma
Gamma indicates the brightness
of the image at all points along the
full brightness range between
pure black and peak white. Per-
haps the most important aspect of
gamma is how quickly a projector
comes out of pure black as the
image becomes brighter. If it does
this too fast, it can undo the
positive eects of even the darkest
blacks. If it does this too slow, the
blacks will look muddy and
crushed. e only way you can
nd out if a projector’s bottom-
end gamma is appropriate is
through a well set-up demo or the
comments in a good review.
Resolution
Apart from the cheapest models,
there’s little reason today to choose
anything less than a 1080p
projector. 720p models still exist,
and they can produce a ne
picture, but you shouldn’t pay a
premium price for them.
Resolution is more than just
pixel count. e entire optical
path, from light source to lens,
is involved. None of the projectors
we’ve reviewed in the recent past
suer from poor resolution.
ey all produce sharp, crisp
images, particularly on HD
sources. Are some sharper than
others? Yes, but the dierences
tend to be elusive.
Video Processing
Most projectors incorporate
respectable deinterlacing and
upscaling. We check video-
processing quality in our
reviews, but I can’t recall the last
time a projector’s video
processing has aected a
recommendation.
Dierent projectors handle
1080p/24 sources dierently.
You should look for one that
displays such material as a direct
multiple of 24 fps. Most do. A
few projectors even oer frame
interpolation features that pro-
vide smoother motion. Some
viewers don’t like how this
feature changes the look of
lm-based sources, but others
consider the added smoothness
a bonus and a fair trade-o.
The Demo
Many in-store projector demos
are notoriously poor. If you’ve
never seen a good home
projector, a competent demo
should blow you away. More than
likely, you’ll get the best demo at
the home of a friend with a
competent front projection setup.
Failing that, a good review will
almost always tell you more about
a projector than you’ll see in any
but the best-equipped indepen-
dent retailers. Don’t necessarily be
put o by a well-reviewed
projector in a bad store demo;
they’re far more common than
good ones.
Wrapping It Up
It should be obvious that getting
a good projection setup is a bit
more complex than simply buying
a at panel and plunking it
down on a convenient stand
or mounting it on a vacant wall.
But it isn’t that di cult if you
approach it in an organized
fashion. Choose the right room,
select your screen size and type,
and then nd the best projector to
match your setup and budget.
Once you do, you’ll wonder how
you ever did without it, and you’ll
never look at home theater in
quite the same way.
hometheatermag.com 35
Vutec Dyna-Curve Screen
Above: Da-Light Screen; Right: JVC DLA-HD550 D-ILA Projector
W
hile few consumers
realize it, a quiet revo-
lution is happening in
the home theater market. Although
they aren’t yet mass-market items,
video projectors are becoming rela-
tively aordable. For less than $2,000
plus a decent screen, you can have the
big-screen experience at home.
Three for the Show
Projectors go Main Street.
BY Thomas J. Norton
Move up a notch from that, and you can
have a projection setup at home that will
challenge anything you’ll see in your local
multiplex, apart from sheer image size and,
for now, 3-D. e projectors we’ll check out
here, at $2,300 to $4,000, aren’t exactly
impulse purchases for most of us in today’s
economy. But the best models in this price
range provide image quality you’d have to
spend three or four times that amount to
acquire just a few short years ago.
ese models, from Sony, Mitsubishi,
and Epson, are at the cutting edge of this
revolution. All have three imaging chips (a
common factor in all LCD/SXRD/LCOS
projectors—there is no color wheel and no
rainbow artifacts). All are respectably quiet
(in some cases eerily so), and all have a tiny
but inconsequential amount of light
36 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
P
h
o
t
o
s

b
y

C
o
r
d
e
r
o

S
t
u
d
i
o
s
THREE FOR THE SHOW
All of the referenced program material in the reviews was
from Blu-ray Disc, played back via HDMI from either a
Pioneer Elite BDP-09FD or OPPO BDP-83 Blu-ray player. I
also took a brief look at SD material and had no particular
complaints—apart from the usual withdrawal symptoms of
going from extended HD viewing to SD. e dierences
become more striking as the screen gets larger.
leakage from their fan exhaust vents. Each also has some
form of dynamic iris for darker blacks. I ran all of them in
for over 100 hours, to let their new lamps settle in before I
did any tests or serious viewing. And I reviewed all of them
on a 78-inch-wide, 1.3-gain Stewart StudioTek 130 screen
(an original StudioTek 130, not the more recent StudioTek
130 G3 design).
E
pson’s broad lineup of
PowerLite home theater
projectors can be a bit
confusing, but the im-
portant point is that it
splits into two parallel lines. At the
top are the Pro Cinema models,
and just below them are the Home
Cinema designs. ey track each
other closely in performance, but
the Pro Cinema versions oer a
few extra features. ese include
an aspect-ratio setting for ana-
morphic projection on a 2.35:1
screen (the anamorphic lens
required to use this is not in-
cluded, and I didn’t test this fea-
ture). ey also include ISFccc
Day and Night modes, a spare
lamp, a longer warranty, and a
black case (the Home Cinema
versions are white). At the top of
the line, and our subject here, is
the Pro Cinema 9500 UB.
Description
In appearance, the PowerLite Pro
Cinema 9500 UB—one of the few
projectors that is currently THX
certied—closely resembles last
year’s Epson agship, the Pro
Cinema 7500 UB. Its Fujinon
zoom lens has a throw-distance
range of 9.8 to 20.9 feet for a
100-inch (diagonal) 16:9 screen.
e horizontal and vertical
lens-shi controls, located at
the top front of the case, have
convenient mid-setting detents
that make it easy to nd the
neutral settings. Lens shi,
zoom, and focus are all manual.
e inputs are located in
back. Epson claims up to 4,000
hours of life (presumably to
half brightness and in the low,
ECO setting) for the projector’s
200-watt lamp.
e 9500 UB also employs
the most recent version of
Epson’s D7 LCD imaging chips.
e projector has seven
preset picture modes, which
Epson calls Color Modes. Most
of the controls for these modes
(including a THX mode) are user
adjustable. Moreover, they are
adjustable for each input and
separately adjustable for standard-
denition sources (480i and 480p)
and sources entering the projector
with high-denition resolutions
(1080i, 1080p, and 720p).
ere are also ten user mem-
ories where you can save dier-
ent settings. You can set up each
of them separately for each input.
My measurements indicated that
the most accurate mode aer
calibration (but not before) is
THX.
e Epson oers the widest
range of controls of the three
projectors under review here,
although (as is usual in consumer
video) some of them fall into the
bells-and-whistles category. e
Skin Tone setting, when avail-
able, is best le o. e Sharp-
ness menu oers Standard and
Advanced settings, and the latter
provides four separate controls:
ick and in Line
Enhancement plus Vertical and
Horizontal Line Enhancement.
While impressive, I found little
use for this. e zero position
(centered) of the Standard setting
produced the most accurate result
with good program sources.
ree types of digital noise
reduction are provided: Conven-
tional, Mosquito, and Block. I
didn’t need them in my testing or
viewing, but they might be useful
with poor source material.
e Setup Level and Epson
Super White features are only
available with component,
S-video, or composite inputs.
Super White is best le o.
I tried the Contrast Enhance-
ment control and was sometimes
drawn to the added punch it gave
the image (but only in the lowest
of its three settings). However, I
found the picture more natural
looking, overall, with the Contrast
Enhancement o.
Other controls were more
useful. A Gamma control oers
ve xed settings from 2.0 to 2.4,
plus a Customized option that lets
you make your own custom
adjustment from an onscreen
graph or an actual source image. I
found that a setting of 2.2 or 2.3
was generally best, depending on
the source material.
ere are two dierent lamp
modes, ECO and Normal, under
the Power Consumption menu
option. e ECO setting pro-
duced more than enough bright-
ness on my relatively small screen.
e RGB menu provides red,
green, and blue calibration
adjustments at the top (Gain) and
bottom (Oset) of the brightness
range. A separate Absolute Color
Temperature control is adjustable
in 500K increments from 5,000K
to 10,000K, except in THX mode,
where it is locked out. But THX
still lets you access the RGB
calibration controls. A color
management system, RGBCMY,
provides Hue, Saturation, and
Brightness controls for all primary
and secondary colors (red, green,
blue, cyan, magenta, and yellow).
e motorized, dual-layered
Auto Iris system is the heart of
EPSON POWERLITE PRO CINEMA 9500
UB LCD PROJECTOR
PERFORMANCE
FEATURES
ERGONOMICS
VALUE
THREE FOR THE SHOW
PRICE: $3,699 AT A GLANCE: Excellent video processing

Superior adjustability

Blacks to die for
Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 9500 UB LCD Projector
us Vertical and
Enhancement
you m
adjust
38 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
Epson’s UltraBlack Technology. It’s
said to oer superior light
attenuation compared with earlier
designs in either of its active
settings: Normal and High Speed.
I did most of my testing and
viewing in the Normal setting.
e 9500 UB’s Super-Resolution
control sounds like the sort of
adjustment that’s best le o. But
I found that the lowest setting
provided a very subtle enhance-
ment that you might enjoy
without suering video-purist
guilt. In my system, the middle
setting didn’t look much dier-
ent than the lowest, but the
highest added ugly white
edge-enhancement halos.
You can also select inputs,
blank the screen, or call up the
projector’s built-in test patterns
from the backlit remote. e test
patterns include a centering image
and the ability to isolate the red,
green, or blue images. is
provides a more accurate way to
set the Color and Tint controls
than color lters.
Refresh, Rinse, Repeat
With its 4:4 pulldown control
engaged, the 9500 UB will play
back native 1080p/24 lm-origi-
nated material at a frame refresh
rate of 96 hertz by adding three
repeated frames between each
pair of real frames. Optionally,
you can select Epson’s new
motion-smoothing feature—
FineFrame—which adds three
interpolated frames, instead of
simply repeating them.
With a 60-Hz video-based
source, the Epson adds only one
repeated or interpolated frame,
for a refresh rate of 120 Hz.
If both frame interpolation and
4:4 pulldown are le o, then the
60-Hz lm-originated source
retains its 3:2 pulldown and is
displayed with a single repeated
frame at a refresh rate of 120 Hz.
If 4:4 is turned on for such a
source, the 60-Hz signal is
reconstructed to 24 Hz and
displayed at a 96-Hz refresh rate
using 4:4 pulldown.
If you select interpolation for
material with 3:2 pulldown, the
Epson rst converts the material
to 24 fps by eliminating the 3:2
pulldown. en it adds four
interpolated frames to each real
frame and displays the source at
120 Hz. ese sources generally
include all lm-originated
broadcast sources, both standard
and high denition, and all
movies on DVD.
I’m not a fan of frame inter-
polation for lm-based sources,
as it gives them a video-like look.
Apart from checking out this
feature (it did what it was design-
ed to do), I didn’t use it on most of
the program material I watched.
Performance
We tested two samples of the 9500
UB. e rst worked well, but it
had slightly misaligned imaging
panels. e red was o by roughly
a full pixel, and the green was o
by about half as much—in
opposite directions and at the
center of the screen. is was
mainly visible on a near-screen
inspection. e second sample
was virtually perfect in the center
and o by just a hair at the edges
(the latter is very common in
consumer projectors). I used the
second sample for all calibrations
and subsequent viewing. It
appears to have been a test sample
used in the THX-certication
process. Apart from panel
alignment, both samples appeared
to have identical performance.
e Epson incorporates the
highly regarded HQV Reon-VX
video processing technology,
supplemented by additional video
processors from Pixelworks. With
two exceptions, it sailed through
all of my usual deinterlacing and
scaling tests (see the Video Test
Bench chart).
It failed a 2:2 SD cadence test
in Auto, but passed it with the
Progressive control set to Film.
We require proper performance
in Auto mode for a passing grade.
With the HDMI Video Range
control set to Auto or Normal, the
projector goes above white, but it
cuts o just slightly above black.
In Expanded mode, it extends
well below black, but I felt that the
subjective dark-scene contrast was
very slightly better in Auto mode,
so that’s where I le it for the test-
ing and viewing. e projector
went near enough to black in
Auto mode that I could set the
correct black level without
di culty.
e Epson didn’t seem to like
Pioneer Blu-ray players. I tried it
with two of them, the BDP-09FD
and the BDP-23FD. On both of
them, the images oen had a
curious intermittent seam from
le to right, about one-third of the
way down from the top. It was
primarily visible when there was
vertical motion in the picture. An
OPPO and a Marantz player
didn’t have this problem, and the
Pioneers worked ne with the
Mitsubishi and Sony projectors
reviewed here. It’s a puzzle, and it
may be related to our test sample
of the Epson (the rst sample
went back before I discovered the
problem). If you plan to use the
projector with a Pioneer player, I’d
recommend that you check them
together before you write the
check.
With no audio on, I oen heard
a mechanical chu ng noise from
the auto iris, but it was very low in
level and totally inaudible with the
sound running. But I never saw
the auto iris operating; the image
THREE FOR THE SHOW


The Epson’s Fujinon zoom lens
has a range of 9.8 to 20.9 feet.
hometheatermag.com 39
TYPE: LCD
NATIVE RESOLUTION: 1920 by 1080
RATED LAMP LIFE: 4,000 hours
DYNAMIC IRIS: Yes
LENS SHIFT: Horizontal/Vertical (manual)
DIMENSIONS (W X H X D, INCHES):
17.7 x 5.9 x 15.3
WEIGHT (POUNDS): 16.5
PRICE: $3,699 (replacement lamp: $300)
Features
EPSON POWERLITE PRO CINEMA 9500
UB LCD PROJECTOR
For the picture settings used
in this review, go to
HomeTheaterMag.com.
All the measurements here,
unless noted otherwise, were
taken with the projector in its
THX Color mode, calibrated and
adjusted for the most accurate
image. The Power Consumption
(lamp mode) was on ECO, the
Gamma at 2.2, and the Auto Iris set
to Normal (on).
T
he Epson’s full-on/full-off
contrast ratio (also called the
peak contrast ratio, the
sequential contrast ratio, or
the dynamic range) is exceptional
with its auto iris in Normal (engaged).
Its black level is only marginally
higher than the best we’ve yet
measured. With the auto iris off, the
contrast ratio drops to a respectable
3,245:1, with a black level of 0.005.
With the auto iris set to Normal
and power consumption on Normal
(high lamp setting), the full-on/
full-off contrast ratio measured
13,721:1 (28.3 foot-lamberts peak
white and 0.0015 ft-L black).
The Color Tracking charts below
show how well a display adheres to
the D65 standard white point; the
tighter the overlap of the three
primary colors, the nearer the result is
to D65. The best Before Calibration
gray scale, was obtained in the HD
Color mode, not THX. But the
calibrated result, shown in the After
Calibration chart, was performed in
the THX mode, as the latter had the
most accurate color gamut. The After
Calibration color is excellent, showing
only small deviations at the top and
bottom of the brightness range. The
Delta-E is less than 1.8 from 30 IRE to
90 IRE, increasing to a maximum of
just under 4 at 20 IRE (very dark gray).
Delta-E indicates how closely the
display adheres to the D65 white
point of the HDTV standard. Most
experts agree that a Delta-E below 4
is visibly indistinguishable from
perfect, while some hold to a slightly
stricter standard (a Delta-E of 3
or less).
The CIE chart above shows
the Epson’s color gamut in the
THX mode out of the box with
the white triangle. It’s nearly
an exact overlay of the
(Rec.709) HDTV color standard
(the black triangle). The brightness
of the three primary colors (red,
green, and blue) was slightly off;
brightness or intensity is the third
dimension of color and is not visible in
a CIE chart. This could not be corrected
(using the RGBCMY controls) without
altering the color decoding, which
was excellent out of the box. This was
easy to spot with the projector’s color
isolation controls. I’ve found that
minor differences in the brightness of
the individual colors are one of the
least significant details to get spot on
(within reason) for visibly good color
reproduction. But this result does
suggest that the Epson’s RGBCMY
color management system functions
by altering the parameters of the
color decoder—a very common color
management implementation, but
not a desirable one.—TJN
THREE FOR THE SHOW
Color-tracking charts were generated in Datacolor ColorFacts.
HT Labs
Measures
FULL-ON/FULL-OFF
CONTRAST RATIO: 13,367:1
0.0014 19
EPSON POWERLITE PRO CINEMA
9500 UB LCD PROJECTOR
Connections INPUTS: VIDEO: HDMI 1.3a (2), component video
(1), S-video (1), composite video (1), PC (D-sub 15-pin) (1) ADDITIONAL: RS-232C
(1), 12-volt trigger (1)
Visit our Website
for a detailed
explanation of our
testing regimen,
plus a list of our
reference gear.
on the
web
didn’t pump in any
visible way.
While the black bars
on 2.35:1 and 4:3
material are clearly visi-
ble on the Epson—true
of any projector we’ve
tested—the Epson’s
black level, shadow
detail, and overall
contrast were excellent.
My favorite test scenes
for these qualities are
in Spider-Man. e
establishing shot of
OsCorp at the begin-
ning of chapter 3, the
night rooop and street
scenes early in chap-
ter 13, and the bridge
and cable car sequences
in chapter 27 looked
velvety rich and dark.
Only the warehouse
scene at the end of
chapter 13 came across
as a little grayed out.
e relentless darkness
of Harry Potter and the
Half-Blood Prince was
astonishingly well
handled. Despite the gloom, I
never missed any detail.
Overall detailing is another
strength. Seven Years in Tibet
may be an early Blu-ray release,
but it remains reference quality.
Everything in this spectacular
transfer is naturally sharp, with-
out a hint of soness. Facial
details that you might not want
to see (bad makeup in one or two
scenes and Brad Pitt’s
acne scars) pop out
clearly—even with the
Super-Resolution
feature turned o. But
the detail always looks
real, never articial. e
Epson wasn’t the crispest
looking of the three
projectors, but in no
way did it have any
obvious soness.
e color is also
beyond criticism. Yes,
some discs have a bit
of a brownish, sepia
look, but this always
appeared to be in the
source or transfer.
With naturally shot
material, the colors
looked right, including
eshtones and bright
green foliage—two
sure giveaways of poor
color.
Conclusions
It’s hard to imagine
anyone being
disappointed with
this projector. It
handles everything
beautifully, whether
the material is dark
and foreboding (Harry
Potter and the
Half-Blood Prince) or
mostly bright (Seven
Years in Tibet, Baraka, Up). e
Sony did give it a run for the
money (more on this in the Sony
report), but the Epson didn’t miss
a step in any respect. Denitely a
Top Pick.
Epson •
(562) 290-5174 • epson.com
Dealer Locator Code EPS
The Epson’s remote
lets you select inputs,
blank the screen, or call
up built-in test patterns.
BEFORE CALIBRATION AFTER CALIBRATION
40 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
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refresh rate of 60 Hz. ere’s no
motion compensation feature that
uses frame interpolation.
Mitsubishi calls its six preset
picture modes Gamma modes.
e two User Gamma modes
oer manual adjustment of the
gamma, separately for the low,
middle, and high portions of the
gamma curve. at’s not just for
the overall gamma, but for the
red, green, and blue gamma as
well.
e Color Temperature control
has ve options, including a User
mode that oers red, green, and
blue adjustments at both the
bottom and top of the brightness
range. It doesn’t have a color
management system that oers
control over the color gamut, and
there’s no xed color gamut
control with multiple options. It
also doesn’t have individual color
isolation controls (red, green, or
blue, or just blue only) to assist in
setting the Color and Tint
controls without having to use
those imprecise color lters.
ere are three types of noise
reduction: temporal recursive
(TRNR)—a ten-dollar phrase
for random noise reduction—
mosquito (MNR), and block
artifact removal (BAR). ey are
not functional with 720p, 1080i,
or 1080p inputs. I didn’t use them.
Mitsubishi’s Diamond Black
Iris oers ve dierent automatic
operating modes, plus O (fully
open). For me, Auto 5 produced
the best results.
You can set up each input
dierently. e Mitsubishi also
has three A/V memories in which
you can save dierent settings.
e memories are independent of
the inputs; that is, you may save
three dierent A/V memory
setups for each source.
I didn’t expect much from the
CTI control, which is designed to
increase the crispness of color
boundaries. e eect was clearly
visible on a color test pattern, with
no obvious negative side eects
(at least when I used its lowest
W
hile Mitsubishi
might have a
larger footprint
in your memory
with its big-
screen TVs and at panels, the
company is focused on front pro-
jection. In fact, its Website shows
26 projector models, including
four home theater designs.
Mitsubishi projectors are not
your father’s Mitsubishi, and by
that I mean video displays, not
cars. Its projectors are marketed
by the company’s Presentation
Products division, which is
separate from the division that
sells at-panel and rear-projection
TVs.
e company’s $4,000 HC7000
projector garnered a lot of praise
in our March 2009 issue. e new
HC6800 looks like its kissing
cousin, but one that will leave
your bank balance about $1,700
richer. Has Mitsubishi skimped to
bring the price down? On the
surface, it doesn’t appear so. e
features are remarkably similar,
and the performance… well, that’s
what we’re here to check out.
Description
e HC6800’s slightly curvy case
sports the usual set of rear-
mounted video inputs. ey are
deeply recessed, and if you mount
the projector upright and ver-
tically, the HDMI ports would be
a little hard to reach. e control
panel is located on top.
e Mitsubishi is the only
projector in this group with
motorized lens shi (horizontal
and vertical), focus, and zoom.
e motorized functions oer
both Fast and Step (slow) oper-
ation, which makes them the
most precise motorized projector
controls I’ve yet experienced. e
zoom lens oers a projection
range of 11.25 to 18.1 feet on a
96-inch-wide screen.
e HC6800’s 170-watt lamp
(in Standard mode; 136 watts
in Low mode) is rated for an
estimated life of 4,000 hours in
Low mode and 2,000 hours in
Standard (presumably, though
this is not specied, to half
brightness).
Like the Epson, the HC6800
employs three D7 LCD imaging
chips (presumably these are made
by Epson as well, since D7 is
Epson chip-generation coding).
In addition to the usual aspect
ratios, the Mitsubishi oers two
anamorphic modes for viewing
images on a 2.35:1 screen with an
anamorphic lens (available from
several manufacturers). One mode
is for video sources, and the other
is for computer sources. e latter
is a rst in our experience. I didn’t
test the anamorphic feature here.
When it receives a 1080p/24
input, the projector doubles the
frame rate by repeating each
frame once and displays at a
frame refresh rate of 48 Hz. It
displays all other inputs at a
MITSUBISHI HC6800 LCD PROJECTOR
PERFORMANCE
FEATURES
ERGONOMICS
VALUE
THREE FOR THE SHOW
PRICE: $2,295 AT A GLANCE: Excellent video processing

Stunning resolution

Poor shadow detail
Mitsubishi HC6800 LCD Projector
42 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
THREE FOR THE SHOW
low-contrast scenes? I believe the
answer is that the iris comes out
of black far too fast. e Auto Iris
transitions quickly to a mode in
which it has signicantly reduced
eect and therefore begins to
reveal the HC6800’s very low
native full-on/full-o contrast
ratio and high native black level
(see HT Labs Measures). You get
impressively deep blacks when the
screen is fully dark, but even a
small increase in light level on the
screen triggers the iris to begin
opening, which grays out dark,
low-contrast images and impairs
shadow detail.
ings picked up considerably
at brighter levels. But it wasn’t
easy to get there. e Mitsubishi
was the most di cult of the
projectors to calibrate, and I spent
more than twice as much time
calibrating it as I did the others.
e color tracking before cali-
bration was so poor that there was
barely enough control to get it
right. I had to use the red, green,
and blue gamma controls to assist
in this. I also had to adjust the
overall gamma at the low end to
eliminate a muddiness in the
pre-calibrated image.
However, with that done, the
Mitsubishi produced a generally
pleasing picture on everything
but the darkest scenes. By far,
its greatest strength is its reso-
lution. It is superbly detailed from
corner to corner. My acid test
for resolution is Baraka, which
was gorgeously transferred from
its original 70mm to Blu-ray.
ere’s so much detail here that
it’s impossible to pick a prime
example, but the Mitsubishi didn’t
disappoint me in any way. e
TYPE: LCD
NATIVE RESOLUTION: 1920 by 1080
RATED LAMP LIFE:
4,000 hours (Low Lamp mode)
DYNAMIC IRIS: Yes
LENS SHIFT: Yes
DIMENSIONS (W X H X D, INCHES):
16.8 x 17.3 x 6.3
WEIGHT (POUNDS): 16.5
PRICE: $2,295 (replacement lamp: $459)
Features
MITSUBISHI HC6800 LCD PROJECTOR


The Mitsubishi’s slightly curvy
exterior makes it stand out in a room.
e projector was respectably
quiet in its Low Lamp mode,
which was more than su ciently
bright on my modestly sized
screen. e Standard mode was
clearly louder, more so than the
high settings on the other pro-
jectors. However, it’s unlikely to
be audible with sound playing
except at a very low level in a
small room.
I could sometimes hear the
auto iris operating (a clicking
sound), but only with the sound
o. On a couple of occasions, I
thought I saw the auto iris pump
as it adjusted to a rapid change in
source brightness, but it wasn’t
frequent enough to make me
want to switch to manual iris
operation. at was a good thing,
because the projector’s blacks—or
more precisely, the deep shadow
detail—were an issue even with
the iris operating in its best auto
setting. While the iris in Auto 5
produced a strikingly good result
for absolute black level (see HT
Labs Measures), the visible result
was—there’s no other way to put
this—poor. Dark, low-contrast
scenes, such as the night scene
aboard the tramp steamer in
chapter 3 of Stargate: Continuum
and the night scene in the Indian
town in chapter 4 of Seven Years
in Tibet, had a milky gray haze
over them that is typical of LCD
displays with poor shadow detail.
ere was no comparison here
with the other projectors in this
group.
How could the projector
produce such an impressive
black-level measurement and still
falter badly when it came to
reproducing very dark,
setting). I le it on, but I was
never convinced it did much on
real program material.
e Mitsubishi oers a
Keystone control to correct for
distorted (trapezoid-shaped)
images. It’s always best to avoid
keystone controls if possible. ey
can generate artifacts and reduce
resolution. Similar corrections are
better made with a combination
of proper placement and the lens
shi controls.
Mitsubishi’s remote is backlit,
with direct access to the video
inputs and the most oen used
controls.
Performance
e Mitsubishi employs the
increasingly popular HQV
Reon-VX for its video proces-
sing. For the most part (see the
Video Test Bench chart), the
processing was excellent. As
with the Epson, which also
uses the Reon, it had problems
with our 2:2 tests in the Auto
setting of the Cinema mode
(in this case with both SD
and HD). It marginally passed
the HD 2:2 test: It locked on to
the cadence but broke lock and
then reestablished lock with
each pass of this cyclical test.
But it failed the 2:2 SD test in
Auto. (It passed both 2:2 tests
in Film mode, but our pass/fail
criteria requires a passing score
in the Auto mode.)
e projector also failed the
clipping test. It would not go
below black. But it did go
above white. Above white is
the most important part of this
test, since the black level
(brightness control) is always
set so it won’t go below black.
However, the white level
(contrast control) should
always be set to allow visible
headroom above white. Still,
when a display fails to go
below black, it makes it harder
to set the black level correctly.
While the Mitsubishi’s black
level isn’t a major picture issue,
its failure to go below black
requires a failing grade on the
clipping test.
hometheatermag.com 43
combination of
apparently superb
optics with nearly
awless panel
alignment would
be hard to beat even
at much higher
prices.
While the
HC6800’s color came
up short of
the subjective and
measured perfor-
mance of the other
two projectors, it
was completely
watchable. I suspect
that most viewers will
be perfectly happy
with it. I still
recommend a
calibration, and
the complications
I mentioned above
mean that a good
calibration is likely
to be pricey. But aer
adjustments, my only
color criticism was
a hint of phosphor-
escent bright greens,
and that’s so common
on digital projectors that
it’s getting tiresome to
have to keep mention-
ing it (but I do).
Conclusions
Overall, the Mitsubishi produces a
pleasing picture on most sources.
Even with the auto iris engaged,
dark, low-contrast
scenes are hazy
enough to be
distracting. In a direct
comparison with the
Epson, the latter’s
superiority in shadow
detail was painfully
obvious.
But things aren’t
quite that simple.
Even at roughly
half the price,
the Mitsubishi’s
resolution of detail
was noticeably crisper
than the Epson’s.
Resolution alone isn’t
quite enough for me
to push it over the top.
Dark scene perfor-
mance and contrast
are too important
to me. But with its
very attractive pric-
ing (apart from a
rather high lamp-re-
placement cost),
respectable perfor-
mance on most
program material, and
striking detail on the
best sources, the
Mitsubishi just might
work for you.
Mitsubishi •
(888) 307-0349 •
mitsubishi-presentations.com
Dealer Locator Code MSU
THREE FOR THE SHOW
Connections INPUTS: VIDEO: HDMI 1.3 (2), S-video (1),
composite video (1) component video (1), PC (mini D-sub 15-pin) ADDITIONAL:
RS-232C (D-sub 9-pin), 12-volt trigger
For the picture settings
used in this review, go to
HomeTheaterMag.com.
All the measurements here,
unless noted otherwise, were
taken in the User1 Gamma
mode, the Auto Iris in Auto 5,
the Contrast on –10, Brightness
on +3, and the Lamp mode on Low.
T
he full-on/full-off contrast
ratio above is objectively
spectacular. But it’s rendered
significantly less impressive by
the subjective results in the review.
With its auto iris engaged, the
Mitsubishi is, by a small margin, the
brightest of the projectors in its Low
Lamp mode. It beat out the Sony for
brightness honors in the Standard
Lamp mode as well (auto iris still
engaged) by a marginal degree, where
it produced 28.8 foot-lamberts at a
black level of 0.0012, for a full-on/full-
off contrast ratio of 23,638:1—again, a
number that is much more impressive
than the projector’s visible contrast
performance. Turning off the auto iris,
in the Low Lamp mode, increased
the black level enormously, to 0.036
ft-L, and reduced the full-on/full-off
contrast ratio to 548:1.
The Color Tracking charts below
show how well a display adheres to the
D65 standard; the tighter the overlap of
the three primary colors, the nearer the
result is to D65. The Before Calibration
result is poor, with severe slopes from
low to high. While it wasn’t possible
to completely flatten them, the After
Calibration curves are better, apart
from some issues at the darkest and
brightest ends of the spectrum. The
Delta-E (a numerical measure of how
closely a display comes to the desired
D65 color temperature, with values
under 4 considered good) was about
4 or less from 20 IRE (dark) to 90 IRE
(near peak white), except for a
reading just above 5 at 20 IRE
and 50 IRE (mid brightness). But
it degraded to approximately 16
at 100 IRE (peak white). Oddly,
however, the Delta-E fluctuated
wildly at the projector’s max-
imum brightness (100 IRE),
sometimes dropping to under 5. This
variation wasn’t a problem at other
brightness levels.
The color gamut shown in the
pie-shaped CIE chart above shows the
Mitsubishi’s excessively wide color
gamut. Without a color management
system, or even a selection of fixed
color gamuts to choose from, this
cannot be improved. Overly wide color
gamuts are common in the consumer
video industry, but they are often less
obvious to the eye on most source
material than the measured deviations
might suggest.—TJN
Color-tracking charts were generated in Datacolor ColorFacts.
HT Labs
Measures
FULL-ON/FULL-OFF
CONTRAST RATIO: 22,444:1
0.0009 20.2
MITSUBISHI HC6800 LCD
PROJECTOR
Visit our Website
for a detailed
explanation of our
testing regimen,
plus a list of our
reference gear.
on the
web
BEFORE CALIBRATION AFTER CALIBRATION
44 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
3:2 HD 2:2 HD MA HD
VIDEO
CLIPPING
LUMA
RESOLUTION
CHROMA
RESOLUTION
SCALING
PASS PASS PASS FAIL PASS PASS GOOD
The HC6800’s
remote is backlit,
and it features direct
access to video inputs
and several other
common controls.
DISCOVER THE NEW TRIBE IN-WALL/IN-CEILING. FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT www.totemacoustic.com
Soul moving.
S
ony’s new BRAVIA
VPL-HW15 is a
reworking of last year’s
VPL-HW10. At a
modest $3,000 (modest
as projectors go, that is), the
VPL-HW15 oers a useful lineup
of features and a picture that I
didn’t expect at this price. With
exceptional color, barely short of
state-of-the-art blacks, and vivid,
almost 3-D images on the best
program material, it…. OK, I’m in
danger of giving away the store up
front. Read more to get the details.
Description
e VPL-HW15’s gently curved
top echoes the look of Sony’s
higher-end VPL-VW85, while the
lens that recesses into a sculpted
front panel does not. e controls
and inputs are located on the side.
Sony’s SXRD technology is at
the heart of all of Sony’s premier
home theater projectors. Silicon
X-tal Reective Display (SXRD) is
Sony’s proprietary version of
Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCOS),
a reective version of LCD
dierent enough to earn it a
unique name. In a conventional
LCD, the light passes through the
liquid crystal imaging elements
once on its way to the lens. But
that means the control circuits
that drive each pixel must pass
through the gaps between the
pixels. In an SXRD or LCOS,
the light passes through a thin-
ner liquid crystal imaging panel,
is reected back through it a
second time, and then proceeds
down the optical path to the lens.
erefore, the circuits that control
each pixel can be located behind
the liquid crystal panel and the
reective surface. is allows
the SXRD pixels to be posi-
tioned closer together than in
a transmissive LCD, which
maximizes the amount of chip
area that’s devoted to the picture
rather than to the spaces between
the pixels.
To ensure that the three chips
that produce the red, green, and
blue elements of the picture are in
precise alignment, the Sony
provides controls that let you
adjust all of them manually, but
some of the controls are locked
out for certain types of inputs.
You can select a dierent picture
mode for each input (including
three user modes), but you cannot
set up each mode separately for
each input.
Sony’s Cinema Black Pro menu
includes the Advanced (auto) Iris
feature. It oers two active settings
plus the option of Fast, Slow, or
Recommended sensitivity. I used
the Advanced Iris in the Recom-
mended setting, Auto 1, for all of
my testing and viewing, unless
otherwise noted.
e projector oers six gamma
correction settings, including o
(Gamma 2). Gamma determines
how the light output varies in the
mid-brightness region in response
to the source input. Gamma 4, at
approximately 2.0 (but dropping
to about 1.8 at 80 IRE), produced
a lower gamma number than the
2.2 to 2.4 usually recommended,
but it worked well for me in all
types of scenes, including very
dark ones. (e lower the gamma
number, the higher the mid-tone
brightness.)
ere are seven color-tempera-
ture selections, four of them
Custom. e High, Middle, and
Low settings cannot be changed
by the user, but each of the
Custom settings oers both high
(Gain) and low (Bias) settings for
red, green, and blue.
Sony’s Real Color Processing
(RCP) feature provides Color and
Hue adjustments for each of the
primary and secondary colors. I
have always found RCP to be
ergonomically confusing, but this
time around, I used it to make the
color points slightly more
accurate. However, that resulted
in another problem that couldn’t
be satisfactorily corrected—
slightly excessive brightness for
each color, in dierent degrees, for
which there were no corrective
controls. Ultimately, I accepted
the small color gamut errors in
SONY BRAVIA VPL-HW15
SXRD PROJECTOR
PERFORMANCE
FEATURES
ERGONOMICS
VALUE
electronically tweak the position
of the three separate images
within a small fraction of a pixel
(small convergence errors aren’t
uncommon in multi-imaging-
chip projectors). To my knowl-
edge, this is a unique feature for a
projector in this price class. You
can only use this feature with an
internal crosshatch test pattern,
which doesn’t always match the
alignment visible from external
sources. is required some trial
and error to get things right, but
in a few minutes, I converged the
center of the screen almost
perfectly, with insignicant
deviations elsewhere. (e more
expensive VPL-VW85 oers full
screen and zone alignment.)
e projector’s zoom lens will
ll a 100-inch-diagonal (87-inch-
wide) 16:9 screen at distances that
range from 10.7 to 15.9 feet. All of
the lens functions (zoom, focus,
and horizontal and vertical
shi) are manual.
ere are six dierent
picture modes. You can
THREE FOR THE SHOW
PRICE: $3,000 AT A GLANCE: Deep blacks

Accurate color

Superb image depth
Sony BRAVIA VPL-HW15 SXRD Projector
d k ( l h
46 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
the Normal Color Space setting
and le RCP o.
ere are no individual color
isolation controls (red, green, or
blue, or just blue only) to assist in
setting the Color and Tint
controls without having to use
color lters, which are oen
imprecise.
While the Sony has the usual
aspect ratio selections, it doesn’t
have an anamorphic stretch mode
for using an optional anamorphic
lens with a 2.35:1 screen.
e Sony also oers a Black
Level Adjust control (I le this
o), Noise Reduction (didn’t need
it), Film mode (le it in Auto),
x.v.Color (suitable sources are
rare), and Color Space (Normal is
very close to accurate; Wide is
not).
e remote control is good,
with direct selection of many
video adjustments—but not of
inputs—and full backlighting. A
lens control calls up a geometric
pattern that’s helpful for adjusting
the zoom and lens shi controls.
Performance
As shown in the Video Test Bench
chart, the Sony’s video processing
was good, apart from a not
uncommon failing score on the
SD 2:2 test. Like other SXRD (and
LCOS) displays we’ve tested, the
Sony produced a pink discolor-
ation on all single-pixel (maxi-
mum resolution) HD luma test
patterns, as well as a 1:1 pixel-to-
pixel test pattern (which was
otherwise perfect, provided the
overscan and/or keystone controls
are turned o). However, the
discoloration was only visible on
test patterns. As was our past
experience, this pink shi didn’t
aect normal program material in
any visible way.
By a small margin over the
Epson, the Sony was the quietest
of these three quiet projectors,
in both of its lamp settings. e
Low setting provided more than
su cient brightness on my
screen. As with all of these pro-
jectors, the Sony has enough
light output in reserve for a
comfortably large screen—or
enough spare output to help
compensate for reasonable lamp
aging.
Sony has been rening the auto
irises in its projectors for many
years now—longer than anyone,
to my knowledge. I never saw it
operating (pumping) on program
material, heard any sign of it
operating, or noticed anything
unnatural in its performance.
e auto iris is just one piece of
the whole that contributes to the
Sony’s superb performance. For
example, Spider-Man looked
like a better transfer than it
usually does. e image was crisp
and detailed—and this is not an
exceptionally sharp HD transfer.
An appealing punch and
dimensionality drew me in.
If the Sony could bring out
the best in Spider-Man’s just
slightly above-average Blu-ray
transfer, it looked striking on
Pirates of the Caribbean: e
Curse of the Black Pearl. e
image in the opening shipboard
scene had a pop that the other
projectors missed. And if that
dierence was subtle, its subtlety
clearly brought out the shades
and shadows in the scene’s
overcast lighting. e detail le
nothing to be desired, the colors
were impossible to criticize, and
the believable sense of depth
made me feel as though I could
jump into the picture and join in
the fun. But my lack of skill with
a sword would demand that I
time my leap very carefully.
While the blacks were just a
shade short of state-of-the-art
projector blacks (and decidedly
not up to Pioneer KURO–level
blacks), they were still very
impressive. e dark rooop
scene in chapter 13 of Spider-Man
was realistically dark, but there
was a clarity within that darkness
that brought out shadow details
and avoided that grayish look.
Even the dark warehouse scene at
the end of chapter 13—a scene
that gives many projectors
problems—was convincing on the
Sony.
But it’s Stargate: Continuum
that I keep coming back to when
it comes to evaluating black level,
and the Sony didn’t disappoint. In
the star eld that opens the lm,
the stars are clearly visible. Many
of them are dim, but you can still
make them out clearly, even when
the lm’s bright white titles pop
up. e nighttime ship scene in
chapter 3 and the Russian instal-
lation scene in chapter 21 are both
killer black and shadow-detail
tests, and both looked totally right
on the Sony.
Still, I consider the quality
of dark scenes so important that
the Sony pushed all of my buttons,
including the value factor. is is
a wow-inducing Top Pick at a
shocking price point.
Sony • (877) 865-SONY •
sonystyle.com
Dealer Locator Code SNY
Comparisons and Conclusions
Setting up a direct AB compari-
son of two projectors is much
more complicated than you might
imagine. Very minor changes in
the picture settings can have a
profound impact when you switch
directly from one to the other.
e only way to do it is to use the
settings that we judged best in the
individual evaluations.
THREE FOR THE SHOW
TYPE: SXRD
NATIVE RESOLUTION: 1920 by 1080
RATED LAMP LIFE: Not specified
DYNAMIC IRIS: Yes
LENS SHIFT: Horizontal/Vertical
DIMENSIONS (W X H X D, INCHES):
16.2 x 7.2 x 18.4
WEIGHT (POUNDS): 22.1
PRICE: $3,000; replacement lamp: N/A
Features
SONY BRAVIA VPL-HW15 SXRD
PROJECTOR


Sony’s VPL-HW15 has a gently
curved top and high-end looks.
hometheatermag.com 47
Connections INPUTS: VIDEO: HDMI 1.3 (2), component
video (1), S-video (1), composite video (1), PC (HD D-sub 15-pin) (1)
ADDITIONAL: RS-232C (D-sub 9-pin) (1)
For the picture settings
used in this review, go to
HomeTheaterMag.com.
Except as noted, all of the
measurements here were
taken with the projector in
User mode, adjusted for the
most accurate image, with
the lamp power on Low, the
Gamma Correction on Gamma
4, and the Advanced Iris set to
Auto 1.
T
he Sony’s full-on/full-off
contrast ratio is excellent,
and its black level equally
impressive—and not just for
a modestly priced projector. With the
lamp on High, the projector’s contrast
was 9,350:1, with a peak white level of
28.3 foot-lamberts and a black level of
0.003 ft-L. With the Advanced Iris off,
and the lamp on Low, the full-on/full-
off contrast ratio was 2,511:1 at a black
level of 0.008 ft-L. The Sony is ready for
any reasonably sized screen.
The Color Tracking charts below show
how well a display adheres to the D65
standard white point; the tighter the
overlap of the three primary colors,
the nearer the result is to D65. The
Before Calibration result is for the Low
Color Temperature setting. The After
Calibration result is exceptional, apart
from a small dip in the blue level in the
mid-brightness region. The Delta-E (a
numeric measurement of how closely
a display comes to the desired D6500
color temperature, with values under 4
considered good) was under 1.7 from
the darkest point at which our color
instruments are reasonably accurate
(20 IRE) to peak white (100 IRE).
The CIE chart above shows
the Sony’s color gamut in the
Normal Color Space setting.
It’s very good, if just slightly
undersaturated in the red-green
axis. As noted in the review,
attempts to tweak this in
Sony’s RCP feature could move
the points outward, but not without
small but undesirable side effects.—TJN
THREE FOR THE SHOW
Color-tracking charts were generated in Datacolor ColorFacts.
HT Labs
Measures
FULL-ON/FULL-OFF
CONTRAST RATIO: 8,942:1
0.002 17.8
SONY BRAVIA VPL-HW15 SXRD
PROJECTOR
Visit our Website
for a detailed
explanation of our
testing regimen,
plus a list of our
reference gear.
on the
web
But on most very dark
scenes, the Epson looked
a little grayer and atter
than the Sony. e latter
had more pop and
dimensionality on such
material. However, if I
turned on the low
setting of the Epson’s
Contrast Enhancement
control, these dierences
largely disappeared. In
fact, the Epson then had
a little more dark-scene
pop than the Sony. But I
didn’t like what the
Contrast Enhancement
control did to brighter
scenes. It made them
unnaturally contrasty,
even in its lowest setting.
e Epson’s colors
were a little more
saturated and, accord-
ing to the color gamut
measurements, a bit
more accurate. Both
had an interesting
divergence in the dark-
est blacks; the Sony
was warmer, while the
Epson was cooler. is
is consistent with the
color tracking charts, but
I wouldn’t criticize either
projector much on this
account.
e Epson won out slightly
in terms of resolution, although
the dierences were very small
on my 78-inch-wide screen. I
zoomed the images up
to simulate a much
larger screen—more
than 110 inches dia-
gonal. Of course, I
was then viewing only
the center of the image
on my screen, with
the rest of the picture
spilling over the edges.
When I did this, the
black level dierences
remained. But the
slightly sharper image
on the Epson just barely
became more visible.
Even on this “large” of
a screen, the images
remained sharp and
more than ade-
quately bright—with
the lamps in both
projectors still in their
low settings.
Both of these are
superb projectors. e
Epson 9500 UB was
always a pleasure to
watch, and it was
slightly more accu-
rate according to
the measurements,
although this is splitting
some ne hairs. I could
watch either projector all
day, and on several occas-
ions, I almost did. But it
was the Sony that best kept me
glued to my seat when it was 1:00
a.m. and long past time to shut
things down and go to bed.
BEFORE CALIBRATION AFTER CALIBRATION
I focused my comparisons on
the Sony and the Epson. e
Mitsubishi’s shadow detail would
have put it at a clear disadvantage
compared with the others.
Viewed in the settings that I
chose as the best (and most accu-
rate) for both the Sony and Epson,
there were some noticeable
dierences. e Epson went
slightly deeper in absolute black,
excelling the Sony by a small
margin on the star eld at the
beginning of Stargate: Continuum.
48 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
3:2 HD 2:2 HD MA HD
VIDEO
CLIPPING
LUMA
RESOLUTION
CHROMA
RESOLUTION
SCALING
PASS PASS PASS PASS PASS PASS EXCELLENT
Sony’s fully backlit
remote provides direct
selection for many
video adjustments, but
not for any inputs.
BRINGING THEATER INSPIRATION INTO YOUR HOME
THE SAVANT EXPERIENCE CENTER pg.50
The ultimate shopping destination.
GOING RETRO pg.54
Part II: Run, wires, run.
INSTALL
The Savant Experience Center
THE ULTIMATE SHOPPING DESTINATION.
50 Home Theater Design March 2010 / hometheaterdesignmag.com
D
E
S
I
G
N
BY Kim Wilson
PHOTOS Joe Tabacca
L
ocated in the SoHo district of lower Manhattan, the Savant Experience
Center is an actual living space complete with a media/living room,
home office, master bedroom, kitchen, dining room, and a dedicated
800-square-foot theater. Close to the Apple Store, the Experience Center
showcases the latest technologies in home entertainment and control to
dealers, architects, designers, industry associations, and prospective clients.
Developers of the only Apple-based home control automation and enter-
tainment system, Savant showcases the marriage of design and technology
in this 3,000-square-foot facility. (Another 5,000 square feet will be built to
demonstrate commercial applications.) The Experience Center lets Savant
showcase a product line that you can’t fully appreciate in a catalog or through
a Website. Some of the highlights include TrueImage Control, ROSIE Surface
coffee tables, the company’s proprietary On Screen Display (OSD) technol-
ogy, Touch TV, and a functional 4-by-40-inch LCD display in the home office
that displays digital art and signage. Savant’s iPhone and iPod touch home
automation application (recently featured in the Winter 2009 issue of Home
Theater Design) can control the entire space, both locally and remotely.
The entire space functions like a single system due to Savant’s automation
platform, which allows full control of any audio or video source from every
room. For instance, with Savant’s TrueImage
Control, you can dim the lights in any room or
turn them on or off by touching an image of
that room. The OSD lets you answer the front
doorbell, view any security camera, change the
temperature in any zone, and search and play
media content without leaving your seat or
interrupting the movie you’re watching.
While the Experience Center was Savant’s
brainchild, it took a long and impressive list
of partners to create this world-class facility. It
Home Theater Design March 2010 / hometheaterdesignmag.com 51
AWESOME AUTOMATION
Through interactive
elements, like ROSIE
Surface coffee tables
and Savant’s On Screen
Display technology, the
Experience Center truly
brings technology to
your fingertips.
D
E
S
I
G
N
INSTALL
A FAMILY AFFAIR
Some of the most
influential and familiar
brands in home theater
technology are featured
in the Experience
Center, including Runco,
Steinway Lyngdorf,
Stewart Filmscreen,
and Thiel.
52 Home Theater Design March 2010 / hometheaterdesignmag.com
includes gear from Thiel, NuVision, Runco, Chief, Lutron, Stewart Filmscreen,
Continental Seating, Bay Audio, McIntosh Labs, Panamax/Furman, Snell, Mid-
dle Atlantic Products, Steinway Lyngdorf, and Steinway Piano. The key design
features include a Theo Kalomirakis theater, an impeccable interior design by
Thom Filicia, a kitchen by Dalia Kitchen Design, and lighting by ISP Design.
As if the project wasn’t monumental enough, the Center was built within
the Singer Building. Since it is designated as a historical landmark, it was
necessary to maintain the building’s features and characteristics. Moreover,
running wires through an old building created its own set of challenges.
The space was gutted, but the structure remained intact. Savant handled
the installation internally with its professional services team of about 30 em-
ployees, who served as support for Savant’s authorized dealers. “I think we
all learned a lot about how to integrate technology into a living space while
also making sure everything was aesthetically pleasing,” said Craig Spinner,
Savant’s director of marketing.
One of the highlights of the Theo Kalomirakis theater is the use of all Thiel
speakers and subwoofers, including the stunning Les Paul Sunburst CS3.7
loudspeakers finished by Gibson for Thiel and signed by both Jim Thiel and
Les Paul. The media/living room features a McIntosh/Snell audio system
with a NuVision 65-inch LCD HDTV. The room is also equipped with a retract-
able Runco projector and Stewart projection screen.
“The authentic lifestyle setting of the Experience Center fully demonstrates
all that is possible in custom installation today and is sure to become one of
the industry’s most important and vital design centers,” concludes Spinner.
CONTACT Savant, (508) 683-2500, savantav.com
KIM WILSON, HTD EDITOR
Home Theater Design is dedicated to helping you
navigate the specialty A/V waters, including working
with custom installers, retailers, designers, builders,
and more. We go beyond the dedicated theater, and
show you how to integrate the newest technology
into your entire home.
READERS, WE NEED YOUR HELP!
Are you a do-it-yourselfer or custom installer with a
great theater to share with our readers? We’d love to hear from you. Please send
your stories and photos to kim.wilson@sorc.com.
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RETROFITTING
In Part I (Home Theater January 2010), Darryl reviewed some of the best
current options in wireless audio systems. This month, he shows you how
to pull off a seamless install—yourself!
I
n years past, putting together and installing a multizone audio system
meant running lots of wires for the speakers, keypads, and IR repeater
system. Things are different today. On the most basic level, a surprising
number of relatively affordable AVRs, such as Onkyo’s TX-SR507, include
powered Zone 2 outputs. All you need to turn that $399 AVR into a multi-
room control center is speaker wire, speakers, and some gumption. A simple
speaker selector will expand the system to even more rooms.
Many wired multiroom audio systems are extremely retro-friendly. Aton’s
four-source/four-zone DH44 digital audio router with DIGI-5 technology
($799, plus $199 for the keypad) only requires a single Cat-5 cable run to
each amplified keypad plus speaker wire to run directly from the keypad to
that zone’s speakers. The system is so simple to set up that the quick-guide
instructions fit on a 17-by-30-inch poster (with nice large illustrations). Other
systems, such as Russound’s CA4 four-source/four-zone system ($1,999),
require a Cat-5 cable to each keypad and a separate wire from the CA4’s
amplifiers to each of the speakers. Video products that can distribute HD using
single or dual Cat-5 runs are available from Gefen, Xantech, Aton, and others.
I’ve tried to convince my wife that Cat-5 and speaker wires draped across
the room from nails in the wood trim and running down the hallway are an
up-and-coming décor trend, but she doesn’t buy it. Here are some ways you
can hide your wires until it does become chic to leave them out in the open.
1. Stop, Hammer Time
If all you need to do is get a speaker wire out of the way, perhaps to keep
from tripping over it or getting it caught in the vacuum cleaner, one of the
most cost-effective ways to do this is to tack the wire to the wall along
the baseboards or around the door trim with wire clips—little plastic hooks
that hold the wire snug when nailed down. RadioShack and virtually every
hardware store in the northern hemisphere carry wire clips of one sort or
another. Most clips are designed to hold one or two wires in place. They’re
often available in white or black and cost pennies per clip. When all else failed
and time was short, I used wire clips (a lot of them) to secure a Cat-5 cable
that needed to run up a flight of stairs. It was functional, but like other long
runs and/or large bundles of wires secured with wire clips, it was unsightly.
As my wife continually reminds me, “Beauty isn’t cheap.” So instead of
run-of-the-mill, low-cost round wire, you can use Acoustic Research’s PR360
flat speaker wire or Monster Cable’s SuperFlat Mini speaker wire to pretty
54 Home Theater Design March 2010 / hometheaterdesignmag.com
PART II: RUN, WIRES, RUN
BY Darryl Wilkinson
Going Retro
Flatwire Speaker Wire
R
E
T
R
O
F
I
T
T
I
N
G
things up. Expect to pay at least 60 cents per foot. However, it’s not the easiest
stuff to work with when it comes to making right-angle turns at the corners of
doors and windows. Acoustic Research calls its PR390 ($79 for 50 feet) speaker
wire “MicroFlat,” and at 0.5 mm thick, it is pretty darn flat. It also includes an
adhesive backing, so no wire clips are necessary.
2. Hide It in Plain Sight
Baseboards, crown molding, as well as door and window trim were invented to
cover gaps and other imperfections in a building’s structure. There’s no reason
why you can’t use them to hide a few wires, too. In the older sections of my
home, there’s plenty of space behind most of the baseboards. It’s simply a
matter of gently prying the baseboard away from the wall, tucking in the wire,
and hammering the baseboard back in place.
In newer homes, you’ll need to do a little drywall modification. Carefully
pry the baseboards away from the walls. If there’s caulk, paint, or wallpaper,
you may need to use a utility knife to separate the top of the baseboard from
the wall. Once you’ve removed the baseboards, cut through the drywall and
remove a strip along the bottom that’s wide enough to contain the number of
wires you need to conceal. (Make sure, of course, that the width of the drywall
you remove is less than that of the baseboard you’ll be covering it with.) A
drywall saw works well, but a Dremel tool with a drywall bit is much faster.
At this point, since you already have the bottom of the wall open, you can
take the opportunity to run wires through the wall up to an in-wall or on-wall
speaker. Consider buying fish tape or a push rod from the hardware store first.
If there isn’t any attic space—when there’s a second floor above the room, for
example—this may be the best way to invisibly get wires to an in-wall speaker.
3. Cut a Rug
You can also use carpet to conceal wires. It’s helpful to use a special install
tool called under-carpet tape—essentially a long strip of stainless steel—to
snake the flattest wire you can afford between the carpet and the pad. It
can be easy to get the tape caught on the pad and twist the wire as it goes
through, so you’ll need to take your time. Try to avoid running the wire under
high-traffic areas for the obvious reason of excessive wear and tear.
4. Your Insurance Doesn’t Cover Molding?
So you’re not handy with a drywall saw, and you removed all the carpets
in your house after the cats kept peeing on them. Surface raceways or
wire molding might be your answer. These are essentially paintable
channels with removable covers that mount on the surface of the wall.
They come in sizes for single or multiple wires. Some are designed to be
used vertically in corners; others are horizontal, so you can use them along
the ceiling like crown molding or along the floor like a baseboard. There’s
even a chair rail version. It’s more aesthetically appealing than using wire
clips and often easier to install, especially if you use the kind with an
adhesive strip on the back. Since the channel covers are removable, you
can add additional wires in the future if your system changes—something
that’s much more painful to do with other methods. Raceways are an
especially helpful and painless way of hiding the wires for wall-mounted
flat-panel TVs and on-wall speakers. Wiremold, CableOrganizer, and
Panduit offer a variety of raceways and accessories, such as corners,
T-junctions, and even matching surface-mount outlet boxes that you
can use to mount wall plates and keypads. Unfortunately, the channels
themselves typically start at more than $1 per foot—and that’s not
counting the additional parts and pieces you may need—so wiring a large
room (or house) can be pricey.
5. Does My Wire Look Flat to You?
If you want a truly invisible install and can’t or don’t want to put wires in
your walls, Flatwire makes incredibly flat speaker wire (0.1 mm thick) that
can be glued to any wall, plastered, and then painted or wallpapered over.
When done properly, the stuff is virtually invisible. Flatwire also makes flat
component video cables and Ethernet cables, and ultra-flat HDMI cables are
in the works. Spools of 18-gauge speaker wire sell for around $2 per foot.
Flatwire also makes 14- and 12-gauge wire at $2.50 per foot and $3 per
foot, respectively.
Seeing Is Unbelieving
Hopefully the information in this two-part story has helped you come to
the conclusion that it’s possible to retrofit your old home with plenty of
A/V technology without totally destroying its original looks or spending
big bucks on remodeling or installation. Sure, it’s something you’d wish
the previous owners would have done, but then if they had, they might
not have wanted to move out of the house. After it’s all done, even though
you’ve increased the value of your home, you probably won’t ever want to
leave, either.
Home Theater Design March 2010 / hometheaterdesignmag.com 55
OUT OF SIGHT To conceal wires in a baseboard, Darryl used a Dremel tool to remove a strip of drywall (A and B). He then inserted the wires (C) and replaced the base-
board (D). The finished job is shown in the image on the left.
A
C D
B
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When Performance Matters
Visit us at CES, booth #20713 South Hall 1
FROM THE

Audio Precision System Two 2532 Dual Domain

Fluke 189 multimeter

Leader LT-446 HDTV test generator

Leader LV5700A waveform monitor

LG OS-9020A oscilloscope

LinearX loudspeaker measurement system

Minolta LS-100 luminance meter

Photo Research PR-650 SpectraScan colorimeter

Staco variable transformer 3PN2210B (22-amp)

TecLab TWS-1510 test benches
Denon AVR-4810CI A/V Receiver
Need supersizing? P58
Atlantic Technology FS-7.0 Soundbar and
SB-800 Sub
Seven channels plus. P62
Pioneer Elite SC-27 A/V Receiver
What? No 8-track? P66
Sharp LC-60E77UN LCD HDTV
A worthy contender. P70
Marantz SR6004 A/V Receiver
Restraint and simplicity. P74
on the
web
VISIT THE “HOW WE TEST”
link on our Website for a detailed
explanation of our testing regimen
and a list of our reference gear.
www.hometheatermag.com

Home Theater’s test bench uses state-of-the-art
instruments, and our testing regimen is the most
rigorous in the industry. Our strict methodology
ensures that the gear we review can meet the highest
standards of performance, a must for a component to
earn recognition as a Top Pick winner.
OUR GEAR...
www.hometheatermag.com 57
HIGH END P58-61
MIDRANGE P62-77
HT’s product ratings are specific to the
product category and the price range of the
component under review. Each component’s
ratings are specific only to its price range:
Entry Level, Midrange, or High End. For
guidance, each product’s price range is
designated in the Preview, on this page,
and at the top of its review.
RATINGS
PERFORMANCE
FEATURES
ERGONOMICS
VALUE
BUILD QUALITY
P
O
O
R
F
A
I
R
G
O
O
D
E
X
C
E
L
L
E
N
T
R
E
F
E
R
E
N
C
E
70
74
62
MultEQ XT auto setup and room
correction, plus the one-two
punch of Audyssey Dynamic
Volume and Dynamic EQ for
greater exibility in low-volume
listening.
On the right side of the
AVR-4810CI’s front panel is a
volume knob, and below it are
three tiny Quick Select buttons
that combine source selection
with a default volume setting. e
le side features a source select
knob and four buttons that select
up to four zones (among other
things). Below the white uor-
escent display in the center is a
ip-down door that conceals a
fairly comprehensive selection of
controls, including navigation
buttons. So for many functions,
you won’t be limited to the
remote. e full-color graphic
user interface (GUI) is attractive.
is is a good thing, because the
AVR’s many features will have you
using it oen. Denon provides
two remotes, including one with a
touchscreen and a few simplied
buttons, plus a more conventional
one with no touchscreen and
more buttons.
e touchscreen remote is a
little perplexing at rst (and
Denon’s cryptic surround-mode
nomenclature doesn’t help). It
took me a while to realize that the
source-input labels at the top of
the touchscreen only aect the
command menu at the bottom of
the touchscreen. You can only
select source inputs with the hard
buttons on the bottom of the
remote or with the le knob on
H
as the concept of
supersizing peaked?
e McMansion-
driven housing
boom is a bust. Some
SUV owners are trading in their
gas-guzzlers for more e cient
hybrids of the same size, while
others are opting for more
e cient hybrid sedans. Fast food
addicts are counting the calories
in their Happy Meals.
In video for home theater, the
trend is more ambiguous. Con-
sumers are still upsizing their
displays, but manufacturers
are compensating with energy-
e ciency gains. Moreover, state
regulations—notably in Califor-
nia—may trigger further
e ciencies.
In audio for home theater, the
trend is downsizing. e slim-
ming of displays has pushed a
complementary response in
surround systems. Soundbar
speakers are rushing to market
like logs speeding down a tumul-
tuous river, with sat/sub sets
bobbing alongside them. While
energy-e cient amplier topol-
ogies (Class D, Class G, Class H)
haven’t toppled conventional
Class AB, they’re certainly nib-
bling around the edges. So this
seems like an odd moment to
supersize a Class AB A/V receiver.
In November 2009, I reviewed
the Denon AVR-4310CI, the rst
A/V receiver to feature Audyssey’s
DSX height and width enhance-
ment. It also boasted Dolby’s Pro
Logic IIz height enhancement,
which has spread through
Denon’s entire line. With two
extra amp channels, the new
AVR-4810CI kicks it up another
notch by running two of the
following three surround
enhancement options simultane-
ously: front height, front width,
and back surround. A regular
seven-channel AVR can add only
one of those three items to sur-
round sound’s standard 5.1-
channel array. A single mono
subwoofer channel also supports
up to three subwoofers.
Two More Channels, Ten More
Watts
At 44 pounds and $2,999, the
nine-channel AVR-4810CI is 9
pounds heavier and $1,000 more
expensive than the seven-channel
AVR-4310CI. At a rated 140 watts
per channel, it’s also nominally 10
watts per channel more powerful.
However, as always, our measure-
ments should be your ultimate
guide, and it might be instructive
to compare the charts for both
models. (Check your November
issue or HomeeaterMag.com).
Otherwise, their feature sets are
similar and quite enviable. Besides
DSX, they feature Audyssey’s
PRICE: $2,999 AT A GLANCE: First Denon A/V receiver with nine channels of amplification

Networked audio features include Wi-Fi

Strong audio fundamentals
Need Supersizing?
HIGH END
Denon AVR-4810CI A/V Receiver
BY Mark Fleischmann
DENON AVR-4810CI A/V RECEIVER
PERFORMANCE
FEATURES
ERGONOMICS
VALUE
58 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
up and room
DENON AVR-4810CI A/V RECEIVER
the front panel. I felt pretty silly
when, aer a week of mysti-
cation, my technical contact
explained how it worked. Once
you get the hang of it, you may
prefer it to the sea-of-buttons
approach.
e front panel also has a
couple of welcome rarities behind
its ip-down panel: HDMI and
USB inputs. e USB input can
accept an iPod directly without
the need for an extra-cost dock. It
has a mate on the back panel, but
you can’t use them simultane-
ously, and you must select the
operative one in the GUI. iPods
can function in either GUI Mode
(operating with remote and
onscreen display) or Remote
Mode (operating directly with
iPod controls). e manual says
the AVR is compatible with iPods
5G and later, nano, classic, and
touch. In addition, Denon told me
that only 5G nanos work. e
manual adds that Remote Mode is
not supported on 5G iPods or
nanos. For non-compatible iPods,
you’ll need the optional dock.
On the back panel are ve
more HDMI inputs and two
outputs, plus enough component
video jacks to bump the AVR’s
HDTV-friendliness to a grand
total of nine inputs and four out-
puts. I’d love to see snapshots of a
system that uses all of them. ere
are three subwoofer outputs, but I
didn’t explore this feature. Other
connectivity goodies include
phono, Sirius, XM—and even
more interesting, an Ethernet jack
and a WLAN antenna input. e
latter is also present one model
down (in the AVR-4308CI,
$2,699) but not two models down
(in the AVR-4310CI, $1,999).
us the receiver can perform a
variety of networked audio tricks
AUDIO DECODING:
DOLBY: TrueHD, Digital 5.1, EX, Pro Logic
IIx/IIz
DTS: DTS-HD MA, DTS-HD High Resolution
Audio, DTS, ES, 96/24, Neo:6, Neural
AUDYSSEY: DSX, Dynamic Volume, Dynamic
EQ
OTHER: HDCD, 10 DSP modes
THX CERTIFICATION: No
NUMBER OF AMP CHANNELS: 9
RATED POWER (WATTS PER CHANNEL):
140 into 8 ohms
SPECIFIED FREQUENCY RESPONSE:
10 Hz to 100 kHz (+1/–3 dB)
VIDEO PROCESSING: Anchor Bay
AUTO SETUP/ROOM EQ: Audyssey MultEQ XT
DIMENSIONS (W X H X D, INCHES):
17.09 x 7.67 x 16.69
WEIGHT (POUNDS): 44.13
PRICE: $2,999
Features
DENON AVR-4810CI A/V RECEIVER


The flip-down panel con-
ceals a set of controls, includ-
ing navigation buttons.
DENON
AVR-4810CI
3:2 HD 2:2 HD MA HD 3:2 SD 2:2 SD MA SD
VIDEO
CLIPPING
LUMA
RESOLUTION
CHROMA
RESOLUTION
SCALING
DIGITAL PASS PASS PASS FAIL PASS PASS PASS PASS PASS EXCELLENT
ANALOG PASS PASS PASS FAIL PASS PASS PASS PASS FAIL GOOD
P
h
o
t
o
s

b
y

C
o
r
d
e
r
o

S
t
u
d
i
o
s
through either a wired or wireless
connection.
Adventures with Wi-Fi
It took me about 20 minutes to set
up the Wi-Fi connection, but it
was worth it. I screwed the sup-
plied rod antenna onto the AVR’s
WLAN port. Like many net-
worked devices, this one can
connect automatically or man-
ually. I picked the automatic
option, found my router’s security
scheme among the three choices
given, and the AVR recognized
my router. en I keyed in the
router’s password with the remote,
OK’d media sharing on the PC,
and stepped into networked
nirvana.
e AVR-4810CI’s coolest trick
is operation through the Web
browser (Internet Explorer,
Firefox, Safari) of a network-
connected computer (Windows
or Mac). is was easy. I looked
up the AVR’s numeric Web
address in its Network Info menu,
typed the number into the Web
browser’s address bar, and bingo.
e AVR’s main Web menu has
four big colored buttons for
MainZone, Zone2, Zone3, and
Zone4 Control, plus Setup Menu,
PDA Menu, and Web Controller
Conguration. Although the
interface is slightly dierent in
structure from the GUI, it was
easier to use because it put more
options on the screen. For
instance, it listed all of the inputs
as icons on a single screen. I loved
grabbing the volume bar with the
mouse and dragging it from so
to loud. e only hard part was
getting back to the AVR’s home
page—the Denon logo in the
upper-le-hand corner didn’t
function as a home-page link.
Streaming works with the
Windows Media Player 11 in XP
hometheatermag.com 59
and Vista, WMP 12 in Windows
7, or iTunes via TwonkyMedia
Server on PC or Mac. Both
networked and USB-connected
functions are grouped under the
input name NET/USB.
Networked audio menu options
include Favorites, Internet Radio,
Media Server, Napster, and
Rhapsody. USB will also appear
if a compatible device is plugged
into a USB input. In the Internet
Radio menu, I found a useful list
of my local stations and several
search options, including Search
Podcast. I picked a buoyant Latin
station, then looked in the Media
Server menu, where the single
listed item was my Lenovo
inkCentre A61e Windows XP
desktop PC. Options under the
PC were Music, Pictures, and
Playlists.
As the Internet station
continued to play, I tried the
Pictures function. Like other
networked devices I’ve tried, this
one didn’t detect my Pictures
VIDEO TEST BENCH The Denon passed most of the Digital
tests easily (HDMI in to HDMI out). But it failed to lock solidly
onto SD 3:2 pulldown, either analog or digital. The analog
chroma horizontal resolution was also gone by the highest
burst frequency. The Digital Video Clipping and Resolution
tests were run at 1080p in (HDMI) and 1080p out (HDMI).
The Analog Video Clipping and Resolution tests were run at
1080i in (component) and 1080p out (HDMI)—there are no
consumer component 1080p sources.—TJN
Visit our Website
for a detailed
explanation of
these video tests.
on the
web
drives (formatted NTFS and
FAT), although it could recognize
a FAT-formatted thumb drive,
which showed both an album
folder and a few loose tracks
outside the folder.
In general, it took me longer to
master the AVR-4810CI than
most AVRs I’ve used, and I
needed some hand-holding
during the process. is was
partly a function of the ambitious
feature roster—there is usually a
trade-o between the number of
features and ease of operation. It’s
also partly because I am, like
many consumers, sometimes a
doofus.
Prelude to Disc
Spinning
Associated gear for
the disc-driven movie
and music demos
included ve
Paradigm Reference
Studio 20 v4 speakers
driven full range, four
Paradigm Cinema 70
v3 speakers, Panasonic
DMP-BD35 Blu-ray
player, Integra
DPS-10.5 universal
player, Luxman
PD-189 turntable,
Shure V97xE cartridge,
and Bellari VP530 tube
phono preamp. I tried
the phono input on the
last Denon AVR I
reviewed and found it a
little crude, so I
preferred the Bellari
preamp.
Since Audyssey DSX
won’t work with a
manual setup, I ran the
Audyssey MultEQ XT
auto setup and room
correction program.
at didn’t bother me;
MultEQ XT is one of
the few auto setups I
trust. It correctly
identied the ve larger
speakers as full range
and the four smaller ones as
having limited bass response. It
even pointed out that the right
width speaker was operating out
of phase. I corrected the problem.
is is the second time I’ve
used Audyssey DSX. However,
thanks to the AVR’s nine amp
channels, this is the rst time I’ve
used width and height enhance-
ment simultaneously. Having
spent much of my career railing
HIGH END DENON AVR-4810CI A/V RECEIVER
The included
touchscreen remote
has a learning curve,
but you may prefer it
over Denon’s included
conventional remote.
Five channels driven continuously into
8-ohm loads:
0.1 percent distortion at 123.5
watts
1 percent distortion at 148.2 watts
Seven channels driven continuously
into 8-ohm loads:
0.1 percent distortion at 30.9 watts
1 percent distortion at 36.0 watts
(Protection Engages)
Analog frequency response in
Pure Direct mode:
–0.18 dB at 10 Hz
–0.05 dB at 20 Hz
–0.02 dB at 20 kHz
–2.73 dB at 50 kHz
Analog frequency response with
stereo signal processing:
–1.30 dB at 10 Hz
–0.36 dB at 20 Hz
–0.20 dB at 20 kHz
–29.01 dB at 50 kHz
T
his graph shows that the
AVR-4810Ci’s left channel,
from CD input to speaker
output with two channels
DENON AVR-4810CI A/V RECEIVER
HT Labs
Measures
DENON AVR-4810CI A/V RECEIVER
Visit our Website
for a detailed
explanation of our
testing regimen,
plus a list of our
reference gear.
on the
web
folder, but it found the PC’s
o cial My Pictures folder. With
an o cial limit of 3,000 by 2,000
pixels, the AVR handily loaded
pictures shot with a 5-megapixel
camera and le unedited. It took
10 seconds due to the le size;
smaller les would likely have
moved faster. Initially the 4:3
images were horizontally
stretched to 16:9. I couldn’t adjust
them from the TV, but a dive
into the Aspect Ratio submenu
xed that.
As the last picture remained on
the screen, I navigated to Media
Server/Music, which readily
found the music stored in the PC’s
Music folder. is pleased me
because I prefer that folder to the
Windows-approved My Music
folder. rough its front USB
port, the AVR couldn’t recognize
two well-stued external hard
against back surrounds, I didn’t
feel duty-bound to use that
option.
Since I A/B’d my brains out in
my last DSX-enriched review, I
resolved to leave the height and
width channels on the whole time
and experience them in a less
analytical (and long-winded)
fashion.
Paranoid Ears
is resolve lasted all of ve
minutes. at’s how far I got into
Paranoid Park (BD, DTS-HD
Master Audio) before curiosity
got the better of me. is Gus Van
Sant lm follows a skateboarding
teen through rites of passage
fraught with guilt
feelings. e movie
has an unusually rich
soundtrack that’s
designed to convey
psychological depth
and complexity. It
features many kinds
of music and
eects—including a
whole lot of phasey,
reverb-heavy
information. e
DSX processing
picked up on that. It
frequently imparted a
hollow, disembodied
feel to the kid’s
monotone voiceover
and many other
elements. At one point,
as he pulls up a chair to
be interviewed by a
police detective, the
chair scraping the oor
had the same
defocused sound.
e more I A/B’d,
the more I realized that
much of the hollowness
was encoded directly
into the original
5.1-channel sound-
track. Still, DSX
exaggerated it slightly.
And it did so more
than the Dolby Pro
Logic IIz mode, which has only
height channels and no width.
Vocals mixed solely into the
center channel weren’t aected;
only those that leaked into the
front le and right channels. ey
were then picked up by the DSX
height/width processor. I
wondered if the problem was
coloration induced by the smaller,
plastic-clad Cinema 70 in the
width and height channels.
60 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
driving 8-ohm loads, reaches 0.1
percent distortion at 168.2 watts and
1 percent distortion at 187.7 watts.
Into 4 ohms, the amplifier reaches 0.1
percent distortion at 277.8 watts and
1 percent distortion at 303.5 watts.
Response from the multichannel
input to the speaker output measures
–0.16 decibels at 10 hertz, –0.04 dB at
20 Hz, –0.04 dB at 20 kilohertz, and
–2.74 dB at 50 kHz. THD+N from the
CD input to the speaker output was
less than 0.003 percent at 1 kHz when
driving 2.83 volts into an 8-ohm load.
Crosstalk at 1 kHz driving 2.83 volts
into an 8-ohm load was –74.77 dB left
to right and –74.39 dB right to left.
The signal-to-noise ratio with 2.83
volts driving an 8-ohm load
from 10 Hz to 24 kHz with “A”
weighting was –112.63 dBrA.
From the Dolby Digital input
to the loudspeaker output, the
left channel measures –0.14 dB
at 20 Hz and –0.19 dB at 20
kHz. The center channel
measures –0.14 dB at 20 Hz and
–0.18 dB at 20 kHz, and the left
surround channel measures –0.15 dB
at 20 Hz and –0.18 dB at 20 kHz. From
the Dolby Digital input to the
line-level output, the LFE channel is
–0.07 dB at 20 Hz when referenced to
the level at 40 Hz and reaches the
upper 3-dB down point at 118 Hz and
the upper 6-dB down point at 121
Hz.—MJP
Connections INPUTS: VIDEO: HDMI 1.3a (6), component
video (3), S-video (7), composite video (6) AUDIO: Coaxial digital (3), optical
digital (3), 7.1-channel analog (1), stereo analog (7), phono (2) ADDITIONAL:
iPod dock, Sirius (1), XM Radio (1), Ethernet (1), USB (2), remote control (1),
12-volt trigger (1), WLAN antenna (1), Denon Link (1), AM (1), FM (1), RS-232C
(1) OUTPUTS: VIDEO: HDMI 1.3a (2), component video (2), S-video (3), composite
video (3) AUDIO: Optical digital (2), stereo analog (4), 11.3-channel preamp (1)
ADDITIONAL: 12-volt trigger (1), remote control (1)
As it turned out, the speakers
weren’t the problem. In Away We
Go (DVD, Dolby Digital 5.1),
none of these problems recurred.
ere was clearly something
about the Van Sant movie and its
unusual soundtrack that triggered
problems in DSX. In the rst
movie, surf sounded unnatural in
nine channels. In the second
movie, it sounded perfectly
natural, and the dierence
between ve and nine channels
was surprisingly subtle. So the
problem was source dependent,
and I stopped worrying about it.
By the way, Maya Rudolph shines
in this brilliant comedy as a
pregnant woman who accompa-
nies her partner on a freak-lled
cross-country journey that denes
their love and commitment.
Musical interludes by singer/
songwriter Alexi Murdoch are
reminiscent of Nick Drake, with a
sonorous, velvety vocal texture
that the Denon mined for beauty
and sensuality.
In Ghost Rider (BD, Dolby
TrueHD), the hollowness showed
up again in yet another opening
voiceover, this time by a resonant
baritone. But the eect was
minimal and didn’t distract me.
Nicolas Cage stars as a motorcycle
stunt rider who tries to get out of
a deal he makes with the devil.
Eects include lots of motor noise
and all the supernatural eects
you’d expect in a movie where
Peter Fonda plays Mephistoph-
eles. Naturally, I spared myself the
worst onslaughts by invoking
Audyssey Dynamic Volume and
Dynamic EQ. Dynamic Volume
has three settings: Day, with the
“least adjustment to loudest and
soest sounds”; Evening, with
“medium adjustment”; and
Midnight, with the “most
adjustment.” (is seems to be
Denon nomenclature. Marantz,
its sister brand, uses the terms
Light, Medium, and Heavy.) I
compromised and went with
Evening. It felt just right. e
loudest moments were dramatic
but not overbearing, and I didn’t
miss a word of dialogue. I also
liked MultEQ XT’s eect on the
Paradigm Studio 20s. It got some
extra low-frequency oomph out
of them, which beneted both
music and eects. Top-drawer
amplication surely helped.
Violin, Piano, Guitar
e Overtures & Concerti Vol. 1 of
Francesco Maria Veracini comes
in the form of a freshly recorded
multichannel SACD on the CPO
label. I played the 5.1-channel
mix without enhancement. Like
Vivaldi, Veracini was an 18th-
century composer/violinist, so it’s
tting that these pieces are per-
formed by a conductor/violinist,
Federico Guglielmo, with the
L’Arte dell’Arco, an original-
instruments ensemble. Surprises
ensued immediately. e “Over-
ture VI in G minor” added reeds
to the string orchestra, giving
them a leading melodic role, and
the recording gave them pride of
place in the center channel. is
was an unusual mix for an
unusual piece. e oboe and bass-
oon had the kind of luminous,
sensuous, palpably real feel that’s
di cult to achieve on CD but
much easier on SACD. In later
pieces, Guglielmo’s solo violin
parts had plenty of wood tone (I
could sense the body of the
instrument), and tiny details of
the violinist’s touch came through
with abundant detail and reso-
lution at every turn. However, this
high-frequency virtuosity didn’t
come at the expense of listening
comfort. Fed with this best-case
source material, the Denon
wowed me.
Keith Jarrett’s e Köln Concert
is the best of his improvised piano
records as well as a superb
recording. e vinyl is
an old friend. Aer
brief and uneventful
experimentation with
various modes, I
chose the Pure mode.
is presented source
material without
enhancement, in its
original number of
channels, and it shut
down the GUI and
front-panel display to
reduce nonessential
circuit-induced noise.
e piano sound was
limpid and involving.
As a listener who’s
accustomed to
surround expansion,
I found the original
stereo a little
speaker-bound. But
my brain soon
rewired itself to
compensate—in
much the same way it
rewires itself to
accommodate the
idiosyncrasies of
stereo-to-surround
rechanneling. I know
every note of this
double-LP set by
heart, and this demo
was among the best
I’ve heard. It reminded
me that without
competence in the fundamentals
of audio performance—clarity,
low noise, dynamic distinctions
large and small—an A/V receiver
would be useless to music lovers.
Road to Ruin is the fourth
album by the Ramones and the
rst to feature my namesake,
Marky Ramone, on drums. Few
of their thousands of imitators
have ever approached Johnny’s
metal virtuosity, Joey’s sly self-
deprecating wit, and the native
charm of this quintessential New
York band. e album’s showcase
of electric guitar textures took on
added variety and vividness via
Denon’s squeaky-clean amplica-
tion. Smoothed a little by my tube
phono preamp, the AVR sup-
ported high-volume listening,
and that’s the most natural way to
hear the Ramones. I loved what
MultEQ XT did for Marky and
Dee Dee’s driving beat. A good
sub could have done better, but
with EQ, the Paradigms’ slightly
reticent metal-coned woofers
were musically
su cient.
I nished the audio
demos by replaying “I
Wanna Be Sedated” in
Pure, the Dolby Pro
Logic II Music 5.1
mode, and DSX (which
will work only in the
presence of a 5.1-
channel signal like
DPLII—not with a
stereo signal). Since the
Ramones work best
with some density, the
Pure mode triumphed,
DPLII was merely
adequate, and the nal
overlay of DSX was just
way too diuse.
e Denon
AVR-4810CI has the
most complete feature
set I’ve ever encoun-
tered in an A/V
receiver, with a learning
curve to match—but it’s
worth the eort. Its
performance is up there
with the best. is AVR
isn’t just for the com-
pletist who wants all
of the latest listening
modes. It’s for anyone
who wants a great-
sounding system,
whether 5.1, 7.1, or 9.1.
at kind of supersiz-
ing will never go out of style. For
the dedicated surround bu who
wants it all, here it is.
* Audio editor Mark Fleis-
chmann is also the author of
the annually updated book
Practical Home eater
(quietriverpress.com).
Denon • (201) 762-6500 •
usa.denon.com
Dealer Locator Code DEN
Denon also
provides a more
conventional remote
with no touchscreen and
more buttons.
DENON AVR-4810CI A/V RECEIVER
hometheatermag.com 61
W
hen you hear
that we can now
add a seven-
channel
soundbar to the
list of the many technological
wonders in the world today, your
rst inclination might be to ask,
“Dude, it’s a ippin’ soundbar.
What’s the point?” And I might
respond, “Uh, marketing?” So you
can imagine that when the new
Atlantic Technology FS-7.0—the
world’s rst seven-channel
soundbar—arrived, I wasn’t
terribly enthusiastic to set it up.
Aer all, I would need to remove
my current in-wall center-channel
speaker, replace it with a blank
panel on which to mount the new
all-in-one system, and then run
seven speaker wires across the
oor. I don’t know whether it was
the titillation that comes with
undressing a new piece of gear or
the surreptitious sni ng of
Styrofoam packaging, but for
some reason, I began to warm up
to the idea of a seven-channel
soundbar. Aer all, I’ve never
known Atlantic Technology to be
the kind of company that would
do something simply because it
would make good copy in an ad,
so the thing just might sound
good. If nothing else, it certainly
would have plenty of cool drivers
scattered all over the cabinet and
lots of settings to ddle with.
Of course, if I’d read the cover
letter that came with the system,
I’d have known not to expect a
complicated setup or a complex
array of drivers. Simplicity was
one of the design criteria for the
FS-7.0. Although it’s the rst
soundbar that can reproduce
seven discrete channels of home
theater audio, it does it without
extensive signal processing or
built-in ampliers. It achieves this
acoustic sleight of ear—the trick
of making your brain believe it’s
hearing sound from dierent
parts of the room—by virtue of
good old-fashioned clever speaker
engineering and utilization of
well-known psychoacoustic
principles. If that wasn’t enough,
Atlantic Technology wanted the
new soundbar to be simple to set
up, usable with A/V receivers that
have two to seven channels, sound
like it’s a much larger speaker
system, be less room dependent
than most other soundbars, and
look good hanging on the wall.
(And you thought soundbars
were boring.)
1 + 2 + 3 = Faux
With its Gloss Black nish,
sloping top and bottom, and
relatively small wall-print of 40
inches wide by 4.75 inches tall,
the FS-7.0 looks good. Across the
back of the cabinet are recessed
speaker terminals for the LCR
and the four surround speaker
channels in a 7.1-channel system.
If you use an AVR, you simply
run speaker wire from its speaker-
level outputs to the corresponding
speaker terminals on the FS-7.0
like you would if you were using
discrete speakers. At rst glance,
this row of connectors might be
daunting, but each set of ter-
minals is clearly marked, and the
instruction manual includes an
easy-to-follow wiring diagram.
Atlantic Technology also provides
a mounting template that shows
the locations of the built-in key-
hole brackets as well as the
speaker terminals. e template
makes it easy to drill holes in
the wall for the speaker wire in
the right spots. It also makes a
great guide so you can see which
terminals to connect the speaker
wire to when you bend over
the soundbar from the front—
something you’re going to do
PRICE: $1,100 AT A GLANCE: Built-in keyhole brackets

Triple-voice-coil side-firing surround
drivers

World’s first seven-channel soundbar
Seven Channels Plus
MIDRANGE
Atlantic Technology FS-7.0 Soundbar and SB-800 Sub
BY Darryl Wilkinson
Score one for clever speaker
engineering.
e four surround channels
in this 7.1 system are handled
by two 3.25-inch surround
speakers, one mounted on each
side of the FS-7.0’s cabinet
and angled back toward the
wall. Although you’d think the
soundbar is missing a couple of
drivers here too, it’s not. ese
ordinary-looking side-ring
drivers incorporate triple voice
coils. One voice coil is dedicated
to the side surround, while the
second reproduces the back
surround channel. Because of the
angle of the speakers, the sound
bounces o the front wall, to the
side walls, to your ears. e third
voice coil reproduces part of
ATLANTIC TECHNOLOGY FS-7.0
SOUNDBAR AND SB-800 SUB
PERFORMANCE
VALUE
BUILD QUALITY

The trio of 1-inch tweeters
cover the front left, center,
and right channels, while the
two oval midbass drivers fill
in the lower frequencies.

unless you’ve run 10 extra feet of
wire. e spring-loaded speaker
terminals are recessed into the
cabinet (which is a necessity in
order to mount the soundbar at
against the wall). So they’re a little
harder to get to than the terminals
on many speakers. e holes in
the connectors for the speaker
wire are smaller than I’d like, but
as long as you don’t use trans-
Atlantic telephone cables for
speaker wires, you’ll be OK.
If you decide to take o the
front grille to admire what you’ll
expect to be a multitude of drivers
hidden behind it, you’ll be in for a
letdown. All you’ll nd across the
soundbar’s front ba e are a trio of
1-inch so-dome tweeters
separated by a pair of 4-by-6-inch
drivers. (Atlantic chose oval
midbass drivers because they
provide approximately the same
radiating surface area as 5.25-inch
drivers, yet they allow the cabinet
height to be an inch shorter.)
As you’d expect, there’s
one tweeter each for the
LCR channels—but it
appears that some
now-unemployed
engineer forgot to spec
a midbass driver for the
center channel.Actually,
this isn’t the case,
because each of the
4-by-6-inch drivers
incorporates a dual voice coil. So
the le driver, for example,
handles the mid and low
frequencies of the le front
channel, while it also reproduces
half of the output of the center
channel. Likewise for the driver
on the right. Atlantic Technology
says this arrangement lets the
FS-7.0 create a tightly focused
LCR image while keeping the
overall size small. And it costs less
to make because it uses only two
midbass drivers instead of three.
of
62 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
ATLANTIC TECHNOLOGY FS-7.0 SOUNDBAR AND SB-800 SUB
e keyhole brackets are already
installed on the back of the
soundbar. All it takes is two
screws in the wall, and you’re
done. Now it’s time to get your
decibel meter out and start lis-
tening to some test tones, right?
Keep your meter in your pants,
buddy, because Atlantic Technol-
ogy has done most of the hard
work. e company recommends
that you set the LCR levels to –3
dB each and all the surround
channels to 0 dB (unless you have
a really big room or like a lot of
surround eect, in which case you
can goose them to +1 or +2 dB).
Setting the proper distance/delay
settings is almost as easy. e LCR
setting is the actual distance from
the listening position to the
soundbar. To calculate the side
surround and back surround
speaker settings, measure the
distance from the edge of the
FS-7.0 to the side wall, add 2 feet,
and then add the number of feet
you entered for the LCR setting.
is makes sense because you’re
accounting for the distance the
sound travels once it leaves the
side of the soundbar, hits the front
wall, bounces o the side wall,
and then nds its way to your
ears. Of course, you can play with
the settings if you want, but I
found the suggested calculations
to be spot on in my room. ey
worked whether the FS-7.0 was
mounted on the wall or on a TV a
couple of feet out. If you have an
AVR with built-in setup calibra-
tion, don’t bother using it. It will
take longer, and the system will
sound like you put your head in a
giant tin can. (Unless you like that
sort of thing.)
Wide Open Space
If anyone tries to convince you
that a particular soundbar or
faux-surround system sounds just
as good as a system with discrete
speakers, that person is either
lying or has suered severe hear-
ing damage from the burst of the
housing bubble. Physics is
physics, and unless you have the
aid of illicit drugs (for medicinal
purposes), there’s no way you’ll
consistently experience the same
kind of surround sound perfor-
mance from a soundbar that you
will from a traditional speaker
system. at being said, there are
plenty of rooms and situations
where a soundbar is the ideal
system to have, especially when
the corresponding front channel,
which Atlantic Technology says
helps create a larger sense of
spaciousness than you’d expect
from a 40-inch-wide soundbar.
e multi-voice-coil design
means that each driver (except for
the center-channel tweeter) is
active to some degree whether
you’re listening to two, ve, or
seven channels.
A Basic Accessory
Since a pair of 4-by-6-inch drivers
won’t give you the kind of bass
most people want in a home
theater setup, Atlantic Technology
sent along an SB-800 subwoofer.
It’s a compact (11-by-13-by-13-
inch), 100-watt powered unit with
a forward-ring port and an ultra-
long-excursion 8-inch woofer. If

The SB-800’s compact, vented
cabinet houses an 8-inch woofer
powered by 100 watts.

you don’t want or can’t use a
subwoofer (maybe because
you’re a communist, a serial killer,
or someone who hates puppies),
the instruction manual suggests
that you use your AVR’s “small”
speaker setting with the front-
channel crossover at 60 hertz
and the surround channels at
100 Hz. While this won’t rattle
your display of collectible Hum-
mel gurines o the shelves, the
FS-7.0 will still sound astound-
ingly better than using the
speakers that are built into
your TV.
Don’t Get Testy
e hardest part of setting up
the system is connecting all the
speaker wires. However, since the
FS-7.0 doesn’t involve lugging
speakers and wire all around the
room, it’s pretty much a breeze.
hometheatermag.com 63
SPEAKER: FS-7.0
TYPE: Seven-channel soundbar
TWEETER (SIZE IN INCHES, TYPE): 1, soft dome (3)
MIDBASS (SIZE IN INCHES, TYPE): 4 x 6, dual voice coil (2)
SURROUND (SIZE IN INCHES, TYPE): 3.25, triple voice coil (2)
NOMINAL IMPEDANCE (OHMS): 8
RECOMMENDED AMP POWER (WATTS): 10–125
AVAILABLE FINISHES: Gloss Black
DIMENSIONS (W X H X D, INCHES): 40 x 4.75 x 5.25
WEIGHT (POUNDS): 37
PRICE: $800
Features
impressive. It does an excellent
job of creating the eect of a
surround eld. However, instead
of putting you in the middle of the
action, the soundbar creates the
sensation that you’re sitting along
at the back edge of a large bubble
of sound. While the soundeld
never quite engulfs you, you can
denitely hear surround eects
going on in front of you. e
surround placement is also
consistent and rational, even
though it all happens in front
of you rather than around you.
For example, aer the rats are
discovered in Ratatouille, the
exodus of rodents sounds like it
starts at your nose and heads to
the river. You can clearly hear the
rain falling in front of you. Aer
Remy loses track of his family, the
echoes of his voice and the water
are extremely convincing. And as
he furiously swirls around under
the rushing water, there are a few
brief moments when the sound-
eld engulfs your head.
From the opening credits to the
rst big race in Cars, the FS-7.0
created an impressively wide
soundeld. e SB-800 did a ne
job handling the low rumble as
the cars swept by, too. e system
also handled smaller sonic details
just as well. For instance, in e
Others, where much of the fright
depends upon subtle, low-volume
sounds followed by much louder
events, the FS-7.0 reproduced the
smallest details of tense breathing
and creaking oors fabulously.
ere were no problems with
dialogue intelligibility. Voices
were strong and clean—I could
hear and understand the voices of
the others in the upstairs junk
room more clearly than I could
with many other systems.
You might think it’s silly to talk
about the performance of a
soundbar with 5.1-channel Dolby
TrueHD material. I mean, we’re
talking about a soundbar
here—does bit-for-bit,
L/R Sensitivity:
83.5 dB from 500 Hz to 2 kHz
Center Sensitivity:
84.5 dB from 500 Hz to 2 kHz
T
his graph shows the
quasi-anechoic (employing
close-miking of all woofers)
frequency response of the
FS-7.0 left channel (purple trace),
SB-800 subwoofer (blue trace), and
FS-7.0 center channel (green trace).
The passive loudspeaker was
measured with the grille at a distance
of 1 meter with a 2.83-volt input and
scaled for display purposes.
The left channel’s listening-window
response (a five-point average of axial
and +/–15-degree horizontal and
vertical responses) measures
+3.12/–6.23 decibels from 200
hertz to 10 kilohertz. The –3-dB
point is at 83 Hz, and the –6-dB
point is at 76 Hz. Impedance
reaches a minimum of 17.02 ohms
at 4.9 kHz and a phase angle of
–17.94 degrees at 3.4 kHz.
The center channel’s
listening-window response
measures +4.63/–8.55 dB
from 200 Hz to 10 kHz. An
average of axial and
+/–15-degree horizontal
responses measures
+4.64/–8.54 dB from 200 Hz to
10 kHz. The –3-dB point is at 83 Hz,
and the –6-dB point is at 73 Hz.
Impedance reaches a minimum of
5.94 ohms at 3.7 kHz and a phase
angle of –60.05 degrees at 2.2 kHz.
The SB-800’s close-miked
response, normalized to the level at
80 Hz, indicates that the lower –3-dB
point is at 42 Hz and the –6-dB point
is at 36 Hz. The upper –3-dB point is
at 131 Hz with the Low-Pass control
set to maximum.—MJP
lossless audio really matter? As a
matter of fact, it does, because
that’s when the FS-7.0 really began
to shine. When I popped in the
Spider-Man 3 Blu-ray Disc, the
sound-eld became even more
full and robust. When the New
Goblin rst ies in, he seems to
materialize above your head as he
zooms in to attack. Punches and
crashes have a full, strong impact,
and the swirling sound of the
column of sand around Flint
Marko as he is atomized is
remarkably real.
As you’d guess from the FS-7.0’s
two-channel performance, its
performance with multichannel
music was also wonderful. Here,
the eect is as if you were sitting
behind most of the crowd, except
the music is as clear as if you were
sitting in the front row. As long as
we’re talking about music, the
FS-7.0 also did a fantastic job
re-creating a thoroughly believ-
able soundeld of the roaring
crowd when my kids played Rock
Band in our PS3’s Dolby Digital
mode.
Conclusion
Nothing can replace a multi-
discrete-speaker, multi-thousand-
dollar home theater system, and
Atlantic doesn’t tout the FS-7.0/
SB-800 system as being able to
do so. On the other hand, it’s a
great alternative to a traditional
home theater setup or built-in
TV speakers. When you take into
account the system’s surround and
music performance, its simplicity
and ability to automatically adapt
to any AVR from two to seven
channels, and its reasonable price,
the FS-7.0 is an outstanding value
in a soundbar speaker.
Atlantic Technology •
(781) 762-6300 •
atlantictechnology.com
Dealer Locator Code ATL
MIDRANGE ATLANTIC TECHNOLOGY FS-7.0 SOUNDBAR AND SB-800 SUB
ATLANTIC TECHNOLOGY FS-7.0
SOUNDBAR AND SB-800 SUB
HT Labs
Measures
ATLANTIC TECHNOLOGY FS-7.0 SOUNDBAR AND SB-800 SUB
there’s no easy way to run wires or
otherwise install a pair of sur-
round speakers (not to mention
an additional back surround pair).
Another benet to a soundbar is
the much-reduced installation
time. It’s a big bonus, whether
you’re doing it yourself or paying
someone else to do it.
So, assuming that a true
surround system isn’t an option, is
it worth it to shell out $800 for the
FS-7.0 (plus $300 for the SB-800
subwoofer)? Absolutely—and not
just for surround sound listening.
e FS-7.0 and SB-800 sub sound
great—even when you’re playing
two-channel music. anks to
those angled triple-voice-coil
side-ring speakers, it generates
a soundstage that’s much wider
than you’d expect. For example,
the two-channel audio track of
the multiple pianos on e 5
Browns CD/DVD had a natural
and open feel that surprised me.
e 1-inch so-dome tweeters in
the FS-7.0 are very smooth. e
upper register of the piano in
“e Sorcerer’s Apprentice” was
delicate and airy—something I
wouldn’t have expected from a
soundbar.
7 Out of 7
Of course, surround sound is a
soundbar’s primary task, and the
FS-7.0’s performance is extremely
Visit our Website
for a detailed
explanation of our
testing regimen,
plus a list of our
reference gear.
on the
web
Connections
SB-800 SUBWOOFER: ENCLOSURE TYPE: Vented
WOOFER (SIZE IN INCHES, TYPE): 8, composite
cellulose pulp cone RATED POWER (WATTS): 100,
RMS CONNECTIONS: Line-level RCA CROSSOVER
BYPASS: Switchable AVAILABLE FINISHES: Black
DIMENSIONS (W X H X D, INCHES): 11 x 13 x 13
WEIGHT (POUNDS): 28 PRICE: $300
64 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
to Plasma aer you used the
projector last night, there’s no
picture on the at panel, and now
the world is going to end if the
Sunday-night Cake Boss
marathon doesn’t magically
appear. (I mean, come on, even if
you weren’t good at Simon as a
kid, you should still be able to
master a simple eight-press button
sequence, right?)
e SC-27 also has a complete
set of video parameters for devices
connected to the DVD, TV/SAT,
DVR, VIDEO1, and VIDEO2
inputs. ere are controls for
sharpness, contrast, brightness,
hue, and chroma, along with
adjustments for output resolution
and aspect ratio. While the
manual doesn’t state as much, I
suspect that these controls are
only available for analog source
material, with the KURO Link
feature either on or o (more on
that shortly); I couldn’t access the
video parameter settings for my
HDMI sources. Fortunately,
anything I wanted to do in this
regard is available on both of my
display devices. at’s exactly
where any video adjustments
should be made, especially if you
have two dierent display devices.
Mind Your PQLS!
I listen to a lot of music. In fact, I
do more music listening than
I
’m convinced that at a
subatomic level, my DNA
has begun mutating me into
homo gadgetus. My dad was
an electrical engineer, so
naturally, hooking up a two-
channel stereo was instinctual,
hereditary, and manifest from the
moment my little ngers could
grasp an RCA connector. But
setting up a multichannel,
HDMI-equipped, Internet-
connected AVR was a challenge
until recently. I don’t think
manufacturers have gotten that
much better at their hardware and
soware design. I just think that
as a subspecies (male), we’ve
become more adept at new forms
of hunting and gathering.
e Pioneer Elite SC-27 is the
most rened AVR I’ve played
with. It has every feature I could
possibly want, implemented in
ways that make them mostly easy
to use. For instance, I simply
plugged in the supplied micro-
phone, and the SC-27 immedi-
ately brought up the Multichannel
Acoustic Channel Calibration
(MCACC) setup GUI. It did its
job in just a few minutes. All I had
to do was yell, “Hurry! Fire!” a
few times to clear the house of the
noisemakers and then press the
Enter button on the remote a few
times. Et voilà!
You can display and fuss with
the MCACC’s nine-band room
EQ curves, which show how well
your speakers are response-
matched in your listening
environment. is is critical for
achieving seamless surround
sound in your theater room. Mark
Peterson’s measurements of my
Revel Voice2 center-channel
speaker (which I reviewed for
HT’s July 2009 issue and later
bought) indicated a variance of
less than 2 decibels from 200 hertz
to 10 kilohertz. Still, my room is
anything but a quasi-anechoic
chamber, and the speaker needed
a 7.5-dB boost at 250 Hz and a
9-dB cut at 50 Hz to bring it in
line with the Salon2 speakers. I
was far more impressed with the
results from Pioneer’s MCACC
than the Audyssey room-correc-
tion system in my Marantz
SR8002 AVR, which I mostly le
disengaged for my Revel review.
e SC-27 is the rst AVR I’ve
used that has two HDMI outputs
that can be active simultaneously.
is makes it much easier to
operate a theater that has both a
projector and a at panel. ere’s
nothing worse than one of your
theater users calling you in a
panic while you’re at work on a
busy Monday morning because
you forgot to set the system back
PRICE: $2,200 AT A GLANCE: MCACC room EQ makes it all good

ICEpower amplification is sweet,
powerful, and dynamic

PQLS isn’t a gimmick; it really works
What? No 8-Track?
MIDRANGE
Pioneer Elite SC-27 A/V Receiver
BY Fred Manteghian
PIONEER ELITE SC-27 A/V RECEIVER
PERFORMANCE
FEATURES
ERGONOMICS
VALUE
66 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
used the
PIONEER ELITE SC-27 A/V RECEIVER
movie watching these days, so
what the Pioneer can do for music
is very important to me. For this
review, I used a Pioneer BDP-320
Blu-ray player. It can synchronize
its clock over HDMI with the one
in the SC-27 for what Pioneer
claims is jitter-free digital audio
utilizing Pioneer’s Precision
Quartz Lock System (PQLS). I
conducted a few poor man’s
A-B-X tests (you keep switching
modes until you get confused and
then pick which one you think
sounds better). I correctly
identied the PQLS system as
superior, albeit slightly, in three
out of three cases. I guess it works.
On “Let’s Do the ings We
Normally Do” from the Safe Trip
Home CD, Dido’s voice became
more focused, with more
lower-frequency energy in her
crooning. Bass was also more
authoritative—but non-obviously
so—with PQLS switched on.
However, to use PQLS, you
have to enable KURO Link on
both the AVR and the Blu-ray
player. is rebadged HDMI
Consumer Electronics Control
(CEC) scheme lets you use a
single remote to control multiple
devices in the music and movie
reproduction chain. Unlike
universal remotes that use a host
of proprietary control codes,
HDMI CEC is a standard
language that all HDMI CEC
components speak over HDMI.
In theory, I should be able to
turn on the Pioneer BDP-320
AUDIO DECODING:
DOLBY: TrueHD, Digital Plus, Digital 5.1, EX,
Pro Logic IIx
DTS: DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS-HD High
Resolution Audio, DTS, ES, 96/24, 5.1, Neo:6,
Express
OTHER: PQLS, SACD over HDMI, DSP modes,
Auto Level Control
THX CERTIFICATION: THX Ultra2 Plus
NUMBER OF AMP CHANNELS: 7
RATED POWER (WATTS PER CHANNEL):
140 watts @ 8 ohms, 180 watts @ 6 ohms
SPECIFIED FREQUENCY RESPONSE:
20 Hz to 20 kHz
VIDEO PROCESSING: Proprietary
AUTO SETUP/ROOM EQ: MCACC
DIMENSIONS (W X H X D, INCHES):
16.6 x 7.9 x 18.1
WEIGHT (POUNDS): 40.8
PRICE: $2,200
Features
PIONEER ELITE SC-27 A/V RECEIVER


The SC-27 has a 140-watt-
per-channel ICEpower Class D
amplifier section.
VIDEO TEST BENCH The Pioneer Elite SC-27’s video circuits,
as with last year’s SC-07, performs no video processing
on HDMI inputs. The Pioneer can convert 720p or 1080i
component inputs to HDMI out, but it leaves their input
resolutions unchanged and will not upconvert them to
1080p. It will, however, convert 480i or 480p component
to 1080p HDMI. All of the applicable Analog tests passed
except for Chroma Resolution. The Analog Resolution and
Video Clipping tests were run with component 1080i in
(there are no consumer 1080p component sources) and
1080i HDMI out. The Digital Resolution and Video Clipping
tests were run with a 1080p HDMI input passed-through to
a 1080p HDMI output.—TJN
Visit our Website
for a detailed
explanation of
these video tests.
on the
web
PIONEER ELITE
SC-27
3:2 HD 2:2 HD MA HD 3:2 SD 2:2 SD MA SD
VIDEO
CLIPPING
LUMA
RESOLUTION
CHROMA
RESOLUTION
SCALING
DIGITAL N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A PASS PASS PASS N/A
ANALOG N/A N/A N/A PASS PASS PASS PASS PASS FAIL GOOD
P
h
o
t
o
s

b
y

C
o
r
d
e
r
o

S
t
u
d
i
o
s
Blu-ray player, and it should turn
on the SC-27 AVR and my
Pioneer Elite KURO 60-inch
plasma, and I can begin watching
a movie. e best I got, from a
total standstill, was that the AVR
switched from dead-o to standby
aer I pressed Play on the Pioneer
BD player. e KURO plasma
never came on at all, even though
KURO Link was enabled on it
too. I tried it with the TV already
on, and (amusingly) the video
passed through to the plasma so I
could see what musical tracks
were playing, although I couldn’t
hear them! So this needs work.
On the other hand, if everything
was already on and I was listening
to music on another source and
then inserted a Blu-ray Disc into
the Pioneer BDP-320, the AVR
sensed it and switched to the BD
input. It automatically did
everything short of asking me
what I thought of the new Dido
CD while the movie spun up.
KURO means “dark” in
Japanese, and there’s denitely a
dark side in the way KURO Link
is implemented in the SC-27. For
instance, if you want to use PQLS
(and believe me, you will want to
if your player is PQLS equipped),
then you need to enable KURO
Link on both the AVR and the BD
player. However, when you do
this, you lose control over the
HDMI input assignments in the
SC-27’s setup screens. at
renders the remote buttons
labeled DVD, DVR, and TV
useless as direct source buttons;
for instance, you can’t assign a
high-def TiVo box to the DVR
input. With KURO Link enabled,
the only way you can get to the
DVR is to press another remote
button marked HDMI multiple
times until, round robin, that
HDMI input comes up. Granted,
this is a bit of a kludge, but the
improvements that PQLS brings
to two-channel listening more
than make up for what you lose in
convenience. Of course, if you
don’t have a PQLS player, then
turn the damn thing o. It’s
annoying!
ICE, ICE, Very Nice!
If you’re worried about power,
you should know that the
ICEpower Class D amplier
had no problems at all driving
the Revel Salon2 loudspeakers—
and they aren’t easy speakers to
drive. In fact, partnered with
the remarkable MCACC room
equalization, this 140-watt-
per-channel AVR supplied tight,
extended bass and palpable
midrange to two-channel music
even at extremely loud levels.
Breakup and compression were
mix. e Wide mode is
so named not because
the image is wider
(although it is), but
because it claims to
provide a wider sweet
spot from which you
can enjoy music. I
found that at casual,
lower listening levels,
these modes oer a
more enjoyable and
rewarding experience
than even PQLS.
e SC-27 is solid
and beautiful in ways
any geek will appreci-
ate. Only the lame
amplier terminals
on the back (bare wire
or banana, no spades)
mar an otherwise
near-perfect design.
e remote is simple
and practical. Only
about half the buttons
are backlit, but your
ngers will quickly
memorize the locations
of the buttons you use
most oen.
Popcorn Paradise
ere’s no doubt, the
SC-27 is as much AVR
as almost anyone will
ever need. e
ICEpower amplication
had no problems
keeping up with the
opening of e Matrix (Blu-ray).
It also didn’t have any trouble
revealing the dierence between
standard lossy Dolby Digital 5.1
and Dolby TrueHD. e hardness
I heard in the former’s rendition
of the roof chase scene in chapter
two was signicantly ameliorated
when I engaged Dolby TrueHD.
MIDRANGE
Pioneer’s simple and
practical remote features
direct source buttons for
DVD, TV, DVR, and BD,
but you can’t use them if
you enable KURO Link.
Five channels driven continuously into
8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 111.3 watts
1% distortion at 131.4 watts
Seven channels driven continuously
into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 107.4 watts
1% distortion at 124.2 watts
Analog frequency response in Pure
Direct mode:
–0.04 dB at 10 Hz
+0.00 dB at 20 Hz
+0.60 dB at 20 kHz
–1.45 dB at 50 kHz
Analog frequency response
with stereo signal processing:
–1.34 dB at 10 Hz
–0.39 dB at 20 Hz
+0.36 dB at 20 kHz
–2.31 dB at 50 kHz
T
his graph shows that the
SC-27’s left channel, from CD
input to speaker output with
two channels driving 8-ohm
loads, reaches 0.1 percent distortion
PIONEER ELITE SC-27 A/V RECEIVER
HT Labs
Measures
PIONEER ELITE SC-27 A/V RECEIVER
Connections INPUTS: VIDEO: HDMI 1.3a (5), component video
(3), S-video (5), composite video (5) AUDIO: Coaxial digital (3), optical digital (4),
7.1-channel analog (1), stereo analog (7), phono (1) ADDITIONAL: iPod dock,
Sirius (1), XM Radio (1), Ethernet (1), USB (1) OUTPUTS: VIDEO: HDMI (2), compo-
nent video (2), S-video (1), composite video (3) AUDIO: Optical digital (2), stereo
analog (4), 7.1-channel preamp (1) ADDITIONAL: RS-232 (2), 12-volt trigger (2)
Visit our Website
for a detailed
explanation of our
testing regimen,
plus a list of our
reference gear.
on the
web
never evident with music. Over-
all, the SC-27’s ampliers are
slightly, and preferably to me,
warmer than those of the ATI
1505 it replaced. Pioneer’s
ICEpower easily provides sound
quality that stirs up my mem-
ories of the tube ampliers I
lusted aer a decade ago. at’s
no small praise.
Naturally, like any top-end
AVR, the SC-27 includes built-in
Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD
Master Audio decoding. It also
oers some very interesting
two-channel source processing,
besides PQLS: Direct (for two-
channel analog sources) and the
family of multichannel DTS
Neo:6 and Dolby IIx surround
modes. Front Stage Surround
Focus and Front Stage Surround
Wide seem to add a little bass and
a lot more width to a two-channel
Dialogue intelligibility
was also impressively
improved when I
switched from Dolby
Digital 5.1 to Dolby
TrueHD. e sound-
stage smear I heard
in Dolby Digital 5.1
was replaced by a
spaciousness that
rivaled the best
Cineplex. It was
impossible to tell if
the very slight bit of
compression and
brittleness I heard
even on the Dolby
TrueHD Matrix
soundtrack was
intrinsic to the source
or caused by the load
the ve Revels
presented. But in
either case, it was as
good as the best I’ve
ever heard in my
room, hence my
ve-star Performance
rating.
Say you want to
watch the amazingly
beautiful Curse of the
Golden Flower late at
night. You don’t want
to disturb others at
home, but you still
want to be able to hear
the dialogue track
clearly. (Notice I didn’t
say understand it—the
best-sounding track is uncom-
pressed PCM 5.1 Chinese.) Try
Pioneer’s ALC, which stands
for Auto Level Control—not
Automatic Language Converter.
Or try the Optimum Surround
mode. Both of these modes level
out the sound with real nesse.
e owner’s manual mentions a
at 151.6 watts and 1 percent
distortion at 185.5 watts. Into 4 ohms,
the amplifier reaches 0.1 percent
distortion at 224.1 watts and 1
percent distortion at 270.6 watts.
Response from the multichannel
input to the speaker output measures
–0.04 decibels at 10 hertz, +0.00 dB at
20 Hz, +0.54 dB at 20 kilohertz, and
–1.54 dB at 50 kHz. THD+N from the
CD input to the speaker output was
less than 0.007 percent at 1 kHz when
driving 2.83 volts into an 8-ohm load.
Crosstalk at 1 kHz driving 2.83 volts
into an 8-ohm load was –94.50 dB left
to right and –93.91 dB right to left.
The signal-to-noise ratio with 2.83
volts driving an 8-ohm load from 10
Hz to 24 kHz with “A”
weighting was –105.16 dBrA.
From the Dolby Digital input
to the loudspeaker output, the
left channel measures –0.01 dB
at 20 Hz and +0.48 dB at 20
kHz. The center channel
measures –0.01 dB at 20 Hz
and +0.50 dB at 20 kHz, and the
left surround channel measures –0.01
dB at 20 Hz and +0.49 dB at 20 kHz.
From the Dolby Digital input to the
line-level output, the LFE channel is
+0.02 dB at 20 Hz when referenced to
the level at 40 Hz and reaches the
upper 3-dB down point at 117 Hz and
the upper 6-dB down point at 120
Hz.—MJP
68 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
Midnight setting, but it doesn’t
appear when you cycle through
the Audio Parameters menu.
As with most AVRs, you might
have to squint at the front panel to
see the changes you make in the
surround modes. e Pioneer’s
amber lettering is large enough
that I could recognize what was
happening from 14 feet away if I
knew what to expect. But if your
distance vision is even slightly
better than mine, you’ll be able to
read the front panel just ne.
Mary Chapin Carpenter’s
“10,000 Miles” on the Fly Away
Home Blu-ray was even more
melancholy in Dolby TrueHD
when decoded by the SC-27 than
it was when I rst heard it years
ago on DVD. When Je Daniels
awakens in his daughter’s hospital
room, every father’s nightmare,
the hospital sounds cascade into
the scene. e subsequent rain
storm that greets father and
daughter when they arrive at his
farmhouse in Canada are
completely immersive—and
addicting, for lack of a better
term. e SC-27 outdoes my
reference AVR—and not by a
small margin, either—when it
comes to a convincingly holistic
soundstage. I was constantly
aware of (but not distracted by)
how eectively it brought out
subtle details, behind me and
around me. And it did all of this
with just 5.1 channels of audio.
e math should be the same
when it comes to decoding Dolby
TrueHD, so I have to lay the
dierence down to the quality of
the components and the
performance of the ICEpower
amplication section and
MCACC room equalization,
which—shazam—really works!
Conclusion
If you’re looking for high-resolu-
tion audio that conveys all the
subtlety available in today’s
uncompressed multichannel
soundtracks, you don’t need to
look any further than the Pioneer
Elite SC-27. It’s the rst AVR or
surround processor I’ve used with
room equalization that I found
good enough to keep engaged in
all modes. It can run two-channel
music directly, with no processing
if you prefer. However, the various
proprietary Stage processing
modes are preferable in most
situations; they greatly enhanced
my enjoyment.
If you go large and pick up the
BDP-320 Blu-ray player with
PQLS, you’ll actually get that
subtle sonic improvement to
two-channel music you used to
imagine you got when you spent
big bucks on speaker cable. At
$2,200, the Pioneer Elite SC-27 is
the kind of AVR bargain you
richly deserve.
Pioneer • (800) 421-1404 •
pioneerelectronics.com
Dealer Locator Code PIO
PIONEER ELITE SC-27 A/V RECEIVER
Unlike last year’s implementation,
this one lets you tweak the hue,
saturation, and brightness of each
primary (red, green, blue) and
secondary (yellow, magenta, cyan)
color, moving the color points as
needed. (Last year’s models didn’t
have a brightness control for each
color.) is is a potentially great
feature, but you shouldn’t attempt
to use it without the requisite
tools and training.
I’m at a loss to understand this
TV’s Monochrome mode, which
disables all color and produces a
black-and-white picture. What’s
the point? More importantly, why
not make this a blue-only mode,
which would be a tremendous
help in setting the color and tint
controls? Without this mode, you
must set these controls by looking
at skintones, since blue lters
don’t work reliably with LCD
HDTVs.
Like many modern HDTVs,
the LC-60E77UN includes several
dynamic enhancements, such as
automatic backlight and contrast
adjustments that respond to the
picture’s overall brightness (tech-
nically called average picture level
or APL). ese functions are
intended to increase the contrast
ratio and deepen the perceived
black level. I normally nd them
to be more distracting than help-
ful, so I le them o.
M
any companies
have gotten into
the LCD HDTV
game over the
last few years,
hoping to capitalize on the high
demand for at panels. But most
are newcomers compared with
Sharp, which was one of the rst
companies to oer LCD TVs in
Japan back in 1988. Since then,
Sharp has remained ahead of the
curve in terms of manufacturing
and environmental concerns. It
has invested billions of dollars in
new plants and processes.
Among the company’s current
lines is the E77 series, which
comes in several sizes, includ-
ing the 60-inch LC-60E77UN
reviewed here. is series oers
basic LCD HDTVs at attractive
prices for their sizes.
Features
e most obvious feature of the
LC-60E77UN is 120-hertz
operation—frames ash on the
screen at a rate of 120 frames per
second, which is twice the normal
video rate of 60 fps and ve times
the lm frame rate of 24 fps. In
conjunction with a setting called
Fine Motion Enhanced—Sharp’s
frame-interpolation algorithm—
this is intended to reduce the
motion blur that has plagued
LCD TVs since their introduc-
tion.
Frame interpolation creates
new frames to insert between the
actual frames in a video signal,
calculating where moving objects
should be in those new frames
to smooth out the motion and
sharpen the image. But this
process can introduce artifacts
of its own. Most 120-Hz and
240-Hz LCD HDTVs oer sev-
eral degrees of interpolation, so
you can balance the increased
sharpness with any artifacts that
might intrude. However, the
LC-60E77UN’s Fine Motion
Enhanced control has only two
settings—On and O.
As I mentioned earlier, Sharp
has been making LCD TVs for a
long time. at includes the LCD
panels themselves, which, in the
case of the E77 series, use 10 bits
to represent each primary color
(red, green, blue). is results in
smoother color gradations and
less solarization (banding in areas
of subtle gradations) than the
8-bit panels used in lesser sets can
manage.
One upscale feature found in
the LC-60E77UN is a color
management system (CMS).
PRICE: $3,000 AT A GLANCE: Great color and detail

Excellent video processing

Mild-mannered
frame interpolation

Mediocre blacks and shadow detail
A Worthy Contender
MIDRANGE
Sharp LC-60E77UN LCD HDTV
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BY Scott Wilkinson
70 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
unreliable with LCD TVs, and
this one has no blue-only mode,
so I had to set these controls
looking at skintones. I used a
pre-release version of the new
HQV test disc, which includes a
photo of seven people with
dierent skintones—three
African-Americans, two Asians,
and two Caucasians (including
one ginger). Tint was ne at its
default value, but the color
saturation was too high, so I
toned it down a bit.
Starting with the Spears &
Munsil High Denition Bench-
mark Blu-ray Edition test disc, the
LC-60E77UN’s video processing
proved to be excellent all around,
including 2:2 and 3:2 as well as
edge-adaptive deinterlacing. Even
better, turning on the set’s frame
interpolation didn’t cause any
artifacts in the jaggies test ring
that consists of alternating hor-
izontal lines of white and black.
Most LCDs with frame interpola-
tion cause all sorts of ugly artifacts
in this ring.
I turned to the unpublished
FPD Benchmark Blu-ray test disc
to evaluate the Sharp’s frame
interpolation, and I saw virtually
no dierence between setting Fine
Motion Enhanced on or o for
most of the tests. In only one test,
the clarity of scrolling letters was
improved slightly by turning it on,
but either way, motion blur wasn’t
bad at all. Clearly, the Sharp’s
frame interpolation is very gentle,
and it introduced no visible arti-
facts, apart from the interpolation
eect itself. I generally like frame
interpolation, and I used it for
most of the viewing discussed in
the comments to follow. Some
videophiles object to what it does
to the look of lms, but here the
eect was relatively subtle.
Some clips on FPD Benchmark
are fairly dark, which gives you a
good opportunity to check an
LCD TV’s o-axis performance.
As with all such TVs, the Sharp’s
apparent black level rose and
colors shied as I moved away
from the center, but not as much
as some I’ve seen. Still, I wouldn’t
want to watch this set more than
20 degrees or so o axis.
Real-World Performance
Chapter 8 of Mission: Impossible
III on Blu-ray opens with a pan
across a long staircase, which is a
great test of a TV’s 1080i deinter-
lacing capabilities. Sending this
SHARP LC-60E77UN LCD HDTV
e backlight can also
dynamically respond to the
amount of light in the room,
which can be more benecial
than adjustments based on APL.
In particular, the best backlight
setting for a brightly lit room is
higher than the best setting for a
darkened room. Also, if you
engage this function, which is
called Optical Picture Control
(OPC) in Sharp TVs, it can save
substantial amounts of energy.
Enabling the dynamic APL
response can save even more
energy, but I don’t like the way it
looks, so I’ll take a slight energy
hit for the sake of a better picture.
e LC-60E77UN includes
four HDMI 1.3 inputs that
support Deep Color (increased
color bit depth), xvYCC (expand-
ed color gamut, sometimes called
x.v.Color), and Consumer Elec-
tronics Control (CEC), which is
a standard feature of HDMI that
Sharp calls AQUOS Link. No
commercial video content created
using Deep Color or xvYCC, but
some HD camcorders use them,
so the TV can display your own
content from such a camcorder in
its full glory.
On the other hand, CEC can be
useful. is function sends con-
trol codes via HDMI to any com-
patible devices. It turns them on
and o and sets their inputs or
outputs automatically as required.
User Interface
e remote is a universal model
that can control up to four devices
in addition to the TV. It has a
backlight that only illuminates a
few of the function buttons. is
is very odd, since all the buttons
look translucent and could easily
be illuminated. Not only that, the
labels for the backlit buttons are
printed on the body of the remote,
so you can’t see them in the dark.
e buttons are well separated
but rather small. e layout is
mostly good, but the AV Mode
button, which selects the picture
mode, is hidden under a ip-
down cover at the bottom of
the remote. As usual with TV
remotes, there are no dedicated
input-selection buttons, but a
Source button brings up a list of
inputs on the screen.
I’ve always liked the organiza-
tion of Sharp’s menu system, and
the picture controls are visible
as soon as you enter the menu.
However, I’ve always hated that
the menu remains on the screen
as you adjust a picture control,
obscuring the image you’re trying
to tweak.
Another thing I don’t like about
the picture controls is that they
link to the preset picture modes,
not the inputs. For example, if you
adjust the controls in the Movie
mode, the same settings will apply
to all inputs to which the Movie
mode is assigned. e only
exception is the User mode, which
you can set independently for
each input.
Setup and Testing
e Brightness, Contrast, and
Sharpness controls were fairly
close to correct in Movie mode. I
brought Contrast down a couple
of clicks and Brightness up one
click. Sharpness was ne at its
default setting, but if I increased it
by even one click, it induced ring-
ing (white halos around black
lines on a gray background).
As I mentioned earlier, using a
blue lter to set Color and Tint is
Features
TYPE: LCD
SCREEN SIZE (DIAGONAL, INCHES): 60
NATIVE RESOLUTION: 1920 by 1080
HD TUNER(S): OTA, QAM
BACKLIGHT: CCFL
RATED HALF LIFE: N/A
WALL MOUNT OR STAND INCLUDED?: Stand
DIMENSIONS (W X H X D, INCHES):
56.6 x 35.2 x 4.7 (without stand);
56.6 x 37.5 x 17.6 (with stand)
WEIGHT (POUNDS):
81.6 (without stand); 92.6 (with stand)
PRICE: $3,000
SHARP LC-60E77UN LCD HDTV
SHARP LC-60E77UN LCD HDTV
PERFORMANCE
FEATURES
ERGONOMICS
VALUE

Sharp’s LC-60E77UN shines,
with an elegant black finish and
champagne gold accents.
hometheatermag.com 71
image to the Sharp at 1080i, the
stairs were almost moiré-free,
which was among the best I’ve
seen. e color still seemed a little
oversaturated, so I turned it down
a bit more, and the shadow detail
in the catacombs was OK, but not
great.
e detail and color in e
Dark Knight were both excel-
lent. e contrast in nighttime
cityscapes was quite good, but
shadow detail was only medi-
ocre. is was also the case
with the overall black level—the
letterbox bars were clearly visible,
especially in such dark scenes.
However, bright scenes looked
gorgeous.
Image-wise, the new Star Trek
told much the same story. Detail
in the Enterprise construction
zone as Kirk arrives to enlist
was exquisite, and colors were

I thought the “Deserts” episode
of Planet Earth on Blu-ray might
be revealing, since there are many
shades of brown and orange.
ese colors looked surprisingly
good considering that the TV’s
measured yellow point was so far
o (see HT Labs Measures). ere
was no banding as the sun
emerges from behind the planet
in the opening sequence, probably
due in part to the 10-bit panel.
Again, detail in things like animal
hair and scrub brush was superb,
and mountains in the distance
were razor sharp. e black of
space was deeper than I’ve seen in
previous clips, but this was likely
due to the fact that the bright
Earth occupied a large portion of
the image, making space look
blacker than it otherwise would.
On e Fih Element Superbit
DVD (sent to the TV at 480i),
detail was as good as standard def
can be. It was certainly not BD
quality, but the complex cityscape
seen before Leeloo
jumps into Korben’s
cab was fairly sharp.
e color of things like
skintones and Korben’s
orange T-shirt was ne.
I believe the black of
space in the movie’s
opening shot is higher
than normal on the disc,
so I can’t fault the TV for
this. In fact, the black
bars looked blacker than
space in those shots.
Before I wrapped up
my evaluation, I watched
a bit of HD and SD
television from DISH
Network. I happened to
see some night scenes
from 10,000 BC on HBO
HD, which looked rather
at. On another HBO
HD channel, I caught
the end of A.I.: Articial
Intelligence, when the
aliens bring back David’s
mother for a day. Shadow
detail in the dark scenes
wasn’t great, but brighter
daytime scenes were very
detailed, with great
colors.
When I looked at some
SD channels, I discovered that the
LC-60E77UN doesn’t have a 4:3
aspect ratio setting, at least via
HDMI. Fortunately, the DISH
Network receiver has such a
setting, so I could see SD channels
in their intended aspect ratio. I
For the picture settings used in this
review, go to HomeTheaterMag.com.
All the measurements here were
taken through an HDMI input with the
set adjusted for the most accurate
picture in a darkened room.
A
s usual with LCD
HDTVs, the default
backlight setting,
even in Movie
mode, resulted in a peak
-white measurement that was
way too high for comfortable
viewing in a dark room, so I
decreased the backlight level until
peak white was within the THX
guidelines. Then I measured the black
level, which was quite respectable
and slightly less than half of the result
I obtained with the Sharp LC-52D85U I
reviewed last year.
The Mid-Low color-temperature
preset proved to be the closest to
correct. It was a bit biased toward
blue, but the Low setting was
distinctly red. The LC-60E77UN
provides two sets of RGB calibration
controls in the user menu (last year’s
D85 series provided only one set),
and the calibration process was quite
easy and stable. I calibrated 80 IRE,
then 30, then I checked 80 again, and
it was right on the money. However,
as you can see in the color-tracking
charts below, blue wandered over and
under where it should be at other
brightness levels. It was too high at
20 IRE, too low at 40, too high at 70,
and too low at 100.
As you can see in the CIE chart
above, most of the color points were
fairly close to where they’re supposed
to be, though the red-green axis was
slightly undersaturated, and the
yellow point was way off. I tried to
improve things with the set’s color
management system (CMS), and I got
yellow much closer to its target, but
there was nothing I could do about
green. After I watched some
real-world content with and
without my CMS settings, I
decided that I preferred the
picture with the CMS at its
default settings. It looked more
natural.
Just for grins, I checked the
gray scale after I tweaked the CMS,
and I found that blue wandered
around even more than before in the
midrange (40 to 70 IRE), but overall, it
wasn’t that different from the
pre-CMS result.—SW
compared the SD and HD
versions of several channels, and
the SD version looked signi-
cantly soer than HD—a much
greater dierence than between
Blu-ray and DVD, which I
attributed to the satellite receiver’s
upconversion.
Conclusion
ere’s much to like
about the Sharp
LC-60E77UN, and
there’s nothing glaringly
wrong. Its color and
detail are excellent, as is
its video processing. e
controls have been
improved over the last
Sharp LCD HDTV I
reviewed, although I
really wish the menu
would disappear when
adjusting a picture
control. Also, the
black-level is half the
value I saw in that
previous model. It
showed in the improved
contrast in scenes with
very dark and very bright
areas. Still, blacks didn’t
appear that deep in
normal viewing, and
shadow detail was medi-
ocre.
A list price of $3,000
for a 60-inch at panel is
quite good, and I’ve seen
this model for less online.
If money is tight—a
seemingly foregone
conclusion these
days—but you still want a big at
panel, the LC-60E77UN is a
worthy contender.
Sharp Electronics •
(800) BE-SHARP • sharpusa.com
Dealer Locator Code SHA
MIDRANGE SHARP LC-60E77UN LCD HDTV
HT Labs
Measures
Sharp’s remote
features select
backlighting, which
illuminates a few
function buttons.
FULL-ON/FULL-OFF
CONTRAST RATIO: 2,960:1
0.010 29.6
BEFORE CALIBRATION AFTER CALIBRATION
SHARP LC-60E77UN LCD HDTV
Connections INPUTS:
VIDEO: HDMI 1.3 (4), component video (2),
S-video (1, shared), composite video (2, 1
shared), PC VGA (D-sub), RF AUDIO: Stereo
analog (3) OUTPUTS: AUDIO: Stereo analog,
digital (optical), headphone ADDITIONAL:
RS-232 (1), USB (1, service only)
Visit our Website
for a detailed
explanation of our
testing regimen,
plus a list of our
reference gear.
on the
web
Color-tracking charts were generated in Datacolor ColorFacts.
3:2 HD 2:2 HD MA HD VIDEO CLIPPING
LUMA
RESOLUTION
CHROMA
RESOLUTION
SCALING
PASS PASS PASS PASS PASS PASS GOOD
generally bright and vibrant,
including the red Corvette. Ski-
tones also looked natural. As
before, the black of space wasn’t
all that deep, and shadow detail
was only so-so.
72 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
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iPods and other USB devices
directly without a dock. In a
surprise move, it comes with
the RX101 Bluetooth adapter. I
regret not having a Bluetooth-
compatible mobile device to make
use of the capability.
Ending in 004
While the SR6004 isn’t Marantz’s
top-of-the-line A/V receiver, it is
the most complete of the newer
models—the ones with model
numbers that end in 004. It
replaces the SR6003. At the time
of this writing, Marantz’s Website
still listed a couple of older models
with numbers that end in 003 or
002. e SR6004’s rated power is
110 watts per channel, with two
channels driven, which is up 10
percent from the preceding
model. Marantz prides itself on
providing 70 percent of rated
power when ve channels are
driven. In this respect, the com-
pany sets a tougher standard for
itself than many of its competitors
set for themselves.
e front panel has the familiar
curved shape that Marantz uses in
its other products, both surround
and stereo. A spare front-panel
layout includes a volume knob at
the right, a source-select knob at
the le, a power on/standby
button, and no other visible
buttons. Beneath a ip-down
door are navigation and other
M
arantz was
founded in 1952
by Saul B.
Marantz, who
designed and
built his rst products at his home
in Kew Gardens, New York. By
the time I envied a college friend
for owning a beautiful 1975-
vintage Marantz stereo receiver,
the company was owned by
Superscope. e brand’s North
American operations passed into
the hands of Philips before it
nally merged with Denon to
form D&M Holdings in 2002.
Today, Marantz is in the odd
position of competing with a
stablemate. e dierences
between the two are interesting:
Denon is a hard-charging pioneer
that packs as many features as
possible into its A/V receivers.
Marantz, on the other hand,
adopts licensed features (some of
them fads) at a more deliberate
pace, and it still stakes much of its
identity on high-end two-channel
products. I’m not suggesting that
Denon lags in performance, or
that Marantz fails to be au
courant, but their dierences in
emphasis point to their dier-
ences in temperament and values.
at brings us to the Marantz
SR6004 A/V receiver. It embraces
height-enhanced surround with
Dolby Pro Logic IIz but skips the
Audyssey DSX height- and
width-enhanced listening modes.
Wisely, Marantz has licensed
Audyssey’s superb MultEQ auto
setup and room correction system
as well as its Dynamic Volume
and Dynamic EQ modes for
low-volume listening exibility.
e SR6004 doesn’t have an
Ethernet connection to support
PRICE: $1,250 AT A GLANCE: Bluetooth adapter is supplied, not merely optional

Connect
compatible iPod models without a dock

Audyssey MultEQ, Dynamic Volume/EQ
Restraint and Simplicity
MIDRANGE
Marantz SR6004 A/V Receiver
BY Mark Fleischmann
MARANTZ SR6004 A/V RECEIVER
PERFORMANCE
FEATURES
ERGONOMICS
VALUE
74 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
MARANTZ SR6004 A/V RECEIVER
controls. It also has a front-panel
USB input. One minor surprise is
the front S-video input—there are
no additional S-video jacks on the
back panel.
Speaking of the back panel, I
love its neatness. A lot of A/V
receivers have the HDMI inputs
and outputs—in this case, four in
and two out—in a row across the
top, and the speaker terminals at
the bottom. But Marantz groups
the component and composite
video inputs in an island at the
right. One of the HD-capable
component outputs can operate
in a second zone. Analog preouts
are in a separate island adjacent to
the speaker terminals. is leaves
the analog multichannel inputs
next to the analog stereo jacks.
Everything is easy to nd at a
glance. e SR6004 also supports
Sirius and XM satellite radio.
Marantz uses a mixture of
styles for the graphic user
interface (GUI). When you
choose a new input, a very
utilitarian and old-fashioned-
looking white-on-blue status
display ashes briey on the
screen. e rest of the control
menus use the same color scheme,
but with a more attractive font. As
you delve deeper into the
menus—for instance, speaker
setup—there are some full-color
diagrams. It’s not the fanciest GUI
around, but it’s one of the least
intimidating and most e cient
ones. I could always nd what I
needed and adjust it quickly.
e remote is a fully backlit
unit with a small LCD mode-
status display at top. Control
layout is just OK, and Marantz
predictably gives special pro-
minence to the volume, channel,
and menu navigation keys. Like
AUDIO DECODING:
DOLBY: TrueHD, Digital 5.1, EX, Pro Logic
II/IIx/IIz, Virtual Speaker
DTS: DTS-HD MA, DTS-HD High Reso-
lution Audio, DTS 5.1, ES, 96/24,
Neo:6, Neural
AUDYSSEY: Dynamic Volume, Dynamic
EQ
OTHER: SRS Circle Surround II, HDCD
THX CERTIFICATION: No
NUMBER OF AMP CHANNELS: 7
RATED POWER (WATTS PER CHANNEL):
110 into 8 ohms, 2 channels driven
SPECIFIED FREQUENCY RESPONSE:
8 Hz to 100 kHz, +/–3 dB
VIDEO PROCESSING: iChips
AUTO SETUP/ROOM EQ: Audyssey MultEQ
DIMENSIONS (W X H X D, INCHES):
17.38 x 6.38 x 15.38
WEIGHT (POUNDS): 28
PRICE: $1,250
Features
MARANTZ SR6004 A/V RECEIVER


The SR6004’s clean front
panel matches its simplified,
well-organized back panel.
VIDEO TEST BENCH The Marantz provides only a direct
passthrough for HDMI-in to HDMI-out. Therefore, many of
our standard Digital tests are inapplicable. The Digital Video
Clipping and Resolution tests were run at 1080p in and 1080p
out, HDMI to HDMI. The Marantz’s analog performance is
marginal and best avoided for converting a high-quality
component source to an HDMI output. The Analog Video
Clipping and Resolution tests were run at 1080i in (component)
and 1080p output (HDMI). On the Analog Luma Resolution
test, the highest vertical resolution pattern (alternating
horizontal black and white single pixel lines) was a
flickering gray mass instead of individually visible lines.
That normally indicates deinterlacing that uses bobbing,
a rudimentary (and generally inferior) deinterlacing
technique.—TJN
Visit our Website
for a detailed
explanation of
these video tests.
on the
web
MARANTZ
SR6004
3:2 HD 2:2 HD MA HD 3:2 SD 2:2 SD MA SD
VIDEO CLIP-
PING
LUMA
RESOLUTION
CHROMA
RESOLUTION
SCALING
DIGITAL N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A PASS PASS PASS N/A
ANALOG FAIL FAIL FAIL PASS FAIL PASS PASS FAIL FAIL GOOD
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the GUI, the remote is not intim-
idating. One senses this as part
of the Marantz sensibility: Don’t
frighten the consumer.
Associated equipment included
ve Paradigm Reference Studio 20
v4 speakers run full range, Pana-
sonic DMP-BD35 Blu-ray player,
Integra DPS-10.5 universal player,
Luxman PD-289 turntable, Shure
V97xE cartridge, and Bellari
VP530 tube phono preamp. All
movie selections were on Blu-ray
Disc, but regrettably, only one had
a lossless soundtrack. All of the
music selections were on SACD
and vinyl.
Kickin’ It Old School
Sahara, in old-school lossy DTS,
sends Matthew McConaughey
and Penélope Cruz on a treasure
hunt in the deserts of Nigeria as
they look for a Civil War battle-
ship that went notably astray in an
ancient river. e baddies are very
bad, treating our heroes to a boat-
borne shootout and other loud
misfortunes. I turned on Audyssey
Dynamic Volume and EQ, and I
noted that they can only be in-
voked together in this AVR (as
Audyssey recommends). With
three Dynamic Volume settings
to choose from in addition to O,
I picked Medium. As always, it
didn’t disappoint. I got a just about
perfect compromise between
aggressive eects, intelligible
dialogue, and listening comfort.
e score’s songs alternate Boomer
classics like Dr. John’s “Right Place
Wrong Time” and the Faces’ “Stay
with Me” with African worldbeat.
Even in lossy surround, the songs
sounded great—Marantz AVRs
have always been dependable in
their musicality.
hometheatermag.com 75
Black Rain is also in old-school
DTS. is was not an unreason-
able move given the movie’s 1989
vintage, the soundtrack’s original
Dolby SR analog source material,
and the limitations of its dynamic
envelope and panning patterns.
Michael Douglas is a hot-tempered
cop who escorts a Japanese gang
member back to Tokyo. Naturally,
the prisoner breaks loose, and
cross-cultural havoc ensues. I
had no need for the low-volume
listening modes. is is fairly
gentle material, despite all the
action.
I Now Pronounce You Chuck &
Larry brought my movie sessions
up to date with a DTS-HD Master
Audio soundtrack. Adam Sandler
and Kevin James are New York
remen who enter into a phony
domestic-partner relationship to
secure pension benets for the
atmosphere and charm.
It would be hard to
overstate the purity
and clarity of this
combination of
well-recorded source
material, high-resolu-
tion surround delivery
medium, and clean
amplication. is
no-barriers transpar-
ency abetted the
performer’s rene-
ment, sonorities, and
dynamic subtleties.
Surround was used
conservatively, just for
ambience, which
allowed the piano to
li slightly forward of
the speakers, produc-
ing greater depth than
stereo would allow.
Miles & Monk at
Newport, on vinyl,
dates from 1963. It’s
memorable for the
inclusion of John
Coltrane in the Miles
Davis Sextet and
a guest appearance
by clarinetist Pee
Wee Russell in the
elonious Monk
Quartet. e outdoor
recording venue had
virtually no reverb. Still,
the Dolby Pro Logic II
Music mode opened
the soundeld a little,
which made it more spaciously
outdoorsy, while giving me the
impression of being closer to
the stage. A bass solo in the Davis
set (accompanied by nger snap-
ping) highlighted the benet
of Audyssey MultEQ, which
sculpted the bass beautifully in
my subless system.
MIDRANGE
Marantz’s remote
is fully backlit and
sensibly laid out. A small
LCD mode status display
is located at the top of
the unit.
Five channels driven continuously into
8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 73.4 watts
1% distortion at 86.4 watts
Seven channels driven continuously
into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 70.8 watts
1% distortion at 81.9 watts
Analog frequency response in Pure
Direct mode:
–0.53 dB at 10 Hz
–0.16 dB at 20 Hz
+0.02 dB at 20 kHz
–2.75 dB at 50 kHz
Analog frequency response
with stereo signal processing:
–0.62 dB at 10 Hz
–0.19 dB at 20 Hz
–0.44 dB at 20 kHz
–36.02 dB at 50 kHz
T
his graph shows that the
SR6004’s left channel, from
CD input to speaker output
with two channels driving
8-ohm loads, reaches 0.1 percent
MARANTZ SR6004 A/V RECEIVER
HT Labs
Measures
MARANTZ SR6004 A/V RECEIVER
Connections INPUTS: VIDEO: HDMI 1.3 (4), component video (3),
S-video (1), composite video (5) AUDIO: Coaxial digital (2), optical digital (4), 7.1-channel
analog (1), stereo analog (7) ADDITIONAL: USB (1), Sirius (1), XM (1), AM (1), FM (1),
iPod dock, remote control (1) OUTPUTS: VIDEO: HDMI 1.3 (2), component video (1),
composite video (2) AUDIO: Optical digital (1), stereo analog (3), 7.1-channel preamp (1),
1/4-inch headphone (1) ADDITIONAL: RS-232 (1), 12-volt trigger (4), remote control (1),
M-XPort for Bluetooth (1)
Visit our Website
for a detailed
explanation of our
testing regimen,
plus a list of our
reference gear.
on the
web
rst guy’s kids. e comedy is
crude but eective, and the sen-
timents are heartwarming. Sev-
eral re-scene action episodes
were loud enough to bring back
Audyssey Dynamic Volume/EQ.
Since I conducted this demo
unusually late in the evening, I
used the Heavy setting to spare
my neighbors. Even maxed,
Dynamic Volume/EQ still
produced a surprisingly natural
result. I was rarely aware of the
algorithm’s careful and surgical
alterations to the soundtrack.
Kinder/Children
Claudio Arrau’s performances
of Schumann’s Kinderszenen and
Brahms’ Paganini Variations
are available on a single Penta-
Tone SACD. e original 1974
recording was made in quad, so
the center channel was silent.
Arrau mined the Brahms for
brilliance and the Schumann for
To Our Children’s
Children’s Children is
my favorite Moody
Blues LP. A celebra-
tion of the 1969 moon
landing, it starts with a
rocket-like roar, which
sets the soundstage for
attacks of raga guitar
and bad psychedelic
poetry. e band’s
highly melodic songs
augmented rock
instrumentation with
Mellotron, utes, harp,
and celesta—all
drenched in echo,
which gave DPLII a lot
to work with. Again,
Audyssey MultEQ got
the most out of the
swooping bass lines.
is is a ne album for
children as well as
adults with a sense of
humor or fond mem-
ories of the progressive
rock era.
iPod Play
iPods supported by the
USB input include the
iPod with video, clas-
sic, touch (1G and
2G), and nano (1G to
4G), as well as the
iPhone original and
3G. As the owner of
rst- and second-gen-
eration nanos, I was
delighted, especially since the last
Denon receiver I reviewed didn’t
recognize my players. Mar-
antz has managed to get a digital
signal out of the iings for use
with the AVR’s own high-quality
digital-to-analog converters. It
can even operate the iPod in
either of two modes: Direct mode,
76 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
distortion at 111.6 watts and 1
percent distortion at 126.6 watts. Into
4 ohms, the amplifier reaches 0.1
percent distortion at 160.5 watts and
1 percent distortion at 187.8 watts.
Response from the multichannel
input to the speaker output measures
–0.52 decibels at 10 hertz, –0.16 dB at
20 Hz, –0.02 dB at 20 kilohertz, and
–2.81 dB at 50 kHz. THD+N from the
CD input to the speaker output was
less than 0.027 percent at 1 kHz when
driving 2.83 volts into an 8-ohm load.
Crosstalk at 1 kHz driving 2.83 volts
into an 8-ohm load was –78.96 dB left
to right and –80.67 dB right to left.
The signal-to-noise ratio with 2.83
volts driving an 8-ohm load from 10
Hz to 24 kHz with “A”
weighting was –103.11 dBrA.
From the Dolby Digital input
to the loudspeaker output, the
left channel measures –0.13 dB
at 20 Hz and –0.31 dB at 20
kHz. The center channel
measures –0.12 dB at 20 Hz
and –0.30 dB at 20 kHz, and the
left surround channel measures –0.12
dB at 20 Hz and –0.28 dB at 20 kHz.
From the Dolby Digital input to the
line-level output, the LFE channel is
+0.01 dB at 20 Hz when referenced to
the level at 40 Hz and reaches the
upper 3-dB down point at 159 Hz and
the upper 6-dB down point at 199
Hz.—MJP
which uses the iPod’s controls, or
Remote mode, which uses the
AVR’s controls. You have to hand
it to the folks at Marantz—when
they adopt a feature, they do it
thoroughly.
I set the SR6004 to the USB
source input and plugged in my
rst-generation iPod nano. e
poor old thing wheezed to life, its
rheumy eyes staring out from its
tiny LCD. It displayed the Artists,
Albums, Settings, and Now Play-
ing options—I keep my iPod
main menus simple. I started
some music using the iPod’s
clickwheel. e iPod, the GUI,
and the Marantz’s front panel
displayed the metadata, but there
was no sound. e GUI prompted
me to press the Mode button. is
took some squinting because the
remote’s Setup/Mode key is label-
ed in two colors, with the Mode
part in a nearly invisible dark
blue-gray against a black back-
ground. I hit the magic key, so the
GUI now accepted commands.
en I made a selection with the
GUI, and music came out of the
speakers. e 1G nano apparently
preferred to operate in Remote
mode, with the SR6004’s controls.
I powered down the Marantz,
powered it back up again, and
plugged in my second-generation
iPod nano. e GUI ashed
repeatedly, as though its life were
passing before its eyes, including
its general status display and the
now-familiar iPod menu. But at
length, when I made a selection
using the iPod’s clickwheel, music
began to play over a blank TV
screen. I hit the remote’s Setup/
Mode button, and the GUI
returned to the iPod menu—but
with no music. Instead there was
an “Initializing” message. Marantz
later commented that this prob-
lem stemmed from an outdated
rmware in the nano itself. e
receiver was not to blame.
Even so, aer I powered down
everything and started again, the
receiver and the nano eventually
got onto speaking terms. e 2G
nano could still operate only in
Direct mode, with its own
controls, not the AVR’s.
Still, both iPods worked reliably
in at least one mode. e manual
warns that outdated iPod soware
may trip up the process. at
seems likely, since I’m a sco aw
when it comes to updating iPod
soware. I was satised with the
Marantz’s iPod functionality. Look
ma, no dock.
e Marantz SR6004 has a
relatively restrained feature set,
which may put it at a disadvan-
tage to more fully featured AVRs
that sell for the same. I don’t con-
sider Audyssey DSX much of a
loss, but I would have liked to see
PC access and Internet radio via
Ethernet. ere’s still a lot to like,
including its Audyssey setup and
low-volume modes, Dolby Pro
Logic IIz height-enhanced listen-
ing mode, USB input, direct iPod
connections that really work, and
the free Bluetooth adapter. Per-
formance is musically trustwor-
thy. Marantz also gets a high rat-
ing for ease of use. If you want
an AVR that won’t give you a
headache, this one is well worth
your consideration.
* Audio editor Mark Fleis-
chmann is also the author of
the annually updated book
Practical Home eater
(quietriverpress.com).
Marantz • (201) 762-6500 •
us.marantz.com
Dealer Locator Code MAR
MARANTZ SR6004 A/V RECEIVER
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e Hurt Locker is a war movie of unrelenting suspense
and pressure. It’s shot in a raw but not obnoxious doc-
umentary style that puts the audience squarely into the
eld of battle. While its action set pieces are rendered with extraordi-
nary skill and clarity, e Hurt Locker’s real gis are its insights into
its characters and how they come to grips with their jobs and the
conict they’re in. e movie follows Bravo
Company—a three-man EOD (explosive
ordnance disposal) team—during the last
month-plus of its rotation defusing bombs
in Iraq. is movie doesn’t take a political
stand on the war; instead, it treats it as
matter-of-fact crisis management. ese
specialists are doing the most unnerving
and dangerous jobs imaginable while
surrounded by an indigenous population
they can’t communicate with and who
might be simply observing the spectacle
or waiting for the right moment to use a
cell phone to detonate the bomb they’re
defusing. e days le in rotation that
ash on the screen are a countdown for
Bravo Company. For Eldridge and
Sanborn, it’s waiting out the clock and
Reviews in High Definition
HOME
MARCH 2010
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PICTURE
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
SOUND
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
EXTRAS
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
INTERACTIVITY
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
surviving to get home. For the
recklessly brilliant Sgt. James
(Jeremy Renner), going home
means leaving an adrenaline-
charged war zone in which he’s an
unerring and unappable expert
for a world he’s far less certain
about. e lm’s strangely
poignant closing scenes show
James stateside, confronted by
overwhelming choices in the
cereal aisle at the supermarket.
Such choices are empty aer the
hair-trigger, life-and-death
choices he made every second in
combat. You feel at once the
inevitability of the decision he’s
about to make, but more than
that, you understand it. is is
who Sgt. Will James is.
e Hurt Locker was shot on
HD video and 16mm cameras.
e image is sharp, clear, and
gritty down to the last grain of
sand. Colors and eshtones are
reasonably natural and a good
portrayal of the source material, if
the theatrical print I saw is an
indicator. e HD image here is
more contrasty than the lm print
I saw, with more pronounced
blacks. e few nighttime
sequences are noisy and a little
soer than the rest of the movie,
but this is a terric presentation.
e DTS-HD Master Audio
soundtrack is two-plus hours of
demo material. e pulverizing
deep bass will expose every
resonant mode in your room. You
(and your neighbors) are going to
think your place is being
demolished by Humvees and
tanks (with choppers providing
air support). e gunshots,
explosions, and other transients
have more dynamic crack than
just about anything I’ve heard,
especially in the surround
channels. Each of the many
dierent weapons red and
ordnance detonated has its own
distinct sonic signature, and
dialogue is mostly clear. is is
about as good as movie sound
gets, and it’s a shockingly big step
up from the compressed track I
heard in the theater. A-plus.
e few extras are a gallery, a
commentary by director Kathryn
Bigelow and writer Mark Boal,
and a 12-minute behind-the-
scenes feature, which is good if
brief. Bigelow is intelligent and
insightful, and the commentary is
well worth the time.
e Hurt Locker is a great
movie, the best movie I saw in
2009, with two of the best acting
performances (Jeremy Renner’s
Sgt. James and Anthony Mackie’s
Sanborn). With a rst-rate
presentation on Blu-ray, this is a
must-have. ● Shane Buettner
A Box Full of Stuff That Almost Killed Me
The Hurt Locker
S
C
O
P
E
BLU-RAY
STUDIO: Summit, 2009
ASPECT RATIO: 1.78:1
AUDIO FORMAT:
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
LENGTH: 130 mins.
DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow
STARRING: Jeremy Renner, Anthony
Mackie, Brian Geraghty
PICTURE
SOUND
EXTRAS
INTERACTIVITY
G
S
hometheatermag.com
QUOTE: “The rush of battle is often a potent and lethal
addiction, for war is a drug.”
S
u
m
m
i
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78 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
hometheatermag.com 79
M
oon is a trip back to when science-ction movies were
smart, challenging stories about ideas and people,
and not just vehicles for special eects. Like many of
the sci- greats, Moon asks more questions than it
answers, but that enhances its appeal to those who
miss movies like this. e lm’s marketing and reviews compare it to
2001: A Space Odyssey, but it reminded me more of Silent Running,
which isn’t faint praise. Moon is more overtly referential of the former,
but at its heart, it’s much more evocative of the latter’s emotional
isolation. Sam Rockwell plays Sam Bell, a lonely man at the end of a
three-year posting as the sole caretaker of a mining facility on the
moon. His only companions are recorded messages from his wife
on Earth and his computer companion GERTY. (An acknowledge-
ment of HAL’s cinematic stature is that a genuine star like Kevin Spacey
voices the computer co-star of this movie.) Sam starts to come apart
mentally, has an accident, and is joined by an unexpected visitor at the
station. Himself. To tell more would be a spoiler. Su ce to say, the rst
hooks that this movie drops in the water aren’t quite what you think
they are.
e lm’s environments are built more on models and sets than CGI,
and that approach creates a unique, vintage sci- look. Rockwell is the
lm’s center as star and co-star, and it’s a superlative performance in
two complicated roles. Duncan Jones, the son of rock legend David
Bowie, turns in a remarkably focused debut as a feature lm director.
e image quality is excellent, with very sharp but natural detail, a
lm-like layer of ne grain, and realistic colors. It’s not as showy as
special-eects vehicles oen are, but it’s got a great look and feel that’s
beautifully portrayed here.
e DTS-HD Master Audio track is
a dramatic upgrade from the compressed
digital audio I heard theatrically. e bass
has far more impact, the surrounds are
more palpable, the dynamics are superior,
and low-level detail is improved. How-
ever, the sonic star for me is Clint Mansell’s
moody score, which also sounds superb
here.
Highlights of the extras include two
commentaries, two making-of featurettes,
two Q&A pieces that give away too
many of the movie’s mysteries, and a
28-minute short lm by Jones. Moon is
thought-provoking science ction, a
throwback in the very best sense of the
term. ● Shane Buettner
MOON
I THINK
WE’RE ALONE
Sony Pictures
BLU-RAY
STUDIO: Sony Pictures, 2009
ASPECT RATIO: 2.40:1
AUDIO FORMAT:
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
LENGTH: 97 mins.
DIRECTOR: Duncan Jones
STARRING: Sam Rockwell, Sam
Rockwell, Kevin Spacey
PICTURE
SOUND
EXTRAS
INTERACTIVITY
T
his is Federico Fellini’s acknowledged masterpiece, an auto-
biographical stream of consciousness about a lm direc-
tor who’s juggling a wife, mistress, agent, producer, critic,
screenwriter, and actors, who are all pressing him to make a
decision about his next step. e very title is self-referential:
Fellini had made, by his count, seven features and one short, so this
would be lm number 8 ½. Like its hero, Guido Anselmi (played by his
favorite lead actor, Marcello Mastroianni), Fellini had been suering a
creative block. We realize at the end that the lm that Guido ends up
making is the lm that we’ve been watching all along. It isn’t merely a
lm about a lm; it’s a lm that is the lm that it’s about.
As a stylist, Fellini had already departed from his neo-realist roots
and embraced a jaunty, even bawdy, surrealism. (His previous lm,
La Dolce Vita, incited fury from traditional critics yearning for another
I Vitteloni or White Sheikh.) But 8 ½ stretched his indulges to a new
dimension. e camera is constantly moving, almost dancing, and the
settings move abruptly from past to present and from reality to dream
to sheer fantasy. All of it is animated by the giddy but precisely into-
nated music of Nino Rota. It’s a head-spinning spectacle. But it’s more
than mere spectacle. Probably no greater lm has been made about the
creative process, the claustrophobia of life’s pressure, or the wistfulness
of nostalgia. It’s also a wildly comical lm, frequently imitated but never
remotely matched.
e Blu-ray transfer—created from a 35mm ne-grain master
positive, which was struck in turn from the original master—is another
black-and-white beauty from the Criterion Collection. Blacks are
very black, contrasts are very wide, skintones are luscious or pasty
or sometimes both (depending on the
desired eect), and depth and detail are
striking. As far as I could see, there are
no digital artifacts. e uncompressed
soundtrack is mono, but it still seemed
to ll the room; dialogue is crisp. e
orchestral soundtrack is dynamic, a bit
bright but not too bright.
Extras include a very interesting featur-
ette on Fellini’s original but discarded nal
scene (with photographs and participants’
recollections) and a fascinating documen-
tary about Rota. e commentary track
doesn’t go far beyond the special features
or the essays in the booklet, and it’s a bit
dull to boot. ● Fred Kaplan
8 ½
PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST
AS A MIDDLE-AGED MAN
Criterion Collection
BLU-RAY
STUDIO: Criterion Collection, 1963
ASPECT RATIO: 1.85:1
AUDIO FORMAT:
Uncompressed PCM mono (Italian)
LENGTH: 138 mins.
DIRECTOR: Federico Fellini
STARRING: Marcello Mastroianni,
Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimee
PICTURE
SOUND
EXTRAS
INTERACTIVITY
CINEMA SCOPE
B
ruce Willis has long excelled at playing a certain type of
awed and weary hero, one with a strong moral center who
nds it di cult to set aside a few minutes to shower and
manages to look as though he has recently received a light
but thorough beating. He reprises his signature character
in Surrogates, but with a bonus: He also plays his younger, cleaner, and
more hirsute robot surrogate, a version of himself if he were, say, the
host of a small-market infotainment show, perhaps Good Morning
Indianapolis.
Surrogates sets up its interesting premise quickly: It’s a near future in
which almost every person on the planet lives the life of a bathrobe-
wearing shut-in, experiencing the outside world exclusively through the
eyes and ears of their sexy, anthropomorphically perfect robot selves. As
with all imagined utopias, some spoilsport has to come along and ruin
it for everybody. is time it’s someone who’s got a hold of a beam that
destroys the surrogates and kills their owners at the same time. (In this
way, it’s not unlike Windows Vista.) Willis is an FBI agent who must
track down the killer and at the same time try to salvage his crumbling
marriage, deal with the recent death of his son, and keep his robot self
charged, updated with the latest rmware, and properly lubed.
e premise makes for intriguing social commentary, but the devil is
in the details. What may have worked well for its comic book source
looks at and, well, robotic on the screen. It also raises a lot of questions,
those that probably went unnoticed between the panels of the comic
book. It’s 14 years in the future, and they claim that 98 percent of the
world uses surrogates. Really? In Libya? Djibouti? Vatican City? And
since the surrogates go to work for you, is anybody really going to be
content to guide these perfect beings
through a 12-hour shi mucking out hog
troughs? Also, which genius designed the
system that allows every surrogate in the
world to be controlled by one doughnut-
munching computer nerd in a room by
himself?
Regarding the video, as with all of
Disney’s releases, this one looks and sounds
fantastic. It’s sharp as a tack, with vibrant
colors, terric blacks, and no noticeable
noise; it’s demo quality. e DTS-HD
Master Audio soundtrack is terric, making
good use of all channels, including plenty of
deep bass. It includes a director commen-
tary track as well as a couple of interesting
making-of extras and a music video.
● Michael J Nelson
SURROGATES
A DECENT IDEA GONE HORRIBLY,
BUT MOSTLY BORINGLY, WRONG
Disney
BLU-RAY
STUDIO: Disney, 2009
ASPECT RATIO: 2.40:1
AUDIO FORMAT:
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
LENGTH: 88 mins.
DIRECTOR: Jonathan Mostow
STARRING: Bruce Willis, Radha
Mitchell, Ving Rhames
PICTURE
SOUND
EXTRAS
INTERACTIVITY
P
aranormal Activity is an uncommonly eective and scary
psychological horror lm. It’s another found-footage
camcorder movie, which is centered on the haunting of a
young couple (Micah and Katie). Micah has bought a
high-tech (and presumably high-def ) video camera to
document the disturbances, and things escalate from there. is movie
ratchets up the intensity with each disturbance, right up to the nal
shocking frames. If you’re wondering whether you should have your
Dramamine ready, the camera is mostly tripod-mounted, so the shaky
cam is at a bare minimum.
Paranormal Activity wears its inuences on its sleeve. ere are
pieces of a lot of dierent movies here, from e Blair Witch Project to
Witchboard (really) and, going farther back, Poltergeist. Even with the
familiar building blocks, it coalesces into something that feels fresh. It
works on a very elemental, visceral level. And it’s very convincingly
acted. Seeing this movie theatrically, the audience reactions in the
theater were over the top. But watching it at home was even more
excruciating. e sound eects are very eective, and this isn’t one you
want to watch with the lights o if you’re alone in the house one
weekend. You’ll be looking for a hotel by the time the credits roll.
e image quality is what you’d expect. ere’s noise and other
artifacts that are likely intended to make this high-def video look more
like it was shot DIY by an amateur. e resolution is respectable; it’s
obviously high def but not demo material. Still, it serves the story in
every respect. e deep bass and dynamics during the disturbances are
appropriately dread- and jump-inducing in DTS-HD Master Audio,
and the dialogue is clear and intelligible. More importantly, the sounds
you hear sound like they could be coming
from your house while you’re watching this.
Serious heebie-jeebies.
Other than an alternate ending, which
can be watched separately or woven into
the lm, a Digital Copy and trailer for a
dierent movie (Shutter Island) are the only
extras. About that alternate ending. I didn’t
care for it. e theatrical version hit the
right note in being more mysterious and for
my money, much more disconcerting. is
is a must-have for people who like horror
movies but don’t like the torture porn that
passes for horror today (Saw series, I’m
talking to you). is is a wicked smart scary
movie that relies on crushing psychological
suspense instead of relentless violence and
gore. Highly recommended.
● Shane Buettner
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY
THE WITCHBOARD
DEMON PROJECT
Paramount
BLU-RAY
STUDIO: Paramount, 2009
ASPECT RATIO: 1.78:1
AUDIO FORMAT:
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
LENGTH: 86 mins.
DIRECTOR: Oren Peli
STARRING: Katie Featherston, Micah
Sloat, Mark Fredrichs
PICTURE
SOUND
EXTRAS
INTERACTIVITY
80 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
W
hile not as strong as some of the
previous lms in the series, Harry
Potter and the Half-Blood Prince still
eectively balances the awkwardness
of the teenage years amid the ever-present danger
that waits around every turn. is lm is denitely
the Empire Strikes Back of the franchise and plays
more like a prologue to the grand nale(s) to come
in Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2.
e HD picture is consistently sharp and vivid
and has only the minutest amount of lm grain.
It’s fun to notice all the rich background details
and architecture of Hogwarts. e Dolby TrueHD
soundtrack is spectacular and truly enveloping.
Extras include additional scenes, vignettes, and
numerous featurettes. A segment called “One-
Minute Drills” challenges the young actors to sum
up their characters’ story arc in sixty seconds or
less, and there’s a “think fast” Q&A with the cast.
A fascinating section chronicles a year in the life
of author J.K. Rowling as she nishes the seventh
and nal novel in the series. Maximum Movie
Mode is an interactive PiP feature hosted by
Daniel Radclie, and BD-Live oers even more
exclusive bonus content. A third disc contains a
standard-def version of the lm, and it comes with
a certicate with a special code that you can
redeem for a Digital
Copy online.
If you’ve been
collecting the Potter
lms on Blu-ray,
acquiring this one will
be a no-brainer. But
you should be aware
that the rst two lms
have been re-released
in impressive Deluxe
Ultimate Editions
with even more bonus
material, and more
lms will follow.
● Corey Gunnestad
hometheatermag.com 81
BLU-RAY
STUDIO: Warner Brothers, 2009
ASPECT RATIO: 2.40:1
AUDIO FORMAT: Dolby TrueHD 5.1,
Dolby Digital 5.1
LENGTH: 153 mins.
DIRECTOR: David Yates
STARRING: Daniel Radcliffe, Alan
Rickman, Michael Gambon
PICTURE
SOUND
EXTRAS
INTERACTIVITY
Y
ou’re thrilled to be in Jimmy Page’s record
library. He thumbs through a stack of
picture-sleeve 45s, passing Snooks Eaglin,
Rick Nelson, and Buddy Holly in favor of
an original UK London pressing of Link Wray’s
classic “Rumble.”
e gray-haired, ponytailed rock legend places
it on the platter of his Technics turntable (he needs
something better!), lowers the stylus into the
lead-in groove, and a 14-year-old’s impish smile
erupts on his face as three of the most menacing
guitar strums in rock history blast from unseen
speakers.
ere’s a cutaway to a vintage black-and-white
Wray live performance of “Rumble” synched to
Page’s 45. With a quick uptick of his wrist, Page
air-guitars it, breaking out in delighted giggles,
although he’s probably heard the song hundreds
of times.
Davis Guggenheim’s intricate documentary
bios three very dierent guitar heroes from three
adjacent eras: Page, the elegant, white-haired,
ponytailed English war baby; the eects-pedal-
obsessed, emotionally reserved technocrat, U2’s
e Edge; and the young, Detroit-born retro-tech,
distortion specialist/minimalist, the White Stripes’
Jack White, who almost single-handedly resur-
rected rock in the era
of hard-core hip-hop.
ough anticipa-
tion might lead
viewers to think the
lm could end with a
concert or an edgy
guitar cutting session,
neither happens.
No matter, It Might
Get Loud is a riveting,
immensely entertain-
ing, and enjoyable
must-see for anyone
who loves rock guitar
and those who play it,
volume knob at 11.
● Michael Fremer
BOYZ MAKING
NOIZE WITH TOYZ!
ALL IS NOT WELL
IN THE WIZARDING WORLD.
T
odd Phillips, director of Old School, returns
with another tale of male bonding and
delayed adolescence. ree buddies throw
a wild Las Vegas bachelor party. ings
don’t go well. Or perhaps things went really, really
well. Either way, the guys can’t remember a damn
thing the next morning. All they know is that their
hotel room is trashed, one of them has lost a tooth,
and a couple of unexpected guests are staying with
them. Oh, and the groom-to-be is missing.
Over the next two days, the boys sort through
the aermath of their crazy night and follow a trail
of clues on a scavenger hunt for their friend. e
situation quickly escalates to absurdity. e movie
plays like Bachelor Party crossed with Very Bad
ings, only with fewer dead hookers. e Hang-
over isn’t a great movie, but it has some great
laughs.
e Blu-ray oers the lm in its theatrical cut
and an Unrated cut. e 2.40:1 high-def transfer is
bright and sharp. Contrasts sometimes seem a
little blown out in the daytime scenes. Black levels
are nice and inky during nighttime scenes. All
the Vegas neon colors pop beautifully. e Dolby
TrueHD soundtrack is a standard comedy mix. It’s
all dialogue with a few licensed songs.
A few minutes of deleted scenes, a gag reel, and
a couple of other
mildly amusing bits
are barely worth a
single watch. e PiP
commentary is only
available on the
theatrical cut. It’s also
kind of dull. You can
jump to BD-Live to
stream a trailer and a
profanity montage
that should have been
on the disc in the rst
place. Disc two is a
Digital Copy for
WMV and iTunes.
● Joshua Zyber
THREE MEN AND A BABY
AND A TIGER
THE HANGOVER UNRATED
EDITION IT MIGHT GET LOUD
HARRY POTTER AND
THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE
Sony Pictures
Warner Brothers
Warner Brothers
BLU-RAY
STUDIO: Sony Pictures, 2009
ASPECT RATIO: 1.78:1
AUDIO FORMAT:
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
LENGTH: 98 mins.
DIRECTOR: Davis Guggenheim
STARRING: Jimmy Page, The Edge,
Jack White
PICTURE
SOUND
EXTRAS
INTERACTIVITY
BLU-RAY
STUDIO: Warner Brothers, 2009
ASPECT RATIO: 2.40:1
AUDIO FORMAT: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
LENGTH: 108 mins.
DIRECTOR: Todd Phillips
STARRING: Bradley Cooper, Ed
Helms, Zach Galifianakis
PICTURE
SOUND
EXTRAS
INTERACTIVITY
9
is a post-apocalyptic tale that follows the
travails of a gang of numbered burlap
sacks with a bunch of gears inside.
ey’re being hunted by and ghting a
mean robot who has a mean robot dog and makes
its own mean robots to wreak even more havoc.
In some respects, I’m making this movie sound
worse than it is.
Visually, this computer-animated tale is com-
pelling over the entirety of its 80-minute run time.
ere’s real imagination on the screen here, and
the action sequences are unpredictable and
superbly well staged. e choices and perform-
ances in the voice talent are inspired (hearing
Martin Landau’s voice reminded me of how much
I miss seeing him onscreen as an actor). But as a
story, 9 never quite turns the corner to become
something resonant. e theme is how mankind’s
reliance on technology will eventually bite us in
the ass and kill us all. But it’s ironic that the vehicle
to tell that story is computer animation, which is
an entirely technological way of making movies
using computers instead of cameras and actors.
9 looks amazing on Blu-ray. ere’s a ton of
textural detail and the dimensionality of the
environments is very convincing. e soundtrack
holds up its end too, with wide-range dynamics,
aggressive activity in
all channels, crystal-
clear dialogue, and a
very complex sound-
scape. ere’s a
U-Control PiP,
deleted scenes, and
the original 11-
minute short that was
the basis for the
movie. 9 has enough
going on that fans of
computer animation
will nd it worth a
rental for the picture
and sound.
● Shane Buettner
82 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
CINEMA SCOPE
T
om writes greeting cards for a living and
has a somewhat idealized view of love.
Summer is an attractive, intelligent, and
independent young woman with eclectic
tastes. e day they meet is day one of 500 Days
of Summer. is lm plays like leang through
someone’s diary, looking at random passages of
interest. Specic scenes in the 500-day journey are
arranged deliberately out of order, and it’s an
inspired choice.
e script is intelligent, witty, and achingly
profound. It’s co-written by Scott Neustadter and
Michael Weber and directed by the sure and
steady hand of Marc Webb. Joseph Gordon-Levitt
and Zooey Deschanel are pitch-perfect as Tom
and Summer, and the evolvement of their
romance and the depth of his feelings for her are
completely believable.
e HD picture is superlative. Shot on lm, this
little indie lm wears the suit of mainstream
cinema well. Color and lighting choices give the
lm a stylized nuance. It looks and sounds great.
An excellent array of music dominates the
soundtrack, and the subtle background ambience
is crisp and clear.
e extras include an audio commentary, a
making-of featurette, and a look at the lm’s
triumph at the
Sundance Film
Festival. It also
includes deleted
scenes, audition tapes,
storyboards, a music
video, vignettes, and
trailers. Two fantasy-
like sequences are
presented here in
their entirety, and
they are a hoot. A
second disc contains
a Digital Copy.
● Corey Gunnestad
SPENDING THE
APOCALYPSE IN A BURLAP SACK
NOT A
LOVE STORY
W
ell, if the Oscar-winning screen-
writer of Jennifer’s Body accom-
plished nothing else with this
sophomore eort (Juno was Diablo
Cody’s sparkling debut), she probably made a few
Internet millionaires on the tra c generated by
the Google hits on “Megan Fox lesbian kiss.”
At times, this hip meld of John Hughes and
Sam Raimi is bracingly funny and ruthlessly on
target. But the Codyspeak dialogue that made
Juno so fetching is too oen forced and annoying.
Too many of the bits are in plain poor taste. I’m
not a hater; I loved Juno and wanted to love this.
It shouldn’t be a spoiler by now, but Jennifer is a
cannibal, and instead of making her a teenage
Dahmer, which might have been interesting, this
movie cops out with a lame supernatural angle
involving a band and a botched virgin sacrice.
(e writer apparently has a knife to grind with
rockers and unrequited groupie love.) Still, Cody
has a distinct voice. No oense to the director, but
this is a Diablo joint all the way. And it turns out
Megan Fox has more to oer than looking hot
while being chased by robots. Jennifer’s Body has
its moments and is worth a rental, for shizz.
e image quality is rich and lm-like, with
nice depth. It’s not the last word in detail and
clarity, but I like the
way it looks. e
lossless soundtrack is
only decent. I thought
the hard rock could
have thumped more.
is disc arrived
too late on deadline to
dive into the extras.
Other than a gag reel
that I did watch and
isn’t funny, extras
include a commen-
tary with Cody and
director Karyn
Kusama, deleted
scenes, featurettes, etc.
● Shane Buettner
FREAK-TARDED,
FOR SHIZZ
JENNIFER’S BODY 9 500 DAYS OF SUMMER
Universal
20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox
BLU-RAY
STUDIO: 20th Century Fox, 2009
ASPECT RATIO: 1.85:1
AUDIO FORMAT:
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
LENGTH: 102 mins.
DIRECTOR: Karyn Kusama
STARRING: Megan Fox, Amanda
Seyfried, Johnny Simmons
PICTURE
SOUND
EXTRAS
INTERACTIVITY
BLU-RAY
STUDIO: 20th Century Fox, 2009
ASPECT RATIO: 2.40:1
AUDIO FORMAT:
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
LENGTH: 95 mins.
DIRECTOR: Marc Webb
STARRING: Joseph Gordon-Levitt,
Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend
PICTURE
SOUND
EXTRAS
INTERACTIVITY
BLU-RAY
STUDIO: Universal, 2009
ASPECT RATIO: 1.85:1
AUDIO FORMAT:
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
LENGTH: 80 mins.
DIRECTOR: Shane Acker
STARRING: Elijah Wood, John C.
Reilly, Jennifer Connelly
PICTURE
SOUND
EXTRAS
INTERACTIVITY
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SOURCE COMPONENTS
ENTRY LEVEL
Panasonic DMP-BD60 Blu-ray Player, $200
Reviewed July 2009
Sony PlayStation 3 Game Console/
Blu-ray Player, $299
Reviewed May 2008
MIDRANGE
Samsung BD-P3600 Blu-ray Player, $300
Reviewed July 2009
LG BD390 Blu-ray Player, $350
Reviewed December 2009
Panasonic DMP-BD55 Blu-ray Player, $399
Reviewed December 2008
Replaced with DMP-BD80 Blu-ray Player,
$250*
ARRIS Moxi HD DVR, $499
Reviewed June 2009
OPPO BDP-83 Blu-ray Player, $499
Reviewed September 2009
HIGH END
Meridian Sooloos Control 10 Media Server
and Twinstore Storage System, $8,250
Reviewed October 2009
SPEAKERS
ENTRY LEVEL
DCM Cinema2 Speaker System, $500
Reviewed November 2007
HSU Research HB-1 Speaker System,
$1,124 as reviewed
Reviewed March 2007
Replaced with HB-1 Mk 2 Speaker System,
$1,124*
Mordaunt-Short Alumni Speaker System,
$1,470 as reviewed
Reviewed March 2008
JBL ES20 Speaker System, $1,746 as
reviewed
Reviewed September 2008
JBL Control NOW AW Speaker System,
$2,124 as reviewed
Reviewed February 2009
Paradigm Special Edition SE 1 Speaker
System, $2,344 as reviewed
Reviewed February 2010
Paradigm Reference Studio 20 v.4 Speaker
System, $2,495 as reviewed
Reviewed March 2007
Replaced with Reference Studio 20 v.5
Speaker System, $2,495*
MIDRANGE
Focal Dôme Speaker System, $2,595 as
reviewed
Reviewed January 2010
Boston Acoustics Reflection RS 260
Speaker System, $2,900 as reviewed
Reviewed February 2010
Atlantic Technology System 4400 Speaker
System, $3,350 as reviewed
Reviewed December 2009
Boston Acoustics VS 240 Speaker System,
$3,700 as reviewed
Reviewed January 2009
Acoustic Energy Radiance 1 Speaker
System, $4,200 as reviewed
Reviewed September 2009
Definitive Technology Mythos STS
SuperTower Speaker System,
$4,355 as reviewed
Reviewed March 2009
ENTRY LEVEL
Sony BRAVIA KDL-40V5100 LCD HDTV,
$1,100
Reviewed September 2009
Panasonic VIERA TC-P42G10 Plasma HDTV,
$1,200
Reviewed September 2009
MIDRANGE
Panasonic TC-P46G10 Plasma HDTV, $1,500
Reviewed July 2009
Panasonic TH-50PZ85 Plasma HDTV, $2,200
Reviewed October 2008
Replaced with TC-P50G10 Plasma HDTV,
$1,600*
Toshiba REGZA 46SV670U LCD HDTV, $2,300
Reviewed November 2009
Panasonic VIERA TC-P58V10 Plasma HDTV,
$2,700
Reviewed January 2010
Samsung UN55B7000 LCD HDTV, $3,500
Reviewed August 2009
Sony BRAVIA KDL-46XBR8 LCD HDTV, $3,700
Reviewed January 2009
HIGH END
Samsung UN55B8500 LCD HDTV, $4,500
Reviewed January 2010
Sony BRAVIA KDL-55XBR8 LCD HDTV, $5,000
Reviewed February 2009
Panasonic Premiere TH-65VX100U Plasma
HD Monitor, $7,500
Reviewed April 2009
PROJECTORS
ENTRY LEVEL
Sanyo PLV-Z3000 LCD Projector, $2,795
Reviewed June 2009
Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 6500 UB
LCD Projector, $2,999
Reviewed August 2009
Replaced with PowerLite Home Cinema
8500 UB LCD Projector, $2,499*
MIDRANGE
Sony BRAVIA VPL-HW15 SXRD Projector,
$3,000
Reviewed March 2010
Mitsubishi HC7000 LCD Projector, $3,495
Reviewed March 2009
Panasonic PT-AE3000U LCD Projector,
$3,499
Reviewed March 2009
Replaced with PT-AE4000U LCD Projector,
$2,499*
Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 9500 UB LCD
Projector, $3,699
Reviewed March 2010
JVC DLA-HD350 D-ILA Projector, $4,500
Reviewed June 2009
HIGH END
JVC DLA-HD750 D-ILA Projector, $7,500
Reviewed April 2009
Replaced with DLA-HD950 D-ILA Projector,
$8,000*
Planar PD8150 DLP Projector, $8,000
Reviewed July 2008
Sony BRAVIA VPL-VW85 SXRD Projector,
$8,000
Reviewed November 2009
Marantz VP-15S1 DLP Projector, $9,000
Shane Buettner reviewed this model for
www.UltimateAVmag.com
(Available while supplies last)
HOME THEATER

Sonus faber Toy/REL T1 Speaker System
HDTVS
NOT SURE
WHAT
TO BUY?
Check out this
exclusive listing
of our reviewers’
recommended gear.

Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 9500
LCD Projector
* This replacement product has not yet been reviewed in HT. Although we suggest it is worth a close look, this is not a specific recommendation.

LG BD390 Blu-ray Player

Toshiba REGZA 46SV670U LCD HDTV

Paradigm Reference Studio 20 v.4
Speaker System
Polk SurroundBar 360 DVD Theater
Soundbar, $1,200
Reviewed January 2009
Phase Technology Teatro PC-3.0 Speaker
System, $2,400 as reviewed
Reviewed May 2009
HTIBS
ENTRY LEVEL
Sony BRAVIA DAV-HDX500 HTIB, $499
Reviewed at
www.HomeTheaterMag.com
Replaced with DAV-HDX587WC HTIB, $430*
Onkyo HT-SR800 HTIB, $599
Reviewed at
www.HomeTheaterMag.com
Replaced with HT-S5200 HTIB, $599*
MIDRANGE
Panasonic SC-BT100 HTIB, $1,000
Reviewed October 2008
Onkyo HT-S9100THX Integrated System,
$1,099
Reviewed April 2009
A/V RECEIVERS
ENTRY LEVEL
Pioneer VSX-1019AH A/V Receiver, $499
Reviewed October 2009
Onkyo TX-SR607 A/V Receiver, $599
Reviewed August 2009
MIDRANGE
Onkyo TX-NR807 A/V Receiver, $1,099
Reviewed December 2009
Marantz SR6004 A/V Receiver, $1,250
Reviewed March 2010
Denon AVR-4310CI A/V Receiver, $1,999
Reviewed November 2009
Rotel RSX-1550 A/V Receiver, $1,999
Reviewed June 2009
Infinity Classia C336 Speaker System,
$4,494 as reviewed
Reviewed April 2009
PSB G-Design Speaker System,
$4,696 as reviewed
Reviewed October 2007
PSB Imagine T Speaker System,
$4,749 as reviewed
Reviewed May 2009
Dynaudio Focus 110 Speaker System,
$5,000 as reviewed
Reviewed September 2007
Canton Ergo 620 Speaker System,
$5,550 as reviewed
Reviewed January 2010
Sonus faber Toy/REL T1 Speaker System,
$6,044 as reviewed
Reviewed May 2009
Usher Be-718 Speaker System,
$6,988 as reviewed
Reviewed May 2008
HIGH END
Atlantic Technology 8200e Speaker
System, $7,530 as reviewed
Reviewed July 2007
Thiel SCS4 Speaker System,
$8,350 as reviewed
Reviewed April 2008
Sonics Amerigo Speaker System, $10,095
as reviewed
Reviewed February 2010
PSB Synchrony One Speaker System,
$10,700 as reviewed
Reviewed December 2007
Paradigm Reference Signature S8 Speaker
System, $15,195 as reviewed
Reviewed January 2009
Monitor Audio Platinum PL300 Speaker
System, $25,650 as reviewed
Reviewed October 2009
Revel Ultima2 Salon2 Speaker System,
$45,993 as reviewed
Reviewed July 2009
IN-WALL/ON-WALL
Atlantic Technology IWCB-626 In-Wall
Speakers, $875/each
Reviewed September 2007
Sonance VP89 In-Wall Speakers,
$2,850/pair
Reviewed September 2008
Paradigm Millenia 20 Hybrid Speaker
System, $5,281 as reviewed
Reviewed January 2010
BG Radia BGX-4850 In-Wall Subwoofer
System, $7,000 as reviewed
Reviewed January 2010
Pioneer Elite EX Series S-IW691L In-Wall
Speaker System, $10,197 as reviewed
Reviewed June 2009
SOUNDBAR SPEAKERS
VIZIO VSB210WS High Definition Sound Bar
Speaker System, $350
Reviewed July 2009
ZVOX Z-Base 550 Single-Cabinet Surround
System, $400
Reviewed April 2009
ZVOX 425 Soundbar, $600
Reviewed July 2008
Definitive Technology Mythos SSA-50
Soundbar, $1,099
Reviewed August 2008
Atlantic Technology FS-7.0 Soundbar and
SB-800 Sub, $1,100
Reviewed March 2010
Denon DHT-FS3 Soundbar, $1,199
Reviewed April 2008
Marantz SR8002 A/V Receiver, $2,000
Reviewed May 2008
Pioneer Elite SC-27 A/V Receiver, $2,200
Reviewed March 2010
HIGH END
Rotel RSX-1560 A/V Receiver, $2,599
Reviewed August 2009
Integra DTR-9.9 A/V Receiver, $2,600
Reviewed April 2009
Replaced with DTR-80.1 A/V Receiver,
$2,800
Denon AVR-4810CI A/V Receiver, $2,999
Reviewed March 2010
Arcam AVR600 A/V Receiver, $4,999
Reviewed August 2009
Denon AVR-5308CI A/V Receiver, $5,500
Reviewed August 2008
Pioneer Elite SC-09TX A/V Receiver, $7,000
Reviewed November 2008
PROCESSORS
Integra DHC-9.9 Processor, $2,000
Reviewed July 2009
Replaced with DHC-80.1 Processor, $2,300
Marantz AV8003 Processor, $2,600
Reviewed October 2008
Anthem Statement D2 Processor, $7,499
Reviewed September 2008
Replaced with Statement D2v Processor with
ARC, $7,499,* review upcoming
Denon AVP-A1HDCI Processor, $7,500
Reviewed September 2009
AMPLIFIERS
Rotel RMB-1085 Amplifier, $1,199
Reviewed October 2008
Replaced with RMB-1565 Amplifier, $1,299*
Denon POA-A1HDCI Amplifier, $7,500
Reviewed September 2009

BG Radia BGX-4850 In-Wall
Subwoofer System •
Onkyo HT-S9100THX Integrated System

Denon AVP-A1HDCI Processor

Rotel RMB-1085 Amplifier
hometheatermag.com 85

Marantz SR6004 A/V Receiver

VIZIO VSB210WS High Definition
Sound Bar Speaker System
DEMO Where to Find the Best in Home Theater...
CALIFORNIA (northern)
CALIFORNIA (southern)
GNP AUDIO VIDEO
1254 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91106
(626) 577-7767
www.gnpaudiovideo.com
Home Theater, Home Stereo and Custom Music Systems
since 1977. “Best Stereo Shop” by LA Magazine.
ARC, AUD, B&K, DWI, FUJ, LEX, MAR, MLN, MER, NEC, NIL,
NUV, TNY, PSB, ROT, THI, UNV, AND MORE
DAVID VINCENT DESIGN*#
Jim Zoyiopoulos, Owner
Home theater and music systems showroom.
Lighting control and whole home automation.
26384 Carmel Rancho Lane
Carmel, CA 93923
www.davidvincentdesign.com
info@davidvincentdesign.com
Lutron, Kaleidescape, Crestron, JVC, Sony, Denon,
Niveus, Triad, Speakercraft, Pioneer
FLORIDA
HOME THEATER INNOVATIONS/
BOB’S TV.
Hwy. 441 Ocala/Villages area Over 15 years
experience Custom Designed Home Theater
Automation/ Home Audio
(352) 245-2183
www.bobstv.tv
STRAM ELECTRONICS
HOME THEATER GALLERY
Tampa’s most beautiful showroom - Established 1988.
Professional Quality Easy Living® Automation Systems
with by appointment services. Tampa’s largest AMX
and Vantage Lighting Control dealers.
3300 S. Dale Mabry HWY., Tampa, FL 33629
(813) 831-8551
www.HomeTheaterGallery.com
AIN, AMX, ANY, ART, ADA, BDI, CAN, CHF, DEN, DVO, EXT,
FAR, FUJ, INF, JBL, LGE, MAR, MER, NIL, PAR, ROC, RUN,
SAM, SON, SAE, STW, TRI, UNV, VEL, WWR, XTH, ZEN
GEORGIA
VALENTINO HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Towne Center
7150 Jefferson Hwy., Suite 670
(225) 925-9669 & (225) 925-9660 FAX
www.vheonline.com
B&W, Classe, Rotel, McIntosh, Martin-Logan
CUSTOM HOME THEATER SYSTEMS
99 Pleasant Street, Suite #1
Brunswick, ME 04011 • (207) 373-1147
AER, B&W, BOS, DEF, EAR, INF, LEO, LUT, MAR, MSU,
MNT, NAD, PIO, RBH, REV, ROT, SLD, SAM, SHA, SIM,
SNE, STW, SUN
LOUISIANA
MAINE
GEORGIA HOME THEATER*#
20 Years of Excellence Designing Home Automation
and Lighting Control for Atlanta’s Finest Homes.
Visit our beautiful design center.
2516 Cobb Pkwy., Smyrna, GA 30080
(770) 955-8909
www.GHTNet.com
B&W Speakers, Wilson & 15 Other Brands.
NEW JERSEY
2410 Route 35 North, Manasquan, NJ 08736
3585 Route 9 North, Freehold, NJ 07728
HiDEFhometheater.com
HOME THEATER
DEALER LOCATOR
to Advertise Contact:
Helene Stoner at
Helenestoner@msn.com
ENSEMBLE MUSIC SYSTEMS &
NEW ENGLAND HOME THEATER
166 Daniel Webster Highway
Nashua, NH 03060
Tel: (603) 888-9777, Fax: (603) 888-9555
info@newenglandhometheater.net
http://www.newenglandhometheater.com
AER, ARC, ANT, ATL, AUQ, BDI, B&W, CAR, CLS, DEN, EPS,
LGE, MAC, MNT, NAD, PAR, PDM, PIO, PRC, PSB, ROT,
SEN, SIM, SLD, SPK, STW, SUN, THL, TOT, TRP, UNV
NEW HAMPSHIRE
NEW YORK
A/V EXPERIENCE
Providing over 25 years experience in personalized
music & theater systems for discriminating clientele.
Cedia-certified.
Long Island, New York • (631) 205-1410 vc/fax
Klawson@audiovideoxperience.com
www.audiovideoexperience.com
ADC, APX, ATL, DEN, FUJ, INT, PIO, SAM, SEL, SHA, SPK,
SHB, SNY STS, WWR
IDS AUDIO/VIDEO & TECHNOLOGIES
Specialist in: Dedicated Theaters, Automation and
Music Everywhere. Cedia Certified. IDS Audio/Video &
Technologies Experience over 20 years of personalized
service and custom installation
243 Roslyn Road, Roslyn Heights, NY
(800) 570-6464, Fax: (516) 625-9590
www.idsaudiovideo.com
ACR, ATL, B&K, B&W, BDI, CAN, CHA, CLP, CIN, CRE,
DAL, DEN, DVO, DWI, ELA, FAR, FUJ, HNS, ITG, KLI, LOE,
LUT, MAR, MNT, MON, NAD, NEC, NIL, NHT, ONK, PNX,
PAN, PDM, PAR, PHA, PHL, PIO, POL, REP, ROT, RSD,
SLD, SAM, SAS, SHA, SEL, SON, SNY, SPE, STS, STW,
TER, TRI, TRB, UNV, XTH, YAM, ZEN
INTECH AV
270F Duffy Avenue, Hicksville, New York 11801
Tel: (800) 822-4993
www.intechav.com • sales@intechav.com
Sony, Samsung, Mitsubishi, Toshiba, Crestron, Martin
Logan, Meridian, Niles ICS, Triad, Sim2
Since 1993, providing high end custom installation and
integration in the Tri-State New York area.
INNOFACE SYSTEMS, INC.
www.innofacesystems.com
The DC Metro Area’s source for quality Home Theater
Installations.
Crofton, MD 21114 • (410) 721-4040
CHF, CRE, DAL, DEN, EPS, EXT, HIT, INF, KLI, NIL, PIO,
SHA, TOS, UNV, VEL
MARYLAND
SIGHTS-N-SOUNDS
4032 Sunrise Hwy, Seaford, NY 11783
(516) 679-9700
Sights-N-Sounds
784 West Jericho Tpke., Huntington, NY 11743
(631) 673-2000
www.hometheater.biz • info@hometheater.biz
ALLIED HOME TECHNOLOGIES
www.alliedhometech.com
2915 Berry Hill Drive, Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 385-3999
CT4, DEN, SAM, BOS, PLK, PIO, PAN, TOS, RUS, JBL, ONQ, BOS
TENNESSEE
INTELLIGENT ELECTRONICS
Raleigh, NC 27606
(919) 481-4224 • www.intelligentelectronics.com
AIN, ATL, BDI, CAN, CRE, Definitive Technology, DEN,
JAM, JBL, JL Audio, LG, PAR, Russound, SAM, SEL, Sony,
Stewart Film screen, TOS, UNV, Vidikron, XTH
NORTH CAROLINA
ADVANCED HOME THEATER SYSTEMS *#
Winner, 2007 & 2008 Home of the Year Award! The
Source for Home Automation and Entertainment Solutions.
3209 Premier, Ste. 112, Plano, TX 75075
(972) 516-1849
www.advancedhometheater.com
AER, ATI, ATL, ACT, B&K, BOL, BOX, CYA, CLP, CRE, DAL,
DEN, DWI, EAR, EXT, FAR, HAR, HNS, ITL, JAM, JVC, KIM,
LUT, MNT, MON, NIL, PNX, PAN, PAR, PHL, PIO, PSA,
RCA, RGP, ROC, RUN, RSD, SAM, SHA, SNE, SNY, SPE,
STW, THI, TOS, TRB, VEL, XTH, ZEN
TEXAS
*
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# Indicates CEDIA Dealer
Check Out
Definitive’s
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Everything you always
wanted from a speaker
website and more:
– Find a Dealer.
– Read the Reviews.
– Check the Specs.
– Ogle Gorgeous
Pictures.
– Get Expert Advice.
– Share Your Feelings.
– Have Fun.
Instant Information for Our Readers...
www.hometheatermag.com
88 . . . . . Advanced Home Theater
System
Phone (800) 414-1849
www.advancedhometheater.com
27 . . . . . American Power Conversion
Phone (888) 289-APCC
www.apc.com
65 . . . . . Audioengine
www.audioengineusa.com
18-19 . . BodySound
Phone (877) 943-4041
www.bodysoundtheater.com
8 . . . . . . CinemaShop.com
Phone (866) 243-1001
www.cinemashop.com
13 . . . . . Crutchfield
Phone (800) 555-8347
www.crutchfield.com
77 . . . . . CSA Audio Design
Phone (973) 744-0600
www.csaaudiodesign.com
88 . . . . . CustomHT
Phone (800) 246-5006, ext.00
www.customHT.com
C2–3 . . . Definitive Technology
15,17 Phone (410) 363-7148
87 www.definitivetech.com
10 . . . . . Diamond Case Designs
Phone (800) 616-5354
www.diamondcase.com
83 . . . . . Harbor Freight Tools
Phone (800) 657-8001
www.harborfreightusa.com/
hometheater
41 . . . . . Intech Corp.
Phone (888) 429-HDTV
www.thehighdefinitionstore.com
C4 . . . . . Mitsubishi Electric
Phone (888) 307-0359
www.mitsubishi-presentations.com
89 . . . . . New Egg
www.newegg.com
69 . . . . Oppo Digital, Inc.
Phone (650) 961-1118
www.oppodigital.com
7 . . . . . . Panasonic Consumer
www.panasonic.com/viera
9 . . . . . . Polk Audio
Phone (410) 764-5275
www.polkaudio.com
5 . . . . . . Sanus Systems
Phone (800) 359-5520
www.sanus.com
23 . . . . . Schneider Optics
Phone (800) 228-1254
www.schneideroptics.com
11 . . . . . SRS Labs
Phone (800) 243-2733
www.srslabs.com
C3 . . . . . Stewart Film Screen
www.stewartfilmscreen.com
73 . . . . . Sunfire Corp.
www.sunfire.com
45 . . . . . Totem Acoustic
Phone (514) 259-1062
www.totemacoustic.com
56 . . . . . Vutec
www.vutec.com
53 . . . . . ZVOX Audio
Phone (866) FOR-ZVOX
www.zvoxaudio.com
Home Theater (ISSN 1096-3065) March 2010, Vol. 17, No. 3. Copyright 2010 by Source Interlink Magazines, LLC. All rights reserved. Published monthly by Source Interlink Media,
LLC., 261 Madison Avenue, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10016. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY and additional mailing offices. Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No.
40612608. Canada Returns to be sent to: Bleuchip International, P.O. Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2 Canada. Subscription rates for one year (12 issues): U.S., APO, FPO and U.S.
Possessions $23.94, Canada $36.94 (price includes surface mail postage to Canada and GST-reg. no. 87209 3125 RT0001). All other countries $38.94 per year. POSTMASTER: Please
send address changes to Home Theater, P.O. Box 420235, Palm Coast, FL 32142-0235.
Mailing Lists: Occasionally, our subscriber list is made available to reputable firms offering goods and services we believe would be of interest to our readers. If you prefer to be
excluded, please send your current address label and a note requesting to be excluded from these promotions to Source Interlink Media, LLC., 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA
90245, Attn: Privacy Coordinator. Subscription Service: Should you wish to change your address or order new subscriptions, you can e-mail hometheater@emailcustomerservice.
com, call (800) 264-9872 (international calls: 386-447-6383), or write to: Home Theater, P.O. Box 420235, Palm Coast, FL 32142-0235.
Information listed in this index is done so as a courtesy. Publisher is not liable for incorrect information or excluded listings.
Advertisers should contact their sales representative to correct or update listing.
MANUFACTURERS PAGE# MANUFACTURERS PAGE#
Show off your theater with a profession-
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HOME THEATER
Curtain Call
Calibrate? Good Times! (Home Theater)
Michael J. Nelson is the former host and head writer of Mystery
Science Theater 3000 and the proprietor of www.rifftrax.com,
which offers his commentaries on A-list films, including Star Wars: Episode I,
The Fellowship of the Ring, and The Matrix.
BY Michael J. Nelson
y
eI, II
W
hen it comes to their equipment, there are two
kinds of people. ere are those who want to
squeeze every last bit of performance out of it
by modifying, tweaking, and “working under
the hood,” so to speak. en there are those
whose attitude is, “Hey, I took it out of the box.
What the hell else do you want from me? Now
I’m gonna go lie down.” ese are the kind of people represented in a
recent poll, an alarmingly huge number of whom have HDTVs but
don’t have any HD sources to play on them. I can only imagine that
more than a few of these people also own Lamborghini Gallardos,
which they use exclusively to tow their lawn mulchers. (ere was also
a sizable slice of the populace who had never even heard of high def!
Do we have a vastly larger number of cave-dwelling cloistered monks
in our country than I have been led to believe?)
No doubt you’ve been to these people’s houses and seen their TVs.
Every setting is cranked to maximum. A corresponding rectangle of
paint on the opposite wall is singed and peeling, caused by the beam
of excessive heat and radiation. e colors are completely out of whack,
eshtones are bright red, and the greens are horrid and unearthly to
the point that it makes you nauseous. In addition, a toddler or some
equally incompetent person has ddled with the remote, as the aspect
ratio is on the wrong setting so that only 20 percent of the source is
actually visible on the screen. As you’re about to cry out, “What in the
name of hell happened to that?!” your host stops you short by saying,
“Just picked that baby up from the store. She’s a beaut, ain’t she? Some-
day I may even get some sort of HD to show on it. Now come ride
shotgun with me while I mulch my lawn.”
Since you’re reading this, chances are good that you aren’t one of
these people. However, if you are, may I—with humility, good will, and
only the purest of intentions—oer this gentle rebuke: Get your damn
TV calibrated, you jackass! (Sorry, sorry! It’s just my passion coming
through. I’m sure you’re barely a jackass at all.) You could hire a pro-
fessional, which I certainly wouldn’t discourage you from doing. But
as I’ve just been through the process of dialing in two new sets at my
own home, perhaps I can walk you through the do-it-yourself process,
provided you’re not still mad at me.
First, you’ll need some test patterns, on Blu-ray, of course. You do
have a Blu-ray player, don’t you, dumbass? (Sorry! ere’s that pas-
sion again. I promise I’ll try to tame it down.) ere are a couple of
options, the obvious choice being the estimable Digital Video Essen-
tials: HD Basics, available for about $16 online. Amazon.com also
sells the equally highly regarded Spears & Munsil High Denition
Benchmark Blu-ray Edition for a little more. Or you could go on the
cheap and use the super-secret test patterns that are on every Disney
Blu-ray. You can access these from the main menu by entering the
numbers 7-6-6-9 from the remote. (Having given away the secret,
I’m relatively sure that one or more of the many black-ops kill squads
that Disney keeps on call 24 hours a day is now silently speeding to
my home.)
You’ll immediately want to crank down, hard, on the brightness
setting. If you haven’t changed it from its default setting, your set is
probably putting out more lumens than the Great Lighthouse at
Alexandria. Find yourself a PLUGE pattern. (is stands for Picture
Line-Up Generation Equipment, and, as I’ve never heard it spoken
out loud, I can only assume it’s pronounced “pluggie,” or “ploohey,”
or “ploojah,” or preferably just not spoken out loud.) en, you’ll need
to dial in the shadow detail. I’m certain you’ll be far happier with
blacks that are black and not an eye-burning shade of bright gray.
Sony’s super-secret PLUGE pattern is located on the bottom right of
the color bars, according to technical director Scrooge McDuck IV.
e contrast setting, or white level, which will probably also be cranked,
is relatively easy to optimize. You may need to nd yourself a blue l-
ter to properly set the color—some calibration discs even include one.
If yours doesn’t, it may take a little digging on the Internet, as there
are very few blue lter stores in most people’s immediate neighbor-
hoods.
If you get all that done, you’ll likely be a good deal better o than you
were when you started, but if you really want to ne-tune it, you’ll want
to calibrate your set’s gray-scale tracking. “Wow!” I can hear you saying.
“at sounds fun! Tell me more!” I know. Settle down. It actually is kind
of fun, if you don’t have a whole lot else going on in your life. To do it,
you’ll need the right gray test patterns and something to measure the
color with. A number of dierent colorimeters are available at prices
that range from $120 to thousands of dollars. If, like me, you have set
aside almost no money for a colorimeter, you can go the cheap—but no
less accurate—route of building an optical comparometer. All you do is
knock together a small box to house a ashlight with a 6500K bulb (the
correct color temperature) shining on a photographic gray card and a
white card with holes cut into them. Put up your gray test patterns, then
peer through your comparometer and use your TV’s white-balance
controls to match the screen to the gray of your comparometer. Voilà!
Of course, the downside is that if anyone sees you doing it, you’ll have
to sell your house and move to avoid the shame.
In short, dear friends, if I could leave you with anything, it would be
this: Get your damn TV calibrated, you jackass!
90 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com
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2
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O

f all the outstanding products reviewed by Sound & Vision in 2008, only one was selected as “Audio Product of the Year,” not merely “Speaker of the Year” but “Audio Product of the Year.” And that product is the Definitive Technology Mythos STS SuperTower multichannel speaker system.

Where’s the Subwoofer? Built right in!
Each STS features a built-in 300 Watt SuperCube™ powered subwoofer for soul-stirring bass impact, earth-shaking dynamics along with tight, detailed musicality. You’ll enjoy double the bass while saving floor space and enhancing the beauty of your room.

The Mythos STS's built-in powered subwoofers, advanced technologies and superior materials bring you sonic perfection.

“…prepare to be amazed. The Mythos STS is one of the most exciting products that I have come across in a long time…unrivaled at its price point.”
— Roger Kanno, SoundStage.com

More Praise
The Mythos STS SuperTowers earned SoundStage.com’s 2008 Reviewer’s Choice Award for Aesthetics and Sound. Home Theater Magazine called the STS system “Crisp, Lush, Focused” and tagged it with a Top Pick award. The STS also won two Innovations Design and Engineering awards at CES 2009, one for High Performance Audio and the other for Home Theater Speakers. One industry award is an honor, five is a sweep. Yes, this system is that good.

“…in a class by themselves – rich fine detail, full-bodied mid-tones, and adjustable self-powered bass, in fact considering what you get, these are valuepriced speakers. " — Piero Gabucci,
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There’s not enough room on this page to tell the whole story of this magnificent system. For all the details, including where to get a demonstration, visit the web address below today.

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“one of the best values going in high-end speakers”
— Al Griffin, Sound & Vision

“…the Definitive Technology Mythos STS SuperTower just might be the best loudspeaker I've heard for $3000/pair.”
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Mythos STS SuperTowers, Mythos Nine and Mythos Gem system: MSRP $4355.

The Mythos STS system is Sound & Vision Magazine’s 2009 Audio Product of the Year.

TEL 800. 228.7148

24 32 49 Three for the Show 36 COLUMNS Ask Home Theater Your how-to and technical home theater questions answered. Gear from Epson. and Sony. Our projector buyer’s guide. and more. 3 ON THE COVER Special projector issue.com and sign up to receive our new. free eNewsletter for first-rate. on the web LOG ON TO HomeTheaterMag. up-to-the-minute reporting of everything that’s hot in the world of home theater. by Scott Wilkinson Curtain Call Calibrate? Good Times! (Home Theater) by Michael J. Mitsubishi. how to choose a screen.March 2010 Volume 17 No. Three for the Show Projectors go Main Street. Part II of our Going Retro feature. 49 24 32 36 49 . Screen image courtesy of 20th Century Fox. Nelson FEATURES 22 90 Video Projectors Bringing the theater home. Marantz. Home Theater Design The Savant Experience Center lets you see the latest technologies firsthand. new reviews. Set and Match Choosing the right projector and the right screen. Plus.

U T RE O M UN TS TA S ND S UN TS O UN TS . you’ll always get smart design.SANUS.com. Our new. giving you more time to enjoy cherished moments with friends and family. high quality and patented technology. Sanus Systems is a registered trademark. and the Sanus logo is a trademark of Milestone. Sanus Systems is a division of Milestone.A TV W LL O M MO D IZE T OR M SP EA KE R ©2009 Milestone AV Technologies. innovative products are easy to install and easy to use. A TV W LL UR AV F NI Make room for life With Sanus Systems. Learn more at www. All Rights Reserved.

HomeTheaterMag.PREVIEW FROM THE 14 20 HIGH END P58-61 P58 DEPARTMENTS Prologue Front Projection is the New Rear Projection by Shane Buettner Letters The makings of an A/V receiver review. 8 12 14 20 78 84 86 Denon AVR-4810CI A/V Receiver Need supersizing? MIDRANGE Atlantic Technology FS-7. Premiere Design Digital Cinema Comes Home: Wolf Cinema DCX-1000i Cinema Scope The Hurt Locker. and more of the hottest new titles on Blu-ray. AV News Comcast and NBC in historic merger. find a quality dealer near you. Pioneer Elite SC-27 A/V Receiver What? No 8-track? Sharp LC-60E77UN LCD HDTV A worthy contender. Dealer Locator Before you run out to buy a product we’ve reviewed. P62-77 P62 P66 P70 P74 62 70 78 hometheatermag. Paranormal Activity.com .com on the web VISIT THE “HOW WE TEST” link on our Website for a detailed explanation of our testing regimen and a list of our reference gear. Jennifer’s Body. Marantz SR6004 A/V Receiver Restraint and simplicity. Top Picks Not sure what to buy? Check out this exclusive listing of our reviewers’ recommended gear.0 Soundbar and SB-800 Sub Seven channels plus. and Lord of the Rings makes a bittersweet debut on Blu-ray.

picture simulated To join our community. go to livinginhd.com .

but the point is valid. com. the real big-screen experience today. . I’m exaggerating somewhat. physically imposing to install and live with. and nancing these beasts. A projector with a 100-inchdiagonal screen o ers an image that’s a full four times the screen area of that 50-inch at screen. and very nicky to set up and maintain over time. e most Digital front projectors critical choice you’ll make in setting up your frontprojection system is choosing a screen that’s the right are bright. movie night at your house will leave the local shoot than a digital multiplex in the dust! “ camera. ey were prohibitively expensive. increasingsize. selling. In our quest for really big screens. marketing. You’ll get exclusive tips. and o en only a little more di cult to point and shoot than a digital camera. Although control over room light is a necessity for front projection. Senior editor Tom often only a little more Norton’s article on choosing a projector and screen (page 32) is essential reading. costs less than what a premium rear-projection TV cost ten years ago. material. Please include your full name. FL 32142-0235.O. And as the projector reviews and articles in this issue make clear. A 50-inch-diagonal at screen is awesome for certain. ly less expensive. trends. Digital front projectors are bright. challenged in light output. you aren’t locked into a single location. rear-projection bigscreen TVs were a force in our corner of this industry. ese RPTVs drove a ton of sales in electronics for people who wanted sound that was of proper scale to match that big-screen TV. news. ese days. CUSTOMER SERVICE AND SUBSCRIPTIONS: hometheater@emailcustomerservice. it’s a whole new ball game. Palm Coast. $3. With the generous zoom range and lens shi of today’s projectors. EDITOR MARCH 2010 Front Projection Is the New Rear Projection Move over. call (800) 264-9872 (international calls: 386-447-6383). Front projection is more accessible than ever. address. but not one of us who is standing here today looks back on that era as the good old days. and reviews from your favorite HT writers. Digital projectors are much easier to mount or place in a room. we proud few did live with and maintain these things. O ne of the home theater market’s unequivocal triumphs in the last several years is the ascendance of the front projector. and phone number on the LOG ON TO HomeTheaterMag. and and the room you’re using them in. don’t forget that the projector and the screen form a system. and gain for your projector. Specialty stores catered to this crowd. While we most o en review projectors.BY SHANE BUETTNER.com and sign up for our free web monthly eNewsletter. . or write to: P Box 420235. in every way. Once upon a time. your system. Today.000 to $4. we’re not talking about stripped-down loss leaders hitting a price point.000 buys you a fully loaded name-brand projector that’s capable of excellent performance. multiplex. with full 1080p resolution. Perhaps best of all. Front projection was based on three-gun CRT behemoths that were inaccessible to most enthusiasts in every way. at’s the di erence between a compelling image and complete immersion in the experience. When you’re done and the lights difficult to point and drop. brighter projectors and screens that reject ambient light o er exibility that we didn’t have in the past. increasingly less expensive.

Our award-winning products are designed to fit both your life and your style: play your iPod by your bedside. Polk Audio.com/greataudio. Polk Audio is a DEI Holdings. Plug them in and sound comes out! That’s what a loudspeaker is. where loudspeakers face extremes of heat and cold. Polk Audio has surfed the edge of innovation to bring you excellent sound at a reasonable price. By mastering the elements from the start. revel in the warmth of vinyl recordings in your living room or enjoy the cinema impact of digital technology in your home theater. to smash it. or during the rough handling of shipping. .We destroy them so you can enjoy them.polkaudio. Inc. Find out more! Join us on our Facebook page. it’ll sound even better to you. Extreme testing results in superior products. The Speaker Specialists. there’s a Quality Assurance team member to poke it and prod it (often. mangle it or drop-kick it). to formulate and test speaker materials & designs. Company. see us on YouTube. in high moisture areas like bathrooms. so that you can simply plug them in and enjoy years of dynamic Polk Audio sound. Polk & The Speaker Specialists are registered trademarks of Polk Audio. If our loudspeakers don’t live up to our rigorous Quality Assurance tests. they won’t live up to the performance you demand. simple as that. Polk Audio uses Skip. But did you know that building a loudspeaker to deliver a lifetime of high performance sound is anything but simple? At Polk Audio. Do the parts fit securely? Will our adhesives adhere for years? Does “all-weather” really mean all weather? We test every speaker for its ability to withstand the most extreme conditions. We Make It Sound Better For almost forty years. frag zombies in your den. our professional Quality Assurance teams are involved in the development of our loudspeakers from the beginning. or at www. If it sounds good to Skip. We’re Polk Audio. moisture and salt. the Neumann binaural head. At every stage in the development of our loudspeakers. If It Makes Sound. This is just the beginning of the Polk Audio story. Inc. Neumann is a registered trademark of the Georg Neumann GmbH in certain countries. All this. soak it. Not to mention car and boat installations. we design and build loudspeakers that stand up to almost any environment and to the roughest treatment imaginable.

Gillis President.com/submissions. Single Copy: Rich Baron Vice President.com National Retailers: Laura LoVecchio.pray@sorc. 2900 Amber Lane. LLC.diamondcase. DOUGLAS ST. Kim Wilson. Beauchamp SOURCE INTERLINK MEDIA. your check/money order will be returned to you. keith. INC. Nelson. 505-474-4156. Chief Creative Officer: Alan Alpanian Senior Vice President. Fred Kaplan. LLC Chief Operating Officer: Chris Argentieri Senior Vice President. LLC 831 S. CA 92806 . Manufacturing and Production: Kevin Mullan Vice President.com Marketing Director: Shawn Higgins Group Creative Services Director: Peter Cooper Marketing Coordinator: Heather Stein Group Operations Director: Amy Diamond Managing Editor/Production: April Trestick Ad Coordinator: Sherrie Corsun OFFICERS OF SOURCE INTERLINK COMPANIES. Technical Editor. Digital: John Cobb CONSUMER MARKETING. LLC 261 MADISON AVE. Debbie Stampfli. John Higgins. SOURCE INTERLINK MEDIA. NEW YORK. Anaheim. Palm Coast. Has Your Furniture? MARCH 2010 Volume 17/Number 3 Publisher: Keith Pray. Please include full name. and LCD TVs. ed. Business Development: Jacqueline Blum Senior Vice President.com Western Account Manager: Keith Pray. Corey Gunnestad. Consumer Marketing: Tom Slater Constructed with Integrity DIAMOND CASE Home Theater Furniture Award winning fine furniture designed exclusively for Plasma. Michael J. Any submissions or contributions from readers shall be subject to and governed by Source Interlink Media’s User Content Terms and Conditions. 212-915-4153. EL SEGUNDO.banner@sorc.net Custom Installer/Retailer Locator: Helene Stoner. ENTHUSIAST MEDIA SUBSCRIPTION COMPANY. Vice President. PRINTED IN THE USA. call (800) 264-9872 (international calls: 386-447-6383). CA 92882. Mike Finkelstein. www.O. Audio: Mark J. Source Interlink Distribution: Alan Tuchman Chief Financial Officer: Marc Fierman General Counsel: Cynthia L. or write to Home Theater. keith. Finance: Colleen Artell DIGITAL President.html. Josh Zyber Art Director: Heather Dickson Web Monkey: Jon Iverson Contributing Designer: Robbie Destocki Contributing Photographers: Randall Cordero. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. which are posted at http:// privacy. hmstoner@msn. LLC Senior Vice President. Corona. Box 420235. $7 each. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer: Gregory Mays President and Chief Operating Officer: James R. Digital Media: Greg Goff Senior Vice President. Scott Wilkinson. Allow 3–4 weeks for delivery. INC. LoVecchio Associates. 212-915-4155. Paul Dimalanta. Back Issues: Log onto simbackissues. DLP.sourceinterlinkmedia. Daniel Nikkhoo Designed with Intelligence Digital Sales Director: Jonathan Banner. Peterson Consulting Technical Editor: Kris Deering Editor-at-Large: Darryl Wilkinson Contributors: Michael Fremer. SOURCE INTERLINK MEDIA.com Sales Coordinator: Rosemarie Torcivia. Video: Thomas J. NY 10016 PHONE: (212) 915-4000 REPRINTS: WRIGHT’S REPRINTS (877) 652-5295 Subscription Customer Service: E-mail hometheater@emailcustomerservice.com Associate Publisher: Ed DiBenedetto. FL 32142-0235. Norton Audio Editor: Mark Fleischmann Technical Editor. check or money order.com or write to Source Interlink Media Back Issues.dibenedetto@sorc. Experts in Home Theater Furniture 655 N.Televisions Have Evolved.com 800-616-5354 COPYRIGHT © 2010 BY SOURCE INTERLINK MAGAZINES. Fred Manteghian. Please specify which magazine and issue date. 212-915-4157. CA 90245 PHONE: ( 310) 531-9900 SOURCE INTERLINK MEDIA. rosemarie. FAX 505-473-1641. Circulation Planning and Operations: Arlene Perez CONSUMER MARKETING. 212-915-4160.com. P. jonathan. address.. If this is not specified. Shepard St. 718-745-5025. and phone number on any inquiries. laura_lovecchio@sbcglobal. plus $3 shipping/handling. 212-915-4157. Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer: Brad Gerber Senior Vice President.pray@sorc.torcivia@sorc.com Editor-in-Chief: Shane Buettner Executive Editor: Claire Lloyd Senior Editor. Raphael Berrios.

Volume Spikes. visit srslabs. For more information. Inc.You know the scenario. Introducing SRS TruVolumeTM. ©2010 SRS Labs. Drastic volume spikes or dips can ruin any audio experience. allowing you to set the volume once and enjoy television programming without annoying volume fluctuations. SRS TruVolume is featured in Samsung and other FPTV brands.com/TruVolume. We Make Them Go Away. you are switching channels or the program changes to commercial and then. BAM! the volume changes like a knife in your ears. All rights reserved. This advanced. patented audio solution puts the control in your hands. the most consistent and effective audio leveling technology. .

and you readers don’t. there’s more: is model doesn’t allow the use of DSP modes on DTS-HD Master Audio or Dolby TrueHD lossless surround tracks.com . Maybe those savings are incorporated in performance elsewhere? But wait. your preferences. forcing him to park his ears next to a speaker he knew was in proper working order to determine if there was any height output. It Was Something We Said I have enjoyed your magazine for several years with only the most minor nits to be picked. but the Onkyo was a little better in Mark’s opinion—and a better value. both in terms of price and feature performance (thank you. and THX. and your personal habits. Why not substitute the word “audacity” for originality? If Mr. Uh. Given that most of us are living through a terrible recession. usually silently. your AVR reviews of late are bere of this. something I wrestled with when I reviewed the Denon DVD-A1UDCI Blu-ray player. I’ve learned more about our art. and more advanced surround processing than ever before. you had Yamaha RX-V1065 A/V Receiver 12 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com.—SCB WE WELCOME QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS. And all this for $1. Justin Bachman Brooklyn. if I may. You have changed your format from time to time. you don’t always editorialize to please all. with not a word about its price or the fact that so much more can be had in the AVR space for the same amount. If you ever receive a cancellation to my subscription. And that’s the one that grabbed the Top Pick. there’s even more: Mr. width from Audyssey. at doesn’t mean the reviewer has so -pedaled the product or that we need to issue a consumer alert that the component under review is some kind of fraud. at’s strong commentary that doesn’t require reading between any lines. yeah. which would seem to save Yamaha money. I have noticed that Mr. January 2010) compels me to write. Your magazine has been an extremely good investment for me. We need to maintain focus on o ering that critical perspective. Fleischmann couldn’t hear any height channel output from his seating position. ey are the ones that keep junk dealers in business. I think there’s something else important here for you to consider. Fleischmann reports that the unit eschews “licensed goodies” that other AVR manufacturers employ. at’s a lot of ground to cover. But wait. his subtlety eluded me. Fleischmann seems to evaluate new equipment in a curious sort of vacuum occupying his Manhattan apartment.HOME THEATER change.9999 percent certain that he wouldn’t spend $1. E-mail them to htletters@sorc. In the past year and From His Cold Dead Fingers It seems your readers usually start o with a quali cation statement such as. “I have been a reader for many years”. With that said. While your HDTV reviews almost always o er the reader comparisons to other models. through Home eater than I could possibly obtain from any other source. On height. In the December 2009 issue. and we will. but who can? Some readers retaliate with cancellations. Mark Fleischmann’s review of the “entry level” Yamaha RX-V1065 A/V receiver (HT. For several issues. the kind found on most Blu-ray Discs. and listening to music with new gear. I’ve saved hundreds of times the cost of the magazine in building my modest home theater and out tting it with the best stu within my means.000. and now they o er networking and streaming features.com) to see if we’ve already answered any questions you might have.000 (nearly a month’s rent) of his own money for this thing. We’ve been doing our best to cover the old-school bases and also o er meaningful reports on what these new wrinkles bring to the home theater party. Questions about what product you should buy are best directed to a dealer who knows all the details of your system. Mr. I have. OK. I’m also 99. Today’s A/V receivers do everything that yesterday’s AVRs did. I feel little empathy for them. Questions about the features and functions of a particular product are best directed to the manufacturer. we didn’t call out the Yamaha as a Top Pick. Fleischmann was aiming to damn this product with faint praise. value. one in which considerations of retail price. well. e Yamaha RX-V1065 AVR is just the latest egregious example. I don’t think Mark gave the Yamaha a pass in the areas you discuss.” he writes. and his respective ratings of ve stars versus four stars for Value pretty much says it all. and common-sense purchasing decisions all take a backseat to the joys of writing. I have a purpose for writing. one in which nearly everyone must keep closer guard of income and spending. He reiterated that criticism in the conclusion. NY A/V receivers are challenging to our word counts in ways that other products aren’t by the simple virtue that they do so darned many things. Please note: Be sure to check the FAQ page on our Website (HomeTheaterMag. However. But I agree that we need to make sure we’re o ering strong comparative analysis. we’ve seen the introduction of several signi cant new surround processing enhancement algorithms—height from Audyssey and Dolby. We get to experience all the di erent components out there. “ e Yamaha RX-V1065 is notable for its originality. A casual reading of the review suggests that the RX-V1065 is a relatively decent performer. e Yamaha was good. Mark said that in his previous experiences its bene ts were subtle and that the Yamaha “presence” version was not only subtle but also not usable with Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio lossless audio signals. Due to the volume of mail that we receive. omas Norton). Dolby. sophisticated setup and room correction. noting that Yamaha needed to rectify that for its proprietary DSP modes to remain relevant in today’s market. it would be a tremendous reader service if your AVR reviews would at least follow the HDTV reviews’ example and alert readers when a product clearly doesn’t pass the value smell test. it’s because I’m dead! As you might expect. As noted. we regret that we cannot respond to every letter. and low-volume listening/leveling compensation from Audyssey. ne. either in print or online. all that our most advanced outboard video scalers and switchers used to do. watching movies. It’s further notable that not a single Yamaha AVR resides in HT’s current Top Picks lists. ere are products that perform very well and don’t do anything poorly but still aren’t quite good enough to get over the hump to being a Top Pick. All submissions are considered the exclusive property of Home Theater magazine and Source Interlink Media. I think Mark’s back-to-back December and January reviews of the Onkyo TX-NR807 and this Yamaha.

Peachtree Audio and more ■ Count on our experts for shopping solutions. so I do appreciate that quality. which arms you with the information to nd the blend of avors that works best for you and your tastes. Manufacturers ll out their respective charts. and I’m guessing that Sony’s home electronics folks didn’t pencil in the PS3 since it’s a gaming division product. And being single-chip DLPs with excellent lenses. Marantz. provided all else is equal. For the last couple of years. I understand your desire in wanting a single 1080p projector champion. but they never look unnatural. I don’t know of any other improvements.) I realize the two systems are di erent technologies. and brightness values for all six primary and secondary colors to perfection. hue. You are feeling well. it’s all good. aren’t you?—SCB 1080p Projectors and 32 Flavors of Ice Cream I’ve been enjoying your latest issue of HT. Comparing the JVC DLA-HD750 to the Marantz projectors and some other DLP projectors I’ve seen (Samsung’s SP-A900B and Planar’s PD8150 come to mind) illustrates this. or something else? (I love the blacks in my Pioneer KURO at screen. e mighty PS3 was in our Top Picks.—SCB FREE A /V catalog Over 600 products inside. single-chip DLPs also show color separation or rainbow artifacts. It was close. but not the charts. it’s still one of the best choices you can make in a BD player. You can now dial in the DLA-HD750’s colors so tightly that the measured results are below widely accepted thresholds of visibility. the JVC has more top-end light output than the Marantz projectors.a comparison chart of Blu-ray players. 28 Bring your favorite music to life ■ Huge selection from top brands like Thiel. Our job is to accurately report on the particular combination of strengths and weaknesses.crutchfield. pg. which one would be your rst choice? M. Jim. over 8. Ridiculously good.000 at crutchfield. fast shipping On most orders for details. Snafu! I appreciate your dedication to HT. Yamaha. In addition to essentially perfect color. With Blu-ray especially. For many people. e Marantz projectors’ colors don’t measure as accurate. in fact. that level of resolution can be mesmerizing once you see it. I’ve read the reviews of the Marantz VP-11S2 and VP-15S1 DLP projectors and was interested in your preferences since you really like these systems as well. has improved since it was reviewed. and enjoy electronics 1-800-555-8211 Winter/Spring 2009 Free. the Marantz models and some other top performer DLPs o er a slightly but noticeably sharper image than the three-chip. But all else is seldom equal. we’ll y our ags at half-mast. I noted that its color management system didn’t o er quite enough range in adjustment to dial in saturation. they can’t dethrone the JVC for blacks and contrast even with their dynamic iris systems engaged. A number of these projectors are good enough that even a nitpicky editor like myself could live with them—blissfully. 3 Four ways to add great sound to your TV. Denon. you’ve compared players under review to the Sony PlayStation 3. While I wouldn’t begrudge anyone who found that nth degree of sharpness to be their particular trump card for image quality. What do you nd to be the single most important aspect of a great image—detail. so why wasn’t it included in the chart? Jim Mooresville. impenetrably deep blacks and the sequential or on/o contrast that results from great blacks can be the single most important aspect of a great image. but to me that was the only area where I thought the JVC could really be improved with so ware.com/hmt JVC DLA-HD750 D-ILA Projector Call for your free catalog today . at bothers some viewers more than others. LCOS-based DLA-HD750. Have there been additional changes since it was reviewed? Also. In the parlance of our times. it’s really a matter of deciding what your favorite avor of ice cream is. but if it came down to one system. IN Nice catch. but not quite there. tailored to your needs ■ Comprehensive & caring tech support. Kayser When I reviewed the JVC DLA-HD750. which received Top Pick of the Year. use. Even the best dynamic iris system isn’t entirely free of artifacts. is was unequivocally a mistake. Mirage. but it’s really not that simple. I noticed that you stated that the JVC DLAHD750 D-ILA projector. — see page 81 Bill Crutch eld puts the focus back on sound. While the Samsung and Planar projectors I mentioned have some of the same advantages in sharpness as the Marantz projectors. It is a valid Blu-ray player. If I hear from the sub department that your subscription has lapsed.com 35 years of helping people choose. pg. and without looking back. and they also o er color accuracy that’s right in there with the JVC. free on most orders Putting the focus back on sound » 1-800-555-8347 or visit www. At that level. and yet it has much deeper blacks for contrast that’s vastly superior to any DLP I’ve seen. e PS3 is not only valid. A subsequent rmware update solved that. Wadia. perhaps KURO owners most of all. Klipsch. which runs quieter and adds bitstream output for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. Our April issue will feature a review of the most recent “slim” version of the PS3. blacks.

the rules don’t speci cally mention plasmas. at le outgoing owner General Electric as a minority stakeholder. Interestingly. a heavy-duty motion picture studio. e CEC said the new rules would save a typical household $18 to $30 per year. But so far. However.5 billion in cash and $7. By 2013. job losses for Californians. AUDIO EDITOR TOP STORY: CEA FEARS NEW ENERGY LAWS California TV Efficiency Specs Lead Nation D espite strenuous objections from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). the new rules will help the state maintain that enviable record despite the relatively recent popularity of large-screen at-panel sets. air conditioners. Despite predictions that the new regulations would kill sales of plasma sets in California. Viewers who are used to getting free online content might nd it moved behind a paywall or even restricted to Comcast ISP subscribers. all of this is speculation. How might the merger change the media landscape? One possible loser may be ESPN. the state’s power consumption has been at for the past three decades—versus a 40-percent rise in the nation as a whole— thanks to its requirements for other household appliances such as refrigerators. Comcast paid $6. and washing machines.com . dangerous for technology innovation. and dangerous for consumer freedom. a er it paid Vivendi $2 billion for the latter’s 38-percent stake. and lost tax revenue for the state. And what about the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)? Incoming chair Julius Genachowski kept his cool. e state says that more than 1.FRONT PAGE BY MARK FLEISCHMANN. TVs and other video gear consume 10 percent of power in a typical California household and 2 percent in the state as a whole.gov. and fact-based in its review. Find out more about the sets that meet the federal government’s voluntary TV energy e ciency requirements at energystar. to the death of free streaming video. e California Energy Commission (CEC) voted 5 to 0 for regulations that would apply to TVs up to 58 inches.” CEA also asserted that the rules were based on an “outdated and inaccurate” analysis by a major power utility. eventually becoming a de facto national standard. a major TV network. dozens of cable channels. saying: “ e FCC will carefully examine the proposed merger and will be thorough. e CEA greeted the new rules with a scowl. which could lose content to Comcast’s Versus channel. which would be a reduction of 49 percent. many existing plasma models would not meet the stricter standards. Presumably. the requirement would drop to 116 watts. and some heavily tra cked Websites. to rising cable rates.” 14 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag. All of this has consumer watchdogs barking. One thing both sides agree on is that other states are likely to adopt California’s TV energy requirements.” It predicted that the rules will result in “higher prices for consumers.25 billion in programming for a 51-percent stake. calling them “dangerous for the California economy. which is an average reduction of 33 percent. California has become the rst state to adopt sti energy e ciency requirements for television sets. ey would have to use no more than 183 watts by 2011. ey predict everything from exclusive cable or ISP program deals. fair.000 models already meet the sti ened requirements. Comcast and NBC in Historic Merger e merger of Comcast and NBC Universal brings together the nation’s largest cable operator.

reproducing silky smooth. You’ll feel like you’re right in the concert hall or surrounded by every movie’s live action. which is.. simply extraordinary!” – Darryl Wilkinson. BP7004 $849 ea. Combine them with our perfectly matched centers and surrounds for an extraordinary home theater system. • OWINGS MILLS.DefinitiveTech. the ultimate in floor-standing speakers” —Andrew Robinson. to quote HDTV Insider. The SuperTowers’ bipolar technology with its omni-directional room-filling dispersion and huge three-dimensional soundstage takes the listening experience to a new level of stunningly realistic holographic sound. Home Theater “Magnificent soundfield and imaging” – Rich Warren.. AudioVideo Revolution Definitive 7000 Series SuperTowers™ set a new reference standard for ultra-dynamic. earthshaking bass without the need for separate subwoofer boxes! All our 7000 Series SuperTowers feature: • SuperCube Technology High-Power Subs • High-Def Crossovers with Zobel Networks • Dual Pressure-Driven Infrasonic Radiators • 300-watt Digital High-Current Sub Amps • Powerful High-Pressure Subwoofer Drivers with Finite-Element-Optimized Magnet Structures • DTARF-Optimized Driver Voicing • High-Def Drivers with Magnetic Shielding • Wide-Dispersion Driver Topology • Accelerometer-Optimized Cabinets • Beautifully Sculptured Designer Styling Experience our amazing SuperTowers today! If you love great sound.. Plus.“ Breathtaking . MD 21117 • 800.” BP7006 $649 ea. lightning-fast.com/ht .7148 www. 228. incredibly detailed wall-to-wall. BP7002 $1199 ea. you must experience the magic of Definitive’s Bipolar SuperTowers and their room-filling sound. the SuperTowers feature built-in powered subwoofers for awesome. “a mind-boggling sonic achievement.. Sound & Vision “Truly epic . high-accuracy loudspeakers. floor-to-ceiling sonic images for music and movies. 11433 CRONRIDGE DR.

” says NBC Universal. if you want to see Peter Jackson’s masterpiece on Blu-ray. Initial titles include a Matt Damon trifecta: The Bourne Identity.... Training Day.. It’s currently used in Rocketfish. a BB store brand. Fancast Xfinity is a subscriber-only Internet video service from Comcast. Will it become a gated online community for the content colossus?. recycling.. you can always rent it. This Just In . “Virtually no users have contested the accuracy of the notices. meets all conceivable energy efficiency requirements throughout its TV line. 2009.. “They are willing to pay more for a 3-D movie channel”. Managed Copy became mandatory on Blu-ray Discs as of December 4.S. homes last year. The 50 initial titles include Body of Lies. versus 56 percent the year before. and shipping is free. Let’s celebrate with a movie or two.. In fact. Warner is employing a few other approaches. accounting for 8 out of the top 10 players sold. It ranks manufacturers based on their policies on toxic chemicals.. Amazon is also listing an “extended edition. Amazon user reviewers responded with a couple thousand one-star reviews. BD is an interactive medium. All models are compliant with California’s new regulations and with the voluntary ENERGY STAR 4.. Greenpeace has released version 14 of its Rental Kiosks Are Being Fruitful and multiplying. Universal is offering a flipper disc that has high-def BD goodness on one side and standard-def DVD compatibility on the other. up from 35 percent in 2008. reported.. and Michael Clayton. 3-D Fans would rather get their threedimensional video fix from cable or satellite than from Blu-ray.. and other products.6mm thick and weighs less than 9 pounds.. according to Quixel Research. Existing Blu-ray players will be able to play 3-D discs in 2-D but you’ll need both 3-D hardware and 3-D software to get the full effect.AV NEWS UNIVERSAL AND WARNER MAKE HIP BLU MOVES Is your Blu-ray player outnumbered by the DVD players in your bedroom.0 specifications. Is the studio just biding its time while it prepares new special features? e extras on the DVD set would be hard to beat—but unlike DVD. e bad news is that this initial BD release will include only the theatrical cuts—so don’t discard your DVD special editions just yet. Get your order up to $25. BD players. TVs.300 kiosks. Loud TV Ads are being targeted by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC)...com for details.. Warner is offering to swap new BDs for old DVDs at just $8 per disc.. and laptop? Two studios have interesting propositions... The World’s Thinnest LCD has been announced by LG. car. e good news is that the Blu-ray version of the Lord of the Rings trilogy is hitting the streets on April 6th. In the meantime. This is a great idea for consumers who want to cover all bases as well as studios that are looking for a way to boost Blu-ray sales. The 42-inch prototype is 2. See DVD2Blu. Blu-ray Players outsold DVD on Amazon late last year. 3-D for Blu-ray is on the way thanks to a spec finalized by the Blu-ray Disc Association. legislation that would regulate them has passed the U. with pairs of movies such as Dirty Harry and Magnum Force sold together for less than $25. Verizon has agreed to forward copyright violation warnings from NBC Universal and other studios... Meanwhile.” but no release date is given.S... Finally.. and The Bourne Ultimatum at $30 each. as well as 5 of 10 movie titles. including both BDs and DVDs. which has issued voluntary guidelines to broadcasters.210 units in operation Guide to Greener Electronics. HDTV Ruled in 53 percent of U.. Best Buy is lobbying A/V manufacturers to adopt its Rocketboost wireless multizone technology in A/V receivers. All new titles will be released as combo packs. the nation’s largest cable operator—and recent purchaser of NBC Universal. CNET 16 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag. and climate change.. with Redbox now counting 22. And 69 percent got HDTV service.. expects to add 1. recently acquired by NCR.. says a researcher. Older titles will be released as Blu-ray Double Features. DVDPlay. Hardware lags but we expect that to change this year.. so it can’t be pre-ordered let alone bought. according to owner Coinstar. The Bourne Supremacy.com . Westinghouse Digital Lord of the Rings BD Debut Is Bittersweet We’ve got some good news and some bad news. House of Representatives and is moving on to the Senate. which dragged the set’s overall rating down to one and a half stars (at press time). This should make wall mounting even easier than it is now.

7148 www.com/ht .” the ProCinema 600 ($799). and 1000 combine high-velocity frontfiring woofers. the ProSub 600. spacious and three-dimensional imaging will make performances come alive in your room and transport you into the concert hall or the movie itself. 11433 CRONRIDGE DR. our Balanced Double Surround System driver technology.” ® —Scott Wasser.228. ProCinema 800 ($1199) and ProCinema 1000 ($1595) systems are the industry’s most advanced sub/sats.” “Sound quality and construction that are unsurpassed for the money. these ProCinema systems are a true revelation in stunning music and movie perfection. The ProCinema systems have built-in pressure-coupled planar medite passive radiators in the satellites and center channels. Their “you are there” presence and absolutely boxless. Other advancements include BDSS. too. • OWINGS MILLS.Definitive’s ProCinemas deliver “sound that almost defies belief. down-firing sub-bass radiators and 300-watt digital amps for rock-solid bass that masters both earthshaking sound effects and musical subtlety. Sonically. which results in smoother response and greatly improved dynamic range. These dramatically extend the low frequency response and deliver lower distortion.”— Digital TV & Sound Incorporating Definitive’s SuperCube technology. 800. The Absolute Sound Definitive’s ProCinema systems have always delivered extraordinary performance and value and. “Shocking levels of openness and midrange subtlety with terrific dynamics. Digital TV & Sound — Chris Martens. MD 21117 • 800. Engineering small satellites with response that extends low enough to blend properly with a subwoofer is very challenging.DefinitiveTech. with a host of technological breakthroughs that The Absolute Sound magazine confirms “flat out work.

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• • . and the nine-step manual iris optimizes the imagery for a variety of program material and lighting conditions. At home. e panel alignment was superbly crisp. Wolf’s separate scaler upconverted DVDs and processed 1080i HD to 1080p with precision for 20 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.85:1 all the way out to 2. and include built-in monitoring to maintain that performance as the bulb ages. bad Wolf begs to drive. Are you ready to live large? Sumiko/Wolf Cinema • (510) 843-4500 • wolfcinema. I spent a couple of weeks with the DCX-1000i in my home. You can program separate memories that open up the iris and up the power for sports during cocktail hour and then throttle it back down for movie watching at night. At the movies. there are many avors of widescreen aspect ratios. outstanding and stable color performance. and it isn’t constant height capable. Colors looked pure and measured on the HD spec.3-gain Stewart Studiotek 130 screen is much smaller than what the big. My 16:9. the DCX-1000i delivered blacks and contrast that were consistent with today’s DLPs. but “short screen. e lens options accommodate a throw range of 1.000.” Wolf’s projectors do constant-height projection at aspect ratios from 1. Wolf Cinema projectors start at $65. which resulted in very tight focus and razorsharp.4x to 6x screen width. But I saw more than enough to imagine the grandeur that the Wolf could bring to a big screen with constant height. In December of last year.com Wolf Cinema’s separate scaler upconverts DVD and processes 1080i to 1080p.PREMIERE DIGITAL CINEMA COMES HOME BY Shane Buettner Are you ready for the Hollywood screening room experience at home? Wolf Cinema is bringing digital projectors into the home that can deliver the complete immersion and visual impact of large-screen theatrical D-Cinema. Wolf’s projectors are built on three-chip 1080p DLP D-Cinema platforms and re ned for home theater use. at the push of a button. only much bigger. 1.000. and the horsepower in light output that the Wolf has in reserve would result in at least the same level of pop I saw. 92-inch. the blacks would be richer still. On the 11-to-15-footwide screens this projector is spec’d to be paired with.com consistent image quality regardless of source. it’s arguable that images with top and bottom black bars aren’t true widescreen. and go up to $135. ultra-high-resolution imagery. e Xenon lamps that Wolf uses provide high light output. e lamp intensity is adjustable.7:1. Even with the lamp intensity and iris throttled back for my smallish screen. without constant-height projection.

hometheatermag. • • • • The DCX-1000i’s lens can be equipped to accommodate a throw range of 1.com 21 . razor-sharp imagery it produces.4x to 6x screen width.WOLF CINEMA DCX-1000i The sleek lines of Wolf Cinema’s projector hint at the crisp.

even though video content is theoretically limited to 16 to 235. please send it to me at scott. Bottom line—if you see something that bothers you in a plasma TV. My understanding is that I can hook up all the video sources to the AVR’s inputs and run a single HDMI cable from the AVR’s output to the input on the projector without any loss of video quality. I should note that. I’ve heard arguments both ways and want to know what the experts are using. My question is. that would mean more cables and not necessarily improved performance. so plasma is at a disadvantage from the start. What Black Dots? I enjoy your segments with Leo Laporte on e Tech Guy radio show and podcast. I have to crank it back up. get an LCD. I have a 4-foot Monster Cable M1000 HDMI cable from the Blu-ray player to the AVR and an 8-foot M1000 cable from the AVR to the plasma. are separated by thin walls. say.com. and blue subpixels. What you’re describing is more correctly . LCDs have the same type of pixel structure with boundaries between the red. I think you’ve got it! However.BY Scott Wilkinson Seeing Spots WE WELCOME QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS. As it is now. Is my current method the best quality? Xavier Alvarez Which is the better setting for it to be calibrated to? If this control is set to receive 0 to 255. as the black level drops considerably and below black disappears from the test patterns. Questions regarding the magazine’s content will continue to be addressed in “HT Letters” and should still be sent to HTLetters@sorc. But if you have a how-to or technical home theater question. since using the average home theater is far more complicated than TV watching used to be. I live in a bright house with lots of windows. This is no big surprise. the term passthrough isn’t really accurate in this case. I can see below black in test patterns and adjust my brightness accordingly. and Low tells it to expect a range of 16 to 235. is is also important so the TV can display above white. Each pixel in a plasma screen consists of three tiny cells—one each for red. e SC-05 AVR simply passes HDMI with no picture upconversion. it’s that people have questions—lots of questions. Running HDMI from the Blu-ray player to the AVR and then from the AVR to the plasma is the best way to go. but as you point out. the cable box to the Blu-ray player. as long as the AVR doesn’t degrade image quality with its HDMI passthrough (our tests show that the Pioneer does not). You should also set the source to output 0 to 255 so it will send below-black and above-white information. which depends on the bit depth with which color levels are represented. Bill Jackson others say to run it through the receiver. sometimes called subpixels. an SC-05 A/V receiver. Also. and it’s been getting more and more frustrating ever since VCRs started blinking “12:00. Al Vucic I don’t recall saying that plasma colors are more vivid than LCD—both can be plenty vivid. so I suppose the intersections of horizontal and vertical walls might look like black dots. But I’ve never seen anything like this at a normal viewing distance. If this is what you’re talking about. Pioneer All the Way I recently purchased a Pioneer Elite A/V system: a KURO PRO-141FD monitor. is seems like a good way to hook up the components. If it’s set to 16 to 235. this setting shouldn’t a ect color banding.” I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean. a TV will stretch the video range of 16 to 235 to encompass 0 to 255 in one of these settings. this one has HDMI passthrough. I’ll be answering readers’ how-to and technically oriented questions in this column. I just can’t stand the matrix of black dots on plasma screens. It would also be simpler for my family to operate the system because they’d only need to select the input source on the AVR to change from. Black Is Black My Samsung HL61A750 HDTV has an HDMI Black Level setting. and 22 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag. above white. because it would save the expense of buying multiple 30-foot HDMI cables to run across the room. at alone was the tipping point for me. I agree that plasma blacks are blacker and that colors are more vivid. I will need to run audio from the Blu-ray player to the AVR. and color banding in general? I always set a TV to display 0 to 255 so I can see below black and set brightness precisely. you should see it on LCD screens as well.com.wilkinson@sorc. e fact that the AVR simply passes HDMI signals without processing is no problem in my book since the KURO PRO-141FD deinterlaces 1080i very well. Normal tells the TV to expect an RGB range of 0 to 255.” To address this ongoing need. what’s the best HDMI connection scheme? Some say to run HDMI directly to the plasma. but I really must disagree with your comments on plasma versus LCD. e most important thing is to select the setting that displays below black and above white from your source device. Do I understand passthrough correctly? Alan Hurley By Jove. ese cells. green.com You’ve got the HDMI connections exactly right. Like many other AVRs. If I run directly to the plasma. Actually. Please Pass the HDMI I’m planning to use an Onkyo TX-SR606 A/V receiver in my home theater room. But I’d like to hear your comments on plasma’s black dot matrix. which will require extra wires. which exists in some content. green. I also dislike the re ective screen—the re ections are very distracting. e two choices are Normal and Low. which is better in a bright house anyway. By the way. in some cases. you could run six or eight analog cables from the player’s multichannel output to the AVR’s multichannel input and hear the highresolution formats that way. and a BDP-05FD Blu-ray player. and blue. As for plasma’s “matrix of black dots. I wouldn’t run HDMI directly from the Blu-ray player to the plasma because that would prevent you from hearing the new high-resolution audio formats. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in 20 years as a home theater journalist. Does this setting have to match the RGB output range setting of my source? How does this a ect the display of below black.

Some A/V receivers do pass the HDMI signal through the AVR without processing it in any way. Denver or Santa Fe). I would compare a direct component feed to the set against the component source converted to HDMI by the receiver and choose the option you like best. so I have a hard time believing it’s systemic. the buzz might be unavoidable. If the source in question isn’t critical. Some people report that it diminishes if you sit o center or more than 2 feet away. dropouts. but only from very close and with no other sound on. Buzz Buzz I just purchased a Panasonic VIERA TCP50S1 plasma. The world’s sharpest lenses WWWSCHNEIDEROPTICSCOM s     Cinemascope® is a registered trademark of 20th Century Fox Corporation. lighter images seem to generate a higher frequency than darker ones. but analog sources to the AVR’s inputs. Be aware that not all receivers will do this conversion or do it well. and an AVR is intended to be the central switching station in a home entertainment system.” Have you or your colleagues ever come across this with the PRO-151FD? Is this a design issue? An abnormal uke? Ryan Barclay THE WIDEST LINE OF ANAMORPHIC WIDE-SCREEN LENSES Welcome Home. Still. It’s the same for HDTVs. but long. I noticed the sound at my seating distance of 10 feet at a normal TV volume. some will degrade the image quality. In any event. e rst time I turned on the panel. and the AVR will convert them to HDMI for output to the display. I can’t hear it when I watch TV at normal volume levels. you can connect not only HDMI sources. which is the real de nition of passthrough. At a normal seating distance and with normal TV /NLY THE WIDE RANGE OF ULTRA SHARP 3CHNEIDER #INE $IGITAR !NAMORPHIC Lenses and automated deployment systems let you show home #INEMASCOPE® the way the pros in Hollywood do. but others apply various processing to it. connecting all of your sources to the AVR and connecting one HDMI cable from the AVR to the projector is exactly how modern AVRs are designed to work. Possible factors could be quality-control issues in some panels. and others have given accounts of Pioneer’s response: everything from. In fact. all the pixels. I’ve come across an issue that others also seem to have with the PRO-151FD—panel hum. which still have composite video and S-video inputs. I jumped into the deep end and bought my rst HDTV. Is this a defect? Should I purchase a line conditioner? Should I even worry about this? Quentin Lucas sound. With all the brightness. But if it is. and other picture problems. and I’m extremely pleased with its performance except for the highpitched CRT-like buzz during bright scenes. all the resolution of the original…and no black bars. he didn’t hear it. Same with the Panasonic. You are correct that this seems to be a problem for a few people who write about it online. Living Legacy Why is it that most A/V receivers still have two-channel RCA inputs? Why doesn’t a company make an AVR that has only HDMI. and using the plasma at high elevations. cheap cables can cause sparklies. many more people write about how great the Pioneer is and have no complaints. maybe with a few component video and digital audio ins and outs? Why do they need to include legacy stu ? Bob Aldridge Because lots of people still have legacy products. “ is is normal for plasma. that might not be a problem. extreme sensitivity in some people. “Replace the panel because it shouldn’t be audible sitting at normal distance. One point of caution—30 feet is probably too long to run a cheap HDMI cable without a booster of some sort. ® I haven’t had this experience with any of the Pioneer KUROs I’ve reviewed.” to. My best advice is to exchange the TV for another sample and see if the problem persists. e hum’s frequency changes when the picture changes. . I use a 10-meter Ultralink HDMI cable that works ne. a Pioneer Elite KURO PRO151FD. but it’s nothing to worry about. If you live at a high elevation (say. Cinemascope .called HDMI switching. Tom Norton says he heard a very so buzz coming from the PRO-151FD he reviewed. Unfortunately. but I can when the volume is low. ere are online threads about this issue.

(LCOS). only a video projector and a big screen can come close to duplicating the experience of seeing a great movie in a e good news is that you can buy a digital projector today that in every respect (apart from absolute black level) will exceed the performance. Norton • JVC DLA-HD750 D-ILA Projector • Sony VPL-HW15 SXRD Projector • Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 9500 UB LCD Projector great theater.PROJECTORS BUYER’S GUIDE Projectors Bringing the theater home. and reliability of all but the very best CRT projectors of the past. ree di erent types of imaging chips are currently in use: Liquid Crystal Diode (LCD). such as JVC’s D-ILA or Sony’s SXRD. 24 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag. And at a fraction of the size and price. is is used in conjunction with a . Manufacturers usually market LCOS under more proprietary names. but when you get down to it. usability. A at-panel HDTV can be great. and one or more xed-pixel imaging chips that respond to the source when driven by appropriate electronics. Liquid Crystal on Silicon. BY Thomas J.com All digital projectors employ a light source (usually a projection lamp). for Digital Micromirror Device). a lens. and Digital Light Projection (DLP). Most DLP projectors in the home and business markets employ a single DLP chip (also known as a DMD.

3 inputs (2) » Component video inputs (2) » Horizontal/vertical lens shift » Dynamic iris » 1920 by 1080 resolution » HDMI 1. It’s not as bright as JVC’s more expensive projectors. $2.000 hours). you wouldn’t get this sort of performance for even twice the price. and sometimes other segments to produce a full range of colors. green. blue.eld uniformity. With a single-chip DLP projector. watch scenes from a black-and-white lm and look for patchy. LCOS and LCD designs dispense with the moving color wheel and instead use three imaging chips.PROJECTORS BUYER’S GUIDE synchronized color wheel. e quality of the projector’s optics and its peak brightness level become increasingly important as screen size increases. the image becomes dimmer as the screen size increases and/or the gain decreases. subtle hints of color (like magenta) on various parts of the screen. if non-correctable.3 inputs (2) » Component video input (1) » Manual horizontal/vertical lens shift » Dynamic iris hometheatermag. We’ve seen and reviewed superb examples of each. (A few projectors provide controls that can improve color convergence. with a gain of no more than 1. Not all viewers are sensitive to this artifact.com 25 . and resolution. we recommend a white 16:9 screen between 7 and 9 feet wide. Replacement lamps average around $300.3. It will likely tell you less about the projector’s true quality than a good review. Ditto if you call up most obvious when you move your eyes. lens imperfections (called chromatic aberration. If the salesperson doesn’t know these details. You should expect to pay between $2. you’ll be a lot less impressed.999 ▲ Why We Like It: The Sanyo produced a very impressive picture. looks just like it sounds: It’s a eeting ash of red.499 Specs/Features: » 1920 by 1080 resolution » HDMI 1. which includes red. which hopefully will be similar to what you plan on using. and blue). ere are new types of screens that claim to improve projection in a room without full light control. which can cost $1. But if the demo is conducted in a dedicated. and whether or not the projector has been calibrated. Even when you can find one. $2. or both. Few projectors will align the three colors perfectly across the entire screen. even a little. flat-panel HDTV for your home theater. Ask about the size and gain of the demo screen.3-gain screen. Errors here can result from misaligned color panels (on multi-chip models). Reviewed August 2009 Replaced with PowerLite Pro Cinema 8500 UB LCD Projector. You’ll also need a good screen. you’ll nd full 1920-by-1080 models. the picture menu and it’s set to Vivid or Dynamic. for us. but it isn’t a night-andday difference. For most home applications. have completely squelched it. Also check a white-on-black crosshatch pattern to see how well the three primary colors overlap to form a uniformly white-on-black grid. e quality depends on other aspects of their design and o en the price. but they’re usually optimized for showing spreadsheets. it could give you a feel for the projector’s color quality. Look closely for white. and sometimes blue in some program material. particularly material with very dark scenes. You’ll also want to make sure that this won’t bother other family members who will likely be frequent viewers. contrast. should be a red ag. Reviewed June 2009 Specs/Features: Why We Like It: The Epson’s performance is truly remarkable for the price. How big should your screen be? It depends. green. green. with a few notable exceptions that cost more.000 for a digital projector. except in the most budget-conscious designs.795 ▲ Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 6500 UB LCD Projector. No projector we’ve yet tested exceeds the Epson’s color quality and accuracy. depending on its size and features. such as the rst few minutes of Master and Commander: e Far Side of the World or the night scenes in e Dark Knight. sometimes called color fringing. and likely to some extent on any projector). particularly in the center. You should focus your search on designs made for home theater use. It’s PROJECTORS Entry Level Sanyo PLV-Z3000 LCD Projector. which is an artifact of the multi-segment color wheel. black level.0-gain screen with the same projector. an in-store projector demo can range from (sometimes) awesome to (more often) dismal. It will likely tell you less about the projector’s true quality than a good review. nothing equals a good. To check for it. Two years ago. A good $3.) Projection lamps will begin to dim with age long before they reach their rated useful life (generally around 2. But if you want the best image quality your projector can produce. such as those shown in our charts. 1. At the current state of the art. $2. Business projectors can be less expensive. yes. But none. Do you need a completely darkened environment to get the best from a video projector? Generally. All else being equal. Watch both high-de nition and standard-de nition material. you should check for rainbows. Even at the low end of this range. one for each primary color (red. on a dark scene with a few bright highlights such as street lamps. If you substitute a 10-foot-wide. When was the last time you went to a movie in a theater where they le the house lights on throughout the show? Even when you can nd one. Bring along some of your own discs. which can be a problem on LCD and LCOS displays but not with DLP. although you can spend less—or a lot more. not movies.000 projector of average light output can produce a striking picture on a 7-footwide (not diagonal). 1. is e ect.000 and $8. an in-store projector demo can range from (sometimes) awesome to (more o en) dismal. nd out or go somewhere else. light-controlled room. conventional screen in a fully darkened room.000 (for a xed. non-retractable model) or more. and DLP projectors have now been improved to minimize it. none of these di erent technologies has a lock on the best video performance. ere’s no longer any reason to settle for a 720p projector. and they do work up to a point. you might consider this as an alternative to a one-piece. but more than a pixel-width of error. If you have the space. Check the lamp replacement cost before you purchase the projector.

com Specs/Features: ▲ Specs/Features: » 1920 by 1080 resolution » HDMI 1. Things are getting very interesting in the projector market. it’s a knockout. Reviewed March 2010 Specs/Features: ▲ Mitsubishi HC7000 LCD Projector.com . The image didn’t quite topple the Mitsubishi HC7000. Reviewed March 2010 Specs/Features: ▲ JVC DLA-HD350 D-ILA Projector. Its design delivered a razor-sharp image with exceptional video processing capabilities.495 Why We Like It: Mitsubishi really impressed us with the HC7000. The VP-15S1 deserves a strong look from anyone in the market for a superior projector. We’re sure it will do the same to you.m.000 Why We Like It: Although this Marantz is less than half the price of its big brother—the VP-11S2— it’s still $1. should be on your shopping list even if you’re willing and able to pay much more. you should give this one a spin. Reviewed November 2009 Specs/Features: ▲ Marantz VP-15S1 DLP Projector. but at its current price of $4.3 inputs (2) » Component video input (1) » Manual horizontal/vertical lens shift » Dynamic iris » 1920 by 1080 resolution » HDMI 1. It handles everything beautifully.000 Why We Like It: The PD8150 has one of the best contrast ratios of any DLP and image accuracy that you rarely see in the front-projector market. The result is a great projector that. and long past time to shut things down and go to bed. If you’re looking for cuttingedge features and solid video performance. but it held its own. This is also one of the only DLP projectors that offers both high light output and dark blacks for high contrast.000 or more above its competition.699 Why We Like It: It’s hard to imagine anyone being disappointed with this projector.3 inputs (2) » Component video input (1) » Horizontal/vertical lens shift » Dynamic iris » 1920 by 1080 resolution » HDMI inputs (2) » Component video inputs (2) » Vertical lens shift 26 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag. The ultra-quiet design and great features make it one to add to your short list in this price range.000 Why We Like It: The VPL-HW15 offers a useful lineup of features and a picture that we didn’t expect at this price. while not inexpensive. and blacks to die for.500 Why We Like It: Out of the gate. whether the material is dark and foreboding or mostly bright.499 Why We Like It: This is an amazing value and a tweaker’s delight. It has exceptional color. Reviewed June 2009 Specs/Features: ▲ » 1920 by 1080 resolution » HDMI 1. Reviewed April 2009 Replaced with DLA-HD950. impressive (barely short of state-of-the-art) blacks.500.3a inputs (2) » Component video input (1) » Manual horizontal/vertical lens shift » Dynamic iris PROJECTORS High End JVC DLA-HD750 D-ILA Projector. Shane Buettner reviewed this model for UltimateAVmag. $3.500. Reviewed March 2009 Specs/Features: ▲ Panasonic PT-AE30000U LCD Projector. $8. $9. superior adjustability. The Sony kept us glued to our seats when it was 1:00 a. You’ll be digging through your catalog of new and old favorites to watch on this rig. $3. $3.3 inputs (2) » Component video input (1) » Powered horizontal/vertical lens shift » Dynamic iris Specs/Features: » 1920 by 1080 resolution » HDMI 1. $8. and JVC is in the thick of it. Reviewed March 2009 Replaced with PT-AE4000U. the Epson is definitely a Top Pick.000 Why We Like It: Sony has continued to refine its SXRD projectors while chipping away at the price. Highly recommended. $8.000 ▲ Planar PD8150 DLP Projector.499 ▲ Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 9500 UB LCD Projector. $2. the JVC was priced at $5.3 inputs (2) » Component video input (1) » Horizontal/vertical lens shift » 1920 by 1080 resolution » HDMI inputs (2) » Component video inputs (2) » Manual horizontal/vertical lens shift » Dynamic Iris » 1920 by 1080 resolution » HDMI 1. $4.3 inputs (2) » Component video input (1) » Vertical lens shift » 1920 by 1080 resolution » HDMI 1.500 Why We Like It: The JVC DLA-HD750 is equipped like a flagship ought to be. $7. With excellent video processing. enjoying movies more for being able to watch them on the DLA-HD750. Reviewed July 2008 Specs/Features: ▲ Sony BRAVIA VPL-VW85 SXRD Projector. $3.3 inputs (3) » Component video inputs (2) » Horizontal/vertical lens shift » Dynamic iris » 1920 by 1080 resolution » HDMI 1.PROJECTORS BUYER’S GUIDE PROJECTORS Midrange Sony VPL-HW15 SXRD Projector. almost 3-D images on the best program material. and vivid.

The new S20 provides multiple options for managing the unit and monitoring environmental conditions. You can trust us to protect your home theater..com/promo Enter Key Code p564w ©2010 Schneider Electric. Your home theater is your passion. which can reduce service calls and improve the performance of your system. the demands on our antiquated power grid increase daily. reducing intrusive service calls • Prevent damage to costly projector and display bulbs UNLIMITED In the event that APC AV equipment fails to protect your AV equipment. 10. West Kingston. APC AV Power Solutions for every level of protection AV Power Conditioners with Battery Backup (1000VA .. We'll watch your TV's back.. e-mail: esupport@apc. you can eliminate bad power as a source of AV signal degradation by filtering out noise and regulating the voltage. CE Pro magazine Engineered for high-performance AV systems by APC power experts. S Type AV Power Conditioners (1000VA . Schneider Electric. Some advanced models even offer battery backup power to reduce interruptions when the power goes out. Go to www. C Type The C2 Wall Mount Power Filter is a must-have for every flat panel display! Enter to WIN an H15 Power Conditioner . and automatic voltage regulation for high-performance home theater systems.com for more information.valued at $449 ERP. With APC AV Power Solutions. The S20 is also easily integrated and managed with Crestron. See products for specific details. . isolated noise filtering.they live up to their promises.com • 132 Fairgrounds Road.apc.1500VA) Premium surge protection. APC. and any other whole-home automation network or vendor. You’ve spent thousands of dollars on equipment and countless hours on research and installation… How are you protecting this investment? Power fluctuations are a leading cause of equipment malfunction.apcav. meaning that the threat of damage from bad power is here to stay. Call 888-289-APCC x8285 Visit www. isolated noise filtering.Watch your TV. automatic voltage regulation." Robert Archer. APC AV Power Solutions boast the engineering expertise to guarantee protection of your investment against the dangers of unstable power. Unfortunately. More than 30 million customers already trust us to protect their PCs from power problems.. "I cannot recommend APC enough. All Rights Reserved. RI 02892 USA AV2B7EA4_EN . APC AV Power Solutions will: • Protect your equipment and presets from harmful power fluctuations • Eliminate bad power as a source of signal degradation or equipment failure • Prevent missed DVR recordings and corrupted multimedia server data • Reduce component and home automation control lock-up.. Designed to maximize your home theater experience.1500VA) Premium surge protection. and APC AV are owned by Schneider Electric.. and battery backup for high-performance home theater and automation systems. or 12 outlets with or without a coax splitter) Premium surge protection and isolated noise filtering for high-performance home theater systems. H Type AV Power Filters (2. we will guarantee replacement of an unlimited amount. AMX. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners. or its affiliated companies in the United States and other countries.

3 2/1.3 1/1.3 2/1. S = Standard. U = Universal.3 2/1.3 2/1.3b 2/1.3 1/1.com L EN S SHIF T E RE .3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Both Both Both Both V V V V V V V V V Both Both Both Both Both Both Both Both Both Both Both Both Both Both Both 1 1 1 1 1 1 • • • • • 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Both Both Both Both Both Both Both Both Both Both Both Both V V Both • • • • • • V Both V Both Digital Projection International dVision 30-1080p XB dVision 30-1080p XC dVision 30-1080p XL dVision 30-WUXGA XC iVision 20HDL-XC iVision 20HDW-XC iVision 20HD-XC iVision 30-1080p XB iVision 30-1080p-C iVision 30-1080p-W-C iVision 30-1080p-W-XB iVision 30-1080p-W-XL iVision 30-1080p-XL LIGHTNING 40-1080p 3D LIGHTNING Reference 1080p-30 LIGHTNING Reference 1080p-40 TITAN 1080p-3D TITAN 1080p-250 TITAN 1080p-500 TITAN 1080p-700 TITAN HD-250 TITAN HD-500 TITAN HD-600 TITAN Reference 1080p M-Vision 1080p-260 with 1.3 2/1.73 lens MovieMate 55 MovieMate 72 Home Cinema 700 Home Cinema 6100 Home Cinema 8500 UB Pro Cinema 7100 Pro Cinema 9500 UB DLA-HD350 DLA-HD750 DLA-HD990 DLA-HD950 DLA-HD550 DLA-RS15 DLA-RS25 DLA-RS35 VP-11S2 VP-15S1 Epson JVC Marantz KEY: L = Learning.Projectors INPU TS S-VID EO IN PUTS SOLU TION INPU TS AT 1 0 P/2 4 COM PATIB LE ULLD OWN FRAM E RA TE 80I DYN AMIC IR THX CERT IFIED AY T YPE I INP UTS COM PON EN T COM POS ITE 1 080 IS PC IN PUTS BRA ND MOD EL ACCE PTS H ER TZ NATIV HDM 3:2 P 24PISF C CC DISP L Anthem LTX 300 LTX 500 D-ILA D-ILA 1920x1080 1920x1080 2/1.3 1/1.2 2/1.3 2/1.2 2/1.3 1/1.3 2/1.3 1/1.3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2/1.2a 1/1.3a 2/1.86 lens M-Vision 1080p-260 with 1.56-1.2 1/1.3a 2/1.3b 2/1.3 2/1.3 2/1.3 1/1.85-2.3a 2/1.3 1/1.3 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 1 2 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Both Both V Both V BenQ SP830 SP831 W20000 W500 W5000 W6000 W1000 W600 DLP DLP DLP LCD DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP LCD LCD LCD LCD LCD LCD LCD D-ILA D-ILA D-ILA D-ILA D-ILA D-ILA D-ILA D-ILA DLP DLP 1280x768 1280x768 1920x1080 1280x720 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1280x720 1080p 1080p 1080p 1200p 720 720 720 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080 1080 1080 1080 1080 1080 1080 720 720 720 1080 1080 1080 1080 854x480 1280x720 1280x800 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1/1.3 2/1.3 2/1.3 1/1.3a 2/1.3 1/1.3a 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 • • • • • 120 Both Both Avielo helios optix radiance quantum kroma prisma spectra DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1280x720 1920x1080 1/1.3a 2/1.3 2/1.40 lens M-Vision 1080p-260 with .3 1/1. V = Vertical 28 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.

6x11.7x10.7x4.000:1 18.8 27.5 53 60 60 68 20 20 20 8.5k 2.000:1 2.000:1 5.000:1 4.000:1 4k 4k 3k 3k 3k 3k 4k 4k 1.100 ANSI 1.500 lumens 3.5 7.999 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • S S S S S S S S S S S S S S • • • 1.4x10 22.995 $29.5k 4k 4k 4k 2k 2k 2k 3k 3k 4k 4k 4k 4k 4k 2k 2k 2k 2k 2k 2k 2k 2k 2k 2k • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S 14.9x3.5x10 26x21.000 lumens 1.200:1 2. V = Vertical hometheatermag.4 10.995 $700 $1.9x3.995 $45.7x8.4x6.7x10 12x3.4 10.2 17x7.1x20.995 $27.1 12.495 $8.700:1 3.8 14.200 lumens 2.7x8.7x10 25.400 lumens 2.7 7.000 ANSI lumens 15.9x3.5x7.500:1 2.500 ANSI 1.5 40.2 57.000 ANSI 1.000:1 300:1 1.9x3.995 $13.100 lumens 4.500 $7.9x6.2 10.500:1 5.500:1 >5.6 28.2 17x7.999 Gamma correction Color mgmt sys.000:1 200.000 $2.7k 1. split screen HQV.8 24 24 $5.4 40.000 $14.000 $10.495 $15.9x10.000 ANSI 5.000:1 50.4x21.7 10.500 $10.7x14.5 7.400 lumens 1.8 14.499 $3.995 $22.8x6.800 lumens 3.000 ANSI >10.2 6.000:1 2.8 9.2x10..7x5.000 ANSI 1. P EA CON STA TRIG 32 SPEC LA M 12 V RS-2 WEIG SPEC MSR P .800:1 5.999 HQV.800 lumens 1.000:1 200.000:1 >5.9x10.7k 1. gamma correction • • • • • • • 6. U = Universal.6x5x9.600 lumens 4.6 20.8 14.500 ANSI 1.9x4.7x9.500 $8.7x4.8 6 6 6 7.000:1 20.1 16.995 $28.2x10.999 $3.000:1 KEY: L = Learning.8x3.500 ANSI 4.995 $129.7 6.6 17.4x14.000 $5.8x20x8.200 ANSI 2.299 $999 $29.4 10.9x10.8x20x8.000:1 5.5 27.999 $7.4x15.5 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 28.000:1 2.6 13.9x10.000:1 10.000:1 2.4x10 22.495 $11.000:1 70.999 $999 $4.000:1 >7.1x13.000:1 2.3 15.500 lumens 1.995 $15.9x10.000:1 30.7k 1.7k 2k 2k 2k 1.995 $9.9x3.000:1 50.7x5.000:1 2.5 7.800 ANSI 2.399 $2.000:1 18.100 lumens 6.7k 1.000 $5.7x15.1 16.7k 1. split screen HQV and Senseye HQV HQV and Senseye Built in DVD player Built in DVD player Built in speaker HQV Reon-VX HQV Reon-VX HQV Reon-VX HQV Reon-VX HQV Reon-VX HQV Reon-VX HQV Reon-VX HQV Reon-VX HQV Reon-VX HQV Reon-VX VP-11S2L (long throw): $17.000 lumens 4.1x16.000:1 50.500 lumens 2.995 $8.000:1 4.3 10 10 21 8.100 $800 $2.5x19.9x4.600 lumens 1.7x9.495 $144.7x5.9x10.500 $7.2x19.500 lumens 8.000:1 2.3 15.4 17.5 10.7k 1.5 249 249 68 59.5x28.8x20x8.5k 2.995 $32. CON TRAS T RA TIO HT O U ) OUR S RE M OTE CON TRO L EIGH K LIG WXH T XD.9x10.2 16.995 $14.5 25.4 10.5 16.7k 1.6x18.000:1 2.000 lumens 4k-6k lumens 3.000:1 70.500:1 5.600 lumens 1.1x16.200 ANSI 1.999 VP-15S1L (long throw): $11.500:1 4.500:1 7.9x3.299 $7.8 27.) NT H GER • • 2.800:1 1.2x10.5 17.500 lumens 3.7k 1.5x19.7x9.495 $20.000:1 10.200 lumens 2.000:1 >5.7x5.000:1 7.7k 750 500 2k 3k 4k 1.8x23.995 Three chip/selectable colorspace ReaLED light source • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 3.000 $8.000 $25.4x6.5 16.000:1 2.500:1 >4.800 lumens 2.5 13.995 $69.000:1 >7.499 $2.7x10 26x21.495 $10.7x8.995 $37.7x9.995 $8. IN.995 $119.499 $1.2x19.5k 3k 50k 3k 3k • • • • • • • • • • • • • • S S S S S S S 19.7 7.9x6.000 lumens 1.200 lumens 1.8x4.9x4.9x4.6x11.5x28.1 14.300 lumens 1.995 $17.000:1 50.000:1 50.5 7.500:1 1.000 30.1x10.000 2.5 59.7x4.500 ANSI 2.5 7.5 $65.995 $84.6x18.9 16.500:1 7.7x14.7x10 22.2 20.500:1 7.495 $20.5 14.699 $4.8 14.7 9.4 10.2 14x7x19 14x7x19 14x7x19 14x7x19 14x7x19 14x7x19 14x7x19 14x7x19 15.500:1 2.000 lumens 900 lumens • • 850 ANSI lumens 1.500 lumens 6k-10k lumens 8k-14k lumens 4.700 ANSI 900 ANSI 600 ANSI 1.6 $2.000:1 30.8 10.000:1 5.com 29 COM MEN TS .1x20.7 9.000:1 5.400 lumens 1.9x6.000:1 2.8 11.9x3.6x9.9x4.995 $52. S = Standard.495 $14.000:1 4.000:1 • • • • S S 14.4x14.5x7.6 21 15 8 6 27.5x10 17x7.400 lumens 3.6 7.2 12.2 17.000 lumens 1.999 $8.3 27.1 16.1x20.000:1 2.8 27.800 lumens 1.200 lumens 1.9x4.8x20x8.000:1 32.495 $7.995 $67.4x21.2 12.) TPUT DIM ENSIO NS ( P LIF E (H HT ( LBS.000 lumens 6.995 $32.

3 1/1.3 1 4 1 2 1 4 1 1 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 2 1 1 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 2 1 1 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • V V V V • • • • • • V V V V Both V Sony BRAVIA VPL-HW15 BRAVIA VPL-VW85 BRAVIA VPL-VW200 SXRD SXRD SXRD 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 2/1.3 2/1.3 2/1.3 2/1.3 3/1.3 1 2 1 2 • • • • • • 12 0 Both Both Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America HC3800 HC6800 HC7000 DLP LCD LCD 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1/1. S = Standard.3 2/1.3 2/1.3 2/1.3 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Both Both Both Both Wolf Cinema DCX-500i DCX-500FD DCX-1000i DCX-1000FD DCX-1500i DCX-1500FD DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 6/1.3 2/1.3 6/1.3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Both Both Runco LightStyle Series LS-3 LightStyle Series LS-5 LightStyle Series LS-7 QuantumColor Series Q-750i Reflection Series RS-440/440LT Reflection Series RS-900 Reflection Series RS-1100/1100 Utlra Video Xtreme VX-6000D Video Xtreme VX-8d Video Xtreme VX-22i Video Xtreme VX-22D Video Xtreme VX-44D Video Xtreme VX-55D Signature Series SC-1 DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP 1920x1080 1920x1080 1280x720 1920x1080 720 1080 1080 1080 720 1080 1080 1080 1080 1080 2/1.3 6/1.3 1 1 1 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Both Both Both Both • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Both Both Both Both Both Both Both Both Both Both 1 1 • • • 1 1 1 1 • • • • Sanyo PDG-DWT50L PLC-WXU30 PLV-80L PLV-WF20 PLV-Z3000 PLV-Z60 PLV-Z700 PLV-HD2000 PDG-DHT100L PLC-WTC500L PLC-WXU700 PLC-WXE45 PLC-WXU300 DLP LCD LCD LCD LCD LCD LCD LCD DLP LCD LCD LCD LCD 1280x768 1280x800 1366x768 1366x800 1920x1080 1280x720 1920x1080 2048x1080 1920x1080 1280x800 1280x800 1280x800 1280x800 1 1/1.3 2/1.3 2/1.3 2/1.3 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Both Both Both Both Both Both KEY: L = Learning.com L EN S SHIF T E RE .3b 2 2/1.3 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Both Both Vivitek H1080 H1082 H1085 H5080 H5082 H5085 H9080FD DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p 2/1.3 6/1.3 6/1.3 2/1.3 2/1.3 2/1.3 2/1.3 1 1 1 1 • • • • SIM2 C3X 1080 C3X LUMIS HOST C3X-E Domino D60 Domino D80E HT3000 HOST HT3000E HT380 HT5000E PRO C3 DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP DLP 1920x1080 1920x1080 1280x720 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080 1280x720 2/1.3 6/1.3 2/1.3 2/1.3 6/1.Projectors INPU TS S-VID EO IN PUTS SOLU TION INPU TS ULLD OWN AT P/2 4 COM PATIB LE FRAM E RA TE 1080 I COM PON EN T COM POS ITE THX CERT IFIED AY T YPE I INP UTS 1 080 IRIS PC IN PUTS HER TZ BRA ND MOD EL ACCE PTS DYN AMIC NATIV HDM 3:2 P 24PISF C CC DISP L Meridian 810 Ref Video MF-10 D-ILA D-ILA 4096x2400 1920x1080 1 2/1.3b 1 1 2/1.3 2/1.3 2/1.3b 2 1 2 1 2 2 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Both V Both Both Both Both Both Both Both 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 • • • • • Sharp Electronics XV-Z15000 DLP 1080p 2/1.3 6/1.3 2/1.3 6/1. U = Universal.3 2/1.3 2/1.3 3/1.1 1/1. V = Vertical 30 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.3 2/1.3 3/1.

lens options DVI-I DVI-D.9-19.2x7.4x8.6 32. lens.8x12.4x10.995 $79.999 $14.499 • • • 2.500-2.995 $64.995 Other lenses available Other lenses available Other lenses available • • • • • • 1.000 Xenon lamp.000:1 25. DVI-D Dual lamp.000 ANSI 5.000 lumens 1.8 20.450-5.5x16.000:1 10.995 $68.4x7.9x10. CineWide A/S 4.2x7.7 5. CineWide A/S Starting price. IN.795 $1.000 $117.2 13.3-29.000 $14.500 ANSI 4.995 $15.9 7.8 12.5 82 43.995 $6.9 17.000:1 2.2x3. DHD3.8 15.995 $9.000:1 10. CineWide Starting price.9x25.500 ANSI lumens 3.35 lens • • • 1.500 2.6 17.499 $21.5 135 25.995 $299.8 16 11 16.000:1 3k • S 15. seven lenses.9x22.200 ANSI 1.5 11x8x3.000:1 4.5 $1.000:1 1.5 6.995 $11.000:1 7.9x6.1x10.000:1 30.000:1 4.000 500W Xenon Integrater version 500W Xenon Cosmetic version 1000W Xenon Integrater version 1000W Xenon Cosmetic version 1500W Xenon Integrater version 1500W Xenon Cosmetic version KEY: L = Learning.9x21.7 ft-L 87 ft-L 107 ft-L 6.500-2.995 $21.500 ANSI lumens 5.5k 2k • • • • L S 31.4 7.9 19.1x3.500-2.000 ANSI 2.3 24.2 60.1x22.5k-50k:1 2.800 ANSI lumens 2.000:1 4k 4k 4k 4k 4k 4k 20k • • • • • • • • • • • • • • S S S S S S S 11x8x3.8x20.5k 2k 2k 1.9 x 13.9x7.495 $11.200 ANSI lumens 7.200 lumens 1.500-3.995 $6.6 22.5 16.295 $3.6 ft-L 17.8x6.5x16.2 25 12. four lamp DVI input x2. auto lamp selection P in P and P by P Short focal length.995 $19.6 44.5k 2k 2k 2.) NT H E GER • • 3.com 31 COM MEN TS .800:1 2k 1.250 2.500:1 6.9x8x15.5 22.7x8.800 lumens 2. U = Universal.100:1 4.500:1 6.7x13.1 12. Motionflow 120 Hz 1.8x3.999 $9.9x7.200 ANSI lumens 1.000 $110.8x20.995 $14.299 $1.995 $34.495 $14.8 24.8 ft-L 14. dual lamp.2 $6.8 $2.000 U 19.000 ANSI 1.000 ANSI 700 ANSI lumens 457 ANSI 13.3 24.000 $85.9 19.6x12. P EA CON STA TRIG 32 SPEC LAM 12 V RS-2 WEIG SPEC MSR P .999 LED-based technology • • • • • • 2.5x16.995 $2.5k-50k:1 2.200 1.24x28.4 37 34 34 73 55 99 99 120 130 342 $4.8x6.000:1 5.7x5.500:1 3. CineWide Starting price.995 $19.85x12.495 $17.5x16.000:1 8.500 1.000:1 30.1x16.500 5.5 13.75 x 3.000:1 2.1x7.5 18x13x6 18x13x6 18x13x6 20x21.000:1 72.995 $34.000 ANSI Live color management Other lenses available Other lenses available Other lenses available Six optional lenses available Other lenses available $3.1x10.5k 1k 1k • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • S S S S S S S S S S S S S S 17.9x9.499 $3.7 17.6x5.9 24. RJ45 • 1.000 3.500 $8.5x16.6x6.000 ANSI lumens 2.5k-50k:1 2.2 24.7 ft-L 58. RJ45 1.9 16.500 lumens 800 lumens 4.2x7.495 DVI-D.000:1 10.995 $4.8x16.500 ANSI lumens 600 ANSI lumens 10.295 $1. V = Vertical hometheatermag. dual lamp.995 $4.5k-50k:1 4k 4k 4k 4k 4k 4k • • • • • • S S S S S S 29x12x22 30x13x42 29x12x22 30x13x42 29x12x22 30x13x42 $65.3x9.600 lumens 1.9 17.5x20.000:1 100.6x16.2 12. DHD3.000 ANSI lumens 3.000:1 1.000:1 500:1 500:1 500:1 6k • • S S S 19.5x26. DVI-I.6x zoom.000:1 4.5x6.000 $92. CineWide AutoScope Starting price.2 12.700 ANSI lumens 3. CineWide Starting price.3 21.800:1 10.6x8. 2.9 17.500 ANSI lumens 2. CON TRAS T RA TIO HT O U ) IGHT OUR S RE M OTE CON TRO L K LIG WXH XD.1 12.000:1 10.000 $72.795 $1. CineWide Starting price.8 17.100 ANSI 3.5 14x6x16 20x9x18 20x9x18 21x9x28 21x8x25 21x10x29 21x10x29 29x12x28 29x12x28 26x17x57 24.995 $2.1 17. CineWide AutoScope Starting price.000:1 1.995 $44.995 $99.000:1 4.6 15x5x12 15.3 20.5k-50k:1 2.9x30.495 $39.200 ANSI lumens 1.000:1 1. lens options • • • • • • • • • • S S S S S S S S S S Optical lens shift SDI input x2.5 17.000:1 1. CineWide AutoScope Starting price.995 Starting price.000:1 10.800:1 3.5k 2k 2k 2k • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • S S S S S S S S S S 17.1 $15.7 5.300:1 30.995 $8.1 36.7x11.995 $2.3 7.7x5.000:1 35.8 15.800:1 4k 4k 2.200 ANSI 1. CineWide Starting price.500:1 5. starting price. CineWide Starting price.500 ANSI 900 ANSI 10.995 $1.9x6.500 ANSI 2.000:1 65. S = Standard.000 ANSI lumens 6..7 13.5k-50k:1 2.000 ANSI lumens 1.000:1 15.000:1 2.8 5.8x9. CineWide LED.200 lumens 1. CineWide AutoScope Starting price.6 $185.000 ANSI 1.995 Includes scaler. DHD3.5-21. DHD3.7 27 27 27 36 $999 $1.3 41 49.5x29.3 $32.887 ANSI 10.000 $19.250 7.500 5.7x13.5k 2k 2k 2k 2k 1.495 Diamond series Diamond series • • • • 1.9 20.8 99.5k NA 2k 2.600 30.5x16.000:1 1.000 ANSI lumens 6.2x7.5 11x8x3.495 $2.000:1 5k 4k 5k • • • • • U U U 13x5x10 17x17x6 17x17x6 7.8 ft-L 110 ft-L 58.599 $3.000:1 6. lens options DVI-D.) TPUT DIM ENSIO NS ( P LIF E (H HT ( LBS.9 13.000:1 35.500 7.100:1 500:1 1.3 24.999 $4.2x7. CineWide AutoScope Starting price.

With a big screen in the house. you’re always just a doorway removed from the theatrical experience. is could apply to your home theater as well. But a reasonably well-informed enthusiast can get just as great of a picture (and sound). will be limited by the dimensions of the wall you plan to install it on.Stewart Filmscreen Director’s Choice Screen Set and Match Choosing the Right Projector and the Right Screen vividly recall those freeway signs that once littered the sides of the clogged Los Angeles freeways. e viewing angle is the angle the screen subtends in the viewer’s front vision from the far le of the screen to the far right. both its width and height.” they trumpeted. getting that experience means getting a video projector and screen. “If You Lived in Nutty Oaks. e formula below will help you calculate the seating distance relative to screen width for three di erent angles of view: I The Room and Screen e size of the screen.58 X W 1. It will also be more likely to reveal picture aws and artifacts—a particular problem with standardde nition sources. You Could Be Home by Now. 32 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag. Norton angles for a home theater range from about 30 to 40 degrees.36 X W . And with rare exceptions. But where do you start? A custom installer is usually involved in such setups. e room should be deep enough to let you sit a reasonable distance from the screen and at least a few feet from the back wall. At larger angles.com BY Thomas J. Just how far from the screen should you sit? Recommendations for the optimum viewing ANGLE 30 Degrees 35 Degrees 40 Degrees SEATING DISTANCE (W=WIDTH OF THE SCREEN) 1. even if it’s accompanied by the humble trappings of a family room rather than a miniature movie palace.86 X W 1. at location should also allow enough space on either side of the screen to keep the speakers close to the screen and at least a couple of feet away from the corners of the room. the image will be more awesome and immersive but also dimmer (all else being equal).

It will provide reasonable brightness for the average home theater projector.com 33 To Perf or Not to Perf Some screens are acoustically transparent—more or less. in all directions. tolerable for brightly lit sports. ey can also a ect resolution or even cause moiré patterns. which o ers about 30 percent more brightness in a center seat than a 1. Room light washes out the image on a home theater screen in the same way that it would at your local multiplex. such screens have visual limitations. it may be best to use an experienced custom installer who has experience dealing with these issues.) For example. Keep in mind that projection lamps dim with age. A bright projector will produce a watchable picture with some room light. neutral color. or color fringing. Some screens are speci cally designed for use with at least some room lights on—as long as the light doesn’t fall directly on the screen. Gray is best. But high gain can result in hot-spotting and other nonuniform characteristics. 84 to 96 inches wide is probably the best option for most a ordable projectors. conventional screen in a fully darkened room. LCOS (Sony’s SXRD is an LCOS variant).The best projection setup requires a completely dark environment to maintain the performance you paid for. All of these can produce a stunning image.82 feet (106 inches) wide. Some of the main considerations are: option. nonperforated. A screen that has a gain of about 1. Light re ected back on the screen can reduce image contrast. It’s also a good idea to paint your home theater room a reasonably dark. single-chip DLP. but that may meet with resistance from the decorator of the house. If you insist on using an acoustically transparent screen. but no one will complain about the resolution of a good LCD or LCOS design. A screen with a gain of 1. Single-chip DLPs (which are much less expensive and less bulky than the three-chip alternative) use a spinning color wheel to generate color. (It’s assumed that the front face of the speakers is located in the same plane as the screen. but there’s no magic feather here. is increases the brightness for viewers seated there but reduces it for those on the sides. and screens that let you mask for various aspect ratios. Space won’t allow for a detailed discussion of all the factors here.87. a single-chip DLP o en produces a slightly crisper picture. Higher-gain screens tend to focus more of their re ected light toward the middle. they lose brightness. Many of these options are expensive. You can position your center-channel speaker (or all of your front speakers) behind them. su cient to bring the screen down to your desired height. Because some light passes through them.3. but screen manufacturers’ Websites have plenty of information on the various options and features. is a safe and widely accepted motorized). but it’s still occasionally visible to viewers who are sensitive to it (not everyone is). is can produce an artifact called rainbows. particularly in larger screen sizes. you’ll lose very little image brightness as you move o center. The Projector e options in home theater projectors come in three technologies and four avors: LCD. The Room: How Dark e best projection setup requires a completely dark environment to maintain the performance you paid for. is may be Gain Screens are passive devices. retractable screens (both manual and . if the listening distance is 12 feet and the desired viewing angle is 40 degrees. 1. Room light washes out the image on a home theater screen in the same way that it would at your local multiplex.0 is equally re ective Sony VPL-VW85 DLP Projector Configuration ere are xed screens. is problem has been greatly reduced since the early days of DLP. Perfs. You’ll get peak performance from any projector only with a good. select either a xed or retractable (preferably motorized). ey use a woven material or a material with scores of tiny microperforations. make sure the drop (the black material above the screen) is Runco LightStyle LS-5 DLP Projector Gain. I recommend that you choose the seating distance based on room size limitations and on your desired distance from the front speakers.3-gain 16:9 screen. However. LCD. Our recommendation for most budgets is to choose your screen size and then. you can calculate the width by multiplying it by 0. ere are even at and curved screens that have an aspect ratio of 2. but they require careful projector selection if you want a pleasing image brightness. and three-chip DLP. and it’s best reserved for a very large screen where image brightness is all important. Replacements are expensive (generally $300 to $400 each). ree-chip DLP. and LCOS designs all use three imaging panels rather than color wheels and do not have this problem. While it’s certainly an advantage for dialogue to come directly from the center of the picture. If you only have the diagonal measurement (for a 16:9 screen). particularly on a low ceiling.35:1 that you can use with an anamorphic lens (a specialized application not discussed here).0-gain screen. which can appear as random ashes of color. so they don’t have gain per se. try to avoid white. so it’s best to be a little conservative on size when you choose a screen. Lower gains may o er superior performance in subtle ways. and Other Stuff ere’s more to choosing a screen than size and room lighting. although it will be a little dim. with poor blacks and shadow detail. In any event. they do have di erent re ective characteristics. If the screen is retractable and will be ceiling mounted. In our experience. the screen should be 8. Manufacturers o en argue passionately for their design hometheatermag. but it’s a mess for movies. depending on your budget. ese screens provide some bene t.

But there’s some disagreement among experts as to which is more signi cant. e type we measure is peak contrast ratio. At a minimum. A projector that can generate 20 foot-lamberts on our reference 78-inch-wide screen should provide at least 12 -L on a screen up to about 100 inches wide. none of these technologies is inherently better than the others. even if some viewers demand more. Brightness A larger screen (of the same gain) than those used in our reviews will have reduced measured brightness in roughly direct proportion to the increase in screen area. if you plan to use an anamorphic lens setup. ese o er reduced energy consumption. You should also be prepared to pay an experienced 34 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag. almost unlimited LED life with no age-related dimming. color gamut sometimes is. Unlike color temperature. or more precisely.) Other useful features to look for include multiple lamp brightness modes and. but manual controls are o en easier to ne-tune. Basic Features Home projectors usually have zoom lenses to accommodate a variety of projector-to-screen Elite Screens StarBright 7 and Raptor Series Screens distances (thrown distance). but not all. to compensate for the position of the projector. although it’s best if the gamut is correct on arrival. ey move the image up and down and (o en) le to right as well. or full-on/ full-o contrast ratio. and blue to get this right. but in our view. and fully equipped calibrator to do the job (it’s not a DIY operation for most of us). green.000 and up. It closes down on dark scenes and opens up on brighter ones. Lens shi controls are also common. Some of them are eerily quiet. Some lenses have powered adjustments. We’ve seen superb examples of each. Current models sell for $15. It’s worth checking for this. you’ll want both high and low controls for red. Contrast ere are a number of ways to measure contrast. e higher this number—assuming it’s measured with the projector set up for the best and most accurate picture quality it can produce— the better. Others use manual control. Your projector decisions should be based on other factors. if desired. While not everyone likes them. A properly implemented color management system (CMS) can also help you get the color points right. contrast ratio. the result won’t be an accurate reproduction of what the director intended. 12 -L is a comfortable brightness level for most viewers. is is the spread between the brightness of a peak-white window (100 IRE) and a full-screen black test pattern (0 IRE). (We check for this in our reviews. Most projectors use a conventional projection lamp. A dynamic iris is a widely available feature that can signi cantly improve both contrast ratio and deep blacks.com . a welldesigned dynamic iris can darken blacks without obvious side e ects. and other advantages. Powered functions make it easy to stand next to the screen and check the focus.choices. You can usually switch it o . although a few projectors still lack them. Above: Screen Innovations Black Diamond Screen. Below: Mitsubishi HC6800 LCD Projector Color If the projector deviates from the standard color temperature and color gamut. Most manufacturers have made great strides in reducing the noise that their projectors’ cooling fans produce. but a few new projectors employ LED lighting. Even the best projectors o en come out of the box with poorly calibrated color temperature. Be sure to check and see if a projector’s throw distance is compatible with your screen size and the setup distance available in your room. e main limitation is the price (and sometimes brightness). an anamorphic aspect ratio setting.

Choose the right room. but I can’t recall the last time a projector’s video processing has a ected a recommendation.005 -L is good. Resolution is more than just pixel count. At the current state of the art in projectors. but the di erences tend to be elusive. ey all produce sharp. anything less than a 1080p projector. a competent demo should blow you away. A few projectors even o er frame interpolation features that provide smoother motion. Right: JVC DLA-HD550 D-ILA Projector The Demo Gamma Gamma indicates the brightness of the image at all points along the full brightness range between pure black and peak white. Are some sharper than others? Yes. and washed out. But it isn’t that di cult if you approach it in an organized fashion. If you’ve never seen a good home projector. from light source to lens. Wrapping It Up It should be obvious that getting a good projection setup is a bit more complex than simply buying Resolution Apart from the cheapest models. and then nd the best projector to match your setup and budget. two-dimensional. We check videoprocessing quality in our reviews. select your screen size and type. None of the projectors we’ve reviewed in the recent past su er from poor resolution. e only way you can nd out if a projector’s bottomend gamma is appropriate is through a well set-up demo or the comments in a good review.Black Level e full-on/full-o contrast ratio alone isn’t enough to characterize the e ective contrast. and you’ll never look at home theater in quite the same way. Above: Da-Light Screen. e entire optical path. Failing that. crisp images. 720p models still exist. you’ll get the best demo at the home of a friend with a competent front projection setup. Don’t necessarily be put o by a well-reviewed projector in a bad store demo. Most do. More than likely. Vutec Dyna-Curve Screen hometheatermag. is involved. Once you do.01 -L (under our measurement conditions) is mediocre at best.002 -L or less is superb. At or below 0. and 0. and they can produce a ne picture. You also need the black level. the blacks will look muddy and crushed. it can undo the positive e ects of even the darkest blacks. but you shouldn’t pay a premium price for them. they’re far more common than good ones. Video Processing Most projectors incorporate respectable deinterlacing and upscaling. You should look for one that displays such material as a direct multiple of 24 fps. If it does this too slow. check out our reviews. If it does this too fast. Many in-store projector demos are notoriously poor. you’ll wonder how you ever did without it. the image may look pale.com 35 . but others consider the added smoothness a bonus and a fair trade-o . a black level that’s much above 0. there’s little reason today to choose a at panel and plunking it down on a convenient stand or mounting it on a vacant wall. Perhaps the most important aspect of gamma is how quickly a projector comes out of pure black as the image becomes brighter. particularly on HD sources. a good review will almost always tell you more about a projector than you’ll see in any but the best-equipped independent retailers. Di erent projectors handle 1080p/24 sources di erently. You won’t get this number from any published specs. Some viewers don’t like how this feature changes the look of lm-based sources. Without deep blacks.

Three for the Show Projectors go Main Street. ese models. W hile few consumers realize it. you can have the big-screen experience at home. apart from sheer image size and.000 plus a decent screen. are at the cutting edge of this revolution.com . e projectors we’ll check out here. for now. 3-D. BY Thomas J. a quiet revolution is happening in Move up a notch from that. video projectors are becoming relatively a ordable. Mitsubishi. and all have a tiny but inconsequential amount of light 36 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.000. and you can have a projection setup at home that will challenge anything you’ll see in your local multiplex. All are respectably quiet (in some cases eerily so). from Sony. All have three imaging chips (a common factor in all LCD/SXRD/LCOS projectors—there is no color wheel and no rainbow artifacts). and Epson. For less than $2. Although they aren’t yet mass-market items. Norton the home theater market. at $2. aren’t exactly impulse purchases for most of us in today’s economy.300 to $4. But the best models in this price range provide image quality you’d have to spend three or four times that amount to acquire just a few short years ago.

3-gain Stewart StudioTek 130 screen (an original StudioTek 130.THREE FOR THE SHOW leakage from their fan exhaust vents. And I reviewed all of them on a 78-inch-wide. Photos by Cordero Studios . Each also has some form of dynamic iris for darker blacks. I ran all of them in for over 100 hours. played back via HDMI from either a Pioneer Elite BDP-09FD or OPPO BDP-83 Blu-ray player. I also took a brief look at SD material and had no particular complaints—apart from the usual withdrawal symptoms of going from extended HD viewing to SD. 1. All of the referenced program material in the reviews was from Blu-ray Disc. not the more recent StudioTek 130 G3 design). e di erences become more striking as the screen gets larger. to let their new lamps settle in before I did any tests or serious viewing.

ere are also ten user memories where you can save di erent settings. Description EPSON POWERLITE PRO CINEMA 9500 UB LCD PROJECTOR PERFORMANCE FEATURES ERGONOMICS VALUE In appearance. green. and our subject here. e horizontal and vertical lens-shi controls. e inputs are located in back. cyan. ECO setting) for the projector’s 200-watt lamp. Lens shi . and a black case (the Home Cinema versions are white). green. magenta. I found the picture more natural looking.35:1 screen (the anamorphic lens required to use this is not included. I didn’t need them in my testing or viewing. and the latter provides four separate controls: ick and in Line Enhancement plus Vertical and us Horizontal Line Enhancement Enhancement. You can set up each of them separately for each input. but the Pro Cinema versions o er a few extra features. ey also include ISFccc Day and Night modes. But THX still lets you access the RGB calibration controls. A Gamma control o ers ve xed settings from 2. Moreover. Other controls were more useful. Most of the controls for these modes (including a THX mode) are user adjustable. and blue calibration adjustments at the top (Gain) and bottom (O set) of the brightness range. located at the top front of the case. e Setup Level and Epson Super White features are only available with component. where it is locked out. when available. under the Power Consumption menu option. zoom. have convenient mid-setting detents that make it easy to nd the neutral settings. Its Fujinon zoom lens has a throw-distance range of 9. depending on the source material. and 720p). is best le o . but they might be useful with poor source material. e Sharpness menu o ers Standard and Advanced settings. A separate Absolute Color Temperature control is adjustable in 500K increments from 5. e RGB menu provides red. My measurements indicated that the most accurate mode a er calibration (but not before) is THX. e motorized. the Pro Cinema 7500 UB. provides Hue. ese include an aspect-ratio setting for anamorphic projection on a 2.8 to 20. and yellow). and Block. ECO and Normal. with the Contrast Enhancement o . e Skin Tone setting.2 or 2.000K. I found that a setting of 2. While impressive. which Epson calls Color Modes. e ECO setting produced more than enough brightness on my relatively small screen. Super White is best le o .000K to 10. and I didn’t test this feature). blue. ere are two di erent lamp modes. I found little use for this. but the important point is that it splits into two parallel lines. At the top of the line. e 9500 UB also employs the most recent version of Epson’s D7 LCD imaging chips.4. plus a Customized option that lets 38 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag. is the Pro Cinema 9500 UB. Epson claims up to 4. At the top are the Pro Cinema models. ey track each other closely in performance. except in THX mode.9 feet for a 100-inch (diagonal) 16:9 screen.000 hours of life (presumably to half brightness and in the low. RGBCMY. ree types of digital noise reduction are provided: Conventional.THREE FOR THE SHOW Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 9500 UB LCD Projector PRICE: $3. the PowerLite Pro Cinema 9500 UB—one of the few projectors that is currently THX certi ed—closely resembles last year’s Epson agship. and Brightness controls for all primary and secondary colors (red. Mosquito. a spare lamp.0 to 2. although (as is usual in consumer video) some of them fall into the bells-and-whistles category.699 AT A GLANCE: Excellent video processing Superior adjustability Blacks to die for • • you make your own custom m adjustment from an onscreen adjust graph or an actual source image. a longer warranty. e projector has seven preset picture modes. dual-layered Auto Iris system is the heart of E pson’s broad lineup of PowerLite home theater projectors can be a bit confusing. However. 1080p.com . and focus are all manual. A color management system. or composite inputs. e zero position (centered) of the Standard setting produced the most accurate result with good program sources. I tried the Contrast Enhancement control and was sometimes drawn to the added punch it gave the image (but only in the lowest of its three settings). Saturation. overall.3 was generally best. S-video. they are adjustable for each input and separately adjustable for standardde nition sources (480i and 480p) and sources entering the projector with high-de nition resolutions (1080i. e Epson o ers the widest range of controls of the three projectors under review here. and just below them are the Home Cinema designs.

but the highest added ugly white edge-enhancement halos.3 WEIGHT (POUNDS): 16.5 PRICE: $3. If 4:4 is turned on for such a source. Repeat Epson’s UltraBlack Technology. for a refresh rate of 120 Hz. e red was o by roughly a full pixel. Apart from panel alignment. the 60-Hz signal is reconstructed to 24 Hz and displayed at a 96-Hz refresh rate using 4:4 pulldown. it extends well below black. both samples appeared to have identical performance. It failed a 2:2 SD cadence test in Auto. It’s a puzzle. ese sources generally include all lm-originated broadcast sources.000 hours DYNAMIC IRIS: Yes LENS SHIFT: Horizontal/Vertical (manual) DIMENSIONS (W X H X D. e Epson didn’t seem to like Pioneer Blu-ray players. It was primarily visible when there was vertical motion in the picture. about one-third of the way down from the top.9 x 15. It appears to have been a test sample used in the THX-certi cation process. I didn’t use it on most of the program material I watched. I’m not a fan of frame interpolation for lm-based sources. But I never saw the auto iris operating. e Epson incorporates the highly regarded HQV Reon-VX video processing technology. the images o en had a curious intermittent seam from le to right. the Epson rst converts the material • The Epson’s Fujinon zoom lens has a range of 9. the image hometheatermag. With two exceptions. e projector went near enough to black in Auto mode that I could set the correct black level without di culty.com 39 • . and it may be related to our test sample of the Epson (the rst sample went back before I discovered the problem).9 feet. An OPPO and a Marantz player didn’t have this problem. but passed it with the Progressive control set to Film. On both of them.8 to 20. or blue images. INCHES): 17. e second sample was virtually perfect in the center and o by just a hair at the edges (the latter is very common in consumer projectors). I tried it with two of them. as it gives them a video-like look. We require proper performance in Auto mode for a passing grade. the middle setting didn’t look much di erent than the lowest. But I found that the lowest setting provided a very subtle enhancement that you might enjoy without su ering video-purist guilt. Optionally. or call up the projector’s built-in test patterns from the backlit remote. the projector goes above white. I o en heard a mechanical chu ng noise from the auto iris. I did most of my testing and viewing in the Normal setting. and the green was o by about half as much—in opposite directions and at the center of the screen. but I felt that the subjective dark-scene contrast was very slightly better in Auto mode. e rst worked well. and the Pioneers worked ne with the Mitsubishi and Sony projectors reviewed here.7 x 5. instead of simply repeating them. but it was very low in level and totally inaudible with the sound running. I’d recommend that you check them together before you write the check. but it had slightly misaligned imaging panels. If you select interpolation for material with 3:2 pulldown. so that’s where I le it for the testing and viewing. blank the screen. both standard and high de nition. With no audio on.699 (replacement lamp: $300) and the ability to isolate the red. You can also select inputs. is provides a more accurate way to set the Color and Tint controls than color lters. Refresh. the 9500 UB will play back native 1080p/24 lm-originated material at a frame refresh rate of 96 hertz by adding three repeated frames between each pair of real frames. it sailed through all of my usual deinterlacing and scaling tests (see the Video Test Bench chart). is was mainly visible on a near-screen inspection. e 9500 UB’s Super-Resolution control sounds like the sort of adjustment that’s best le o . you can select Epson’s new motion-smoothing feature— FineFrame—which adds three interpolated frames. If both frame interpolation and 4:4 pulldown are le o . In my system. e test patterns include a centering image With its 4:4 pulldown control engaged. and all movies on DVD. to 24 fps by eliminating the 3:2 pulldown.THREE FOR THE SHOW Features EPSON POWERLITE PRO CINEMA 9500 UB LCD PROJECTOR TYPE: LCD NATIVE RESOLUTION: 1920 by 1080 RATED LAMP LIFE: 4. but it cuts o just slightly above black. Apart from checking out this feature (it did what it was designed to do). I used the second sample for all calibrations and subsequent viewing. green. With the HDMI Video Range control set to Auto or Normal. With a 60-Hz video-based source. It’s said to o er superior light attenuation compared with earlier designs in either of its active settings: Normal and High Speed. Performance We tested two samples of the 9500 UB. In Expanded mode. the BDP-09FD and the BDP-23FD. the Epson adds only one repeated or interpolated frame. then the 60-Hz lm-originated source retains its 3:2 pulldown and is displayed with a single repeated frame at a refresh rate of 120 Hz. en it adds four interpolated frames to each real frame and displays the source at 120 Hz. If you plan to use the projector with a Pioneer player. Rinse. supplemented by additional video processors from Pixelworks.

This could not be corrected he Epson’s full-on/full-off (using the RGBCMY controls) without contrast ratio (also called the altering the color decoding. which peak contrast ratio. and blue) was slightly off.0014 19 T BEFORE CALIBRATION AFTER CALIBRATION didn’t pump in any looking of the three visible way. All the measurements here. and the Auto Iris set brightness or intensity is the third to Normal (on). 12-volt trigger (1) Connections 0. Yes. dimension of color and is not visible in a CIE chart. The Color Tracking charts below show how well a display adheres to the D65 standard white point. The Power Consumption of the three primary colors (red. withEpson • out a hint of so ness. the tighter the overlap of the three primary colors. of any projector we’ve some discs have a bit tested—the Epson’s of a brownish. The After Calibration color is excellent. was obtained in the HD Color mode. shown in the After Calibration chart. The Delta-E is less than 1.com details that you might not want Dealer Locator Code EPS to see (bad makeup in one or two scenes and Brad Pitt’s acne scars) pop out clearly—even with the Super-Resolution feature turned o . the full-on/ color decoder—a very common color full-off contrast ratio measured management implementation. a step in any respect. as the latter had the most accurate color gamut. Most experts agree that a Delta-E below 4 is visibly indistinguishable from FULL-ON/FULL-OFF CONTRAST RATIO: 13. e looked right. S-video (1). Despite the gloom. De nitely a but it remains reference quality. minor differences in the brightness of Its black level is only marginally the individual colors are one of the higher than the best we’ve yet least significant details to get spot on measured.005. Top Pick. showing only small deviations at the top and bottom of the brightness range. sepia black level. Sony did give it a run for the Overall detailing is another money (more on this in the Sony strength. not THX. material are clearly visie color is also ble on the Epson—true beyond criticism. composite video (1).3 foot-lamberts peak not a desirable one.35:1 and 4:3 obvious so ness.3a (2). go to The CIE chart above shows testing regimen. including establishing shot of eshtones and bright OsCorp at the begingreen foliage—two ning of chapter 3. EPSON POWERLITE PRO CINEMA 9500 UB LCD PROJECTOR Delta-E indicates how closely the display adheres to the D65 white point of the HDTV standard. plus a list of our HomeTheaterMag. disappointed with Only the warehouse this projector. Gamma at 2. Up). It scene at the end of handles everything chapter 13 came across beautifully. (lamp mode) was on ECO. and the bridge Conclusions and cable car sequences It’s hard to imagine in chapter 27 looked anyone being velvety rich and dark. with a black level of 0.2. and overall appeared to be in the contrast were excellent. or easy to spot with the projector’s color the dynamic range) is exceptional isolation controls. scenes early in chapter 13. e never missed any detail. the sure giveaways of poor night roo op and street color. calibrated and adjusted for the most accurate (the black triangle). the green. were the white triangle. the Epson’s color gamut in the reference gear. Facial (562) 290-5174 • epson. never arti cial.com . but in no While the black bars way did it have any on 2. Baraka. projectors.8 from 30 IRE to 90 IRE.0015 ft-L black). The best Before Calibration gray scale. increasing to a maximum of just under 4 at 20 IRE (very dark gray). explanation of our in this review.709) HDTV color standard THX Color mode.com. but this always detail. PC (D-sub 15-pin) (1) ADDITIONAL: RS-232C (1). It’s nearly on the an exact overlay of the taken with the projector in its web (Rec. The brightness image.THREE FOR THE SHOW white and 0. e Epson wasn’t the crispest 3:2 HD PASS 2:2 HD FAIL MA HD PASS VIDEO CLIPPING PASS LUMA RESOLUTION PASS CHROMA RESOLUTION PASS SCALING GOOD Color-tracking charts were generated in Datacolor ColorFacts. Seven Years in Tibet report).721:1 (28. But the detail always looks real. was performed in the THX mode. component video (1). the material is dark The Epson’s remote e relentless darkness and foreboding (Harry lets you select inputs.—TJN HT Labs Measures INPUTS: VIDEO: HDMI 1. but the Epson didn’t miss may be an early Blu-ray release.367:1 perfect. suggest that the Epson’s RGBCMY With the auto iris set to Normal color management system functions and power consumption on Normal by altering the parameters of the (high lamp setting). I’ve found that with its auto iris in Normal (engaged). source or transfer. shadow look. But this result does 3. the nearer the result is to D65. But the calibrated result. but 13. This was sequential contrast ratio. the colors in Spider-Man. while some hold to a slightly stricter standard (a Delta-E of 3 Visit our Website for a detailed For the picture settings used or less). the (within reason) for visibly good color contrast ratio drops to a respectable reproduction. or call Half-Blood Prince was Half-Blood Prince) or up built-in test patterns. of Harry Potter and the Potter and the blank the screen. I Years in Tibet. Everything in this spectacular transfer is naturally sharp. 40 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag. astonishingly well mostly bright (Seven handled. With the auto iris off. the was excellent out of the box. My favorite test scenes With naturally shot for these qualities are material. THX mode out of the box with unless noted otherwise.245:1. whether as a little grayed out.

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green. In addition to the usual aspect ratios. I didn’t use them. though 42 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag. Its projectors are marketed by the company’s Presentation Products division. and zoom. e Mitsubishi is the only projector in this group with motorized lens shi (horizontal and vertical). or blue. not cars.com . In fact.295 AT A GLANCE: Excellent video processing Stunning resolution Poor shadow detail hile Mitsubishi might have a larger footprint in your memory with its bigscreen TVs and at panels. including four home theater designs. ere are three types of noise reduction: temporal recursive (TRNR)—a ten-dollar phrase for random noise reduction— mosquito (MNR). the company is focused on front projection.000 HC7000 projector garnered a lot of praise in our March 2009 issue. ere’s no motion compensation feature that uses frame interpolation. plus O (fully open). the Mitsubishi o ers two anamorphic modes for viewing images on a 2. and by that I mean video displays. but one that will leave your bank balance about $1. green. focus.25 to 18. and there’s no xed color gamut control with multiple options. you may save three di erent A/V memory setups for each source. 136 watts in Low mode) is rated for an estimated life of 4. and the other is for computer sources. ey are not functional with 720p. e zoom lens o ers a projection range of 11. Mitsubishi projectors are not your father’s Mitsubishi. green. but for the red. and blue gamma as well. e company’s $4. e two User Gamma modes o er manual adjustment of the gamma. and block artifact removal (BAR). which is designed to increase the crispness of color boundaries. that’s what we’re here to check out. since D7 is Epson chip-generation coding). One mode is for video sources. Has Mitsubishi skimped to bring the price down? On the surface. e e ect was clearly visible on a color test pattern. the HC6800 employs three D7 LCD imaging chips (presumably these are made by Epson as well. and if you mount the projector upright and vertically. it doesn’t appear so. Mitsubishi calls its six preset picture modes Gamma modes. the projector doubles the frame rate by repeating each frame once and displays at a frame refresh rate of 48 Hz. I didn’t test the anamorphic feature here. which makes them the most precise motorized projector controls I’ve yet experienced. It doesn’t have a color management system that o ers control over the color gamut.1 feet on a 96-inch-wide screen.000 hours in Low mode and 2. ey are deeply recessed.000 hours in Standard (presumably. including a User mode that o ers red. e latter is a rst in our experience. separately for the low. Auto 5 produced the best results. Description • • W MITSUBISHI HC6800 LCD PROJECTOR PERFORMANCE FEATURES ERGONOMICS VALUE this is not speci ed. 1080i. e memories are independent of the inputs. e Mitsubishi also has three A/V memories in which you can save di erent settings. its Website shows 26 projector models. and the performance… well. e control panel is located on top. It also doesn’t have individual color isolation controls (red. the HDMI ports would be a little hard to reach. middle. to half brightness). at’s not just for the overall gamma.700 richer. e new HC6800 looks like its kissing cousin. and high portions of the gamma curve. e features are remarkably similar. e Color Temperature control has ve options. Mitsubishi’s Diamond Black Iris o ers ve di erent automatic operating modes. Like the Epson. It displays all other inputs at a refresh rate of 60 Hz. or 1080p inputs.35:1 screen with an anamorphic lens (available from several manufacturers). that is. You can set up each input di erently. I didn’t expect much from the CTI control. which is separate from the division that sells at-panel and rear-projection TVs. For me. and blue adjustments at both the bottom and top of the brightness range. e motorized functions o er both Fast and Step (slow) operation. with no obvious negative side e ects (at least when I used its lowest e HC6800’s slightly curvy case sports the usual set of rearmounted video inputs.THREE FOR THE SHOW Mitsubishi HC6800 LCD Projector PRICE: $2. or just blue only) to assist in setting the Color and Tint controls without having to use those imprecise color lters. When it receives a 1080p/24 input. e HC6800’s 170-watt lamp (in Standard mode.

Mitsubishi’s remote is backlit. But it did go above white. the white level (contrast control) should always be set to allow visible headroom above white. e hometheatermag. • The Mitsubishi’s slightly curvy e projector was respectably quiet in its Low Lamp mode.000 hours (Low Lamp mode) DYNAMIC IRIS: Yes LENS SHIFT: Yes DIMENSIONS (W X H X D. such as the night scene aboard the tramp steamer in chapter 3 of Stargate: Continuum and the night scene in the Indian town in chapter 4 of Seven Years in Tibet. low-contrast images and impairs shadow detail. which also uses the Reon. However. e Auto Iris transitions quickly to a mode in which it has signi cantly reduced e ect and therefore begins to reveal the HC6800’s very low native full-on/full-o contrast ratio and high native black level (see HT Labs Measures).) e projector also failed the clipping test. ere’s so much detail here that it’s impossible to pick a prime example. On a couple of occasions. e color tracking before calibration was so poor that there was barely enough control to get it right. which grays out dark. It is superbly detailed from corner to corner. but our pass/fail criteria requires a passing score in the Auto mode. As with the Epson.295 (replacement lamp: $459) setting). e Mitsubishi o ers a Keystone control to correct for distorted (trapezoid-shaped) images. I le it on. low-contrast scenes? I believe the answer is that the iris comes out of black far too fast. more so than the high settings on the other projectors. It would not go below black. You get impressively deep blacks when the screen is fully dark. I also had to adjust the overall gamma at the low end to eliminate a muddiness in the pre-calibrated image. but only with the sound o . and blue gamma controls to assist in this.8 x 17. It marginally passed the HD 2:2 test: It locked on to the cadence but broke lock and then reestablished lock with each pass of this cyclical test. Above white is the most important part of this test. INCHES): 16. but I was never convinced it did much on real program material. at was a good thing.3 WEIGHT (POUNDS): 16. which was gorgeously transferred from its original 70mm to Blu-ray. However. How could the projector produce such an impressive black-level measurement and still falter badly when it came to reproducing very dark. it’s unlikely to be audible with sound playing except at a very low level in a small room.com 43 • . but the Mitsubishi didn’t disappoint me in any way. For the most part (see the Video Test Bench chart). Similar corrections are better made with a combination of proper placement and the lens shi controls. which was more than su ciently bright on my modestly sized screen. low-contrast scenes.THREE FOR THE SHOW Features MITSUBISHI HC6800 LCD PROJECTOR TYPE: LCD NATIVE RESOLUTION: 1920 by 1080 RATED LAMP LIFE: 4. but it wasn’t frequent enough to make me want to switch to manual iris operation. its greatest strength is its resolution. with direct access to the video inputs and the most o en used controls. It’s always best to avoid keystone controls if possible. its failure to go below black requires a failing grade on the clipping test. e Mitsubishi was the most di cult of the projectors to calibrate. when a display fails to go below black. Dark. Performance e Mitsubishi employs the increasingly popular HQV Reon-VX for its video processing. e Standard mode was clearly louder. exterior makes it stand out in a room. but even a small increase in light level on the screen triggers the iris to begin opening. the visible result was—there’s no other way to put this—poor. with that done. the deep shadow detail—were an issue even with the iris operating in its best auto setting. and I spent more than twice as much time calibrating it as I did the others. the processing was excellent. I had to use the red. But it failed the 2:2 SD test in Auto. ings picked up considerably at brighter levels. I thought I saw the auto iris pump as it adjusted to a rapid change in source brightness. it makes it harder to set the black level correctly. (It passed both 2:2 tests in Film mode. However. because the projector’s blacks—or more precisely. ey can generate artifacts and reduce resolution. ere was no comparison here with the other projectors in this group. had a milky gray haze over them that is typical of LCD displays with poor shadow detail. Still. While the iris in Auto 5 produced a strikingly good result for absolute black level (see HT Labs Measures).3 x 6. I could sometimes hear the auto iris operating (a clicking sound). While the Mitsubishi’s black level isn’t a major picture issue. By far. the Mitsubishi produced a generally pleasing picture on everything but the darkest scenes. it had problems with our 2:2 tests in the Auto setting of the Cinema mode (in this case with both SD and HD). green.5 PRICE: $2. My acid test for resolution is Baraka. But it wasn’t easy to get there. since the black level (brightness control) is always set so it won’t go below black.

638:1—again. on +3. taken in the User1 Gamma on the however. Overly wide color Lamp mode. by a small margin. it degraded to approximately 16 reference gear. the Mitsubishi just might work for you. with values FULL-ON/FULL-OFF under 4 considered good) was about CONTRAST RATIO: 22. except for a Visit our Website for a detailed used in this review. and 50 IRE (mid brightness).8 foot-lamberts at a might suggest. the latter’s superiority in shadow detail was painfully obvious. The Delta-E (a numerical measure of how closely a display comes to the desired D65 color temperature. In a direct comparison with the Epson. Dark scene performance and contrast are too important to me. But a er adjustments. But with its very attractive pricing (apart from a rather high lamp-replacement cost). While the HC6800’s color came up short of the subjective and measured performance of the other two projectors. ratio above is objectively The color gamut shown in the spectacular. The Color Tracking charts below show how well a display adheres to the D65 standard. Conclusions The HC6800’s remote is backlit. gamut. the Delta-E fluctuated mode. Mitsubishi • (888) 307-0349 • mitsubishi-presentations.2 T combination of apparently superb optics with nearly awless panel alignment would be hard to beat even at much higher prices. Resolution alone isn’t quite enough for me to push it over the top. S-video (1). increased the black level enormously.com. Oddly. HomeTheaterMag. While it wasn’t possible to completely flatten them. this brightest of the projectors in its Low cannot be improved. the nearer the result is to D65.036 ft-L. and the complications I mentioned above mean that a good calibration is likely to be pricey. This variation wasn’t a problem at other he full-on/full-off contrast brightness levels. and reduced the full-on/full-off contrast ratio to 548:1. But plus a list of our All the measurements here.0012. were at 100 IRE (peak white). dark. PC (mini D-sub 15-pin) ADDITIONAL: RS-232C (D-sub 9-pin). BEFORE CALIBRATION AFTER CALIBRATION Overall. the Mitsubishi produces a pleasing picture on most sources. Even at roughly half the price. respectable performance on most program material. a number that is much more impressive than the projector’s visible contrast performance. wildly at the projector’s maxweb the Contrast on –10. and that’s so common on digital projectors that it’s getting tiresome to have to keep mentioning it (but I do). in the Low Lamp mode. the Mitsubishi’s resolution of detail was noticeably crisper than the Epson’s. low-contrast scenes are hazy enough to be distracting. Even with the auto iris engaged. to 0. with severe slopes from low to high.—TJN HT Labs Measures INPUTS: VIDEO: HDMI 1. go to reading just above 5 at 20 IRE explanation of our testing regimen. But things aren’t quite that simple.444:1 4 or less from 20 IRE (dark) to 90 IRE For the picture settings (near peak white). for a full-on/fulloff contrast ratio of 23. composite video (1) component video (1). But it’s rendered pie-shaped CIE chart above shows the significantly less impressive by Mitsubishi’s excessively wide color the subjective results in the review. I still recommend a calibration. the system. the Auto Iris in Auto 5. 3:2 HD PASS 2:2 HD PASS MA HD PASS VIDEO CLIPPING FAIL LUMA RESOLUTION PASS CHROMA RESOLUTION PASS SCALING GOOD 44 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag. and the Lamp mode on Low. the After Calibration curves are better. Without a color management With its auto iris engaged. apart MITSUBISHI HC6800 LCD from some issues at the darkest and PROJECTOR brightest ends of the spectrum. It beat out the Sony for gamuts are common in the consumer brightness honors in the Standard video industry. Turning off the auto iris. where material than the measured deviations it produced 28. or even a selection of fixed Mitsubishi is. The Before Calibration result is poor. but they are often less Lamp mode as well (auto iris still obvious to the eye on most source engaged) by a marginal degree.3 (2). it was completely watchable. I suspect that most viewers will be perfectly happy with it.com Dealer Locator Code MSU Color-tracking charts were generated in Datacolor ColorFacts. sometimes dropping to under 5. the color gamuts to choose from.com . unless noted otherwise.0009 20. Brightness imum brightness (100 IRE). and striking detail on the best sources. my only color criticism was a hint of phosphorescent bright greens.THREE FOR THE SHOW black level of 0. the tighter the overlap of the three primary colors. 12-volt trigger Connections 0. and it features direct access to video inputs and several other common controls.

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You can only use this feature with an internal crosshatch test pattern.4 usually recommended. Sony’s Real Color Processing (RCP) feature provides Color and Hue adjustments for each of the primary and secondary colors. In a conventional LCD. To my knowledge. Description • • d k ones. I accepted the small color gamut errors in S SONY BRAVIA VPL-HW15 SXRD PROJECTOR PERFORMANCE FEATURES ERGONOMICS VALUE e VPL-HW15’s gently curved top echoes the look of Sony’s higher-end VPL-VW85. Gamma determines how the light output varies in the mid-brightness region in response to the source input. It o ers two active settings plus the option of Fast. ( e l dark lower the gamma h number. the circuits that control each pixel can be located behind the liquid crystal panel and the re ective surface. Ultimately. focus. that is). Sony’s SXRD technology is at the heart of all of Sony’s premier home theater projectors. and vivid. I have always found RCP to be ergonomically confusing. erefore.) e projector’s zoom lens will ll a 100-inch-diagonal (87-inchwide) 16:9 screen at distances that range from 10.000 (modest as projectors go. but this time around.8 at 80 IRE). which maximizes the amount of chip area that’s devoted to the picture rather than to the spaces between the pixels.2 to 2. e controls and inputs are located on the side. and horizontal and vertical shi ) are manual. is allows the SXRD pixels to be positioned closer together than in a transmissive LCD. is re ected back through it a second time. But that means the control circuits that drive each pixel must pass through the gaps between the pixels. and blue elements of the picture are in precise alignment. including very 46 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag. barely short of state-of-the-art blacks. with insigni cant deviations elsewhere. a re ective version of LCD di erent enough to earn it a unique name. including o (Gamma 2).THREE FOR THE SHOW Sony BRAVIA VPL-HW15 SXRD Projector PRICE: $3. At a modest $3. green. it…. and then proceeds down the optical path to the lens. ere are six di erent picture modes. With exceptional color. I converged the center of the screen almost perfectly. You can adjust all of them manually. Slow. but in a few minutes. the light passes through a thinner liquid crystal imaging panel. unless otherwise noted.7 to 15. but some of the controls are locked out for certain types of inputs. or Recommended sensitivity. the higher the mid-tone brightness.0 (but dropping to about 1. for which there were no corrective controls. ( e more expensive VPL-VW85 o ers full screen and zone alignment. the VPL-HW15 o ers a useful lineup of features and a picture that I didn’t expect at this price. and Low settings cannot be changed by the user.9 feet. Silicon X-tal Re ective Display (SXRD) is Sony’s proprietary version of Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCOS). OK. which doesn’t always match the alignment visible from external sources. Read more to get the details. almost 3-D images on the best program material. To ensure that the three chips that produce the red. in di erent degrees.com . is required some trial and error to get things right. the light passes through the liquid crystal imaging elements once on its way to the lens. Auto 1. but you cannot set up each mode separately for each input.000 AT A GLANCE: Deep blacks Accurate color Superb image depth ony’s new BRAVIA VPL-HW15 is a reworking of last year’s VPL-HW10. I used the Advanced Iris in the Recommended setting. but each of the Custom settings o ers both high (Gain) and low (Bias) settings for red. e projector o ers six gamma correction settings. produced a lower gamma number than the 2. e High. I used it to make the color points slightly more accurate. Middle. and blue. In an SXRD or LCOS. that resulted in another problem that couldn’t be satisfactorily corrected— slightly excessive brightness for each color. this is a unique feature for a projector in this price class. the Sony provides controls that let you electronically tweak the position of the three separate images within a small fraction of a pixel (small convergence errors aren’t uncommon in multi-imagingchip projectors). while the lens that recesses into a sculpted front panel does not. at approximately 2. for all of my testing and viewing. All of the lens functions (zoom.) ere are seven color-temperature selections. However. Sony’s Cinema Black Pro menu includes the Advanced (auto) Iris feature. Gamma 4. You can select a di erent picture mode for each input (including three user modes). but it worked well for me in all types of scenes. green. I’m in danger of giving away the store up front. four of them Custom.

or blue. the Sony’s video processing was good. they were still very impressive. and the believable sense of depth made me feel as though I could jump into the picture and join in the fun. But it’s Stargate: Continuum that I keep coming back to when it comes to evaluating black level. Performance As shown in the Video Test Bench chart. Very minor changes in the picture settings can have a profound impact when you switch directly from one to the other.2 x 7. However. e Sony also o ers a Black Level Adjust control (I le this o ). and Color Space (Normal is very close to accurate. in both of its lamp settings. including the value factor. is is a wow-inducing Top Pick at a shocking price point. hometheatermag. As with all of these projectors. but you can still make them out clearly. it doesn’t have an anamorphic stretch mode for using an optional anamorphic lens with a 2. Many of them are dim. Noise Reduction (didn’t need it).v.1 PRICE: $3. e auto iris is just one piece of the whole that contributes to the Sony’s superb performance.Color (suitable sources are rare). the Sony has enough light output in reserve for a comfortably large screen—or enough spare output to help compensate for reasonable lamp aging. this pink shi didn’t a ect normal program material in any visible way. For example. If the Sony could bring out the best in Spider-Man’s just slightly above-average Blu-ray transfer. Even the dark warehouse scene at the end of chapter 13—a scene that gives many projectors problems—was convincing on the Sony. or just blue only) to assist in setting the Color and Tint controls without having to use color lters. with direct selection of many video adjustments—but not of inputs—and full backlighting. or noticed anything unnatural in its performance. e dark roo op scene in chapter 13 of Spider-Man was realistically dark. e only way to do it is to use the settings that we judged best in the individual evaluations. even when the lm’s bright white titles pop up. e detail le nothing to be desired. Film mode (le it in Auto). the Sony produced a pink discoloration on all single-pixel (maximum resolution) HD luma test patterns. Like other SXRD (and LCOS) displays we’ve tested. e Low setting provided more than su cient brightness on my screen. As was our past experience.com Dealer Locator Code SNY Features SONY BRAVIA VPL-HW15 SXRD PROJECTOR TYPE: SXRD NATIVE RESOLUTION: 1920 by 1080 RATED LAMP LIFE: Not specified DYNAMIC IRIS: Yes LENS SHIFT: Horizontal/Vertical DIMENSIONS (W X H X D. Still. which are o en imprecise. By a small margin over the Epson. to my knowledge. apart from a not uncommon failing score on the SD 2:2 test. replacement lamp: N/A Comparisons and Conclusions Setting up a direct AB comparison of two projectors is much more complicated than you might imagine. the Sony was the quietest of these three quiet projectors. But my lack of skill with a sword would demand that I time my leap very carefully. x. Sony • (877) 865-SONY • sonystyle. And if that di erence was subtle. INCHES): 16. ere are no individual color isolation controls (red. A lens control calls up a geometric pattern that’s helpful for adjusting the zoom and lens shi controls.THREE FOR THE SHOW the Normal Color Space setting and le RCP o . and both looked totally right on the Sony. e image in the opening shipboard scene had a pop that the other projectors missed.4 WEIGHT (POUNDS): 22. the discoloration was only visible on test patterns. provided the overscan and/or keystone controls are turned o ). heard any sign of it operating.2 x 18. its subtlety clearly brought out the shades and shadows in the scene’s overcast lighting.000. While the blacks were just a shade short of state-of-the-art projector blacks (and decidedly not up to Pioneer KURO–level blacks). While the Sony has the usual aspect ratio selections. Spider-Man looked • Sony’s VPL-HW15 has a gently curved top and high-end looks. e image was crisp and detailed—and this is not an exceptionally sharp HD transfer. the stars are clearly visible. In the star eld that opens the lm. as well as a 1:1 pixel-topixel test pattern (which was otherwise perfect. I never saw it operating (pumping) on program material.35:1 screen. I consider the quality of dark scenes so important that the Sony pushed all of my buttons. green. e remote control is good. Wide is not). like a better transfer than it usually does. Sony has been re ning the auto irises in its projectors for many years now—longer than anyone. e nighttime ship scene in chapter 3 and the Russian installation scene in chapter 21 are both killer black and shadow-detail tests. the colors were impossible to criticize. and the Sony didn’t disappoint. An appealing punch and dimensionality drew me in.com 47 • . but there was a clarity within that darkness that brought out shadow details and avoided that grayish look. it looked striking on Pirates of the Caribbean: e Curse of the Black Pearl.

Contrast Enhancement Even on this “large” of control did to brighter a screen.003 ft-L. more than adeeven in its lowest setting. e Epson went slightly deeper in absolute black. 3:2 HD PASS 2:2 HD PASS MA HD PASS VIDEO CLIPPING PASS LUMA RESOLUTION PASS CHROMA RESOLUTION PASS SCALING EXCELLENT I focused my comparisons on the Sony and the Epson.8 BEFORE CALIBRATION AFTER CALIBRATION Color-tracking charts were generated in Datacolor ColorFacts. if I the center of the image turned on the low on my screen. I could selection for many I wouldn’t criticize either video adjustments. accordlow settings. PC (HD D-sub 15-pin) (1) ADDITIONAL: RS-232C (D-sub 9-pin) (1) 0. Of course. The After PROJECTOR Calibration result is exceptional. on the attempts to tweak this in Gamma Correction on Gamma web 4. the tighter the overlap of the three primary colors. excelling the Sony by a small margin on the star eld at the beginning of Stargate: Continuum. but watch either projector all not for any inputs.511:1 at a black level of 0. It made them remained sharp and unnaturally contrasty. As noted in the review. 48 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag. The Delta-E (a numeric measurement of how closely FULL-ON/FULL-OFF a display comes to the desired D6500 CONTRAST RATIO: 8. quately bright—with e Epson’s colors the lamps in both were a little more projectors still in their saturated and. is consistent with the although this is splitting Sony’s fully backlit color tracking charts. adjusted for the It’s very good. But I on the Epson just barely didn’t like what the became more visible. component video (1).942:1 color temperature. ing to the color gamut Both of these are measurements. the largely disappeared. the Epson looked to simulate a much a little grayer and atter larger screen—more than the Sony.002 17. With the lamp on High.3 (2). e more accurate. and its black level equally impressive—and not just for a modestly priced projector. with setting of the Epson’s the rest of the picture Contrast Enhancement spilling over the edges. with values under 4 considered good) was under 1. the Sony slightly more accuwas warmer. but not without small but undesirable side effects. with undersaturated in the red-green the lamp power on Low.350:1. there were some noticeable di erences. The Before Calibration result is for the Low SONY BRAVIA VPL-HW15 SXRD Color Temperature setting. the projector’s contrast was 9. a bit superb projectors. while the rate according to Epson was cooler. the full-on/fulloff contrast ratio was 2. Both Epson 9500 UB was had an interesting always a pleasure to divergence in the darkwatch. if just slightly reference gear.—TJN HT Labs Measures T Connections INPUTS: VIDEO: HDMI 1. all of the The CIE chart above shows Visit our Website measurements here were the Sony’s color gamut in the for a detailed explanation of our taken with the projector in Normal Color Space setting. I almost did.com. I dimensionality on such was then viewing only material. apart from a small dip in the blue level in the mid-brightness region. testing regimen. and the Advanced Iris set to Sony’s RCP feature could move Auto 1.3 foot-lamberts and a black level of 0. these di erences When I did this. the nearer the result is to D65. e latter than 110 inches diahad more pop and gonal. and it was est blacks.com . S-video (1). most accurate image. is the measurements. although glued to my seat when it was 1:00 the di erences were very small a. projector much on this day. the axis. plus a list of our User mode. go to instruments are reasonably accurate HomeTheaterMag. control. (20 IRE) to peak white (100 IRE). the points outward.008 ft-L. composite video (1). and long past time to shut on my 78-inch-wide screen.THREE FOR THE SHOW he Sony’s full-on/full-off contrast ratio is excellent. and on several occasaccount. But on most very dark zoomed the images up scenes. e Mitsubishi’s shadow detail would have put it at a clear disadvantage compared with the others. In black level di erences fact. ions. But it e Epson won out slightly was the Sony that best kept me in terms of resolution. the images scenes. Viewed in the settings that I chose as the best (and most accu- rate) for both the Sony and Epson.m. But the a little more dark-scene slightly sharper image pop than the Sony. with a peak white level of 28. However. Except as noted. I things down and go to bed. but remote provides direct some ne hairs. the Epson then had remained. and the lamp on Low.7 from For the picture settings the darkest point at which our color used in this review. With the Advanced Iris off. The Sony is ready for any reasonably sized screen. The Color Tracking charts below show how well a display adheres to the D65 standard white point.

run.50 The ultimate shopping destination. .BRINGING THEATER INSPIRATION INTO YOUR HOME THE SAVANT EXPERIENCE CENTER pg. wires. GOING RETRO pg.54 Part II: Run.

INSTALL

The Savant Experience Center
THE ULTIMATE SHOPPING DESTINATION.

50 Home Theater Design March 2010 / hometheaterdesignmag.com

BY Kim Wilson PHOTOS Joe Tabacca

L

ocated in the SoHo district of lower Manhattan, the Savant Experience Center is an actual living space complete with a media/living room, home office, master bedroom, kitchen, dining room, and a dedicated

800-square-foot theater. Close to the Apple Store, the Experience Center showcases the latest technologies in home entertainment and control to dealers, architects, designers, industry associations, and prospective clients. Developers of the only Apple-based home control automation and entertainment system, Savant showcases the marriage of design and technology in this 3,000-square-foot facility. (Another 5,000 square feet will be built to demonstrate commercial applications.) The Experience Center lets Savant showcase a product line that you can’t fully appreciate in a catalog or through a Website. Some of the highlights include TrueImage Control, ROSIE Surface coffee tables, the company’s proprietary On Screen Display (OSD) technology, Touch TV, and a functional 4-by-40-inch LCD display in the home office that displays digital art and signage. Savant’s iPhone and iPod touch home automation application (recently featured in the Winter 2009 issue of Home Theater Design) can control the entire space, both locally and remotely. The entire space functions like a single system due to Savant’s automation platform, which allows full control of any audio or video source from every room. For instance, with Savant’s TrueImage Control, you can dim the lights in any room or turn them on or off by touching an image of that room. The OSD lets you answer the front doorbell, view any security camera, change the temperature in any zone, and search and play media content without leaving your seat or interrupting the movie you’re watching. While the Experience Center was Savant’s brainchild, it took a long and impressive list of partners to create this world-class facility. It
AWESOME AUTOMATION Through interactive elements, like ROSIE Surface coffee tables and Savant’s On Screen Display technology, the Experience Center truly brings technology to your fingertips.

Home Theater Design March 2010 / hometheaterdesignmag.com 51

DESIGN

INSTALL

DESIGN

includes gear from Thiel, NuVision, Runco, Chief, Lutron, Stewart Filmscreen, Continental Seating, Bay Audio, McIntosh Labs, Panamax/Furman, Snell, Middle Atlantic Products, Steinway Lyngdorf, and Steinway Piano. The key design features include a Theo Kalomirakis theater, an impeccable interior design by Thom Filicia, a kitchen by Dalia Kitchen Design, and lighting by ISP Design. As if the project wasn’t monumental enough, the Center was built within the Singer Building. Since it is designated as a historical landmark, it was necessary to maintain the building’s features and characteristics. Moreover, running wires through an old building created its own set of challenges. The space was gutted, but the structure remained intact. Savant handled the installation internally with its professional services team of about 30 employees, who served as support for Savant’s authorized dealers. “I think we all learned a lot about how to integrate technology into a living space while also making sure everything was aesthetically pleasing,” said Craig Spinner, Savant’s director of marketing. One of the highlights of the Theo Kalomirakis theater is the use of all Thiel speakers and subwoofers, including the stunning Les Paul Sunburst CS3.7 loudspeakers finished by Gibson for Thiel and signed by both Jim Thiel and

KIM WILSON, HTD EDITOR
Home Theater Design is dedicated to helping you navigate the specialty A/V waters, including working with custom installers, retailers, designers, builders, and more. We go beyond the dedicated theater, and show you how to integrate the newest technology into your entire home.

A FAMILY AFFAIR Some of the most influential and familiar brands in home theater technology are featured in the Experience Center, including Runco, Steinway Lyngdorf, Stewart Filmscreen, and Thiel.

Les Paul. The media/living room features a McIntosh/Snell audio system with a NuVision 65-inch LCD HDTV. The room is also equipped with a retractable Runco projector and Stewart projection screen.
“The authentic lifestyle setting of the Experience Center fully demonstrates all that is possible in custom installation today and is sure to become one of the industry’s most important and vital design centers,” concludes Spinner.

READERS, WE NEED YOUR HELP!
Are you a do-it-yourselfer or custom installer with a great theater to share with our readers? We’d love to hear from you. Please send your stories and photos to kim.wilson@sorc.com.

CONTACT Savant, (508) 683-2500, savantav.com

52 Home Theater Design March 2010 / hometheaterdesignmag.com

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you can use Acoustic Research’s PR360 flat speaker wire or Monster Cable’s SuperFlat Mini speaker wire to pretty I n years past. Aton’s four-source/four-zone DH44 digital audio router with DIGI-5 technology ($799. he shows you how to pull off a seamless install—yourself! 1. Most clips are designed to hold one or two wires in place. “Beauty isn’t cheap. RadioShack and virtually every hardware store in the northern hemisphere carry wire clips of one sort or another. A simple speaker selector will expand the system to even more rooms. and some gumption. They’re often available in white or black and cost pennies per clip. When all else failed and time was short. putting together and installing a multizone audio system meant running lots of wires for the speakers. Xantech. but she doesn’t buy it. one of the most cost-effective ways to do this is to tack the wire to the wall along the baseboards or around the door trim with wire clips—little plastic hooks that hold the wire snug when nailed down. Here are some ways you can hide your wires until it does become chic to leave them out in the open. Hammer Time If all you need to do is get a speaker wire out of the way. Stop.com . As my wife continually reminds me. low-cost round wire. require a Cat-5 cable to each keypad and a separate wire from the CA4’s amplifiers to each of the speakers. such as Russound’s CA4 four-source/four-zone system ($1. plus $199 for the keypad) only requires a single Cat-5 cable run to each amplified keypad plus speaker wire to run directly from the keypad to that zone’s speakers. The system is so simple to set up that the quick-guide 54 Home Theater Design March 2010 / hometheaterdesignmag. In Part I (Home Theater January 2010). Many wired multiroom audio systems are extremely retro-friendly. Video products that can distribute HD using single or dual Cat-5 runs are available from Gefen. but like other long runs and/or large bundles of wires secured with wire clips. keypads. it was unsightly. Aton. include powered Zone 2 outputs. On the most basic level.” So instead of run-of-the-mill. It was functional. and others. such as Onkyo’s TX-SR507. WIRES. I used wire clips (a lot of them) to secure a Cat-5 cable that needed to run up a flight of stairs.999). a surprising number of relatively affordable AVRs. This month.RETROFITTING Flatwire Speaker Wire Going Retro PART II: RUN. Things are different today. Other systems. All you need to turn that $399 AVR into a multiroom control center is speaker wire. Darryl reviewed some of the best current options in wireless audio systems. and IR repeater system. I’ve tried to convince my wife that Cat-5 and speaker wires draped across the room from nails in the wood trim and running down the hallway are an up-and-coming décor trend. RUN BY Darryl Wilkinson instructions fit on a 17-by-30-inch poster (with nice large illustrations). perhaps to keep from tripping over it or getting it caught in the vacuum cleaner. speakers.

Wiremold. and ultra-flat HDMI cables are in the works. they might not have wanted to move out of the house. At this point. since you already have the bottom of the wall open. it’s something you’d wish the previous owners would have done.50 per foot and $3 per foot. others are horizontal. crown molding. and hammering the baseboard back in place. These are essentially paintable channels with removable covers that mount on the surface of the wall.com 55 RETR OFITTING . Your Insurance Doesn’t Cover Molding? So you’re not handy with a drywall saw. In newer homes. especially if you use the kind with an adhesive strip on the back. or wallpaper. the stuff is virtually invisible. 4. you can take the opportunity to run wires through the wall up to an in-wall or on-wall speaker. They come in sizes for single or multiple wires. Sure. 2. and then painted or wallpapered over.) A drywall saw works well. Darryl used a Dremel tool to remove a strip of drywall (A and B). cut through the drywall and remove a strip along the bottom that’s wide enough to contain the number of wires you need to conceal.things up. CableOrganizer. Some are designed to be used vertically in corners. It’s simply a matter of gently prying the baseboard away from the wall. Cut a Rug You can also use carpet to conceal wires. The finished job is shown in the image on the left.” and at 0. it is pretty darn flat. Seeing Is Unbelieving Hopefully the information in this two-part story has helped you come to the conclusion that it’s possible to retrofit your old home with plenty of A/V technology without totally destroying its original looks or spending big bucks on remodeling or installation. (Make sure. but then if they had. Since the channel covers are removable. It’s helpful to use a special install tool called under-carpet tape—essentially a long strip of stainless steel—to snake the flattest wire you can afford between the carpet and the pad. However. you can add additional wires in the future if your system changes—something that’s much more painful to do with other methods. Does My Wire Look Flat to You? If you want a truly invisible install and can’t or don’t want to put wires in your walls. If there isn’t any attic space—when there’s a second floor above the room. but a Dremel tool with a drywall bit is much faster. It’s more aesthetically appealing than using wire clips and often easier to install. Surface raceways or A B C D OUT OF SIGHT To conceal wires in a baseboard. you may need to use a utility knife to separate the top of the baseboard from the wall. Acoustic Research calls its PR390 ($79 for 50 feet) speaker wire “MicroFlat. Flatwire also makes flat component video cables and Ethernet cables. as well as door and window trim were invented to cover gaps and other imperfections in a building’s structure. Try to avoid running the wire under high-traffic areas for the obvious reason of excessive wear and tear. Expect to pay at least 60 cents per foot. so you’ll need to take your time. Unfortunately. even though you’ve increased the value of your home. He then inserted the wires (C) and replaced the baseboard (D). so you can use them along the ceiling like crown molding or along the floor like a baseboard. Once you’ve removed the baseboards. It can be easy to get the tape caught on the pad and twist the wire as it goes through. T-junctions. either. and even matching surface-mount outlet boxes that you can use to mount wall plates and keypads. and you removed all the carpets in your house after the cats kept peeing on them.1 mm thick) that can be glued to any wall. such as corners. tucking in the wire. the channels themselves typically start at more than $1 per foot—and that’s not counting the additional parts and pieces you may need—so wiring a large room (or house) can be pricey. If there’s caulk. 5. Flatwire makes incredibly flat speaker wire (0. Consider buying fish tape or a push rod from the hardware store first. Spools of 18-gauge speaker wire sell for around $2 per foot. that the width of the drywall you remove is less than that of the baseboard you’ll be covering it with. When done properly. respectively. there’s plenty of space behind most of the baseboards. Home Theater Design March 2010 / hometheaterdesignmag. so no wire clips are necessary. for example—this may be the best way to invisibly get wires to an in-wall speaker. In the older sections of my home.5 mm thick. of course. wire molding might be your answer. paint. you probably won’t ever want to leave. it’s not the easiest stuff to work with when it comes to making right-angle turns at the corners of doors and windows. plastered. Carefully pry the baseboards away from the walls. After it’s all done. Flatwire also makes 14. and Panduit offer a variety of raceways and accessories. There’s even a chair rail version. Raceways are an especially helpful and painless way of hiding the wires for wall-mounted flat-panel TVs and on-wall speakers. too. 3.and 12-gauge wire at $2. There’s no reason why you can’t use them to hide a few wires. It also includes an adhesive backing. Hide It in Plain Sight Baseboards. you’ll need to do a little drywall modification.

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hometheatermag. and our testing regimen is the most rigorous in the industry.on the web FROM THE VISIT THE “HOW WE TEST” link on our Website for a detailed explanation of our testing regimen and a list of our reference gear. Our strict methodology ensures that the gear we review can meet the highest standards of performance.0 Soundbar and SB-800 Sub Seven channels plus. and at the top of its review.. each product’s price range is designated in the Preview. HIGH END Denon AVR-4810CI A/V Receiver Need supersizing? P58-61 P58 Audio Precision System Two 2532 Dual Domain Fluke 189 multimeter Leader LT-446 HDTV test generator Leader LV5700A waveform monitor LG OS-9020A oscilloscope LinearX loudspeaker measurement system Minolta LS-100 luminance meter Photo Research PR-650 SpectraScan colorimeter Staco variable transformer 3PN2210B (22-amp) TecLab TWS-1510 test benches POOR FAIR GOOD EXCELLENT REFERENCE MIDRANGE P62-77 Atlantic Technology FS-7.hometheatermag. P66 P70 P74 RATINGS PERFORMANCE FEATURES ERGONOMICS VALUE BUILD QUALITY HT’s product ratings are specific to the product category and the price range of the component under review.. For guidance.com 57 . Each component’s ratings are specific only to its price range: Entry Level. or High End. on this page. www. • • • • • • • • • • Home Theater’s test bench uses state-of-the-art instruments.com • OUR GEAR. 70 74 62 www. Marantz SR6004 A/V Receiver Restraint and simplicity. a must for a component to earn recognition as a Top Pick winner. P62 Pioneer Elite SC-27 A/V Receiver What? No 8-track? Sharp LC-60E77UN LCD HDTV A worthy contender. Midrange.

1channel array. is is a good thing. e touchscreen remote is a little perplexing at rst (and Denon’s cryptic surround-mode nomenclature doesn’t help). because the DENON AVR-4810CI A/V RECEIVER PERFORMANCE FEATURES ERGONOMICS VALUE AVR’s many features will have you using it o en. It also boasted Dolby’s Pro Logic IIz height enhancement. Consumers are still upsizing their displays. while others are opting for more e cient hybrid sedans. I reviewed the Denon AVR-4310CI. At a rated 140 watts per channel.999 AT A GLANCE: First Denon A/V receiver with nine channels of amplification Networked audio features include Wi-Fi Strong audio fundamentals • • H Need Supersizing? as the concept of supersizing peaked? e McMansiondriven housing boom is a bust. Fast food addicts are counting the calories in their Happy Meals.999. (Check your November issue or Home eaterMag. Soundbar speakers are rushing to market like logs speeding down a tumultuous river. the trend is downsizing. with sat/sub sets bobbing alongside them. Two More Channels. which has spread through Denon’s entire line. the new AVR-4810CI kicks it up another notch by running two of the following three surround enhancement options simultaneously: front height. On the right side of the AVR-4810CI’s front panel is a volume knob. So for many functions. and back surround. Otherwise. the nine-channel AVR-4810CI is 9 pounds heavier and $1. So this seems like an odd moment to supersize a Class AB A/V receiver. the rst A/V receiver to feature Audyssey’s DSX height and width enhancement. Besides DSX. With two extra amp channels. In November 2009. including one with a touchscreen and a few simpli ed buttons. Denon provides two remotes. front width. However. plus a more conventional one with no touchscreen and more buttons. In video for home theater. state regulations—notably in California—may trigger further e ciencies. e full-color graphic user interface (GUI) is attractive. their feature sets are similar and quite enviable. and it might be instructive to compare the charts for both models. but manufacturers are compensating with energye ciency gains. as always. e le side features a source select knob and four buttons that select up to four zones (among other things). our measurements should be your ultimate guide. Ten More Watts At 44 pounds and $2. plus the one-two punch of Audyssey Dynamic Volume and Dynamic EQ for greater exibility in low-volume listening. It took me a while to realize that the source-input labels at the top of the touchscreen only a ect the command menu at the bottom of the touchscreen. including navigation buttons. In audio for home theater. you won’t be limited to the remote. A regular seven-channel AVR can add only one of those three items to surround sound’s standard 5. Below the white uorescent display in the center is a ip-down door that conceals a fairly comprehensive selection of controls. While energy-e cient ampli er topologies (Class D. and below it are three tiny Quick Select buttons that combine source selection with a default volume setting.com . Moreover.000 more expensive than the seven-channel AVR-4310CI.HIGH END BY Mark Fleischmann Denon AVR-4810CI A/V Receiver PRICE: $2. Class G. it’s also nominally 10 watts per channel more powerful. Class H) haven’t toppled conventional Class AB. A single mono subwoofer channel also supports up to three subwoofers. Some SUV owners are trading in their gas-guzzlers for more e cient hybrids of the same size. the trend is more ambiguous. e slimming of displays has pushed a complementary response in surround systems. You can only select source inputs with the hard buttons on the bottom of the remote or with the le knob on 58 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag. they feature Audyssey’s MultEQ XT auto setup and room up correction.com). they’re certainly nibbling around the edges.

nano. and Zone4 Control. and stepped into networked nirvana. Once you get the hang of it. and the AVR recognized my router. it was easier to use because it put more options on the screen. Zone2. you’ll need the optional dock.09 x 7. Streaming works with the Windows Media Player 11 in XP 3:2 SD FAIL FAIL 2:2 SD PASS PASS MA SD PASS PASS VIDEO CLIPPING PASS PASS • and Vista. or iTunes via TwonkyMedia Server on PC or Mac. 96/24. you may prefer it to the sea-of-buttons approach. it listed all of the inputs as icons on a single screen. It has a mate on the back panel. I loved grabbing the volume bar with the mouse and dragging it from so to loud. Although the interface is slightly di erent in structure from the GUI. Networked audio menu options include Favorites. Zone3. As the Internet station continued to play. plus Setup Menu. The Digital Video Clipping and Resolution Visit our Website for a detailed explanation of these video tests. I picked the automatic option. Pro Logic IIx/IIz DTS: DTS-HD MA. either analog or digital. Both networked and USB-connected functions are grouped under the input name NET/USB. Dynamic Volume. e manual says the AVR is compatible with iPods 5G and later. For instance. an Ethernet jack and a WLAN antenna input. my technical contact explained how it worked. XM—and even more interesting. In addition.1. I picked a buoyant Latin station. 10 DSP modes THX CERTIFICATION: No NUMBER OF AMP CHANNELS: 9 RATED POWER (WATTS PER CHANNEL): 140 into 8 ohms SPECIFIED FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 10 Hz to 100 kHz (+1/–3 dB) VIDEO PROCESSING: Anchor Bay AUTO SETUP/ROOM EQ: Audyssey MultEQ XT DIMENSIONS (W X H X D. Firefox. plus enough component video jacks to bump the AVR’s HDTV-friendliness to a grand total of nine inputs and four outputs. EX. then looked in the Media Server menu. and bingo. tests were run at 1080p in (HDMI) and 1080p out (HDMI). I tried the Pictures function. • the front panel. I looked up the AVR’s numeric Web address in its Network Info menu. e USB input can accept an iPod directly without the need for an extra-cost dock. ES. Neural AUDYSSEY: DSX. Other connectivity goodies include phono. Safari) of a networkconnected computer (Windows or Mac). In the Internet Radio menu. Dynamic EQ OTHER: HDCD. and Playlists. and you must select the operative one in the GUI. Media Server. Options under the PC were Music. but you can’t use them simultaneously. Adventures with Wi-Fi Features DENON AVR-4810CI A/V RECEIVER AUDIO DECODING: DOLBY: TrueHD. e only hard part was getting back to the AVR’s home page—the Denon logo in the upper-le -hand corner didn’t function as a home-page link. $2. Pictures. where the single listed item was my Lenovo inkCentre A61e Windows XP desktop PC. including navigation buttons. and Rhapsody. Neo:6. e front panel also has a couple of welcome rarities behind its ip-down panel: HDMI and USB inputs. Like many networked devices. and Web Controller Con guration.—TJN . ere are three subwoofer outputs. en I keyed in the router’s password with the remote. is was easy. DTS-HD High Resolution Audio. but I didn’t explore this feature. Denon told me that only 5G nanos work. The Analog Video Clipping and Resolution tests were run at 1080i in (component) and 1080p out (HDMI)—there are no consumer component 1080p sources. including Search Podcast.69 WEIGHT (POUNDS): 44. I felt pretty silly when. For non-compatible iPods. e AVR’s main Web menu has four big colored buttons for MainZone.DENON AVR-4810CI A/V RECEIVER through either a wired or wireless connection. us the receiver can perform a variety of networked audio tricks DENON AVR-4810CI DIGITAL ANALOG 3:2 HD PASS PASS 2:2 HD PASS PASS MA HD PASS PASS It took me about 20 minutes to set up the Wi-Fi connection.67 x 16. and touch. Like other networked devices I’ve tried. iPods can function in either GUI Mode (operating with remote and onscreen display) or Remote Mode (operating directly with iPod controls). e manual adds that Remote Mode is not supported on 5G iPods or nanos. The analog chroma horizontal resolution was also gone by the highest burst frequency. this one didn’t detect my Pictures LUMA RESOLUTION PASS PASS CHROMA RESOLUTION PASS FAIL SCALING EXCELLENT GOOD on the web hometheatermag. Napster. classic. OK’d media sharing on the PC. USB will also appear if a compatible device is plugged into a USB input. e AVR-4810CI’s coolest trick is operation through the Web browser (Internet Explorer. I found a useful list of my local stations and several search options. PDA Menu. I screwed the supplied rod antenna onto the AVR’s WLAN port. Digital 5. a er a week of mysti cation.999 The flip-down panel conceals a set of controls. But it failed to lock solidly onto SD 3:2 pulldown. typed the number into the Web browser’s address bar. WMP 12 in Windows 7. DTS.699) but not two models down (in the AVR-4310CI.13 PRICE: $2. Sirius. but it was worth it.com 59 Photos by Cordero Studios VIDEO TEST BENCH The Denon passed most of the Digital tests easily (HDMI in to HDMI out). I’d love to see snapshots of a system that uses all of them.999). this one can connect automatically or manually. e latter is also present one model down (in the AVR-4308CI. found my router’s security scheme among the three choices given. On the back panel are ve more HDMI inputs and two outputs. Internet Radio. $1. INCHES): 17.

I channels. the AVR couldn’t recognize two well-stu ed external hard is resolve lasted all of ve minutes. the –0. only those that leaked into the is is the second time I’ve front le and right channels.73 dB at 50 kHz web kHz. the LFE channel is –0.18 dB at 10 Hz From the Dolby Digital input reference gear.02 dB at 20 kHz left channel measures –0.14 dB at 20 Hz and stereo signal processing: –0. plus a list of our –0. which has only having limited bass response. but it found the PC’s o cial My Pictures folder.18 dB at 20 kHz. Panasonic whole lot of phasey. Since I A/B’d my brains out in my last DSX-enriched review. upper 3-dB down point at 118 Hz and from CD input to speaker the upper 6-dB down point at 121 output with two channels Hz. into 8-ohm loads: Crosstalk at 1 kHz driving 2. this is the rst time I’ve wondered if the problem was used width and height enhancecoloration induced by the smaller. reviewed and found it a as he pulls up a chair to little crude. speakers as full range than the Dolby Pro and the four smaller ones as Logic IIz mode. which readily found the music stored in the PC’s Music folder. It’s also partly because I am. which showed both an album folder and a few loose tracks outside the folder. ey used Audyssey DSX. were then picked up by the DSX thanks to the AVR’s nine amp height/width processor. even pointed out that the right Vocals mixed solely into the width speaker was operating out center channel weren’t a ected. THD+N from the 1 percent distortion at 148.5 watts.003 percent at 1 kHz when Seven channels driven continuously driving 2.5 universal DSX processing player.000 by 2. It PD-189 turntable. it took me longer to master the AVR-4810CI than most AVRs I’ve used. As the last picture remained on the screen.19 dB at 20 –2. e movie Associated gear for has an unusually rich the disc-driven movie soundtrack that’s and music demos designed to convey included ve psychological depth Paradigm Reference and complexity. Having plastic-clad Cinema 70 in the spent much of my career railing width and height channels.2 watts and 1 percent distortion at 187. (Protection Engages) The signal-to-noise ratio with 2.20 dB at 20 kHz the Dolby Digital input to the –29.18 dB at 20 kHz. I navigated to Media Server/Music.36 dB at 20 Hz at 20 Hz and –0. and I needed some hand-holding during the process. DTS-HD Master Audio) before curiosity got the better of me.04 dB at 0. the preamp. was encoded directly at didn’t bother me. manual setup.2 watts CD input to the speaker output was less than 0.7 watts. sometimes a doofus. and the left –1. disembodied and Bellari VP530 tube feel to the kid’s phono preamp. I resolved to leave the height and width channels on the whole time and experience them in a less analytical (and long-winded) fashion.83 volts driving an 8-ohm load Visit our Website for a detailed Analog frequency response in from 10 Hz to 24 kHz with “A” explanation of our Pure Direct mode: weighting was –112.1 percent distortion at 123.14 dB on the at 20 Hz and –0. Still. is Gus Van Sant lm follows a skateboarding teen through rites of passage Prelude to Disc fraught with guilt Spinning feelings. testing regimen. the few auto setups I track. chair scraping the oor Since Audyssey DSX had the same won’t work with a defocused sound.—MJP HT Labs Measures drives (formatted NTFS and FAT).1-channel soundtouchscreen remote has a learning curve. It height channels and no width.77 dB left 1 percent distortion at 36. the AVR handily loaded pictures shot with a 5-megapixel camera and le unedited.74 dB at 50 kHz. smaller les would likely have moved faster. four of music and Paradigm Cinema 70 e ects—including a v3 speakers. the amplifier reaches 0. is was partly a function of the ambitious feature roster—there is usually a trade-o between the number of features and ease of operation.83 volts 0.9 watts into an 8-ohm load was –74. It took 10 seconds due to the le size. I couldn’t adjust them from the TV.000 pixels. At one point. against back surrounds. In general.com . –0. I tried monotone voiceover the phono input on the and many other last Denon AVR I elements. Into 4 ohms. With an o cial limit of 3.1 percent distortion at 30. Luxman picked up on that. over Denon’s included identi ed the ve larger And it did so more conventional remote.01 dB at 50 kHz line-level output.07 dB at 20 Hz when referenced to his graph shows that the the level at 40 Hz and reaches the AVR-4810Ci’s left channel. Initially the 4:3 images were horizontally stretched to 16:9. is pleased me because I prefer that folder to the Windows-approved My Music folder. It correctly exaggerated it slightly. It Studio 20 v4 speakers features many kinds driven full range. Response from the multichannel Five channels driven continuously into input to the speaker output measures 8-ohm loads: –0.1 percent distortion at 277. e DPS-10. Paranoid Ears T DENON AVR-4810CI A/V RECEIVER folder. at’s how far I got into Paranoid Park (BD. ment simultaneously. into the original The included MultEQ XT is one of 5. and watts –2.83 volts into an 8-ohm load. 60 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.0 watts to right and –74. although it could recognize a FAT-formatted thumb drive. but a dive into the Aspect Ratio submenu xed that.05 dB at 20 Hz to the loudspeaker output. Audyssey MultEQ XT the more I realized that auto setup and room much of the hollowness correction program. However.1 percent distortion at 168.39 dB right to left. From –0. –0.HIGH END DENON AVR-4810CI A/V RECEIVER driving 8-ohm loads. –0. DSX but you may prefer it trust.5 20 Hz. so I be interviewed by a preferred the Bellari police detective. rough its front USB port. I ran the e more I A/B’d.63 dBrA. of phase. I didn’t feel duty-bound to use that option.04 dB at 20 kilohertz.8 watts and DENON AVR-4810CI A/V RECEIVER 1 percent distortion at 303. Integra information. frequently imparted a Shure V97xE cartridge.30 dB at 10 Hz surround channel measures –0. DMP-BD35 Blu-ray reverb-heavy player. like many consumers.15 dB –0. reaches 0.16 decibels at 10 hertz. I corrected the problem. The center channel Analog frequency response with measures –0. hollow.

Evening. E ects include lots of motor noise and all the supernatural e ects you’d expect in a movie where Peter Fonda plays Mephistopheles. I’ve heard. the dedicated surround bu who low noise. It’s for anyone Denon also heart. component video (3). But the e ect was minimal and didn’t distract me. and Midnight.3-channel preamp (1) ADDITIONAL: 12-volt trigger (1). I spared myself the worst onslaughts by invoking Audyssey Dynamic Volume and Dynamic EQ. I know pletist who wants all every note of this of the latest listening double-LP set by modes. in its will work only in the original number of presence of a 5. dynamic distinctions wants it all. e album’s showcase could sense the body of the of electric guitar textures took on instrument). I played the 5.) I compromised and went with Evening. brief and uneventful I nished the audio experimentation with demos by replaying “I various modes. 7. Piano. so it’s tting that these pieces are performed by a conductor/violinist. Top-drawer ampli cation surely helped. with the “least adjustment to loudest and so est sounds”. Medium. 7.1 material without mode. and DSX (which enhancement. 1 of Francesco Maria Veracini comes in the form of a freshly recorded multichannel SACD on the CPO label. Guglielmo’s solo violin charm of this quintessential New parts had plenty of wood tone (I York band.denon. Marantz. Ethernet (1). Like Vivaldi.com). and Heavy. the Paradigms’ slightly records as well as a superb reticent metal-coned woofers recording. palpably real feel that’s di cult to achieve on CD but much easier on SACD. Guitar e Overtures & Concerti Vol. So the problem was source dependent. Dolby Digital 5.3a (6). an originalinstruments ensemble. Musical interludes by singer/ songwriter Alexi Murdoch are reminiscent of Nick Drake. sensuous. the e piano sound was Pure mode triumphed. AM (1). composite video (3) AUDIO: Optical digital (2). surf sounded unnatural in nine channels. uses the terms Light. FM (1). It felt just right. It got some extra low-frequency oomph out of them.1-channel analog (1). this phono preamp. However. I found the original e Denon stereo a little AVR-4810CI has the speaker-bound. and it shut channel signal like down the GUI and DPLII—not with a front-panel display to stereo signal). with the L’Arte dell’Arco. on drums. Fed with this best-case hear the Ramones. Federico Guglielmo.1. S-video (3). I also liked MultEQ XT’s e ect on the Paradigm Studio 20s. and the di erence between ve and nine channels was surprisingly subtle.3a (2). Surprises ensued immediately. the speakers weren’t the problem. is AVR stereo-to-surround isn’t just for the comrechanneling.com deprecating wit. phono (2) ADDITIONAL: iPod dock. Dolby TrueHD). none of these problems recurred. Naturally. and the recording gave them pride of place in the center channel. Maya Rudolph shines in this brilliant comedy as a pregnant woman who accompanies her partner on a freak. more buttons. 12-volt trigger (1). A er su cient. 11. limpid and involving. For of audio performance—clarity.1. Dynamic Volume has three settings: Day. this time by a resonant baritone. Since the reduce nonessential Ramones work best circuit-induced noise. with “medium adjustment”. with a learning much the same way it curve to match—but it’s rewires itself to worth the e ort. In the second movie. It reminded with no touchscreen and whether 5. with the “most adjustment. with some density. of their thousands of imitators have ever approached Johnny’s Denon • (201) 762-6500 • metal virtuosity. remote control (1). way too di use. e loudest moments were dramatic but not overbearing.lled cross-country journey that de nes their love and commitment. stereo analog (4). come at the expense of listening and that’s the most natural way to comfort. and this demo who wants a greatprovides a more conventional remote was among the best sounding system. Joey’s sly selfusa. here it is. Dee Dee’s driving beat. optical digital (3). e vinyl is were musically an old friend. Its accommodate the performance is up there idiosyncrasies of with the best. In Away We Go (DVD. me that without at kind of supersizcompetence in the fundamentals ing will never go out of style. Veracini was an 18thcentury composer/violinist. large and small—an A/V receiver would be useless to music lovers. By the way. stereo analog (7). Few (quietriverpress. its sister brand. S-video (7). and I stopped worrying about it. and the native Dealer Locator Code DEN INPUTS: VIDEO: HDMI 1. Practical Home eater Marky Ramone.” ( is seems to be Denon nomenclature. Denon Link (1). In later hometheatermag. Smoothed a little by my tube lution at every turn. XM Radio (1). Violin. giving them a leading melodic role. A good Keith Jarrett’s e Köln Concert sub could have done better. it sounded perfectly natural. RS-232C (1) OUTPUTS: VIDEO: HDMI 1. or 9. which bene ted both music and e ects. composite video (6) AUDIO: Coaxial digital (3). component video (2). Sirius (1). I loved what source material. and the nal accustomed to overlay of DSX was just surround expansion. I Wanna Be Sedated” in chose the Pure mode. DPLII was merely As a listener who’s adequate. velvety vocal texture that the Denon mined for beauty and sensuality. Pure. e oboe and bassoon had the kind of luminous.1-channel mix without enhancement. e “Overture VI in G minor” added reeds to the string orchestra.DENON AVR-4810CI A/V RECEIVER pieces. the Dolby Pro is presented source Logic II Music 5. and tiny details of added variety and vividness via the violinist’s touch came through Denon’s squeaky-clean ampli cawith abundant detail and resotion.1channels. the Denon MultEQ XT did for Marky and wowed me. In the rst movie. but is the best of his improvised piano with EQ. remote control (1) Connections As it turned out. with a sonorous. the hollowness showed up again in yet another opening voiceover. * Audio editor Mark FleisRoad to Ruin is the fourth chmann is also the author of album by the Ramones and the the annually updated book rst to feature my namesake.1). and I didn’t miss a word of dialogue. the AVR suphigh-frequency virtuosity didn’t ported high-volume listening.1. But most complete feature my brain soon set I’ve ever encounrewired itself to tered in an A/V compensate—in receiver. Nicolas Cage stars as a motorcycle stunt rider who tries to get out of a deal he makes with the devil.com 61 . In Ghost Rider (BD. ere was clearly something about the Van Sant movie and its unusual soundtrack that triggered problems in DSX. USB (2). WLAN antenna (1). is was an unusual mix for an unusual piece.

I began to warm up to the idea of a seven-channel soundbar.100 AT A GLANCE: Built-in keyhole brackets Triple-voice-coil side-firing surround drivers World’s first seven-channel soundbar • • Seven Channels Plus W hen you hear that we can now add a sevenchannel soundbar to the list of the many technological wonders in the world today. this row of connectors might be daunting. so the thing just might sound good.75 inches tall.0’s cabinet and angled back toward the wall. “Dude. Across the back of the cabinet are recessed speaker terminals for the LCR and the four surround speaker channels in a 7. replace it with a blank panel on which to mount the new all-in-one system.Actually.com . ese ordinary-looking side. and look good hanging on the wall. If nothing else. I don’t know whether it was the titillation that comes with undressing a new piece of gear or the surreptitious sni ng of Styrofoam packaging. If you use an AVR. Simplicity was one of the design criteria for the FS-7. (Atlantic chose oval midbass drivers because they provide approximately the same radiating surface area as 5. Likewise for the driver on the right. usable with A/V receivers that have two to seven channels. So they’re a little harder to get to than the terminals on many speakers. I’d have known not to expect a complicated setup or a complex array of drivers.ring drivers incorporate triple voice coils. It achieves this acoustic sleight of ear—the trick of making your brain believe it’s hearing sound from di erent parts of the room—by virtue of good old-fashioned clever speaker engineering and utilization of well-known psychoacoustic principles. All you’ll nd across the soundbar’s front ba e are a trio of 1-inch so -dome tweeters separated by a pair of 4-by-6-inch drivers.0 like you would if you were using discrete speakers. it does it without extensive signal processing or built-in ampli ers. I would need to remove my current in-wall center-channel speaker.0.0 Soundbar and SB-800 Sub PRICE: $1. I’ve never known Atlantic Technology to be the kind of company that would do something simply because it would make good copy in an ad. your rst inclination might be to ask. And it costs less to make because it uses only two midbass drivers instead of three.) 1 + 2 + 3 = Faux With its Gloss Black nish. If you decide to take o the front grille to admire what you’ll expect to be a multitude of drivers hidden behind it. while the two oval midbass drivers fill in the lower frequencies. it’s not. Atlantic Technology wanted the new soundbar to be simple to set up.1 system are handled by two 3. and the instruction manual includes an easy-to-follow wiring diagram.0 looks good. because each of the 4-by-6-inch drivers incorporates a dual voice coil. At rst glance. marketing?” So you can imagine that when the new Atlantic Technology FS-7. sloping top and bottom. (And you thought soundbars were boring. “Uh. you’ll be in for a letdown. • 62 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.) As you’d expect. yet they allow the cabinet height to be an inch shorter.1-channel system.25-inch drivers. Atlantic Technology says this arrangement lets the FS-7.0—the world’s rst seven-channel soundbar—arrived. to your ears. Of course. the FS-7. A er all.MIDRANGE BY Darryl Wilkinson Atlantic Technology FS-7. handles the mid and low frequencies of the le front channel. Atlantic Technology also provides a mounting template that shows the locations of the built-in keyhole brackets as well as the speaker terminals. A er all. e template makes it easy to drill holes in the wall for the speaker wire in the right spots. and relatively small wall-print of 40 inches wide by 4. but as long as you don’t use transAtlantic telephone cables for speaker wires. center. it certainly would have plenty of cool drivers scattered all over the cabinet and lots of settings to ddle with. and right channels. there’s one tweeter each for the LCR channels—but it appears that some now-unemployed engineer forgot to spec a midbass driver for the center channel. Because of the angle of the speakers. the sound bounces o the front wall. to the side walls. Although it’s the rst soundbar that can reproduce seven discrete channels of home theater audio. this isn’t the case. ATLANTIC TECHNOLOGY FS-7. for example. you simply run speaker wire from its speakerlevel outputs to the corresponding speaker terminals on the FS-7.0 create a tightly focused LCR image while keeping the overall size small. e third voice coil reproduces part of • The trio of 1-inch tweeters cover the front left. It also makes a great guide so you can see which terminals to connect the speaker wire to when you bend over the soundbar from the front— something you’re going to do unless you’ve run 10 extra feet of wire. while the second reproduces the back surround channel. you’ll be OK. I wasn’t terribly enthusiastic to set it up. So the le driver. be less room dependent than most other soundbars. If that wasn’t enough. e four surround channels in this 7. One voice coil is dedicated to the side surround. one mounted on each side of the FS-7.0 SOUNDBAR AND SB-800 SUB PERFORMANCE VALUE BUILD QUALITY Score one for clever speaker engineering. e holes in the connectors for the speaker wire are smaller than I’d like. Although you’d think the soundbar is missing a couple of drivers here too. if I’d read the cover letter that came with the system. sound like it’s a much larger speaker system. while it also reproduces half of the output of the center channel. and then run seven speaker wires across the oor. e spring-loaded speaker terminals are recessed into the cabinet (which is a necessity in order to mount the soundbar at against the wall). it’s a ippin’ soundbar. What’s the point?” And I might respond. but for some reason.25-inch surround speakers. but each set of terminals is clearly marked.

Don’t Get Testy e hardest part of setting up the system is connecting all the speaker wires. Of course.ATLANTIC TECHNOLOGY FS-7.) Wide Open Space • cabinet houses an 8-inch woofer powered by 100 watts. and unless you have the aid of illicit drugs (for medicinal purposes). It will take longer. ve. However.com 63 . 100-watt powered unit with a forward.0 was mounted on the wall or on a TV a couple of feet out. and you’re done.0 will still sound astoundingly better than using the speakers that are built into your TV. right? Keep your meter in your pants. and the system will sound like you put your head in a giant tin can. you can play with the settings if you want. there are plenty of rooms and situations where a soundbar is the ideal system to have. TYPE): MIDBASS (SIZE IN INCHES. If you have an AVR with built-in setup calibration. While this won’t rattle your display of collectible Hummel gurines o the shelves. don’t bother using it.0 Seven-channel soundbar 1. It’s a compact (11-by-13-by-13inch). Setting the proper distance/delay settings is almost as easy. e multi-voice-coil design means that each driver (except for the center-channel tweeter) is active to some degree whether you’re listening to two. which Atlantic Technology says helps create a larger sense of spaciousness than you’d expect from a 40-inch-wide soundbar. e company recommends that you set the LCR levels to –3 dB each and all the surround channels to 0 dB (unless you have a really big room or like a lot of surround e ect.0 to the side wall. buddy. but I found the suggested calculations to be spot on in my room. a serial killer. in which case you can goose them to +1 or +2 dB). since the FS-7. bounces o the side wall. at being said. that person is either lying or has su ered severe hearing damage from the burst of the housing bubble. and then add the number of feet you entered for the LCR setting.25. dual voice coil (2) 3. INCHES): WEIGHT (POUNDS): PRICE: FS-7. All it takes is two screws in the wall.25 37 $800 the corresponding front channel. Now it’s time to get your decibel meter out and start listening to some test tones.75 x 5. or seven channels. soft dome (3) 4 x 6. add 2 feet. e LCR setting is the actual distance from the listening position to the soundbar. e keyhole brackets are already installed on the back of the soundbar. (Unless you like that sort of thing.0 doesn’t involve lugging speakers and wire all around the room. TYPE): SURROUND (SIZE IN INCHES. the FS-7. it’s pretty much a breeze. ey worked whether the FS-7. or someone who hates puppies).ring port and an ultralong-excursion 8-inch woofer. is makes sense because you’re accounting for the distance the sound travels once it leaves the side of the soundbar. triple voice coil (2) 8 10–125 Gloss Black 40 x 4. measure the distance from the edge of the FS-7. • The SB-800’s compact. especially when hometheatermag. the instruction manual suggests that you use your AVR’s “small” speaker setting with the frontchannel crossover at 60 hertz and the surround channels at 100 Hz. Physics is physics. To calculate the side surround and back surround speaker settings. Atlantic Technology sent along an SB-800 subwoofer. there’s no way you’ll consistently experience the same kind of surround sound performance from a soundbar that you will from a traditional speaker system. and then nds its way to your ears. TYPE): NOMINAL IMPEDANCE (OHMS): RECOMMENDED AMP POWER (WATTS): AVAILABLE FINISHES: DIMENSIONS (W X H X D.0 SOUNDBAR AND SB-800 SUB Features SPEAKER: TYPE: TWEETER (SIZE IN INCHES. hits the front wall. vented If anyone tries to convince you that a particular soundbar or faux-surround system sounds just as good as a system with discrete speakers. A Basic Accessory Since a pair of 4-by-6-inch drivers won’t give you the kind of bass most people want in a home theater setup. If you don’t want or can’t use a subwoofer (maybe because you’re a communist. because Atlantic Technology has done most of the hard work.

Conclusion Nothing can replace a multidiscrete-speaker. the e ect is as if you were sitting behind most of the crowd.63/–8. strong impact. indicates that the lower –3-dB scaled for display purposes. anks to those angled triple-voice-coil side. it does.9 kHz and a phase angle of SOUNDBAR AND SB-800 SUB –17. angle of –60. For example. Atlantic Technology • (781) 762-6300 • atlantictechnology.0 is an outstanding value in a soundbar speaker. It does an excellent job of creating the e ect of a surround eld.0 center channel (green trace).0 really began to shine. and 5. is it worth it to shell out $800 for the FS-7. When you take into account the system’s surround and music performance. too.0 reproduced the smallest details of tense breathing and creaking oors fabulously. You might think it’s silly to talk about the performance of a soundbar with 5. The passive loudspeaker was The SB-800’s close-miked measured with the grille at a distance response. Center Sensitivity: from 200 Hz to 10 kHz.0 also did a fantastic job re-creating a thoroughly believable sound eld of the roaring crowd when my kids played Rock Band in our PS3’s Dolby Digital mode. lossless audio really matter? As a matter of fact. It’s a big bonus. the sound. ere were no problems with dialogue intelligibility.0 (plus $300 for the SB-800 subwoofer)? Absolutely—and not just for surround sound listening. The –3-dB point is at 83 Hz. Here.94 ohms at 3. composite cellulose pulp cone RATED POWER (WATTS): 100. e upper register of the piano in “ e Sorcerer’s Apprentice” was delicate and airy—something I wouldn’t have expected from a soundbar. its simplicity and ability to automatically adapt to any AVR from two to seven channels. As long as we’re talking about music. and the FS-7.0 left channel (purple trace). assuming that a true surround system isn’t an option. However. the soundbar creates the sensation that you’re sitting along at the back edge of a large bubble of sound.54 dB from 200 Hz to close-miking of all woofers) 10 kHz. its performance with multichannel music was also wonderful. For instance.1-channel Dolby TrueHD material. you can de nitely hear surround e ects going on in front of you. he seems to materialize above your head as he zooms in to attack.0 and SB-800 sub sound great—even when you’re playing two-channel music. the FS-7. e 1-inch so -dome tweeters in the FS-7. On the other hand.0 created an impressively wide sound eld. surround sound is a soundbar’s primary task. An 84. As you’d guess from the FS-7.0 SOUNDBAR AND SB-800 SUB vertical responses) measures +3.0 are very smooth. and its reasonable price. whether you’re doing it yourself or paying someone else to do it. except the music is as clear as if you were sitting in the front row. e SB-800 did a ne job handling the low rumble as the cars swept by.94 degrees at 3. When I popped in the Spider-Man 3 Blu-ray Disc.05 degrees at 2.7 kHz and a phase FS-7. there are a few brief moments when the soundeld engulfs your head. FS-7. in e Others. e system also handled smaller sonic details just as well. and the –6-dB point is at 76 Hz.64/–8. listening-window response plus a list of our measures +4. the FS-7.5 dB from 500 Hz to 2 kHz average of axial and on the +/–15-degree horizontal web responses measures his graph shows the quasi-anechoic (employing +4. You can clearly hear the rain falling in front of you. Voices were strong and clean—I could hear and understand the voices of the others in the upstairs junk room more clearly than I could with many other systems.0/ SB-800 system as being able to do so. Visit our Website for a detailed L/R Sensitivity: The center channel’s explanation of our 83. even though it all happens in front of you rather than around you. When the New Goblin rst ies in. the exodus of rodents sounds like it starts at your nose and heads to the river. it’s a great alternative to a traditional home theater setup or built-in TV speakers. the FS-7. TYPE): 8. where much of the fright depends upon subtle.0’s performance is extremely 64 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.5 dB from 500 Hz to 2 kHz testing regimen.12/–6. 7 Out of 7 impressive. A er Remy loses track of his family.2 kHz. the echoes of his voice and the water are extremely convincing.83-volt input and 80 Hz. because that’s when the FS-7. Punches and crashes have a full. Impedance reaches a minimum of 17. The upper –3-dB point is response (a five-point average of axial at 131 Hz with the Low-Pass control and +/–15-degree horizontal and set to maximum. it generates a soundstage that’s much wider than you’d expect. the two-channel audio track of the multiple pianos on e 5 Browns CD/DVD had a natural and open feel that surprised me.eld became even more full and robust. So.—MJP HT Labs Measures SB-800 SUBWOOFER: ENCLOSURE TYPE: Vented WOOFER (SIZE IN INCHES. I mean. a er the rats are discovered in Ratatouille. we’re talking about a soundbar here—does bit-for-bit.02 ohms ATLANTIC TECHNOLOGY FS-7. e surround placement is also consistent and rational. RMS CONNECTIONS: Line-level RCA CROSSOVER BYPASS: Switchable AVAILABLE FINISHES: Black DIMENSIONS (W X H X D. And as he furiously swirls around under the rushing water. frequency response of the and the –6-dB point is at 73 Hz. From the opening credits to the rst big race in Cars. INCHES): 11 x 13 x 13 WEIGHT (POUNDS): 28 PRICE: $300 Connections T ATLANTIC TECHNOLOGY FS-7. Impedance reaches a minimum of SB-800 subwoofer (blue trace). low-volume sounds followed by much louder events. multi-thousanddollar home theater system. and the swirling sound of the column of sand around Flint Marko as he is atomized is remarkably real.ring speakers. e FS-7. normalized to the level at of 1 meter with a 2.0’s two-channel performance.55 dB reference gear. point is at 42 Hz and the –6-dB point The left channel’s listening-window is at 36 Hz.com . The –3-dB point is at 83 Hz.MIDRANGE ATLANTIC TECHNOLOGY FS-7. For example. While the sound eld never quite engulfs you. instead of putting you in the middle of the action.0 SOUNDBAR AND SB-800 SUB there’s no easy way to run wires or otherwise install a pair of surround speakers (not to mention an additional back surround pair).4 kHz. and Atlantic doesn’t tout the FS-7. the FS-7.com Dealer Locator Code ATL Of course.23 decibels from 200 hertz to 10 kilohertz. Another bene t to a soundbar is the much-reduced installation time.0 at 4.

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especially if you have two di erent display devices. you should still be able to master a simple eight-press button sequence. My dad was an electrical engineer. which I mostly le disengaged for my Revel review. VIDEO1. is is critical for achieving seamless surround sound in your theater room. “Hurry! Fire!” a few times to clear the house of the noisemakers and then press the Enter button on the remote a few times. hooking up a twochannel stereo was instinctual. hue. anything I wanted to do in this regard is available on both of my display devices. All I had to do was yell. But setting up a multichannel. ere are controls for sharpness. along with adjustments for output resolution and aspect ratio. Internetconnected AVR was a challenge until recently. is makes it much easier to operate a theater that has both a projector and a at panel. hereditary. (I mean. Mind Your PQLS! I listen to a lot of music. so naturally.com . TV/SAT. and now the world is going to end if the Sunday-night Cake Boss marathon doesn’t magically appear. and chroma. it really works • • I What? No 8-Track? ’m convinced that at a subatomic level. HDMI-equipped. there’s no picture on the at panel. Mark Peterson’s measurements of my Revel Voice2 center-channel speaker (which I reviewed for HT’s July 2009 issue and later bought) indicated a variance of less than 2 decibels from 200 hertz to 10 kilohertz. I do more music listening than 66 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag. e Pioneer Elite SC-27 is the most re ned AVR I’ve played with. we’ve become more adept at new forms of hunting and gathering. and manifest from the moment my little ngers could grasp an RCA connector. brightness. While the manual doesn’t state as much.200 AT A GLANCE: MCACC room EQ makes it all good ICEpower amplification is sweet. with the KURO Link feature either on or o (more on that shortly). come on. which show how well your speakers are responsematched in your listening environment. I was far more impressed with the results from Pioneer’s MCACC than the Audyssey room-correction system in my Marantz SR8002 AVR. right?) e SC-27 also has a complete set of video parameters for devices connected to the DVD. contrast. implemented in ways that make them mostly easy to use. It has every feature I could possibly want. powerful. and dynamic PQLS isn’t a gimmick. ere’s nothing worse than one of your theater users calling you in a panic while you’re at work on a busy Monday morning because you forgot to set the system back to Plasma a er you used the projector last night. DVR. Fortunately. my room is anything but a quasi-anechoic chamber. It did its job in just a few minutes. I simply plugged in the supplied microphone. and the SC-27 immediately brought up the Multichannel Acoustic Channel Calibration (MCACC) setup GUI. and the speaker needed a 7. In fact. I don’t think manufacturers have gotten that much better at their hardware and so ware design. Still. and VIDEO2 inputs. e SC-27 is the rst AVR I’ve used that has two HDMI outputs that can be active simultaneously. at’s exactly where any video adjustments should be made.MIDRANGE BY Fred Manteghian Pioneer Elite SC-27 A/V Receiver PRICE: $2. For instance. I just think that as a subspecies (male). my DNA has begun mutating me into homo gadgetus. Et voilà! You can display and fuss with the MCACC’s nine-band room EQ curves. I couldn’t access the video parameter settings for my HDMI sources.5-dB boost at 250 Hz and a 9-dB cut at 50 Hz to bring it in line with the Salon2 speakers. even if you weren’t good at Simon as a kid. I suspect that these controls are PIONEER ELITE SC-27 A/V RECEIVER PERFORMANCE FEATURES ERGONOMICS VALUE only available for analog source material.

Pro Logic IIx DTS: DTS-HD Master Audio. Breakup and compression were LUMA RESOLUTION PASS PASS CHROMA RESOLUTION PASS FAIL SCALING N/A GOOD on the web Photos by Cordero Studios VIDEO TEST BENCH The Pioneer Elite SC-27’s video circuits. Very Nice! If you’re worried about power. 180 watts @ 6 ohms SPECIFIED FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 20 Hz to 20 kHz VIDEO PROCESSING: Proprietary AUTO SETUP/ROOM EQ: MCACC DIMENSIONS (W X H X D. Dido’s voice became more focused. It’s annoying! ICE. and there’s de nitely a dark side in the way KURO Link is implemented in the SC-27. ICE. performs no video processing on HDMI inputs. Digital Plus. and (amusingly) the video passed through to the plasma so I could see what musical tracks were playing. is rebadged HDMI Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) scheme lets you use a single remote to control multiple devices in the music and movie reproduction chain. albeit slightly. e best I got. then turn the damn thing o .PIONEER ELITE SC-27 A/V RECEIVER Blu-ray player. although I couldn’t hear them! So this needs work.9 x 18. EX. For this review. On “Let’s Do the ings We Normally Do” from the Safe Trip Home CD. with more lower-frequency energy in her crooning. However. Granted. In fact. It can synchronize its clock over HDMI with the one in the SC-27 for what Pioneer claims is jitter-free digital audio utilizing Pioneer’s Precision Quartz Lock System (PQLS). I correctly • The SC-27 has a 140-wattper-channel ICEpower Class D amplifier section. INCHES): 16. All of the applicable Analog tests passed Visit our Website for a detailed explanation of these video tests. HDMI CEC is a standard language that all HDMI CEC components speak over HDMI. round robin. you can’t assign a high-def TiVo box to the DVR input. Express OTHER: PQLS.1 WEIGHT (POUNDS): 40. Neo:6. to use PQLS. this 140-wattper-channel AVR supplied tight.8 PRICE: $2. 96/24. in three out of three cases. was that the AVR switched from dead-o to standby a er I pressed Play on the Pioneer BD player. convert 480i or 480p component to 1080p HDMI. but the improvements that PQLS brings to two-channel listening more than make up for what you lose in convenience. this is a bit of a kludge. DTS. The Digital Resolution and Video Clipping tests were run with a 1080p HDMI input passed-through to a 1080p HDMI output. DTS-HD High Resolution Audio. 5. Bass was also more authoritative—but non-obviously so—with PQLS switched on. but it leaves their input resolutions unchanged and will not upconvert them to 1080p. DSP modes. you lose control over the HDMI input assignments in the SC-27’s setup screens. you will want to if your player is PQLS equipped). With KURO Link enabled. and it should turn on the SC-27 AVR and my Pioneer Elite KURO 60-inch plasma. however.1. the only way you can get to the DVR is to press another remote button marked HDMI multiple 3:2 SD N/A PASS 2:2 SD N/A PASS MA SD N/A PASS VIDEO CLIPPING PASS PASS Features PIONEER ELITE SC-27 A/V RECEIVER AUDIO DECODING: DOLBY: TrueHD. and TV useless as direct source buttons. The Analog Resolution and Video Clipping tests were run with component 1080i in (there are no consumer 1080p component sources) and 1080i HDMI out. if you want to use PQLS (and believe me. if you don’t have a PQLS player. the AVR sensed it and switched to the BD input. Auto Level Control THX CERTIFICATION: THX Ultra2 Plus NUMBER OF AMP CHANNELS: 7 RATED POWER (WATTS PER CHANNEL): 140 watts @ 8 ohms. On the other hand. SACD over HDMI. However. I should be able to turn on the Pioneer BDP-320 PIONEER ELITE SC-27 DIGITAL ANALOG 3:2 HD N/A N/A 2:2 HD N/A N/A MA HD N/A N/A times until. The Pioneer can convert 720p or 1080i component inputs to HDMI out. extended bass and palpable midrange to two-channel music even at extremely loud levels. It automatically did everything short of asking me what I thought of the new Dido CD while the movie spun up. when you do this. so what the Pioneer can do for music is very important to me. except for Chroma Resolution. I used a Pioneer BDP-320 Blu-ray player. Unlike universal remotes that use a host of proprietary control codes. partnered with the remarkable MCACC room equalization. and I can begin watching a movie. if everything was already on and I was listening to music on another source and then inserted a Blu-ray Disc into the Pioneer BDP-320. even though KURO Link was enabled on it too. • identi ed the PQLS system as superior. Digital 5. ES. In theory. you should know that the ICEpower Class D ampli er had no problems at all driving the Revel Salon2 loudspeakers— and they aren’t easy speakers to drive. I guess it works. I tried it with the TV already on.1. Of course. DVR. as with last year’s SC-07. KURO means “dark” in Japanese.—TJN . for instance. I conducted a few poor man’s A-B-X tests (you keep switching modes until you get confused and then pick which one you think sounds better). at renders the remote buttons labeled DVD. For instance. you have to enable KURO Link on both the AVR and the Blu-ray player. that HDMI input comes up. It will. then you need to enable KURO Link on both the AVR and the BD player.200 movie watching these days.6 x 7. from a total standstill. e KURO plasma never came on at all.

1 Chinese.3a (5). no spades) mar an otherwise near-perfect design. I found that at casual. USB (1) OUTPUTS: VIDEO: HDMI (2). Both of these modes level two was signi cantly ameliorated out the sound with real nesse.—MJP HT Labs Measures Connections INPUTS: VIDEO: HDMI 1. Naturally.02 dB at 20 Hz when referenced to SC-27’s left channel.01 +0.39 dB at 20 Hz left surround channel measures –0. Only about half the buttons are backlit.MIDRANGE at 151.1 for Auto Level Control—not and Dolby TrueHD. the amplifier reaches 0.36 dB at 20 kHz dB at 20 Hz and +0. It also o ers some very interesting two-channel source processing. into 8-ohm loads: Crosstalk at 1 kHz driving 2. I heard in the former’s rendition Or try the Optimum Surround of the roof chase scene in chapter mode.60 dB at 20 kHz to the loudspeaker output. ICEpower ampli cation but you can’t use them if the dialogue track had no problems clearly. 7.83 volts 0. the night. and preferably to me.01 dB at 20 Hz and +0.1% distortion at 111. –2.16 dBrA. composite video (5) AUDIO: Coaxial digital (3).04 decibels at 10 hertz.com .) Try revealing the di erence between Pioneer’s ALC.1% distortion at 107. component video (2). the SC-27 includes built-in Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding. Ethernet (1). +0. XM Radio (1). Response from the multichannel PIONEER ELITE SC-27 A/V RECEIVER input to the speaker output measures Five channels driven continuously into –0. lower listening levels. it was as good as the best I’ve ever heard in my room. the LFE channel is his graph shows that the +0.5 watts. +0. optical digital (4).1-channel analog (1). e owner’s manual mentions a 68 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag. from CD the level at 40 Hz and reaches the input to speaker output with upper 3-dB down point at 117 Hz and two channels driving 8-ohm the upper 6-dB down point at 120 loads. and 0.1 percent distortion Hz.50 dB at 20 kHz. –1.4 watts CD input to the speaker output was less than 0. warmer than those of the ATI 1505 it replaced. stereo analog (4). The center channel Analog frequency response web measures –0. DVR. never evident with music.04 dB at 10 Hz weighting was –105.1 percent distortion at 224.00 dB at 20 Hz From the Dolby Digital input testing regimen. component video (3).6 watts and 1 percent distortion at 185.45 dB at 50 kHz left channel measures –0.1-channel preamp (1) ADDITIONAL: RS-232 (2).34 dB at 10 Hz and +0. But in either case. these modes o er a more enjoyable and rewarding experience than even PQLS. stereo analog (7). Say you want to watch the amazingly beautiful Curse of the Popcorn Paradise Golden Flower late at ere’s no doubt.91 dB right to left. when I engaged Dolby TrueHD.6 watts. at’s no small praise. the SC-27’s ampli ers are slightly.4 watts into an 8-ohm load was –94. and BD. reaches 0. Only the lame ampli er terminals on the back (bare wire or banana.1 to Dolby TrueHD.01 dB at 20 Hz with stereo signal processing: –1. S-video (5). best-sounding track is uncomIt also didn’t have any trouble pressed PCM 5. Front Stage Surround Focus and Front Stage Surround Wide seem to add a little bass and a lot more width to a two-channel Dialogue intelligibility was also impressively improved when I switched from Dolby Digital 5. THD+N from the 1% distortion at 131.83 volts into an 8-ohm load. hence my ve-star Performance rating.007 percent at 1 kHz when Seven channels driven continuously driving 2. TV. It was impossible to tell if the very slight bit of compression and brittleness I heard even on the Dolby TrueHD Matrix soundtrack was intrinsic to the source or caused by the load the ve Revels presented. e want to be able to hear DVD.2 watts to right and –93. Into 4 ohms. but you still practical remote features direct source buttons for ever need. explanation of our +0. 7. Pioneer’s ICEpower easily provides sound quality that stirs up my memories of the tube ampli ers I lusted a er a decade ago. plus a list of our +0. e soundstage smear I heard in Dolby Digital 5.00 dB at 8-ohm loads: 20 Hz. e remote is simple and practical. Sirius (1).48 dB at 20 on the kHz.1 was replaced by a spaciousness that rivaled the best Cineplex. e SC-27 is solid and beautiful in ways any geek will appreciate. and the –0.50 dB left 1% distortion at 124. (Notice I didn’t you enable KURO Link. the reference gear. S-video (1). keeping up with the say understand it—the opening of e Matrix (Blu-ray).49 dB at 20 kHz. phono (1) ADDITIONAL: iPod dock. The signal-to-noise ratio with 2.3 watts –1. but your ngers will quickly memorize the locations of the buttons you use most o en.31 dB at 50 kHz From the Dolby Digital input to the line-level output. e hardness Automatic Language Converter. which stands standard lossy Dolby Digital 5.54 dB at 20 kilohertz. e Wide mode is so named not because the image is wider (although it is). but because it claims to provide a wider sweet spot from which you can enjoy music. composite video (3) AUDIO: Optical digital (2).54 dB at 50 kHz. besides PQLS: Direct (for twochannel analog sources) and the family of multichannel DTS Neo:6 and Dolby IIx surround modes. Overall. like any top-end AVR.83 Analog frequency response in Pure volts driving an 8-ohm load from 10 Direct mode: Hz to 24 kHz with “A” Visit our Website for a detailed –0. 12-volt trigger (2) T PIONEER ELITE SC-27 A/V RECEIVER mix. You don’t want SC-27 is as much AVR to disturb others at Pioneer’s simple and as almost anyone will home.1 watts and 1 percent distortion at 270.

so I have to lay the di erence down to the quality of the components and the performance of the ICEpower ampli cation section and MCACC room equalization. Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “10. It can run two-channel music directly. behind me and around me. you’ll be able to read the front panel just ne. which—shazam—really works! Conclusion If you’re looking for high-resolution audio that conveys all the subtlety available in today’s uncompressed multichannel soundtracks. But if your distance vision is even slightly better than mine.1 channels of audio. e math should be the same when it comes to decoding Dolby TrueHD. e subsequent rain storm that greets father and daughter when they arrive at his farmhouse in Canada are completely immersive—and addicting. If you go large and pick up the BDP-320 Blu-ray player with PQLS. you don’t need to look any further than the Pioneer Elite SC-27. e Pioneer’s amber lettering is large enough that I could recognize what was happening from 14 feet away if I knew what to expect. I was constantly aware of (but not distracted by) how e ectively it brought out subtle details. And it did all of this with just 5. the various proprietary Stage processing modes are preferable in most situations. When Je Daniels awakens in his daughter’s hospital room. with no processing if you prefer.000 Miles” on the Fly Away Home Blu-ray was even more melancholy in Dolby TrueHD when decoded by the SC-27 than it was when I rst heard it years ago on DVD. you’ll actually get that subtle sonic improvement to two-channel music you used to imagine you got when you spent big bucks on speaker cable. they greatly enhanced my enjoyment. either—when it comes to a convincingly holistic soundstage. every father’s nightmare. Pioneer • (800) 421-1404 • pioneerelectronics. you might have to squint at the front panel to see the changes you make in the surround modes.200. the Pioneer Elite SC-27 is the kind of AVR bargain you richly deserve.com Dealer Locator Code PIO . As with most AVRs. for lack of a better term. e SC-27 outdoes my reference AVR—and not by a small margin. the hospital sounds cascade into the scene.PIONEER ELITE SC-27 A/V RECEIVER Midnight setting. but it doesn’t appear when you cycle through the Audio Parameters menu. At $2. However. It’s the rst AVR or surround processor I’ve used with room equalization that I found good enough to keep engaged in all modes.

I normally nd them to be more distracting than helpful. But this process can introduce artifacts of its own. at includes the LCD panels themselves. is results in smoother color gradations and less solarization (banding in areas of subtle gradations) than the 8-bit panels used in lesser sets can manage. Most 120-Hz and 240-Hz LCD HDTVs o er several degrees of interpolation. green. Among the company’s current lines is the E77 series. e most obvious feature of the LC-60E77UN is 120-hertz operation—frames ash on the screen at a rate of 120 frames per second.com Photos by Cordero Studios/Screen image courtesy of Fox . so I le them o . Frame interpolation creates new frames to insert between the actual frames in a video signal. As I mentioned earlier. Features might intrude.000 AT A GLANCE: Great color and detail Excellent video processing Mild-mannered frame interpolation Mediocre blacks and shadow detail • • • A Worthy Contender M any companies have gotten into the LCD HDTV game over the last few years. cyan) color. which would be a tremendous help in setting the color and tint controls? Without this mode. so you can balance the increased sharpness with any artifacts that 70 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.) is is a potentially great feature. blue) and secondary (yellow. Unlike last year’s implementation.MIDRANGE BY Scott Wilkinson Sharp LC-60E77UN LCD HDTV PRICE: $3. use 10 bits to represent each primary color (red. However. such as automatic backlight and contrast adjustments that respond to the picture’s overall brightness (technically called average picture level or APL). is series o ers basic LCD HDTVs at attractive prices for their sizes. which disables all color and produces a black-and-white picture. which is twice the normal video rate of 60 fps and ve times the lm frame rate of 24 fps. What’s the point? More importantly. magenta. Since then. moving the color points as needed. blue). the LC-60E77UN’s Fine Motion Enhanced control has only two settings—On and O . green. this one lets you tweak the hue. In conjunction with a setting called Fine Motion Enhanced—Sharp’s frame-interpolation algorithm— this is intended to reduce the motion blur that has plagued LCD TVs since their introduction. Sharp has been making LCD TVs for a long time. ese functions are intended to increase the contrast ratio and deepen the perceived black level. But most are newcomers compared with Sharp. which. which was one of the rst companies to o er LCD TVs in Japan back in 1988. which comes in several sizes. calculating where moving objects should be in those new frames to smooth out the motion and sharpen the image. Sharp has remained ahead of the curve in terms of manufacturing and environmental concerns. It has invested billions of dollars in new plants and processes. including the 60-inch LC-60E77UN reviewed here. (Last year’s models didn’t have a brightness control for each color. hoping to capitalize on the high demand for at panels. the LC-60E77UN includes several dynamic enhancements. why not make this a blue-only mode. One upscale feature found in the LC-60E77UN is a color management system (CMS). you must set these controls by looking at skintones. I’m at a loss to understand this TV’s Monochrome mode. Like many modern HDTVs. since blue lters don’t work reliably with LCD HDTVs. but you shouldn’t attempt to use it without the requisite tools and training. in the case of the E77 series. saturation. and brightness of each primary (red.

not the inputs. xvYCC (expanded color gamut. Also. which is a standard feature of HDMI that Sharp calls AQUOS Link. I generally like frame interpolation. It has a backlight that only illuminates a few of the function buttons. the Sharp’s apparent black level rose and colors shi ed as I moved away from the center. since all the buttons look translucent and could easily be illuminated. QAM BACKLIGHT: CCFL RATED HALF LIFE: N/A WALL MOUNT OR STAND INCLUDED?: Stand DIMENSIONS (W X H X D. e color still seemed a little oversaturated.7 (without stand).6 (with stand) PRICE: $3. the Sharp’s frame interpolation is very gentle. it induced ringing (white halos around black lines on a gray background).SHARP LC-60E77UN LCD HDTV SHARP LC-60E77UN LCD HDTV PERFORMANCE FEATURES ERGONOMICS VALUE e backlight can also dynamically respond to the amount of light in the room. apart from the interpolation e ect itself. two Asians. and Sharpness controls were fairly close to correct in Movie mode.Color). In particular. It turns them on and o and sets their inputs or outputs automatically as required. Clearly. e detail and color in e Dark Knight were both excellent. and Consumer Electronics Control (CEC). but I don’t like the way it looks. if you adjust the controls in the Movie mode. I used a pre-release version of the new HQV test disc. the labels for the backlit buttons are printed on the body of the remote. which is called Optical Picture Control (OPC) in Sharp TVs.000 Chapter 8 of Mission: Impossible III on Blu-ray opens with a pan across a long staircase. which selects the picture mode. the new Star Trek told much the same story. is is very odd.6 x 37. INCHES): 60 NATIVE RESOLUTION: 1920 by 1080 HD TUNER(S): OTA. turning on the set’s frame interpolation didn’t cause any artifacts in the jaggies test ring that consists of alternating horizontal lines of white and black. is function sends control codes via HDMI to any compatible devices. Even better. and two Caucasians (including one ginger). especially in such dark scenes. with an elegant black finish and champagne gold accents. Tint was ne at its default value. so the TV can display your own content from such a camcorder in its full glory. Starting with the Spears & Munsil High De nition Benchmark Blu-ray Edition test disc. the clarity of scrolling letters was improved slightly by turning it on.2 x 4. Contrast. there are no dedicated input-selection buttons. Image-wise. Detail in the Enterprise construction zone as Kirk arrives to enlist was exquisite. e layout is mostly good. but if I increased it by even one click. Not only that.6 (without stand).6 (with stand) WEIGHT (POUNDS): 81. so I toned it down a bit. I wouldn’t want to watch this set more than 20 degrees or so o axis.6 x 35. For example. and the picture controls are visible as soon as you enter the menu. As usual with TV remotes. and colors were Features SHARP LC-60E77UN LCD HDTV TYPE: LCD SCREEN SIZE (DIAGONAL. which gives you a good opportunity to check an LCD TV’s o -axis performance. so I turned it down a bit more. and this one has no blue-only mode. Most LCDs with frame interpolation cause all sorts of ugly artifacts in this ring. Real-World Performance Sharp’s LC-60E77UN shines. but the color saturation was too high.com 71 • . motion blur wasn’t bad at all. the same settings will apply to all inputs to which the Movie mode is assigned. so you can’t see them in the dark. but the AV Mode button.3 inputs that support Deep Color (increased color bit depth). bright scenes looked gorgeous. However. On the other hand. which you can set independently for each input. No commercial video content created using Deep Color or xvYCC. Setup and Testing e Brightness. I’ve always hated that the menu remains on the screen as you adjust a picture control. User Interface e remote is a universal model that can control up to four devices in addition to the TV. I’ve always liked the organization of Sharp’s menu system. which was among the best I’ve seen. and I saw virtually no di erence between setting Fine Motion Enhanced on or o for most of the tests. e LC-60E77UN includes four HDMI 1. but some HD camcorders use them. but here the e ect was relatively subtle. is hidden under a ipdown cover at the bottom of the remote. I turned to the unpublished FPD Benchmark Blu-ray test disc to evaluate the Sharp’s frame interpolation. it can save substantial amounts of energy. the stairs were almost moiré-free. • image to the Sharp at 1080i. e buttons are well separated but rather small. As I mentioned earlier. but shadow detail was only mediocre. so I had to set these controls looking at skintones. which includes a photo of seven people with di erent skintones—three African-Americans. using a blue lter to set Color and Tint is unreliable with LCD TVs. Sharpness was ne at its default setting. obscuring the image you’re trying to tweak. Some videophiles object to what it does to the look of lms. is was also the case with the overall black level—the letterbox bars were clearly visible. but a Source button brings up a list of inputs on the screen. the LC-60E77UN’s video processing proved to be excellent all around. As with all such TVs.5 x 17. but not great. 92. which can be more bene cial than adjustments based on APL. Another thing I don’t like about the picture controls is that they link to the preset picture modes. Some clips on FPD Benchmark are fairly dark. if you engage this function. the best backlight setting for a brightly lit room is higher than the best setting for a darkened room. CEC can be useful. e contrast in nighttime cityscapes was quite good. 56. and it introduced no visible artifacts. Enabling the dynamic APL response can save even more energy. e only exception is the User mode. and the shadow detail in the catacombs was OK. In only one test. so I’ll take a slight energy hit for the sake of a better picture. which is a great test of a TV’s 1080i deinterlacing capabilities. Still. sometimes called x. I brought Contrast down a couple of clicks and Brightness up one click. INCHES): 56. including 2:2 and 3:2 as well as edge-adaptive deinterlacing.v. Sending this hometheatermag. However. but not as much as some I’ve seen. but either way. and I used it for most of the viewing discussed in the comments to follow.

too low at 40. However. too high at 70. would disappear when Before I wrapped up adjusting a picture my evaluation. but the Low setting was distinctly red. the default decided that I preferred the reference gear. the a bit of HD and SD black-level is half the television from DISH value I saw in that Network. although I bars looked blacker than really wish the menu space in those shots.com in their intended aspect ratio.960:1 slightly undersaturated. ere was no banding as the sun emerges from behind the planet in the opening sequence. and the calibration process was quite easy and stable. colors. It looked more on the natural. the DISH Network receiver has such a Sharp Electronics • setting. and shadow detail was only so-so. but the complex cityscape seen before Leeloo Conclusion jumps into Korben’s ere’s much to like cab was fairly sharp. RF AUDIO: Stereo analog (3) OUTPUTS: AUDIO: Stereo analog. Then I measured the black wasn’t that different from the level. It was a bit biased toward blue.000 BC on HBO contrast in scenes with HD. which this model for less online.com .3 (4). I calibrated 80 IRE. picture with the CMS at its even in Movie default settings. Fortunately.MIDRANGE SHARP LC-60E77UN LCD HDTV and slightly less than half of the result I obtained with the Sharp LC-52D85U I reviewed last year. shared). since there are many shades of brown and orange. with great If money is tight—a function buttons. then I checked 80 again. and the image. It was too high at SHARP LC-60E77UN LCD HDTV 20 IRE. I thought the “Deserts” episode of Planet Earth on Blu-ray might be revealing. I testing regimen. On another HBO areas.000 detail in the dark scenes for a 60-inch at panel is Sharp’s remote wasn’t great. It was certainly not BD upconversion. about the Sharp e color of things like LC-60E77UN. most of the color points were fairly close to where they’re supposed FULL-ON/FULL-OFF to be. detail in things like animal S-video (1. The LC-60E77UN provides two sets of RGB calibration controls in the user menu (last year’s D85 series provided only one set). The Mid-Low color-temperature preset proved to be the closest to correct.I. ese colors looked surprisingly good considering that the TV’s measured yellow point was so far o (see HT Labs Measures). quality. shared). component video (2). green. PC VGA (D-sub). improve things with the set’s color All the measurements here were management system (CMS). e black of RS-232 (1). which I detail was as good as standard def attributed to the satellite receiver’s can be. and too low at 100. when the shadow detail was medialiens bring back David’s ocre. but brighter quite good. As you can see in the CIE chart above. HDMI. Its color and I believe the black of detail are excellent. As before.: Arti cial normal viewing. I happened to previous model. Blu-ray and DVD. the LC-60E77UN is a aspect ratio setting. it guidelines. service only) space was deeper than I’ve seen in previous clips. It see some night scenes showed in the improved from 10.010 29. but overall. mother for a day. VIDEO: HDMI 1. and skintones and Korben’s there’s nothing glaringly orange T-shirt was ne. mode. as you can see in the color-tracking charts below. improved over the last so I can’t fault the TV for Sharp LCD HDTV I this. but this was likely due to the fact that the bright compared the SD and HD Earth occupied a large portion of versions of several channels. but set adjusted for the most accurate there was nothing I could do about picture in a darkened room. e opening shot is higher controls have been than normal on the disc. cantly so er than HD—a much On e Fi h Element Superbit greater di erence than between DVD (sent to the TV at 480i). backlight setting. Also. In fact. which looked rather very dark and very bright at. at least via worthy contender. making space look the SD version looked signi blacker than it otherwise would. the black of space wasn’t all that deep. I caught appear that deep in the end of A.com. Again.—SW HT Labs Measures 0. 1 hair and scrub brush was superb. including the red Corvette. and Intelligence. I tried to review. composite video (2. go to HomeTheaterMag. illuminates a few detailed. and I’ve seen features select daytime scenes were very backlighting.6 A BEFORE CALIBRATION AFTER CALIBRATION Color-tracking charts were generated in Datacolor ColorFacts. Still. plus a list of our HDTVs. and the For the picture settings used in this yellow point was way off. Shadow A list price of $3. I watched control. and I got taken through an HDMI input with the yellow much closer to its target. 3:2 HD 2:2 HD MA HD VIDEO CLIPPING LUMA RESOLUTION CHROMA RESOLUTION SCALING PASS PASS PASS PASS PASS PASS GOOD generally bright and vibrant. seemingly foregone When I looked at some conclusion these SD channels. and mountains in the distance digital (optical). so I and I found that blue wandered decreased the backlight level until around even more than before in the peak white was within the THX midrange (40 to 70 IRE). which was quite respectable pre-CMS result. so I could see SD channels (800) BE-SHARP • sharpusa. USB (1. though the red-green axis was CONTRAST RATIO: 2. the black reviewed. blue wandered over and under where it should be at other brightness levels. After I watched some Visit our Website for a detailed real-world content with and explanation of our s usual with LCD without my CMS settings. resulted in a peak web -white measurement that was Just for grins. wrong. then 30. blacks didn’t HD channel. I checked the way too high for comfortable gray scale after I tweaked the CMS. probably INPUTS: due in part to the 10-bit panel. I discovered that the days—but you still want a big at LC-60E77UN doesn’t have a 4:3 panel. Skitones also looked natural. headphone ADDITIONAL: were razor sharp. as is space in the movie’s its video processing. and it was right on the money. I Dealer Locator Code SHA Connections 72 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag. viewing in a dark room.

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Today. Marantz. at brings us to the Marantz SR6004 A/V receiver. adopts licensed features (some of them fads) at a more deliberate pace. e di erences between the two are interesting: Denon is a hard-charging pioneer that packs as many features as possible into its A/V receivers.MIDRANGE BY Mark Fleischmann Marantz SR6004 A/V Receiver PRICE: $1. Dynamic Volume/EQ • • Restraint and Simplicity M arantz was founded in 1952 by Saul B. e SR6004 doesn’t have an Ethernet connection to support PC le access. e brand’s North American operations passed into the hands of Philips before it nally merged with Denon to form D&M Holdings in 2002. e front panel has the familiar curved shape that Marantz uses in its other products. both surround and stereo. Marantz is in the odd position of competing with a stablemate. However. I regret not having a Bluetoothcompatible mobile device to make use of the capability. a source-select knob at the le . At the time of this writing. It embraces height-enhanced surround with Dolby Pro Logic IIz but skips the Audyssey DSX height. e SR6004’s rated power is 110 watts per channel. and it still stakes much of its identity on high-end two-channel products. it is the most complete of the newer models—the ones with model numbers that end in 004. which is up 10 percent from the preceding model. A spare front-panel layout includes a volume knob at the right. the company sets a tougher standard for itself than many of its competitors set for themselves. In a surprise move. and no other visible buttons. Marantz.and width-enhanced listening modes. It replaces the SR6003. but their di erences in emphasis point to their di erences in temperament and values. In this respect. Marantz prides itself on providing 70 percent of rated power when ve channels are driven. the company was owned by Superscope. By the time I envied a college friend for owning a beautiful 1975vintage Marantz stereo receiver.250 AT A GLANCE: Bluetooth adapter is supplied. Internet radio. with two channels driven. or other network-delivered audio features. or that Marantz fails to be au courant.com . it comes with the RX101 Bluetooth adapter. a power on/standby button. Marantz has licensed Audyssey’s superb MultEQ auto setup and room correction system as well as its Dynamic Volume and Dynamic EQ modes for low-volume listening exibility. it does connect iPods and other USB devices directly without a dock. Ending in 004 MARANTZ SR6004 A/V RECEIVER PERFORMANCE FEATURES ERGONOMICS VALUE While the SR6004 isn’t Marantz’s top-of-the-line A/V receiver. who designed and built his rst products at his home in Kew Gardens. New York. not merely optional Connect compatible iPod models without a dock Audyssey MultEQ. Wisely. I’m not suggesting that Denon lags in performance. Beneath a ip-down door are navigation and other 74 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag. Marantz’s Website still listed a couple of older models with numbers that end in 003 or 002. on the other hand.

in old-school lossy DTS. Integra DPS-10. DTS 5. Even in lossy surround. is leaves the analog multichannel inputs next to the analog stereo jacks. ES. The Digital Video these video tests. All movie selections were on Blu-ray Disc. HDCD THX CERTIFICATION: No NUMBER OF AMP CHANNELS: 7 RATED POWER (WATTS PER CHANNEL): 110 into 8 ohms. and listening comfort. One minor surprise is the front S-video input—there are no additional S-video jacks on the back panel. Luxman PD-289 turntable. the soundtrack’s original Dolby SR analog source material. and I noted that they can only be invoked together in this AVR (as Audyssey recommends). Everything is easy to nd at a glance.38 x 15. Analog preouts are in a separate island adjacent to the speaker terminals. On the Analog Luma Resolution test.1. but with a more attractive font. the songs sounded great—Marantz AVRs have always been dependable in their musicality. speaker setup—there are some full-color diagrams. and the speaker terminals at the bottom. and Bellari VP530 tube phono preamp. One senses this as part of the Marantz sensibility: Don’t frighten the consumer.com 75 Photos by Cordero Studios VIDEO TEST BENCH The Marantz provides only a direct Visit our Website for a detailed passthrough for HDMI-in to HDMI-out. But Marantz groups the component and composite video inputs in an island at the right. many of explanation of our standard Digital tests are inapplicable. 96/24. the remote is not intimidating. the highest vertical resolution pattern (alternating horizontal black and white single pixel lines) was a flickering gray mass instead of individually visible lines. +/–3 dB VIDEO PROCESSING: iChips AUTO SETUP/ROOM EQ: Audyssey MultEQ DIMENSIONS (W X H X D. As you delve deeper into the menus—for instance. sends Matthew McConaughey and Penélope Cruz on a treasure hunt in the deserts of Nigeria as they look for a Civil War battleship that went notably astray in an ancient river. DTS-HD High Resolution Audio.MARANTZ SR6004 A/V RECEIVER the GUI. but regrettably. e remote is a fully backlit unit with a small LCD modestatus display at top. Control layout is just OK. 2 channels driven SPECIFIED FREQUENCY RESPONSE: controls.38 x 6. 3:2 SD N/A PASS 2:2 SD N/A FAIL MA SD N/A PASS VIDEO CLIPPING PASS PASS 8 Hz to 100 kHz. With three Dynamic Volume settings to choose from in addition to O . Like MARANTZ SR6004 DIGITAL ANALOG 3:2 HD N/A FAIL 2:2 HD N/A FAIL MA HD N/A FAIL Sahara.—TJN . The Marantz’s analog performance is on the marginal and best avoided for converting a high-quality web component source to an HDMI output. a very utilitarian and old-fashionedlooking white-on-blue status display ashes brie y on the screen. John’s “Right Place Wrong Time” and the Faces’ “Stay with Me” with African worldbeat. Pro Logic • The SR6004’s clean front panel matches its simplified. Adam Sandler and Kevin James are New York remen who enter into a phony domestic-partner relationship to secure pension bene ts for the LUMA RESOLUTION PASS FAIL CHROMA RESOLUTION PASS FAIL SCALING N/A GOOD hometheatermag.38 WEIGHT (POUNDS): 28 PRICE: $1. Kickin’ It Old School Features MARANTZ SR6004 A/V RECEIVER AUDIO DECODING: DOLBY: TrueHD. • II/IIx/IIz. despite all the action. It also has a front-panel USB input. e baddies are very bad. e SR6004 also supports Sirius and XM satellite radio. Therefore. Naturally. Shure V97xE cartridge. Associated equipment included ve Paradigm Reference Studio 20 v4 speakers run full range. treating our heroes to a boatborne shootout and other loud misfortunes. As always. It’s not the fanciest GUI around. and the limitations of its dynamic envelope and panning patterns. Clipping and Resolution tests were run at 1080p in and 1080p out. One of the HD-capable component outputs can operate in a second zone. is was not an unreasonable move given the movie’s 1989 vintage. I had no need for the low-volume listening modes. I got a just about perfect compromise between aggressive e ects. When you choose a new input. INCHES): 17. but it’s one of the least intimidating and most e cient ones. The Analog Video Clipping and Resolution tests were run at 1080i in (component) and 1080p output (HDMI). and cross-cultural havoc ensues. only one had a lossless soundtrack. Dynamic EQ OTHER: SRS Circle Surround II. Marantz uses a mixture of styles for the graphic user interface (GUI). Digital 5. e score’s songs alternate Boomer classics like Dr.250 Black Rain is also in old-school DTS. Neural AUDYSSEY: Dynamic Volume. Neo:6. A lot of A/V receivers have the HDMI inputs and outputs—in this case. I picked Medium.5 universal player. and Marantz predictably gives special prominence to the volume. EX. and menu navigation keys. I could always nd what I needed and adjust it quickly. Panasonic DMP-BD35 Blu-ray player. That normally indicates deinterlacing that uses bobbing. I turned on Audyssey Dynamic Volume and EQ. All of the music selections were on SACD and vinyl. a rudimentary (and generally inferior) deinterlacing technique.1. channel. Virtual Speaker DTS: DTS-HD MA. I love its neatness. intelligible dialogue. I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry brought my movie sessions up to date with a DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. it didn’t disappoint. four in and two out—in a row across the top. is is fairly gentle material. HDMI to HDMI. Speaking of the back panel. the prisoner breaks loose. well-organized back panel. Michael Douglas is a hot-tempered cop who escorts a Japanese gang member back to Tokyo. e rest of the control menus use the same color scheme.

Into 4 ohms. e comedy is crude but e ective. It’s humor or fond memmemorable for the ories of the progressive inclusion of John rock era.3 (4). and the sentiments are heartwarming.01 dB at 20 Hz when referenced to SR6004’s left channel.9 watts to right and –80. just for drenched in echo.67 dB right to left. It sculpted the bass beautifully in can even operate the iPod in my subless system.1 percent Hz.52 decibels at 10 hertz. –0. eration nanos. Again. adults with a sense of dates from 1963. 1/4-inch headphone (1) ADDITIONAL: RS-232 (1). composite video (2) AUDIO: Optical digital (1). and instrumentation with dynamic subtleties.6 watts and 1 percent distortion at 126. remote control (1) OUTPUTS: VIDEO: HDMI 1. Even maxed. the amplifier reaches 0. and clean attacks of raga guitar ampli cation. from the level at 40 Hz and reaches the CD input to speaker output upper 3-dB down point at 159 Hz and with two channels driving the upper 6-dB down point at 199 8-ohm loads. To Our Children’s It would be hard to Children’s Children is overstate the purity my favorite Moody and clarity of this Blues LP. optical digital (4).com . Coltrane in the Miles Davis Sextet and iPod Play a guest appearance iPods supported by the by clarinetist Pee USB input include the Wee Russell in the iPod with video. XM (1).4 watts CD input to the speaker output was less than 0.8 watts into an 8-ohm load was –78.8 watts.28 dB at 20 kHz.4 watts –2. and the –0. –0. plus a list of our +0. utes. remote control (1). FM (1). As the owner of is located at the top of Music mode opened rst. The center channel Analog frequency response web measures –0. the sound eld a little.11 dBrA.5 watts and 1 percent distortion at 187. Dynamic Volume/EQ still produced a surprisingly natural result.31 dB at 20 on the kHz.53 dB at 10 Hz weighting was –103.83 volts into an 8-ohm load. component video (3).30 dB at 20 kHz. reaches 0. the reference gear. high-resolurocket-like roar. ambience. e band’s ency abetted the highly melodic songs performer’s re neaugmented rock ment. 12-volt trigger (4). Response from the multichannel MARANTZ SR6004 A/V RECEIVER input to the speaker output measures Five channels driven continuously into –0. Sirius (1). THD+N from the 1% distortion at 86. the LFE channel is his graph shows that the +0. so the center channel was silent. M-XPort for Bluetooth (1) T MARANTZ SR6004 A/V RECEIVER rst guy’s kids. sensibly laid out.and second-genthe unit.1 percent distortion at 160.02 dB at 20 kilohertz.83 Analog frequency response in Pure volts driving an 8-ohm load from 10 Direct mode: Hz to 24 kHz with “A” Visit our Website for a detailed –0. e original 1974 recording was made in quad. A small iPhone original and LCD mode status display the Dolby Pro Logic II 3G. explanation of our –0.MIDRANGE distortion at 111. component video (1). especially since the last outdoorsy. 7. sonorities. I was which made it more spaciously delighted.13 dB at 20 Hz and –0.16 dB at 20 Hz From the Dolby Digital input testing regimen. Since I conducted this demo unusually late in the evening. it starts with a material.1-channel analog (1). –36. claselonious Monk sic. Still.1% distortion at 70.027 percent at 1 kHz when Seven channels driven continuously driving 2. on vinyl.—MJP HT Labs Measures Connections INPUTS: VIDEO: HDMI 1. while giving me the Denon receiver I reviewed didn’t impression of being closer to recognize my players. touch (1G and Quartet.81 dB at 50 kHz. and nano (1G to Marantz’s remote recording venue had 4G). stereo analog (3). 76 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.62 dB at 10 Hz and –0. Arrau mined the Brahms for brilliance and the Schumann for atmosphere and charm. I used the Heavy setting to spare my neighbors.02 dB at 20 kHz to the loudspeaker output. Kinder/Children Claudio Arrau’s performances of Schumann’s Kinderszenen and Brahms’ Paganini Variations are available on a single PentaTone SACD. The signal-to-noise ratio with 2. is is a ne album for Miles & Monk at children as well as Newport.44 dB at 20 kHz dB at 20 Hz and –0.19 dB at 20 Hz left surround channel measures –0.83 volts 0. into 8-ohm loads: Crosstalk at 1 kHz driving 2. S-video (1).75 dB at 50 kHz left channel measures –0. which which gave DPLII a lot allowed the piano to to work with. iPod dock. composite video (5) AUDIO: Coaxial digital (2). stereo would allow. e outdoor 2G).16 dB at 8-ohm loads: 20 Hz.12 –0.6 watts.96 dB left 1% distortion at 81. Marthe stage. Several re-scene action episodes were loud enough to bring back Audyssey Dynamic Volume/EQ.1-channel preamp (1). either of two modes: Direct mode.1% distortion at 73. Mellotron. 7. as well as the is fully backlit and virtually no reverb. is and bad psychedelic no-barriers transparpoetry.02 dB at 50 kHz From the Dolby Digital input to the line-level output. which tion surround delivery sets the soundstage for medium. stereo analog (7) ADDITIONAL: USB (1). A bass solo in the Davis antz has managed to get a digital set (accompanied by nger snapsignal out of the i ings for use ping) highlighted the bene t with the AVR’s own high-quality of Audyssey MultEQ. A celebracombination of tion of the 1969 moon well-recorded source landing. which digital-to-analog converters. and 0. AM (1). –2.3 (2). producthe most out of the ing greater depth than swooping bass lines. I was rarely aware of the algorithm’s careful and surgical alterations to the soundtrack. li slightly forward of Audyssey MultEQ got the speakers. harp. Surround was used and celesta—all conservatively.12 dB at 20 Hz with stereo signal processing: –0.

e manual warns that outdated iPod so ware may trip up the process. as though its life were passing before its eyes.com Dealer Locator Code MAR Total Control at Your Fingertips Access your entire music library—your iPod. NJ 07043 973-744-0600 • www. CSA makes it possible with these state-of-the-art touchpads. direct iPod connections that really work. e GUI prompted me to press the Mode button. Before you invest in any component visit us and discover the best brands and an attentive. both iPods worked reliably in at least one mode. en I made a selection with the GUI. I hit the magic key. e 1G nano apparently preferred to operate in Remote mode. I started some music using the iPod’s clickwheel. * Audio editor Mark Fleischmann is also the author of the annually updated book Practical Home eater (quietriverpress. Marantz also gets a high rating for ease of use. Marantz • (201) 762-6500 • us. when I made a selection using the iPod’s clickwheel. It displayed the Artists. which uses the AVR’s controls. Albums.marantz. knowledgeable staff that loves music (and movies!) as much as you do! 198 Bellevue Avenue • Upper Montclair. and plugged in my second-generation iPod nano. but there was no sound. with its own controls. at seems likely. including its general status display and the now-familiar iPod menu. music began to play over a blank TV screen. but I would have liked to see PC access and Internet radio via Ethernet. Performance is musically trustworthy. Stop by our showroom to learn how easy it is for us to install these tools and all the other home theater products that we offer. Still. You have to hand it to the folks at Marantz—when they adopt a feature. I was satis ed with the Marantz’s iPod functionality. and the Marantz’s front panel displayed the metadata. I hit the remote’s Setup/ Mode button. and the GUI returned to the iPod menu—but with no music. and the free Bluetooth adapter.MARANTZ SR6004 A/V RECEIVER which uses the iPod’s controls. CDs or even Satellite Radio—and control the volume from any room in your home. ere’s still a lot to like. a er I powered down everything and started again. e 2G nano could still operate only in Direct mode. powered it back up again. the GUI. with the SR6004’s controls. e GUI ashed repeatedly. the receiver and the nano eventually got onto speaking terms. not the AVR’s.com). e receiver was not to blame.csaaudiodesign. no dock. so the GUI now accepted commands. and Now Playing options—I keep my iPod main menus simple. which may put it at a disadvantage to more fully featured AVRs that sell for the same. Look ma. e Marantz SR6004 has a relatively restrained feature set. they do it thoroughly. this one is well worth your consideration.com ACCUPHASE • ARCAM • AYRE • B&K • B&W • BDI • BENZ • CLASSÉ • CINEMA TECH • CONRAD-JOHNSON • CRESTRON • DALI • DCS • DP DIGITAL PROJECTION • DRAPER • DYNAUDIO • ELAN • EMT • ESCIENT • ESOTERIC • FINITE-ELEMENTE • GRADO • GRAHAM • HANSEN • HARMONIX • HITACHI DIRECTOR SERIES • JL AUDIO • KOETSU • KRELL EVOLUTION • KUBALASOSNA RESEARCH • LAMM • MARANTZ • MCINTOSH • MERIDIAN • MONSTER CABLE • MUSICAL FIDELITY • NILES • NOTTINGHAM ANALOG • PANASONIC PHONE SYSTEMS • PIEGA • PRO-JECT • REL • RICHARD GRAY • ROTEL • RUNCO • SALAMANDER • SENNHEISER • SHELTER • SHINDO LABS • SHUNYATA • SILTECH • SME • SONUS FABER • SPEAKERCRAFT • STEWART FILMSCREENS • STRAIGHT WIRE • SUMIKO • TARGET • TOSHIBA • TRANSPARENT • VUTEC • WILSON AUDIO . with the Mode part in a nearly invisible dark blue-gray against a black background. Instead there was an “Initializing” message. Even so. its rheumy eyes staring out from its tiny LCD. But at length. e poor old thing wheezed to life. If you want an AVR that won’t give you a headache. I don’t consider Audyssey DSX much of a loss. since I’m a sco aw when it comes to updating iPod so ware. I set the SR6004 to the USB source input and plugged in my rst-generation iPod nano. or Remote mode. Settings. Dolby Pro Logic IIz height-enhanced listening mode. including its Audyssey setup and low-volume modes. I powered down the Marantz. USB input. and music came out of the speakers. is took some squinting because the remote’s Setup/Mode key is labeled in two colors. Marantz later commented that this problem stemmed from an outdated rmware in the nano itself. e iPod.

HOME SCOPE RATINGS GS MARCH 2010 Reviews in High Definition PICTURE SOUND EXTRAS INTERACTIVITY ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ The Hurt Locker A Box Full of Stuff That Almost Killed Me e Hurt Locker is a war movie of unrelenting suspense and pressure. For Eldridge and STARRING: Jeremy Renner. is is who Sgt. is is about as good as movie sound gets. you understand it. ash on the screen are a countdown for DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow Bravo Company. 2009 or waiting for the right moment to use a ASPECT RATIO: 1. e HD image here is more contrasty than the lm print I saw. confronted by overwhelming choices in the cereal aisle at the supermarket. It’s shot in a raw but not obnoxious documentary style that puts the audience squarely into the eld of battle. this is a must-have. and a 12-minute behind-thescenes feature. for war is a drug. and the commentary is well worth the time. With a rst-rate presentation on Blu-ray. it treats it as matter-of-fact crisis management. the best movie I saw in 2009. especially in the surround channels. Will James is. going home means leaving an adrenalinecharged war zone in which he’s an unerring and un appable expert for a world he’s far less certain about. While its action set pieces are rendered with extraordinary skill and clarity. and dialogue is mostly clear. explosions. if the theatrical print I saw is an indicator. James and Anthony Mackie’s Sanborn). You feel at once the inevitability of the decision he’s about to make. e pulverizing deep bass will expose every resonant mode in your room. Such choices are empty a er the hair-trigger. with two of the best acting performances (Jeremy Renner’s Sgt. Colors and eshtones are reasonably natural and a good portrayal of the source material. e few extras are a gallery. and it’s a shockingly big step up from the compressed track I heard in the theater. e DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is two-plus hours of demo material. a commentary by director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal. and gritty down to the last grain of sand. but this is a terri c presentation. e Hurt Locker was shot on HD video and 16mm cameras. instead. is movie doesn’t take a political stand on the war. Anthony Sanborn.com 78 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag.com QUOTE: “The rush of battle is often a potent and lethal addiction. ● Shane Buettner hometheatermag. e days le in rotation that LENGTH: 130 mins. e Hurt Locker’s real gi s are its insights into its characters and how they come to grips with their jobs and the con ict they’re in. but more than that. clear. e Hurt Locker is a great movie. e gunshots. Bigelow is intelligent and insightful. it’s waiting out the clock and Mackie. ese specialists are doing the most unnerving and dangerous jobs imaginable while surrounded by an indigenous population they can’t communicate with and who BLU-RAY might be simply observing the spectacle STUDIO: Summit. Each of the many di erent weapons red and ordnance detonated has its own distinct sonic signature. A-plus. James (Jeremy Renner). with more pronounced blacks. life-and-death choices he made every second in combat. Brian Geraghty PICTURE SOUND EXTRAS INTERACTIVITY surviving to get home. For the recklessly brilliant Sgt. and other transients have more dynamic crack than just about anything I’ve heard. You (and your neighbors) are going to think your place is being demolished by Humvees and tanks (with choppers providing air support). e few nighttime sequences are noisy and a little so er than the rest of the movie. e lm’s strangely poignant closing scenes show James stateside. which is good if brief.1 defusing. e movie follows Bravo Company—a three-man EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) team—during the last month-plus of its rotation defusing bombs in Iraq. e image is sharp.78:1 cell phone to detonate the bomb they’re AUDIO FORMAT: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.” Summit Reference Excellent Good Poor Fair .

1963 tary about Rota. but at its heart. and realistic colors. incited fury from traditional critics yearning for another I Vitteloni or White Sheikh. e orchestral soundtrack is dynamic. it’s much more evocative of the latter’s emotional isolation.look. dialogue is crisp. Guido Anselmi (played by his favorite lead actor. but it’s got a great look and feel that’s beautifully portrayed here.85:1 doesn’t go far beyond the special features AUDIO FORMAT: Uncompressed PCM mono (Italian) or the essays in the booklet. Duncan Jones. but it still seemed to ll the room. and low-level detail is improved. But it’s more than mere spectacle. Fellini had already departed from his neo-realist roots and embraced a jaunty. e DTS-HD Master Audio track is a dramatic upgrade from the compressed digital audio I heard theatrically. Marcello Mastroianni). e Blu-ray transfer—created from a 35mm ne-grain master positive. We realize at the end that the lm that Guido ends up making is the lm that we’ve been watching all along. dull to boot. La Dolce Vita. and a AUDIO FORMAT: DTS-HD Master Audio 5. and it’s a superlative performance in two complicated roles. so this would be lm number 8 ½. Like its hero. which was struck in turn from the original master—is another black-and-white beauty from the Criterion Collection. mistress. and actors. has an accident. the dynamics are superior. a DIRECTOR: Duncan Jones throwback in the very best sense of the STARRING: Sam Rockwell. thought-provoking science ction. the rst hooks that this movie drops in the water aren’t quite what you think they are. frequently imitated but never remotely matched.) But 8 ½ stretched his indulges to a new dimension. Like many of the sci. Extras include a very interesting featurette on Fellini’s original but discarded nal scene (with photographs and participants’ BLU-RAY recollections) and a fascinating documenSTUDIO: Criterion Collection. It’s also a wildly comical lm. there are no digital artifacts. with very sharp but natural detail. but it reminded me more of Silent Running.ction movies were smart. critic. Blacks are very black. As far as I could see. a lm-like layer of ne grain. almost dancing. and it’s a bit LENGTH: 138 mins. turns in a remarkably focused debut as a feature lm director. e commentary track ASPECT RATIO: 1. His only companions are recorded messages from his wife on Earth and his computer companion GERTY. To tell more would be a spoiler. Moon is LENGTH: 97 mins. but that enhances its appeal to those who miss movies like this. STUDIO: Sony Pictures. Moon is more overtly referential of the former. Fellini had been su ering a creative block. a lonely man at the end of a three-year posting as the sole caretaker of a mining facility on the moon. it’s a lm that is the lm that it’s about. skintones are luscious or pasty or sometimes both (depending on the desired e ect). e uncompressed soundtrack is mono. e image quality is excellent.40:1 many of the movie’s mysteries. which isn’t faint praise. and not just vehicles for special e ects. (His previous lm. Claudia Cardinale.) Sam starts to come apart mentally. Kevin Spacey PICTURE SOUND EXTRAS INTERACTIVITY M T his is Federico Fellini’s acknowledged masterpiece. Anouk Aimee PICTURE SOUND EXTRAS INTERACTIVITY hometheatermag. Rockwell is the lm’s center as star and co-star. e very title is self-referential: Fellini had made. As a stylist. Su ce to say. e bass has far more impact. It’s a head-spinning spectacle. Himself.com 79 . the sonic star for me is Clint Mansell’s moody score. Probably no greater lm has been made about the creative process. (An acknowledgement of HAL’s cinematic stature is that a genuine star like Kevin Spacey voices the computer co-star of this movie. the claustrophobia of life’s pressure. and is joined by an unexpected visitor at the station. the son of rock legend David Bowie. who are all pressing him to make a decision about his next step. e camera is constantly moving. It isn’t merely a lm about a lm. or the wistfulness of nostalgia.1 28-minute short lm by Jones. contrasts are very wide. and depth and detail are striking. two making-of featurettes.MOON I THINK WE’RE ALONE Sony Pictures 8½ PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A MIDDLE-AGED MAN Criterion Collection oon is a trip back to when science. the surrounds are more palpable. agent. even bawdy. However. vintage sci. All of it is animated by the giddy but precisely intonated music of Nino Rota. 2009 two Q&A pieces that give away too ASPECT RATIO: 2. Moon asks more questions than it answers. producer. an autobiographical stream of consciousness about a lm director who’s juggling a wife. ● Fred Kaplan DIRECTOR: Federico Fellini STARRING: Marcello Mastroianni. surrealism. e lm’s environments are built more on models and sets than CGI. Sam Rockwell plays Sam Bell.greats. challenging stories about ideas and people. e lm’s marketing and reviews compare it to 2001: A Space Odyssey. ● Shane Buettner Rockwell. seven features and one short. which also sounds superb here. and the settings move abruptly from past to present and from reality to dream to sheer fantasy. Highlights of the extras include two BLU-RAY commentaries. screenwriter. and that approach creates a unique. It’s not as showy as special-e ects vehicles o en are. a bit bright but not too bright. Sam term. by his count.

a version of himself if he were. and things escalate from there. You’ll be looking for a hotel by the time the credits roll. Serious heebie-jeebies. e image quality is what you’d expect. BUT MOSTLY BORINGLY. but the devil is in the details. Surrogates sets up its interesting premise quickly: It’s a near future in which almost every person on the planet lives the life of a bathrobewearing shut-in. with vibrant colors. experiencing the outside world exclusively through the eyes and ears of their sexy. It’s 14 years in the future. visceral level. ere are pieces of a lot of di erent movies here. is anybody really going to be content to guide these perfect beings through a 12-hour shi mucking out hog troughs? Also.40:1 good use of all channels. but with a bonus: He also plays his younger. Highly recommended. including plenty of AUDIO FORMAT: DTS-HD Master Audio 5. 2009 Master Audio soundtrack is terri c. e resolution is respectable. it serves the story in every respect. But watching it at home was even more excruciating. it’s not unlike Windows Vista. is movie ratchets up the intensity with each disturbance. Even with the familiar building blocks. updated with the latest rmware. What may have worked well for its comic book source looks at and. tary track as well as a couple of interesting DIRECTOR: Jonathan Mostow making-of extras and a music video. well. going farther back. deal with the recent death of his son. Paranormal Activity wears its in uences on its sleeve. the audience reactions in the theater were over the top. As with all imagined utopias. one with a strong moral center who nds it di cult to set aside a few minutes to shower and manages to look as though he has recently received a light but thorough beating.CINEMA SCOPE PARANORMAL ACTIVITY THE WITCHBOARD DEMON PROJECT Paramount SURROGATES A DECENT IDEA GONE HORRIBLY. ere’s noise and other artifacts that are likely intended to make this high-def video look more like it was shot DIY by an amateur. is is a wicked smart scary DTS-HD Master Audio 5. and keep his robot self charged. and they claim that 98 percent of the world uses surrogates. right up to the nal shocking frames. e theatrical version hit the right note in being more mysterious and for my money. it’s demo quality. Other than an alternate ending. perhaps Good Morning Indianapolis. Radha Mitchell. Really? In Libya? Djibouti? Vatican City? And since the surrogates go to work for you. I’m AUDIO FORMAT: talking to you). It includes a director commenLENGTH: 88 mins. the sounds you hear sound like they could be coming from your house while you’re watching this. Sloat. this one looks and sounds fantastic. some spoilsport has to come along and ruin it for everybody. It works on a very elemental.com PICTURE SOUND EXTRAS INTERACTIVITY . It also raises a lot of questions. Still. which genius designed the system that allows every surrogate in the world to be controlled by one doughnutmunching computer nerd in a room by himself? Regarding the video. (In this way. e deep bass and dynamics during the disturbances are appropriately dread. which can be watched separately or woven into the lm. e DTS-HD STUDIO: Disney. STARRING: Bruce Willis. those that probably went unnoticed between the panels of the comic book. and properly lubed. It’s sharp as a tack. as with all of Disney’s releases. WRONG Disney P aranormal Activity is an uncommonly e ective and scary psychological horror lm. e sound e ects are very e ective. Mark Fredrichs ● Shane Buettner B ruce Willis has long excelled at playing a certain type of awed and weary hero. making ASPECT RATIO: 2. cleaner. much more disconcerting. robotic on the screen. a Digital Copy and trailer for a di erent movie (Shutter Island) are the only extras. It’s another found-footage camcorder movie.1 deep bass. is time it’s someone who’s got a hold of a beam that destroys the surrogates and kills their owners at the same time. say. Poltergeist. and the dialogue is clear and intelligible. anthropomorphically perfect robot selves. is BLU-RAY is a must-have for people who like horror STUDIO: Paramount. it coalesces into something that feels fresh. and no noticeable BLU-RAY noise. Seeing this movie theatrically. More importantly. the host of a small-market infotainment show. Micah gore. Ving Rhames ● Michael J Nelson PICTURE SOUND EXTRAS INTERACTIVITY 80 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag. He reprises his signature character in Surrogates. About that alternate ending. I didn’t care for it. And it’s very convincingly acted. which is centered on the haunting of a young couple (Micah and Katie). 2009 movies but don’t like the torture porn that ASPECT RATIO: 1. so the shaky cam is at a bare minimum.) Willis is an FBI agent who must track down the killer and at the same time try to salvage his crumbling marriage.1 movie that relies on crushing psychological LENGTH: 86 mins. DIRECTOR: Oren Peli suspense instead of relentless violence and STARRING: Katie Featherston. and more hirsute robot surrogate. terri c blacks. and this isn’t one you want to watch with the lights o if you’re alone in the house one weekend.78:1 passes for horror today (Saw series. If you’re wondering whether you should have your Dramamine ready. it’s obviously high def but not demo material. e premise makes for intriguing social commentary. from e Blair Witch Project to Witchboard (really) and. the camera is mostly tripod-mounted.and jump-inducing in DTS-HD Master Audio. Micah has bought a high-tech (and presumably high-def ) video camera to document the disturbances.

ree buddies throw a wild Las Vegas bachelor party. breaking out in delighted giggles. one of them has lost a tooth. Or perhaps things went really. It’s all dialogue with a few licensed songs.HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE ALL IS NOT WELL IN THE WIZARDING WORLD. e HD picture is consistently sharp and vivid and has only the minutest amount of lm grain.40:1 AUDIO FORMAT: Dolby TrueHD 5. Black levels are nice and inky during nighttime scenes. Over the next two days. If you’ve been collecting the Potter lms on Blu-ray. emotionally reserved technocrat. neither happens. passing Snooks Eaglin. distortion specialist/minimalist.1 place. You can jump to BD-Live to stream a trailer and a profanity montage BLU-RAY that should have been STUDIO: Warner Brothers. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince still e ectively balances the awkwardness of the teenage years amid the ever-present danger that waits around every turn. and a couple of other mildly amusing bits are barely worth a single watch. With a quick uptick of his wrist. and those who play it.40:1 AUDIO FORMAT: Dolby TrueHD 5. e movie plays like Bachelor Party crossed with Very Bad ings. Jack White ● Michael Fremer T odd Phillips. 2009 with even more bonus ASPECT RATIO: 2.” e gray-haired. Alan Rickman. Contrasts sometimes seem a little blown out in the daytime scenes. A segment called “OneMinute Drills” challenges the young actors to sum up their characters’ story arc in sixty seconds or less. e Dolby TrueHD soundtrack is spectacular and truly enveloping. e PiP commentary is only available on the theatrical cut. LENGTH: 153 mins.com 81 . It’s fun to notice all the rich background details and architecture of Hogwarts.1. and more Dolby Digital 5. Page air-guitars it. No matter. A few minutes of deleted scenes.78:1 must-see for anyone AUDIO FORMAT: DTS-HD Master Audio 5. e Dolby TrueHD soundtrack is a standard comedy mix. and the young. ough anticipation might lead viewers to think the lm could end with a concert or an edgy guitar cutting session. BLU-RAY immensely entertainSTUDIO: Sony Pictures. is lm is de nitely the Empire Strikes Back of the franchise and plays more like a prologue to the grand nale(s) to come in Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2. Extras include additional scenes. Zach Galifianakis ● Joshua Zyber PICTURE SOUND EXTRAS INTERACTIVITY PICTURE SOUND EXTRAS INTERACTIVITY PICTURE SOUND EXTRAS INTERACTIVITY hometheatermag. and a couple of unexpected guests are staying with them. the elegant. A third disc contains a standard-def version of the lm. and enjoyable ASPECT RATIO: 1. Warner Brothers IT MIGHT GET LOUD BOYZ MAKING NOIZE WITH TOYZ! Sony Pictures THE HANGOVER UNRATED EDITION THREE MEN AND A BABY AND A TIGER Warner Brothers W hile not as strong as some of the previous lms in the series. the e ects-pedalobsessed. Detroit-born retro-tech. and the groom-to-be is missing. e Hangover isn’t a great movie. Michael Gambon ● Corey Gunnestad Y ou’re thrilled to be in Jimmy Page’s record library. All the Vegas neon colors pop beautifully. ponytailed rock legend places it on the platter of his Technics turntable (he needs something better!). DIRECTOR: David Yates STARRING: Daniel Radcliffe. and Buddy Holly in favor of an original UK London pressing of Link Wray’s classic “Rumble. e situation quickly escalates to absurdity. The Edge. He thumbs through a stack of picture-sleeve 45s. ings don’t go well. and numerous featurettes. Rowling as she nishes the seventh and nal novel in the series. Davis Guggenheim’s intricate documentary bios three very di erent guitar heroes from three adjacent eras: Page. Digital Copy for DIRECTOR: Todd Phillips WMV and iTunes. the guys can’t remember a damn thing the next morning. really well. STARRING: Jimmy Page. Oh. A fascinating section chronicles a year in the life of author J. lowers the stylus into the lead-in groove. although he’s probably heard the song hundreds of times. the boys sort through the a ermath of their crazy night and follow a trail of clues on a scavenger hunt for their friend. and a 14-year-old’s impish smile erupts on his face as three of the most menacing guitar strums in rock history blast from unseen speakers. and there’s a “think fast” Q&A with the cast. e 2. Rick Nelson. and BD-Live o ers even more exclusive bonus content. and it comes with a certi cate with a special code that you can redeem for a Digital Copy online. 2009 ing. Maximum Movie Mode is an interactive PiP feature hosted by Daniel Radcli e. DIRECTOR: Davis Guggenheim volume knob at 11. e Blu-ray o ers the lm in its theatrical cut and an Unrated cut. Ed Helms. material. 2009 on the disc in the rst ASPECT RATIO: 2. U2’s e Edge. who almost single-handedly resurrected rock in the era of hard-core hip-hop.40:1 high-def transfer is bright and sharp. returns with another tale of male bonding and delayed adolescence. STARRING: Bradley Cooper. a gag reel. but it has some great laughs. It’s also kind of dull.K. All they know is that their hotel room is trashed. the White Stripes’ Jack White. ponytailed English war baby. only with fewer dead hookers. vignettes. acquiring this one will be a no-brainer. ere’s a cutaway to a vintage black-and-white Wray live performance of “Rumble” synched to Page’s 45. It Might Get Loud is a riveting.1 who loves rock guitar LENGTH: 98 mins. Disc two is a LENGTH: 108 mins. Either way. But you should be aware that the rst two lms have been re-released in impressive Deluxe BLU-RAY Ultimate Editions STUDIO: Warner Brothers. white-haired. director of Old School.1 lms will follow.

and a very complex soundscape. Speci c scenes in the 500-day journey are arranged deliberately out of order. witty. 2009 computer animation ASPECT RATIO: 1. vignettes. extras STUDIO: 20th Century Fox. aggressive activity in all channels. ( e writer apparently has a knife to grind with rockers and unrequited groupie love. In some respects. It shouldn’t be a spoiler by now. Other than a gag reel that I did watch and BLU-RAY isn’t funny. which is an entirely technological way of making movies using computers instead of cameras and actors. Geoffrey Arend ● Corey Gunnestad T 9 is a post-apocalyptic tale that follows the travails of a gang of numbered burlap sacks with a bunch of gears inside.40:1 a Digital Copy. ere’s a U-Control PiP. e lossless soundtrack is only decent. No o ense to the director. featurettes. 2009 include a commenASPECT RATIO: 1. FOR SHIZZ 20th Century Fox om writes greeting cards for a living and has a somewhat idealized view of love. and trailers. deleted DIRECTOR: Karyn Kusama scenes. e HD picture is superlative. I loved Juno and wanted to love this. she probably made a few Internet millionaires on the tra c generated by the Google hits on “Megan Fox lesbian kiss. DIRECTOR: Marc Webb STARRING: Joseph Gordon-Levitt. and achingly profound.85:1 will nd it worth a AUDIO FORMAT: DTS-HD Master Audio 5. a making-of featurette. Reilly. 2009 second disc contains ASPECT RATIO: 2. It’s not the last word in detail and clarity. ere’s real imagination on the screen here. Jennifer’s Body has its moments and is worth a rental. Jennifer Connelly ● Shane Buettner ell. Two fantasylike sequences are presented here in their entirety. e image quality is rich and lm-like. DIRECTOR: Shane Acker STARRING: Elijah Wood. and the original 11minute short that was the basis for the movie.1 director Karyn LENGTH: 102 mins. Color and lighting choices give the lm a stylized nuance. and the evolvement of their romance and the depth of his feelings for her are completely believable.) Still. Zooey Deschanel. looking at random passages of interest. John C. e day they meet is day one of 500 Days of Summer.1 LENGTH: 95 mins. It also includes deleted scenes. and a look at the lm’s triumph at the Sundance Film Festival.1 rental for the picture LENGTH: 80 mins. and instead of making her a teenage Dahmer. this computer-animated tale is compelling over the entirety of its 80-minute run time. and the subtle background ambience is crisp and clear. Cody has a distinct voice. Kusama.85:1 tary with Cody and AUDIO FORMAT: DTS-HD Master Audio 5. But as a story. e script is intelligent. e extras include an audio commentary. 9 looks amazing on Blu-ray. STARRING: Megan Fox. Too many of the bits are in plain poor taste. AUDIO FORMAT: DTS-HD Master Audio 5. And it turns out Megan Fox has more to o er than looking hot while being chased by robots. 9 has enough BLU-RAY going on that fans of STUDIO: Universal. which might have been interesting. crystalclear dialogue. It looks and sounds great. if the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Jennifer’s Body accomplished nothing else with this sophomore e ort (Juno was Diablo Cody’s sparkling debut). audition tapes. for shizz. intelligent. this little indie lm wears the suit of mainstream cinema well. I’m not a hater. storyboards. e choices and performances in the voice talent are inspired (hearing Martin Landau’s voice reminded me of how much I miss seeing him onscreen as an actor). but this is a Diablo joint all the way. Visually. But the Codyspeak dialogue that made Juno so fetching is too o en forced and annoying. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel are pitch-perfect as Tom and Summer. But it’s ironic that the vehicle to tell that story is computer animation. and it’s an inspired choice. Johnny Simmons ● Shane Buettner W PICTURE SOUND EXTRAS INTERACTIVITY 82 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag. e soundtrack holds up its end too. A STUDIO: 20th Century Fox. and independent young woman with eclectic tastes. a music video. It’s co-written by Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber and directed by the sure and steady hand of Marc Webb. but I like the way it looks. is lm plays like lea ng through someone’s diary. etc. deleted scenes. I’m making this movie sound worse than it is. ey’re being hunted by and ghting a mean robot who has a mean robot dog and makes its own mean robots to wreak even more havoc. and the action sequences are unpredictable and superbly well staged. with wide-range dynamics. Summer is an attractive.com PICTURE SOUND EXTRAS INTERACTIVITY PICTURE SOUND EXTRAS INTERACTIVITY .CINEMA SCOPE 500 DAYS OF SUMMER NOT A LOVE STORY 20th Century Fox 9 SPENDING THE APOCALYPSE IN A BURLAP SACK Universal JENNIFER’S BODY FREAK-TARDED. 9 never quite turns the corner to become something resonant. but Jennifer is a cannibal. and sound. and BLU-RAY they are a hoot.” At times. ere’s a ton of textural detail and the dimensionality of the environments is very convincing. An excellent array of music dominates the soundtrack. Amanda Seyfried. this movie cops out with a lame supernatural angle involving a band and a botched virgin sacri ce. e theme is how mankind’s reliance on technology will eventually bite us in the ass and kill us all. Shot on lm. with nice depth. I thought the hard rock could have thumped more. is disc arrived too late on deadline to dive into the extras. this hip meld of John Hughes and Sam Raimi is bracingly funny and ruthlessly on target.

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$3. $2. $250* ARRIS Moxi HD DVR. $1.499* MIDRANGE Samsung BD-P3600 Blu-ray Player. $5.495 Reviewed March 2009 Panasonic PT-AE3000U LCD Projector. $8. $3.746 as reviewed Reviewed September 2008 JBL Control NOW AW Speaker System. $3. .900 as reviewed Reviewed February 2010 Atlantic Technology System 4400 Speaker System.UltimateAVmag. $2. $8. $2. $2. $2. $300 Reviewed July 2009 LG BD390 Blu-ray Player. $2.com (Available while supplies last) Reference • ParadigmSystem Studio 20 v. $499 Reviewed June 2009 OPPO BDP-83 Blu-ray Player.350 as reviewed Reviewed December 2009 Boston Acoustics VS 240 Speaker System. $4.499 Reviewed March 2009 Replaced with PT-AE4000U LCD Projector. $1. $1. $4. this is not a specific recommendation.5 Speaker System. $7.595 as reviewed Reviewed January 2010 HIGH END Meridian Sooloos Control 10 Media Server and Twinstore Storage System.000 Reviewed July 2008 Sony BRAVIA VPL-VW85 SXRD Projector. $7.500 Reviewed April 2009 • Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 9500 LCD Projector JVC DLA-HD350 D-ILA Projector.500 Reviewed April 2009 Replaced with DLA-HD950 D-ILA Projector.355 as reviewed Reviewed March 2009 SPEAKERS ENTRY LEVEL DCM Cinema2 Speaker System. $2.344 as reviewed Reviewed February 2010 Paradigm Reference Studio 20 v. $3. $3.HOME THEATER NOT SURE WHAT TO BUY? Check out this exclusive listing of our reviewers’ recommended gear.4 Speaker • Toshiba REGZA 46SV670U LCD HDTV * This replacement product has not yet been reviewed in HT. $1. $2. $9.495* HDTVS ENTRY LEVEL Sony BRAVIA KDL-40V5100 LCD HDTV.600* Toshiba REGZA 46SV670U LCD HDTV.500 Reviewed January 2010 Sony BRAVIA KDL-55XBR8 LCD HDTV.124 as reviewed Reviewed February 2009 Paradigm Special Edition SE 1 Speaker System.700 Reviewed January 2010 Samsung UN55B7000 LCD HDTV. $500 Reviewed November 2007 HSU Research HB-1 Speaker System. Although we suggest it is worth a close look.795 Reviewed June 2009 Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 6500 UB LCD Projector. $3.700 as reviewed Reviewed January 2009 Acoustic Energy Radiance 1 Speaker System.200 Reviewed September 2009 PROJECTORS ENTRY LEVEL Sanyo PLV-Z3000 LCD Projector.000 Reviewed November 2009 Marantz VP-15S1 DLP Projector. $499 Reviewed September 2009 MIDRANGE Panasonic TC-P46G10 Plasma HDTV. $1. $399 Reviewed December 2008 Replaced with DMP-BD80 Blu-ray Player.500 Reviewed July 2009 Panasonic TH-50PZ85 Plasma HDTV. SOURCE COMPONENTS ENTRY LEVEL Panasonic DMP-BD60 Blu-ray Player.250 Reviewed October 2009 • Sonus faber Toy/REL T1 Speaker System Boston Acoustics Reflection RS 260 Speaker System. $2. $1. $2. $4. $2.000 Reviewed March 2010 Mitsubishi HC7000 LCD Projector.000 Shane Buettner reviewed this model for www.699 Reviewed March 2010 MIDRANGE Focal Dôme Speaker System. $4.999 Reviewed August 2009 Replaced with PowerLite Home Cinema 8500 UB LCD Projector. $299 Reviewed May 2008 • LG BD390 Blu-ray Player JBL ES20 Speaker System. $1. $8.300 Reviewed November 2009 Panasonic VIERA TC-P58V10 Plasma HDTV.000* Planar PD8150 DLP Projector. $1.200 Reviewed October 2008 Replaced with TC-P50G10 Plasma HDTV.100 Reviewed September 2009 Panasonic VIERA TC-P42G10 Plasma HDTV. $3.495 as reviewed Reviewed March 2007 Replaced with Reference Studio 20 v.124 as reviewed Reviewed March 2007 Replaced with HB-1 Mk 2 Speaker System. $3.700 Reviewed January 2009 MIDRANGE Sony BRAVIA VPL-HW15 SXRD Projector.124* Mordaunt-Short Alumni Speaker System.200 as reviewed Reviewed September 2009 Definitive Technology Mythos STS SuperTower Speaker System.499* Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 9500 UB LCD Projector.000 Reviewed February 2009 Panasonic Premiere TH-65VX100U Plasma HD Monitor.4 Speaker System. $2. $8.470 as reviewed Reviewed March 2008 HIGH END Samsung UN55B8500 LCD HDTV. $2. $350 Reviewed December 2009 Panasonic DMP-BD55 Blu-ray Player.500 Reviewed August 2009 Sony BRAVIA KDL-46XBR8 LCD HDTV. $200 Reviewed July 2009 Sony PlayStation 3 Game Console/ Blu-ray Player.500 Reviewed June 2009 HIGH END JVC DLA-HD750 D-ILA Projector.

999 Reviewed August 2009 Denon AVR-5308CI A/V Receiver. $4.999 Reviewed June 2009 AMPLIFIERS Rotel RMB-1085 Amplifier.9 A/V Receiver. $4.999 Reviewed November 2009 Rotel RSX-1550 A/V Receiver.044 as reviewed Reviewed May 2009 Usher Be-718 Speaker System.195 as reviewed Reviewed January 2009 Monitor Audio Platinum PL300 Speaker System.530 as reviewed Reviewed July 2007 Thiel SCS4 Speaker System.500 Reviewed September 2009 • Rotel RMB-1085 Amplifier • BG Radia BGX-4850 In-Wall Subwoofer System • Onkyo HT-S9100THX Integrated System hometheatermag. $350 Reviewed July 2009 ZVOX Z-Base 550 Single-Cabinet Surround System.099 Reviewed December 2009 Marantz SR6004 A/V Receiver. $6. $10. $10.200 Reviewed January 2009 Phase Technology Teatro PC-3.com Replaced with HT-S5200 HTIB. $1. $430* Onkyo HT-SR800 HTIB. $10. $599 Reviewed at www.000 as reviewed Reviewed January 2010 Pioneer Elite EX Series S-IW691L In-Wall Speaker System.494 as reviewed Reviewed April 2009 PSB G-Design Speaker System. $2.499. $7. $400 Reviewed April 2009 ZVOX 425 Soundbar.199 Reviewed April 2008 HIGH END Atlantic Technology 8200e Speaker System.600 Reviewed October 2008 Anthem Statement D2 Processor. $1.0 Soundbar and SB-800 Sub.9 Processor. $499 Reviewed at www. $2.696 as reviewed Reviewed October 2007 PSB Imagine T Speaker System.600 Reviewed April 2009 Replaced with DTR-80. $6. $1.199 Reviewed October 2008 Replaced with RMB-1565 Amplifier. $7.000 Reviewed May 2008 Pioneer Elite SC-27 A/V Receiver. $5.100 Reviewed March 2010 Denon DHT-FS3 Soundbar. $2. $5.com 85 .HomeTheaterMag. $2. $2. $7. $8.200 Reviewed March 2010 HIGH END Rotel RSX-1560 A/V Receiver. $7.099 Reviewed August 2008 Atlantic Technology FS-7. $2. $7. $600 Reviewed July 2008 Definitive Technology Mythos SSA-50 Soundbar.000 Reviewed July 2009 Replaced with DHC-80. $4. $499 Reviewed October 2009 Onkyo TX-SR607 A/V Receiver.0 Speaker System. $2. $15. $1. $875/each Reviewed September 2007 Sonance VP89 In-Wall Speakers. $1.000 Reviewed October 2008 Onkyo HT-S9100THX Integrated System.HomeTheaterMag.095 as reviewed Reviewed February 2010 PSB Synchrony One Speaker System.com Replaced with DAV-HDX587WC HTIB.500 Reviewed August 2008 Pioneer Elite SC-09TX A/V Receiver.499 Reviewed September 2008 Replaced with Statement D2v Processor with ARC. $5.Paradigm Reference Signature S8 Speaker System.300 A/V RECEIVERS ENTRY LEVEL Pioneer VSX-1019AH A/V Receiver.993 as reviewed Reviewed July 2009 HTIBS ENTRY LEVEL Sony BRAVIA DAV-HDX500 HTIB.350 as reviewed Reviewed April 2008 Sonics Amerigo Speaker System. $2.099 Reviewed April 2009 PROCESSORS Integra DHC-9. $1.400 as reviewed Reviewed May 2009 Marantz SR8002 A/V Receiver.197 as reviewed Reviewed June 2009 MIDRANGE Panasonic SC-BT100 HTIB.749 as reviewed Reviewed May 2009 Dynaudio Focus 110 Speaker System. $1. $7. $1.850/pair Reviewed September 2008 Paradigm Millenia 20 Hybrid Speaker System.281 as reviewed Reviewed January 2010 BG Radia BGX-4850 In-Wall Subwoofer System. $599 Reviewed August 2009 SOUNDBAR SPEAKERS VIZIO VSB210WS High Definition Sound Bar Speaker System.599 Reviewed August 2009 Integra DTR-9.700 as reviewed Reviewed December 2007 MIDRANGE Onkyo TX-NR807 A/V Receiver.250 Reviewed March 2010 • Denon AVP-A1HDCI Processor Marantz AV8003 Processor. $1. $1. $45.299* Denon POA-A1HDCI Amplifier. $4. $1. $2. $25.999 Reviewed March 2010 Arcam AVR600 A/V Receiver.000 as reviewed Reviewed September 2007 Canton Ergo 620 Speaker System. $2. $7.1 A/V Receiver.800 Denon AVR-4810CI A/V Receiver.550 as reviewed Reviewed January 2010 Sonus faber Toy/REL T1 Speaker System.650 as reviewed Reviewed October 2009 Polk SurroundBar 360 DVD Theater Soundbar. $5.500 Reviewed September 2009 • Marantz SR6004 A/V Receiver Denon AVR-4310CI A/V Receiver.1 Processor. $1.* review upcoming Denon AVP-A1HDCI Processor.988 as reviewed Reviewed May 2008 Revel Ultima2 Salon2 Speaker System. $2.000 Reviewed November 2008 • VIZIO VSB210WS High Definition Sound Bar Speaker System Infinity Classia C336 Speaker System. $599* IN-WALL/ON-WALL Atlantic Technology IWCB-626 In-Wall Speakers.

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3. Canada $36. Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No.hometheatermag. London.. NY 10016. 5th Floor. . Douglas St. . .O. . no. Phone (888) 429-HDTV www. .com/ hometheater 56. . El Segundo. Vol. 17.vutec. FPO and U. . . . CA 90245. call (800) 264-9872 (international calls: 386-447-6383). ON N6C 6B2 Canada. .!K Compatible Titles Available 83. . LLC.zvoxaudio. .O.. Mailing Lists: Occasionally.. please send your current address label and a note requesting to be excluded from these promotions to Source Interlink Media. 40612608. www. com. Copyright 2010 by Source Interlink Magazines. 831 S.harborfreightusa. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Home Theater. New York. FL 32142-0235. Subscription rates for one year (12 issues): U.com Information listed in this index is done so as a courtesy.94.94 (price includes surface mail postage to Canada and GST-reg. Publisher is not liable for incorrect information or excluded listings.S. Possessions $23.com 53. you can e-mail hometheater@emailcustomerservice. Canada Returns to be sent to: Bleuchip International. Published monthly by Source Interlink Media. No. P.. NY and additional mailing offices. All other countries $38.com 41. . . 261 Madison Avenue. Box 420235. APO. Palm Coast. .94 per year. Intech Corp. ZVOX Audio Phone (866) FOR-ZVOX www.com Home Theater (ISSN 1096-3065) March 2010. LLC.thehighdefinitionstore. Box 420235. .S. LLC. All rights reserved. If you prefer to be excluded. . P. Palm Coast. Subscription Service: Should you wish to change your address or order new subscriptions. Harbor Freight Tools Phone (800) 657-8001 www. Attn: Privacy Coordinator. . Box 25542. P. FL 32142-0235. Periodicals postage paid at New York. 87209 3125 RT0001). our subscriber list is made available to reputable firms offering goods and services we believe would be of interest to our readers.O. or write to: Home Theater. Advertisers should contact their sales representative to correct or update listing. Vutec www.

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Amazon. of course. hard.com . you jackass! 90 MARCH 2010 hometheatermag. your set is probably putting out more lumens than the Great Lighthouse at Alexandria.” or preferably just not spoken out loud. en there are those whose attitude is. available for about $16 online. there are two kinds of people. on the brightness setting. To do it. (Having given away the secret. tweaking. dumbass? (Sorry! ere’s that passion again. “What in the name of hell happened to that?!” your host stops you short by saying. caused by the beam of excessive heat and radiation. if you don’t have a whole lot else going on in your life. including Star Wars: Episode I. you have set aside almost no money for a colorimeter. you’ll need some test patterns. I took it out of the box. a toddler or some equally incompetent person has ddled with the remote. ( ere was also a sizable slice of the populace who had never even heard of high def! Do we have a vastly larger number of cave-dwelling cloistered monks in our country than I have been led to believe?) No doubt you’ve been to these people’s houses and seen their TVs. ( is stands for Picture Line-Up Generation Equipment. as the aspect ratio is on the wrong setting so that only 20 percent of the source is actually visible on the screen. dear friends. then peer through your comparometer and use your TV’s white-balance controls to match the screen to the gray of your comparometer. good will. First. which they use exclusively to tow their lawn mulchers. if I could leave you with anything. which will probably also be cranked.) en. As you’re about to cry out. ere are those who want to squeeze every last bit of performance out of it by modifying. like me. “Just picked that baby up from the store. In short.” ese are the kind of people represented in a recent poll. A number of di erent colorimeters are available at prices that range from $120 to thousands of dollars. the downside is that if anyone sees you doing it. Voilà! Of course.com also sells the equally highly regarded Spears & Munsil High De nition Benchmark Blu-ray Edition for a little more. on Blu-ray. may I—with humility. and. I’m relatively sure that one or more of the many black-ops kill squads that Disney keeps on call 24 hours a day is now silently speeding to my home. “Hey. Every setting is cranked to maximum. you’ll need to dial in the shadow detail. and “working under the hood.) You’ll immediately want to crank down. I promise I’ll try to tame it down. I’m certain you’ll be far happier with blacks that are black and not an eye-burning shade of bright gray.HOME THEATER Curtain Call BY Michael J. as I’ve never heard it spoken out loud. ain’t she? Someday I may even get some sort of HD to show on it. eI The Fellowship of the Ring. Put up your gray test patterns. and the greens are horrid and unearthly to the point that it makes you nauseous.” so to speak. You may need to nd yourself a blue lter to properly set the color—some calibration discs even include one.rifftrax. and The Matrix. as there are very few blue lter stores in most people’s immediate neighborhoods. you’ll need the right gray test patterns and something to measure the color with. If you get all that done. It actually is kind of fun. you can go the cheap—but no less accurate—route of building an optical comparometer. don’t you. is relatively easy to optimize. She’s a beaut. Calibrate? Good Times! (Home Theater) W hen it comes to their equipment. Sony’s super-secret PLUGE pattern is located on the bottom right of the color bars. it would be this: Get your damn TV calibrated. provided you’re not still mad at me.” Since you’re reading this. In addition. eshtones are bright red. you jackass! (Sorry. perhaps I can walk you through the do-it-yourself process. you’ll want to calibrate your set’s gray-scale tracking. You can access these from the main menu by entering the numbers 7-6-6-9 from the remote. What the hell else do you want from me? Now I’m gonna go lie down. However. All you do is knock together a small box to house a ashlight with a 6500K bulb (the correct color temperature) shining on a photographic gray card and a white card with holes cut into them. Find yourself a PLUGE pattern.) ere are a couple of options.” or “ploojah. If you haven’t changed it from its default setting. chances are good that you aren’t one of these people. If. you’ll have to sell your house and move to avoid the shame. I can only imagine that more than a few of these people also own Lamborghini Gallardos.com. Now come ride shotgun with me while I mulch my lawn. But as I’ve just been through the process of dialing in two new sets at my own home. I’m sure you’re barely a jackass at all. e colors are completely out of whack. it may take a little digging on the Internet. “Wow!” I can hear you saying. Settle down. Nelson is the former host and head writer of Mystery y Science Theater 3000 and the proprietor of www. If yours doesn’t. Or you could go on the cheap and use the super-secret test patterns that are on every Disney Blu-ray. “ at sounds fun! Tell me more!” I know. Nelson Michael J. but if you really want to ne-tune it. You do have a Blu-ray player. sorry! It’s just my passion coming through. or white level. you’ll likely be a good deal better o than you were when you started. A corresponding rectangle of paint on the opposite wall is singed and peeling. and only the purest of intentions—o er this gentle rebuke: Get your damn TV calibrated. if you are. which I certainly wouldn’t discourage you from doing. e contrast setting.” or “ploohey. I can only assume it’s pronounced “pluggie. which offers his commentaries on A-list films. an alarmingly huge number of whom have HDTVs but don’t have any HD sources to play on them. the obvious choice being the estimable Digital Video Essentials: HD Basics. according to technical director Scrooge McDuck IV.) You could hire a professional.

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