|BenQ W10000 DLP Video Projector|
|Home Theater Front Projectors DLP Projectors|
|Written by Kevin Miller|
|Wednesday, 01 August 2007|
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The W10000 uses a 250-watt lamp that is rated at 1200 ANSI lumens of light output, which means it is capable of driving large screen sizes relative to other 1080p DLP projectors, most of which use a considerably smaller lamp. It has a rated lamp life of between 2000 and 3000 hours. Chances are, you will get longer life if the iris is not fully opened. On my review sample, I adjusted the iris down to two clicks above the lowest setting. This gave me acceptable brightness (about 14 foot-lamberts) and still maintained very good black level performance. I found that the Home Theater picture mode and the warm color temperature setting produced the best starting point for optimizing the picture. In fact, the BenQ W10000 produces a very good picture at these factory presets relative to many front-projection systems. The grayscale was reasonably close to the standard. Some of the other picture controls, especially color, needed to be toned down a bit, but all in all, it was definitely a good ballpark starting point for dialing in and fine-tuning the picture.
Picture performance after a full-blown ISF-style calibration was quite impressive. Gamma implementation is good, with a slow rise out of black that resembles the performance of a CRT. This helps the projector deliver excellent shadow detail, as it reproduces many shades of gray just above black, which was always one of the CRT’s best performance attributes. Grayscale tracking was fairly good, but could be improved a bit as it went slightly blue at the very top of the grayscale. Color accuracy is generally good. Primary colors at the factory presets are way off, which is typical of most of the front projectors I have seen in the past couple of years. However, I was able to improve the primaries and get them reasonably close to the SMPTE specifications, using the 3D color management feature in the advanced menu. I was disappointed to find that I could not dial in the secondary colors nearly as well. This means the decoder is not working properly, because if you get the primary colors correct, the secondary colors, which are derived from the primaries, should be correct. If BenQ were to improve this feature, it would lead the pack in overall color accuracy.
When it comes to natural colors, it is hard to beat the excellent HD DVD transfer of Seabiscuit (Universal Studios Home Video), which remains one of the best-looking titles available in that format. Chapters 13 and 25 make good demo material, as they both offer outdoor scenery with plenty of grass, tree leaves and other natural objects that we know well, with saturated colors like the jockeys’ uniforms. Chapter 25 has all of that, as well as the excitement of seeing Red (Tobey Maguire) redeem himself by winning his last race at Santa Anita, where he embarrassed the crew by losing years before because he lost his temper. Whatever the chapter, the BenQ did a remarkable job, faithfully rendering all of the detail and rich colors this HD DVD had to offer.
On Blu-ray, I watched some scenes from the very racy Crank (Lakeshore). Chapter 3 in particular is fast-moving, exciting video with a lot of really saturated color. The quality of the disc is indisputable. It’s too bad the quality of the film isn’t there to match it. The jerky motion of the camera is so intense at times that I find it difficult to watch from beginning to end. However, the BenQ didn’t add to my visual discomfort with excessive motion artifacts or loss of detail, despite the film’s best efforts.
Kingdom of Heaven (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment), also on Blu-ray, is very good-looking material, but with much more subdued and natural-looking colors. The BenQ once again reproduced the Blu-ray disc faithfully, and I found myself immersed in the material.
Batman Begins (Warner Home Video), on HD DVD, has a lot of dark material throughout the film, and is therefore a good choice to examine shadow detail and black level tests. In Chapter 3, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is thrown into solitary in a Chinese jail cell in sequence that is mostly dark. When blacks are reproduced well, you can see all the fine detail on the walls, as well as being able to make out fine detail on his face and clothes. In all the dark material I watched on the BenQ, blacks were clean and there were very few visible “dithering” artifacts, which appear like floating noise just above black.
HD material on my Time Warner cable system wasn’t as enticing as the HD DVD and Blu-ray sources. The optical HD formats have much higher bandwidth than any broadcast HD, and the superior sharpness and clarity are quite apparent as a result. However, Discovery HD, HDNET and PBS looked pretty good. The BenQ actually did a nice job of cleaning up noisy standard-definition sources on my cable system, which is always a plus, considering how much SD we are all still watching.