|BenQ W10000 DLP Video Projector|
|Home Theater Front Projectors DLP Projectors|
|Written by Kevin Miller|
|Wednesday, 01 August 2007|
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1080p resolution has finally come full circle for DLP displays, and all the DLP projector manufacturers now have 1080p models to market. Enter BenQ’s W10000 one-chip DLP projector with, of course, a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. This little powerhouse delivers the video goods in spades, and was designed with a relatively large lamp, which means it can illuminate larger screen sizes than much of its competition. The W10000 is a capable performer in its category, and outperforms all of the competitively priced LCoS projectors that I have seen in recent months. But how does it stack up to the Sharp XV-Z20000, my current favorite 1080p one-chip DLP projector? That is the big question.
While not exactly a sexy tour de force of industrial design, the W10000 is nonetheless a sleek and reasonably attractive-looking projector with a retail price of $6,000.00. It is a squarish unit, measuring 19.3 wide by seven-and-a-half inches high and 15.4 inches deep, weighing in at about 21 pounds. My review sample was finished in two-tone silver and white, with the front and top sections white and the sides and rear panel silver. All the input jacks are located on the rear panel, which has a snap-in flip-up door to conceal them, and an additional contoured panel is provided for covering the entire rear panel, so that nothing, including the AC power cord, is visible when it is mounted on the ceiling.
The remote control is a very well-thought-out design. Direct access keys for all the most important features and functions are provided for ease of use. This also makes the installer’s job of programming these functions into a touch panel remote system relatively easy. All inputs, aspect ratios, ISF Day and Night modes, picture controls and lens features are directly accessible from the remote. The menu key and navigation arrows are all located directly in the center of the unit within easy thumb reach. It is also fully backlit, which will make initial set-up and tweaking a breeze in your darkened home theater environs. The internal menu system is simple and easy to navigate. The first of five pages, laid out horizontally, gives you the basic picture controls (contrast, brightness, color, etc.), as well as picture modes and color temperature selections. The last page has all the advanced features like grayscale control, 3D color management, iris control and ISF menus.
BenQ’s W10000 is packed with features that mainly add flexibility to set-up, and give you the ability to fine-tune the picture quality. However, I was surprised to find PIP (Picture-in-Picture) and POP (Picture out of Picture), which are not commonly found on front projectors, as they are intended more for consumer televisions. A number of picture modes are available, including Cinema, Home Theater, Family Room, Photo and Gaming. From my testing, Home Theater provided the closest approximation of an accurate picture prior to any tweaking.
In the Extended Picture Settings menu, in the first page labeled Picture, there are the obligatory selectable color temperatures. You can choose between Warm, Normal, Cool, and Lamp Native presets, with Warm definitely being the closest to the broadcast standard of 6500 Kelvins. The Advanced Menu has the iris settings, white balance controls for grayscale calibration, 3D color management and ISF C3 features. When calibrating the grayscale, you must save your work to either User 1 or User 2, which effectively gives you two grayscale memories. This means you could do a separate set-up for black and white, which requires a different, somewhat warmer color temperature for accurate reproduction of older black and white movies.
I was very pleased to find the lens features. Zoom, focus and lens shift are all electronic and accessible directly from the remote control. This makes sizing, focusing and positioning the picture much easier than on projectors where these functions are all manual, as you can do everything while being right on top of the screen. The BenQ also has 1080p/24fps support, which means it can accept 1080p/24 fps from the new Blu-ray and HD DVD formats. These are two advantages the BenQ W10000 has over its most direct competitor, the Sharp XV-Z20000.
BenQ is one of only a handful of ISF C3 licensees in the front-projection market, with Runco being the other notable front-projection manufacturer that offers this unique and useful functionality. This feature allows a technician to set up two new locked modes that are fully calibrated for each input/source being used. If the user wants to change the picture settings, he/she can go to one of the other provided picture modes and change anything they desire. By simply selecting one of the ISF modes, the user is then back to a calibrated picture that cannot be changed.
Connectivity options on the W10000 are somewhat limited, with only a single HDMI input being provided. There is one component video input using traditional RCA jacks. An RGBHV input with BNC connectors can also be configured to be a component input by simply using the first three Y, Pb, Pr BNC jacks with BNC to RCA adaptors. Of course, there are the other obligatory analog video inputs: one S-Video and one composite video input. An RS-232 port for control, which resembles a PC mouse connector instead of the traditional nine-pin configuration, and a 12-volt trigger, for controlling electric drop-down screens, comprise all the connectivity on board the W10000.