|Sim2 DOMINO 20 DLP Video Projector|
|Home Theater Front Projectors DLP Projectors|
|Written by Thomas Garcia|
|Monday, 01 March 2004|
Page 2 of 3
SIM2 is well known for producing projectors with excellent color accuracy and the DOMINO 20 is no exception. Using its six-segment color wheel, the DOMINO 20 is capable of rendering an extremely accurate and believable image, greatly minimizing many of the artifacts that impacted earlier generations of DLP projectors. One area where the DOMINO 20 really excels is in the recreation of flesh tones. Ranging from milky white maidens through the tan and toughened cowboys, the SIM2 projector is capable of capturing every subtle gradation of skin tone and texture. The DOMINO 20’s image always looks natural and relaxed. This is due in part to the notably absence of “red push” that is common in many display devices. These attributes are appreciably noticeable during the viewing of the depression era epic, “Seabiscuit” (Universal Studios Home Video). After viewing the opening sequences of this film, I knew that the cinematography provided by John Scwartzman was destined to be stellar, and I was not disappointed. This is one of the best transfers Universal Studios Home Video has produced this year, with deep, vibrant colors and only a few minimal anomalies to note. From the early panoramic shots of wide-open mountains, to the close-ups of the colorful jockeys’ uniforms on their dazzling galloping horses, the image projected by the SIM2 captured me both visually and emotionally. The colors are rich but not overblown, with good color saturation and balanced hue. There is an impressive dimensionality and depth to the panoramic countryside scenes near the beginning of the film, capturing a true sense of the great outdoors. Accurate sharpness and detail provided by the DOMINO 20 give this transfer a very film-like appearance. The black levels are extremely impressive for a DLP projector, though overall shadow detail is still not quite up to the performance of the best CRTs. While this feature film is very clean, the transfer does suffer from a few artifacts such as light “mosquito noise” (an MPEG compression artifact that causes a blurring of the outline of sharp objects, with inappropriately-colored pixels appearing around the outline of the object), which is evident in a couple of scenes. Mind you, these artifacts are minimal, a component of the film’s transfer to DVD. Even with these imperfections, the DOMINO 20 never lost its composure, delivering an image that was incredibly brilliant, stable and believable.
I paid close attention to another primary concern of single-chip DLP displays, the so-called “rainbow effect,” where the viewer experiences brief flashes of colors, especially while the eyes move rapidly across the image area, or with images with very bright and/or black and white areas. Some people are much more susceptible to this phenomenon, but none of the participants who viewed the DOMINO 20 during my audition complained of or noticed any such effects, regardless of the source material. SIM2 has obviously done an excellent job of addressing and minimizing these effects in their DOMINO series of projectors.
The DOMINO 20 offers some of the most natural color fidelity that I have experienced from any DLP projector unit. With a minimum of optimization, the DOMINO 20 was able to achieve a neutral color balance. This projector worked phenomenally with computer-generated sources such as the blockbuster hit, “Monsters, Inc.” (Walt Disney Home Entertainment). When it comes to computer-generated animation movies, few could argue the talent and expertise that Pixar commands. This video, with its rich saturated colors and brilliant attention to fine detail, remains a staple of mine when evaluating video displays. The SIM2 never faltered in representing the video’s dynamic extremes, keeping muted colors interesting and detailed, while preventing the brighter colors from becoming over-saturated or fatiguing. Featured characters are rendered gorgeously, with brilliantly rich color and meticulous attention to the smallest of details. Highlighted throughout the movie are various segments focused on the minuscule details of Sully's fur. The DOMINO 20 reveals, with astounding lucidity, the natural flow and sway of each strand, breathing life into Sully’s every movement.
Viewing the character Mike Wazowski proved to be an eye-opener as well. Though I was able to disseminate the variations in his color with other similarly equipped projectors, the SIM2 was able to display more variations in Wazowski’s yellow/lime-green body, providing substantially superior texture detail. Additionally, the DOMINO 20 did an excellent job of capturing the transparency and sheen of his giant translucent eye, making it look very real and lifelike. The reptilian monster Randall was equally impressive. Randall’s chameleonlike color variations were vivid and vibrant and his scaly, slithering body tremendously three-dimensional. The abundant fast-motion scenes in this movie are handled with ease, with no discernible motion artifacts detected. Overall, “Monsters Inc.’s” animation is immaculate and the DOMINO 20 proved to be a marvelous mechanism for communicating the impact of this exhilarating film.
The projector is optimized for viewing resolution provided by widescreen DVDs, but it did an outstanding job with high-definition sources as well. I viewed several different clips that were recorded in high-definition on D-VHS tape through my JVC 30000 DH-VCR. Though the resolution provided by the DOMINO 20 is not the equivalent of a high-definition projector, excellent results were achieved with high-definition materials. It performed extremely well, commanding a high “wow” factor, while providing even greater color fidelity and picture purity. The DOMINO 20 also convincingly conveyed the transparency and additional clarity that high-definition sources are capable of delivering, albeit at a lower projected resolution.
Though the DOMINO 20 will most likely see most of its use during DVD playback and with higher resolution sources, there will likely be times when it will be required to project low-resolution sources, such as standard VHS or television signals. I experimented with both and achieved results better than I expected. The projector did a fine job of processing these sources, improving the input signal via the internal processing, making the resulting image enjoyable and entertaining. With family and friends, I watched the Super Bowl via our local cable company in standard definition with good results. The image was still sub-par, but the picture size and impact overshadowed the inferior cable feed. There is only so much you can do with the current limitations of these resolutions and I believe that the DOMINO 20 processing power helps tremendously, exceeding all reasonable expectations.