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SIM2 Grand Cinema HT200 DM DLP Video Projector Print E-mail
Tuesday, 01 January 2002
Article Index
SIM2 Grand Cinema HT200 DM DLP Video Projector
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The Downside
The SIM2 HT200 is an affordable solution for many home theater applications. Its 800 x 600 resolution capability can more than optimize your DVD’s requirement of 480 x 848. However, its DLP chip is not capable of the resolutions necessary for high-definition television in either 720p or 1080i. This may or may not be an issue for you. There is no denying that HDTV is a fantastic new format that yields incredible realistic video. Many may argue that there isn’t enough high-definition content to make HDTV a current concern. I strongly disagree with this notion, as there are many new primetime shows that are now available with many more to follow. ABC is broadcasting their entire prime-time lineup for 2001 in 720p resolution. For those who have yet to view this new television format, you will want to consider this before purchasing your theater projection system. On the other hand, projectors possessing the new Texas Instruments HD-1 DLP chip, which is capable of these new startling resolutions, are considerably more expensive. In the case of SIM2’s HT300, this projector is close to double the cost of the HT200 DM, at $14,995.

Front projection is a sensational way to turn your home into a movie theater. It offers a solution for those who prefer a large picture but can’t accept the enormous boxes associated with rear-projected sets. The fact is that rear-projected CRT televisions are getting better and the prices are coming down, yet if you want 60 inches or more, the units are as large as a car. And, let’s face it, these units just aren't as dramatic as projecting on a screen. Front projection offers the additional convenience of allowing you to mount a recessed screen that comes from a slot in your ceiling. There is nothing cooler in home theater than pushing a button and having a screen appear from nowhere.

The SIM2 HT200 DM is physically the best-looking unit on the market. It is dressed in a great package and is small enough to fit into all homes. It is easy to install and setup is a snap for even the most challenged. The picture is bright and colors are sensational. There is no denying that front CRT projection provides a more film-like picture, yet new seven-inch CRT's will run you as much as twice the cost of the HT200 DM and in many cases much more. With the HT200 DM, images can have somewhat coarse external edges due to the DLP technology, but when viewed from appropriate distances, this effect is minimal and is something that you will unquestionably overlook to get the huge picture that it provides. In homes that are bright with many windows, you might want to audition this unit first. You must understand, however, that there is no brighter front projector in or even anywhere near its price range.

A significant concern is that this projector is not HDTV compatible. It will project images that it receives from a HD source yet it downscales these images to the maximum resolution of the chip, in this case 480 x 848. This means that it takes a 1080i source and downscales it to 480P. In the case of 1080i this is slightly less dramatic than 720P as the deinterlaced resolution of a 1080i signal is as low as 540P, where as the standard 720P signal gets cut extensively to nearly half its native resolution.

SIM2 markets this projector as the ideal solution for every format with the exception of HDTV, a format that has yet to offer a significant amount of available programming.

I personally would think twice about purchasing this projector because I have seen the outstanding resolution that HDTV provides. However, I would strongly consider the SIM2 HT300 coming soon, or a number of other units on the market, which will display 1080i and 720p high-resolution formats. If HDTV interests you, you might consider dishing out the extra dollars, however substantial, to own a piece of the future.

You have heard the phrase "plug and play," and I feel that the HT200 DM is exactly that. Place it on a table or mount it on the ceiling and you are doing movies like the pros. Because the HT200 DM was designed specifically for home theater, it has features that make this unit the premier DLP projector for the home. If large is what you are looking for and HD is either of little concern or you feel that it is beyond your current price range, then the HT200 DM is my recommendation. It then requires only a bucket of popcorn and a shared armrest from the complete cinema experience.

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