April 02, 2010
| by Robert Archer
Few people in the world of consumer video can match Joe Kane’s resume. With experience in engineering, consumer video calibration and professional post production, Kane can draw from a wealth of knowledge when he dedicates his services to a project.
The Samsung SP-A900B projector is a good example.
The A900B ($12,995; $9,995 for anamorphic lens) is the newest model in the line he designed for Samsung, which started with the SP-A800B. According to distributor DVE Distribution, the A900B offers a 35 percent increase in contrast ratio, the addition of PC, video and anamorphic video processing and a variable control iris function.
Samsung’s SP-A900B projector is a single-chip solution that installers can upsell as a performance proposition. Driving its performance is Texas Instruments’ DarkChip4 1920 x 1080 optical engine, short- and long-throw lens options and internal scaling that offers features like a 24fps mode.
DVE and Joe Kane Productions (JKP) offer anamorphic lens and sled options from HI-REZ Projections, Inc. and other calibrations within the setup menu that include color space parameters and fundamental connection choices such as multiple HDMI inputs.
This is where the projector really shines, if you’ll excuse the pun.
After unpacking the unit I plugged it in, connected my HDMI cable, dialed in the focus and keystone and started to dig into the menu. I selected the SMPTE-C color space option, a gamma setting, a color temperature of D6500 and I set the lamp to the “economy” theater setting.
With all of the basic operating parameters set I turned on a Red Sox vs. Yankees game and exited the menu. From there I proceeded to watch Blu-ray content like “Sleeping Beauty” and “Pinocchio.”
Out of the box I felt the unit was really close to where it needed to be and it took only a few minutes to tweak. Using a Screen Research unity gain screen, the unit was nearly plug and play in my room. Based on my experience, the product should not take long to set up.
Impressive Grayscale, Picture
Over a couple of months, I watched a variety of sporting events, network TV and Blu-ray discs, and I was continually impressed with the grayscale, color depth and picture uniformity.
I looked at a number of test patterns to check its color accuracy, grayscale tracking, contrast, black levels and resolution. The test patterns verified what my eyes were seeing: the JKP-endorsed Samsung produced a well-saturated, quality picture with movies, broadcast television and videos.
When combined with a Panamorph anamorphic lens, the projector produced more high-quality images in an aspect-ratio correct format.
No Complaints Here
Given what I saw in terms of its picture, setup and aesthetic design there’s nothing to complain about. Perhaps a die-hard videophile would cite its lack of motorized lens adjustments and price, but that’s nitpicking.
I think when you add up the product’s limited distribution, its overall quality, ease-of-setup and the support that a dealer should expect from the DVE, it’s arguably the best single-chip DLP solution on the market.
Bob is a dedicated audiophile who has been writing about A/V for Electronic House sister publication CE Pro since 2000.