A little over a year ago, Italian manufacturer SIM2 introduced its LUMIS 3D Solo three-chip DLP 3D projector and recently the company followed up by launching a scaled-down version called the Nero. Fortunately for videophiles, the Nero offers many of the same performance traits as the LUMIS 3D, but in a single-chip package that is less bright and lower cost.
The Nero offers just about the same features set as the state-of-the-art LUMIS, among those being SIM2’s proprietary AlphaPath die-cast light engine. The AlphaPath also employs glass optics, and the company claims through its technologies and 280-watt lamp the projector can produce up to 2,000 lumens and a contrast ratio up to 30,000:1.
Taking a single AudioQuest (AQ) HDMI cable run from a Meridian HD621 HDMI Audio Processor, the Meridian product facilitated connections from an HD cable box with 3D service and a Sony 3D Blu-ray player. From there I plugged in the active 3D IR emitter box to the back of the projector and plugged its wall-wart power supply into a PS Audio power conditioner. Using an AQ power cable I hooked the Nero into the PS Audio unit and pressed the power button and number on the Nero’s remote keypad to fire up the projector.
Once in the menu I toggled through the inputs for “HDMI 1” and proceeded to align the projector with an SI Black Diamond Zero Edge screen.
The Nero, unlike the LUMIS unit, does not include motorized lenses, but lens adjustments can be done through a hidden set of Allen-head screws. Navigating the unit’s user interface, I set color, contrast, black level, sharpness, noise reduction, DynamicBlack (I turned off), image processing modes, gamma level, and I cranked the lamp output level from its default setting of 220 to 240.
Related: Award-winning SIM2 home theater, designed and installed by Definitive Sound, Mississauga, Ontario.
Comparing it to the LUMIS projector, the Nero more than holds its own, and I really enjoyed it. Network broadcasts such as HBO’s Game of Thrones looked absolutely stunning. Scenes in which Jon Snow was walking with the “Wildling” Ygritte in the snow-covered mountains of the North were vividly white. Fine details such as exposed areas of ground appeared in natural earthy tones, and they were reproduced with no loss of gray scale. Other elements such as fine stitching within their clothes were rendered with high levels of realistic detail.
3D content such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and Chicken Little looked bright and onscreen movements were smooth. These elements can be areas of problems for lesser 3D projectors, and in addition, the Nero presented the 3D content with a nice sense of depth. I also looked at Underworld: Awakening, which is a real-world 3D torture test, and I thought the Nero nailed this dimly lit movie with ease. Kate Beckinsale’s black outfit was rendered in a deep black and shadow detail was also reproduced without any noticeable loss of quality.
Test patterns confirmed what I was seeing with the movies and broadcast content, and the topper was popping in the Blu-ray disc of Red Bull’s The Art of Flight snowboarding documentary, which may have been the best looking video I’ve ever seen in my house.
Related: SIM2 home theater, designed and installed by Bri-Tech, Long Island, NY
My only legitimate complaint with the Nero is the projector’s 3D glasses. I had no issues with the glasses that came with the LUMIS projector, but the four pairs of active glasses that came with the Nero were uncomfortable. My wife and I thought the glasses were tight, heavy and the lenses were too small—at times they felt like wearing bifocals on the edge of my nose to peer over the frames.
Glasses aside, I think the Nero is a fabulous product for media rooms and dedicated theaters. I do believe it offers about 95 percent of the LUMIS’ performance for roughly 40 percent of the cost, and that math adds up to a killer viewing experience.
At a Glance
Excellent black levels, vivid whites
Strong shadow and fine detail
Nice 3D depth
Remote operation is quirky in saving settings
3D glasses can be uncomfortable
PureMovie, PureMotion, PureMotion 3D processing
Motorized iris control
HDMI 1.4 with Deep Color
Live Color Calibration 2.0 software
2,000 lumens brightness
30,000:1 contrast ratio
Nero T1 (short-throw ratio 1.37-1.66:1) $19,990
Nero T2 (long-throw ratio 1.82-2.48:1) $19,990
Nero T3 (long-throw ratio 2.60-3.90:1) $21,850
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Bob is a dedicated audiophile who has been writing about A/V for Electronic House sister publication CE Pro since 2000.