November 12, 2010
| by Robert Archer
Atlanta-based Digital Projection International (DPI) has been turning heads for some time with its line of high-horsepower, high-brightness projectors. Now, DPI is wowing people with a horse of a different color, its LED light engine-based M-Vision Cine projector.
Unlike a traditional front projector that uses a UHP lamp, this DLP single-chip projector rides an LED light source that should need no replacing even after many years of viewing. DPI backs the projector with its Lifetime Illumination assurances and a choice of lens options that addresses throw ratios (distance from projector to screen) ranging from 1.25:1 to 3.0:1.
DPI says the Cine LED model can produce 600 lumens of light output and contrast ratios as high as 10,000:1. It includes two HDMI inputs, and component, S-Video and composite inputs to handle all kinds of content resolution.
The first thing I noticed about the Cine LED unit is that it’s smaller and lighter than the competitive SIM2 MICO 50 LED that I previously had in my theater room. The size might make a difference, depending on the projector mounting requirements of your theater.
After placing the Cine LED on my projector shelf, I manually adjusted the lens with a 5mm Allen screw that was hidden beneath a top panel. From there I verified the unit’s various basic and advanced settings, which were calibrated prior to delivery.
With the setup out of the way I watched some high-definition broadcast sports content on NESN HD. My initial impression was that the image might have been slightly soft. After making the switch to Blu-ray, I quickly changed my opinion. The vividness and color uniformity looked killer on the Disney Pixar feature Up and animated shorts Partly Cloudy and Dug. Focusing on elements such as the sky in Partly Cloudy, the colors seemed accurate and the Cine LED displayed lots of image depth.
I checked out more animated content, this time in standard-definition DVD when I popped in Atlantis. I found the colors to be rich, with nice levels of true saturation. The only thing that took away from the otherwise stellar images was some interlacing artifacts.
Getting back to cable-fed HD, I was impressed by the detail, resolution and grayscale tracking the Cine LED produced during CBS programs such as NCIS and HBO’s broadcast of Kung Fu Panda.
I then viewed some PLUGE patterns, stepped grayscale patterns, color bars and processing patterns from the Silicon Optix HQV (Hollywood Quality Video) test disc, which looked very good. The only suspect test was the film resolution pattern, but the Cine LED mostly nailed everything.
Having the DPI M-Vision Cine LED projector immediately following my time with the SIM2 MICO 50, I was able to draw some unscientific comparisons and conclusions. Both are flagship products worthy of praise. In my room, the SIM2 appeared to be slightly brighter, while the DPI offered better grayscale accuracy.
The Cine LED is like other LED projectors in that it’s best for applications like small- and medium-sized rooms with some light control. We’re seeing more LED projectors from acclaimed, high-performance brands, and products like the Cine LED offer another way for them to make a major impact on your home theater.
Bob is a dedicated audiophile who has been writing about A/V for Electronic House sister publication CE Pro since 2000.