The DreamVision Starlight1 Projector arrived at my home theater with poor timing. It followed my review time with the Anthem LTX 300v, which employs the same LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) light engine rebadged from JVC. I also tested the Starlight1 right around my visit to the CEDIA Expo, which is always filled with high-performance projector demos.
Perhaps the biggest compliment I can give the Starlight1 is that during this projector blitz, it held its own and then some. I thoroughly enjoyed the Anthem unit, and the Starlight1 delivered detail and sharpness a tad better. This leads me to conclude that for the $6,995 MSRP the Starlight1 is a good value relative to its impressive performance.
Setup a Snap
Setup and operation was a snap, and CE pros should enjoy installing it. The DreamVision projector is plug-and-play, and features the same simple, backlit remote control and onscreen menu to command the motorized lens as the Anthem. After a few minutes of zooming, horizontal lens shifting and focusing, the Starlight1 was aligned on my 92-inch Elite Screens EZ-Frame display.
imageI connected a Kordz HDMI cable to a Cambridge Audio Blu-ray player as well as component video cables to my cable box. Like the Anthem, the Starlight1 includes ports on the side of its chassis – convenient in my setup where components sit right next to it, and also for flexibility if mounting near a rear wall.
The chassis is one area where DreamVision differentiates itself. You can choose standard glossy white or metallic black finishes, and custom colors are available. French designer Antoine Beon, who also works with speaker company Focal, created the stunning black metallic chassis of my review unit.
But the real visual pleasure came from the picture quality. DreamVision calibrates its projectors at the factory so they’re solid out of the box. The projector also offers eight preset picture modes, as well as the usual sharpness, brightness, contrast and other adjustments. I found that the settings on the Cinema 2 mode produced the truest pictures and most natural skin tones during close-ups of baseball and golf.
HD cable content such as Criminal Minds, college football games and Food Network programming looked stellar. The noise reduction of the built-in HQV (Hollywood Quality Video) processing reduced artifacts typically seen on ESPN, whose signal gets compressed through my cable pipeline.
Blu-ray and DVD movies were gorgeous. For standard DVDs, I watched a couple of older movies – Gandhi and The Outlaw Josey Wales to see how the Starlight1 handled landscape and color. From the brownish Western hues in Josey Wales to hundreds of saris in the opening funeral procession of Gandhi, the cinematography popped. Blu-ray scenes from Up had so much texture and depth that at times it didn’t seem like animation.
Beauty and the Beast revealed the prowess of the projector’s 32,000:1 contrast ratio, delivering crisp images of drab backdrops shown against the vivid characters in Beast’s castle. And in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which challenges displays with its many night scenes, the projector maintained both sharp detail and smoothness throughout. Fitting for a product named Starlight.