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ScootView: My Experience With The BenQ MP771 DLP Digital ProjectorHardware Review
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Posted August 05 2008 - 03:48 AM
I was recently afforded the opportunity to test drive this projector. It’s my first experience with a couple of things.
A. DLP 720P Projection
B. HDMI Connection
The projector that has served me VERY well lo these many years, my Sony 400Q had analog component inputs, thus HDMI was not an option. So I have now played in the total digital realm with the MP771 and my blue ray player.
I came at this projector from 2 points of view. Back in the 80's I worked for Allied-Signal (formerly Allied Chemical now Honeywell I think) in the Audio/Video section. Not only did we produce videos for training and selling purposes, but were also responsible for AV presentations. Given that the projector has corporate presentation use as a primary function, I imagined it in line with my duties back when.
In that regard I found some things frustrating. First was the fact the detailed instructions are on a disc, with only rudimentary guidance in printed form. If I was walking into setting up a presentation that was on optical media as opposed to a Power Point situation, I’d be screwed! Understand that when given a set up for a sales meeting, it’s not always with notice days in advance nor with equipment you have spent sometime with. It is often with minutes to spare. A sales department, for example, could have purchased some equipment on it’s own that you are meeting for the first time with it still in it’s box. Although much is similar piece to piece, each new device has it’s own unique needs and specs. Having the detailed instructions on CD ROM versus paper, would have presented me with a real obstacle.
The projector is also unforgiving regards focal distance from projector to screen. Fortunately, in Sam Posten’s review of the LCD projector W500, he pointed out that projector’s limited distance flexibility and offered a link to BenQ’s website for calculating distance to screen. That became invaluable to me in setting this projector up. Using that as a guide, I was able to get an acceptable fill of my screen to fully appreciate the quality of the image...but more on that later.
Projector Calculator || Specifications
I don’t do office presentations anymore and had no Power Point or similar things available, so I am coming at this use of the projector for corporate purposes with my imagination based on prior experience. In fairness I can absolutely see the short throw very helpful in a rear screen situation. Space is very often limited in that circumstance, and the short throw...ceiling or floor mount....would be a benefit.
As for HT use, I had to purchase an HDMI/DVI adapter and 15' HDMI cable in order to fully appreciate and critique the MP771 for movie viewing. This was my first use of HDMI with BD material as well as up converted images. I purchased both cable and adapter from Blue Jeans for less than $25.00 shipped. Quite the bargain!
Again, the fixed focal restrictions are at play here as well, but man...the picture! The image was awesome! Although I never “got it” regards the Keystone adjustments, the image as it was is clear, SHARP, and vibrant. Out of the box, the video blew myself and those who I shared it with away. The brightness of the images and the depth of color ...total eye candy.
First I ran with the BD of “Cars”. As impressed as I was with that disc on my 400Q via component, it was like seeing the flick for the first time on the 771. The detail, especially in the opening stadium race scenes, were incredible detailed. Even in the long shots, you could make out individual cars in the stands.
Up converted material had the same all new feeling as well. First I used Disney’s “Tarzan” and I can’t imagine a future BD release pleasing me anymore that what I saw during this viewing. Not to be wholly held to animated fare, I popped in the original, recalled DVD of “Little Shop of Horrors” a VERY early DVD release. One mastered before the movie companies began playing with SuperBit releases and such. What I saw on my screen completely caught me by surprise.
Film Grain! Just like you would see from genuine 35MM sources. I had become so used to smooth, all but grain less DVD presentations, that to have a real “film look” in The ScootPlex 2000 was a real surprise. I loved it!
Frankly, I found myself viewing up converted stuff more than HD material. I also used my HD-DVD player and found the same result with HD material as with the Blue Ray. Superb and all but flawless. One anomaly with the Panny BR....it kept forcing the 771 to a 2nd DVI input that made everything pink! I merely had to go into Select Source and move it back, but it was still an odd thing.
My son, Morgan, was back for the weekend while I had this and bought himself a PS3. Using the game supplied with the console, we fired up the 771 and ran with it. Again, amazing image and a new dimension to gaming. I was mesmerized by what I saw. Simply awesome!
But I digress.....
I didn’t play with all the features on the 771. For example I never used my laptop with it. Again, not having any material that would necessitate use with projector. I did want to try the Frame Grab feature, which is neat because you could create a logo for your theater and have that be the first thing to pop up on the screen. Also, the USB port on the projector is one of them there tiny ones, and I didn’t have the appropriate cable. I suggest future versions of this projector have the standard sized USB port available.
The biggest drawback to me was the rigid, inflexible focal distance thing. Fortunately, I had a turntable with plastic cover that was very close to the height I needed to be at. So I was able to get an image size that was very good, not perfect, for this review. Again, my thanks to Sam for the link to the calculations page at BenQ. It was invaluable.
In summing up:
The image was magnificent! The projector fired up quickly, even playing a little tune when ready for input. Overall operation was fairly easy, but for the focal distance thing. Frankly it took more time getting that as right as possible than any other aspect of using the 771. That can be real problem not only in setting it up in an HT, but in a meeting room where the layout is not going to be forgiving to the projector’s demands. And the lack of an detailed instruction book and tiny USB port were two other things I wasn’t pleased with
BenQ makes great products, no doubt. And as I stated before and often here, the image was wonderful. It’s these other issues that are a drawback to me. As for HT purposes, it would be nice to have an HDMI port as well as the DVI. I would also have liked to see the Component adapter included in the package, too. That way, anyone using a standard DVD player and wanting to use progressive scan out would be up and running toot suite! And the fixed focal thing....
I mean, I have the structural flexibility in my HT to mount this permanently and perfectly in the ceiling. Many others don’t have that kind of option. It’s a problem.
Can I recommend BenQ as a quality and reliable manufacturer of front projection equipment. Without question, yes. But for most HT and many business applications, I find this particular piece misses the target on a couple points. A tweak here and there, options wise...and it would be ideal in many situations.
Thanks to HTF and Parker as well as BenQ for affording me the opportunity to have the experience with this that I did.