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  Home Theatre Projectors, Dell, InFocus and Sanyo 
  Nov 14, 2003, 09:30am EST 

How we tested

By: Sander Sassen

Now that we’ve covered the basics of how a projector works and what to look for in a good projector it is time to introduce the projectors that have participated in this test. But let’s first detail how exactly we’ve tested and with what, so you have an idea of the criteria we applied. We’ve first looked at some still images and used the official ansi-lumen test method and a professional lux meter to determine lumen output, contrast ratio and also whether the lumen output is consistent even in the four corners of the projected image. That gave us some interesting results that in some cases were quite different than what we’ve learned from the projector’s specifications.

Minolta lux meter

Fig 6. The Minolta professional lux meter that was used in the ansi-lumen measurements.

Obviously we’ve also looked at the reproduction of moving images, using both a stand-alone DVD player and a PC able to output a progressive scan image up to a 1280 pixels horizontal resolution. We’ve tried to see whether we could determine image quality differences between the VGA and RGB cinch/S-video/composite inputs. The RGB cinch and S-video inputs both showed no differences, when using the composite input however we saw noticeable image degradation, so we’ve used the S-video and where possible the RGB cinch input during our testing.

To determine the accuracy and quality of the projected image we’ve used a reference projector, the InFocus ScreenPlay 7200, a high-end wide screen DLP projector with a 1280x720 native resolution and equipped with Faroudja’ DCDi chipset. This projector, with a pricetag well over 7000 dollars is a prime example of what’s possible with DLP technology and is a good reference to compare the projectors we’ll be evaluating to. We’ve adjusted the lumen output, the contrast and the color balance as well as the sharpness of the individual projectors to get as close to the image of the ScreenPlay 7200 as possible to get an optimal image reproduction. If we had not done so we’d have ended up with the factory defaults that in some cases did not do the projector justice.

1. Introduction
2. Lumen output
3. Contrast
4. Resolution
5. Noise levels
6. LCD, liquid crystal display
7. DLP, digital light processing
8. How we tested
9. Results, lumen output
10. Results, specifications
11. Conclusion

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