BenQ PE7700 – True HDTV Resolution DLP Projectors Just Got More Affordable

As usual, lets start at the front of the projector. Like the older BenQ projector, the PE7700 has a recessed lens, an infra red sensor for the remote, and below, two adjustable feet, both are screw thread, lacking the quick drop feet found on most projectors, but hardly an issue for a projector that isn’t likely to get moved very often (if at all).

On the top are the recessed adjustments for the lens focus and zoom. The zoom ratio is 1.37:1, providing a lot more placement . flexibility than the PE8700 (1.2:1). I should also note that the BenQ PE7700 projector has a sealed light path, this has multiple benefits, primarily though, it prevents dust from getting into the projectors light path and ultimately causing colored blotches to appear on the screen. It also helps prevent annoying light leackage.

Behind the lens is a widely spaced, and well laid out control panel, consisting of 7 buttons: There are 3 buttons across the bottom: Power, Menu/Exit, and Source/Enter. When you select Menu, the 4 arrow keys (in a diamond shape above), allow you to navigate, the Source/Enter button functions as an Enter key, and hitting Menu again takes you back “upward” to the main menu, and finally to close the Menus. The Source button toggles you through the many inputs: 1 HDMI, 2 component, composite and S-video, and when you are in the menus it functions as the Enter key.

Two arrow keys do double duty. One does “Auto” which corrects for any instability in the image, and one – Memory – allows you to toggle between the 3 user saveable settings. Three indicator lights finish out the control panel: Power, Temperature, Lamp.

Back panel (inputs) time: Some changes here over the BenQ 8700+. First, the PE7700 projector has an HDMI input for digital (instead of DVI-I). This is a plus if you are trying to snake wires through your wall, as the HDMI connector is very small compared to DVI. For those of you familiar with the older model, DVI-I allows you to bring in a digital source, or an analog one. So for those relying on component video for their DVD/satellite/cable, etc., they could use the DVI-I to hook up a standard analog computer signal. (I’ll get back to the issue of inputting analog computer in a moment.)

There are two sets of inputs for component video: the first has 3 RCA jacks, and the second has 5 BNC connectors. One big difference compared to the PE8700 projector. The 3 RCAs on the 8700 only supported interlaced component video, so almost everyone instead had to use the BNC connectors. Not so with the new BenQ projector. Both RCA and BNC sets support both progressive and interlaced signals. Most with component will just use the 3 RCA jacks, and that will leave a solution for computer signals – the BNCs can handle the analog data from your standard computer as well – in fact BenQ provide a standard HD15 to BNC cable with this video projector.

Assuming that I haven’t completely confused you, I’ll move on. You will also find the obligatory S-video and composite video inputs. To round out the the back panel, there is also an RS-232 for command and control.

I don’t consider it a big deal, but missing from this BenQ projector is a 12v trigger for controlling a motorized screen. The reasons I am not that concerned:

  • More users have fixed wall screens and pull downs than motorized screens
  • Many people will choose a learning remote to control all/most of their equipment, so they can order screens with IR or RF controllers, and control the screen with their learning remote.
  • The wire for the 12v trigger goes between the projector and screen, and it is the only wire that would take that route. (Actually most installers would run the wire from the projector to where the other equipment is and from there to the projector screen.

Finishing off the back of the projector is the power cord connector and a hard power switch. (That needs to be on for you to be able to turn on the projector with the remote or serial port.) Lastly, there is an IR sensor for the remote.

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