Greetings and Happy New Year!
OK, I got distracted with all the holiday activities. Let me bring you all up to speed on what I finally heard back from BenQ, in terms of answers to my questions.
Lot’s of hopefully really good news:
I’ll run though a number of items I mentioned to them, and their response.
First, regarding the dip we found in the W7000′s cyan secondary color. BenQ says that is corrected in the January firmware. That required Mike to go into the CMS to get a good calibration, something we normally don’t do.
Black Level not as good as the W6000: Their exact response: ”We did the measurement of the latest unit of W7000 and W6000 we have, and the result shows that they are about the same”
We expect that “about the same”, means the W7000 is at least as good, so we’ll cross our fingers until we get to test the new firmware.
Next: When exiting 3D, found back in 2D with the lamp flickering: BenQ response: Fixed on the mass production units.
Aspect Ratio squished with DirecTV This turned out to be interesting, and not BenQ’s fault. Out here, just about the same time the W7000 arrived, DirecTV changed their Guide and menu systems to HD resolution (finally after all these years). Seems they are the cause of this problem. I’ve seen this aspect ratio shift half a dozen times now, (mostly on CNBC, but not only), and I’ve now seen it do it on the Mitsubishi HC7800D, and also my 2 year old Sony LCDTV (which has never done anything like this before.
So, we can cross that one off the list.
Switching to User 1, all the settings seemed to be replaced by defaults. (temporarily, then upon power down and back up, your settings return)… Response: Will be fixed in next version F/W in Jan’12
Finally, as some of you know, BenQ has provided a small first shipment of projectors to dealers. My understanding is that those units do not have all of the issues above addressed.
And that raised this big question: What about the folks buying the early (late Dec.) projectors, in terms of getting the new firmware.
Good news there, too: The written word from BenQ: ”We will provide the FW upgrade service for those customers who buy the first batch projectors. Not a problem.”
(Hooray!) I expected no less, of course.
I’ve written before, about BenQ being one of the more responsive companies out there – specifically several years back (in the 720p days), they had a serious lamp issue with their PE7700. They took care of everyone, upgrading every projector and replacing every lamp, where the problem showed up (and that was most of the projectors shipped the first 6 months (the lamps lasted, typically 500+ hours, not 2000, but that still means it took many months before anyone was aware of the issue. BenQ even paid shipping for everyone to send in their PE7700s for upgrade!
That folks is it! As predicted in the first blog, almost all the problems were of the nature of being the kind of problems that show up in engineering samples, that we expect are fixed by full production.
Of these, the most critical, by far, is the black levels. Black levels were a particular strength of the W6000 (along with brightness), offering probably the best blacks of any DLP home theater projector under $3000 last year, but not quite up to, say the Epson “UB” projectors like the 8700UB.
If the W7000 can match the W6000 in terms of blacks, it certainly will have to be considered one of the top performing projectors anywhere near the price.
And that takes me to talking about the formal review itself, which, but for these issues, should have published more than a week ago. Instead, I’ve been focusing on these blogs to keep you all up to speed. Here’s the plan going forward.
1. Parts of the review are already completed, and will post in the next 48 hours. Unfortunately, some critical sections will have to wait until I can get the firmware upgraded.
2. Going up first will be “most” of the Overview page (index), the Physical Tour page, the Performance page, parts of the Image Quality page (but not Black levels / shadow detail) which will have to wait for the firmware. I will also put up the calibration page, although that likely will have some changes with the new firmware. Hopefully, the new firmware will only require resetting the CMS (taking out the Cyan changes), and that the remaining settings will then provide the same results. It may turn out that a new calibration will be needed to end up with the proper grayscale calibration.
For those of you who like to check out all the images, the photo shoot is long ago complete, so just about all of the images except those specifically used for discussions on black levels and shadow detail, should also be posted.
My hope will be that I can get firmware next week (or even this week?). As soon as BenQ says “ok” I’ll make the 20 mile drive to their offices in Irvine CA, and get that firmware.) My hope would be to have the review completed within 72 hours of getting the firmware!
That’s it folks, best we can do. I’ll also be posting a “First Look” blog review of that Mitsubishi HC7800D, also hopefully in the next 48, and will endevour to have the full Mitsubishi review up over the weekend or next Monday.
Finally, a partial Summary page will also go up.
BUT! A final determination as to whether the W7000 will qualify for a Hot Product Award, a Special Interest Award, or no award at all, will have to wait until I’ve had a close look at the next firmware.
And that folks, is it for now! -art
PS. one more time – Happy New Year!