Hitachi CP-A100 Ultra Short Throw Projector Review
At first glance, unlike most projectors, the CP-A100 provides no clue as to how it is to be placed to project onto a screen. The projection mirror is hidden under a door on the top of the projector, which opens up and rotates into position when the projector is turned on. As a result, the following description will reference the end of the projector that’s closest to the screen as the front of the projector. The top of the CP-A100 slopes downward from front to back providing a sleek look from the rear. In addition to the door for the projection mirror, the top of the CP-A100 sports controls for powering up the projector, switching inputs, accessing the menu and focusing. Just to the left of these controls is a door for accessing the lamp.
Due to the CP-A100’s use of a reflecting surface to achieve its ultra short throw ability, its placement and setup is critical in achieving a properly projected, sharp image. As there is no zooming ability other than digital zoom (which just reduces the display size in steps from full to 80%), the projector must be placed at the precise distance from the screen to achieve the proper image size. Then, it must be oriented square with the screen to provide a proper rectangular image. Finally, as there is no lens shift, the height must be adjusted via the adjustable feet to properly fit the screen. While this is not a problem for a mounted solution, it requires some advance planning if the projector is to be used in a tabletop position or on a movable cart.
The CP-A100 makes up for any difficulty in setup by offering a number of options for mounting. Because of its short throw, the CP-A100 can utilize an optional wall-mounted arm that can be placed just above the screen, thus eliminating the need for a ceiling mount (which would be problematic in a room with a high ceiling).
This is an excellent solution of classrooms where the teacher can move freely across the screen without disrupting the image, as well as keeping all wiring well out of the way. With both the lamp door and dust filter accessible from the top (facing down in this application), maintenance is easy with this type of installation. The arm can be purchased by itself or in a package with a 63”, 77” or 88” diagonal screen to match (see below). As the CP-A100 can be used in a vertical position, another option is to place the projector vertically on its front face on a table, so it projects down onto the table. This can be useful in displaying to a small group on a conference room tabletop. As the CP-A100 is not intended for use as a portable projector, I don’t find its initial difficulty in setup to be an issue.
The CP-A100’s menu system consists of two parts: an “Easy” menu, which allows for selection of various picture modes, as well as the standard adjustments for contrast, brightness, color and tint. Each picture mode is a combination of a specific color temperature and gamma settings, both of which can be accessed in the advanced menu. There are also adjustments for keystone, digital zoom, sharpness, lamp mode, mirror (which addresses the mounting position) and a reset. Switching to the advanced menu, the picture modes are replaced by access to the individual color temperatures and gamma modes, which can be mixed and matched as desired.
Hitachi CP-A100 Remote Control
The CP-A100 comes with a rather basic remote, sporting grey buttons on a grey and black background. There is no backlighting, but then the business or education projector with a backlit remote control is a rare thing, indeed. The layout is fairly good, with the buttons for navigating the menu, using the remote as a mouse with a connected PC and controlling volume up/down at the bottom of the remote where they’re easily found. However, all of the other buttons are just laid out in rows and most are the same size, making it difficult to locate them in the dark. On the plus side, the remote works well from almost any angle and easily doubles (or more) its stated range of 10’.
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