Posted on June 21, 2005 Art Feierman
Hitachi started shipping their RS-55 LCD projector a little earlier this year. This is the least expensive of Hitachi’s four SVGA (800×600) resolution projectors. This low cost projector is selling well below the $1000 mark, and should prove to be a top seller as a K-12 school projector, and also appeal to business projector users on a tight budget. The Hitachi RS-55 projector, is rated at 1500 lumens, weighs in at only 4.8 lbs (making it one of the lightest SVGA LCD projectors available today – along with Panasonic’s 2000 lumen LB20SU at 4.7 lbs.) Officially it has a list price of $899, but Hitachi sets its MAP (minimum advertised price) at $749, and MAP pricing tends to end up as the “high” price for most projectors. The warranty is 2 years parts and labor, not as long or as comprehensive as the more expensive Hitachi projectors, but better than many in this price range.
Let’s start with a physical tour of the Hitachi RS-55 projector.
The front of the projector sports a lens that is recessed for protection. The projector’s lens has a fixed throw – that is, no zoom capability. There is also an IR sensor, and below, two adjustable feet.
Moving to the top from the front, is the focus dial, and behind it 3 indicator lights (lamp, temperature and power), and below it the control panel, consisting of an input button, and an all purpose disk. Pressing the disk in the center opens the menu, and when needed pressing it again, with the menus open, it functions as the enter key. The four arrow keys are marked on the disk and when you press to the appropriate side, it moves you through the menus and adjustments. Lastly, at the bottom of the control panel, is the power switch.
The back of the projector offers the input/outputs, and they are pretty basic. There is a single computer input, which also supports component video. There is no computer output, which could be a problem for some K-12 users, as you normally want a computer output if you are working from a desktop computer.
There is an RS-232 for controlling the projector, as well as two video inputs; composite and s-video. Lastly there is a stereo input, that accepts a standard stereo mini-jack. There is no IR sensor on the back, so if you are behind the projector, you’ll need a good bounce off of your screen.
The RS-55 projector comes with a compact, but “full sized” remote control.
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