Marantz VP-12S4 Darkchip 3 DLP Home Theater Projector

Marantz VP-12S4: Physical Layout

As usual, we’ll start at the front. This Marantz projector has a nice sculpted look. The lens barrel is long and sticks out about 6 inches, housing custom optics designed for this projector by Konica-Minolta, and as mentioned in the overview the zoom lens has a very healthy amount of adjustment range (1.45:1). In infra-red sensor is also located on the font. There are two adjustable feet (front left/right) that can be turned to adjust, or you can use the quick release mechanisms (located on the bottom – not intuitive). Since most users will mount the projector, though, its a non-issue, and even for those that don’t, once you know where the quick releases are…

The top features a spread out control panel, and (if you are looking from the rear), you will find the manual lens shift dial just to the right of the lens and control panel.

The control panel consists of a “disk pad” for left right up down navigation. Below it, is a large Input button, and below it, the Menu button. Two the left/right of these two are smaller buttons for test patterns (left), and the Enter button on the right.

Lastly the projector has two indicator lights – Standby, and On, and a large power switch.

One really nice thing about the Marantz is that it comes loaded with inputs. While most projectors offer a single digital input (DVI or HDMI) and a single component video inputs, not so this Marantz DLP projector.

As you can see from the image of the back panel, the Marantz VP-12S4 has 2 HDMI inputs, and 2 component inputs – a blessing if your receiver or other components does not have sufficient switching. (For the most part, we are just beginning to see receivers that can switch 2 digital inputs). Consider that you will likely end up with a cable/satellite box that has digital out, as well as a DVD player, that’s two. If you go with a digital recorder, ultimately, now you are up to three… get the idea? With the Marantz, for example you could rely on a receiver to switch the DVD and Cable/satellite (into the first HDMI input), and hook the digital recorder directly to the second HDMI input.

In addition to the digital and component, the Marantz has done an excellent job of thinking through the rest of the inputs. You’ll find an RGB in (HD15 connector), for hooking up your computer, an RS-232 port for controlling the projector from room systems, computers, etc. Not surprisingly there are also the obligatory composite video and S-video inputs.

One nice touch, there are 2 screen triggers. Why you ask? The first would have your motorized screen drop down when the projector is powered up, and the 2nd can be used for, say, a multi-masking screen (like my current 140″ Da-Lite). With the mask on my screen, I can convert it from a 16:9 viewing area to 4:3 for conventional TV signals (drop down cloth on the left and right sides). In this case, trigger two would let you drop the mask by hitting a button on the remote.

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