NEC HT510 – Overview

Starting at the front, the manual zoom lens is offset to the left (facing the projector). The lens offers a modest zoom range of 20% (1.2:1), which is minimal, and means you only have a small front to back placement range to fill your screen. A single drop down front foot allows you to elevate the NEC projector. One of the two infra-red sensors is located in the center of the HT510, near the top. The lens cap stays close to the projector thanks to being attached to the projector by a thin cord.

On the left hand side, near the front is the lens shift adjustment. This will allow you to move the image up or down, while maintaining a rectangular image. This is a plus, as it means you won’t need keystone correction in most setups (keystone correction adds a small amount of distortion to the image quality). This NEC projector’s side panel (on the right side if you are facing the projector) offers the following inputs

  • S-Video
  • Composite video
  • Computer input (the standard HD15 connector)
  • Stereo audio input (rare on HT projectors)

It is interesting that the HT510 projector has a small speaker. And its a nice touch, especially if this is not a permanently mounted system. One reason – let’s say you want to quickly hook up your camcorder directly to your projector. Bingo, you can also bring the sound across, instead of relying on the camcorder’s incredibly tiny and tinny speaker, or running an audio cable over to your sound system.

There is also a control port to allow the projector to be controlled by a PC, or dedicated control system such as Crestron. Lastly the master power switch and the receptical for the two prong powercord, are located near the bottom.

Also missing is a 12volt trigger for screen control, but this is very minor, since there are alternative ways to control the screen (RS232, or infra-red, if the screen is so equipped).

Unfortunately there is no DVI nor HDMI input. Most new HT projectors now offer one or the other (they are essentially compatible), and we are starting to see home theater receivers offer switching for digital sources. (Virtually all HD cable boxes and HD tuner/receivers for satellite now offer digital).

The NEC’s control panel is located on the top and is very typical. There is the usual power switch. (Almost all projectors offer both hard switch which must be “On” for the infra-red sensors to be alive, so that you can turn on the projector from the remote or a control system.) Next to the power switch is the Source select button which steps you through the source choices. There is also an Auto Adjust botton. The 4 arrow keys are on rockers, and are surrounded by the Menu, Enter and Exit buttons. The overall layout is well spaced, well designed, and easy to use.

You can see the small speaker’s grill on the top. This is a good location – aiming up if you are placing the projector on a table – or down, if ceiling mounted (not that you would use it if ceiling mounted).

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