Outstanding Product of the Year 2011: Runco LS10D
8/30/11 - Art Feierman
Before deciding on the Runco LightStyle 10D - the LS10D home theater projector, as our product this year, I looked around, for potential products that we reviewed (two have not been stand alone projectors), I'm usually looking for something that is a little disruptive. That explains the Gefen wireless HDMI, and the Epson Ensemble HD, for example
I certainly figured last fall, that this year's winner would likely be a projector sporting 3D capabilities, but not one of the 1st gen 1080p 3D projectors for the home, impressed me enough to be that Outstanding.
I've even considered some interesting business education projectors, but none, have impressed me as innovative as the Epson Powerlite 450 ultra-short throw projector, the first serious, and extremely well done of its kind. Now there are plenty of them though.
So, ultimately, it came down to this:
Runco LS10D - My Favorite Image Of The Year
It's that simple. This year's Outstanding Product of the Year belongs to the Runco LS10D, because, all considered, if I had a choice of the almost 50 reviews this year, this year (of all types projector related), this is the projector that I would watch, if I could only choose one!
OK, the price tag is steep, closer to $30,000 than $25,000 - although you can go with the less expensive (by about $6000, LS10i (which we didn't review), and be almost as happy. And in fairness, we didn't review any other projectors over $15,000.
So, its also fair to say, that had I reviewed a $70,000 Runco 3D capable projector, or a competing higher end SIM2, Digital Projection or other, one of them likely would have won. But I didn't. So let's explore briefly, why I enjoyed the Runco LS10D, so much. - And the irony of it!
Runco LS10D The almost Invisible Projector
No, not physically, although the stealth features of one of the James Bond Aston Martin's would be nice (if you couldn't even see the projector mounted in your room). But, back to reality.
Analogy time: As a long time audiophile, a definition of a perfect speaker system might be: One that adds nothing, subtracts nothing, and to quote Nicolas Cage (as Chris Johnson) in the Movie Next: "There's an Italian painter, named Carlotti, and he uh, ahem, defined beauty. He said it was the summation of the parts working together in such a way that nothing needed to be added, taken away or altered".
That folks is an audiophile's dream. A speaker system (a whole music system) that neither adds...subtracts... but rather, reproduces the original, flawlessly, without coloring the sound, spacial qualities etc.
Similar is true in your home theater. You want a projector that is as invisible as possible, you don't notice it's dynamic iris, you don't notice slightly wrong colors, you don't don't notice things that detract (or add) to the content.
The Runco LS10D is the closest projector I've reviewed, to meeting those kinds of criteria. When I watched various content with it, I seemed to have one problem. I'd forget to notice the blacks, the colors etc. Nothing popped up to call my attention to it.
While it's not perfect, of course, it's darn good at being invisible. Even the "dynamic" iris, which is at least a bit noticeable, at times on most projectors, was extremely well behaved. As best I recollect, I only "noticed" the dynamic iris action when I was intentionally inspecting it's workings.
Plenty Bright for Sports with Lights
Ok, we've got a nice invisible projector, that produces a very color (and overall) accurate picture. (Not necessarily the best we've seen, but right up there.)
Now combine the invisibility with the great color, and power up enough lights to instantly chase all the dark monsters out of your cave, so you and 10 friends can hoist beers and party, with light levels roughly comparable to most sports bars.
That sure works for me! This guy can light up a room with white walls, too, rather easily. Consider that the Runco LS10D has at least 3 times the brightness of the average, lower cost (non-3 chip DLP) projectors.
Or maybe your dream is to fill a really big screen, say 160" diagonal, without having to resort to high gain screens and other things that do detract from the image. My own theater has a 124" 2.35:1 Studiotek 130. I could have sqeezed in a screen another 20" wider, but nothing else I've reviewed of late, would make me happy due to brightness at times.
Bottom Line: Runco LS10D Outstanding Product - and Projector, Of the Year
If you've got the bucks, got the bug, and got the room... If your budget, say, is probably upward of $75,000 and you are building a classy home theater, then probably the less than $30,000 for the Runco, will fit in the budget nicely. There's installation, fancy seats, a great sound system, accoustic dampening, etc, in building a truly great home theater. In those expensive home theaters, the projector is just one important component (for many the furniture cost more than the projector), but often no more than 25% of the total spend. The one guy I know well that's really rich, spent something like $70K on his projector - in his $500,000 home theater. (Life is so tough for some folk.)
I didn't want to give the LS10D back. I had specifically made a point of going back and forth between the LS10D and my own JVC RS20, and the bottom line - that JVC might have better (darker) black levels, but, overall, the Runco is the one I wanted to watch. And that's movies and other content.
That's the scoop. Congratulations to Runco, for essentially starting with Planar's (who now owns Runco) lower end PD8150, and expanded from that to a higher end line of 3 chip DLP projectors.
The Runco LS10D, offers sophisticated controls, but it really is a projector you just turn on, and not watch.
So, I hope your content is interesting.