Runco LS-7 Physical Tour
June 2010 - Art Feierman
This Runco LS-7 is rather big and bad, compared to most projectors we receive for review.
Runco LS-7 Physical Appearance
The Runco LS-7 projector is slightly oval in appearance, finished in a flat, non-reflective black, and is particularly tall, at around 8 inches. The LS-7 does slop downward toward the back. It's got a sculpted look, and it looks pretty nice, though not the flashy flying saucer look that InFocus offered. That said, the dull black tends to make it blend in, and I expect the designers want you focusing on what hit's the screen, rather than what's hanging from the ceiling.
The fully motorized lens (zoom, focus, and both vertical and horizontal lens shift), is recessed. There are two models available for the LS-7. This LS-7 arrived with what they refer to as the Standard zoom lens. The alternative is their Cine-Wide zoom lens, which raises the ante to $18,495 for anamorphic 2.35:1. There's a control panel on the top, the input and connection panel is on the rear, and there's a cable cover to hide "the mess".
Infra-red sensors are found on the front, and on the top (which will be the bottom - where you want it - when ceiling mounted). Venting is on the sides.
To replace the lamp, the lamp door is located next to the input panel on the rear.
The LS-7's control panel is located on the top. It is a small, roundish, and basic affair, located about 8 inches behind the front of the projector. The projector's power switch is a couple of inches closer to the front. The lighting goes off when the projector is "working".
At the top is the Source button, and opposite it, at the bottom is the Menu button. Inside of them are the four arrow buttons and a centered Enter key. Pretty standard stuff, and no extras.
That Power switch, doubles as your full status system. Solid green (indicates ready to power up (that's an unusual use of green, but, ok...) Blinking green is powering up, and when projecting (on), the light goes out. It also can blink red for overheating, red/green flashing for lamp issues. Finally there's solid red, which translates to: Call the doctor, the LS-7 is demanding service.
Runco's LS-7 projector is nicely endowed, but hardly could be described as loaded with connections. There are the standard 2 HDMI inputs, and an HD15 connector for your standard computer analog input. There's one set of component video inputs using three color coded RCA connectors, and a second one, with three BNC connectors instead. Of course there's a Composite video and an S-video port.
There's an RS-232 serial port for command and control using your favorite room control system, and a pair of well configured 12 volt "screen" triggers. In the menus they can be configured for screen up/down, or masking functions
Runco LS-7 Menus
Runco has done a really nice job with their menu system. Text size is reasonable, not large, but easy to read at normal seating distances. All the image controls are laid out on the first two menus, Main, and Advanced. Main has your standard items; Aspect Ratio, Saved Memory selection, Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness, etc.
You can control the menu position (the menu box is pretty large) as well as the opacity.
Overscan is also located on this menu too, and gives a choice of zoom, (to fill the screen) or cropping (to maintain 1:1 pixel mapping).
You can also change sources from this menu. Remember, it is the "Main" menu, even though it's got lots of image controls.
One more item on that menu is the PIP control for Picture in Picture, in this menu, you can see the PIP sub-menu open inside the Main menu.
The Advanced menu has most of the fun controls and "toys".
You'll find Gamma controls here, and choice of Color Temperature settings.
Frame rate control allows you to output 24fps content at 24 or 48. This is not Creative, where you create a unique frame in between, to smooth motion. It's a good thing, none the less.
The RGB controls are located in the Advance menu as well.
Shown here are the RGB Gain and Offset controls:
Shown here is the system menu:
The Control menu starts off with Lens Control which is simple and works well. Once entering the Lens Control menu, there are separate menu items for focus, zoom, and lens shift.
Runco LS-7 Remote Control
The Runco remote control is a pretty good one. The backlight is nice and bright, but not so bright as to be blinding. The color of the backlight is mostly redish, though it looks too orangish in the picture.
The remote starts off at the top with separate Power On and Power Off buttons. A single press of the Off button is all it takes to shut it down, unlike most home theater projectors which require two presses to turn off (good for preventing accidental shut down).
There are five programmable Source buttons. The defaults for 1 and 2 are HDMI 1 and 2, so that's as far as I needed to go. You can reconfigure them as desired.
Next comes the navigation systems with the four arrow keys in a round configuration, and with a center Enter button.
The Menu button is below to the left and it also is used when navigating to take you back up a menu level.
Next come three User Memories for your and your ISF certified calibrator's use.
There are a number of direct buttons, for: Sharpness, Brightness, Contrast, Gamma, Overscan, and Noise reduction.
Finally, on the bottom row is the button for Picture In Picture, and the Swap button to reverse which image is which. Finally, in the bottom right is the backlight button. Press it, (or any key) and the backlight will come on for 10 seconds. Pressing the Light button when the backlight is already on, turns it off. (Nice touch!)
LS-7 Lens Throw
The LightStyle LS7 projector's lens has a throw ratio of 1.85 - 2.40. For those not familiar. To get the distance, use the formula of Throw Distance = throw ratio x screen width. For a 100" diagonal 16:9 screen, therefore, you can place the projector as close as 13.4 feet, or as far back as 17.4 feet.
LS-7 Lens Shift
There's a healthy amount of lens shift. With a 100" 16:9 screen (1.78:1 aspect ratio), there's plenty of vertical shift, allowing you to place the projector as high as about 8.4 inches above the top of the screen surface, or as low as 8.4 below the bottom, and anywhere in between. There's a fair amount of horizontal lens shift as well, but remember, that the more you use of one, the less you can use the other.
Runco offers you the projector with a standard (1.78:1) or a widescreen (2.35:1) Cine-Wide lens. Our review unit came with the standard lens. The Cine-wide setup is nicer than the traditional way of lower priced projectors, which requires an external lens and motorized lens sled in most cases. As mentioned earlier, the LS-7 sells for $3000 more with the Cine-wide, than with the standard lens.