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Cinetron HD700 Home Theater Projector - A First Look Review

Greetings, A Cine-what?  Ok, stop that, this is actually their second projector.  The first I saw a couple few years ago.   I had originally planned to just blog about this Cinetron HD700. Let me point out first that this is an LCoS projector.  I'm not exactly sure about its price, but the word is that it's going to show up in one of the big box houses (more as I'm allowed to tell it), bundled with an Elite Screen.

The LCoS powered Cinetron HD700 is very bright in best mode!

It would seem that Elite has put the whole deal together.  For many years we've heard talk and seen samples of LCoS projectors coming out of China.  (For all I know the Sony and JVC LCoS projectors may be built there, or at least in part).  No matter.  BTW, the price I'm hearing for that bundle is $2999, but that's unconfirmed.  If that's the case, it puts the projector in roughly the $2500 range. I had originally considered price, and what I knew about it, combined with its relatively unknown moniker, and basic performance from a a couple of hours of viewing, and originally figured:  OK, a nice (almost) first effort. I observed a few things that I asked Mike to look into, but, based on my first impression which was "another LCoS projector with 600+ lumens in best mode", it really looked like a direct competitor to the Sony VPL-HW15 but without a dynamic iris (it has a manual one), and, therefore, as no surprise,  no match in black level performance. I figured, OK, I like the folks at Elite, I'll do a blog.  I'll have Mike measure it, but not bother to calibrate it.  My thinking was that most likely since it has all the controls (and didn't look too bad, just a bit too cool, out of the box), it would calibrate nicely, but why bother? Does the world really need a projector similar to the rather nice Sony VPL-HW15, selling for the same price, but with noticeably inferior black level performance?   I figured not really, and I couldn't figure out what about the Cinetron HD700 that would make it "shine" at least in one area, relative to the competition. Stop right there!   Mike just dropped off the Cinetron HD700, and also his report with the measurements he came up with. Lo! and Behold!  Mike found the Cinetron's true purpose for existence. (sounds very eastern?).  That is, he found the one thing that sets the Cinetron apart, (besides almost sharp corners). Suspense got you yet? OK, Here's the thing.  Before I share, many of you know the basic guidelines for winning a Hot Product Award, around here.  A projector must have something about it, that makes it about the best possible choice, for at least a small, but significant number of potential owners.  That is, it has to stand out at something.  Well, any projector should do that, but, they don't all.  And while there are many unique features, not all such projectors are worthy of the award. Well, the Cinetron has that one thing going for it, and it turns out, it's Best mode brightness.  The Cinetron, which I knew from watching, had decent lumens, was already brighter than my JVC RS20, but with almost 800 hours on the JVC, the lamp has already shed a bunch of lumens, and that didn't tell me much. Turns out the Cinetron HD-700, before calibration, managed an extremely impressive 868 lumens in Theatre mode, and 890 in User modes.    No serious 3LCD or LCoS projector had yet to measure that many, (though some are close) Dynamic managed 961 lumens.  All measurements, of course are with the zoom in the mid-point of its zoom range. And that folks changes the ballgame.  The Sony, post calibration managed only 536 lumens, the Cinetron HD700 is therefore about 62% brighter, and that is "change" worth considering. As noted, in  brightest mode, the Cinetron HD700 measured almost 1000 lumens - 961 to be precise.  The Sony, by comparison has only low 600 lumens in brightest mode, unless you go totally "cool" with a color temp over 10,000 (can you say "almost unwatchable"?), and even then, only 800 or so lumens. So, what we have here is perhaps the brightest of the LCoS projectors.  Not that much brighter than the JVC models, but, even the JVC DLA-RS15, and it's DLA-HD550 twin, aren't quite as bright, and both sell for more than $4000, not $2500! Bottom line:  Mike walked in, we looked at the measurements, talked about it briefly, I told him to pick the Cinetron HD700 back up, haul it back to his place (again) and plan to do our full calibration on it. The Cinetron HD700 will be getting a full review.  Look for it, to publish before the end of January.  We may just have a very interesting piece to put in our puzzle.  As indicated, it will clobber the Sony in lumens, but likely lose by a healthy margin in terms of black level performance.  It certainly will clobber the Epson or Panasonic 3LCD projectors, in terms of best mode brightness, and also lose to them in black level comparisons, and on the DLP side, well, that should be really interesting.  The BenQ W6000 is no slouch when it comes to lumens (it's got more than the Cinetron), but like the Cinetron, it's blacks aren't up to the other, mentioned projectors. It could prove to be interesting. OK, it's wrap it up time.  The Cinetron is fairly large.  It's case is metal, black, almost sharp edges.  It dissipates heat easily, between its large size, and metal case (with "fins"), and it's fairly quiet. It's good respectable placement flexibility, with adjustable lens shift.  The lens itself, is a zoom of course, with slightly more than 1.4:1 zoom range.  (that's less than the Sony's 1.6:1...). For the rest, stay tuned for the full review!  -art

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