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Serious Stuff: Runco LS10 Home Theater Projector - A First Look

Update: The Runco LS10 review is completed. It's not easy to talk the high end home theater projector manufacturers to provide us with review projectors, but we did it, we have here Runco's new 1080p LS10 projector - or by its more formal name, the LifeStyle 10 by Runco.  The Runco LS10 (specifications) is the least expensive of Runco's 1080p 3 chip DLP, home theater projectors.  Actually Runco sent me an LS10d, which means it shares the same outboard processor as many of the more expensive Runco projectors. There is also the less expensive LS10i, which has all the processing internal to the projector. First things first, Runco is just starting to ship this LS10 projector.  The two versions play out like this, price wise:  The LS10i stickers for $21,995.  For those with the extra bucks, and wanting the flexibility advantages of an outboard processor, this LS10d, will set them back $26,995. Mike's already taken a close look at the LS10d, and run all the numbers.  I don't want to get into that now, as this is going to be a brief blog, but the basics are - at 6500K, the projector is cranking out a dazzling 1465 lumens plus - more lumens than most projectors can produce in their brightest, ugliest modes (often with color temps of 9000K to 11,500K).  That's actually a handful more lumens than Runco's D65 claim of 1440!  (Go Runco!) The LS10 gets close to 2000 lumens at it's brightest, although it falls short of it's maximum of 2100.  We measured just over 1800, which is with a color temp up around 9300K, so not the most desirable image.  Still, when you desperately need maximum lumens, you'll compromise a bit. The projector isn't exceptionally quiet, rather, running with lamp on standard, it's probably 30 db, or a touch less.  Of course one figures a brighter projector ends up in a bigger room, more often than not, where you are likely to be sitting a little further from the projector. Black levels are pretty impressive, just like with the LS7.  The dynamic iris action is nicely smooth, a little slow, and generally smooth compared to most.  Definitely one of the better dynamic iris actions out there. This projector is more like the Epson UB, in blacks than, say a JVC RS25, since the Epson and the Runco both use dynamic irises.  The point being blacks really are very good. I haven't studied shadow detail at all, but nothing noticed as a problem, either. And that saves the best for last - color.  Skin tones are gorgeous.  And the picture is bright and dynamic on my 100" screen.  I mean we're talking LCDTV type of bright.  I had one of the rear window's shutters open to let in some sun, and had some lights on, and that only really affected pretty dark stuff.   I love the LS10d's lumens combined with great color and especially natural skin tones.  I hope my photography is able approximate capturing what I'm seeing. If you ask me if I prefer this LS10 (i or d) over, say a JVC DLA-RS35 or RS60, which will have blacker blacks than the Runco, the answer is - I'll take the Runco.   As I often say, after a certain point, black level improvements take a back seat to other improvements. Also of note.  This projector doesn't seem to like processing 24fps content.  At any rate, the processor was struggling.  I ended up instructing my PS3 not to output 24fps.  Mike said there was another report online as well, and that Runco is aware of the issue (remember - brand new model).  Apparently it will require some minor firmware fix to the outboard processors. The Runco LS10i is not affected with the 24fps issue, and it sounds like the LS10d won't have to deal with it either in a few more weeks. I'm not sure that the first consumer units have shipped yet. This one is a Sample. That's about it.  Other than to say that the outboard processor, the Runco DHD controller, as you would expect has a wealth of inputs and connections. There are 4 HDMI inputs, an HDMI output to the projector, and a second audio only hdmi output for your audio system.  The rest of the connectivity is also significant, but we'll save that f Oddessy  or the full review. I could learn to live with this Runco projector!   Anyone who can convince Runco to give this one to me - no strings attached, can have my RS20...  (We can all dream.)  The big problem here is having too much fun watching it. I have 2001 A Space Odyssey on right now.  The space scenes are all the more striking for having lots of lumens behind them, on this modest 100" diagonal 16:9 screen.  (I sure hope my new Studiotek 130 arrives and is mounted before I have to say goodbye to this projector. -art PS.  Give me about 8 days from this blog until the full review goes live.  I'll try for sooner, but need to finish off some other stuff, including the little Neo-i system with built in pico projector, and a short review of the new Viewsonic camcorder with built in pico projector.  (Yep, some fun toys!)  Later! -a

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