Saturday, September 6, 2008

BenQ PB6200

Price as Reviewed $1106 - $1795

At 5.6 pounds, this DLP projector is not an ultralight, but it has the combination of features and price to make up for the extra weight. XGA resolution (1024 x 768) and 1700 lumens brightness provide images clear and bright enough to be seen in a normally lit conference room. A 2000:1 contrast ratio makes the images crisp. Add a lamp life of 2000 hours and you have a portable projector that's a true road warrior for mobile presenters.

* 12" DDR DMD DLP™
* Native Resolution - 1024 x 768
* Compatible up to 1280 x 1024
* Brightness - 1700 ANSI Lumen (maximum)
* Contrast Ratio - 2000:1 (peak)
* HDTV compatible supporting up to 1080i
* 8 Preset modes

Pros: I chose this specifically for showing DVD's and HD TV. I have it set up on my ceiling and I have a 110" screen (2.4m wide) at a throw distance of 4.5 metres. To tell you how good it is, my visitors mouths drop open in amazement the moment they see the screen image. Noone is prepared for what they see. When I evaluated DLP projectors I realised that they probably source their DLP engines and the lenses because most projectors in a price range have identical output specifications. The only thing that seems to be unique to projector manufacturers are the input processors. I like my Benq because it has a simple and intelligent input processor. The picture is bright and sharp when using Component Input. The machine can be used on most voltages and automatically senses PAL 50Hz or NTSC 60 Hz so I can play DVD's purchased from other countries (using my miltizone Toshiba DVD player). I found the differences in picture quality using S-video (soft images) and composite (colour bleeding) reported by other reviewers to be confirmed - except that using Cable TV on Cartoon programs gives excellent results. I see no evidence of the dreaded rainbow effect often attributed to DLP projectors. I used it to watch the Athens Olympics using my Set top box in Standard Definition mode. The Lord of the Rings is specacular, as is Cher, The Coors and U2. It is such compelling viewing that walk in visitors just drop to the chairs when they see the shows of larger than life people on the screen.

The machine is very fragile so it is not a good idea to have it on a coffee table if kids are around. They have no idea. It is also not a good idea to position it where people could look into the lens - there are strenuous warnings about the dangers of staring at the light source. You can't just turn it on and off to watch the news. You need to structure your viewing to have a block of time set aside. Be prepared for late nights! The fans are slsightly audible during quiet movie sequences. The complexity of formatting the picture when switching inputs is disruptive if I am trying to put on a show for my friends: The 16 by 9 format is automatic for HD TV from my DG-TECH 2000A+ receiver. Most music DVDs are 4 x 3 Most DVD movies are in Letterbox format. My VCR and Cable TV are in 4 x 3 format via composite input only. The only way to set the screen format is via a menu using the remote control. Since the PB-6200 automatically senses the input source and the input signal, it would help if it also could sense the input screen format. It was very fiddly to set up. I found that matching equipment is the biggest challenge - and that applies to all systems it is not just a problem with this machine. But for example, I have a Denon amp which only switches S-Video. So I had to buy a game switch to be able to switch the component outputs. When buying a new DVD player to get component output, I did not realise until later that I could have bought one with progressive scan - which would have improved my picture. While the Benq can play NTSC, my TV cannot, so I have to retain my old DVD player which converts NTSC to PAL for the TV. I chose a 10 metre S-Video, and a composite cable from my Benq supplier. But I spent weeks figuring out which cables to choose to run to the ceiling. I found Jaycar electronics the most helpful and best priced people for cabling. In the end I used a 10m VGA cable, a male to female adaptor, a VGA to RGB BNC plug with RCA converters - which doubles as the component plugs for the Benq. Sound ridiculously complicated? Well - it was a choice to do this, or pay 3 times as much for an integrated system and for a professional to set it up.

It is absolutely fantastic value for money and brilliant for people who don't want to pay for workplace features which they don't need (such as laser pointers, multi input processing, speakers, timers etc). I compared the specifications with similar machines from Electroboard, Optoma, Panasonic etc. The Benq 6200 has a 200w bulb which I think makes it brighter. I would need to spend more than twice as much to get a better projector. My family and friends love it! And best of all, I am the only person who knows how to operate it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We don't use it during the week but from Friday night to Sunday night we run it extensively.