Some portable projectors are intended for home cinema enthusiasts. Others are targetted at business users, trainers and travelling presenters. With the LV-8300, Canon could well be having a creditable crack at satisfying the needs of both types of buyer. Canon LV-8300 Moving pictures: Canon's LV-8300 comes complete with its own …
Oh my god! Make it stop!
You need to do some research.
"The contrast ratio is rated at 500:1."
Saying that a projector with a rated contrast ratio of 500:1 is targeted at home theater in any way, shape, or form is ludicrous, whatever the manufacturer spec sheet tells you to write. 500:1 was lousy seven years ago, and it's -abysmal- now. Tolerable for powerpoint but nothing beyond.
"One of the most attractive features in the LV-8300 is its WXGA (1280 x 800-pixel) native resolution. This is virtually meaningless if all you want it for is HD TV, but it makes a subtle but important difference when playing back 16:9 DVDs at full-screen: you get a bigger image."
You get a bigger image? How? 16:9 is 1280x720; 1280x800 is 16:10. DVDs are 16:9 - as you correctly point out - so having a 16:10 panel will either give you no advantage over a 16:9 panel, or distort the image whilst making it marginally bigger - which is an awful, pointless thing to do.
"Overall, image performance is good and we perceived no flicker when projecting movies and animations. This will be due to the progressive scanning."
What?! Of course it's progressive; there IS no 'scanning' with an LCD panel! A lack of flicker could mean that it deinterlaces a 480i input correctly, but I'm guessing you were using a DVD player on a laptop, or component / DVI output from a standalone player - which would always be progressive anyway. It has nothing to do with the projector!
"However, torture-testing the LV-8300's capabilities using the industry-standard DisplayMate utilities revealed that the projector can sometimes struggle with ultra-fine, pixel-width detail."
So, it's a 1280x800 projector which is incapable of displaying every pixel of the input? If you can't get the clocks to display pixel-for-pixel, a 1280-pixel-wide image could easily only be resolving 640 pixels worth of real data. It's probably somewhere in between - but if this is truly an insoluble problem, it means the projector doesn't even meet its own spec! That's hardly something to gloss over in a sentence - it would murder text legibility for presentation use and be awful for movie watching, even off regular DVDs.
In short... please, Reg readers, take this interview with a grain of salt. And to El Reg - find someone who understands the raw basics of display devices. Things will be less embarrassing for all of us that way.
"...like a futuristic, one-eyed sandwich toaster."
Is there something about the future that you know and are not telling us?
Even Nostradamus appears to have missed the rise of the mutant, cyclopean sandwich toasters.
Real world vs tech spec
David makes excellent observations about digital home cinema based on the published technical specifications, and I am grateful to him for taking the time to put me right on a few things.
One thing reviewers are not allowed to do is make value judgements based on the tech spec. We have to review the product in front of us, and if it performs differently to expectations, then so be it: we write up what we experienced, not what manufacturers want us to believe. That's what reviews are for.
For example, a contrast ratio of 500:1 is not as impressive as, say, 15,000:1, agreed. However, I don't agree that this particular projector was inappropriate for home cinema 'in any way, shape or form'. I tested it at home, and I was successfully able to watch a film in a way, in a shape and, yes, even in a form.
For big-number contrast ratios to offer discernible benefit to the naked eye in a home cinema setup, you would need to achieve complete black-out conditions. For more information on display contrast ratio and the manufacturers' numbers game, see www.practical-home-theater-guide.com/contrast-ratio.html.
Some other explanations and corrections...
WXGA gives you a bigger image than XGA. Sorry if this was ambiguous.
Progressive scanning: David's comments about digital inputs are true. But I had to test this projector across a variety of devices with different formats and resolutions, both digital and analogue, from skanky old camcorder s-video to DVI-A/D/I.
David also makes a very valid point regarding the DisplayMate test. The fact that the issues were all to do with analogue interfacing had been unintentionally omitted and this now been rectified.
The analogue input was tested for text legibility and movie performance as a matter of course. I was unable to see the fine detail problem in the normal course of video performance, only in the testcards. The image was not 'murdered' or 'awful', otherwise I'd have said something to this effect in the review.
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