SIM2 Domino 30 DLP Video Projector

      Date posted: October 16, 2004

Sugg. Retail: $14,000 (CAN)
Distributor: Lenbrook Industries,
633 Granite Court, Pickering,
Ontario L1W 3K1
(800) 263-4666 FAX 831-6936

Sim2 Domino 30

Reprinted From the Fall 2004 Issue

      DLP projectors are getting better with each new generation of chips from DLP’s inventor, Texas Instruments. The Domino 30 uses the most recent, with 1280 x 720 pixel resolution, which is native 720p. High resolution optics are employed with motorized zoom and focus adjustments. The projector bulb is said to have a service life of 6000 hours or more.

      With Faroudja’s DCDi chip inside, the Domino 30 processes video sources to eliminate motion artifacts and provide effective 3-2 pulldown of film-sourced video. Picture size can range from 50 to 250 inches diagonal in aspect ratios ranging from 4:3 to 16:9 in anamorphic or letterbox, and source modes and video formats are automatically detected and decoded, including all high definition ones. There are pair of user-defined memories for video characteristics, as well as selectable panoramic and pixel-to-pixel modes. Colour temperature can be user set, or selected from 3 presets. This projector is specified to have 2000:1 contrast ratio, very high even for a DLP type.

      Inputs are plentiful, composite video (RCA), S-Video (DIN 4), RGB via Dsub 15-pin jack, RGB/YCrCbS through 4 RCAs, plus an RS232 via another Dsub 9-pin connector. Input switching is provided on the remote control, and the projector is turned on by selecting the desired input. I like the fact that the Domino 30 is also video switcher, making setup in a home theatre system very simple and quick.

      Our most recent SIM2 review was the HT300 (Summer/Fall 2002, Vol. 21 #2), and I loved that projector. The Domino 30 follows in its tradition, but improves in every respect at a somewhat lower price. It looks very much the same, but the Domino 30, available in black and white curved plastic cases only, provides better resolution, higher contrast, better blacks, and much improved grey scale performance. I received this projector in a period that featured the Stanley Cup Finals with Calgary and Tampa Bay, the NBA Finals with Detroit and LA, both in High Definition broadcasts, and some blockbuster DVD movie releases, including two trilogies, Indiana Jones and Back To The Future in state-of-the art transfers. Looking at these with the Domino 30 had a domino effect on my movie viewing.

      Using an 80″ diagonal screen hung in front of my 64″ RPTV, I was brought into the sports action in a way I’ve never experienced before. You could see into the crowds (even past Jack Nicholson and Sharon Stone. Whoopee!), and you could see the plays developing on the ice and the parquet floor. Shaq’s sweat has never been so real, and watching the Lightning live up to their name skating circles around the flickering Flames was sad but very exciting.

      This projector has virtually no artifacts of motion, and has extraordinary detail. It’s great enough with the 540p DVD picture from our reference Pioneer Elite DV-AX10 player, but when fed with true 1080i high definition signals, it is truly spectacular. I will confess a specific addiction in my TV viewing, PBS’s Smart Travels with Rudy Maxa, an HD travel show about Europe that really takes you there, especially with a picture this big and true. It’s repeated every night each week at 7:30 on the PBS HD channel, and with this projector I found myself watching the shows, if not 7 times running, 2 or 3 times a given week just to see all the gorgeous images of places I will probably never visit. Are we really approaching virtual reality, or what? At my age, that might be a good thing.

      One thing that hasn’t improved with most projectors is the fan noise, which is quite audible when there’s no sound, and tolerable when there is. I guess one just has to play soundtracks a little louder.

      There are many less expensive projectors these days, most either 800 x 600 4:3, or 1024 x 576 (the less expensive Domino 20), but they just can’t offer the resolution, depth, and true colours of this one. As I said about the HT300, “I wish I could afford it”. The SIM2 Domino 30, when compared to some more expensive projectors with lesser performance, could actually be said to be something of a bargain.

Andrew Marshall

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