Sugg. Retail: $25,000 (CAN)
Distributor: Lenbrook Industries,
633 Granite Court, Pickering,
Ontario L1W 3K1
(905) 831-6333 FAX 831-6936
Reprinted From the Fall 2002 Issue
It could be said that this new projector is a truly international product (at a truly international price, too), in that much of its technology comes from the US and it’s manufactured in Italy. It features the new Texas Instruments HD-1 Digital Micromirror Device 16:9 (1280 x 720 pixels) DLP chip to support 720p resolution, and uses the increasingly popular Faroudja/Sage DCDi chipset for deinterlacing and video enhancement. The elegant brochure (suitable for an elegantly styled projector) notes that the latter “applies motion adaptive deinterlacing that prevents the introduction of motion artifacts and jagged edges from video signals”, and “also features patented 3:2 pull-down with advanced edit detection for exact reconstruction of the original film frame.” In other words, it is designed to show a seamless progressive scan picture with no twinklies on pans or jagged diagonal lines, and with film sources it smoothly converts the 24-frame format to video’s 30 frames by clever interpolation of frames by examining those behind and ahead of any new interpolated ones (a wealth of information about today’s complex video technology is available at www.projectorcentral.com).
The optical engine is a proprietary SIM2 design that is claimed “to reach a true contrast ratio of 1100:1″, by virtue of “a very high performance zoom lens, [that] ensures high contrast images, superior uniformity and edge-to-edge definition with exceptionally good colorimetry and gray scale tracking.” The projector bulb is rated for a quite generous 6000 hours of life. I’m afraid to ask what the replacement cost would be.
“The SIM2 HT300 projector is equipped with a new 6-segment colour wheel that, by increasing the frequency of the colored images, dramatically reduces the color separation artifacts (commonly known as `rainbow effect’); the annoying color flickering visible to a small percentage of individuals.” And I can’t resist an editorial comment on this last rather peculiar assertion about “individuals’” visual perceptions; I’ve always been bothered by this effect, and to a greater or lesser extent, so are most other video reviewers I know and read. Do we have it here? Read on.
All these design elements add up to a complete projector package, needing only a source and a screen. It can be set up on a flat surface, or ceiling mounted, and is fully portable. A floor/ceiling bracket is available as well, and just oozes Italian style.
The rear panel shows RCA composite, S-VHS, RGB-HD via a D-sub 15 jack, RGB/Component via RCAs, and a further remote input jack for a special optional cable and input box that can carry all types of video signals, allowing just one cable to go to the HT300 with the remote inputs selected on the projector remote control. There is also an RS-232 jack for computer automation interface, and 12-volt outputs for auto auto screen operation.
“Conceived for home theater applications, the SIM2 HT300 projector provides complete compatibility with all video sources, all picture standards (PAL, NTSC, SECAM) and computer graphics up to 1600×1200 pixels resolution (compressed).”
As far as setup is concerned, remote control of focus, zoom, and keystone make it quick, the latter adjustment allowing an assymetrical relationship to the screen possible in both vertical and horizontal modes that will optically correct the picture to square or symmetrical 16:9 by +/-8o, “and where high-ceiling installations are an issue, digital keystone correction (vertical and horizontal) can be added via the Remote Control up to a maximum projector tilt of 42o (+/-21o).” As well, a bottom front foot and its rotary mechanical control on top of the projector allow easy setting of picture height.
The HT300’s “long-throw ratio zoom lens (1.8-2.4:1) prevents the typical, unpleasant placement of the product between the viewer and the screen (over magazines and glasses).”
The aspect ratios supported by the HT300 are”4:3, 16:9, Anamorphic, Letterbox (PAN & SCAN), plus 3 custom-user (H&V) adjustments.” I must confess to having no idea what the “(H&V)” is all about. As noted, all formats up to 720p are supported in HD, the highest one being the native resolution of the HT300. Nobody’s yet seen a 1080p source, as far as I know, and only 3-chip DLP, 9″ CRT, and technologies to come will support it.
And after I saw the high definition picture the HT300 produces, who cares about 1080p? I’ve recently looked at the Sony G90 9″ CRT projector, generally considered the benchmark among projectors, and also had the pleasure of spending half a day with the new Faroudja D-ILA projector, also state of the art.
Well, this one’s right up there, too! it is so dramatically better than its predecessor, the HT200, you’d hardly think they were essentially the same technology. The new TI chipset has very good blacks, and extraordinary resolution at any picture size. With the 9′-wide (horizontal housing) DayLite screen (loaned to me by Newform Research’s John Meyer) draped over the front of my PRO-710HD and pulled down in front, I could get a 100″ (diagonally measured) picture with the HT300 sitting on one of my bass traps at the back of the HT room, a focal distance of almost exactly 12′. Even at this distance and size the picture had no artifacts, no screen grid, and extremely pure and vivid colour. Picture detail was outstanding. And there was no rainbow effect whatsoever.
With DVD it was also amazing, not just for the progressive input, but also with S feed; here’s where the DCDi chip comes into play, eliminating any motion artifacts, and turning the S feed into an extraordinary visual feast. Contrast, though perhaps not quite the claimed 1100:1, was excellent, though a very dark room was necessary for ideal viewing. The only occasions when I could find any fault whatsoever with the HT300 image was when there were scenes of semi-darkness, the processing sometimes being fooled, and the progression from blacks to greys losing its way.
But overall, the Seleco SIM2 HT300 is is the best front projector I’ve had in my house, and, frankly, I wish I could afford it. You hate to call a $25,000 component a bargain, but, frankly, there’s nothing else I know of below 50 big ones that even comes close. And, on top of that, its setup time is under 15 minutes, its maintenance is zilch (it took London Audio’s Rick Ho close to 5 hours to converge and ISF calibrate my PRO-710HD), and that means all the more time to watch its extraordinary images. It’s a 3 stage operation: Zoom, Focus, Fun!