- Written by Chris Eberle
- Published on 18 May 2009
The Dream’E has a well-organized menu system with nearly everything needed for flexible setup and calibration. Additional controls for color luminance, custom 7-point gamma and noise reduction settings are in a separate, hidden installer menu which can be accessed by your DreamVision dealer.
The Picture menu contains the mode selection (Standard, Dynamic, Theater and three User modes) and controls for Brightness, Contrast, Color, Hue, Sharpness and Color Temp. Color Temp has three presets plus a User selection that allows changes to gain and bias for all primaries. There are also four Gamma presets plus a fifth option that can be adjusted in the hidden installer menu. An Advanced Picture Settings sub-menu has the controls for the manual iris (10-100%) and the Blue-only Mode.
The Input Signal menu allows changes to the aspect ratio (Standard, Full Screen, Cinemascope, Converted 16:9 and Virtual Wide). The Cinemascope and Converted 16:9 modes are for use with DreamVision’s optional anamorphic lens kits. I was not able to test this feature due to my lack of a 2.35:1 screen. You can also turn Overscan (2.5%) on or off. Additional controls include Black Level Setup (0 or 7.5IRE), Black and White Level adjustment, timing adjustments for PC signals and options for Level and Color Space for HDMI signals. Leaving these set to Auto will work for nearly all modern source components.
The System Setup menu has options for Language, Power-off Timer, LED Illumination, Startup Screen, Background Color, Lamp Output level, OSD Style and OSD Timer.
The Initial Setup menu lets you change the projector’s orientation (Front Table, Front Ceiling, Rear Table and Rear Ceiling), Keystone Adjustment (horizontal and vertical), Lamp Timer Warning, System Reset, Alignment (a one-pixel convergence feature which I did use), Lamp Timer Reset and Trigger control.
Finally, there is an Information screen that tells you the Input Source, Input Resolution, Frequency, Output Resolution and Lamp Hours.
Installation and Calibration
The projector is quite large so you will need a beefy ceiling mount or well-braced shelf to support its 37 pounds. DreamVision offers a suitably matched ceiling mount for $495. For my installation I used a shelf mounted on the wall above my seating position. There is a generous amount of horizontal and vertical lens shift available, +/- 60% vertical and +/- 30% horizontal. The controls are located under the lens. They have a very precise feel which makes centering the image on the screen a snap. Zoom and focus are also mechanical and equally precise. I would have preferred a power operated focus control. It’s more difficult to achieve perfection when you have to walk back and forth from screen to projector. It might be good to have a helper when setting the focus. I recommend taking the time to get this right because this is one sharp projector! There are no internal test patterns for setting focus and image position. You will have to provide a signal from a disc player or pattern generator. The lens is obviously of very high quality.
My theater utilizes a Carada brilliant-white screen with a gain of 1.4. With a projector this bright, I would recommend a high-contrast gray screen with a gain below 1.0. There is more than enough light available and the gray screen will improve contrast and provide deeper black levels. You can tailor the light output easily with the manual iris control.
When setting the geometry, I avoided the keystone control. There is no need for it in my theater and it will impact image quality. If you really have to use it, DreamVision has thoughtfully included both horizontal and vertical adjustments. There are five screen aspect modes available, Normal, Full Screen, Cinemascope, Converted 16:9, and Virtual Wide (for SD signals only). Normal is a 1:1 mode with five to seven pixels blanked on each side. I saw no artifacts introduced by turning overscan on. With the vast majority of Blu-ray and DVD content though, there is no need to use overscan so I left it off. I did check the convergence with the Alignment control in the Initial Setup menu. Adjusting this brings up a convergence grid so you can align Red and Blue to Green in both directions. I made one adjustment and achieved a perfect grid.
A full set of calibration controls are included in the user menu. The controls for the Selective Color and Custom Gamma are in a separate installer menu. This menu can be accessed by your DreamVision dealer/installer. Changes to the Selective Color and User Color Temp should only be made with a color analyzer and the proper test patterns. Out of the box, the projector measured well in the Theater mode. With calibration, I was able to improve the grayscale tracking to a very precise level. The Selective Color system allowed me to achieve nearly perfect luminance with all six colors. I was unable to change the positions of the primaries but they were quite close with the exception of green. This projector has a blue-only mode which makes it very easy to adjust color and tint. The Theater mode defaults to a Color setting of 60 (10 clicks over center). I adjusted it to the center setting of 50 and the color bar pattern rendered perfectly. Hue (Tint) was perfect at the factory default.
There are three color temperature presets plus a User mode. Engaging this brings up a full set of gain and bias controls. As I said, grayscale was excellent after calibration. There are also five gamma settings available. Gamma 4 (the Theater mode default) measured pretty close to 2.2. Gamma 5 is a custom setting that can be adjusted over seven points in the aforementioned installer menu. As the gamma was excellent in the preset mode, I did not adjust it.