Projectors

Dream Vision Starlight1 LCoS Projector

ARTICLE INDEX

Design

As with all Dream Vision projectors, the Starlight1 drips with style. It is quite common in European homes to set up the projector on a coffee table in front of the seating. This is certainly the choice to make if you’re looking for a unit that will complement a modern décor. The case was created by French designer Antoine Beon whose firm is renowned throughout Europe. He also styled the previous DreamBee and DreamWeaver series models and is responsible for many of the luscious-looking loudspeakers from Focal. The Starlight1 is available in dark gray or white. The Starlight3 is available in other colors including a fiery red that reminds me of a certain Italian sports car.

Both European and US-compatible power cords are included which mate with the dual-voltage power supply. The lens is prominently displayed on the front in a wide recessed opening which is flanked by an IR sensor and an air intake. The control panel at the rear has buttons for power, input, hide (screen blanking), and menu navigation. Status LEDs include power, lamp status and warning. There is also an additional IR sensor. At the base of the projector’s left side are the inputs. Two HDMI 1.3, one each of composite, S-video, and component and a VGA port make up the video options. Control jacks include RS-232 and a 12-volt trigger which can be used to activate a motorized screen or an anamorphic lens sled.

The Starlight1 will support both fixed and moveable anamorphic lenses by using its Aspect and V-Stretch options. The V-Stretch control can be linked with the 12v trigger output to swing the lens into position if you use a sled. With the fixed lens, you simply leave V-Stretch on and toggle between 16:9 and 4:3 modes to achieve either a 1.78:1 or 2.35:1 aspect ratio with correct geometry.

The remote is a nicely sized wand with direct-access keys for all important functions. It also has excellent range and response to commands. Bouncing IR signals off the screen or even the side walls was no problem. At the top are discreet power buttons followed by keys for the five inputs and Signal Info. Next are controls for lens functions, aspect ratio and screen blanking. In the center is menu navigation, test patterns and backlight. Below that are eight discreets for the Starlight’s picture modes. Lastly there are keys for direct access to Gamma, Color Temp, Lens Aperture and a button that brings up the basic picture controls. They appear in a small bar at the bottom of the screen. You can use the up and down arrows to select a function and left/right to change the value.

Menu System & Options

The Starlight1’s menu system is efficiently laid out with every conceivable option needed to achieve a great image save a color management system. The first sub-menu, Picture Adjust, has all the calibration controls. There are six picture modes (Cinema 1, 2 and 3, Natural, Stage and Dynamic) and two User modes which offer full adjustment of all parameters. Following the Contrast, Brightness, Color and Tint controls is the Color Temp selector. You can choose from five presets (5800K, 6500K, 7500K, 9300K and High Bright) or use one of the Custom modes for a calibrated white balance. The preset modes do offer adjustments for the RGB offsets but not the gains. Custom allows control of both. Next is the Advanced sub-menu which contains Sharpness, Detail Enhancement and Noise Reduction options. You can turn on CTI (Color Transient Improvement) for SD signals. Here also is the control for Crystal Motion. The options are Low, High or Off. The Picture Adjust menu ends with Lens Aperture (three settings) and Reset Profile which returns all controls to the factory defaults.

The second sub-menu is called Input Signal. The first option is HDMI where you can set the dynamic range (Auto, Standard (16-235) or Enhanced (0-255)). For most sources, you can leave this on Auto. If you find below black and above white are clipped, change this setting to Enhanced. If you use the Starlight’s component input, you can select a color matrix conversion of YCbCr, RGB or SCART. For the composite and S-video inputs, you can choose a black level of 0 or 7.5 IRE and a color system of NTSC, PAL, SECAM or Auto. Auto will work fine in most cases. You can adjust the picture position in both axes though it is better to do this with the generous lens shift control. Following that are the Aspect options for video and computer inputs. Video has 4:3, 16:9 and Zoom. 16:9 is a pixel-perfect setting that maps every pixel from source to screen. Computer aspect options are Auto, Just and Full. Next is the V-stretch (On or Off) for use with an anamorphic lens. The Overscan control (2.5%) is for SD signals only. The Mask control is for HD signals and will frame either 2.5% or 5% of the image. This is preferable to overscan since it does not resample the image. Finally there is a Film Mode setting which has Auto, Film and Video options. Auto will work fine in most cases. If you want to force inverse-telecine deinterlacing from 480i or 1080i signals, you’ll have to set this to Film.

The Installation sub-menu has the lens controls (shift, zoom and focus). If you want to use something other than the internal test patterns for this, you can turn them off here. You can also lock these settings so they can’t be accessed from the Lens key on the remote. Next is the Pixel Adjust convergence control. Since the adjustment is in full pixels, it isn’t all that useful. I doubt a Starlight with more than a pixel of mis-convergence would make it past the quality control inspection. The installation orientation can be selected here. The options are Ceiling Front or Rear and Shelf Front or Rear. There is also a keystone adjustment for both the horizontal and vertical axes. I always recommend avoiding this control as it introduces artifacts and reduces resolution. The final control is called Screen Adjust. This selects a color bias, red, green or blue, to compensate for different screen materials. While this might be helpful in a pinch, you’re far better off calibrating the projector by measuring off the screen for ultimate accuracy.

The Display setup sub-menu lets you choose the screen Back Color (blue or black), the Menu Position, the Menu Display (15 seconds or On), Line Display (signal info), Source Display (input info), Startup Logo (On or Off) and the language (12 choices). Setting Menu Display to On means menus will stay on the screen until you turn them off. This is really handy when you want to take your time with calibration. The Function sub-menu contains the Lamp Power options (Normal or High) Trigger (Off, On Power, On V-Stretch), six test patterns, an Off Timer (1-4 hours) and High Altitude mode which increases the fan speed. The final sub-menu is Information which reports all the input signal parameters and the lamp hours.