Projectors

Runco LS-10i 3-Chip DLP Projector

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In Use

Before I get into the material I viewed on the LS-10i I want to talk about my experience with the tremendous light output available from this projector. After completing the calibration and getting the peak down to 33 foot-Lamberts, I expected some fatigue in watching an image this bright. After all, SMPTE specifies 16fL for film projectors and 12fL for digital cinema as an ideal level. Many commercial theaters don’t even get this bright. My reference projector puts out about 15fL. Well, I was quite surprised at how much I liked a picture more than twice as bright. And I never had a moment of fatigue during the entire review period. In fact, after reinstalling my Anthem, I set the lamp power to High which bumped me up to around 18fL. Yes, the blacks weren’t quite as inky as before but the increased punch and clarity of the image more than made up for this. If you have stuck to the SPMTE standards as I have, you should at least try a higher output level for a week to see if you might like it better. I was convinced and now run my projector on High all the time.

Runco LS-10i 3-chip DLP Projector for the Home Theater

The Switch on Blu-ray has a bit of a cool color palette which can sometimes make the image look flat. The Runco did a pretty good job of preventing this effect. Detail in the transfer is excellent and the top-flight optics and perfect convergence of the LS-10i kept things looking pretty good throughout. Nighttime scenes didn’t quite show the deep blacks I’m accustomed to from my LCoS projector but considering the LS-10i’s extra brightness, they looked quite good. I think this projector would look best with a gray screen or perhaps one of the Black Diamond models from Screen Innovations. This would match up with Runco’s design intent of running with the room lights on. Still, on my positive gain white screen, contrast was excellent at all times. I’ve tested many DLP models and Runco always seems to coax slightly better black levels from their projectors than everyone else. Of course there were no rainbows thanks to the 3-chip light engine. I don’t normally see them with single-chip units but if I flick my eyes back and forth during a starfield scene, I can. I could not see the effect at any time with the LS-10i.

I always like to watch at least one CGI animated title for my display reviews so I chose How to Train Your Dragon on Blu-ray. I know movies like this make any display look good but after a while, you can see subtle differences in color detail, textures, highlight and shadow effects, and especially dimensionality. A well-made film like this can truly look 3D on the best projectors and the LS-10i demonstrated that incredibly well. The extra brightness probably had something to do with it but from beginning to end, the image just popped like a kid stepping on bubble wrap. Dreamworks doesn’t quite achieve the texture detail that Pixar does but I really enjoyed the freckles and hair effects on the character’s faces. The lighting used in the film really worked well to create the illusion of 3D and this projector looked simply stunning. You’ll see in the benchmark section just how good the contrast performance is and it really showed here. Color was always bright and saturated but never un-natural. Motion was also very crisp and smooth with no perceived resolution loss during quick pans or on fast-moving objects.

Runco LS-10i 3-chip DLP Projector for the Home Theater

Guns n’ Roses may be just another 80’s hair band but they do put on a good show and I thoroughly enjoy both their music and their stage antics. The Use Your Illusion Tour DVDs are not a paragon of great video quality, and they’re only 4:3 aspect but on the LS-10i, the show looked pretty darn good. There are many fast pan shots where the camera follows Axl Rose running across the stage (he does this a lot!) and I never saw any hint of motion blur. This is one of the strengths of DLP displays thanks to their super-fast sampling rate. The Runco’s excellent video processing made the most of an otherwise average DVD transfer. Detail in the original material wasn’t stellar but thanks to this excellent projector, it looked great even on my 92-inch screen.

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is not the very best Blu-ray transfer of the Star Trek movie set released last year. There is added edge enhancement in some scenes and overall detail is a bit short of the sharpest I’ve seen. One thing it does do well is present a natural color palette. This is where an accurate display like the LS-10i really shines. Flesh tones were especially nice showing just the right shades with neither too much nor too little red. Because of the bright picture, I was able to clearly see the heavy makeup worn by the actors. While this might be considered a negative by some, it shows just how unfailingly accurate the LS-10i is. With the high light output I expected space scenes to wash out but the quality of the blacks really impressed me. It wasn’t as black as my Anthem LTX-500 but that projector won’t put out anything close to 33 foot-Lamberts like the LS-10i.