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Ever since the launch of Windows XP Media Center Edition back in October 2003, one UK company has stood head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to innovative implementation, and that company is Elonex. When Elonex gave me an early sample of the eXentia in time for the Media Center launch, it was so far ahead of the competition, and even today there’s very little that can match it for design, features and integration.
But it was about a year ago that I got my hands on a very early prototype of a machine that would later become the Lumina. Even in its rough, early guise, the Lumina was a mile stone in IT and consumer electronics convergence. The eventual production version of the Lumina made its debut in time for the launch of Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 last October, and the result was pretty special. What you got with the Lumina was a 32in LCD TV with an integrated Media Center PC – so while it looked just like a large screen LCD display, it was in fact a complete home entertainment solution.
But now Elonex has refined the Lumina into the product that it always should have been – the rough edges have been ironed out and the overall result is a box that wouldn’t look out of place in any high-end home cinema setup.
The most obvious improvement with this latest itteration of the Lumina is the 40in LCD panel that makes up the basis of the machine. Elonex has used a Samsung TFT panel with a native resolution of 1,366 x 768, which of course equates to a true 16:9 aspect ratio. Specification wise, the panel offers an 800:1 contrast ratio, which isn’t bad for an LCD, along with a commendable 16ms typical response time.
To be honest, I was a little concerned by the quality of the panel at first, as it seemed to completely lose detail at the low end of the intensity scale. This was particularly evident when watching movies, where dark or shadowed areas were just, plain black. However, a little dabbling in the display setup menu revealed a user defined profile for brightness, contrast and sharpness. After a little careful adjustment, I saw a massive improvement in image quality.
Once the screen was setup correctly, watching video was a truly pleasurable experience. Having recently watched Star Wars Episode III, I couldn’t resist but fire up a DVD of Episode II and watch Yoda battling with Dooku – the result was impressive, most impressive. The fast moving, vivid and bright light sabers contrasted superbly with the dark and shaddowed surroundings, while detail was still perceptible in the darker areas. Firind up some 720p High Definition DivX content was even better, although I did notice the odd dropped frame here and there.