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Under the hood of the MT700 is Texas Instruments’ latest HD2+ DLP chip, which sports a resolution of 1280 x 720. This means the MT700 supports the 720p HDTV standard natively – there’s no rescaling required at all – and it should produce a crisp high resolution picture given the right source. It also boasts a four speed, six segment colour wheel, which is intended to (and does) reduce the rainbow effect that afflicts so many DLP projectors.
Resolution is only half of the story with the MT700, however. Not all sources you feed the projector are going to be high definition – it’ll be some time before all channels broadcast in HD – and this is where the MT700 really packs a punch. As well as being HD compatible, the projector also features a Faroudja deinterlacing processor, which helps smooth out sources that aren’t high definition or progressive to start with (such as digital TV and non-HD satellite broadcasts) and turn them into full-blown progressively-scanned 720p images.
Toshiba supplied its SD-350E DVD player so we could test the HDMI input and high resolution capabilities of the MT700. This player upscales from standard DVD resolution and outputs a genuine 720p non-interlaced progressive signal.
The first disc I tested the projector with was the second movie in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy – The Two Towers. There’s loads of fast moving action here and the scenes where Frodo, Sam and Gollum traverse the Dead Marshes are particularly challenging for projectors to reproduce, with lots of muted dark greys and muddy greens all ready to merge together into one indistinguishable mess.
I was not disappointed – the picture that emerged was nothing short of stunning. The greys and greens of the scenes in the Dead Marshes were rendered with perfection: all of the detail was beautifully preserved while the extra resolution really paid off, revealing the sort of detail that I had never seen before. Strands of hair floating in the wind, fine wrinkles on faces and textures on cloth all stood out with amazing clarity.
I had to boost the brightness and colour settings to begin with as the standard settings produce a picture that’s a bit too dark, dull and wishy washy. Fortunately this was easy to do as the projector has extensive colour controls, which include white balance adjustment, which allow you to tweak and twiddle until the balance is nigh on perfect.