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ViewSonic Pro8100 Full HD LCD Projector
Although predominantly a PC-oriented brand, the new Pro8100 is certainly not ViewSonic's first home theatre projector. Far from it. But first impressions suggest that it could well be the brand's most serious home cinema effort yet.
Take, for example, its looks. Not to put too fine a point on it, it's absolutely huge; as in the sort of size you'd normally only expect to find at the very highest echelons of the projection world.
Its design also helps it look kind of serious, with its tapered-in sides and curved upper lens barrel, together with a glossy black finish, vaguely recalling the bonce of a certain Mr Darth Vader. Though unlike Mr Vader (sadly), the Pro8100 can also be had in white, grey or burgundy if the black scares you too much. The lens is also very large, again hinting at an impressive lack of compromise in the projector's optical engine.
There's yet more good news with the Pro8100's connections, which are led out by two HDMIs, both built to the new v1.3a standard. This makes them compatible with the new Deep Colour picture format starting to become exciting now that both JVC and Panasonic are promising to launch camcorders able to record in it.
Two component video inputs are also on hand for analogue HD or progressive scan sources, as well as a D-Sub PC port, an S-Video jack, a composite video jack and a healthy array of system-building aids (namely a USB, an RS-232C port, and a 12V trigger output).
The full extent of the Pro8100's seriousness, though, isn't revealed until you start setting it up and stumble across what's potentially the most extensive suite of picture features ever seen on a sub-£3k projector.
There's so much to get through here that it's actually difficult to know where to start. Video processing duties, for instance, are undertaken by the widely respected Silicon Optix Reon video scaler, with HQV (Hollywood Quality Video). This system - usually only found on far costlier projectors - should help reduce the sort of noise that can accompany both high and standard def sources alike.
The projector also boasts 10-bit colour processing, which should help it produce ultra-smooth colour blends and a theoretical 1 billion different hues.