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A few months back we got our hands on the first product ever to emerge in the UK from respected US brand Planar. That product was a remarkably cheap and also very talented entry-level DLP projector, the PD7010.
So it's fair to say we're pretty intrigued to find out what Planar can do with the PD7060: a step-up, mid-range model that significantly ‘up-specs' from the PD7010 while still only costing £1750 - a sum which, in the circumstances, looks very reasonable indeed.
From the outside, mind you, there's really nothing to distinguish the PD7060 from its cheaper sibling. Both wear the same pleasing glossy black finish wrapped around the same vaguely circular design. Both also enjoy a relatively small and thus living room-friendly footprint, too.
The sibling similarities continue with the PD7060's connections, which share the PD7010's provision of two digital video inputs (one HDMI, one DVI), a PC port, and a trio of jacks - USB port, RS232 control port and 3.5mm remote control jack - included to aid integration of the PD7060 into a full home entertainment system. These latter three jacks are particularly important on the PD7060 because Planar is primarily targeting the projector at the custom installation market.
Where the PD7060 certainly does differ from the PD7010, though, is in its optical engine. Most significant is its use of a DarkChip 3 optical chipset from Texas Instruments rather than the older DarkChip 2 one found in the PD7010. This means that although it retains the same native resolution of 1,280 x 720, the PD7060 should produce a wider contrast range and sharper motion handling. Indeed, when it comes to contrast Planar claims a contrast ratio of 3,500:1 for the PD7060 versus 2,500:1 for the PD7010. This bodes particularly well for the PD7060 when you consider how conservative the PD7010's 2,500:1 figure came to appear in the course of that review.
The PD7060's colour wheel is a 6-segment, 4-speed affair, with image processing, rather surprisingly, relying on Texas Instruments' own DDP3020 system. With many rival brands preferring to employ their own or more glamorous third-party image processing engines in their DLP projectors, it will be interesting to see how the TI system owns up. Mind you, Planar has apparently tinkered with the core DDP3020 engine quite considerably before letting the PD7060 roll…