The upcoming summer of sport seems to have whipped the home projection world into the nearest it’s ever likely to get to a frenzy. We’ve recently tested the daytime-friendly Epson MG-850HD projector, and the Black Diamond projection screen from Screen Innovations, designed to let you watch any projector in daylight. Plus we’ll soon be looking at Panasonic’s new daylight-viewable projector, the AH1000.
Today’s "casual use" projector, though, is on paper the most interesting of the lot. For the LightStyle LS-HB from US brand Runco costs a cool £7,500, and as such must surely claim the high ground of the daylight projection marketplace.
It sets about justifying this claim right away, thanks to an unusually attractive but still promisingly ‘serious’ design. Its main claim to fame is its roughly circular shape, with high-gloss finish. The standard LS-HB colour is black, but Runco can conjure up other custom colours if something in particular takes your fancy.
It’s a big, heavy bit of kit too, raising hopes of good quality innards and exactly the sort of uber-powerful ‘light engines’ potential daylight projectors need as their starting point.
In fact, the LS-HB is rated as being able to output a maximum brightness of 2700 Lumens - a seriously powerful effort that, together with Runco’s ultra-efficient SuperOnyx technology, should give the LS-HB a very good chance of delivering genuinely watchable projected images in even quite strong levels of ambient light.
One little word of warning here, though; don’t feel tempted to try and boost the LS-HB’s brightness even more by using it with a high-gain screen. Runco is adamant that the LS-HB has been calibrated to work best with a contrast-friendly, neutral-density screen, and our own experiments entirely bear this advice out.
The LS-HB’s optics are built around a single-chip DLP system, with Runco’s ConstantContrast dynamic iris system and ViVix video processing on hand to hopefully give its pictures a suitably high-end seal of quality.
As you would expect of such an expensive projector, the LS-HB has enough calibration aids - including a full colour management system - to earn the endorsement of the independent Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) group, making it very likely indeed that when your LS-HB is installed professionally in your home it will be fine-tuned by an ISF-approved technician.
The LS-HB’s ‘custom install’ appeal is further enhanced by its ability to fit into almost any size or shape of room. Different lenses are available to adjust its fundamental throw distance, and it also has a good amount of motorised optical zoom available for whatever lens you go for. Plus you can shift the image horizontally or vertically, making the distorting horror of digital keystone correction entirely avoidable.