- Sensational picture quality
- Huge set up flexibility
- Precise image shift controls
- It’s expensive
- Black level response could be a tad deeper
- It’s ugly and noisy
- Review Price: £16000.00
- Single-chip DLP projector
- Tri-LED illumination
- 60,000 hours claimed lamp life
- Full colour calibration tools
- 10,000:1 claimed contrast ratio
The Sim2 comparison is particularly appropriate, as it happens. For with its meaty £16k price tag and use of a single-chip DLP device illuminated by a trio of LED lights, the M-Vision Cine LED sits right alongside Sim2’s MICO 50 in the premium AV firmament. Which is absolutely fine, of course, so long as it can at least match that rival in terms of cold, hard video performance.
While the M-Vision Cine LED might lose out to the MICO 50 aesthetically, though, we should say that the Digital Projection model is incredibly robustly built, and sports the sort of weight we’ve come to associate with completely uncompromising innards.
Happily turning our attention to the M-Vision Cine LED’s rear, we find a decent enough suite of connections. The headliners are two HDMIs, two 12V trigger ports, a standard component video input, plus separate D-Sub and BNC component jacks for PC use. A third HDMI might have been nice for £16k, but then Digital Projection is hardly alone in only offering two. And in any case, we guess anyone able to fork out £16k for a projector via a custom install channel will also have plenty of HDMI switching options – most likely a high quality AV receiver.
Setting the M-Vision Cine LED up is a surprisingly manual affair. Zoom and focus are adjusted via rings around the lens, and horizontal and vertical image shifting requires the application of an Allen key into two extremely fiddly holes hidden under the removable Digital Projection logo on the projector’s top.
While it’s a little surprising that Digital Projection doesn’t provide motorised controls for all these image adjustments, the precision with which you can tweak them using the manual interfaces is extreme. Plus, of course, anyone buying this projector will have it professionally installed, so the more fiddly aspects of its installation aren’t something that will need to trouble you.
Not surprisingly given its elevated status in the projection marketplace, the M-Vision Cine LED’s onscreen menus are stuffed with picture calibration aids. Again, unlike with more mainstream projectors, these will be of more interest to your installer than the end user, so there doesn’t seem much point dwelling on them in great detail. Lest it makes you feel more comfortable about your sizeable investment, though, we will at least point out that there’s a thoroughly comprehensive colour management suite, and a predictably wide range of colour and gamma standards – even though, in reality, you’ll probably home in on quite a small group of the provided standards for video use.
At this point it’s high time we spent more time discussing in more detail what’s going on inside the M-Vision Cine LED. The use of a single chip 1920×1080 (full HD) DLP mechanism illuminated by a trio of PhlatLight (R/G/B) LED lights delivers a number of advantages. First, you get the convergence accuracy of using a single image chip without having to suffer the noise and motion issues associated with the colour wheel that would normally go with a single-chip DLP engine.
LED lights also have a vastly longer effective life than any ‘normal’ bulb technologies. The manufacturer claims 60,000 hours, but in reality they’ll probably rock on for a good bit longer than that. Even better, the quality of light they produce won’t degrade anywhere near as fast as normal lamps.
Colours should be richer and purer with LED lighting too, and unlike normally illuminated projectors, you can turn LED-lit ones on and off almost instantaneously, rather than having to wait ages for the lamps to warm up and cool down.
So why isn’t every projector using LED lighting? The clue’s in the M-Vision Cine LED’s price. For it’s still extremely difficult – and therefore expensive – to keep LED lighting looking consistent due to its tendency to be very sensitive to temperature changes. This likely explains why the M-Vision Cine LED carries no less than four large cooling fans positioned right at the edges of the projector’s chassis.
Not surprisingly this makes the projector a bit noisier when running than we’d ideally like, but it’s not massively distracting, especially as the tone of the noise from the fans is extremely consistent.
One last point to cover off before finding out if the M-Vision Cine LED lives up to its premium promise is the fact that, in keeping with the vast majority of custom installation projectors, you can buy it with any of a selection of lenses optimised for different throw distances.
The first word that springs to mind as we settle in to watch the M-Vision Cine LED is ‘wow’. As we’ll see, there are plenty of individual reasons for this emotionally positive response, but we just wanted to give you a sense right away of the overall combined impact of all the many things the projector gets right.
The single greatest of the M-Vision Cine LED’s strengths is its incredible sharpness. The projector’s ability to not only present but somehow emphasise every last drop of detail in an HD source has to be seen to be believed. And we specifically avoided using any phrase like ‘pixel-level detailing’ back there because we didn’t want to give the impression that the image’s intense clarity and sharpness was in any way affected by visible pixellation and image structure.
It’s just fantastically sharp in the same smooth way celluloid is fantastically sharp, and you can’t ask for more than that. Well, you can’t ask for more than that unless you cough up £140,000 to buy Meridian’s unfeasibly high resolution 810 Reference Video System, anyway…
Also phenomenal is the M-Vision Cine LED’s colour performance. The first thing that hits you is how wide the visible colour palette is, a classic LED advantage that manages the dual feat of making pictures look incredibly punchy and dynamic but also so perceivably and measurably natural that you’d swear you’re looking through a window rather than at an image that’s travelled through a digital projection system.
Making the colour effect all the more impressive is the effortless way the projector presents colour blends and tonal shifts with almost infinite subtlety and finesse. Striping, flaring, blocking and colour noise are simply not an issue at all.
Next up is the M-Vision Cine LED’s handling of motion. Which is again pretty much perfect. There’s no judder at all beyond what’s natural to a source, and blur is non-existent so far as we can tell.
There’s no noise in the picture beyond what might be found in a source (the accuracy of the M-Vision’s images is, of course, rather revealing of source noise, but this is hardly the projector’s fault!). And last but by no means least, the LED lighting and the quality of the projector’s optics combine to make the M-Vision Cine LED a brilliantly good reproducer of shadow detail during dark scenes.
Really the only chink in the M-Vision Cine LED’s armour – and it really is only a chink – is its inability to deliver black colours with as much depth, richness and impact as some rivals – most notably JVC’s X9 and X7 models. But the reproduction of shadow detail is so good it kind of makes you forget that you’ve seen deeper blacks elsewhere.
Obviously with a price tag of £16,000, the Digital Projection M-Vision Cine LED is going to be a mere dream for the majority of people. But as fantasies go, it’s a heck of a tempting one, serving up pictures so good it hurts. As in, it hurts to have to go back to a normal mainstream projector that we’d previously thought was really good… Sigh.
Score in detail
Image Quality 10
|Native Aspect Ratio||16:9|
|Projector Type||DLP with triple LED lighting|
|Full HD 1080p||Yes|
|Min Projection Distance (Foot)||2m (depending on lens choice)feet|
|Max Projection Distance (Foot)||10m (depending on lens choice)feet|
|HDMI||2 (v 1.3)|
|Component||2 (one RCA, one BNC)|
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