Before we get too caught up in any negativity regarding setup, though, let’s not forget that the PD8130 is designed to be part of a custom installation, and so hopefully some cheerful professional chap will be sorting out any issues for you.
What’s more, there are plus points to setting the projector up, too. For instance, a decent amount of optical zoom in the all-glass precision lens at least makes it possible to use the projector in quite a variety of room sizes. There’s even a separate short-throw lens option available if you need it.
Also, the onscreen menus are actually quite thoughtfully designed once you’ve taken a deep breath and decided not to be overwhelmed by hefty amounts of text they throw up at any one time.
I also got some mileage out of the projector’s 11 built-in test patterns – though it’s important to stress that unlike many projectors, the PD8130 appears to have been superbly calibrated before leaving the factory. Even the projector’s colour tone seems more or less completely spot on without us having to lift a finger. Marvellous.
It’s possible some of our readers will bemoan the lack of any thematic (cinema, sports, game etc) presets in the PD8130’s menus. But again, this is all part of its custom install ethic, for instead of presets defined at source by Planar the projector carries three memory slots where a good installer can store different image setting combinations to suit not only different sources but also the specific conditions of your living room.
In fact, the projector is fully prepped for professional calibration by an Imaging Science Foundation engineer – complete with night and day settings – if that’s the route you decide to go.
As with the PD8150, the PD8130 is prodigiously well featured. To kick things off, its Full HD DLP chipset is driven by a customised version of processing from acclaimed third-party expert Gennum – a processing source I’ve never seen fail before.
The PD8130’s contrast ratio, meanwhile, is claimed to be 10,000:1, achieved with the help of DLP’s intriguing DynamicBlack technology. This increases the electronic gain of an incoming image, so that it uses the full dynamic range of the DMD device at the projector’s heart, with an optical aperture then reducing the image back to the correct brightness level before putting out to your screen. The result is that the enhanced dynamic range created by increasing the gain remains, while black levels are improved by the aperture effect.
Also on board the PD8130 is Texas Instruments’ Brilliant Colour processing, designed to boost colour brightness, with other bits and bobs including low and high lamp modes, resize modes for 2.35:1 anamorphic lenses to use, no less than 16 HD video timings (including 1080p/24, of course), four separate noise reduction controls, a sealed optical system (so you don’t need to worry about filters), and low and high lamp output modes.