Hands On: Anthem LTX 300v Projector
Anthem LTX 300v Projector offers easy installation, outstanding colors and acclaimed light-engine technology.
If you heard some rumbling last summer, it may have been the collective applause from Anthem and Paradigm dealers. Back in late July 2009, the Canadian manufacturer announced its first front projectors, the LTX 300 and LTX 500 under the Anthem brand, thereby giving integrators a potential turnkey sale that combined a Paradigm surround-sound speaker system, Anthem amplification and processing, and Anthem projection.
With such a wide range in pricing and value among the Paradigm lines, pitching your clients on shifting some money to higher-cost Anthem products becomes a more palpable proposition. A killer theater system can be had for less than $30,000 in products, and Anthem has since added a Blu-ray player and A/V receivers.
During CES 2010, Anthem unveiled updated versions of its projectors - adding the “v” to each SKU - and soon after sent me the LTX 300v ($5,799). You will undoubtedly receive comparisons to acclaimed projectors from JVC, in both looks and light-engine technology (D-ILA LCoS). As a first foray into projection, any positive comparison with JVC is a good thing, and you can add performance to that.
You will be able to spend some extra time perfecting the calibration of an Anthem/Paradigm theater, because you may need very little time to install the LTX 300v. I dove right into the installation and setup without going through the manual.
Using the lens button on the remote control in tandem with the motorized lens (+/-80 percent vertical, +/-34 percent horizontal), it took less than five minutes to scale, shift and focus the image on my 92-inch Elite Screens EZ-Frame screen. You can do this with or without a movie/TV image on screen, as the latter option gives you a green laser-like grid and frame to match to your screen and you can use the remote’s up/down arrows until the centered “focus” comes into clearest view.
And you can calibrate till the cows come home. Working your way through the menu brings the usual video adjustments such as basic sharpness, contrast (native contrast is 30,000:1), brightness, etc., as well custom tweaks like gamma correction and individual color management, which can both be saved for up to three presets.
Speaking of colors, fidelity was outstanding and life-like, especially on sports content. This was notable during the NBA and NHL finals, as the LTX 300v produced the truest rendition of Lakers purple, Celtics green, Blackhawks red and Flyers orange I’ve seen - all candidates to be easily scorched, ultra-rich or even washed-out with some displays. Anthem’s D-ILA image got them just right.
Several features unrelated to performance are noteworthy, too:
- Side-panel rather than rear-panel inputs/outputs, to make life easier if you need the space behind the projector
- Automatic lens cover when turned off, to keep out dust and debris
- A usage meter within the menu, so you know how much mileage you’ve put on the lamp (Anthem says lifespan is about 2,000 hours)
- Super-quiet 19dB fan operation in normal mode
- A backlit remote, which comes in handy for dark theaters
Performance improved with the more hours I logged. Using a Vizio Blu-ray player and Toshiba HD DVD player, high-definition optical disc content such as Transformers, 300 and Chris Botti in Boston was very smooth and crisp.
The projector handled detail in dark scenes quite well, and shined when it came to rendering clothing textures, such as the suits worn by Botti and Sting on that Blu-ray disc or SportsCenter anchors on cable-provided ESPN. Landscape detail, exemplified by ABC’s sixth season of Lost, was rich and natural.
The only knock is that the roughly minute-long boot-up time can seem slow if you’re on the edge of your seat in anticipation, especially after you know the video goodness that awaits.
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Arlen Schweiger is managing editor of CE Pro, Commercial Integrator and Security Sales & Integration magazines. Arlen contributes installation features, business profiles, manufacturer news and product reviews. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Arlen at ASchweiger@ehpub.com
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