Hands On: DPI M-Vision Cine 230 Projector
Finding a projector at this price point with better overall picture quality for clients’ theaters will be a daunting task.
Michael Bridwell brimmed with enthusiasm during CEDIA Expo 2010 when the marketing communications manager for Digital Projection Inc. (DPI) walked me through his company’s latest product introductions. He was eager to show the $7,000 M-Vision Cine 230, an “entry-level” projector from a company whose models traditionally run mid-to-high five-figures.
After viewing a handful of those costlier solutions, we reached the demo that featured the Cine 230, a single-chip DLP projector. My initial reaction as we watched the opening bank-robbery scene from The Dark Knight was that Bridwell was joking about the price, the performance seemed too stunning. My next reaction was a request to review the MVision Cine 230 in my home theater.
I haven’t tested every home theater projector under $10,000 and I won’t label it with superlatives, but having reviewed a pretty representative cross-section of that category (including LCD, LED, D-ILA and DLP light engines), I am confident putting this product near the very top of the hit list.
The metallic chassis is sturdy and industrial, but lacks much flair. At 30 pounds, this isn’t designed as a portable projector for the occasional kids’ room movie night; rather its heft underscores the internal substance that really means business for dedicated theaters.
The “set-it-and-forget-it” installation aspect does include a bit of slickness: the horizontal and vertical lens shift alignment is done by twisting Allen wrenches into sockets concealed beneath the Digital Projection badge near the chassis’ front. But, yes, that means even at this price lens adjustment is not motorized.
I beamed images onto my 92-inch Elite Screens ezFrame screen by connecting the Cine 230 to an Integra Blu-ray player via HDMI and cable box via component cable. Using the Disney World of Wonder calibration disc, the projector needed virtually zero fine-tuning except a little white level tweaking, and the ultra-smooth imagery shined from the outset.
Performance with Blu-ray content simply dazzled. I often use Chris Botti’s live Chris Botti in Boston concert disc to test black level details and contrast, and the Cine 230 aced it. Texture and detail of the musicians’ dark outfits were finely resolved, even against the low-lit stage; Botti’s spiky blond hair and fair skin looked accurate and natural; and the instruments’ rich details, from the scuffing of Botti’s trumpet handle and buttons, to the dents in the drum set showed tremendous realism.
Depth and colors of the Transformers Blu-ray sparkled as well, especially the desert attack scene and marble-like glistening of Megan Fox’s green eyes. The standard DVD of Gladiator further emphasized the Cine 230’s acuity with details like sand grains and blood smearing during gritty battle sequences.
I got another look at The Dark Knight, this time on TNT cable instead of Blu-ray, but the colors appeared just as inky. Pixar’s Cars really popped during a Disney Channel presentation, as did the blue and yellow of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s basketball court on ESPN. Golf Channel content looked especially lush.
Is there room for improvement? Sure, other projectors in this price range may boast greater brightness, motorized lens shifting or even 3D capability. But finding one with better overall picture quality for your clients’ theaters would be a daunting task.
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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 email@example.com
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