Yesterday we posted Bill's review of the InFocus IN8606HD, a sub-$1000 1080p home theater projector...
In this review Bill included some comparative notes between the IN8606HD and one of its primary competitors, the BenQ W1070, another 1080p model selling below $1000. You can see the review here.
Any comparison between these two projectors will invariably focus on the published color wheel speeds, which officially on the IN8606HD is 2X and the BenQ W1070 is 6X. Color wheel speed relates directly to the frequency and size of rainbow artifacts viewers are likely to experience. In theory, most people will see them quite easily on a 2X wheel, and rarely if ever on a 6X wheel.
This morning a reader wrote in to ask about a statement by an alleged InFocus engineer that was circulating in a forum, in which the engineer said that the IN8606 wheel speed is 2X on 1080p/60 source material, but 4X on 24fps 2D material and 6X on 24fps 3D. The reader was asking if we could check the validity of the statement.
At the moment, we don't have the ability to measure color wheel refresh rates, so we publish the vendor's representation of wheel speed as an unverified spec. However, the alleged Infocus engineer's comment may be quite accurate, and it raises a big question about how color wheel speeds are calculated. Since you can get different speed specs based on different frame rates, the specs published by vendors may not be reliable apples-to-apples comparisons.
So really, the only thing you can do is set them up side by side and see what they do. And when you put the IN8606HD up against the BenQ W1070 and fire up a Blu-ray movie at 24fps, you end up seeing more rainbow activity on the IN8606HD--the flashes are larger and more frequent. In my subjective viewing, I had no problem believing that the IN8606HD had a 2X wheel since the level of rainbow activity was consistent with what I have experienced viewing other DLP projectors with 2X wheels.
On the other hand, though the W1070 is represented as having a 6X wheel, I personally saw more rainbows on that unit than I would normally expect to see on a 6X wheel. It made me wonder how they might be calculating the spec. Nevertheless, to my eye, the W1070 does have an obvious advantage over the IN8606HD; the rainbows were noticeably smaller and less frequent.
The bottom line is that we do not know precisely whether the color wheel specs are accurate or apples-to-apples on either of these projectors. But we do know that buyers will see the 2X spec on the IN8606HD and the 6X spec on the W1070, and from those specs infer that rainbow activity will be less on the W1070. And that is what I saw in all of the 1080p/24 viewing that I did.