You might quibble with claim that the ViewSonic Pro7827HD is the ideal projector for home theater entertainment, but it's unquestionably impressive for its $889.99 price. Along with 1080p resolution, full 3D support, and excellent color quality, it offers conveniences that include a 1.3x zoom, three HDMI ports instead of the usual two, and a modest vertical lens shift with an easy-to-use control.
The Pro7827HD also fits well with a wide range of applications. Rated at 2,200 lumens, it can throw a suitably large image that can stand up to ambient light in a living room, but its Eco mode and lower brightness presets offer comfortable brightness levels for theater-dark lighting as well. At just 5.7 pounds, it's light enough for portable use. But it supports Image Science Foundation (ISF)-certified Day and Night viewing modes, which means you can customize its settings--or, more precisely, pay a certified technician to customize them for you--for permanent installation.
The Pro7827HD lacks some options like frame interpolation that you would expect in more expensive models. But within that context, the quality is excellent. One measure of how well the projector holds detail, for example, is that with one of our standard test images, white text on black was highly readable at sizes as small as 6 points, and black text on white was crisp and readable even at 4 points. That's better than most data projectors can manage, and it translates to showing finer detail for video than most home theater projectors.
ISF Modes. In addition to its five color preset modes--Brightest, Dynamic, Standard, ViewMatch sRGB, and Movie (Rec. 709)--the Pro7827HD offers ISF-certified Day and Night viewing modes. However, the ISF options won't show in the menus until an ISF-certified technician calibrates them for the specific room the projector is in. The calibration will typically cost $250 or more, after which ISF Day and ISF Night will be added to the list of choices.
Color Preset Modes. Even without the custom calibrated modes, the Pro7827HD delivers excellent color quality. This is, in part, thanks to the RGBRGB color wheel, which ensures that none of the presets has enough difference between white brightness and color brightness to affect colors significantly.
As the names imply, the ViewMatch sRGB mode is designed to match the sRGB standard while the Movie (Rec. 709) mode is designed to do the same for the Rec. 709 ITU standard for HDTVs. And, indeed, both offer good color quality. However, the Standard mode comes closest to delivering the same colors as the calibrated projector we use for comparison, nearly matching it straight out of the box.
Rainbow artifacts aren't much of an issue for the Pro7827HD. I saw very few in my standard suite of tests, and only in clips that tend to bring them out. When I set the projector up in a family room for an evening of real-world TV viewing, I saw fewer than one per hour. Few people, if any, are likely to find them bothersome.
2D Video. Most other individual aspects of video quality range from near-excellent to excellent. I didn't see any motion artifacts or posterization in my tests, and the Pro7827HD showed only a minor loss of shadow detail in the most demanding clips. I saw some moderately obvious noise in scenes that tend to show noise, but it wasn't obvious enough or often enough for most people to consider it a problem. There is a noise reduction option in the menus, but it works only with an S-Video, composite video, or PC input.
3D video. 3D offers essentially the same quality as 2D in most ways. However, the drop in brightness is a bit more obvious than with most projectors. There aren't any choices for color presets, but the one you're locked into offers high quality color. The projector also did well on those aspects of image quality that are specific to 3D. I didn't see any crosstalk and saw just a hint of 3D-related motion artifacts in the most demanding clips.