The BroomX MK360 is a revolutionary immersive projector that successfully surrounds the viewer with engaging imagery, though its picture quality falls a bit short by today's high standards.
- All-in-one, turn-key immersive projection solution for industry, arts, and institutions
- Curated 360-degree immersive content via Broomx updates and services
- Audience participation/interaction via mobile devices
- 1080p native resolution with visible pixel structure
- Inconvenient access to picture adjustments
- No HDMI input or ability to display copy-protected content
- Fan noise
As ever-larger flat-panels and LED tiles encroach on applications once reserved for projection, more focus has been placed by the projector industry on what those other displays can't do. For now, at least, showing images larger than 100 inches diagonal with either of those options remains expensive, and projection retains a strong cost-per-inch advantage. But projection will also dominate indefinitely for things like projection-mapping and immersive exhibition, which is growing for entertainment, retail, and other applications. As an example, a few months ago I attended the Immersive Van Gogh exhibit in New York that's been installed in various locations around the country. The highlight was a room with 35-foot tall walls which, along with the floor, were in constant motion with animated content that brought Van Gogh's work to life. In total, the full exhibit utilized more than 50 high-output laser projectors.
The Broomx MK360, invented and manufactured in Barcelona, Spain and now promoted in North America by Canada-based Myriad Experience (myriadexperience.com), attempts to facilitate this type of thing on a smaller, more intimate scale. It allows anyone from artists and musicians to retailers, schools, museums, or special event managers to create and project their own immersive environments. Myriad is targeting industries that include real estate, healthcare, education, hospitality, wellness and tourism, among others. Among the case studies that Broomx has on its website is a neurologic recovery facility where patients were treated to an immersive mountain climb, an art center where patrons could create their own on-screen drawings, and a hospital where healthcare workers enjoyed respite from the pandemic by practicing mindfulness and yoga in an immersive, projected environment.
The MK360 is unlike any projector we've tested at ProjectorCentral in looks or function. Shaped like a giant capsule, it could be easily mistaken at first glance for R2D2 of Star Wars fame or a one-eyed Minion from the Despicable Me franchise (if only it were dressed in denim overalls). Inside, it combines a computer, projector, ultra-wide angle lens, and an integrated sound system, and in conjunction with a laptop or mobile device used for control, it provides a unique, turn-key solution. The company has a large library of immersive 360-degree content to serve up different environments, including everything from nature, cityscapes, and outer space footage to animated virtual environments that transport you inside what feels like a videogame. Most content is interactive via user input from a personal mobile device or laptop on the same network. Or, you can create your own content to deliver either ambience or a more interactive experience to your intended audience. Myriad offers production services to assist if you're not equipped to do it yourself.
While our review is for the MK360, during our evaluation period Broomx released an updated model that supplants it, the MK360+, with several improvements I'll discuss below. At a cost of approximately $27,500 before an ongoing subscription to a tech support and content plan, the MK360+ is far from cheap. But Myriad Experience offers rentals to facilitate special events and exhibits that enjoy limited engagements, and they make the technology attainable for a wider range of users at a daily rate of $1,100 with tech support included.
There are four primary components within the MK360's housing. A computer running custom software behind a Linux operating system is the brains of the device; it manages the on-board content library, provides the complex geometric correction that's required, and allows users to select and interact with content via a browser-based Web Manager or iOS app (there is no Android app at this time). The internal CPU in the MK360 is an Intel 8 series, which has been upgraded in the MK360+ to Intel 10.
The computer feeds the second key element, the projection engine, which is a modified Epson 3-chip LCD home theater projector with native 1080p (1920x1080), 16:9 resolution. This projector by itself would cost less than $1,200, but it is mated here with both the sophisticated, purpose-driven computer and the third key element, a retrofitted fisheye conversion lens that sits in front of the Epson's original lens and gives the projector its cyclops-like appearance. The lens stretches the image to a full 185 degrees horizontal and 90 degrees vertical in the MK360, or 198 degrees horizontal/120 degrees vertical in the MK360+.
Both models are driven by a 210 watt lamp and rated for 3,400 ANSI lumens. Lamp life is 4,500 hours in full-power mode or 6,000 in Eco, though you'll most certainly want all available brightness. Lamp replacements cost about $115. Of course, as Epson always reminds us, the 3LCD architecture brings the benefits of equal white and color brightness and immunity from rainbow artifacts that affect many single-chip DLP projectors because of their sequential color wheel. The projector module boasts 10-bit video processing and, at least as a standalone projector, a contrast spec of 60,000:1 (dynamic). Note that Broomx also sells a big brother to the MK360 with similar projection and content-serving abilities, the MKPro. It is a 5,200-lumen laser projector in a more conventional chassis with slightly higher WUXGA (1920x1200) native resolution. I'll say more about it later.
The MK360's combination of sheer size and warm industrial design make a serious visual impression, though in practice, the projector tends to disappear when its turned on and the massive image takes over. It stands 30 inches tall and 16.5 inches around without its four wooden support legs, which bring it to a height of about 66 inches. It's no lightweight at 71 pounds, but Broomx has a rolling circular dolly that lets you easily move it around once it's set up and adds another 5 inches or so of height.
The top third of the MK360's front is dominated by the lens and an exhaust vent to its left that blows warm air. My casual single-point measurement from three feet in front of the projector registered 52.1 db, which is fairly noisy, though it's of a hushed pitch that doesn't call terrible attention to the projector and may be masked by busy soundtracks. Still, it can be distracting at times, particularly with the quiet, meditative soundtracks associated with some library content. Broomx says they have improved the ventilation in the newer MK360+ to help lower the noise and keep the running temperatures down.
The final key component is the audio system: a single, powered desktop recording studio monitor that's built into a compartment behind the large grille below the lens. In the MK360 this is a Tannoy model that sounded great when cranked up. It exhibited crisp highs, the classic unadorned, detailed mids you expect from a studio monitor, and surprisingly punchy (though not deep) bass from its 4-inch woofer. Maximum output is rated at 101 dB, and it played plenty loud enough to fill our small studio space. The audio monitor in the MK360+ update is a 75-watt Beheringer Media 40 USB with similar drivers.
If you need to fill a room with stereo sound—a reasonable ask for an immersive projection system—there's a ¼-inch analog stereo output in the 360+, and an optional USB sound card can also be added for taking stereo or multichannel audio out of the unit. WiSA wireless spatial audio capabilities are said to be coming soon, and will incorporate the possibility of up to eight channels.
Speaking of connections: even the rear jack-pack on the MK360 is unconventional. Users of the updated MK360+ will find a ¼-inch pro-style audio input that goes directly to the internal speaker and is also captured by a pair of internal microphones for use with reactive audio experiences, a ¼-inch headphone output, two USB-A ports (one for uploading content and one for power), a USB-C input, and a RJ45 Ethernet port for the required internet connection. You can also use one of the USB-A's to fit an optional Wi-Fi dongle. On my older MK360 sample, there was a 3-pin BNC audio output in place of the USB-C.
Notice what's missing from that list? There's no HDMI connection on either projector version. Conceptually, the MK360 was designed to have its content loaded on its internal memory; there's 500 GB of storage shared for factory content, user content, and system software. The onboard computer connects internally to the projector module's HDMI port, but there is no external HDMI to immediately facilitate live playback from a computer, disc player, or game console. Aside from Broomx's insistence that playback of conventional flat content is not the MK360's mission, there's a reasonable technical explanation for this: going straight into the projector module's HDMI port would bypass the computer that needs to exert control for the geometric correction, interactivity, and navigation.
Nonetheless, for additional cost Broomx offers a workaround that combines an Elgato HD60S+ video capture adapter and its own custom software (presently still in beta development). The Elgato is normally a $180 item from Amazon that converts a source component's HDMI output to USB for input to a computer; gamers use it to grab the output of a gaming console for PC recording or online streaming. Using it first requires a monthly subscription to Broomx's premium Essentials content service (described below) which also enables the use of their MX Mirror software that allows mirroring from a laptop or HDMI playback through the capture card. However, neither the Elgato or the MK360 is HDCP compliant, so there can be no watching of Hollywood blockbusters from a disc player, for example. I was able to successfully mirror a copyrighted Netflix stream from my laptop browser, though not an Amazon stream.
On the other hand, video gaming from an Xbox or Sony console should be doable, strictly with game content, because these consoles either don't use copyright protection with games or should allow you to turn it off. I was never successful in connecting my Xbox One X, but Broomx notes that use of an HDMI splitter will facilitate this. Ultimately, though, they say gaming was never the intent with the MK360, and they expect to have a product version for that in the future. That's exciting, because streamed game content viewed on my makeshift immersive screen took on a whole different perspective. I'll discuss my experience with the MX Mirror app in the Performance section of this review.
Despite the MK360's sophisticated hardware, it became clear very quickly that Broomx is a content-centric company. It seems obvious that the projector was only invented in service to the concept of individuals or small groups engaging as a community with immersive, interactive projections—without the need for VR glasses. It would appear that fascination and an interest in 360 degree projection, and what might be done with it, is the guiding mission of the company.
So it's impossible to discuss the projector or the manufacturer without describing the extensive content and support services being offered by Broomx in conjunction with Myriad Experience. You can get a small tour of the content selection on the Myriad website, but trust me when I say it is broad and takes a fair amount of time to get through it all. My unit came with more than 100 different video options pre-installed, nearly all of which have some kind of appropriate music soundtrack. They range from just a minute or two to perhaps seven or 8 minutes, and they can be looped to provide a single, continuous immersion or built into an ongoing playlist of different clips. If you sign up for the Broomx Essentials plan mentioned above, it unlocks a range of additional premium content and includes monthly updates you can download to freshen the selection, as well as access to the MX Mirror software. The cost is 100 Euros a month plus the European VAT tax, which comes to about $131/month at this writing.
The library options can be broadly split into three categories. To begin, there are 360-degree videos that wrap you in various real-world environments, or are perhaps computer generated in some cases to look photorealistic. You can swim with dolphins, watch a live concert, visit famous landmarks, mediate in the jungle, or sit on a beach listening to a woman playing Tibetan sound bowls. If the video is a true 360 degree video (most are), you have the option of using the MK360 iPhone app to alter the perspective; just drag your finger across the phone's screen to spin and explore to your right, left, behind you or up and down. In the example of a concert video with the 360 camera positioned at the front of the stage, you can watch the show or turn around and look back at the audience as you'd see them from the front row. Very cool!
A second option is the computer-generated virtual environments intended for relaxation or stimulation, which themselves fall loosely into quasi-real or completely abstract environments. An example of the former would be an imaginary journey around the earth from space as might be seen from the window of an orbiting craft, complete with a giant stationary moon off in the horizon and shooting stars streaking about, all set to new-age spa music. Or perhaps an underwater journey through the remains of a rocky, Atlantis-like city that's been appropriated by vegetation and sea life. Or a slow drift through a skyscape comprised of a quiet sea below and a sunny, cloud-dotted sky above.
The abstracts, on the other hand, are various geometric forms, shifting light patterns and objects, or digital art that might put you inside a slow-moving kaleidescape or something like a pulsating music club, or perhaps tour you through the futuristic, industrial-looking tunnels of what feels like a virtual-reality video game.
Beyond the supplied 360 videos are what Broomx calls Apps, which are interactive programs loaded onto the projector that take advantage of the iOS mobile device interface. Examples include the Draw app that allows users to doodle on the walls from their phone screen, or the Listen app that grabs the mic input to permit color patterns on the screen to react to voice.
And, finally, there are multiple ways to add your own content. Along with mirroring a laptop or attaching a compatible HDMI source with the MX Mirror app, you can easily add still photos for a slide show or upload your own videos. The MK360 is compatible with a variety of content types, including professionally produced formats. Along with both traditional flat and 360-degree videos, it does WebGL, RTMP and RTSP streams, or Unity software projects. And Broomx makes available an MX Live kit, with a camera and interface to facilitate live streaming of concerts or other performances in 360 degrees.
All of this content is selected and controlled via the browser Web Manager and iOS app. These interfaces also provide access to some key set-up and diagnostic tools and can be used to control network-attached smart-lights or shades.
Ultimately, the extensive Broomx library of curated content and apps, along with the ability to make your own, provides the potential of many hours of engagement for purpose of mediation and relaxation, education, or entertainment, along with the ability to support retail or business ventures with immersive imagery.
I set up the MK360 in our small video studio. The heavy projector arrived in its optional rolling flight case and I carefully managed to get it onto the carpeted floor, install the legs, and stand it upright without incident. For safety you should absolutely count on having two pair of hands.
Our space is a converted conference room that's 13 feet wide by 15 feet deep with no windows, and we have various 16:9 screens that we swap on the shorter front wall. I did some initial evaluation using one of those screens and, as expected, the image spilled well off the screen to extend deep onto the side walls and ceiling. Many users will likely end up projecting onto the blank front and side walls of their projection space to fairly good effect; the corners where the walls turn are far less noticeable than you'd think if all the walls share the same white or off-white color. However, the ideal projection surface would be a traditional, seamless cyclorama as you'd see in a photography or video studio. Myriad Experience will even build you a cyclorama as a service.
In lieu of that, I was able to get something like the full experience by temporarily building an immersive screen using a large piece of white seamless photographic backdrop paper. I found a 36-foot long, 9-foot wide roll of Arctic White paper on Amazon for $97, trimmed the width of a 28 foot piece to just under 8.5 feet to clear the height of our ceiling, and turned it upright. I then unrolled it and supported it from behind along the width of the screen by taping it to some freestanding upright posts we had lying around from our video backdrop kits. After some wrestling with the unruly paper, a handful of push tacks was eventually employed to keep it tagged to the wall at the front and sides. The result was a curved 28 foot-wide screen that went floor to ceiling for the full width of the front wall and extended about 6 or 7 feet onto the side walls. Admittedly, it looked pretty creased by the time I was done. But once I turned out the lights you couldn't see any of that in the image, and it served its purpose quite well, providing the kind of wow factor this projector is meant to deliver.
Adjusting the projector to provide the best possible image quality and one that was properly sized and positioned was a bit arduous. The simplest part was placing the projector to achieve an approximately 9-foot throw distance to essentially fill the screen. Then it was on to the tweaking. The MK360 has manual zoom, focus and vertical lens shift controls, but they're hidden beneath the projector's top hood. Once you take that off by unscrewing three tiny hex screws, you can remove a thumb screw on the internal cover panel to spin a door away and reveal mechanical sliders for zoom and focus, and a thumbwheel for vertical shift, that are inside the projector body. The cover on the updated MK360+ is said to attach magnetically, simplifying at least part of this operation.
Broomx suggests in its documentation that you shouldn't need to mess with the zoom, focus and shift for most installations, but I think it's critical. Optimizing the focus is an absolute necessity for reasons I'll explain below, and you'll also need to move the vertical shift so the bottom of the image aligns with the bottom of your front screen or wall as recommended in the manual. The manual further says that the zoom should always be in its widest position, which is indeed where I found it. This gives you the maximum image stretch onto the side walls and ceiling.
Also found beneath the top cover is the projector module's control pad, with the same buttons you'd normally see atop the standalone Epson projector. Access to this was also critical for the best possible image quality, though no remote was provided. The menu revealed the familiar Epson interface, with six preset color modes including Dynamic, Bright Cinema, Natural, Cinema, 3D Dynamic and 3D Cinema. The MK360 came in with Bright Cinema as the default, and it was indeed the best option for delivering most of the projector's inherent brightness with reasonably natural color balance and without the obvious green bias of the brighter Dynamic mode.
However, after experimentation, I made a couple of image tweaks that proved modestly helpful. I found, for example, that the main front-image contrast tends to wash out given the large size of the picture and the reflections from the projection on the ceiling (which in our case bounces off of white acoustic tiles). Taking the Gamma setting from default 0 to -2 raised the gamma to something that worked better for a dark-room environment. (Incidentally, the image is so large it did a decent job of moderately lighting our room with most types of content; as long as the projector is running I can't see any reason you'd need egress lighting.)
I also ended up cranking up the Sharpness control from the default setting of 5 to 15, and moved the Image Enhancement from Preset 3 to its maximum setting Preset 5. Image Enhancement is a detail and contrast processing feature found in many Epson projectors. Turning it to max might normally push edge artifacts to the point of being bothersome, but it was absolutely required here to squeeze whatever detail I could out of the projector.
On that note, let me say a few words here about image detail to put the MK360's in perspective. I think most folks would agree that an unadorned, native 1080p image on, say, a 100-inch 16:9 screen viewed from reasonable distance is highly watchable and fairly sharp. But the combination of native 1080p LCD imagers mated to an aggressive fisheye conversion lens contributes to a lack of sharpness and a highly visible pixel structure that was apparent in the stretched image from the moment I turned the projector on. And I should clarify that I saw this at the center and not just the far edges where the geometric distortion really comes into play. The degree to which this softness and screen-door effect called attention to itself varied by content. With abstract digital art it was usually less apparent. But with photorealistic nature and city imagery, the softness and pixel artifacts could be disappointing and a distraction if I chose to focus on it. Fortunately, there's a general tendency with this type of programming and immersive projection to get lost in the picture. But tuning the focus control and leaning on the projector's detail processing is a requirement in my opinion, not an option, to get whatever sharpness it can deliver.
Engaging the geometric correction was an additional step you wouldn't normally need to do with most conventional projector setups, but it's also critical here. The MK360 has a highly usable drop-and-drag facility found in the Broomx user interface. After making the required internet network connection via the projector's Ethernet port, I could connect my laptop or mobile device, or both, to the "MK#60_Service" wireless network emanating from the projector. I continued to have access to the internet from either device through the MK360 network, albeit at noticeably reduced data speed.
Once on the MK360 service network, you can type the unit's IP address into any browser to control it via the Broomx Web Manager, or download the iOS app to you device. Both the Web Manager and app have essentially the same functionality, including that ability to shift perspective within a video, though the phone app with its touchscreen presents the more intuitive solution for interacting with content. From within either interface, you have access to the 360 library, your own uploads, and the available apps. You can make playlists or schedule an automatic wake-up time for the projector. And you can control IOT devices like smarthome light switches and the like.
I found geometry adjustments were best facilitated with a laptop and mouse running the Web Manager. You can calibrate the geometry of the main wraparound image with a 25-point Mesh Warp function, and there's a separate Inverted Mask blackout mask that can be adjusted independently and used, for example, to darken the portion of the image that spills on to the ceiling. I actually found this very helpful for boosting the image contrast with certain types of content where the ceiling spill was less relevant to the experience. For example, the experience of a jungle or nature video that places you in tall trees seems to benefit when the tops of the trees stretch well onto the ceiling, no matter how distorted the image may appear as it gets further from the front wall. But something like open blue sky that just extends up toward the middle of the room does more to damage the contrast and dimensionality by washing out the main image than it adds to the experience. So being able to click on the blackout mask when I wanted deeper blacks was a nice option.
Likewise, the MX Mirror app offers a couple of additional options for tuning image geometry. The app takes whatever flat 16:9 content you mirror to the projector and drops it into its own floating window that sits on top of the immersive image. You can geometrically correct the floating window using a similar multipoint interface so that it the main image remains visible behind it, or you can make only your mirrored window visible. One cool option is the ability to carefully stretch your 16:9 flat content to fill the entire immersive-projection viewing window. This has the effect of letting you watch standard content or video games on the full immersive screen.
As noted, the MK360 is a customized computer that feeds special video content to a traditional projector married to a fisheye lens. The sophistication of the interface and the software to run the thing, not to mention the assemblage of curated content, is really quite impressive. There's nothing trivial about pulling this off.
How do you choose the right screen for your projector?
Our Projector Screen Buyer's Guide will take you through the process of finding the correct screen for your projector and space.Screen Buyer's Guide
But as I've already hinted, the weak link here is found in the capabilities of the projection module, and not because there's anything wrong with Epson's own execution of a perfectly fine, budget 1080p projector built for a flat 16:9 screen. I think any objective observer who knows the level of image quality possible today with even an inexpensive 4K home theater projector would look at the picture from the MK360 and, in the absence of the content and the experiential element, quickly find fault with the execution. I generally found the MK360 underpowered for its task from a brightness perspective and too lacking in contrast/black level to provide optimal dimensionality for its large image (particularly given its need to combat its own ceiling reflections). Another issue is that the main front picture virtually always looks soft overall—again, a condition likely exacerbated by the fisheye lens. This visible pixel structure and lack of fine detail work against the immersive, other-reality experience Broomx is trying to impart. I gather that The MKPro sister projector mentioned earlier, with its much brighter 5,200 lumen laser light source and slightly higher WUXGA resolution, is a more recent attempt to at least partly address these concerns, and that it delivers the better solution from an image quality standpoint. Based on a Sharp/NEC 3LCD projector module, it is also compatible with 4K content, albeit for playback at its native HD resolution after scaling.
That said—and here's the crux of it—despite the MK360's weaknesses as a projector, I can't say enough about how engaging I found the experience of exploring and interacting with Broomx's library of content on my big, wrap-around screen. I spent hours, literally, just punching through the videos and playing with the perspective on each one. And despite my yearning for a better picture, it was hard to deny how much fun I was having, or what I was ultimately willing to forgive on image quality just to keep going.
I think anyone given access to the extensive content library as I was would eventually zero in on whatever videos most "speak to you," which demonstrates how personalized the viewing experience can be. I can only share a smattering here, but as a hiker who loves the outdoors, as well as a practitioner of yoga and meditation, I immediately connected with the various nature videos that place the viewer into either a passive or active outdoor experience. The "Relax Ambients" video collection, for example, included a highly realistic, 360-degree view of a beautiful, inviting meadow, with a grassy field of red and white flowers spreading out in all directions to rolling hills beyond. It's essentially a still image except for a gentle wind blowing the flowers about and the clouds slowly drifting in the horizon. If you spin the image around to change the perspective, you can look directly into a warm, inviting sunset.
This was one of the better-looking clips to my eye. The red flowers were well-saturated and had nice pop, and the essentially neutral whites of the daisy petals and the golden hues of the sun also offered up decent punch. Overall contrast was among the best I saw—there was little dark content to expose the projector's moderately high black level, and the sky in this video dims enough at the top of the frame to prevent much in the way of harmful ceiling reflections. Unfortunately, the pixel screen door effect was highly visible in the sky and white flowers, and even the flowers that were closest to the camera lens (and therefore the sharpest) lacked the last word in edge detail, thus robbing the image of dimensionality. But the relaxing guitar soundtrack was a perfect complement, and I found myself getting genuinely lost in the tranquility of it all.
A more active and engaging video that I watched several times was a captured GoPro-camera climb through the Pyrenees mountains produced by Salomon, the alpine and ski equipment brand. The edited time-lapse video starts with the hiker in the lowlands, progresses up above the treeline via an ice-climb to a vertigo-inducing walk along an exposed, snow-covered ridge, and then back to lower ground. At any point in the journey, you can look forward at the trail ahead, spin around and look back at the trail you just came from, or peer out at the scenery—as though you were out on the trail yourself. In a bit less than eight minutes, this video well-mimicked the experience of a long and arduous day-hike to the clouds. The colors of the rock and trees were acceptably natural and the sun-lit scenes also exhibited good punch, though when the climber passed through darker forest passages I found myself wishing for more contrast and deeper blacks, and white snowy areas revealed the screen door artifacts if I was looking for them. But I expect that casual, less critical viewers—which is the intended audience for the MK360—would be so engaged with the image they wouldn't notice these failings.
Another video that caught my fancy immersed me in a wholly fabricated virtual environment. Golden Age is a fast-paced journey set to electronic dance music across the shiny metal surface of a planet with angular mountains that reflect the light of the sun in colorful hues of blue, purple, orange, yellow and green. As you make your way toward a Saturn-like ringed planet, you can spin around in place and get the perspective of looking out the front of whatever vehicle is propelling you at such speed, looking behind to see where you've been, or watch the scenery fly by from the sides. The bright cartoon colors really popped here, and the busy artificial environment more successfully masked the pixel grid. Another abstract video, Torus, creates an artificial cavern with something that resembles a pulsating funnel cloud at its center that constantly changes its geometric form and lighting; it was mesmerizing and had a great EDM soundtrack behind it that actually challenged the audio system's 4-inch woofer with its subsonic beats until I turned down the volume.
At another moment, I was fascinated by a Barcelona tour that progressed through 360-degree clips taken at various city landmarks, but this was one example where the extension of the sky projection on the ceiling really hurt the contrast and washed out the image. Turning on the inverted black mask to block that part of the image noticeably improved things, though the lack of sharpness and screen door effect were more obvious in this clip. On a similar note, I uploaded to the projector a fun 360-degree video shot by our contributor Mark Henninger, a professional photographer who loves to experiment with action videos on his electric scooter and one-wheel. A scooter trip down a winding park walkway in Philadelphia with his pole-mounted camera behind him resulted in a neat two minute ride in which I could spin around at all times for any perspective—even an aerial view from above his helmet. The color was excellent in this clip, with natural-looking pavement, trees, shrubs, surrounding buildings, and punchy blue sky. Here again, the black inverted mask for the ceiling projection was the best option for retaining good contrast even though it meant sacrificing the extension of the trees onto the ceiling that would have made it more immersive.
I also experimented a bit with the MX Mirror software, which allowed me to send YouTube videos and other content directly to the projector from my laptop. After some extensive geometric correction of the Big Screen window option, I was able to get a relatively natural looking image with traditional flat content that still took advantage of the projector's immersive width. Despite the lack of HDCP compliance, I was able to stream live video from Netflix to my browser and mirror that to the projector—something that doesn't always work. This allowed me to watch a few minutes of the Casino Royale James Bond caper including the opening black-and-white sequence (which looked sufficiently neutral of any tinting) and the incredible high-wire, parkour foot-chase across a construction site as Bond chases a bomb-maker. I hadn't taken the time to tune the geometry as well as I could have to insure that the front two-thirds of the screen looked perfectly distortion-free, but it was close enough to give the feel of really being wrapped in the action. Of course, the image still suffered the same mediocre contrast and softness seen on the 360 immersive videos, but when I was following the action it wasn't hard to stay fully engaged. Another highlight was watching a YouTube clip of play action from the graphically impressive Forza Horizon 5 racing videogame. The hyper-real animation proved an excellent match for the MK360—the action at center screen where the image is sharpest is the only thing that matters with a game like this, and the image felt incredibly immersive. As before, image quality could have been better if it were sharper and offered a little more contrast and shadow detail. But when the driver was on brightly lit terrain, it looked awesome.
I came away from my time with the Broomx MK360 taken with the company's vision and intense focus on immersive content creation and delivery. Still, as a piece of projection and playback hardware, the MK360 was an effective but less than fully modern solution. Given reasonable current expectations for video quality, my impression is that more emphasis needs to be placed by Broomx on combining the MK360's immersive projection experience with higher brightness, sharper detail, improved contrast and dimensionality, and even more saturated colors. No doubt this type of single-projector immersive application would really benefit from 4K resolution, with the inherently higher level of detail and diminishing of screen door effect that comes with a quadrupling of the 1080p pixel count. I'll refer here once more to the MKPro, whose 5,200 lumens make it 35% brighter than the MK360 out of the box, and whose laser engine may provide better contrast, though its WUXGA resolution is essentially equivalent to Full HD 1080p. I'd be curious to see it in action against the MK360.
Beyond the image, the complete lack of an accessible, HDCP-compliant HDMI port out of the box is a head-scratcher that limits utility. And while the MK Mirror software may provide a quick fix for viewing a meeting presentation off a laptop or connecting a game console, the lack of copyright management and need for a monthly subscription to make it work also makes it a less than perfect option.
But I do think it's critical to close things out here with some appropriate perspective. The MK360 and even the MKPro are intended to provide an immersive viewing experience to casual, non-critical viewers who walk spontaneously into a space and either interact directly with the image or enjoy it as a backdrop to other activities. It's not really meant for watching conventional video content, or for guys like me who can readily point out the flaws in image quality. Most viewers will be so engrossed in the experience they won't notice any weaknesses an expert would see. What I can say with certainty is that if your museum, business, healthcare facility, special event, or other environment can benefit from the excitement, entertainment, and relaxation that the Broomx library or your own custom immersive content can provide, the MK360 is an amazing, unique solution that really works.
- USB-A (for uploads and input)
- USB-A (for power)
- USB-C (for uploads and input)
- RJ-45 Ethernet
- Analog stereo out (1/4-inch)
- Analog stereo in (1/4-inch)
- WiSA wireless audio out (pending; 2.0 channel)
- USB-A (for uploads and input)
- USB-A (for power)
- Analog audio out (BNC)
- RJ-45 Ethernet
- Analog stereo out (1/4-inch)
- Analog stereo in (1/4-inch)
For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Broomx MK360 projector page.