Projectors and Console Gaming:
Finding a match for your gaming habits
As the first of the "next-generation" systems to be released, the Xbox 360 enjoys a comfortable market share in North America and Europe. All games are displayed in high definition, with the most common resolution being 720p. The system had an add-on HD DVD drive, though this has been discontinued with the death of that particular format.
All models of the Xbox 360 are capable of component output, and newer models have an onboard HDMI 1.2 port. While some games are indeed native 1080p or 1080i, most games are still 720p. On the movie front, the Xbox 360 has a reputation as a subpar upscaling DVD player, and Microsoft has not stated any intent to manufacture a Blu-Ray add-on player to replace the now-defunct HD DVD add-on. As such, you will likely end up using the Xbox 360 primarily for playing video games.
With the prevalence of 720p content and the relative absence of 1080p games and movies, the Xbox 360 is a perfect match for a 720p projector. A native 1280x720 projector allows you to match the native resolution of your display to most games in the Xbox 360's library, and what few games are not 720p are rescaled by the game console itself. Fortunately, 720p projectors are widespread, and some now cost less than $1,000, like the excellent Mitsubishi HC1500 (unfortunately discontinued, so get yours while you still can). Others, like Panasonic's AX200, Sanyo's PLV-Z5, and Epson's Cinema 720, cost about $1,300 and offer longer zoom lenses and lens shift capability. All of these projectors have both component and HDMI inputs. If you're not in a hurry, consider waiting for the Sanyo Z60 to become available, which is Sanyo's new 720p projector and the successor to the Z5. It should be shipping in a few weeks.
Making the most of your Xbox 360 does not need to be an expensive proposition. With high quality 720p projectors available for less than a grand, it's easy to enhance your Xbox 360 gaming experience without completely emptying your wallet.
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