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Review: Hitachi Ultravision HDPJ52Home Theater Projector

Review Contents
Best Home Theater Projector
Ease of Use
Hitachi UltraVision HDPJ52 Projector Hitachi UltraVision HDPJ52
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7000:1 Contrast Ratio
1200 Lumens
Street Price: n/a

In recent months, LCD projection technology has improved greatly, with new panels available which are capable of displaying higher contrast images than ever before. Since the CEDIA 2005 expo, we have seen several new LCD home theater projectors featuring exceptional contrast performance and affordable pricing, all of which are giving DLP projectors a run for their money. Hitachi's new Ultravision HDPJ52 represents another elegant option for light-controlled home theater use, and it proves to be one worth a closer look.

Specifications. 1200 ANSI lumens, 7000:1 contrast, native 16:9 widescreen format, 1280x720 resolution 3x LCD panels.

Compatibility. HDTV 1080i, 720p, 480p, 480i. Full NTSC / PAL / SECAM.

Lens and Throw Distance. 1.60:1 manual zoom/focus lens. Throws a 100" diagonal image from 9.3 to 15 feet.

Lamp Life. 2,000 hours.

Connection Panel. One composite video, one S-Video, one set of YPbPr component inputs, one 15-pin VGA connector, one HDMI connector, an RS-232C port and a 12V trigger.

Installation Options. Table mount, rear shelf mount, ceiling mount.

Warranty. One year.

Feature Set / General Impressions

With a 1.6x zoom lens and extensive lens shift ability, the Hitachi HDPJ52 should be a breeze to mount for most people. For a 100" diagonal 16:9 image, the HDPJ52 can be mounted anywhere from 9.3' to 15' away from the screen, and the zoom lens will take care of the rest. Furthermore, the lens shift allows a total movement range of 2.5 screen heights vertically and 1.5 screen widths horizontally. In percentage form, that means that, from dead center, the image can be shifted upwards or downwards 75% of the screen height, or horizontally 25% in either direction. This makes for an impressive range of lens shift, which will make it easy to install in a variety of room configurations.

The menu system on the HDPJ52 can be somewhat confusing when trying to find advanced settings. Organization could be better, and some settings and controls are seemingly hidden away in the hierarchy of other options. For example, the HDPJ52 has several preset picture modes, and there is a button on the remote to cycle through them - but to access them through the menu, you must go to the absolute bottom of the menu selections and switch to the "Easy Menu". The mode selector is not available in the Advanced menu at all. To customize gamma or color temperature, you must press "enter" on one of the custom settings, though there is no indication that you must do this. We advise you to sit down and actually read the manual before using this projector, as it will make it a lot easier.

Despite this, the degree of customization available on the HDPJ52 is worth noting. Rather than having you choose from a selection of gamma curves, for example, the HDPJ52 allows you to adjust the gamma curve to your liking, and save up to four different settings. The same goes for color temperature and general user memory. When all of these are combined, it makes for a highly customizable image.

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Further Impressions
Review Contents: Specs and General Impressions Further Impressions Comparative Performance