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Opinion of GeorgeP - Mar 6, 2003

NEC HT1000 Projector
XGA (1024x768), 1000 ANSI Lumens,
7.1 lbs, $4,495 (MSRP)
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by GeorgeP - Mar 6, 2003
Image Quality 5.0
Features 5.0
Construction 4.0
Ease of Use 5.0
Reliability 3.0
Value for Money 5.0
View Specs

Personal Experience
I actually held back my urge to review this unit until I'd used it for a while--I've had it about 2 months now. Reviews that discuss "pulling it out of the box tonight and it was great" are of limited usefulness when truly evaluating the unit.

Two months of usage result in a slightly mixed review. Performance is stellar. Reliability could be better.

The menus are easy to use, features are handy for my dual purpose of home theater and occasional Power Point for a client, and video quality is everything that Evan and every other reviewer here says--it's beautiful.

My comparison is to the Sharp PG-20MX which I had for a few weeks before sending back and opting for the HT1000. The HT1000 contrast, color saturation, and accuracy are superior. It looked pretty good on the white wall before the Firehawk 92" 16:9 arrived. As you might expect, it's all the better on the Firehawk.

The fan noise (save for problems discussed below) is far quieter. By far the most dramatic difference for me is the internal scaling. With a non-progressive DVD player via components inputs, the HT1000 reduced motion artifacts dramatically. My test DVD is Star Wars Phantom Menace--the text scrolling by at the beginning of the movie. With the non-progressive DVD player and the M20X, the text looked like the prettiest waterfall I've every seen! ;-) The HT1000's Faroudja chip deinterlaced it beautifully--a tiny bit of artifact, but the difference was night and day. I upgraded to a Panasonic RP62 (progressive scan). While what few motion artifacts I saw before were reduced further, I noticed an improvement in color saturation as the starkest difference.

HDTV from the Samsung SIR-TS160 is impeccable. The DVI input from the Samsung is fine—it just take the projector about 10 – 15 seconds to sync up when choosing the DVI input. And, standard-def satellite TV looks about as good as is possible with that format.

While I might be able to improve overall contrast and picture quality by tweaking, I've left video settings as they are "out of the box" (I'm using the "Movie" color temp setting). I may pop in the Avia DVD one of these days and see if I can tweak at all, but it will be hard to get a better balanced picture with better contrast than already exists.

Other reviews have discussed the short throw distance and ceiling height issues. DON'T IGNORE THIS! Do yourself a favor and visit the NEC web site for the Installation Guide. It accurately documents the required height above the top of the screen and distance from the front of the screen. Using a 92" 16:9 screen in a 15-foot-deep room was challenging. Because the ceiling in this room (a spare bedroom converted into a theater until the money tree allows the remodel of the basement) is a very high, peaked ceiling, a standard pipe ceiling mount was out of the question. I ended up building a 3-foot deep shelf that I mounted to the back wall, placing the projector upside down on standoffs (actually tall rubber corks from the hardware store). The shelf actually had to sit close to 9 feet up--I made very concerted efforts to mount the projector and align to the screen with no keystone or "3-D Reform" settings. Just be aware--if you want to avoid those pitfalls (especially with a 16:9 screen), you'll need a high ceiling and about relatively short throw distance.

After the difficulties outlined below, the unit seems to have "settled down" and is a true pleasure to watch. For the bucks, it's pretty hard to beat!

For the first 10 hours or so, my first unit was as quiet as a mouse (using Eco mode). Then, a fan began to make an annoying hum/whine reminiscent of noisy hard disk drives. Upon calling NEC, I discovered that the "InstaCare" logo all over the marketing literature and warranty card was a myth. I also discovered that the front-line support personnel had flunked out of Hamburger University before ending up at NEC--each call resulted in a different confused answer to the "Is this unit covered under InstaCare" question presented with a different level of incompetence. My dealer finally got a new unit to exchange.

For the first 5 hours, the second unit was as quiet as mouse. Thereafter, I was presented with a *DIFFERENT* kind of whine/hum. At 8 hours, the unit refused to start with a 4-flashing-LED indicator. The book said this indicated a "Fan Error".

More calls to NEC. More confusion, inconsistency, and incompetence. Finally, my wife took over and called up the NEC chain until she found someone who cared. Both units were returned to NEC and both were found to have the same bad "rear fan".

The fan was replaced and one unit returned (the other is actually supposed to be returned as well, with us being given the choice of which unit we want to keep--it has yet to arrive). For the first 5 hours, the unit was as quiet as a mouse. Now, there's a very slight noise that's better than the first two incidents, but still a tiny bit annoying during very quiet scenes.

NEC indicated that these were anomalies--they hadn't found any pervasive fan problems. For now, with the repaired unit having 30 - 40 hours on it, it seems to have settled down and is running fine.

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