Digital Projection HIGHlite Cine 260 HC DLP Projector Page 2
The projector has no preprogrammed picture modes. Instead, it provides four different presets, three of which are directly accessible from the remote. You can set these up and save them for later recall. I prefer this arrangement to the detritus of the Vivids, Dynamics, Standards, and often non-cinematic Cinema modes that clutter up the menus of most consumer sets. Such modes are almost never right without additional tweaking anyway.
In addition to these presets, the main menu offers the usual picture controls. Aspect Ratio includes two settings intended for use with an anamorphic lens (not used in this review): Theaterscope and 4:3 Narrow. For most of my HD viewing, I selected Native. With this option, what the projector gets is what you see, with no video processing. An Overscan control provides Crop (it blanks 3 pecent from the left and right of the image), Zoom (6 percent overscan all around), and off (no cropping or overscan—the setting I used for this review).
The Advanced menu offers additional controls. Color Space came set to Auto, where I left it (it sets itself for the color space of the input, such as RGB or Y/Cb/Cr). RGB Adjust is where you’ll find the red, green, and blue calibration controls, both Offset for the low end of the brightness range and Gain for the high end. Color Temperature provides a range of options, none of which were spot on to the D65 standard. I got a better result after I performed a full calibration with the RGB controls.
Color Gamut offers manual settings, such as for the Rec. 709 standard and SMPTE-C. I left it in Auto. Gamma has five settings: CRT, Film, Video, Punch, and Graphics. (I’ll share more on the gamma settings below.)
Dynamic Black, the manual notes, “allows for increased contrast by adjusting the black level of the image, depending on the overall brightness of the image.” Digital Projection says the Cine 260 accomplishes this electronically; the projector doesn’t have an adjustable iris, either manual or dynamic. Dynamic Black did drop the absolute black level with a full black screen by a rather significant amount.
But with Dynamic Black engaged, I noticed some pumping of the dark parts of the image—reminiscent of a less than optimum dynamic iris—as the picture’s average brightness level rose and fell. More significantly, there was a visible color shift as the average picture level changed. For instance, on scrolling white titles over a black background, the lettering clearly varied from a cool white to a warm, almost yellowish white, depending on the relative balance of white lettering and black background. Because of these issues, I didn’t use Dynamic Black for any of my measurements or observations.
Adaptive Contrast produced a bright, snappy image in the Economy lamp mode, although it didn’t really improve the black level to any significant degree. I compared two setups, one with the Adaptive Contrast on and the lamp in Economy, the other with Adaptive Contrast off and the lamp in its brighter, Standard setting. In both cases, I made sure that the peak white level was the same. After much back and forth, I eventually settled on a preference for the lamp mode on Standard, Adaptive Contrast off.
The Economy lamp mode affected color purity by turning whites pink at levels near or above peak white with the Contrast control set to achieve my desired 18 foot-lamberts on the screen, although this wasn’t visible on normal program material. The Standard lamp mode produced clean whites up to at least 5 percent above peak white, although at the expense of more energy consumption and a shorter lamp life. That’s what I used.
Both of these setups looked best on most material with the Gamma set to Video, which produced a gamma of around 2.2. Film produced a gamma of approximately 2.0, CRT even lower, and Punch a bit over 2.3. (Higher gamma numbers mean a darker image in the middle-brightness region. The manual claims a gamma of 2.5 for CRT and 2.2 for Film—very different from what I measured.)
The Cine 260 HC has no color management system, although one is said to be in development (no word on whether or not it will be retrofittable onto samples already in the field). But the Rec. 709 (and Auto) color points were very good out of the box (see HT Labs Measures). While the brightness levels of the individual colors could stand a bit of tweaking if such were available, nothing appeared to be visibly amiss. The projector also offers a blue-only mode to check for color decoding; it produced good (though not perfect) results.
The projector refreshes a 1080p/24 image at 72 hertz; the additional frames required are simply repeated real frames. There are no frame-interpolation modes. A 1080p/60 signal (or an interlaced signal that the projector first converts to 60p) refreshes at 60 Hz.
Eleven built-in test patterns are also available, ranging from an alignment grid to full-screen white and both the primary and secondary colors.
The remote control offers direct source selection, direct control over important functions, and selection of three of the four user memory presets.
The Big Picture
For my viewing tests, I sat about 16 feet from the screen, a distance that produced a viewing angle of about 35 degrees (the angle the screen covers of your forward vision) on a 118-inch-wide (135.6-inch-diagonal) Stewart StudioTek projection screen with a gain of 1.3.
The Cine 260 HC’s video processing passed all of our standard tests with flying colors (see the Video Test Bench chart). I also checked the resolution in 1080i (the resolution tests in the chart are performed at 1080p), and they were equally good. In either 1080p or 1080i, there wasn’t the slightest visible loss in either the luma (black and white) or chroma (color) resolution.