Crave the big-screen home-theater experience? Stuck with a small-screen budget? Take a long look at the Cine1000—this versatile DLP projector is street-priced at just $900.
ViewSonic’s previous projectors were targeted at corporate buyers, and signs of that heritage remain in the Cine1000’s board-room appearance and non-backlit remote. This is the company’s first 16:9 aspect ratio projector, and it has packed an amazing collection of features into a supremely affordable package.
The diminutive box sports a native resolution of 854x480 pixels (720p and 1080i are supported via scaling) and a raft of I/O ports, including HDCP-compliant DVI-I input; composite, component, and S-Video inputs; analog RGB input and output (enabling you to pass the video signal through to a monitor); stereo audio inputs (RCA and 1/8-inch); stereo audio output (1/8-inch, for loop-through applications); and RS-232 and USB data ports.
DLP pixels are created by thousands of tiny mirrors, so these projectors are usually brighter than their LCD competitors in less-than-optimal lighting conditions. But since DLP also renders fonts with fuzzy edges, we can’t recommend using this projector for text applications—including web browsing (movie subtitles are large enough to be unaffected).
The Cine1000 filled all 58 diagonal inches of a Draper Piper HDTV projection screen with gorgeous color from a throw distance of just six feet (we chose the $318 Piper for our testing because it—like the lightweight Cine1000—is easily transportable). Given enough elbow room, the Cine1000 can project an image as large as 230 diagonal inches.
The projector did a fab job of scaling to a variety of PC resolutions for gaming, and Quake 4 looked absolutely stunning splashed across the huge screen at 1280x720. When it came to watching movies, however, we got better results with the output from a stand-alone DVD player. Because our videocard couldn’t drive the projector at its native resolution, widescreen films such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon wound up severely letterboxed—filling the screen horizontally, but leaving broad swaths of the top and bottom of the screen vacant. But with all those inputs, you can easily connect both devices.