Billed as a home theater projector, the W1200 seemed to have a number of appealing attributes when it debuted at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas back in January. Sporting ISF certification and featuring an affordable price tag with a street price of $1,500, the W1200 comes with a pretty good feature package.
At this price point, buyers shouldn’t expect niceties such as vertical and horizontal lens shift, but they should expect that the product be reasonably easy to set up, which is where the W1200 comes up short.
Consider this projector if: you’re looking for an affordable 1080p DLP front projector and aren’t too fussy about making critical picture adjustments.
Look elsewhere if: you’re planning on other than ceiling mounting the projector, as the W1200 has substantial vertical offset that can’t be adjusted. Also look further if you want to have full control over all important picture adjustments.
The two main feature differences between the W1200 and its lower priced kin, the W1100, are ISF certification and the inclusion of more sophisticated video processing that includes motion estimation/motion compensation (MEMC for short). Equipped with a 230 watt Osram UHP lamp that drives a 1920x1080p DLP chip, and equipped with a PixelWorks PWC890 processor, it would seem that the W1200 is aiming for premium performance at an affordable price.
But with the inclusion of features that seem out of place for a home theater projector, I’m guessing the factory decided to make it more of an “all things to all people” type of product. Built-in stereo speakers are but one example. If the W1200 was intended for the gaming crowd or for business presentations on-the-go, that feature makes sense. For a proper home theater where a multi-channel sound system is de rigueur, the audio capability doesn’t make much sense. Another example is the availability of an optional cloth carrying case, which is something that business users would typically be interested in.
The MEMC Frame Interpolation feature provides for a split-screen side-by-side demo mode, where you can view the advantage of activating the processing. Movie purists might prefer to turn off the feature, which provides “smoothing” of 24 frames per second film-induced judder, and there are three levels of processing to choose from, as opposed to a simpler on or off choice.
There’s also a selection of five Color Wheel Sequence modes, but the owner’s manual doesn’t mention the feature at all. The number one mode provided the best results, while the other modes produced some very odd color palettes.
As expected for a projector in this price range, the W1200 doesn’t have any form of lens shift. However, the amount of fixed vertical offset seems to be a little on the high side, which means that for table-top mounting the projector needs to be lower to the floor relative to the screen. For obvious reasons, this pretty much eliminates any possibility of shelf mounting the projector further back in the room. Ceiling mounting is the only way to go here.
These days, all one really needs is a single HDMI input, at least for a projector that’s intended for the home theater market, where it’s entirely reasonable to assume that it will be hooked up to an A/V receiver that handles the chore of signal switching. Even the cheapest AVR or integrated home-theater-in-a-box setup that one finds at a big box warehouse store these days provides that functionality, along with standard definition to high definition upconversion in many cases.