With the price of projectors coming down, they are now as affordable as a 32in widescreen television, yet with twice the projection. In steps the HT1100 from NEC a monster of a projector that promises, and delivers, a maximum screen size of 300in to give you that home cinema experience in the home.
From the outset the HT1100 has plenty going for it and the model seems to build on its predecessor enough to keep ahead of the game.
For the serious home cinema junkie there are heaps of good points to the feature list: Multiple inputs, eco mode, good screen resolution, support for the PC as well as a 16:9 widescreen ratio offering alongside 4:3 for those widescreen movie moments.
The inputs are almost in the realm of confusing to the novice with the projector offering a range of inputs including RGB Analog, RGB Digital, Video, S-Video, Component, 4 3.5mm stereo mini jack inputs, a PC Card slot and standard VGA monitor as well. If that wasn’t enough, the projector supports PAL, NTSC and SECAM amongst a few others.
But it’s not all about getting the picture in that is important but getting it out. For this the projector relies on the strengths of DLP (Digital Light Processing technology) and rightly so. The projector offers an enormous contrast ratio of 3500:1 which guarantees pictures with rich colours, sharp edges and a deep black contrast. Compare this to a sub £1000 projector with a contrast ratio of 600:1 and you can certainly spot the difference in quality.
For those wishing to get the most out of the picture the eco mode which can be switched on. While this noticeably makes a difference to the brightness of the projection NEC promises that you’ll get around 3000 hours from one bulb rather than the usual 500 - 1000 hours. If you’re in a dark room you should be able to get away with it however any conflicting lights in the home cinema or “pub” area, then the brightness reduction is pointless.
Those wishing to double up the use of the HT1100 can opt to use the PC connector and all of these features are accessed via the remote control or panel of buttons on the projector. Overall, on-screen menus were simple and easy to navigate styled in the same fashion as most televisions.
In tests we found the projector to be quiet, but got very hot even after a short time, so either you need good ventilation or expect the room to warm up. At the time of writing this might prove uncomfortable, but in the Autumn and Winter months it may, like a PC running hot, unwittingly help heat your viewing room.
Overall, this is a very good player that will offer the serious home cinema user all that they want from a high end consumer projector, however high end never comes cheap and the £3,500 accompanying price tag may scare a few off. Of course, measuring up against Plasma screen TVs makes this projector very affordable, certainly considering the 300in image throw and the ability to attach this unit to the ceiling with little to no effort.
However Plasma screens let you watch in daylight, something that this player just couldn't do without your physically drawing curtains and obscuring other light sources. King of the late night movies, this projector is for the serious viewer rather than the daytime television aficionado.