Ďhome cinemaí is applied rather loosely to any audio-visual set-up, and normally
implies the TV used in the system has a larger than average screen, 26-inches
or above. Nevertheless it still takes an enormous leap of faith to compare
watching a domestic television, even one of the bigger ones, with the visual
impact of a cinema screen. If youíve got the room you can go some way towards
recreating that experience with a video projector, one like the Sharp VX-315P
in fact, which looks a lot like the XV-710 that itís replacing.
compact portable projector has been designed with home users in mind, though
itís equally suitable for business and commercial applications. It can create
an image up to 100 inches across, though only in near-dark conditions; optimum
picture size is around 60-inches, and thatís viewable in a semi-darkened room
on an efficient screen. Inside the sleek grey box thereís a single 3.6-inch TFT
LCD panel with over 300,000 picture elements (100,386 RGB trios); behind that thereís a newly-developed metal
halide lamp which yields a picture brightness of 330 lux with a screen size of
30-inches. Obviously picture resolution will not be as good as a professional three-element
projectors but if the similarly-specified 710 was anything to go by it should still
be quite good.
This not a
TV, so it doesnít have an on-board tuner, but it does have multi-system
capability and can handle PAL, SECAM and NTSC signals, either composite or
S-Video formatted. It have an internal audio amplifier and speaker though, and sound
output is rated at 3 watts. Thatís sufficient for monitoring but we suspect most
users will prefer to utilise their AV system for serious stereo or surround
sound effects. All up weight is a mere 4.3kgs and it measures 215 x 149 x 385
mm, thatís about the size of a large shoe-box. The big question, though, is how
much does it cost? Well, itís not cheap, but you knew that... In fact it will
set you back a cool £1800, but look at this way, thatís actually quite cheap
for a video projector, and how else are you going to get a 100-inch TV picture
in your living room?
on the subject of video projectors, and as a prelude to next monthís Shop
Window feature, which is looking at a range of models, we thought you might
like to know about another new projector from Sharp. The XG-3850E is a
professional 3-element projector, and thatís reflected in the price which is
just twenty quid short of ten grand (including VAT...). Mind you, it can throw
up an image up to 200-inches across, and picture quality is likely to be pretty
impressive, with each LCD element having a grand total of 309,120 pixels. Sharp
reckon resolution is in the order of 500-lines -- better than many tube TV
displays -- on computer generated images itís capable of displaying a full 640
x 480 dots, compatible with the most frequently used formats.
It has a
wide range of input facilities, including composite and S-Video, and thereís
multi-scan inputs for RGB, VGA, CGA, EGA and MAC II computer displays. It also
has audio inputs, and a built in speaker and amplifier. Itís multi-system
compatible and supports PAL, NTSC and SECAM formats; additionally it can handle
4:3, 16:9 and 21:9 images. It probably
makes a damn fine cup of tea as well, so start saving now!
DISC -- AT LAST?
You can add
yet another CD format to the list which now includes audio only discs, CD-ROM, CDi,
Photo CD, CD Video, Video CD, CD-R, and countless other exotic variants that
needless to say do lots of clever things but are all incompatible with one
another. The newcomer is called Digital Video Disc, developed jointly by
Philips and Sony, and for once, it makes some sort of sense. This 12cm disc can
hold approximately 3.7 gigabytes of data, thatís more than five times as much
as a normal CD or CD-ROM, and enough
for around 135 minutes of compressed video. Thatís a full-length feature film
on one disc, along with (compressed) digital audio and subtitles. The increase
in capacity has been brought about by an improvement in laser technology, a
reduction in the size of the data pits and a narrowing of the gaps between the
tracks on the disc.
these new discs will only work with a new generation of players, but the discs
themselves should be no more expensive (some hope...) than normal CDs as they
can be produced using the same equipment. Itís early days yet, so thereís no
word on when and how much itíll all cost but keep an eye on this one. It looks
a darn sight more promising than the hotchpotch of standards and fixes that
have bedevilled the concept of movies on CD.
are proud to announce that theyíve managed to eliminate the last remaining 0.4%
of cadmium metal from their nickel metal hydride re-chargeable batteries. They
should have kept quiet, we didnít even know it was there in the first place...
first to applaud this notable achievement sadly itís not going to make a jot of
difference to the overall impact that batteries as a whole can have on the
environment. Itís up to all of us to make sure we dispose of them safely, donít
just chuck them in the dustbin, your local amenity tip will be able to take
them off your hands, or -- in the case of deceased camcorder packs -- take them
back to the shop where you brought them. Most of the materials can be safely
recovered and recycled.
for an exclusive test report on the Sharp VL-HS410 View Cam in next monthís
Video Camera. The 410 is due to hit the shops in a few weeks but weíve got hold
of an early production sample for review. The 410 will replace the HS400, their
current top of the line View Cam, and like its predecessor the new model has a
Hi8 recording system and stereo sound.
Unlike the recent View Cam upgrades this one is effectively a new machine, and
weíre pleased to say theyíve addressed a number of our criticisms of the 400.
change, however, is to the power system. Instead of a nickel metal-hydride pack
the new machine uses a lithium ion battery, similar but not compatible with the
one developed by Sony and used by both Canon and Hitachi. This has resulted in a
reduction in both size and weight, improving the handling on the new machine no
end. One of our main quibbles was with the 400ís peculiar microphone, which was
vertically oriented and produced up/down stereo channels, instead of the more
usual left/right ones. The mike is round the right way on the 410, with a consequent improvement in sound performance.
Other changes include a new 16x digital zoom, improved trasnmissiveness LCD
screen -- for easier daylight viewing --plus several changes to the control
layout and operating systems. The only thing that hasnít changed is the price,
thatís still around the £1400 mark, find out how the new machine compares next
news on the Video Tech 2070 has just come our way. The device, which you can
read all about on page XX now works with JVC VCRs, and the latest models to roll
off the production line have been modified to work with the Sony 805 camcorder,
which previously had caused one or two problems.
TO FOLLOW -- IíM STILL WAITING....
Maze Technologyís new genlock card for PCs was going to be called until someone
came up with the rather more descriptive name of PC-2-Video. The card, which
can overlay computer-generated images onto a video input, comes bundled with Mazeís
PC Titler De-Luxe software, and at around £411 thatís a pretty good deal, PC
Titler on its own has been selling for £150. Maze are also doing a package deal
on the genlock and their PC Titler Pro software, itís called PC-2-Video PRO and
it will be selling for a little over £822. (By the way, the prices we show all
card is designed to fit all IBM PCs and compatibles with a 386 (or higher)
processor, at least 3Mb of RAM and a 1Mb SVGA graphics card. It is configured
for both composite and Y/C (S-Video) PAL video input and output, plus it will
operate at resolutions up to 800 x 600. It provides simultaneous VGA monitor
and PAL video outputs, so you can see whatíre doing on the PC screen, and it can
be controlled directly by Mazeís Video Workshop For Windows. That means itís
possible to create titles automatically, and carry out neat tricks like video
transitions -- using just one source deck -- with one image appearing to dissolve
seamlessly into another.
hoping to see one of the very first cards soon, possibly in the next month or
two, so look out for a review in the very near future.