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REVIEW

 

FELLINI 100 VIDEO PROJECTOR, £4450.00, ****

 

Why’s it here: When you want a seriously big picture a video projector is the only way to go. Philips has been making them for years but until fairly recently they've concentrated on the business, professional and corporate sectors. Now the company is enjoying some success in the consumer market, the Fellini 100 is an update of the Proscreen 4500, winner of last year's EISA Projector of the Year Award. The basic concept remains unchanged, it is compact, easy to use and the lower price is pitched at home cinema enthusiasts, with room for a big screen.

 

Any unique features: Philips say this is the first video projector with switchable colour options, they're controllable from a single button on the remote handset. The Natural Colour setting gives the best all round performance for TV and movies; Vivid Colour hikes colour contrast, to add impact to video game displays or to compensate for ambient light. The projector is based around three 3-inch LCD elements, with a total of 2.35 million pixels, making it capable of XGA-standard resolution though surprisingly it doesn't have PC connectivity. The light source is a UHP lamp, rated at 120 watts; life expectancy is 4,000 hours.

 

Philips proprietary Limesco (line memory scan converter) line doubling circuitry is used to minimise the effect of line structure on larger screen displays. It's a multi-standard design with composite and S-Video inputs. On board audio facilities are limited to a mono monitor speaker, powered by a 6-watt amplifier. All major functions, apart from focus and zoom, can be controlled from the illuminated remote handset, via a comprehensive set of menu-controlled on-screen displays. An AV memory stores up to three sets of picture and sound preferences, the picture can be inverted in the horizontal and vertical planes for rear projection and ceiling mount applications.

 

How does it perform: Video projectors always involve some compromise and the Fellini 100 is no exception, but in this instance they're relatively minor and easy to bear. Set up is simple though the forward tilt mechanism could do with a centimetre or so more height adjustment, especially when used with a high-mounted screen. On a basic white screen or wall it produce a bright crisply focused and accurately aligned image, even in moderate ambient light. (An optional high-efficiency 'Brilliance 80' screen produces a good image in daylight conditions). Colours are clean and noise levels are low. LCDs are not as good as CRTs in reproducing subtle shades and textures; nevertheless the Fellini 100 has a fair crack at skin tones, which look reasonably natural. The Limesco circuitry does a good job of masking line structure; in fact you have to look very closely indeed to see anything untoward, even at the edges of the display. The extra processing does generate the occasional artefact, very fast movement or rapid panning blurs the image slightly, though this could also be attributed to LCD image lag and in any event it's not enough to cause any distraction.

 

Our Verdict: Watching TV or seeing a movie on a ten foot screen never fails to impress but the novelty can soon wear off as the picture defects start to grate. We can't say it won't happen with the Fellini 100 but it has significantly fewer picture faults (compared with most other projectors) and we could easily live with it on a day to day basis. The price is on the high side but in this case, spending a little more pays dividends in the performance department.

 

Philips Creative Display Solutions, telephone 0181-689 4444, www.cds.be.philips.com

 

UP CLOSE

 

Features                     XGA resolution, 4,000 hr lamp life, 0.23 - 13.2 metre screen range, multi-standard operation (PAL, SECAM, NTSC), on-screen display, line interpolation

Sockets                       AV in & line audio out (phono), S-Video in/out (mini DIN)

Dimensions                 330 x 165 x 330mm

 

Picture Quality            ****

Sound Quality            ** (see text)

Build Quality              *****

Features                     ****

Ease of use                 ****

Overall value              ***

 

Rival Buys

Seleco  SVP-350, £3800

Sharp XV-380, £3900

Sony VPL-W400, £5500

 

CAPTIONS

It is as simple as it looks, just plug it in and point it at the screen, the only manual adjustments are for the lens -- for that price you might expect motorised zoom and focus…

 

All of the controls are mounted on the top panel; they're well spaced and easy to find, even in a darkened room.

 

All of the input and output sockets are on the side, the access hatch for the lamp is right next to the connector panel. A dust filter on the underside should be cleaned or replaced every 100 hours

 

The buttons on the curvy remote control are backlit, to make the controls easier to find in the dark.

 

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Ó R. Maybury 1998, 1007

 

 

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