3LCD + 1LCD = 4LCD

Most of the video-display headlines have centered on the LCD versus plasma big-screen competition. Kind of like McDonald's versus Burger King. But there's also Wendy's. Or, more to the point, video projectors. Love 'em or hate 'em, projectors offer an interesting alternative, especially in terms of portability.

Sanyo has always been a keen player in the LCD and DLP projector market, and their new PLC-XP200L brings some new technology to the party. In a world of 3-LCD projectors, it is billed as the world's first 4-LCD projector. It pumps out a mighty 7,000 lumens with XGA resolution of 1,024 x 768 pixels, and a 2,200:1 cobtrast ratio. Sensibly called "4LCD," the light engine adds a "Color Control Device" to the usual 3-LCD (red, green, blue) systems. This is said to "automatically control the amount of yellow light in the image, producing higher luminosity with improved color accuracy and clarity."

The high luminosity does not penalize color accuracy; Sanyo developed an image compensating chip for the 4LCD engine which allows for up to 20% more color space than their 3LCD projectors. With the controlled yellow light, the chip separates each color histogram for color processing and correction, resulting in naturally rich colors.

The PLC-XP200L provides a 4:3 aspect ratio, and digital/analog video input terminals including a DVI-D (digital and analog video), component video and D-Sub15. Input signal compatibility includes UXGA, SXGA+, SXGA, WXGA, XGA, SVGA, VGA, and MAC. It is also compatible with HD resolutions including 1080i 50/60, 1035i, 720p as well as standard definition (480p, 480i, 575p, 575i). Using PJ-NET MASTER software, all projector functions such as power status, lamp status, input mode, signal condition, etc. can be monitored and controlled via Ethernet.

Although it appears in their "portable projector" category, the PLC-XP200L weighs a hefty 25 pounds, so, it might not be the best choice for road warriors. The price of $9,995 might also give pause to the casual viewer. It will ship in September.

The PLC-XP200L is primarily targeted at high-luminance users such as large-venue halls, conference rooms, auditoriums, and houses of worship. However, anyone who wants a bright image (and who doesn't?) will appreciate the ability to also get rich colors at bright levels. As such, the PLC-XP200L is the first in a line of Sanyo 4LCD projectors, hopefully including some home HD models. When considering Big Mac versus The Whopper, don't forget the Old Fashioned burger. -Ken C. Pohlmann