Kris Deering

Kris Deering  |  Aug 02, 2019  |  2 comments
The Spears & Munsil (S&M) UHD HDR Benchmark is a video test disc developed with a wide range of users in mind. It has basic video setup and evaluation patterns aimed at the general consumer, but also patterns and features designed for use by professional calibrators, reviewers, and even manufacturers. Unlike S&M's previous test disc, the HD Benchmark, this version does not include general explanations on how to use the patterns wrapped into its interface but is still easy to navigate and use. (Tips are posted on the spearsandmunsil.com website that will help to get the most from the disc's content.)
Kris Deering  |  Jul 24, 2019  |  0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $8,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Reference-level optics
Maintenance-free LED light engine
Outstanding color accuracy
Minus
Lacks lens memories and motorized adjustments
Disappointing contrast
Limited HDR performance

THE VERDICT
BenQ's latest flagship projector outclasses its predecessor with HDR and wide color gamut sup- port, but contrast performance and HDR handling leave much to be desired compared with the high-end competition.

Back in 2017, I had an opportunity to review BenQ's HT9050 DLP projector, a flagship 4K model featuring a spectacular all-glass lens, an LED light engine, and the latest Texas Instruments DLP imaging device. To sum that review up briefly, I had a lot of issues with the HT9050, which lacked both HDR support and convenience features commonly seen on other models at or near its $8,999 price. Now BenQ has brought out the HT9060, another $8,999 model sitting at the top of its "CinePro" projector line.

Kris Deering  |  Jul 16, 2019  |  0 comments
My recent article, High Dynamic Range Explained, covered what HDR is and how it gets implemented in different types of displays. The focus was movies on Ultra HD Blu-ray disc and on streaming services, but another topic worth discussing — one regularly overlooked — is HDR gaming.
Kris Deering  |  May 01, 2019  |  3 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,099

AT A GLANCE
Plus
High-quality HDR to SDR conversion
SACD and DVD-Audio disc support
Detailed Info screen
Minus
No streaming apps or wireless connectivity
Somewhat tedious user interface
Occasional playback glitches

THE VERDICT
The UDP-LX500's universal disc support, high-quality onboard HDR tone mapping, and formidable build quality make it a welcome addition to the Ultra HD Blu-ray player scene.

It has now been a full year since Oppo Digital ceased production of its popular Ultra HD Blu-ray player lineup. Up until that point, Oppo was one of the few high- performance player options in a market concentrated on budget models packed with streaming features. We've since seen a few companies step up to fill the high-end player void, among them Pioneer, a company that produced numerous reference-level players back in the regular Blu-ray and DVD days. Pioneer's new offering, the UDP-LX500, is a universal disc player that supports playback of SACD and DVD-Audio discs. As you might expect, it sports both the Pioneer Elite logo and the high-end look and build associated with that iconic badge. At $1,099, it certainly has flagship pricing, so let's see if it measures up.

Kris Deering  |  Apr 17, 2019  |  5 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $18,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Fantastic HDR performance
Reference-level optics
Industry leading contrast
Minus
Some dynamic contrast-related artifacts
Noticeable fan noise in High lamp mode

THE VERDICT
JVC’s second-generation 4K beamer sets a new high bar for projector HDR performance. Add industry leading contrast, reference-quality optics, and exceptional usability and you have a projector that punches way above its price point.

It took a while, but JVC has finally updated its full consumer projector lineup to native 4K (4,096 x 2,160) resolution. Just over two years ago, Sound & Vision reviewed the company's first native 4K model, the $29,995 flagship DLA-RS4500. For this review I am going to cover the flagship model from the new range, the DLA-NX9 (also available as the DLA-RS3000 from JVC's professional division). At $18,000, the NX9 isn't exactly a casual purchase, though it does deliver some new features at a price point we haven't seen before from JVC.

Kris Deering  |  Feb 20, 2019  |  5 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $35,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Breathtaking image quality
Reference-level optics
Laser light source
Minus
Low light output for price point
Lacks dedicated picture mode for HDR

THE VERDICT
The Sony VPL-VW995ES delivers reference-level images with all video formats and benefits from a high-end lens that's optimized for 4K playback.

In 2018, I reviewed Sony's VPL-VW885ES 4K laser projector, a $25,000 model that I hoped would be the successor to previous Sound & Vision Top Pick winners from Sony, the VPL-VW1000 and VPL-VW1100ES, but it fell slightly short of expectations. At CEDIA 2018, Sony unveiled its VPL-VW995ES, a next-gen step-up model in the ES projector line that sported the high-end optics missing from the VW885ES plus a few new tricks. The VPL-VW995ES appears to be a true successor to the earlier designs, but at a steep $35,000, does it have the chops to command such a lofty price? Let's find out.

Kris Deering  |  Feb 05, 2019  |  0 comments
My experience covering home video extends back to the early days of DVD. But of all the new technologies and formats I've covered in that time, none has generated as much confusion as high dynamic range (HDR). In this article, I will attempt to demystify the subject of HDR, a technology that I find to be the most significant development to hit home video in years.
Kris Deering  |  Sep 12, 2018  |  10 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $499

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Reference-level video performance
In-player tone mapping for HDR and conversion to SDR
Multichannel analog output
Minus
Image enhancement options can be overwhelming
Setup not always intuitive
No 4K/HDR streaming support

THE VERDICT
Panasonic’s UHD Blu-ray player offers reference-level video performance and also sets a new bar for HDR playback with both HDR flat-panel TVs and projectors.

Today’s Ultra HD Blu-ray player market is drastically smaller than the one for the spinning-disc machines of old. In my early days reviewing DVD players, I could literally enter an electronics store, walk out with over a dozen players, and that would only represent a sampling of the available models. But with the massive rise in the popularity of streaming, we’ve seen the player market continue to slim down.

Kris Deering  |  Mar 13, 2018  |  5 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $25,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
True 4K (4096 x 2160) SXRD panels
HDR support, including HLG
Laser light engine
Minus
Middling dynamic contrast
Limited HDR adjustments

THE VERDICT
With the new VPL-VW885ES, Sony has added a premium laser model to its consumer projector line, but even at $25,000, it comes with some compromises.

These days, if you want a true native 4K projector (no pixel-shifting required) that doesn't have a Sony badge on it, you'll have to spend $35,000 and up for the privilege. Meanwhile, Sony now has four different models below that mark, starting at $5,000. Since the debut of the VPL-VW1000ES (in 2011!), we've been waiting for other manufacturers to join the native 4K fray—and yet, here we are.

Kris Deering  |  Dec 07, 2017  |  1 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $8,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Great optics
Accurate color adjustments via CMS
Long-life LED light engine
Minus
Lack of key features
Disappointing contrast performance
No HDR support

THE VERDICT
The BenQ HT9050 has DLP’s latest 4K chip design, but its poor contrast and lack of key features result in an uninspiring package that can't compete with other projectors at or near this price point.

It wasn’t long ago — just 10 years, in fact — that the home projection market was all about DLP. It dominated nearly every price point and was always at the cutting edge of features. But eventually, things changed. Texas Instruments stagnated on DLP development. Meanwhile, new technologies like LCOS emerged, taking onscreen performance to an entirely new level, particularly for native black level and contrast. DLP has stuck around, but it's often found on the budget side of the market, with entry-level home/business designs, or at the opposite end of the spectrum, with cost-no-object three-chip designs.

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