Laboratory carried out by Javier Guerra
I have been following a specific pattern for years when it comes to writing articles about the devices that pass through our test room. The central part of this work consists of extensive viewing tests and long calibration sessions to squeeze all the possibilities out of the device. In this case, the Viewsonic LS800WU projector is already over 40 hours old after all the testing we have done! Before I sit down in front of the computer to write my impressions, I like to read the story of the company behind the creation I have in my laboratory at that moment. I can assure you that it has been a long time since I was so surprised to learn about the history of a company in this sector, so much so that I have decided to share the extraordinary and inspirational story of the creator and head of Viewsonic with you, my readers.
Viewsonic’s CEO, Mr James Chu, is an American businessman, born in Taiwan 61 years ago. He grew up with his five siblings in a small town in southern Taiwan, and his academic curriculum was not exactly brilliant. After dropping out of his unfinished studies, fulfilling his commitment to the Taiwanese military for two years and going through numerous sales jobs, he landed in the US before turning 30 as a sales manager responsible for the North American region for a Taiwanese brand of computer keyboards. The following year, thanks to his tenacity and the money his sisters lent him, he founded his own computer monitor company, which, in 1990, adopted the name we know today. In the 30 years since its founding, Mr Chu turned his small business into a technology giant with offices in 30 countries, sales outlets in more than 120 territories and an annual turnover of more than USD 1.5 billion. Along the way, he joined forces with monsters like AT&T, when necessary, or bought the Display Products division of Nokia, all to become a leading manufacturer of display products and solutions, leaving in his wake the large Japanese corporations that have dominated this segment for decades.
If achieving the challenge of becoming a leading company is something that deserves the highest praise, more so when all of this has been done with respect for a rigorous code of conduct and ethical practices that, as expected, occupy a predominant place on the manufacturer’s website, a clear evidence of how they do things.
Our guest is one of the two projectors based on DLP technology and Laser lighting system that Viewsonic created this spring as “twin” brothers. Both share the first part of the LS800 name but are not identical twins, because, although externally they might look like exact copies and share 99% of their internal components, the difference between the two models is that the LS800HD equips a DMD chip with native FullHD resolution of 1920×1080 pixels–the protagonist of our analysis. The LS800WU is fitted with the same Texas Instruments DMD DarkChip 3 chip, but with a native resolution of 1920×1200 definition points and 500 extra lumens in its Light Engine allowing it to reach 5.500 Lumens in the specs against its brother’s 5,000.
This decision illustrates the manufacturer’s thinking. Viewsonic could have made a single product with the primary task of displaying images in educational environments and corporate facilities. They would also get on perfectly in applications with a more significant presence of Video/Broadcast images, such as hotel and catering businesses or betting venues where large format images are broadcast simultaneously with a multitude of sporting events. But Viewsonic chose to diversify its offer and manufacture two perfectly differentiated devices, giving each of them the most suitable orientation for each type of need. If we were to look for an example of this combined use, we could highlight the paradigmatic case of a museum, which could opt for the LS800WU model to display data information, graphics, PowerPoints and any other type of information from a PC in some rooms; and at the same time, choose the LS800HD model, for viewing FullHD/1080p video content and capaable of playing back the image mapping point to point, matching the native resolution of the projector and without the help of annoying video processing that end up affecting the image quality.
The LS800WU is the best example of the American-Taiwanese manufacturer’s catalogue of educational and business-related projectors. It is an impressive looking device that combines aesthetic beauty with a wide range of installation possibilities. We’re talking about a device of 44 cm deep, 36 cm wide and 16 cm high. We can’t say has a generous manual mechanism to move the lens (Lens Shift) both horizontally and vertically, but in return, it offers us a robust mechanical construction prepared to operate at any angle and any position within a 360º orientation, making it especially useful for digital signage applications and projection in portrait mode. This will undoubtedly delight the most avant-garde shops seeking to give a touch of sophistication to their facilities.
In the connections section, the Viewsonic engineering team has excelled itself by providing a plethora of connectors that include VGA video input and output, as well as audio inputs and outputs in both the 3.5 mm Minijack and RCA connectors. For the connection of computer equipment, it has a USB 2.0 and a Mini USB input, as well as an Ethernet RJ45 input to be hooked up with a LAN network that can take advantage of the maximum potential of the remote control of the device and the transmission of high-bandwidth audio and video signals over distances of up to 100 metres, thanks to its integrated HDBaseT receiver when using cat5e/cat6 cabling. As if this were not enough, and to demonstrate its ambivalent nature, it also has three HDMI connectors.
The user menu is another of the strengths of the LS800WU, as it shares with its LS800HD brother the ability to professionally adjust and calibrate video input signals and not only in terms of grey scale adjustment seeking a reference colour temperature across the entire dynamic range of the image, but it also incorporates a comprehensive CMS (Colour Management System) that allows a professional calibrator to adjust the 6 primary and secondary colours, both in Saturation, Dye and Luminance. Bravo, bravo and bravo for Viewsonic, for taking into account the fans of colour fidelity when making their flagship.
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