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NEC NP4001 DLP Video Projector - Product Review and Rating

NEC NP4001 720p DLP Video Projector - Page 2 - Evaluation and Final Take

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

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NEC NP4001 Video Projector - Inside Booth

NEC NP4001 Video Projector - Inside Booth

Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Video Performance

The NEC NP4001, although designed primarily as a business presentation projector, still offers features and performance that can work well as a home theater projector, especially in a large room. This unit is large and heavy, coming in at 36 lbs. However, using the the NP4001 is logical and straightforward.

The side mounted connections are clearly labeled and spaced out, and the on-unit control buttons and remote control were easy to use in conjunction with the onscreen menus. The user manual is thick and very detailed. However a Quick Setup Guide is also provided. This is definitely a projector for the more experienced user.

The NP4001 features power focus, zoom, and lens shift controls that make it easy to position and line up with the screen. However, it must be noted that this projector does not come with a lens; the lens is an additional purchase in accordance to projector-sreen distance and screen size used.

The NP4001 is an excellent performer. The 3600 to 4500 lumen light output produced a very bright image from a distance of 30 feet. The color quality and detail was excellent. However, the black level could be improved somewhat. This unit did a very job of upscaling lower resolution 480p DVD material and downscaling higher resolution 1080i Blu-ray and HD-DVD resolutions to 720p.

It must be noted that the NP4001 does not have 1080p input capability, nor does it have dedicated HDMI inputs. For this review, an LG BH100 using primarily HD-Component video connections was used feeding a 1080i output signal into the NP4001.

NEC NP4001 Video Projector - Focus, Zoom, Lens Shift Controls

NEC NP4001 Video Projector - Focus, Zoom, Lens Shift Controls

Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
In terms of the discs used, the most impressive were Ratatouille, Flight Plan, and Hostel on Blu-ray, and Transformers and Hot Fuzz on HD-DVD. The color and depth with Ratatouille was very precise. In addition, with Flight Plan, facial details were extremely good, however, some of the black levels could have been better. With Hostel, the most impressive was the exterior Eastern European footage, the detail and colors were excellent.

With Transformers, the first quarter of the of film did appeared to lean more towards "organish" flesh tones and hotter than necessary whites, however, the balance of the film, as projected by the NP4001 offered excellent color and detail. On the other hand, Hot Fuzz exhibited a more restrained look with regards to color, but was excellent in detail.

Taking everything into consideration, it was hard to believe that I was watching an image projected in 720p, scaled down from a 1080i input source, and not 1080p.

A Note About Audio on the NP4001

Since the NP4001 is designed primarily for use as business presentation projector, it does have a built-in 3wpc stereo amplifier and speaker system. However, since the focus of my review was to test its use in a home theater environment, which included the use of an external audio system, I did not check out, or evaluate, the capability of the onboard stereo audio amplifier or speaker system.

What I Liked About the NP4001

1. This projector has an impressive light output via Dual lamp system. Even in a partially lit room you can still see a viewable image. In a properly darkened home theater environment, the image brightness is outstanding.

2. Considering the employment of two high-wattage lamps that need to be cooled, the fans built-into the NP4001 were very quiet and keep the projector at reasonable temperature. In addition, this projector has an extremely fast cool down time during the shut-off process.

3. Interchangeable lenses are available to accommodate various size rooms. Although the NP4001 doesn't come with a lens, the accessory lens options offered are a great benefit for varying types of installation needs.

4. Power zoom, focus, vertical and horizontal lens shift. This feature is lacking on less expensive projectors. Having powered functions to make lens adjustments makes it unnecessary to physically touch the lens after it is installed.

5. 4-segment and 6-segment color wheel options are included. Single Chip DLP video projectors, such as this one employ a color wheel as part of the projection assembly. In a very rare move, NEC has included both a 4 and 6-segment color wheel in the box. The four segment color wheel allows for maximum brightness, while the 6-segment color wheel provides a better balance of color and brightness for home theater-type applications. More segments on the color wheel can also decrease the DLP Rainbow Effect.

What I Didn't Like About the NP4001

1. No HDMI inputs - HDMI compatible DVI-HDCP inputs provided.

NEC NP4001 Video Projector - Remote Control

NEC NP4001 Video Projector - Remote Control

NEC NP4001 720p DLP Video Projector - Review
2. No 1080p input capability - accepts 1080i - scales to 720p.

3. Needs some improvement in black level performance (tested using 4-segment color wheel).

4. No lens is included. However, accessory lenses are available.

5. The NP4001 is expensive. The average purchase price of this projector and a lens averages about $7,500. This does not include sales tax, or the extra accessories you may need for custom installation.

Final Take

As mentioned at the beginning this review, with a price $5,999 (not including the lens), the NEC NP4001 is not for the bargain hunter, but is a great value for the home theater enthusiast, especially if there is a need for a projector for a large room.

With a native pixel resolution of 1280x768 (720p), and dual lamp output of 3,600 to 4,500 lumens this projector provides excellent image brightness and resolution, especially in large room settings. In addition, features include powered focus and zoom, as well as powered horizontal and vertical lens shift.

This is an impressive video projector. With just a few changes, such as including HDMI (ver 1.3a) inputs, a 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 native resolution capability, improved contrast ratio, and little tweaking with the video processor, this would be the perfect home theater video projector.

I give the NP4001 DLP Video Projector a rating of 4.5 out of 5 Stars.

For a close-up photo look and more detail explanation of features and lens options, also check out my NEC NP4001 Photo Gallery.

For a brief summary of this review, check out my NP4001 Short Review.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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