Italian projector brand Sim2 has forged an enviable global reputation for a policy of never compromising quality to reduce costs. And we applaud them for it.
But surely the £10k asking price on the brand's new HT3000E must stretch the 'reassuringly expensive' concept too far?
Our love affair with the HT3000E begins as soon as we clock its truly gorgeous design -- a vision of high-concept curves and high-gloss finish that would look just perfect in some plush playboy pad. Essentially, it's the projection world's equivalent of a Ferrari.
The instant attraction to the HT3000E merely grows with a glance at its key specifications. It's a DLP model with 1,920x1,080-pixel lines of resolution for a start, achieved using a new Texas Instruments chipset that's only 24mm across and so keeps all the pixels exceptionally close together for a totally smooth, rather than 'dotty' image.
Even more striking is a huge claimed contrast ratio of 6,500:1 -- a 60 per cent rise over the previous version of this projector (which had the same name minus the 'E'). Especially as this contrast can apparently be achieved without reducing the extremely bright output of a 200W lamp.
And there's more. For the HT3000E employs the full hardware (a special colour wheel) and software implemenation of Texas Instruments' BrilliantColor system, designed to improve colour saturations, brightness and tonal accuracy.
In action, the HT3000E provides a breathtaking demonstration of how money really can buy you happiness.
What makes its pictures particularly special is the extreme contrast they contain. Never before have we seen such pure, bright whites sitting side by side with such deep, pitch blacks. It's in this sheer punchiness that the main key to the HT3000E's cost lies.
But that's certainly not the end of its powers, for the dramatic contrast also helps the projector produce class-leadingly rich, vibrant colours with universally natural tones.
There's also no trace of the dotting noise over horizontal motion that plagues lesser DLP models, DLP's rainbow effect is remarkably well suppressed given how bright images get, motion looks crisp and sharp and perhaps best of all, the projector's 'Full HD' 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution helps it deliver more sharpness and clarity with HD sources than we've ever seen on a DLP projector before. Honestly, it's that good.
Our only gripe with the HT3000E on an operational level concerns the onscreen menu system, which is ugly and obscure. Just as well, then, that you'll probably be having the projector installed for you and so won't need to mess about with it yourself.
Obviously, though, the most serious sticking point about the HT3000E for most people will simply be that wince-inducing £10k price.
In the HT3000E costing £10,000, Sim2 has presented us with the best single-chip DLP projector to date and an irrepressible example of just how good things can be in the rarified world of the AV 'high end'. So if you'll excuse us, we're off down the newsagents to buy a couple of hundred National Lottery tickets.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Jon Squire