BenQ unleashes stealth projector

A warm round of applause, please, for the projector that's so quiet we're already dubbing it the Art House machine.On paper, BenQ's PE8720 is one of t

A warm round of applause, please, for the projector that's so quiet we're already dubbing it the Art House machine.

On paper, BenQ's PE8720 is one of the quietest projectors we've ever set ears on, making it perfect for scenes in quiet, dialogue-heavy, explosion-light 'Art House' flicks such as Mike Leigh's cracking Vera Drake.

The secret behind the box's whisper quiet noise level is the fans on the side and the L-shaped inlet tunnels. Regardless of how BenQ managed its coup, the PE8720's rated noise level of 23 decibels is impressive - most projectors run at around 28db.

BenQ's also making a big song and dance - it's a Taiwanese one so we can't make out the words - about the projector's contrast ratio. At 10,000:1, it claims, this cinema box has the highest contrast ratio in the world. While we hate to rain on parties, we feel compelled to point out that Sony's VPL-VW100 is rated at 15,000:1 and, anyway, contrast ratios are meaningless because there's no industry standard for measuring them.

More importantly, this BenQ is ready for the BBC, Telewest and Sky's 2006 high-def broadcasts and has the all-important HDMI socket we've come to know and love.

The only thing we'd carp about at this stage is the ugly design. It puts us in mind of the bland boardroom-style plasma televisions of the late 1990s.

You can buy the Art House machine for a distinctly high-end £7000. It's on sale now.

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