Sensationalist subject heading, I know, but this could be important information. Let me share an experience I had this week, culminating in a disturbing revelation last night.
I recently bought a refurbished projector from a great Online company (Projector Superstore). Everything went beautifully, the projector came (great service, guys!), plugged it in and tada! Beautiful picture, MUCH better than my older SVGA projector. Extremely happy! NO stuck or dead pixels, and only 30 hours on the unit.
My eventual plans were to ceiling mount the 540, as my old projector wouldn't invert. But until I had time to do that, we put it in the "endtable" case we had been using and enjoyed several nights of great home theater. I had planned to begin construction this weekend on the mount, so I took the projector out of the case to invert the picture and hold it upside down to find the best mounting place. However, when selecting either front ceiling or floor rear in the menu, 7/8's of the screen would go all green! In other words, the green LCD would stick "on" in any configuration that reversed the scan. "Ceiling Rear" worked fine, as the scan would be in the same direction as "front floor" (anyone with this problem?)
Now the interesting part - I called NEC, and they proved once again their GREAT service and promised and brand new unit in 24 hours! Sure enough, it came, a brand new VT540K, and all configuration worked. I replaced the refurb, and we've been watching the new one the last two days. HOWEVER...last night, we rewatched a movie with the kids, and I remember thinking that the picture was not as good as I remembered from a week before. Late last night, I decided to do a shoot-out between the refurb and the K version before sending the refurb back.
The results? The refurb has a vastly superior picture! I know what your thinking - set-up differences, lamp differences, etc. The refurb had a brighter picture, higher contrast, and the processing had MUCH less artifacts, noise, even looked like it was receiving a higher resolution signal. It was just vibrant, where the K looked slightly greenish and flat. Here's what I did to try and minimize the possible causes.
*Set all settings back to factor defaults. Refurb still brighter and with higher contrast, better resolution or "focus"
*Swapped sources - was feeding them from one signal through a s-video switcher able to swap back and forth between the two projectors quickly. No change in results.
*Thinking the internal software set at different levels, I tried leaving the refurb at default and tweaking the K to match. No matter what I tried, I could not get the K picture as contrasty, sharp, smooth or bright as the refurb.
*Thinking maybe it was a bulb problem, I swapped the two bulbs. No change in results. The refurb is as bright and vibrant in Eco-mode as the K is in full power.
*tried different sources - composite, s-video, and laptop. Pretty much same result. The RGB input was only the windows desktop with some jpg's. I will borrow a DVD laptop today and try that tonight
There are only two obvious possibilities with these results -
1. The new K is a fluke sub-performer, and given NEC's INCREDIBLE commitment to customer support, they may be willing to exchange again.
2. The new K series has lesser processing than the original models. There HAS been some firmware update - the new model recognizes different commands from the remote, and the fan sounds slightly quieter.
As this is such a hugely popular projector, I think this merits some research and reporting from the members of this august forum. If someone has answers to the questions that are raised, please share them. If an NEC rep reads this, please respond an ease all our minds. As I have said, NEC was incredibly supportive and I would highly recommend them to anybody considering an FP purchase.
I am more than willing to send back the K and try again. Otherwise, I'll stick with the beautiful picture and live with the fact that some of the functions of this warrantied projector are not functioning. If anyone has any suggestions for testing while I have the two in my possesion, let me know.