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Philips bCool XG1 Projector

Powerful 3-pound unit delivers 1760 ANSI lumens By Gary Kayye, CTS
Two weeks ago, the new Philips bCool XG1 showed up at my office and I put it through the ringer -- so to speak. In a market where most of the projectors out there are re-marketed and re-branded models from a few key manufacturers, I was curious how Philips, the only manufacturer and marketer of this particular unit, would stand up to the plethora of ultra-portables.

Philips is a virtual unknown in the projector world where the top five, according to Pacific Media Associates, are established leaders Dell (yes, Dell is number one), InFocus, EPSON, HP and Optoma dominate the portables.

The bCool XG1 is Philips entry into the high-bright, ultra-portable category of DLP-based XGA resolution (1024 x 768) projectors. Most of that category, including new projectors from BENQ, NEC, Mitsubishi and InFocus, are specified in the 1500 ANSI lumen range where the Philips is specified at 1700 ANSI lumens. The unit I tested projected 1770 lumens and was the first projector I have tested in a year that actually beat its lumens specification. It appeared to be a "stock" unit as the packaging looked like it had never been opened before, so I have assume that it was a unit from stock.

At only a little over three and a half pounds, the XG1 uses the TI (Texas Instruments) 0.7" single-chip DMD and uses a new mercury vapor UHP-type180 watt lamp (ironically, although Philips is known as a premier supplier of projection lamps, this projector uses an OSRAM brand lamp, huh?) that is specified to deliver a 2000:1 contrast ratio (my tests of ANSI contrast resulted in 1973:1) from a small, pearlescent color with sleek silver accents, projector that is remarkably quiet for a small projector at 35dB. And, uniformity is in the 75% range -- something unheard of with this range of projectors.

This may very well be the brightest road warrior projector on the market today. And, coming from Philips, I have to admit, I was surprised -- although Philips is known for innovating in the consumer market, and they aren't really known for innovating in the professional AV market. And, even as an innovator in the consumer space, they haven't done too well in garnering much market share even though, interestingly enough, virtually everyone who owns a Sony plasma in their home says they saw plasmas first through Philips "things are getting better" campaign.

In short, Philips has a winner and hopefully people will notice. It's not only a great, bright road warrior projector, but it would work well in some installed environments or semi-mobile applications where projectors are checked-in and -out like on a university campus (something I've been calling "Un-Install projectors"). And, according to Philips, they are the only company in the world with this projector -- no one else will carry this particular model or a model like it.

If Philips' future projectors are as good as this one, they could very well move from being an unknown to bumping one of those top five projector companies by the end of 2004.

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Gary Kayye, CTS is Chief Visionary at Kayye Consulting, Inc., a Chapel Hill, NC-based marketing consulting firm that serves the ProAV and Home Theater markets. In addition to strategic marketing consulting, Kayye Consulting, Inc. is also a training development company. Gary can be reached via e-mail at or through his Web site at
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