The BenQ HT2150ST - A Projector For Home Theater and Gaming

BenQ HT2150ST Short Throw DLP Projector - Front/Rear Views
Images provided by BenQ

With the continued downward price tags and steadily improved light output capabilities, video projectors are not only becoming more popular for movie viewing but for dedicated gamers, a TV-sized screen is no longer big enough. One option to consider is the BenQ HT2150 Video Projector.

DLP Technology

The BenQ HT2150ST incorporates DLP (Digital Light Processing) technology for the projection of images.

In brief, the version of DLP used consists of a lamp that sends light through a spinning color wheel, which, in turn, bounces light off of a single chip that has millions of rapidly tilting mirrors. The reflected light patterns then pass through the lens and onto the screen.

The color wheel used in the HT2150ST is divided into six segments (RGB/RGB) and spins at 4x speed (with 60hz power systems such as the U.S. - 6x speed for 50Hz power systems). What this means is that the color wheel completes 4 or 6 rotations for each frame of displayed video. The faster the color wheel speed, the more precise the color and lessening of the "rainbow effect" which is an inherent characteristic of DLP projectors.

Short Throw Lens

In addition to DLP technology, what makes the HT2150ST great for gaming (and small spaces) is the fact that it can project a 100-inch image from a distance of only 5 feet.

Although the clearest image size range is from 60 to 100-inches, the HT2150ST can project images as large as 300-inches.

Of course, to get that 300-inch size image, you will have to move the projector farther from the screen.

Gaming Optimization

Although the HT2150 is a great projector for home theater use (especially practical for those that live in small apartments), BenQ is also touting features such as low input lag and no motion blur - both are factors that can put a damper on the gaming experience if they are present.

Also, with the ability to display large images from a short distance, there is plenty of room for dual or multi-player gameplay.

Video Features

In addition to the technology and lens construction used to create and display images on a screen, the video features of the HT2150ST include 1080p display resolution (in either 2D or 3D - glasses require extra purchase), a maximum of 2,200 ANSI lumens white light output (color light output is less, but more than sufficient), and a 15,000:1 contrast ratio. Lamp life is rated at 3,500 hours in normal mode, and up to 7,000 hours in Smart ECO mode (changes light output level automatically based on image content).

For added color support, BenQ incorporates its Colorific video processing, which meets the Rec. 709 color range standard for high-definition video display.

Setup Tools

The HT2150ST can be table or ceiling mounted and can be used in either front or rear projection configurations with compatible screens.

To aid in projector-to-screen image placement, vertical keystone correction settings of + or - 20 degrees are also provided. However, optical lens shift is not provided. (Find out how both Keystone Correction and Lens Shift work).

To further aid in setup, the HT2150ST is ISF-certified which provides calibration tools for optimizing image quality for room environments that may contain some ambient light (ISF Day) and for rooms that are near-or-completely dark (ISF Night).

Additional pre-programmed picture settings include Bright, Vivid, Cinema, Game, Game Bright, and 3D.

Another interesting setting that is provided is that if you don't have a screen and need to project on the wall, the HT2150ST has a Wall Color Correction (White Balance) setting to aid in getting properly displayed colors.

Connectivity

For connectivity, the HT2150ST provides two HDMI inputs and a VGA/PC Monitor input).

In what is becoming an increasing trend in video projectors there is no dedicated component, or composite video connections provided.

One the other hand, one of the HDMI inputs is MHL-enabled.

This allows physical connection of MHL-compatible devices, such as some smartphones, and tablets, as well as the MHL version of the Roku Streaming Stick. In other words, with MHL, you can turn your projector into a media streamer, with the ability to access a multitude of streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, and more.

Also, a standard HDMI input and USB power port are also provided for use with non-MHL-enabled streaming sticks, such as the Roku Model 3600, Amazon Fire TV Stick, and Google Chromecast.

Another input option that can be added is wireless HDMI connectivity via the Wireless FHD Kit WDP01 (Buy From Amazon) and the WDP02 (Buy From Amazon).

The WDP01 and WDP02 eliminate the need for an unsightly HDMI cable run from your source devices to the projector (especially if the projector is ceiling mounted), but also increases the number of HDMI inputs - The WDP01 provides 2, while the WDP02 provides 4. Also, with BenQ claiming a transmission range of up to 100 feet (line-of-sight), both wireless kits can be used in very large rooms.

However, for gaming, you may find that direct connection between a game console and the projector is the best option as wireless connectivity may cause response delay - although BenQ does claim Zero latency.

Audio Support

The HT2150ST includes a 3.5mm mini-jack audio input and a built-in 20-watt speaker system. The built-in speaker system does come in handy when no audio system is available, and it does include MaxxAudio Wave's sound enhancement technology, but for a home theater or immersive gaming audio listening experience, an external audio system is definitely preferred.

A 3.5mm audio output connection is provided for this purpose - or you can opt to connect an audio-only output from your source component or game console directly to a stereo or home theater receiver.

Control Support

The HT2150 comes with onboard controls on the top of the projector, as well as standard remote control. However, the projector also provides an RS232 port for custom control system integration, such as a physically connected PC/Laptop, or 3rd party control system.

Hands-On Impressions of the 2150ST

I had the opportunity to use the Benq 2150ST and have the following impressions.

First, the projector is compact, coming in 15 (W) x 4.8 (H) x 10.9 (D) inches and weighing about 8 pounds. In terms of features and performance, the 2150ST performs well.

For setup, the inclusion of the short throw lens makes it very practical smaller rooms - while still providing a large screen viewing experience. The 2150 can project a 100-inch size image from a distance of only 5 feet (60-inches)

2D images are bright with excellent color and lots of light output.

One pair of rechargeable 3D glasses were provided for my use. The 3D images were dimmer than their 2D counterparts, but there is very little evidence of haloing or motion blur.

The video upscaling and processing are very good, with good noise and artifact suppression.

One additional thing to point out is that although the 2150ST does include a built-in speaker system that actually provides better-than-expect sound quality that might be acceptable if an external audio system is not available, but my suggestion is to invest in a Sound Base, or full home theater audio system, to best complement those large screen images.

Also, if you have older video gear that does not provide HDMI connectivity, this projector may not be for you as there are no analog video inputs (as mentioned previously in this article). On the other hand, the 2150ST's VGA/PC monitor input allows direct connection of PC's and Laptops for large screen PC viewing suitable for gaming and Business/Educational presentations.

Two additional nice touches: The remote control is backlit making it easier to use in a darkened room, and although I wouldn't consider the 2150ST a compact portable projector - it does come packaged with a nice carrying case that can also hold the power cord, user manual/CD, and a couple pairs of 3D glasses (optional purchase). Taking all into consideration, the BenQ is a great video projection solution for those that have limited space or prefer not having the projector mounted behind the seating area.

Buy From Amazon

If the HT2150ST doesn't fit your video projector needs, check out two additional BenQ DLP projectors that are available that might fit your needs (as of the original publish date of this article):

MH530 - Review - Buy From Amazon

i500 (LED/DLP) - Review - Buy From Amazon