But how well does the GT1080 really perform in the average living rooms, where light-coloured walls and light reflections could significantly affect picture quality? Are the massive screen sizes made possible by using a projector enough to provide an immersive cinematic experience at home over a traditional HDTV or desktop set-up? And are there any downsides to playing games on mammoth screens, especially when native 1080p resolutions are not set in stone for PS4 and Xbox One?
Once fully up and running we are presented with a bright, punchy picture that initially holds up fairly well in our light-coloured room. Images on the GT1080 appear smoother than those produced by similarly sized LCD or plasma displays, and without a hint of screen-door effect from our seating distance of 3m (around three image heights). This aspect will obviously vary between projectors and screen sizes, but by comparison the pixel structure appears more distinct on larger 70-inch plus 1080p HDTVs when viewing from only a few feet away. This leaves the picture looking more 'digital' in nature on massive flat panels, although this is less of an issue on smaller, 50" and below HDTVs. Text and HUD elements only start to appear coarse on the GT1080 from around the 2.4m mark, but we don't actually start seeing pixels until standing 2m from the screen, and at this point the artefacts are still quite subtle.
While you'd expect native 1080p content to show up as a sea of easily identifiable pixels on a gigantic screen, that isn't necessarily the case; it depends entirely on the projector and how much - if any - zoom you use. For example, DLP panels have a higher pixel fill than LCD and Plasma displays and this helps to reduce the pixel structure so you can sit closer to the screen, or project an even larger image without compromising picture quality. Furthermore, the 1080p resolution standard we have at home is only slightly fewer pixels than the 2K presentations found in commercial theatres, and these venues project far larger images than the GT1080 produces without any visible screen-door effect from similar viewing distances.
The increased sense of spectacle provided by projected images is all for nothing if we have to deal with heavy controls and delayed inputs due to input lag, but thankfully this isn't an issue on the GT1080, where button presses and turns of the analogue stick feel fast and responsive, and this makes the projector suitable for those who play twitch-based shooters and fighting games online. We measured 34ms of latency in 1080p using our Leo Bodner LagTest (16ms measured via the CRT camera method). That's a lower level of input lag than is present on many of the latest HDTVs - and we didn't notice any obvious reductions in controller response when playing native 720p games upscaled by the projector.
So far, the GT1080 proves that projectors can deliver large images that appear crisp and clear with native 1080p resolution sources, but there are a number of things to consider with this kind of display technology. Most projectors need to be used in a light-controlled environment to produce the best possible viewing experience: brightly coloured walls, carpets and ceilings send light bouncing around the room and back into the screen, thus washing out the picture and often creating a dim-looking image due to the viewing environment being too bright. In comparison, both LCD and Plasma HDTVs can be viewed without any issues during the day in bright rooms - the latter can appear slightly dim and a little washed-out with cheaper models, but the impact doesn't degrade picture quality anywhere near as much compared to a projected image; it's more of an inconvenience that can be fixed by closing the curtains or keeping the display positioned away from direct light sources.
It's fair to say that gaming on a 100-inch screen is incredible! And even at 84 inches, it provides considerably more impact than sitting closer to a large HDTV - it's simply more epic and immersive. While we doubt people would turn their noses up at such a satisfying experience at home, viewing environment, gaming habits and picture quality expectations are all things to consider when deciding on whether to go for a projector to complement that 50-inch HDTV. For those who mostly play games and watch movies at night, some projectors can certainly work well in bright-coloured rooms while providing sharp pictures that do 1080p material justice, but the compromise comes in the form of low contrast ratios and flat-looking scenes when light is reflected back into the screen. 2b1af7f3a8