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Zenith PRO 1200x

      >> Introduction 
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Note: The Zenith PRO 1200x information in this section is provided by the webmaster who just happens to own one!

In 2000-2001 timeframe Zenith commissioned Barco to build their top of the line set: The Pro 1200x. Nothing in the Zenith 1200 projector is made by Zenith, other than the 'Zenith" sticker on top. The internal boards and parts even have Barco part numbers and little stickers with Barco logo's on them! The Zenith Pro 1200X is actually a re-badged Barco Cine 8 Onyx without the internal scaler (which was not great to begin with so no loss).

Around 2000 Zenith was looking to market a truly best in class home theater projector. In considering their options, they realized (as had NEC), that a 9” projector was not necessary for home theater as a projector with very high quality electronics and high resolution 8” tubes was quite capable of displaying all HDTV formats extremely well. At the time however, Barco did not have a machine of the necessary configuration. Runco was reselling the low resolution tubed air coupled Barco 808s machines (as the DTV-992 and DTV-992 Ultra) and thus needed to also resell the 9” Barcos for true high performance machine.

So Zenith had Barco build a liquid coupled, high resolution tubed, color filtered better electronics projector that could be offered at very competitive price point (only $29,995 USD in 2001). After doing this for Zenith, Barco also sold this same projector with their scaler installed as the Cine 8 Onyx which was only available for sale in Europe (per the agreement with Zenith).

The Zenith Pro 1200x is a very late model, top of the line 8" projector with liquid coupled tubes, high bandwidth (120Mhz) and other advanced features making it on par with the NEC XG-110LC/XG-135LC and the Sony G70.  It has a very short throw distance as well: This projector installs approximately x1.2 screen widths away instead of the average x1.4-1.5 screen widths found in most projectors.

Most information on the Internet tends to point out that the Zenith 1200 is a rebadged Barco Data 808s (BD808s) with liquid coupled (LC) tubes.  Somewhat misleading as the Zenith 1200 is actually a much better machine than that.  As mentioned above it is almost identical to a late model (2001+) Barco Cine 8 Onyx. The Onyx is a 'special edition' Cine 8 that added LC'ed tubes and a few other niceties to the regular Cine 8 chassis. Only 40 Onyx projectors were ever made.

The Zenith 1200 shares the following similarities with the Cine 8 Onyx that set them apart from the Barco Data 808s (from most important to least important [IMHO] in terms of what it does to the picture quality for movie viewing):

  • Liquid coupled lens/CRT assembly for greater contrast and less halo'ing. HD-215 lenses are used instead of HD-8's.  The Cine 8 Onyx is in fact the only 8" Barco front projector with liquid coupling.
  • Tinted (colour filtered) c-elements are used in the LC'ed assembly for the Red and Green lenses for more accurate colours. Other than the Cine series, all other 8" and 9" EM focusing Barcos are use clear c-elements or clear glycol. Projectors without tinted glycol/c-elements tend to display red as red/orange and green as green/yellow.
  • Late model 120Mhz VPJ08B RGB output amps.  The BD808s uses the 75Mhz VPJ06 amps.  Note: Even though the specs 'say' the Zenith 1200 is limited to 75Mhz bandwidth like the BD808s, the Cine 8 and Zenith 1200 share the same circuitry right from signal entry all the way to the RGB output amps so I have no idea why Zenith markets this as a 75Mhz unit.  Barco may have required them to spec it this way as part of the agreement so as to not compete with the Cine 8? Or maybe it was just a typo on Zenith's part? Who knows.
  • The optional Contrast Modulation board is installed for even colour/brightness across the screen (left to right). See this document from Barco for more information.
  • Continuous (stepless) Scheimpflug adjustment for greater focus control for non-standard installs. (The BD808s uses shims while most of the Graphics series has continuous adjustments.)
  • Black case. 

The only actual differences between the Cine 8 Onyx and the Zenith 1200 are:

  • The Cine 8 Onyx (and the Cine 9) are equipped with the Limo Pro built-in scaler.  The Cine 8 and Zenith 1200 do not include this feature.  (No loss, external scalers are much better anyway. Anyone running a Cine 8/9 with the built in scaler is doing themselves a disservice!)
  • The Cine 8 and and Cine 8 Onyx have a max horizontal scanrate of 110Khz.  The Zenith 1200 is software limited to 75Khz. (Not really an issue as 75Khz is high enough to do 1080p/60Hz from Blu-ray. The high matching bandwidth spec of 120MHz is much more important.)

To see how this projector ranks in relation to other projectors for use in a home theater environment see the Projector Rankings page.

For full specifications on this and other projectors, see the Projector Specifications page.

For an overview and history of Zenith see the CRT Primer.

See the Advanced Procedures page for various DIY instructions on maintaining and improving CRT projectors.

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