Three options for getting CIH? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 59 Old 02-09-2012, 06:30 PM - Thread Starter
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A recent thread discussed using an HTPC as an alternative to an anamorphic lens, and as someone who has not yet decided what to do (CIH vs 16:9 vs something in-between), but who *has* committed to a recently purchased projector (the Epson 8350), I wanted to make sure I had everything straight as far as my options are concerned. I'm thinking this could be useful for others who are contemplating CIH. I *think* there are basically three ways to make this all work, so let me know if I've got this right...

1) A projector capable of zooming optically for both a 16:9 and 2.35:1 format. We could really break this down into two sub-options:
a) A projector might be able to do this automatically via "lens memory" whereby you push a button on your remote and it zooms in/out, shifts the lens as needed, and refocuses if needed (as with the Panasonic AE4000U).
b) Or, you may have to do the zoom in/out and lens shift all manually (as with the Epson 8350).
Advantages: No loss in resolution.
Disadvantages: Manual effort (in the case of the Epson 8350) or added cost and very limited selection (e.g., the Panasonic AE4000U). Some loss in lumens (when zooming in, or is it out?), though I suspect this is fairly minimal with most modern projectors which can handle the necessary zoom range to make this an option (i.e., a 1.5:1, or better, zoom lens).

2) Rescaling. This can be done via an HTPC, a special Blu-ray player with built-in scaling, an external box (e.g., DVDO Edge Green), or a projector with this sort of rescaling capability built-in (e.g., Mitsubishi HC4000). With this option, you essentially zoom/focus your projector to optimize it for a 2.35:1 movie, and then the rescaling-capable device will rescale the image (losing resolution) when watching 16:9 content.
Advantages: Simplicity / ease-of-use.
Disadvantages: Aside from something like the Mitsubishi HC4000 (i.e., using an HTPC or DVDO Edge Green), there is added cost. Also, you'll be losing resolution/detail.

3) An anamorphic lens. This is the option I know the least about, so forgive me if I misstate anything. Please correct me and I will then correct this post as needed. So with that said, let me hopefully get most of this right...with this option you're doing something very similar to option #1, but via an external lens.
Advantages: No loss in resolution. Minimal loss in lumens.
Disadvantages. Likely more expensive than options 1 or 2 (possibly a *lot* more expensive). Possible lens optic issues/abnormalities, requiring (or, at least, benefitting from) a curved screen, which could also add significant expense. I'm also not exactly sure how an add-on lens "works" with a typical projector, but I suspect there's some added hassle involved when switching between using it and not using it.

Due to the added expense of option #3 (as I understand it), I haven't put any considerable effort into investigating option #3, and so it's also the option I know the least about, but it also seems to be one of the dominant options in this sub-forum (which doesn't get a whole lot of activity, compared to other sub-forums here), which I'm *guessing* is due to the fact that, in the past, option #1 wasn't available at all, and option #2 was pretty rare, or just as expensive as the anamorphic lens option. Today, though, it seems to me that the anamorphic lens option is consigned to the purists and/or people with plenty of money to spare, and even then, the possible need to use a curved screen seems like a significant disadvantage to me.

As for me, I bought an Epson 8350 which has the necessary zoom lens and shift capabilities to allow for a 2.35:1 screen, but requires the ghetto-method of manually zooming the lens (or adding an external scalar or HTPC if I'd rather lose resolution instead of dealing with the manual zoom/shift hassle).

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I'd much rather watch a great movie in B&W at 240 lines of resolution than a lousy movie in 1080p with lossless audio.
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post #2 of 59 Old 02-10-2012, 07:11 AM
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There are really only two options: lens or zooming. The decision on how to handle 16:9 content is sort of a sub-option within each.

Here is a Constant Image Height Tutorial that may help.

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post #3 of 59 Old 02-10-2012, 08:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

There are really only two options: lens or zooming. The decision on how to handle 16:9 content is sort of a sub-option within each.

Here is a Constant Image Height Tutorial that may help.

Josh that was an excellent article and not one that I had ever seen before. It never occurred to me to treat "Letter From Iwo Jima" that way. Tonight I am going to create another preset in my Panasonic AE4K for movies where the subs drop off like that.

Bill
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post #4 of 59 Old 02-10-2012, 08:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the link...I just finished reading it. Good to see that my summary was accurate, though you expanded significantly on the anamorphic lens approach, and seemed to focus on that. On that point, I think that's where I'd disagree that there are "really just two options" since I believe that you and I are coming at this from a different perspective. I'm coming at this from the perspective of: how can you accomplish the goal of CIH, what "extras" might you need, and how much will it all cost you. And I'm not ashamed to say that I have no gripes about favoring the lower-cost options.

Now, I will say that my list of three options could be re-categorized in a couple of ways. The list, as written, is essentially as follows:
1) All-in-one solution (the projector does it all, though you may need to get up and re-zoom/shift manually).
2) The external scalar (or HTPC) option, which will cause you to lose detail/resolution on a 16:9 movie, but will add ease-of-use and not require a lot of extra money (e.g., $500 or less).
3) The anamorphic lens/scalar option, which may cost you well over $2000, won't result in the loss of detail/resolution on a 16:9 image (by way of a scalar stretching the image vertically, while the anamorphic lens stretches it horizontally), but may still require manual effort (e.g., to move the lens out of the way).

To be honest (and admittedly, I'm coming at this personally from the perspective of wanting to accomplish CIH on the cheap), I don't really see why someone would spend so much extra for option #3 versus option #1, since the argument of the effort of manually zooming/shifting the lens with option #1 seems somewhat countered by manual effort of moving the anamorphic lens and reconfiguring the scalar to not stretch the image (granted, this is likely handled by way of a remote which will automate this part for you), with option #3. Well, I did leave out the fact that option #1 limits you to a smaller pool of projectors which have sufficient zoom capabilities, though I think that all that is really required is a 1.5:1 zoom range, and there's a fairly large pool of projectors that support that these days.

Now, I could also re-categorize my options into more of a price-bracketed approach, which might result in a list along the lines of:

Under $1500:
Option 1) A manual zoom projector (e.g., Epson 8350). This will give you full resolution at either 2.35:1 or 16:9, but will require that you manually zoom/shift the lens as needed.
Option 2) A projector with built-in scaling (e.g., Mitsubishi hc4000). This will provide a more automated/user-friendly approach compared to Option 1, but will result in a loss of resolution/detail when watching 16:9 content.

$1500-2000:
Option 1) A projector with built-in zooming/shift capabilities (e.g., Panasonic AE4000U). No loss in resolution, but not very many projectors to choose from offer this.
Option 2) The sub-$1500 projector of your choice, supplemented with an inexpensive scalar or HTPC. Loss in resolution on 16:9 content, but this might be a desirable option for someone who, for whatever reason, isn't interested in the Mitsubishi hc4000, or for someone who already owns a projector they're happy with but wants to transition to CIH.

The sky's the limit:
This will involve a panamorphic lens and scalar, and won't be cheap.

One final note...in your article you mention the problem of subtitle shifting. An option you didn't discuss was ripping Blu-rays and shifting the subtitles via HTPC software, or transcoding the movies to a new format (using something like Handbrake), and shifting/burning-in the subtitles as part of that process.

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post #5 of 59 Old 02-10-2012, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srauly View Post

One final note...in your article you mention the problem of subtitle shifting. An option you didn't discuss was ripping Blu-rays and shifting the subtitles via HTPC software, or transcoding the movies to a new format (using something like Handbrake), and shifting/burning-in the subtitles as part of that process.

If you are ripping you can also use external programs to move the sub titles into the scope friendly area and then remux them.

Bill
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post #6 of 59 Old 02-10-2012, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srauly View Post

Thanks for the link...I just finished reading it. Good to see that my summary was accurate, though you expanded significantly on the anamorphic lens approach, and seemed to focus on that. On that point, I think that's where I'd disagree that there are "really just two options" since I believe that you and I are coming at this from a different perspective. I'm coming at this from the perspective of: how can you accomplish the goal of CIH, what "extras" might you need, and how much will it all cost you. And I'm not ashamed to say that I have no gripes about favoring the lower-cost options.

If I can speak for Josh, what he's getting at is this. A scope screen is about 33% wider than a 16:9 screen, to fill it you have to optically enlarge the image to make it 33% wider.

There are only two ways to do that, you either use the projector and "zoom" the image to be 33% larger in both directions, or you add an external horizontal expansion anamorphic lens.

Now once you pick a category, you can choose whether to electronically or optically remove that expansion for non-scope content. Basically the "shrink method" is to the "zoom method" as using horizontal squeeze with the lens in place is to removing the lens.

Quote:


Now, I will say that my list of three options could be re-categorized in a couple of ways. The list, as written, is essentially as follows:
1) All-in-one solution (the projector does it all, though you may need to get up and re-zoom/shift manually).
2) The external scalar (or HTPC) option, which will cause you to lose detail/resolution on a 16:9 movie, but will add ease-of-use and not require a lot of extra money (e.g., $500 or less).
3) The anamorphic lens/scalar option, which may cost you well over $2000, won't result in the loss of detail/resolution on a 16:9 image (by way of a scalar stretching the image vertically, while the anamorphic lens stretches it horizontally), but may still require manual effort (e.g., to move the lens out of the way).

To be honest (and admittedly, I'm coming at this personally from the perspective of wanting to accomplish CIH on the cheap), I don't really see why someone would spend so much extra for option #3 versus option #1, since the argument of the effort of manually zooming/shifting the lens with option #1 seems somewhat countered by manual effort of moving the anamorphic lens and reconfiguring the scalar to not stretch the image (granted, this is likely handled by way of a remote which will automate this part for you), with option #3. Well, I did leave out the fact that option #1 limits you to a smaller pool of projectors which have sufficient zoom capabilities, though I think that all that is really required is a 1.5:1 zoom range, and there's a fairly large pool of projectors that support that these days.

The biggest two advantages to using a lens are the greater brightness (up to 33% depending on how much brightness is gained by the larger aperture at close throw) and the increased pixel density. Frankly I don't think anyone would be using a lens if there were picture quality benefits.

Also if you opt not to remove the lens, then AR changes are as easy as with your number 2 option.

Quote:


The sky's the limit:
This will involve a panamorphic lens and scalar, and won't be cheap.

You don't necessarily need a scaler if you use a lens, lots/most projectors these days have the basic scaling modes needed (vertical stretch).

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #7 of 59 Old 02-10-2012, 04:45 PM
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I'm so glad to your posted this topic. I too am in the process of planning my first projector purchase (no lens) and currently debating on scope vs flat. I love scope, I want scope, but I don't want to listen to my wife complaining about subtitles off the screen and how much setup it takes per movie. Surprisingly, she just wants everything to work and doesn't want to monkey with things.

It appears most, maybe all, scope related issues can be solved by purchasing a projector with lens memory and an OPPO BDP-83 BD player or VP to shift subtitles. Unless I'm missing something a setup like this should address most issues for usability. Is this accurate?



Josh Z: Thanks for the link. That is one of the better articles I've read on scope screens and the caveats.
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post #8 of 59 Old 02-10-2012, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

If I can speak for Josh, what he's getting at is this. A scope screen is about 33% wider than a 16:9 screen, to fill it you have to optically enlarge the image to make it 33% wider.

And to add a bit more to that - you buy a 1080 projector to see 1080 pixels on screen, not throw 25% of that off the top and bottom. Only an A-Lens can allow you to do that.

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post #9 of 59 Old 02-10-2012, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by CAVX View Post

And to add a bit more to that - you buy a 1080 projector to see 1080 pixels on screen, not throw 25% of that off the top and bottom. Only an A-Lens can allow you to do that.

True, but of course an A-lens does not in fact provide a higher definition image than zooming, and I have yet to read of a definitive, well controlled, test where the A-lens is clearly shown to provide superior PQ to zooming. If I am wrong, please provide me a link to such a report.
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post #10 of 59 Old 02-10-2012, 06:30 PM - Thread Starter
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mwehnes, the approach I'd recommend is to rip your movies and use an HTPC running XBMC, which can also shift the subtitles for you. But if you're not familiar with ripping or HTPC's or XBMC, that may be a lot more time and effort than you're ready to invest and, if so, a Blu-ray player than can shift subtitles, as you mentioned, would be a good option.

CAVX, as taffman said, if you're watching a 2.35:1 Blu-ray on a 2.35:1 screen, none of these options should result in a loss of resolution. The only time you'd lose resolution would be if you're watching a 16:9 movie and choosing to use a scalar (or HTPC) to downscale the image to a pillarboxed portion of the 2.35:1 screen (for ease-of-use/simplicity sake). And even the cheapest of folks don't have to lose any resolution even then, if they're willing to zoom/shift their projector lens (automatically with a Panasonic AE4000U or manually with something like my Epson 8350).

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post #11 of 59 Old 02-10-2012, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taffman View Post

True, but of course an A-lens does not in fact provide a higher definition image than zooming, and I have yet to read of a definitive, well controlled, test where the A-lens is clearly shown to provide superior PQ to zooming. If I am wrong, please provide me a link to such a report.

It is difficult to document, even with a high rez camera. When it comes to this debate, electronic image capture does not seem to show what the eye really sees.

And so whilst you are yet to read a reports that proves an A-Lens is better, I am yet to read a report that proves zooming is better. All I ever read is how much cheaper it is. And you know what they say about that? You get what you pay for

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post #12 of 59 Old 02-10-2012, 10:59 PM
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Lens vs zoom quality depends greatly on what projector you have, screensize, viewing distance, light levels in the theater.

Both have pros and cons, and depending on the above factors it will make one solution better then the other for each setup (and budget).

Good movies are as rare as an on topic discussion.
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post #13 of 59 Old 02-11-2012, 02:10 AM
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Here is CIH Plus:

Covers all bases CIH 16:9 & CIH 2.35:1 as well as Super Size 16:9

View clips full screen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71GUtwl4xRk

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post #14 of 59 Old 02-11-2012, 06:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srauly View Post

CAVX, as taffman said, if you're watching a 2.35:1 Blu-ray on a 2.35:1 screen, none of these options should result in a loss of resolution.

But that's not the argument (as much as taffman would like to make it). The argument is that with zooming, you are not using all the pixels possible to draw the picture on the screen. And if you're sitting close enough, and or have a projector with visible enough pixel structure that added pixel density is a very important factor in reducing pixel/grid visibility.

Remembner when you zoom you're making pixels 78% larger than when unzoomed. A lens only makes them 33% bigger.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #15 of 59 Old 02-11-2012, 07:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

...when you zoom you're making pixels 78% larger than when unzoomed. A lens only makes them 33% bigger.

Lens: pixels are 33% wider, no change in height, same number of pixels
Zoom: pixels are 33% wider, 33% taller, fewer pixels

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post #16 of 59 Old 02-11-2012, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petew View Post

Lens: pixels are 33% wider, no change in height, same number of pixels

1.33*1.00 = 1.33, 33% larger (just wider)

Quote:


Zoom: pixels are 33% wider, 33% taller, fewer pixels

1.33*1.33 = 1.78, 78% larger, and yes, you don't use all of them anymore.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #17 of 59 Old 02-11-2012, 04:11 PM
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If you cannot see the pixels when zooming anyway (which I can't) what difference does it make?
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post #18 of 59 Old 02-11-2012, 04:24 PM
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I can't "see" pixels from where I sit, but even with a lens and 1080p I can still see the effects of the limits of 1080p from my seating distance, such as 'shimmering" on fine moving lines and slight jaggies on some diagonals.

Just because people couldn't "see" the pixels on an AE900 doesn't mean there weren't real benefits to going to a 1080p display.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #19 of 59 Old 02-11-2012, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

I can't "see" pixels from where I sit, but even with a lens and 1080p I can still see the effects of the limits of 1080p from my seating distance, such as 'shimmering" on fine moving lines and slight jaggies on some diagonals.

I dont think thats the limit of 1080P. Its just that 1080P in our home isnt as good as 1080 or 2K is in theater. 8bit 4:2:0 has some issues, along with compression. Add some sharpening either on the disc or in the projector and the problem gets worse.

I would suspect that the rescaling of the image to fit the lens/screen can effect this to.

Good movies are as rare as an on topic discussion.
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post #20 of 59 Old 02-11-2012, 10:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

I can't "see" pixels from where I sit, but even with a lens and 1080p I can still see the effects of the limits of 1080p from my seating distance, such as 'shimmering" on fine moving lines and slight jaggies on some diagonals.

Yep, visible even at distances greater then 3x the image height.

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post #21 of 59 Old 02-15-2012, 06:03 AM
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So is it possible to have 2:35 CIH with an Epson 8350 and a DVDO IScan Duo?

Do I still need the lens? Very confused with all of it.

From what I understand. I can set my DVDO to output 2:35. Then use my Epson to fill the screen (to both sides) let the top and bottom spill over since it's only Black Bar material there anyway.

That being said...with my DVDO ONLY outputting 2:35 the size of the image won't change. Is that correct? no matter the movie I put in whether it's 1.78 or 2.35 the screen size will always be the same?
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post #22 of 59 Old 02-16-2012, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwehnes View Post

It appears most, maybe all, scope related issues can be solved by purchasing a projector with lens memory and an OPPO BDP-83 BD player or VP to shift subtitles. Unless I'm missing something a setup like this should address most issues for usability. Is this accurate?

That article is a couple of years old. OPPO's current model is the BDP-93, and I no longer recommend DVDO processors. I have dumped DVDO in favor of Lumagen, which makes better products and (unlike DVDO) actually supports them.

With that said, this should address most issues, except movies with oddball aspect ratios (like 2.20:1) or alternating aspect ratios (e.g. The Dark Knight).

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post #23 of 59 Old 02-16-2012, 03:02 PM
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So here is my dilemma.

I want a 2.35:1 screen, but I'm probably buying the Epson 5010/6010 without lens memory. I can't afford an external lens and I can't have manually adjusting the zoom for aspect ratios as a solution.

I will a Lumagen (or DVDO) enable me to do CIH on a 2.35:1 scope screen with an Epson 5010/6010 with out monkeying with the zoom or needing a lens?
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post #24 of 59 Old 02-16-2012, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwehnes View Post

So here is my dilemma.

I want a 2.35:1 screen, but I'm probably buying the Epson 5010/6010 without lens memory. I can't afford an external lens and I can't have manually adjusting the zoom for aspect ratios as a solution.

I will a Lumagen (or DVDO) enable me to do CIH on a 2.35:1 scope screen with an Epson 5010/6010 with out monkeying with the zoom or needing a lens?

The 5010/6010 should give you manual zoom and lens shift, so you also have the option of manually adjusting things before watching a movie. That's the cheapest option and also the best quality option (since you'll be getting all 1080 lines of resolution when watching a 16:9 movie).

If you want simplicity but can't afford an external lens, you probably also don't want to spend money on a Lumagen. I'm no expert on that, but I just did a couple of quick searches, and they don't seem to be cheap.

The DVDO Edge Green @ $500 might be in your budget, but I'm not certain of what it can/can't do, so I'll let someone else chime in on that.

The other option would be an HTPC running XBMC which can rescale your movies as needed and shift subtitles. But you'll need to rip those movies and store them on a hard drive (i.e., I don't think you can use XBMC to play a Blu-ray disc and rescale that). You could possibly do that with a Blu-ray software player, but I don't know much about that. If you already have some experience with ripping movies and storing them on a hard drive, I'd definitely recommend the XBMC solution. The ease/convenience of scrolling through a long list of genres/movies, selecting one, and having it start playing immediately without having to deal with a bunch of previews and other crap is very, very nice.

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post #25 of 59 Old 02-16-2012, 10:44 PM
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The other option would be an HTPC running XBMC which can rescale your movies as needed and shift subtitles. But you'll need to rip those movies and store them on a hard drive (i.e., I don't think you can use XBMC to play a Blu-ray disc and rescale that). You could possibly do that with a Blu-ray software player, but I don't know much about that.

I just created a 2.35:1 desktop on my HTPC and a BD movie get shrunked to fit inside the 2.35:1 frame. And with TMT5 I could zoom so a 2.35:1 movie used the entire desktop area.

But since I got zoom in the projector I have no need to use it for myself. But it did work when I tested it.

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post #26 of 59 Old 02-17-2012, 09:52 AM
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The DVDO Edge Green @ $500 might be in your budget, but I'm not certain of what it can/can't do, so I'll let someone else chime in on that.

DVDO's current products (the Edge and Duo) only have rudimentary aspect ratio controls. They can scale a scope movie up to use with a lens, but that's about it. Older products such as the VP50 and VP50Pro had much more comprehensive aspect ratio controls, but DVDO has discontinued support for those.

If mwehnes plans to use his projector on a scope screen without a lens, and doesn't want to zoom out for 16:9 content, he'll need a video processor that will pillarbox 16:9 (or 4:3) programs in the middle of the scope screen. Though expensive, Lumagen is the way to go for that. However, manually zooming in and out at the projector would be a more cost effective and higher quality (because you can use the full 1080p panel at 16:9) solution.

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post #27 of 59 Old 02-18-2012, 06:25 AM
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JoshZ - Thanks for information.

I agree zooming does seem to be my best option for all aspects. It's unfortunate lens memory isn't included on more <$4k projectors than it is. I can't ask or expect my wife and kids to adjust (properly) the zoom and lens shift each time the aspect ratio changes. Nor do I want either of them touching the projector.

Unless I'm mistaken the RS45 (too dim) and AE7000 (I've read more bad than good) are the only <$4k projects with lens memory. I'm leaning toward the Epson 5010/6010 due to my abient light requirements. The more I look at this, even though I really want a scope screen, it appears 16:9 my best compromise.
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post #28 of 59 Old 02-18-2012, 07:27 AM
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mwehnes, 16:9 is never a good compromise. So I would consider if I was you, any projector that fits your needs and a HTPC that scales the movies to fit the screen.

As for AE7000, Im very pleased with the AE4000, what is it you dont like about the 7000?

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post #29 of 59 Old 02-18-2012, 11:29 AM
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mwehnes, 16:9 is never a good compromise.

Why is that? I have the room to put a 16:9 screen with the exact same width as the maximum size scope screen my wall can accommodate. The only downside I can think of is the perception the screen is shrinking when watching a 2.35:1 movie.
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post #30 of 59 Old 02-18-2012, 11:38 AM
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The only downside I can think of is the perception the screen is shrinking when watching a 2.35:1 movie.

Exactly, you diminishing your scope experience. 2.35 movies should look grander and more epic then your weekly sitcom.

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