Picture quality vs Size - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 07-30-2012, 09:33 PM - Thread Starter
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I suspect this is a 'flame war' type topic... please don't let it degrade into that. I'm not trying to offend, I'm just trying to get the right info for my situation.


I've currently got a 63" (Samsung 2010 C7000 if I remember correctly) plasma. I like that the picture quality is outstanding even when there is mid-to-low levels of ambient light in the room (it's a basement room with deep-set windows, so it's never 'bright' in the room... ) It's more 'immersive' when the room is near-perfectly-black with the biased lighting behind the screen... but the picture quality is somewhat equivalent. I have no problem with the lights half-dimmed and showing images to clients on the screen.

All the 'projector' setups I've seen effectively require it to be pitch black in the room to get anything resembling good picture quality (and even then, I've never really seen one in person that was anywhere near the pixel-perfect picture quality of my plasma). My 'other life' office dropped around 3 thousand on a projector for a 8' screen and to really effectively utilize it as a computer, they need to darken the lights ... and even then the image quality is poor, particularly for photos where tonal range and color accuracy matters. To put it bluntly, this 3k projector throws out images that look like butt compared to even the cheapest LCD screens. I don't know the model name, but this is the second projector -- the first was 7k and bought in 2002.

Anyway... I'm building a new house and would like to have a screen larger than 63" but I don't want to give up picture quality. (picture quality is more important than sound, by far) Is there an effective way to do this? Bearing in mind I often show images while the lights (which can be narrow-beam task lighting) need to be bright enough to see contracts and read price sheets and such.

The biggest flat-screen I've found at a reasonable price is the 80" Sharp for roughly $5k. But that kind of pales in comparison (Size-wise) to a projector-based screen and I suspect doesn't have the picture quality of my current plasma. This is particularly frustrating given I'll have plenty of space to go as large as I want.

Thoughts?
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post #2 of 9 Old 07-30-2012, 10:34 PM
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Front projection setups, no matter the cost, will most likely never reach the levels of contrast achieved by LCD/Plasma/ even in the dark. It is very hard for a projection setup to achieve both brilliant whites and inky blacks in the same frame. So by comparison, the ultra-contrasty LED TV's out nowadays will of course look a bit "better" compared to a front projection setup, especially for still images (photos).

With that said, front projection setups have come a long way since 2002. Contrast continues to rise, as does lumens, resolution, and video processing. With the right setup, a front projection setup can come close to the image quality of a plasma in a dark room.

With a bit of ambient light in the room, however, a front projection setup will always look inferior to a plasma/LCD television. Even with ambient light rejection screens, there will always be a bit of wash out. Most ambient-light rejection screens also introduce artifacts into the image due to their high-gain material. So if image quality in all situations is your absolute most important feature, then I don't think a front projection setup is right for you.

I will say though, having such a large screen allows you to resolve the detail in high megapixel photos. Even at 1080p (which is a low res compared to today's cameras), you cannot resolve all of the detail with a 63" screen unless you're sitting about 3 feet away. The much larger image not only makes it more immersive, but brings out the detail in 1080p that usually goes unseen with traditional TV's.

Since you did mention narrow-beam task lighting, I do think you could go with a setup that produced very good results even in task-oriented ambient light. Even with a very costly projector and screen, you will still stay under the budget for a > 80" traditional TV.

So yes, you can achieve great picture quality with front projection setups that rival plasma and LCD TV's, but you do have to control the environment to do so. However, the payoff will be a much more immersive and detailed image.

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post #3 of 9 Old 07-31-2012, 06:37 AM
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post #4 of 9 Old 07-31-2012, 09:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the valuable response, Kev1000000. I should have made it more clear that, while I will aim to have ambient lighting at a minimal, there ARE windows in the space (windows under a deck)... meaning any time other than night is going to result in low-to-mid-level brightness room. Based on that, and what you said, it's maybe leaning towards the need to go with a big plasma instead of a projection? Am I understanding correctly? I get that detail seen in a larger screen could be better (though, like I noted, I've never seen per-pixel sharpeness in a projector the way you do in a LCD/Plasma) but the overall effect of the images (which comes from the color and contrast tones) is more important than seeing individual pixels.... imho.

Ditto Henrich3. My concern with a DLP is that the ones I've seen change the image quite a bit (generally getting darker AND washed out as you move up and down) as the vertical viewing position changes. That's not a huge deal for a 'sit in this one exact spot and watch for 2 hours' world... but for clients that will potentially be watching from all sorts of different view points, that's a deal-breaker.

Hrm... looks like I'm kind of answering my own question. Too bad I'm not liking the answer. I want to have a screen larger than the plasma/lcd offers... but I can't give up the quality. grrr....

Potentially, I'll simply have both my current plasma and a projector system... though I'm not sure how to effectively do that in one space.
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post #5 of 9 Old 07-31-2012, 03:39 PM
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I was at the same point as you last year. I was used to my Kuro plasmas and was concerned with the drop in image quality and the idea of sitting in the dark every time I wanted to watch TV. While I still enjoy the 50 inch in my master bedroom at night, I haven’t turned on the 60 inch in the living room for at least 6 months. I went with a JVC RS45 downstairs and am very happy in a “dim” room and thrilled in a darkened room “blinds pulled down”. It’s not really an apples to apples comparison to a plasma it’s a completely different experience. Like they say size matters and the experience is more enjoyable to me.

If you decide to go with a projector I would set it up and see how big of an image you like before purchasing the screen.
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post #6 of 9 Old 08-01-2012, 09:23 AM
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^^^


"If you decide to go with a projector I would set it up and see how big of an image you like before purchasing the screen."

Sage advice! biggrin.gif


...Glenn smile.gif
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post #7 of 9 Old 08-01-2012, 11:27 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Baumann View Post

^^^


"If you decide to go with a projector I would set it up and see how big of an image you like before purchasing the screen."

Sage advice! biggrin.gif


...Glenn smile.gif

If you do this you have to consider that bulbs age and lose more than 50% of their brightness over their lifespan. You might want to put an ND filter in front of the lens it to determine a good screen size.
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post #8 of 9 Old 08-01-2012, 02:03 PM
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In general a smaller image will look punchier and sharper. So there is always going to be a trade off to some degree between the best flat panel and the best projector (though a good projector will look better than a lesser flat panel and visa versa).

That said, if you see a good projection set up you will likely be amazed. I have a JVC RS55 projector and it in combination with the rest of the gear in the chain produces an incredibly clear, detailed image at over 10 feet wide.
It can still leave me thinking it's hard to believe when I view it. LIke you could walk into the picture.
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post #9 of 9 Old 08-02-2012, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R Harkness View Post

In general a smaller image will look punchier and sharper. So there is always going to be a trade off to some degree between the best flat panel and the best projector (though a good projector will look better than a lesser flat panel and visa versa).
That said, if you see a good projection set up you will likely be amazed. I have a JVC RS55 projector and it in combination with the rest of the gear in the chain produces an incredibly clear, detailed image at over 10 feet wide.
It can still leave me thinking it's hard to believe when I view it. LIke you could walk into the picture.

I know exactly what you mean. With a calibrated projector and good source material, it can be amazing.

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