So I stroll into Tweeter today, and what do I see?
Alongside a SharpVision, a Sony 10HT!
Never have I seen this unit, never in real life.
All these reviews here, you've caused me such strife!
Is LCD viable?
Is it the way to go?
But of primary concern...
Aperture ratio, so low!
Yikes! Where'd all that come from? Anyway, since I can't keep that up any longer, I'll talk / type normally.
So the Tweeter dude shows me "The World is Not Enough" in 16x9 on a motorized 100" SharpVision screen. (The screen itself was square, 4x3) To be honest, I wasn't too keen on the Sony. The colors were really washed out, flesh tones looked gray, it exhibited typical LCD video lag, etc etc etc. Kind of a bummer. In any case, it probably wasn't calibrated correctly, so I didn't pursue the issue. (Btw, Tweeter was selling the 10HT for $7,999)
What did interest me was the screen. Apologies if this has been covered before, so for those of you who are aware of Sharp's SharpVision projection screens, this might be a refresher. Anyway, on the screen's surface, there are minute (smaller than sand) glass beads that cover the entire screen. I asked the guy how much the screen cost, and it turned out that it was $1,999. Hm, not bad for a 100" motorized screen.
I then ask him if he has a non-motorized unit, and find out he has two 100" units in the back - the SharpVision XS-100SPGR. I ask him the price, my mouth drops open at his reply, and I leave the store with a grin and a new 100" screen hanging out the trunk of my car.
I get home, warm up the Compaq MP2800 that I have on hand, hook it up via S-Video to my Panasonic A110 DVD, and oh my.
For those of you who don't know, the MP2800 is Compaq's current microportable - 3lbs, 4x3 single chip DLP DMD, XGA, 1100 lumens, vertical form factor like the earlier MP1600, and sports Silicon Image's SiI530 scaler / deinterlacer in the video module. This chip is the same one that's in the new Denon $600 progressive DVD player, as well as in some other high end stuff like Camelot.
I LOVE the MP2800, but that's another discussion.
As I'm going through DVD after DVD after DVD, my wife comes home, freezes in the hallway, and stares agape at the huge screen I've very messy'ly mounted on our living room wall. She gives me that "what the hell did you buy NOW?" look, and I reply with my "but wait until you see how cool this is!" smile.
I kill the lights, throw on When Harry Met Sally, and wow. I throw on Toy Story 2 and wow. I throw on Mary Poppins, Lost in Space, The Sound of Music, West Side Story, Gladiator, and wow wow wow.
Is good. Is very good. Now, ok... this is the first large screen I've ever brought home. Our viewings were limited to the wall or a sheet as I'm sure many of you have used in the past. So, my perspective is somewhat newbie-ish in that I haven't logged hundreds of hours in examining the virtues of a 1.3 gain screen vs a 1.5 gain screen. I've gone through the "build your own screen" thread and was getting the itch to build something this weekend when I chanced upon the XS-100SPGR at Tweeter.
I thought screens were an all or nothing proposition - either you pony up a couple G's or you build your own for cheap.
Guys, this screen was $199.
Now, I don't know if this is a good price in absolute terms, but in terms of the quality I see on screen, for the fact that I don't have to continue using my living room wall, for the fact that I now have much more function in my living room (since it's a descending screen) and especially considering I didn't have to pay a grand or more, I consider this a hell of a value.
I know that I don't have an optimal screen for DLP viewing, but the Grayhawk would have run at least $2k. For average, obsessed home theater joe, I think I did fairly well.
The practical side in me doesn't want to check out the Grayhawk now, b/c I know that the eternally dissatisfied side of me is going to like it, and start to wonder, and you know how dangerous it is for us to wonder about moving up in the world!