Input Lag of various projectors - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 424 Old 09-22-2008, 07:24 AM - Thread Starter
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One of Panasonic's new features is "game mode", and as I was thinking that I'd like this kind of frame rate prioritization available in my next projector (I haven't decided which yet, but I'd like to purchase in 2008) and wondered how much input lag current projectors actually have.
It got me wondering about my own projector, and I figured out an easy to test it.:

  1. There's an input lag stopwatch at http://tft.vanity.dk/. Run that on a laptop/PC while outputting the same screen to your projector.
  2. Take photos of the two screens. (multiple photos, since a 60 Hz refresh rate means we want multiple images to see fractions of a frame difference. Maximum ISO and shutter speed, since we don't care about grain as long as we capture a clear frame from each display.)
In my case, I used my old Sanyo Z3 at 800x600 through VGA, displaying the image in "true" mode which means no scaling. It was just a quick and dirty test and doesn't mean much, but some of the images are below.

If you can, please run this test with the same PC using different projectors, and post results here! Even if you only have one projector, the results would be helpful. If you have "game mode" or other settings, please try with different settings and see if lag changes.

Here are some results from my quick and dirty test with my Z3:



More photos, if anyone needs them, but I think those show a pretty minimal lag. (Those were the first five I took...two of the remaining four showed some level of difference between the two, but primarily the same numbers, so maybe the frame delay difference is roughly 1/3rd of a frame, while the frames are (strangly) showing a 30ms pattern, so a 1/90th of a second difference for the laptop LCD screen and the projector LCD screen?)

To be clear, since a few people have touched on it below, this does not show the image lag of the projector, only the image lag vs. the screen it's being tested on. Results with other people using different LCD/CRT/Plasma/etc. displays to test their projectors are not cross compatible. Even two people using two similar laptops may show a different image lag due to different setups. That said, I still think this is a good idea to see more details with...and I'd really like to see people with multiple projectors or different settings on the same projector post their results, as those should be useful in direct comparison with each other.

Edit:
Visited Yodobashi Camera and tested a few other projectors:
AE200 - Game mode
AE200 - Normal Mode
TH-AE2000
TW-1000 (Epson 1080)

My thoughts: This is still apples and oranges in a sense. I'm interested in trying to do the same thing with the AE3000 and TW4000 (Epson 6500/7500) when they come out. What surprises me is that the Panasonics clearly seemed to have the worst image lag, which may be why they're the one marketing their new "game mode". The Sanyo and Epson both seem to have pretty similar performance to the AE200's game mode performance.

If it the Reon processor and/or other image processing options in the TW4000 can be turned off, it will be interesting to see whether or not the TW4000 has can reach the same minimal image lag as game mode on the AE3000. Nothing too super scientific, but interesting and fun, and I'm looking forward to hopefully doing the same with the new models as soon as possible.

(While unrelated to image lag, I was very unimpressed with how much dust the AE2000 had. When focusing to get the screen as close as possible, I was kind of shocked with the amount of dust in a 10 month old projector, and unlike the Sanyo, there's no way for a user to mitigate this...)

Enjoying my second TW4000 and my new screen.
As my wife said, "Wow, it really does look a lot better...and if I think that way, imagine how you must think it looks!"
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post #2 of 424 Old 09-22-2008, 07:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Probably worth mentioning, two things I'm very interested in:

  • What is the lag of the AE3000 with "game mode" on, and with game mode off?
  • Will the cheaper 1080p Epson (TW3000/6100/7100) have less lag than the more expensive one (TW4000/TW5000/6500/7500)? The cheaper model has inorganic panels, while the more expensive one has inorganic panels and a Silicon Optix HQV Reon-VX coupled with PixelWorks 390 video processor. Will the panels and/or amount of processing done by the Reon-VX slow things down?

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post #3 of 424 Old 09-22-2008, 09:00 AM
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Wow cool thread, I've been looking to buy a projector and am also an avid gamer. So in your experience, would you say that gaming (in hd) on a projector is comparable to gaming on any other hd display as far as input lag is concerned? I've been looking specifically at dlp projectors and have heard that dlp tech in general suffers from input lag most, might you have any input towards this statement?
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post #4 of 424 Old 09-22-2008, 09:15 AM
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Can this also be used to calibrate audio delay?

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post #5 of 424 Old 09-22-2008, 10:04 AM
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I thought you usually use a CRT for these tests since most LCD's have some input lag? Although most of the tests like this I've seen have been desktop type computers, I think this is the first one I've seen using a laptop.
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post #6 of 424 Old 09-22-2008, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goku14139268520 View Post

Wow cool thread, I've been looking to buy a projector and am also an avid gamer. So in your experience, would you say that gaming (in hd) on a projector is comparable to gaming on any other hd display as far as input lag is concerned?

I would say that I do not notice any significant input lag with this...but it's been my primary gaming display for nearly four years, and I've gotten quite used to it. Hooking a second Xbox 360 up to my 40" Sony Bravia I bought less than a year ago for some local network gaming with friends, I did not notice any difference in lag, although both are LCD based displays.
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Originally Posted by sisaacs View Post

I thought you usually use a CRT for these tests since most LCD's have some input lag? Although most of the tests like this I've seen have been desktop type computers, I think this is the first one I've seen using a laptop.

As I mentioned in my post, this is meant to be "quick and dirty". I don't have a CRT display, and I'm not about to lug a PC into that room just to use one of my two LCD displays instead of the LCD monitor on the laptop. If anyone is seriously considering buying a Sanyo Z3, I hope they don't take these tests too seriously.

The main reason I wanted to get these photos done now is that when I do buy my new projector, I can use the exact same program and laptop to test the other projector, and see if there's a discernable difference or not. (Comparing two people's tests could easily be apples and oranges, especially if people are using CRT displays)

I'll post more photos of the same type of setup with my new projector when I get it (still not sure if it's the Panny or Epson) but I'm looking forward to hopefully seeing some other people post some results of their own setups between now and then.

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post #7 of 424 Old 09-22-2008, 02:33 PM
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Hmmm. I need to try this with my RS2 and Lumagen RadianceXD when I get a chance.

I would love to see how much real lag there is. It might also help me with my Rockband Expert level stuff

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post #8 of 424 Old 09-22-2008, 04:34 PM
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How are you separating the lag caused by the laptop's additional hardware and software processing required to send a scaled video signal to the the auxiliary output of the laptop and the lag of the projector processing? And how do you account for variations between different graphics cards, computers, etc?

Human perception is not a direct consequence of reality, but rather an act of imagination. - Michael Faraday
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post #9 of 424 Old 09-22-2008, 07:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdputnam View Post

How are you separating the lag caused by the laptop's additional hardware and software processing required to send a scaled video signal to the the auxiliary output of the laptop and the lag of the projector processing? And how do you account for variations between different graphics cards, computers, etc?

You don't/can't. You can exchange hardware specs and try to figure out how differing systems compare, but basically, it's only really useful when using the same setup to test two different projectors or two different settings on the same projector.

That said, I'll be using the same laptop and settings to test my new projector, at which point comparing the results with my first post may be interesting for some. Surely I'm not the only person on these boards to have more than one projector in their house at some point.

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post #10 of 424 Old 09-22-2008, 09:52 PM
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In my opinion it may not be very useful. The image processing lag varies from scene to scene depending on the complexity of the scene at the time. The test may be able to reveal panel response time but I doubt it will be a sufficient indicator for image processing. A full digital path may be the way to go to minimize lag, ie no analog/digital conversion and no image processing, and you'll probably want to connect directly to the projector rather than through an av receiver.
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post #11 of 424 Old 09-22-2008, 11:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ed_t View Post

In my opinion it may not be very useful. The image processing lag varies from scene to scene depending on the complexity of the scene at the time. The test may be able to reveal panel response time but I doubt it will be a sufficient indicator for image processing. A full digital path may be the way to go to minimize lag, ie no analog/digital conversion and no image processing, and you'll probably want to connect directly to the projector rather than through an av receiver.

An Xbox 360 and PS3 can send 720/1080 feeds directly to the projector through a variety of methods, including HDMI, and I would not use a switch for my gaming console, specifically to avoid image lag.

I definitely get what you're saying about lag varying from scene to scene, but I can't think of a great way to test image lag with a constant video load. I thought about running the stopwatch windowed, with another video running, but that just introduces more variables that would vary when I do the test again with my new projector. If you have a better idea, please share it.

Is there a way to turn off non-critical in-projector video processing with Epsons? I'm assuming that's what the "Selective Frame Response" of the Panasonics ("game mode") do, but I'd like to see something similar to this with and without that option turned on to see if it shows a difference.

Enjoying my second TW4000 and my new screen.
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post #12 of 424 Old 09-23-2008, 05:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ed_t View Post

In my opinion it may not be very useful. The image processing lag varies from scene to scene depending on the complexity of the scene at the time. The test may be able to reveal panel response time but I doubt it will be a sufficient indicator for image processing. A full digital path may be the way to go to minimize lag, ie no analog/digital conversion and no image processing, and you'll probably want to connect directly to the projector rather than through an av receiver.

I don't think the lag will vary from scene to scene. For any particular settings (noise reduction etc.) the processing pipeline should be fixed. Even though the algorithm may take the image content into account, the image content shouldn't change the lag.

Also, if an A/V receiver is not upscaling or processing the signal (which many don't do for HDMI, and in others it can be turned off), there shouldn't be any extra lag introduced.

I think the total lag for any display should be listed in the specs, just like LCD response time is. If just one manufacturer starts doing this because they think they have less lag than anyone else, it could start a new marketing war where everyone tries to get the lag down to a minimum.

Then the next problem will be that the sound lags because the audio delay through the receiver is more than the video delay and there's no way to adjust it. Notice how all receivers can add extra audio delay because there's a common belief that the video delay is longer, but I think that is rapidly changing and when the displays improve we'll all start complaining about the receivers! So it would be good to see people measure and report audio delay through their receiver as well as video delay through their display.
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post #13 of 424 Old 09-23-2008, 12:51 PM
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How do you measure the audio lag from your reciever?

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post #14 of 424 Old 09-23-2008, 04:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peteer01 View Post

An Xbox 360 and PS3 can send 720/1080 feeds directly to the projector through a variety of methods, including HDMI, and I would not use a switch for my gaming console, specifically to avoid image lag.

I definitely get what you're saying about lag varying from scene to scene, but I can't think of a great way to test image lag with a constant video load. I thought about running the stopwatch windowed, with another video running, but that just introduces more variables that would vary when I do the test again with my new projector. If you have a better idea, please share it.

Is there a way to turn off non-critical in-projector video processing with Epsons? I'm assuming that's what the "Selective Frame Response" of the Panasonics ("game mode") do, but I'd like to see something similar to this with and without that option turned on to see if it shows a difference.

Can't really think of a way. You could try have a changing solid color and complex background. I believe if you use HDMI input most of the post processing is automatically disabled. I had the Mits HC5000 for a year and when using VGA input most of the video enhancement feature was not available. If I remember correctly BenQ W5000/20000 also have game modes.
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post #15 of 424 Old 09-23-2008, 05:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cameron View Post

How do you measure the audio lag from your reciever?

Here's one way: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...7#post12600927

Even without measuring it's easy to tell if the lag is bad. Tune your receiver and a cheap portable radio to the same station, and see how bad the echo effect is. Many receivers have a mode that bypasses DSP processing and then you might get almost zero lag. But if you want bass management, equalization, etc. you may have 40ms or more audio delay. The Onkyo 805 was famous for having over 70ms. Match that with a display whose lag is very low and you have a lipsync issue that you can't solve.
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post #16 of 424 Old 09-24-2008, 10:59 AM
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If the Epson 720 or 1080UB was very great for lag, I would buy one immediately. These companies don't know what they're missing. A glowing recommendation on the Internet is sure to move some units. Maybe not a lot, but enough. I bet there are some super-fast projectors out there that some people would never consider, it's a shame.

With that being said, I'm still deathly afraid to buy anything other than an AX-200 or AE3000, since they're the only ones to specifically address processing lag. I've been gaming since the 80s, and my sensitivity to lag is brutal. If most projectors were like my Bravia in "Game" mode, that would suffice. If better than that, then awesome.

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post #17 of 424 Old 09-25-2008, 05:45 AM - Thread Starter
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So I figured the only meaningful comparison photos to my original post would have to come from an identical setup, so I'd have to be the one to take the photos. I decided to head down to Yodobashi Camera (where photo taking is actually expressly prohibited...) with my laptop and VGA cable and decided to try the same setup with all their 1080p projectors. Unfortunately, the ceiling mounted projector was out of the question, and the Z2000 and TW2000 (1080UB) still both had dead bulbs. (The Z2000 was dead when I first visited a few weeks ago.) That meant I could test the AE2000, the Epson TW1000 (1080), as well as the Panasonic TH-AX200, which, while 720p, has game mode like the up and coming AE-3000.

All the photos were taken in "A" (Aperture mode) with my 50mm f/1.4 wide open at ISO 1600 to capture these images with as little exposure time per frame as possible. These results are not scientific, I am not a professional at this, please consult your physician about what other alternatives to image lag may be appropriate for you, etc. etc.

AE200 - Game mode




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post #18 of 424 Old 09-25-2008, 05:58 AM - Thread Starter
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AE200 - Normal mode


(Just before switching from Game (bottom) to Normal (top).)




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post #19 of 424 Old 09-25-2008, 06:18 AM - Thread Starter
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TH-AE2000
This was a tough one. The AE2000 is so big, and PC cord is nearly right in the middle of it, so it was tough to get the PC far enough and the screen close enough. At f/1.4, it doesn't take much distance to blur the numbers, but they're readable enough to see that the AE2000 has more image lag than the AX200, with or without game mode.

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TW-1000 (Epson 1080)

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post #21 of 424 Old 09-25-2008, 06:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Updating the first post with my thoughts, but quickly here:
  • I thought it was surprising that the Epson (1080) seemed as good in normal mode as the Panasonic performed in game mode.
  • The two Panasonics clearly had the most image lag of the four projectors I've tested so far. (AE200, AE2000, TW2000 and Sanyo Z3)
(While unrelated to image lag, I was very unimpressed with how much dust the AE2000 had. When focusing to get the screen as close as possible, I was kind of shocked with the amount of dust in a 10 month old projector, and unlike the Sanyo, there's no way for a user to mitigate this...)

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post #22 of 424 Old 09-25-2008, 07:32 AM
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Is that TW2000 the same thing as an American 1080UB? If that's the case then someone's gotta test it soon! Thanks for the work, you are awesome?

Anyone tested the Epson HC720? For the price, I'd go with that. But it's gotta be fast!

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post #23 of 424 Old 09-25-2008, 07:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tommyv2 View Post

Is that TW2000 the same thing as an American 1080UB? If that's the case then send this link to Epson and have them start advertizing this! This is awesome!

The TW2000 is the 1080UB. Unfortunately, that's the projector I couldn't test. (dead bulb)

The TW1000, the 1080 in the US, is the one I was able to take photos of...and while it's quite possible the 1080UB could have the same results, it's also possible that it wouldn't. I'll probably go back with my camera and laptop once I've confirmed that the AE3000 or TW4000 is on display (maybe even the TW3000 [6100/7100]) but not until then, so I don't know when or if I'll get photos of the 1080UB.

Until then, I'll keep my fingers crossed that someone else with a camera and access to more than one projector might be able to share some of their results with us.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tommyv2 View Post

Is that TW2000 the same thing as an American 1080UB? If that's the case then someone's gotta test it soon! Thanks for the work, you are awesome?

Hahaha. Replied just before your edit. Thanks for your complement? (I think.) Like you, I'm really hopeful the TW2000 does have the same, or better, image lag than the TW1000.

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post #24 of 424 Old 09-25-2008, 07:47 AM
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Thanks for the tests, that is so awesome. This should become standard criteria for projector reviewing from now on!

Anyone tested an Epson HC720 or 1080UB?

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post #25 of 424 Old 09-25-2008, 08:49 AM
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This is really great information! It's definetally pushed me to at least order and try out the Epson 1080UB prior to anything else. I even got my wife's approval, which is very rare, LOL

I'm not as much concerned about the ps3, xbox360, or Wii. My Sony 60" SXRD plays them fine. I did have several issues when hooking my PC up to it for games though. The mouse response was very sluggish and the display looked amazing until you started moving then the details dropped down and began to look very blurry. Hence my concern with moving to a projector. It does sound like there is the opportunity that everything will work out great though. Thanks for the info!
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post #26 of 424 Old 09-25-2008, 09:58 AM
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I'm not convinced we have enough sample images of each projector to get a meaningful average. Since the difference between the two screens seems to be either 0 or 30ms, you would need to take many pictures to get any kind of accuracy.

Also, why do we see the stopwatch counting in increments of 30ms? The screens should be refreshing at 60Hz, so I would expect 16ms increments. Are you sure this isn't a limitation of the stopwatch program (in which case isn't there a better one out there)?
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post #27 of 424 Old 09-25-2008, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kriktsemaj99 View Post

Also, why do we see the stopwatch counting in increments of 30ms? The screens should be refreshing at 60Hz, so I would expect 16ms increments. Are you sure this isn't a limitation of the stopwatch program (in which case isn't there a better one out there)?

Seems to be a limitation of my "ultralight" laptop. It's one of those really light 12.1" Dell ones, and even though it's rather recent, I think the graphics chipset just isn't up to snuff. Hooking it up to another monitor and running power saver mode or high performance mode doesn't make a difference. My older, larger notebook runs the stopwatch much more smoothly. I see the difference very clearly now that it's been pointed out to me.

My small laptop claims 60 Hz, but I think you've pointed out a pretty big discrepency with the 30ms.

Sadly, there's not a lot I can do to change the setup I'm using (not to mention, I don't want to test my luck snapping too many photos in Yodobashi Camera) so there won't be 16ms frame results from me, but I'm hoping someone else can chime in.

At the very least, the results gave me more of a reference point for LCD projector image lag than I had previously...hopefully they're a starting point for others to contribute more to.

Enjoying my second TW4000 and my new screen.
As my wife said, "Wow, it really does look a lot better...and if I think that way, imagine how you must think it looks!"
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post #28 of 424 Old 09-25-2008, 11:24 AM
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I've also made up my mind on an Epson HC720. It's too cheap to ignore. Surely someone's got one of these to test? They're pretty popular.

Peteer, did you test your laptop against a CRT in the first place? And are you always using VGA? Sometimes the projectors' circuitry is faster/simpler for VGA. I'd like to see a 480i/p component and 720p HDMI comparison, as those are the inputs most of us are gonna use for gaming.

Most of the lag is from scaling and deinterlacing, but sometimes these devices just have lag on native res sources, too. You benched a Sanyo Z3 in VGA, and I've personally used one on 480i on component, and I found it laggy, but according to your pics it was awesome. HDMI was perfect, though.

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post #29 of 424 Old 09-25-2008, 02:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tommyv2 View Post

Peteer, did you test your laptop against a CRT in the first place? And are you always using VGA? Sometimes the projectors' circuitry is faster/simpler for VGA. I'd like to see a 480i/p component and 720p HDMI comparison, as those are the inputs most of us are gonna use for gaming.

Most of the lag is from scaling and deinterlacing, but sometimes these devices just have lag on native res sources, too. You benched a Sanyo Z3 in VGA, and I've personally used one on 480i on component, and I found it laggy, but according to your pics it was awesome. HDMI was perfect, though.

No CRT to use. Always using VGA.

As you may already know, scaling 480i material is much more time intensive (more image lag) than 720p/1080p material, for any LCD screen or projector. There's a thread about that here, and that's definitely not a front projector specific issue.

Sending 720p material to my LCD TV or projector, I use component or HDMI, depending on the source, but I have no way of sending a time clock or similar image lag test to two monitors using anything but VGA, which is why I used VGA for my quick and dirty tests.

FWIW, I don't find the Z3 to be noticeably laggy when fed 720p/1080p, but as I mentioned earlier, image lag is one of those things people subconsciously adapt to, and I've been gaming on my Z3 for years.

Edit: If someone could prove that there's less image lag over VGA than both HDMI and component with my next projector, I'd be very happy to hook up my Xbox 360 over VGA, move my HD DVD player into the projector room to play HD DVDs and DVDs over HDMI. (Move the HD DVD drive to a second Xbox for the Bravia LCD TV in the other room for HD DVDs in that room.)

Enjoying my second TW4000 and my new screen.
As my wife said, "Wow, it really does look a lot better...and if I think that way, imagine how you must think it looks!"
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post #30 of 424 Old 09-25-2008, 03:46 PM
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Not every projector handles 1920x1080 over VGA. Mits HC5000 did but Sony VW60 did not.
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Reply Digital Hi-End Projectors - $3,000+ USD MSRP

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