Sony LCOS panel degradation? 5 yrs, constant use - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 107 Old 10-29-2012, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
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I keep looking on the web for some guidance on the question. Now, even when I replace the lamp, the screen image for my Sony VW 60 is dark and muddy.

For example, I just got the SciFi Blu Ray "Prometheus". It was hard to watch.

By contrast, I played the included DVD in my laptop, and basically everything was better and clearer.

The projector has been in more or less constant use for five years. The lamp is maybe 150 hours old. I have read here and there about LCOS panel degradation over time, and I wonder if that's the issue. I wasn't planning on an upgrade yet, and I am of course not thrilled with not being able to sell this Sony in good faith to offset some of the upgrade cost.

Can anyone enlighten me or possibly direct me to the right information?
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post #2 of 107 Old 10-29-2012, 03:42 PM
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I'd love to hear more on this topic as well.
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post #3 of 107 Old 10-29-2012, 03:45 PM
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After 6 years, my Panasonic PT-AE900U has severe misconvergence; colors are off my at least 1 or more pixels.

This is one reason I'm glad the Sony & Epson have convergence adjustments. Even though they're digital adjustments, they can help if your convergence is off by nearly 1 pixel or more. Still up for debate if you should only make full pixel adjustments though... I believe for Sony increments of 8 are full pixel shifts. Anything in between interpolates between two pixels & therefore you get a loss in resolution.

That's just one way in which panels can fail... I'm curious about how else these panels can fail. I've heard of the polarizing film in the blue path failing (higher energy, shorter wavelength, light?)
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post #4 of 107 Old 10-29-2012, 03:58 PM
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Here is a good video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzDzpu4hhsc

http://www.dlp.com/projector/dlp-advantages/picture-reliability.aspx

But the video is quite old and there is a comment under the video:
Quote:
New LCD Panels use anorganic Materials!
This Test is out-of-vogue.

So I'm not sure.
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post #5 of 107 Old 10-29-2012, 04:08 PM
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Tests from 2002 & 2003 are highly outdated...
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post #6 of 107 Old 10-29-2012, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarangiman View Post

Tests from 2002 & 2003 are highly outdated...

as we can see 2007 projector shows the same behaviour.
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post #7 of 107 Old 10-29-2012, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilya Volk View Post

as we can see 2007 projector shows the same behaviour.

Where?
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post #8 of 107 Old 10-29-2012, 05:10 PM
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the first post.
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post #9 of 107 Old 10-29-2012, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilya Volk View Post

the first post.
Ah, I see. Sorry. Of course, that's assuming that his problem is due to panel degradation.

Certainly seems plausible from all the heat. DLP uses mirrors, which are probably not that prone to wear, and a color wheel that, I believe, is pretty far away from the lamp & is also pretty durable. I just can't stand RBE.

I'd try replacing the lamp in my PT-AE900U to see if it looks better (looks pretty dim & lacking in contrast now), but don't feel like spending the $$ :-P
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post #10 of 107 Old 10-29-2012, 06:22 PM
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http://www.projectorcentral.com/lcd_dlp_comparison.htm?page=LCD-Advantages-and-Limitations
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Given enough prolonged exposure to high intensity UV light and extreme heat, the organic compounds used in most LCD panels are expected to degrade over long periods of time. This degradation can lead to a discoloration of the image and a reduction in contrast. The only way to fix it is to replace the damaged LCD panel, which is typically a cost-prohibitive proposition. You are normally better off buying a new projector.

The big question of course is how long the panels will last. There is no good data on this subject that has been compiled by an independent lab and published for general consumption. LCD vendors do not typically acknowledge LCD degradation can occur, so they don't make any representations about expected life. In general, most LCD vendors maintain that to the degree LCD panels might be subject to eventual degradation, it will be beyond the practical life of the product.

One trusted and very experienced industry source who develops products using both LCD and DLP technology believes that LCD panels have a lifespan in the range of 4,000 to 10,000 hours, with the lifespan depending on how bright the projector is--the brightest LCD light cannons will produce the most stress on the panels resulting in quicker degradation. Low brightness models such as those made for home theater will produce the least stress, and are expected to last longer.

Texas Instruments has performed several tests on LCD lifespan over the past seven years. Based on these tests, they believe that LCD panels will degrade faster than the LCD vendors are willing to admit, and certainly more quickly than the 4000 hours just quoted. The 3LCD camp's response is that TI's tests have been performed by running LCD projectors continuously 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for several months straight. According to 3LCD and Epson, since the projectors used in TI's lab tests were never designed for a continuous operation high-stress duty cycle, the results are not indicative of what the typical user would experience.

The introduction of inorganic LCD panels is an important new development that is germane to this issue. Inorganic LCD panels, in theory, should not be subject to the same degradation patterns as organic LCDs, simply because the organic compounds that fail under intense heat and UV light are not present in inorganic LCDs. However, the LCD camp will not confirm or deny any anticipated differences in panel life because as a matter of policy they do not discuss the issue at all. Texas Instruments has not commented on the expected lifespan of inorganic LCDs either.
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post #11 of 107 Old 10-29-2012, 06:37 PM
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http://www.projectorcentral.com/lcos.htm?page=Limitations-and-Variations
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Not all LCOS implementations are technically the same, and they should not be thought of as identical. This has practical consequences. For example, those familiar with the recent Texas Instruments study that highlighted a particular failure mode in LCD are aware that LCD panels may eventually degrade over the long run due to a breakdown of organic compounds used in their construction. JVC has made it clear that there are no organic compounds used in the D-ILA technology and therefore this failure mode does not exist with D-ILA. Thus image reliability of their products over the long run is comparable to or exceeds that of DLP. The same cannot be said for every version of LCOS on the market.
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post #12 of 107 Old 10-30-2012, 04:33 AM - Thread Starter
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I am assuming, based upon the above discussion and youtube test video linked here, that LCD and LCOS chips are similar in chemical composition and therefore have similar degradation over time and use.

In any case, what is being described is what I have observed in my projected image.

The idea that Sony or any other major manufacturer would hide the defects in their product, after possibly engineering them into the product, disturbs.
If there is any one business principle that destroyed American preeminence in manufacturing, it's "planned obsolescence". I have already had one Sony product crash and burn. If this expensive purchase turns out to be another, it will be hard for me to buy another Sony product..

No I am not fooled by the gradual nature of the image degradation, such that I will be amazed at the brightness and clarity of new Sony products. I remember how good the image was, I feel somewhat scammed by this unreported, hidden flaw in the product..

I further do not like not being able to replace the chips
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post #13 of 107 Old 10-30-2012, 04:47 AM
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If there were a problem wouldn't it have shown up in Digital Cinema already since DC projectors receive many times the hours/abuse of a HT setup?
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post #14 of 107 Old 10-30-2012, 08:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Two things:

Do Digital Cinema projectors use precisely the same kind of LCOS chips that home units do?

Given the expensive nature of DC, is a panel replacement part of the ongoing maintenance of the unit?
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post #15 of 107 Old 10-30-2012, 08:51 AM
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This is an interesting set of questions. I doubt anyone we are talking about here is deliberately building in planned degradation. Everything involves building to a price point and then being limited by technology. We build infrastructure say to withstand a 100 year foold. We could build to with stand a 200 year flood. we build to withstand say a class 3 hurricane but not a class 5. Its all a question of money.

Products are supplied with a warranty. What you can expect is to not have significant deterioration for the warranty period, if it happens before that time, the warrator is responsible for restoration. That's it.

every product has an expected life. CRTs. The phosphers burns and eventually gets very dim. but the technology has a benefit iof long life. DLP chips tend to have a long life. LCD chips which include LCOS chips have a much shorter life. Most digital cinema projectors are relatevely new. first generation were 2K chips. They are being replaced with 4K machines. Not all willl replace and 4K source distribution is backward compatible with 2K machines. Our government got rid of analog transmissssion. Got rid of backwards compatibility without an add on box. Why? Economics. Spectrum is valuable and analog uses valuable bandwidth which can be used for more economic benefit. Probably not a bad thing but certainly many didn't like it. But now most are happier.

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post #16 of 107 Old 10-30-2012, 09:26 AM
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Quote:
I keep looking on the web for some guidance on the question. Now, even when I replace the lamp, the screen image for my Sony VW 60 is dark and muddy.

For example, I just got the SciFi Blu Ray "Prometheus". It was hard to watch.

I have never taken apart one of these projectors ( or any projector for that matter ), but could there be something in the light path that gets dirty from off gassing of plastics / the bulb housing, over time ?? I remember this very thing degrading the picture of other projectors, and being solved with a Q TIP and some alcohol. Just throwing that out there.

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post #17 of 107 Old 10-30-2012, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Peer View Post

I have never taken apart one of these projectors ( or any projector for that matter ), but could there be something in the light path that gets dirty from off gassing of plastics / the bulb housing, over time ?? I remember this very thing degrading the picture of other projectors, and being solved with a Q TIP and some alcohol. Just throwing that out there.

+1
The older JVC/Sony's were well known for this.
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post #18 of 107 Old 10-30-2012, 10:17 AM
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yep. The old Sony's used to get dust in the light path. You should replace the filters and clean it our using gentle airsuch as a hair dryer on cold and slow. See if is better if not perfect. How to clean it great, I don't know but it certainly would be possible. There is a history of panel degradation also. It was a big deal in some of the Sony rear projectors and Sony fixed many under warranty reportedly. I never had any problems in all my years with dust or panel degradation.

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post #19 of 107 Old 10-30-2012, 11:14 AM
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Information provided by JVC :

"The JVC alignment method uses no organic alignment layers common in other liquid crystal devices, achieving high stability under conditions that degrade organic layers and cause short operating lifetimes. It is important to note that the device contrast can approach 5000:1. Studies have shown that liquid crystal devices that use an organic alignment layer such as in typical LCD projectors will deteriorate and cause the color of the projector to become very poor in as little as 2500 hours. JVC’s non-organic alignment layer alleviates this problem."

http://www.avitav.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=186&Itemid=234
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post #20 of 107 Old 10-30-2012, 11:27 AM
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A well known calibrator who I won't name has said a couple of times to me that the older SXRD panels with some organic materials had some degradation problems.
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post #21 of 107 Old 10-30-2012, 12:01 PM - Thread Starter
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My projector is mounted in a somewhat dusty environment, as most ceiling areas tend to be. I have cleaned the front of my lens a number of times with alcohol, a bamboo skewer, with a cotton swab wrapped into a ball around the tips.
As far as opening the projector for a cleaning, that would be a little bit outside of my expertise. I might try it if there were a youtube guide or even instructions with pictures.

I don't get the feeling that dust or residue caused it, but I would be happy to be wrong about the panel degrading..
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post #22 of 107 Old 10-30-2012, 12:24 PM
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I'm not suggesting you take the projector apart - that's a bit like taking a watch apart. But, take out the bulb, and look in the direction that the bulb shines. If there are any lenses that the bulb shines through, they could be covered in film or dirt.

Look at it this way - if the machine isn't working and, as you stated, it can't be sold as is, you don't have much to lose, eh?

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post #23 of 107 Old 10-30-2012, 12:45 PM
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So, does anybody know if the newer Sony projectors (specifically the HW50) still use organic materials? Or have they too moved on to inorganic panels?
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post #24 of 107 Old 10-30-2012, 01:11 PM
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No one really knows. I know most LCD projectors have been using inorganic panels for the last five to six years. Never really heard if LCOS did the same. As far as the Sony rear projector SXRD sets, the problem was failing optical blocks. It was never confirmed that those failures were because of organic panels.

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post #25 of 107 Old 10-30-2012, 01:57 PM
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So as long as no carbon is used in a panel it won't degrade? Could it also be degradation due to heat or degradation because of high energy such as light hitting it? Once again, no problem as long as no carbon? Carbon equals organic. No carbon, inorganic. I think its a lot more than just having carbon or not having any carbon.

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post #26 of 107 Old 10-30-2012, 02:11 PM
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I'm sure it's pretty complicated.

For example, right here on AVS, talk of the polarizing film in the blue optical path being possibly degraded:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1157338/problem-with-panasonic-pt-43lc14-yellow-tint-covering-most-of-screen-convergence-ok

The blue light path can have a UV cut filter since harmful UV wavelengths may be emitted in the lamp & it would be, obviously, closest to the blue wavelengths. The polarizing film in the blue light path would be the one most prone to degradation by remnant UV light.

Of course, this is all conjecture since I haven't researched this myself. So, fair disclaimer. But it makes sense to me.

All this talk is really making me want to take apart my PT-AE900U... Probably doesn't have much market value anymore so perhaps I just might smile.gif
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post #27 of 107 Old 10-30-2012, 02:38 PM
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There is an old thread for this topic in AVS Forums:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1172164/sxrd-ages-badly
"...We measured a few SXRD projectors already, which are continously losing their native contrast..."
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post #28 of 107 Old 10-30-2012, 03:38 PM
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Well that's not comforting.

I measured native contrast just the other day on my HW50ES using my HCHP setup, and can continue to do so every 100 hours or so I guess.

Let's see if I can remember to report back here. Or start a new thread or blog post.

But this is only black/white contrast measurements. Perhaps I should also look at color gamut shifts over time with calibration/profiling software?
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post #29 of 107 Old 10-30-2012, 03:48 PM
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Too much time on ones hands I think. smile.gif I used to joke about complately automating my color calibration equipment including a drop down lift for the probe and every timeIi turn the projector on it would self calibrate. Now I joke about self calibrating myself.

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post #30 of 107 Old 10-30-2012, 04:13 PM
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relayed your thread into the vw60 tweakers thread too http://www.avsforum.com/t/926359/sony-vpl-vw60-tweakers-thread/

My vw60 only has 7-800 hours on the original bulb - I just dont get time to use the thing frown.gif I cant say ive noticed a drop off in contrast, although its probably been a good 3 months or so since I last turned it on.
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