Impact of white ceiling with projector - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 72 Old 07-06-2013, 04:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all.

I'm building a house and its getting to the point where I need to choose the paint colors.

I've never owned a projector before, but it's always been a dream of mine, so I had all of the wiring done for the projector and electric screen. Since then, I've been doing a lot of research on projectors and screens, and have decided on the Epson 6020 - screen selection is TBD.

I have decided on a dark blue paint, although I may switch to a lighter gray. I really don't WANT to paint the ceiling, unless I'm just going to be very disappointed with the picture.

So my question is, how much of an impact does having a white ceiling make? The light in the room is completely controllable.

During the day I'll probably just watch my Plasma, and at night switch to the projector. The only exception is watching College football games during the day on the projector.

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post #2 of 72 Old 07-06-2013, 05:13 PM
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quite a bit. I am currently paint my ceiling black right now. with my old projector I painted the first 3feet of ceiling black and it had a large impact on the black levels on the screen. that was with a cheap projector with not so good blacks/contrast. I replaced it with a jvc x35 since, so it's going to be hard to compare full white to full black as I will have a different projector and about 5months in between. in all honesty though, i'm more than happen with the pq, contrast, and blacks I get with the jvc and my white ceiling.

but, aside from the picture, the reason I am paint my ceiling is because my room gets BRIGHT during use. with your average animated movie, or something on the brighter end, it's easy to read by the light bouncing off the ceiling from the screen. I know this will technically make the picture worse, but that's not the point for me. the point is the room becomes distracting. I want to focus on the picture and only the picture. not the seats, not the carpet, not the dog laying on the ground, etc. a darker ceiling will definitely enhance that 'floating image in a black hole' look. though i'm sure it'll take even more to actually accomplish that(velvet?)

I do believe you can get a phenomenal picture with a white ceiling, or light colored walls. anybody that's not a videophile will be amazed by the quality. but there's a definite impact on the whole experience.

for the screen, you may want to consider a high gain screen. it will focus more of the light back at the viewers(and not the ceiling), and increase the brightness of the image which could be a benefit for day games. as long as viewing angles aren't a big concern it should help with both concerns

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post #3 of 72 Old 07-06-2013, 09:06 PM
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post #4 of 72 Old 07-06-2013, 09:34 PM
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A quick and easier solution could be to to tack up black velvet-like (or real black velvet) material to the ceiling. It will make a HUGE difference on perceived brightness of the image and perceived contrast within the image. With today's high contrast projectors making the room as bat cave like as possible will grant you access to your projectors full potential on how good the contrast can actually be.

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post #5 of 72 Old 07-08-2013, 05:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks to everyone for your responses.

I'm curious, however, to know if everyone who has a white ceiling feels the absolute need to paint their ceiling in order to have an acceptable picture.

I am planning to have dark flat paint on the walls, but I'd really prefer not to have dark ceilings.

Will I totally regret my decision and be painting my white ceiling soon after moving to my new house, or will I have a great (but not perfect) picture that most people could lice with?

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post #6 of 72 Old 07-08-2013, 10:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweetmeat View Post

Thanks to everyone for your responses.

I'm curious, however, to know if everyone who has a white ceiling feels the absolute need to paint their ceiling in order to have an acceptable picture.

I am planning to have dark flat paint on the walls, but I'd really prefer not to have dark ceilings.

Will I totally regret my decision and be painting my white ceiling soon after moving to my new house, or will I have a great (but not perfect) picture that most people could lice with?

I had a white ceiling in my game room and darker walls. The ceiling was a huge distraction when watching movies and really lit up the room. The improvement to the picture after painting the ceiling was immense, it really helped with contrast and also gave the image a pop factor that is hard to explain.

It really comes down to how critical you are about your image quality and ability to "escape into" the movie. You don't have to go black, you could go with a dark grey or whatever color your walls are. Either way would be much better than white ceilings. Is it a living room or a separate game/media room?
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post #7 of 72 Old 07-09-2013, 05:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by joepaiii View Post

I had a white ceiling in my game room and darker walls. The ceiling was a huge distraction when watching movies and really lit up the room. The improvement to the picture after painting the ceiling was immense, it really helped with contrast and also gave the image a pop factor that is hard to explain.

It really comes down to how critical you are about your image quality and ability to "escape into" the movie. You don't have to go black, you could go with a dark grey or whatever color your walls are. Either way would be much better than white ceilings. Is it a living room or a separate game/media room?

This is in a family room, and it's quite large (37x18x9), so I don't want to darken the ceiling through the entire room, and I'm afraid it might look even worse if I painted only a portion of it dark and left the rest white.

How about blue? Does anyone paint their walls or ceilings dark blue?

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post #8 of 72 Old 07-09-2013, 07:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweetmeat View Post

This is in a family room, and it's quite large (37x18x9), so I don't want to darken the ceiling through the entire room, and I'm afraid it might look even worse if I painted only a portion of it dark and left the rest white.

How about blue? Does anyone paint their walls or ceilings dark blue?

It is going to be better than white!

I had a thought the other day after seeing one of the big box store paint commercials. Whatever color you choose be it black or gray or even blue don't go with just one shade for the ceiling and side walls.. do the darkest for about 4-5 feet out from the screen then transition to the white or light color of the rest of the room with a couple of feet of strips, maybe a foot or more wide of progressively lighter color and more narrow stripe so it is more of a feature than what it really is. All that is needed is some frog tapes and white paint to lighten your starting Dark color. I am sure this is not for everyone but It looks kind of cool in my minds eye.
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post #9 of 72 Old 07-10-2013, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweetmeat View Post

Thanks to everyone for your responses.

I'm curious, however, to know if everyone who has a white ceiling feels the absolute need to paint their ceiling in order to have an acceptable picture.

I am planning to have dark flat paint on the walls, but I'd really prefer not to have dark ceilings.

Will I totally regret my decision and be painting my white ceiling soon after moving to my new house, or will I have a great (but not perfect) picture that most people could lice with?

I would say no, I've had a projector with a white ceiling for over 4yrs. but then again, I did paint my ceiling black about 3 days ago... for me, it was something I wanted to do to see what it was like, more than because I was unsatisfied with the picture quality. I was actually thrilled with the picture quality

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post #10 of 72 Old 07-10-2013, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by fierce_gt View Post

I would say no, I've had a projector with a white ceiling for over 4yrs. but then again, I did paint my ceiling black about 3 days ago... for me, it was something I wanted to do to see what it was like, more than because I was unsatisfied with the picture quality. I was actually thrilled with the picture quality

And how much more are you thrilled with the picture quality? Also how close to the ceiling is the screen. I have a projector in a room with white ceiling and painting that ceiling black would not be a huge improvement, but that is because the ceiling is 17' high. In my dedicated 8' ceiling height, the black ceiling made a big difference.

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post #11 of 72 Old 07-10-2013, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweetmeat View Post

I'm curious, however, to know if everyone who has a white ceiling feels the absolute need to paint their ceiling in order to have an acceptable picture.

I am planning to have dark flat paint on the walls, but I'd really prefer not to have dark ceilings.

I'd paint the ceiling if for the only reason that having dark blue walls and a white ceiling will look weird on its own, regardless of what you're doing in there. smile.gif

I used to live in an apartment where I wasn't permitted to paint the walls. I got by. It's not the end of the world, though my current home theater (all dark walls and ceiling) is certainly better. However, I'd imagine that having dark walls and a white ceiling will actually be more distracting than having all white walls and ceiling, because in your scenario the ceiling really stands out and calls attention to itself. When the lights are out, you'll have light reflecting back from the ceiling and nowhere else in the room.

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post #12 of 72 Old 07-10-2013, 04:04 PM
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You could paint that white ceiling a shade of blue to compliment the walls, and it would look better, and be better for watching your projected image too.

In my case, yes, painting the ceiling and the walls darker ( they were light to medium grey to begin with ) made enough difference to be able to switch from a grey Firehawk G3 screen to a white StudioTek 130 G3 screen, and not have the blacks wash out. In fact, I kept making the walls darker and putting up the ST 130 samples until I couldn't tell where the sample was on the Firehawk in dark scenes - then switched screens ! smile.gif

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post #13 of 72 Old 07-10-2013, 05:02 PM
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And how much more are you thrilled with the picture quality? Also how close to the ceiling is the screen. I have a projector in a room with white ceiling and painting that ceiling black would not be a huge improvement, but that is because the ceiling is 17' high. In my dedicated 8' ceiling height, the black ceiling made a big difference.

um, well, i'm not quite done with the rest of the room yet. I don't imagine the painting I've just done will have a dramatic affect on screen image. I wanted to simply darken the rest of the room so I wasn't as distracted by objects around the room and maintained my focus on screen.

for the first 4yrs I had a 120" screen that was about 6" from the ceiling, and 8" from the walls. it worked for me, but I was using a more entry level projector, so I wasn't getting dark blacks no matter what. about 7 months ago I decided to flip the room around because the screen divided my basement in half, in doing this I had to go with a smaller screen because there is a section of roof that hands about 2.5ft lower. I ended up with a 100" grey screen. with the new setup the screen was about 5" from the lower section of ceiling, maybe 6" from the right wall, and a few feet from the left wall(there's a doorway there). while I was doing the research for the new screen, I was trying to decide if I really needed a grey material, and if it was actually going to help enough. during this research I came across the benefits of painting the ceiling, so I painted the lower section with the darkest paint I had lieing around (a very dark brown). now I will say, doing this I felt made a very noticeable difference. it pretty much silenced my inner voice crying for an upgrade. unfortunately for my wallet, after buying a really nice plasma, there was no amount of paint that was going to make me happy with the mediocre blacks and contrast I had gotten used to. my eyes were opened again to what a good picture looks like.

anyway, i'm not expecting to see a huge difference painting the rest of my ceiling black, at least not on screen. but so far, with the room about half furnished, and some touch ups still needed to the roof(damn popcorn ceiling is hard to paint!) I do feel like the room remains darker during viewing, and gives the impression of more size. i'm actually wondering if it's the black ceiling or the way I did the two tone(black bottom, dark blue top) on the walls but I feel low in the room now. like the ceiling feels untouchably high. I believe it's actually about 8ft. all I know is I didn't need a ladder to paint it tongue.gif

it's definitely one of those things that varies greatly in the details. higher gain screen, higher ceiling, lower brightness projector could be the difference between an obvious improvement and one only perceptible when you look closely for it.

I do think painting the ceiling dark for 3-4feet out from the screen is a pretty good compromise if you can make it work with the decor

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post #14 of 72 Old 07-10-2013, 05:09 PM
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I'd paint the ceiling if for the only reason that having dark blue walls and a white ceiling will look weird on its own, regardless of what you're doing in there. smile.gif

I used to live in an apartment where I wasn't permitted to paint the walls. I got by. It's not the end of the world, though my current home theater (all dark walls and ceiling) is certainly better. However, I'd imagine that having dark walls and a white ceiling will actually be more distracting than having all white walls and ceiling, because in your scenario the ceiling really stands out and calls attention to itself. When the lights are out, you'll have light reflecting back from the ceiling and nowhere else in the room.

I had white ceiling and dark brown walls. the ceiling didn't stand out, it just lights up the room pretty evenly. so even though my walls were dark, I could easily see them from the light reflecting off the ceiling. not ideal by any stretch, but I wouldn't say a white ceiling is any more distracting with dark walls than it would be with light walls (sorry if i'm putting words in your mouth, that was just the way I read it)

I still feel like this is a tough one to answer. I mean there's millions of ppl that are happy with their edge-lit non-dimming LED's out there. a black ceiling is definitely going to be better, but it's hard to say what is 'good enough' for somebody else.

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post #15 of 72 Old 07-10-2013, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by fierce_gt View Post

I had white ceiling and dark brown walls. the ceiling didn't stand out, it just lights up the room pretty evenly. so even though my walls were dark, I could easily see them from the light reflecting off the ceiling. not ideal by any stretch, but I wouldn't say a white ceiling is any more distracting with dark walls than it would be with light walls (sorry if i'm putting words in your mouth, that was just the way I read it)

I still feel like this is a tough one to answer. I mean there's millions of ppl that are happy with their edge-lit non-dimming LED's out there. a black ceiling is definitely going to be better, but it's hard to say what is 'good enough' for somebody else.

The difference is that those screens have anti-reflective and other optical coatings to stop stray light from effecting contrast. With front projection the room itself and any other thing in the room that reflects light has final say about contrast performance. This is why ANSI contrast is orders of magnitude higher on LCD and Plasma HDTV sets. It is SOOOOOOO difficult to get high ANSI contrast in front projection. Your projector can have some of the best optics, with some of most advanced optical coatings, the best ever designed light path to catch stray light and still end up with abysmal ANSI contrast if the room you're using the projector in sucks. My LED projector has a measured 850:1 ANSI contrast which is basically as good as it gets in front projection and is also more than double what a JVC has, but if I were to use it in a poor environment I may as well just throw that advantage out the window. On/Off isn't affected as much because in dark scenes there is less ambient light to effect black level.

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post #16 of 72 Old 07-10-2013, 10:09 PM
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The difference is that those screens have anti-reflective and other optical coatings to stop stray light from effecting contrast. With front projection the room itself and any other thing in the room that reflects light has final say about contrast performance. This is why ANSI contrast is orders of magnitude higher on LCD and Plasma HDTV sets. It is SOOOOOOO difficult to get high ANSI contrast in front projection. Your projector can have some of the best optics, with some of most advanced optical coatings, the best ever designed light path to catch stray light and still end up with abysmal ANSI contrast if the room you're using the projector in sucks. My LED projector has a measured 850:1 ANSI contrast which is basically as good as it gets in front projection and is also more than double what a JVC has, but if I were to use it in a poor environment I may as well just throw that advantage out the window. On/Off isn't affected as much because in dark scenes there is less ambient light to effect black level.

you're taking the led thing in a different way than I meant it. I was just trying to point out that many ppl are still very happy with what videophiles consider unacceptable. I still prefer a cheap crt to all but the best plasmas, and I've never had the pleasure of viewing an LED that impressed me(not to say they aren't out there, I just haven't seen them). the point could be equally valid as just saying ppl have different preferences, and what is an absolute deal breaker for some(for me flashlighting) is not even noticed by others.

considering I think i'm relatively picky about blacks and contrast(at least i'm more picky about them than color, brightness, motion resolution, etc), I find myself in the middle a bit. on one hand, I definitely feel like I enjoyed the picture of my x35 even with the white ceiling. but I also know that paint is relatively cheap, and even a small improvement in blacks/contrast is a worthwhile improvement.

if I had a wife to deal with, a white ceiling would be something i'd be willing to cave on. but if it's 100% up to me, i'd go dark for sure.

also, trying not to go off topic too much, but 850:1 ansi. there are some CRAZY numbers out there. I even think I saw one site report the jvc over 10000:1 which I thought was very impressive consider this year's plasma were reportedly the first to break that barrier since the kuro days. just goes to show how inaccurate measuring front projectors can be I guess. makes me appreciate forums like this where you can get such unbiased relative reviews instead of trying to compare the numbers from different reviewers. avs hasn't steered me wrong yet biggrin.gif

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post #17 of 72 Old 07-10-2013, 10:20 PM
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10000:1 ANSI? In front projection that is basically impossible. JVCs are around 350-400 ANSI contrast.

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post #18 of 72 Old 07-10-2013, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Seegs108 View Post

JVCs are around 350-400 ANSI contrast.
JVC X30 - 320:1 ANSI
JVC X90 - 195:1 ANSI
JVC X95 - 344:1 ANSI
Sony HW50 - 420:1 ANSI
Mitsubishi HC9000 - 450:1 ANSI - non-DLP ANSI champion

In my non-dedicated not-yet-treated room (with a white ceiling) I measured 45:1 ANSI on my Mitsubishi HC5 (same as HC9000). It's a shame, really, since this projector is capable of so much more. Yet, even with 45:1 ANSI, the image is outstanding sometimes.
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post #19 of 72 Old 07-11-2013, 06:26 AM
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The Sony HW50 has never measured 420:1 ANSI contrast and the Mitsubishi HC9000 has never measured 450:1. And the non DLP ANSI champion is the Sony VW1000 at about 600:1.

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post #20 of 72 Old 07-11-2013, 09:30 AM
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10000:1 ANSI? In front projection that is basically impossible. JVCs are around 350-400 ANSI contrast.

again that's why I LOVE avs. i'll see if I can find it again, but it looked like a reputable(albeit not well known around here maybe) review site that claimed that figure.

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post #21 of 72 Old 07-11-2013, 09:50 AM
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Any darker color will do. As Mike said, if the screen is quite a ways from the ceiling, white or black won't make much of a difference. My screen is about 6 inches from the (7') ceiling and painting it made a huge difference. When I first received the projector (RS40) I tested it just on the wall with a white ceiling and the blacks were horrible.

On the advice of a good friend who use to design and build HT's, he said paint the ceiling a dark brown. In his experience, the color is just enough to make it feel like the room is not closing in on you. His advice worked out great.
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post #22 of 72 Old 07-11-2013, 10:16 AM
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again that's why I LOVE avs. i'll see if I can find it again, but it looked like a reputable(albeit not well known around here maybe) review site that claimed that figure.

I think you may be confusing ANSI contrast with on/off contrast. ANSI is "intra-scene" contrast, when an image has both bright and dark parts on screen simultaneously. It's measured with a black & white checkerboard battern. ANSI numbers will always be much lower than full-on/full-off numbers.

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post #23 of 72 Old 07-11-2013, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreas21 View Post

The Sony HW50 has never measured ... the Mitsubishi HC9000 has never measured...
It did. I linked to reviews. I trust them.
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Originally Posted by Andreas21 View Post

And the non DLP ANSI champion is the Sony VW1000 at about 600:1.
You're right. The same source measured 604:1 http://www.ixbt.com/dvd/sony-vpl-vw1000es.shtml#ansi Then Mitsubishi HC9000 is a 2nd place.
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post #24 of 72 Old 07-11-2013, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Elix View Post

It did. I linked to reviews. I trust them.
You're right. The same source measured 604:1 http://www.ixbt.com/dvd/sony-vpl-vw1000es.shtml#ansi Then Mitsubishi HC9000 is a 2nd place.

I think the HW50 and the HC9000 mesurements is quite high but the VW1000 seems about right, but maby they got golden samples og the 50 and 9000 and an average 1000. My calibrator has measured some HW50 and got about 350:1 and 400:1 on the HC9000. My VW1000 measured 600:1.

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post #25 of 72 Old 07-11-2013, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreas21 View Post

I think the HW50 and the HC9000 mesurements is quite high but the VW1000 seems about right, but maby they got golden samples og the 50 and 9000 and an average 1000. My calibrator has measured some HW50 and got about 350:1 and 400:1 on the HC9000. My VW1000 measured 600:1.
Your room must be great. But he (the reviewer) must have some special conditions and instrument to take reference ANSI measures. But the fact that you measured 600:1 ANSI yourself is impressive indeed.
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post #26 of 72 Old 07-11-2013, 12:55 PM
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the room appears very nice. I would think the fairly light grey carpets would affect those measurements?
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post #27 of 72 Old 07-11-2013, 01:02 PM
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I did not measure my VW1000 myself, and the carpet is actually dark grey not light grey as in the pictures. I know you can not measure ANSI contrast correct in my HT.

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post #28 of 72 Old 07-12-2013, 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

I think you may be confusing ANSI contrast with on/off contrast. ANSI is "intra-scene" contrast, when an image has both bright and dark parts on screen simultaneously. It's measured with a black & white checkerboard battern. ANSI numbers will always be much lower than full-on/full-off numbers.

nope, not at all. I know it was claiming this as ansi contrast because I was comparing to the plasma I just bought. I do get confused by the numbers in an absolute sense because the claimed values are always all over the place. I don't look at a display(projector or flat screen) and know that i'll need a minimum of 500:1 ansi to enjoy the picture. that much still eludes me.

but, 10000:1 is still quite a bit lower than 50000:1 that the jvc claims for on/off. then figure that jvc makes such a big deal about the benefit of being able to do this without a dynamic iris and you would expect a better ansi contrast, making a value similar to plasma even more believeable. that's what makes avs all the more valuable. as soon as I start to find myself getting sucked into the numbers, I can read a great post on here that puts it all into perspective. and will quite frankly call a spade a spade so to speak

but alas, it's the personal experience, and comparative results that I value most. 3:1 contrast or 3million: 1 contrast doesn't really tell me what I need to know. I like hearing how the product compares to what I've seen with my own eyes, and to the competition in the same price range. I don't really care what the jvc has for ansi contrast, I simply love it. I wouldn't enjoy it any more if I thought it was 10 000:1 or 1000:1, or whatever it actually is. and more importantly I won't enjoy it any less if it turned out to only be like 200:1 or 300:1 in my room

Displays: Samsung PN64F8500/JVC X35
AVR: Pioneer VSX-1018AH, 5.1 audio
Sources: HTPC(Mediabrowser), PS3, XBOX360, Wii, Sony DVP-CX995V
Control: Harmony One
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post #29 of 72 Old 07-12-2013, 01:19 AM
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At best the best JVC´s measures about 400:1 ANSI contrast and in your room it will measure alot less.

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post #30 of 72 Old 07-12-2013, 02:47 AM
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Can I just interject that while ANSI contrast is a form of intra-scene contrast that it does not specify the contrast available on-screen for all scenes. For example, if the bottom right corner of an image is peak white and the rest of the screen is black, if you measure the top left and the bottom right, you will get a MUCH higher reading (near on/off contrast numbers in a light controlled room). ANSI contrast measurement is almost a worst case scenario and typical intrascene contrast levels in movies may well be a lot higher.
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