My God still no affordable 4K 60hz or 1080P 120hz projectors! Is this the slowest industry on the planet? - Page 3 - AVS Forum
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post #61 of 74 Old 05-21-2014, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Lostonmountain View Post

The point is that if projectors are not cheaper than the TV's what is the point for most people who aren't going to be able to do more than around 100" (huge screens are a different ball game).  My house is 1400sq ft. not an unreasonable size these days...nowhere could I go more than 100" (16:9).

Well first things first, projector's aren't supposed to be cheap TV alternatives, projectors are for making huge screens in home theaters. It just so happens that decades of development and competition have led to some really great machines that mean you can make a better-than-TV setup for less than a TV. So what is the point? The point is to be able to make a huge screen, if that happens to be cheaper than a TV, that's a happy accident. Frankly I'm amazed projection systems are cheaper than TVs myself.
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I'm looking at around $3000 for a good 80" TV a projector that seems, from reviews, to have as good a quality but could give me a 100" picture is around $1000 or so depending on specific features I want.  The projector of course has it's problems like not working in a light room (which is why I was looking at one that did work well in a light room and had a good lag rate but alas it says it will overheat if angled more than 5deg).  I can't imagine I'm the only person who could fit in a 55" set or could project around 100" and would go with the 100" if it was reasonable in price.  The 3K price point is just an approximation...say one comes in at $4k that would be a good starting point after they have sold the initial high cost units, then you see the price start to come down as they expand the market and ramp up production, then the competition sees this and bang you have a nice market for this so called "niche" product.  Based on sales of prior tablets (of which I had one) a fair number of people thought the iPad wasn't going to be that big a deal or more a niche product for a few Apple fans (I bought one, I'm certainly no Apple fan), they were wrong.

There's a couple things to consider, first, with TVs or tablets, those are built and sold in the tens of millions. Projectors are built and sold in the tens of thousands, so there are a lot fewer units sold to recoup R&D costs. On top of that, tablets and TVs are sold based on specs one-upmanship. 4K TVs exist, and are cheap because the TV makers have run out of other features to distinguish their model from others. Their specification arms race has backfired to the point where nobody pays attention to them (1billion:1 contrast anyone?) so they have to resort to new features, like 3D, "Smart" TVs, and now 4K, to convince people to buy/upgrade.

Projectors are sold to a more educated community (not a "smarter" one, but one who has, by the nature of front projection, needed to do more research), a community that understand the requirements and implications of 4K a bit better, but also contrast, and how to really compare machines. So there isn't the specs arm race that you see in the big box store market, so there's less incentive to add "meaningless" features.

Regarding the "niche" comment, the comparison to the first tablets (or first anything) is not a good one, because the first 4K machines aren't the first projectors. It's more like SLI or CrossFire Gaming rigs. 4K may remain niche like those things since it's not really needed for 99% of the public. That said I don't think 4K will remain niche in the projection world, I think eventually it will just take over like 1080p did, and 720p before it, I believe it is inevitable. But until there is more content, there won't be a lot of demand for it.
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What is so different about projectors that they can't be done at the approx. 3K price point?   I mean specifics not "they can't do it" I want to know what components are going to make it cost so much?  Is it because they are just coming on to the market and there is no competition or what maybe they need high resolution bulbs (just kidding) or something?

I disagree with a number of folks here in that I don't think there are really any significant technical challenges to projector design to overcome for 4K. I actually believe you could put 4k chips into (higher end) 1080p light engines and have great results. That said....

The first big challenge is probably getting good yields on 4k imaging devices. Each projector (other than single chip DLPs) need 3, 4k imaging devices. Each imaging device is approximately 8 million pixels each around only .75" in size. I imagine until the manufacturing process matures, the yields on these chips is relatively low making the actual cost of the chips relatively high (for reference Epson has still not succeeded in making 1080p LCoS chips with sufficient yields to field a product, let alone 4k).

On top of that, given that the resolution is doubled, the assembly tolerances have also at least doubled, so the manufacturing costs are higher.

But here's probably the biggest thing. Given the above, a 4k machine will necessarily be more expensive than a 1080p one, and thus the early adopters who are willing to pay that premium are going to expect something special with 4K, so the first companies to make 4k machines (Sony) are pulling out all the stops, which drives the cost up to the levels we see with the VW1100, VW600, etc.

Could somebody make a cheap 4K machine? I'm sure they could, but right now the only company making 4K chips in volume for the consumer is Sony, and they're not going to provide them to anyone else. Remember it's really just Sony, Epson, JVC, and TI that make imaging devices for all projectors. Until someone like Epson gets good yields and decides to start selling 4k imaging devices, we're not going to see cheaper 4k projectors. There are rumors that 4K DLPs are coming but surely like every other advance those will be in the $20k+ 3chip machines for the first year or two before they filter into less expensive machines.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do,
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post #62 of 74 Old 05-21-2014, 07:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lostonmountain View Post

The point is that if projectors are not cheaper than the TV's what is the point for most people who aren't going to be able to do more than around 100" (huge screens are a different ball game).  My house is 1400sq ft. not an unreasonable size these days...nowhere could I go more than 100" (16:9).  I'm looking at around $3000 for a good 80" TV a projector that seems, from reviews, to have as good a quality but could give me a 100" picture is around $1000 or so depending on specific features I want.  The projector of course has it's problems like not working in a light room (which is why I was looking at one that did work well in a light room and had a good lag rate but alas it says it will overheat if angled more than 5deg).  I can't imagine I'm the only person who could fit in a 55" set or could project around 100" and would go with the 100" if it was reasonable in price.  The 3K price point is just an approximation...say one comes in at $4k that would be a good starting point after they have sold the initial high cost units, then you see the price start to come down as they expand the market and ramp up production, then the competition sees this and bang you have a nice market for this so called "niche" product.  Based on sales of prior tablets (of which I had one) a fair number of people thought the iPad wasn't going to be that big a deal or more a niche product for a few Apple fans (I bought one, I'm certainly no Apple fan), they were wrong.

What is so different about projectors that they can't be done at the approx. 3K price point?   I mean specifics not "they can't do it" I want to know what components are going to make it cost so much?  Is it because they are just coming on to the market and there is no competition or what maybe they need high resolution bulbs (just kidding) or something?  I could see them possibly  needing a somewhat better lens (depending on the resolving power of the currently in use lenses) but otherwise the only difference would be the electronics specifically the chip set needed and maybe I few slightly better components to handle the higher frequency but really this requires going way over $3k? (i.e. 3x the price of a basic 1080p projector.)   We are seeing AV processors able to handle HDMI 2.0 upscaling video and audio processing and switching for $500 and they are making a profit.   I was being facetious comparing to a cheap trip to the moon and people say this is the same as asking for 100mpg cars no it's not unless you can point to specific technologies that do not exist yet (like 100mpg carburetors).  Unlike trips to the moon etc. we know 4k projectors can be make it's just the price point we are debating.  The first 4k sets were expensive too, it didn't take long for them to come down, but projectors seem to be way way behind in this which is sad.

@Dylan: Now where did I say anything about picture quality other than they are comparable to projectors in the under $1,000 category at the 1080 level?  And of course a lot of those projectors have trouble maintaining that PQ if there is a lot of ambient light or so I'm lead to understand from the numerous reviews and posts about that.

@Fierce: LG has a new 4k60Hz 55" set coming out for $2,000 (with passive 3D!), Samsung has one for $2,500 which I'd be surprised if it doesn't come down a bit as other makers like LG get their 2014's on the market....I'm not talking Seki here though for use as a monitor the Seki has it's points too it does need better adjustments maybe the new Pro line will have them.   True we don't know quite yet how good the LG is since units aren't expected until the first week of June, but the specs at least look good.  As the OP said the projector makers are falling behind.  As people who might have considered a projector just buy a 4k set instead than well you could see the demand for a 4K projector of reasonable cost fall and the "there isn't a demand for such a unit" become self-fulfilling prophecy of a sort.

Oh well for me it's pretty moot anyway I'm either going with an 80" 1080p set or 4k 55"/58" set having seen that a projector probably isn't going to be right (I use my TV/monitor 12+ hours per day and adding up the cost of bulbs plus the angle problem makes me think LED is it, but I just don't think they are bright enough for daytime use from the reviews I've read, they sure weigh a lot less than that an 80" set though smile.gif ).   Unless I've missed an LED projector that can handle moderate daytime light.

If doing less than 100", then a TV may be a better fit for you. Most people that do front projection, want a larger screen.

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post #63 of 74 Old 05-21-2014, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post


Projectors are sold to a more educated community (not a "smarter" one, but one who has, by the nature of front projection, needed to do more research), a community that understand the requirements and implications of 4K a bit better, but also contrast, and how to really compare machines. So there isn't the specs arm race that you see in the big box store market, so there's less incentive to add "meaningless" features.

.

great post. I was trying to think of the right way to make this post but couldn't come up with anything that didn't make me sound elitist. I think you nailed this perfectly. projectors do require more thought and research to buy, and many times you can't even just go pick one up off the shelf, so you have to deal with sales reps that make it their job to educated you as much as possible.

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post #64 of 74 Old 05-21-2014, 09:18 PM
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Yep, it seems that most pj owners tend to be a little more knowledgeable about video in general. The market seems to draw in those that have more than a passing interest in the subject.

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post #65 of 74 Old 05-22-2014, 03:37 AM
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Stranger89,

I do wonder if jvc added a 4k chip to the X500/RS49, how well would it perform and how much more could it possibly cost? Also, increasing the low lamp maximum calibrated light output to 800 and high lamp to 1200 would be something doable for less than $10,000, maybe even $8000
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post #66 of 74 Old 05-22-2014, 04:04 PM
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Stranger89,

I do wonder if jvc added a 4k chip to the X500/RS49, how well would it perform and how much more could it possibly cost? Also, increasing the low lamp maximum calibrated light output to 800 and high lamp to 1200 would be something doable for less than $10,000, maybe even $8000

I'll bet when you change one thing, it affects a lot more things from an engineering point of view. Increasing lumens = more heat = more cooling needed etc. And can / does anyone make a 4K chip the same size as existing chips? I'll guess not.

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post #67 of 74 Old 05-24-2014, 01:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Ericglo View Post

Yep, it seems that most pj owners tend to be a little more knowledgeable about video in general. The market seems to draw in those that have more than a passing interest in the subject.

You need to bold the word most. smile.gif

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post #68 of 74 Old 05-24-2014, 08:30 AM
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post #69 of 74 Old 06-18-2014, 02:58 PM
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Source flaws exposed

I agree that projectors are getting better, and, once past the early adopter phase, pretty aggressively priced. Videophiles should be dancing in the streets, right…

A well mastered Blu-Ray can look darn good and DTS audio is legit. The problem is that virtually every other source one might want to view is compressed to death. As the quality and precision of the displays improves, the amount of macro blocking and motion artifacting in typical cable, satellite, OTT, etc sources is laid bare and its ugly. It reminds me of the first "audiophile" system I ever had that quickly revealed just how much wear and tear my vinyl albums had suffered.

I happen to work in professional post production so I get to see uncompressed camera original media on 10 or 12 bit monitors in proper viewing environments. When I see those same images cut into a show I am watching on DirectTV I am appalled at how horrendous they look. What, you may ask, is the point of creating a killer master if its just going to get tromped on before anyone sees it? The rationale is that the better it is to begin with, the better it will "survive" the distribution pipeline. I suppose Kate Upton would still be hot in a burlap sack, but once you've seen her in a bikini...

In any case, traditional linear distribution of programming is going the way of phones with cords - it's just a matter of time. The established players won't disappear without a fight and many are taking an "if you can't beat 'em, buy 'em" strategy. The problem is that the focus is on convenience/mobile, not quality. In fact, like 64kb/s MP3 music before it, the primary engineering effort is to make the bit rate as low as you possibly can without obvious objectionable artifacts. Sadly, I expect the source quality problem to get worse before it gets better.

Home Theater is far more mainstream than when I got my first 3 gun CRT projector in the early 90's. CEDIA is full of companies whose value proposition has to include a noticeable quality improvement, even if customer service and other metrics are the key value adds. As long as the source quality remains abysmal, higher fidelity devices will continue to hit the kind of headwinds that have (if reports are accurate) turned UHD/4K displays into a nightmare of returned hardware and disenchanted customers.

Joe Kane and others have questioned the wisdom of promoting UHD/4K before the signal chain can fulfill the inherent promise of obviously better quality. I agree. I also understand the reasons that the CE hardware manufacturers can't afford to just wait while razor thin margins and slow replacement cycles lead to more red ink. To be charitable, they are lying out of desperation, which tends to trump other considerations. The flip side is the damage such BS can do to the viability of the entire HT channel, and by extension the livelihood of its practitioners.

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post #70 of 74 Old 06-18-2014, 04:24 PM
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In any case, traditional linear distribution of programming is going the way of phones with cords - it's just a matter of time. The established players won't disappear without a fight and many are taking an "if you can't beat 'em, buy 'em" strategy. The problem is that the focus is on convenience/mobile, not quality. In fact, like 64kb/s MP3 music before it, the primary engineering effort is to make the bit rate as low as you possibly can without obvious objectionable artifacts. Sadly, I expect the source quality problem to get worse before it gets better.
True, but it will get better. When mp3 appeared, 128kbps was the "gold standard" (sort of), that was the top practical quality with lots of folks cramming stuff in lower bitrates. There was a lot of work to make audio codecs more efficient, and so on and so on. But look at the situation today, the primary sources that sell digital audio (ie iTunes, Amazon, etc) all sell 256kbps audio. Sure it's not lossless, but it's way, way better than what we used to have. And now there's places like HDTracks.net and Pono Music that are seeking to serve those of us who want more.

My point is with audio we've gotten to the point where the bandwidth capacity for digital distribution of music has made file sizes irrelevant, as in it's irrelevant how big it is, it's nothing to download it.

We'll get there with video too. Yeah, there will be the initial phase of Netflix cramming "4K" down a 15Mbps pipe and cable and satellite companies doing the same, but over time, and probably quicker than a lot of people think, we'll get to the point where the bandwidth of truly high quality video is irrelevant, just like it is for audio.

Hopefully in the mean time we'll get something like a 4K disc format or the like that will bridge the gap. But digital distribution actually excites me, it makes it a lot easier for a small player to distribute really high quality copies. With digital distribution you don't need to be Sony, or an industry group to develop and manufacture billions in infrastructure to create the production, distribution, and playback capabilities of a physical format. All you need some "standard" hardware and some bandwidth. Like how Kaleidescape is distributing true Blu-ray quality movies as downloads. K could never pull off disc format, but they can pull of a digital store.

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Home Theater is far more mainstream than when I got my first 3 gun CRT projector in the early 90's. CEDIA is full of companies whose value proposition has to include a noticeable quality improvement, even if customer service and other metrics are the key value adds. As long as the source quality remains abysmal, higher fidelity devices will continue to hit the kind of headwinds that have (if reports are accurate) turned UHD/4K displays into a nightmare of returned hardware and disenchanted customers.
Maybe I've not been paying attention, but I have a hard time believing that. Are these the same people who bought HDTVs, hooked them up with composite video to their HD cable boxes and had no issues with that? But now they complain because they can't see some dramatic improvement between HD and 4K?

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Joe Kane and others have questioned the wisdom of promoting UHD/4K before the signal chain can fulfill the inherent promise of obviously better quality. I agree. I also understand the reasons that the CE hardware manufacturers can't afford to just wait while razor thin margins and slow replacement cycles lead to more red ink. To be charitable, they are lying out of desperation, which tends to trump other considerations.
Well someone has to be first, or it will never happen. We won't see some government mandate to force 4K since there's no incentive (to the government) to do it, they won't free up any bandwidth like they did with the digital transition. And with the way the industry works, if we waited for all parties to be in agreement with what 4K should be, we'd never get anything either, so someone has to be first. And it really, truly has to be on the hardware side because you simply can't even play 4K content without hardware to support it.

It may be ideal if the content and hardware groups could get together for a coordinated rollout that everyone would be happy with, but such a world is a fantasy.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do,
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post #71 of 74 Old 06-18-2014, 06:51 PM
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post #72 of 74 Old 06-18-2014, 10:13 PM
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(snip) Yeah, there will be the initial phase of Netflix cramming "4K" down a 15Mbps pipe and cable and satellite companies doing the same, but over time, and probably quicker than a lot of people think, we'll get to the point where the bandwidth of truly high quality video is irrelevant, just like it is for audio. (snip)

Maybe I've not been paying attention, but I have a hard time believing that. Are these the same people who bought HDTVs, hooked them up with composite video to their HD cable boxes and had no issues with that? But now they complain because they can't see some dramatic improvement between HD and 4K? (snip)
I hope you're right that increased bandwidth with realistic caps (1TB/mo?) is coming sooner than most imagine. That said, most of the largest distribution vendors (MSOs seems quaint) fear that increasing IP bandwidth will lead to even more people deciding they can live without the traditional TV package that those very same companies make a lot of money from. Until that logjam resolves, I think 95% of Americans will be lucky to consistently get 15mb/s during high usage time periods, let alone the 50mb/s I anticipate early iterations of HEVC will require to make a decent image at 2160P.

Not to be argumentative, many of your points are quite valid, but I don't think very many of the people who are interested enough to spend the money for early generation UHD/4K displays are the same people who ran SD composite video to HD sets. Maybe I'm way off, but what I'm picturing is a salesman convincing someone to spend the extra coin for UHD by showing them 2160P demo material in the store that knocks their socks off. They get the display home, all pumped up about how awesome it is, fire it up and then - instead of being impressed - the viewer takes a closer look than usual and notices just how awful over compressed MPEG2 looks on a large high resolution screen.

Sorry to come off negative, I'm just deeply frustrated by the greedy distributors.

Cheers - Blair

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post #73 of 74 Old 06-19-2014, 04:45 AM
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I hope you're right that increased bandwidth with realistic caps (1TB/mo?) is coming sooner than most imagine. That said, most of the largest distribution vendors (MSOs seems quaint) fear that increasing IP bandwidth will lead to even more people deciding they can live without the traditional TV package that those very same companies make a lot of money from. Until that logjam resolves, I think 95% of Americans will be lucky to consistently get 15mb/s during high usage time periods, let alone the 50mb/s I anticipate early iterations of HEVC will require to make a decent image at 2160P.
Playing devil's advocate a bit, but how many people really hit the download caps on their broadband connections?

That aside, streaming isn't the only way to get content, look at Kaleidescape and the Sony cookie, those are download-and-play-locally systems. I would imagine this is what we would see for high end digital distribution, at least for a while.

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Not to be argumentative, many of your points are quite valid, but I don't think very many of the people who are interested enough to spend the money for early generation UHD/4K displays are the same people who ran SD composite video to HD sets. Maybe I'm way off, but what I'm picturing is a salesman convincing someone to spend the extra coin for UHD by showing them 2160P demo material in the store that knocks their socks off. They get the display home, all pumped up about how awesome it is, fire it up and then - instead of being impressed - the viewer takes a closer look than usual and notices just how awful over compressed MPEG2 looks on a large high resolution screen.
My point is, how is this any different than the early days of HDTV? You could go to a store and see some great HD demo material, but get home only to have some really terrible SD. I think the difference was worse then. At least now there's some good looking HD to watch.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do,
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post #74 of 74 Old 06-19-2014, 01:58 PM
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I agree that the crap that comes down the pipe (other than Blu-Ray, and even that is still "junk" to some degree, all it has it bitrate - non-anamorphic 4:2:0 8bit - DVD5 circa 1996 timewarp anyone?) is really the limiting factor now (as always?). 4K seems pointless to me at this time, why bother? It is all about the source -> endpoint quality. Yes, you can eek some perceived improved image quality out of anything by fudging it with other technologies (4K, image processing, etc), but that has diminishing returns. As usual, crap wins in the consumer world, and that is what we get at the end of the day. And by the way, I am one of those people who hit my download cap and needed to pay more to get more data per month. I dumped my cable tv and went all internet streaming - lots cheaper and not less image quality than the crap on my former cable "HD" feed.
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