Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Palo Alto, CA, USA
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It's only been a week since arrival and I didn't realize how many hours this thing has been in use until I looked at the lamp clock. Better relegate my son's Nintendo Donkey Kong to tv only or I hope I can find replacement lamps at Costco!
In all fairness, we've watched a number of hours of hdtv, two Julia Robert's movies (Runaway Bride, Notting Hill), a number of DVD movies including Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Gladiator, Terminator 2 and just finished Disney's Dinosaur! Once that movie-like image is up on the screen, it seems to draw everyone into the family room; a much more social and inclusive experience than listening to two channel stereo in the single chair "sweet spot".
Some initial observations: (I'm running a bare bones system right now with projector just out of the box, uncalibrated. My screen has alternated between a 4ft by 8ft sheet of foam backed poster board; total cost $23 and 3 yards of black out curtain tacked to 1X2's at top and bottom which gives a larger 96 inch by 56 inch screen. I think the maximum size screen I will need will be 8-9 ft wide. I'm not fond of vertigo. I'm just using 2 channel PA speakers with a 500 watt Crown K2 amp and a $300 Sony DVD player for DVD's via S-VHS cable. The RCA DTC 100 is connected via component Monster RGB cable.)
1) Set-up has been a snap for basic operation (After William Phelps told me that I needed to connect all 5 components, not just R,G and B but also Y and X up. I have the projector 18 ft against a rear wall on top of a record shelf. I'm finding the picture is easy to zoom for larger but gets too tall before it gets wider to get the 16X9 proper proportion. The biggest screen image, I've gotten is the 96 inch wide one.
2) Picture quality has been very good. Outstanding with hdtv. Good with DVD's. Poor with some DVD's. Tolerable with NTSC broadcast. What's with this internal scaler? On Terminator 2 for instance, it looks like a NTSC broadcast; like a big screen you'd see at a sport's bar; poor focus and detail. On other DVD's (Dinosaur, Gladiator) close-ups can look very good with excellent detail and contrast but panoramas are lacking in both clarity and resolution. All-in all, I see the potential
3) HDTV is outstanding. As my 9 year old son said last night while watching a live Bruce Springsteen concert, "Daddy, you can really see how much they sweat, can't you!"
4) I thought the contrast and black level was quite good until at the credit section of Dinosaur's, I held my hand up and saw how black my shadow was in comparison to the very dark gray of the screen background. Another noticeable thing is the amount of stray light projected, almost like someone in a movie theater shining a flashlight from behind you and lighting up the screen and it's perimeter.
Well, that's my report so far:
Highs: easy set-up, able to watch in fairly light room during day, natural coloration, outstanding detail with hdtv, best is yet to come
Lows: fairly noisey, complete satisfaction with DVD viewing will hopefully be obtained with htpc, more tweaks ($) to come (hushbox, better screen, calibration), eye on the clock (lamp time)
Will I keep this thing or just jump to one of Tim's EH9500s or a Sony G90? You noticed that I haven't ordered my Grayhawk yet and therefore I'm keeping my options open. Next step is to order/build a htpc which will hopefully help me answer this question. I'll give another report when the htpc is online.
Palo Alto, CA