Pearl vs. Benq 8720? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 03-23-2007, 07:18 AM - Thread Starter
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I know these question are asking for pure subjectivity. But let 'er rip.

Ignoring price, which would you get for strictly HD-DVD and standard def DVD (upscaled on the Xbox 360)?
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post #2 of 19 Old 03-23-2007, 11:39 AM
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You joking
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post #3 of 19 Old 03-23-2007, 02:52 PM - Thread Starter
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no
the guys at projectorcentral weren't so crazy about the Pearl.
Of course it's 1080p, but that's a debate whether 1080p is noticeable over 720p.
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post #4 of 19 Old 03-23-2007, 02:54 PM
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I dont see why he is joking the benq is a high end 720p dlp with a very high native contrast, just because the pearl has more pixals and a iris to fake the image does not make it a better pj.

I have heard people prefereing lower end projectors then the benq to the pearl.
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post #5 of 19 Old 03-24-2007, 02:13 AM
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1080p is noticeable over 720P belive it. Not at all sources but somtimes clearly to see.

But some people prefer DLP technologie.

greets
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post #6 of 19 Old 03-24-2007, 07:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cgott42 View Post

no
the guys at projectorcentral weren't so crazy about the Pearl.
Of course it's 1080p, but that's a debate whether 1080p is noticeable over 720p.


Consumer Reports, well-presented for its independent reviews, rated the Benq 8720 last in terms of picture quality in its Dec 2006 issue. Every other reviewer rated the Sony as the projector to beat in its price category below $5000. I am always suspicious of reviewers that accept paid advertising and have to maintain relationships with manufacturers so that they will be provided sample products to review.

"trust but verify"
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post #7 of 19 Old 03-29-2007, 05:52 PM - Thread Starter
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ProjectorCentral seemed to like the 8720 a lot.
So guys which is better?
Also is either a big step up from my Z4?
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post #8 of 19 Old 03-29-2007, 06:07 PM
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I can't comment on the Pearl, but the 8720 is an awesome machine. This is a review I posted about the 8720 a few months ago: After reading it, I feel the exact same way. I'm selling this to upgrade to the W10000. But I definitely want to stick with BenQ. I love their stuff....

enQ 8720 mini review

I am a previous owner of the 8700+, and it gave me a few years of great performance. When I read projectorreviews.com's take on the 8720, I really wanted to upgrade, but -- the price of $8,000+ was well beyond my budget. With the current drops in prices I decided to sell my 8700+ and move on to the 8720.

I definitely made the right decision.

Let's start from scratch -- the 8720 is built like a tank, and it looks sweeeeeet. The white and silver housing is extremely high-end looking, and it's build quality say's the same. Even the remote looks a little more high-end than the 8700, which utilizes the same layout, with a few extra keys for zoom, focus, and lens shift.

The lens is center-mounted (which makes installation easier), unlike the 8700's slight offset to the right, which required a little more calculation when ceiling mounting.

My 8720 was manufactured in October of 2005 and has firmware 1.04 -- which is a little dissapointing, but I'm working to obtain the most current (1.14), which is said to have numerous image enhancements, as we speak...

I installed the 8720 18.5' back from my 128" diagonal 2.35:1 screen from the supplied BenQ ceiling mount (which seems dangerously flimsy to me), pointed it at the screen and hit the power button. In about 1 minute, the projector was ready to go -- displaying a purple "BenQ -- enjoyment matter" welcome screen for a second or two. I booted up my HTPC, and even the appearance of the Windows "boot screen" made my eyes widen. This machine was obviously brighter and had much more punch than the 8700, and I hadn't even watched anything yet....

The first thing I did was to go into the service menu and set overscan to 100% as instructed by another board here on the forum to ensure 1:1 mapping on my HTPC.

The unit was preset to the "family room" mode, which was bright. Insanely bright. I switched that to "Home Theater" (it was net to hear the Iris control opening and closing based on the presets). I centered the picture in the screen and put on Jurassic Park III superbit for some testing in Home Theater mode.

Holy. Cow. I can honestly say I've never seen a better picture on ANY home theater screen. This was better than any demo I've seen in any high-end video store I've ever visited. The picture the 8720 throws is SO dynamic, SO sharp, and SO vivid, it really does make your jaw drop.

As many people here have mentioned, the picture out of the box with the old firmware tends to be a little red, with some obvious color errors, so I threw in Avia to tweak a bit (but my blood was rushing, so this would be a quick, quick tweaking session. I wanted to watch more!)

After the worlds fastest tweaking break, I put in some more movies to test (mostly 1.85:1 movies at this point, since I did not have my anamorphic lens in place yet). So, "Hollow Man" superbit, "Vertical Limit" superbit and "Fantasia 2000" went in for testing.

I couldn't get a new movie in fast enough to see what it looked like. Pixel structure of the 8720 was visible, and I would say it is no better (in terms of Screen Door Effect) than the 8700. But the optics are clearly better on this machine, CLEARLY BETTER, because every subtle detail of every movie comes through in spades. As many have said, this is good -- and bad. Lousy DVD transfers really show their careless encoding on the 8720, and great transfers finally get what they deserve.

After I had my anamorphic lens in place, I tested out a few 2.35:1 favorites -- Star Wars III, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Incredibles -- all looked phenomenal. The opening segments of Star Wars III really popped off the screen. The colors and contrast were amazing - every explosion, laser blast and detail of the ships were clearly visible. Smoke and fog that I never saw before in the background against the dark space of the battle scenes, was obvious now -- and never grainy, dusty, or pixelated. UNLESS the transfer material was encoded that way. The 6,000:1 contrast ratio was obviously working! Details and black levels are definitely there, folks. Definitely. The mix of rich colors, insanely bright whites, dark blacks, and super-sharp optics make this picture very engaging and almost 3D at times.

I switched through various preset modes and decided that "cinema" was my favorite -- I have a totally light controlled dedicated Home Theater, and "home theater" mode was a little too bright. I tweaked the colors a bit and turned the shaprness WAY down, and tweaked more diligently with Avia, and settled in to watch "Munich" which I had never seen before.

This is one of those Spielberg movies that loves "grain" and "diffuse glows" a bit too much (can he shoot any movies in regular stock anymore? I'm getting sick of these washed-out, grainy effect pieces that he does). But it still looked great, because I knew that the graininess and visual effects were intentional... Okay movie, but it looked good!

The last piece of this puzzle was to move my Xbox 360 from our family room into the home theater, since I can hook it up to the projector now (thanks to the 8720's long throw options. I can slide the anamorphic lens out of the way, and use the automatic zoom, focus, and lens shift via remote to adjust picture sans anamoprhic lens).

I thought I had seen all there was to see with the 8720 -- but gaming on this thing really puts you in a whole other world. Project Gotham Racing 3 in high definition almost makes you dizzy (the dashboard view of the game is to be seen to be believed.)

So there you have my initial impressions of the 8720 -- I hope this helps anyone who is sitting on the fence to jump off if you can -- it's not cheap by any means, but it's worth EVERY penny.

*(edit) I forgot to mention fan noise: seriously. What fan noise? It's so quiet, I thought (while watchign a movie) "whats that loud noise?" so I got up to look around, and there it was. My HTPC which I had never heard before because the 8700 was so loud. Honestly, I can't even here it from where i'm sitting... As you can tell, I love it.

iPad 2 is the coolest thing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Azkg-Bj6GVs
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post #9 of 19 Old 03-29-2007, 08:48 PM
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If possible, see for your own eyes what you like best. We don't have many on display ( no pun intended ) in my town, but I have seen DLP and the Pearl. The Pearl has a nice smooth, relaxed, film-like presentation. It is very quiet, has motorized zoom and focus. I see a lot of people criticize it's use of an iris. Sure, it would be nice to have native 10000:1 contrast, but how many projectors offer that in the under $5000 category ? What people forget is that SXRD has native contrast around 4000 to 5000:1 ( going from memory - if wrong, I apologize. Cine4home's review says up to 6000:1 ) which many competitors fail to reach natively or with an iris. Also, the iris is very good and not noticeable in action. Many of it's competitors rely on an iris too, but they aren't nearly as sophisticated or as transparent in action as Sony's. I'm not trying to be a fanboy. I just recently made it my choice for projector. Every projector will have it's good and bad points. I just think overall for the price from AVS, it's tough to beat. But everyone has their preferences, just like with speakers. It's all a matter of taste.

Bill
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post #10 of 19 Old 03-29-2007, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm coming from a nicely setup CRT.
And the thing I liked the most (and am looking for ) is beautiful smooth skin tone.
Don't get me wrong , I like a nice, bright and sharp image.
But #1 is the skin tones. and nicely saturated colors.
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post #11 of 19 Old 03-30-2007, 03:52 PM
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I had a PE8720 before upgrading to a W10000. If I didn't get a great deal on the W10000 I wouldn't have upgraded the P8720 as it is a great unit. It throws a very sharp picture which rivals most other projectors (including some of the new 1080p). I can only recommend it. Yes I do like the filmic look that a DLP projector delivers
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post #12 of 19 Old 03-31-2007, 05:19 AM
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We have a PE8720 and I'll confirm what others have said. The picture from a good source is incredible.
It seems to me that the key issue here is viewing distance. We watch a 110" HP screen frm 16'. From that distance, there is no screen door effect and no visible pixels. If we wanted to view it from 10', then there would clearly be SDE issues and a 1080p PJ would be shine (excuse the pun). For more details (pun intended), check out the several 720p/1080p shoot out threads here at AVS.
The consensus seems to be, that a good 720p machine (ie PE8720) can hold it's own against a good 1080p PJ from far enough back.
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post #13 of 19 Old 04-10-2007, 09:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Next question is (again ignoring price)
A IDF Calibrated 8720 vs. a Pearl (with a done by me calibration via Calman s/w + Eye One LT)
which would you go for and by how far a margin.
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post #14 of 19 Old 04-11-2007, 03:47 AM
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I was chomping at the bit to finally upgrade my XGA DLP last year to a 720p, and the pj I had my eye on for most of the time was the 8720. When the price finally dropped to $4K in mid summer I was ready to pounce, but then had to wait to get the financing worked out (i.e. another 0% balance transfer offer).
Eventually I put an order in, but then got cold feet right before they were going to ship it, and cancelled. But I had gone as far as starting to build a rack specifically for it.
Long story short I ended up going with the Pearl which to my great surprise ended up only being $200 more than I would have paid for the 720p.
I realize that resolution is only part of the equation, but it was a huge part for me. I was able to increase my screen size by about 1' wider and still suffer no sense of a digital pixel effect at all. As good as the other qualities of the BenQ may have been, I'm confident I would still be pining for a higher res pj to this day had I gone that way . And it was exciting to expand the scope of my experience with another projection technology. I rarely saw rainbows with my second NEC- but dithering in pans was something that never went away until I got the Pearl.

The only real downside to the Pearl has been less than perfect uniformity, which impacts me most when watching B&W content- of which I have quite a bit. If it weren't for that aspect, I would consider the pj an out of the park home run.
But still a net plus overall. Plus I like the fact that no down scaling is going on with HD DVDs. What I see, is what it is. No second guessing a transfer or wondering what I'm missing.

Last time I looked (a while ago) they were trying to get $3500 for the BenQ. If they've come down to $2500 or $2000 that wouldn't be a bad way to go now. Use it a year and then sell it for about 1/2 that and you are only out $1000 and then you would be able to start looking at pjs that are improving on the RS1 and trying to compete with that one on specs and price (and features). Or maybe even consider a used RS1 at that point, from the current owners who will be looking to trade up for one missing feature or another.

I think either of these pjs can make you very happy...for a certain amount of time
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post #15 of 19 Old 04-14-2007, 09:58 AM
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I had the 8720 for about 40hrs or 2 weeks. This was a great projector and a huge step up from my Panny700. Better blacks, brighter, and more 3-D image and way better optics. For various reasons with Benq customer service I had to return this projector and went with the RUBY. Same thing again IMO a huge step up in every way except the optics. The RUBY didn't appear a lot softer because of all the extra detail I was seeing, but the Benq was razor sharp at a cost of looking digital. The blacks and 3-D image where the most obvious improvement to me. Im pretty sure the PEARL is a lot like RUBY and is what I would go for in this time of HD every thing, more future proof investment.
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post #16 of 19 Old 04-23-2007, 05:36 PM
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I ve had my 8720 for to months now and it was replacing a HD72 so its not even on the same planet but i did install a Pearl last month at a friends house and the difference is not that much if any.The Pearl does bring a high contrast and film like image but i can tell you after calibrating with Avia the difference is quiet noticible on my 8720.Besides resolution sitting from 14-18 feet watching a 115 inch screen on SD is almost like watching HD on my A2!Thats how good the 8720 puts out.Thats one advantage of 1080p is up close but besides that?

For now the 8720 sooths my HT experience any when i do change its a W10000.BenQ has hot pj and really do recommend them.
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post #17 of 19 Old 04-25-2007, 07:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info.
Is the 8720 a huge step up from the Z4 or just an incremental one?
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post #18 of 19 Old 04-25-2007, 04:38 PM
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It depends on what's ailing you with the Z4. As a former owner of both, I can safely say you'll see these things:

1. Better contrast / better brightness compared to Z4 best settings. Way more "pop" in mixed scenes.
2. No noticeable DI action.
3. Less screendoor.
4. Better colors and shadow detail once calibrated - in my experience. I've read some of the Z4 calibration threads and it does sound like you can get the colors dialed pretty well with filters etc, but the 8720 wasn't too bad to get calibrated to my liking.
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post #19 of 19 Old 04-25-2007, 05:29 PM - Thread Starter
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My main gripe is that the image doesn't have the luchious skin tones, and colors.
The image- although excellent - lacks the tecture.
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