Princeton af3.ohd for $1699 any good? - AVS Forum
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Old 03-20-2002, 09:16 PM - Thread Starter
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HDTV hungry x Mitsubishi employee (we had it in 1989 at work!) and Nak employee ( no comment) would like to know if those discontinued Princeton monitors (AF3.OHD) are any good. I'm not into rear projection. My other choice would be the 38 in RCA and forget the pc except for DVD. I would have posted this on one of the display forums, but directviews seem to be ignored, and to my eyes, they are the most pleasing. I've seen spectacular HDTV projection systems (I go to the Stereophile shows) but I need something that will work in a normal livingroom.
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Old 03-20-2002, 10:08 PM
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Hello -

The Princeton is a good monitor, but certainly not perfect. (What is?!) On the plus side:

- It has a lot of inputs for every conceivable interface.
- The phosphor colors are exceedingly accurate.
- It will accept a 720p signal (very few direct views will).
- The screen size is decent for a direct view.
- Black level retention is excellent.

On the minus side:

- Resolution is relatively low due to coarse dot pitch.
- Built in deinterlacer is really not worth using.

I used to have one, and now use a Sony 24" 16x9 computer monitor for direct viewing. The Sony has *much* better resolution, but only has RGB inputs, lower light output (needs a dark room), and very inconvenient aspect ratio changing. Plus a 24" set is *much* smaller than a 30" set. I was surprised at the difference -- it seems to be only about half the size (which I guess it is in terms of area).

So if you're into a direct view, I don't think that there's anything out there that can compete with the Princeton, unless they have a replacement coming. I thought I heard something about a replacement that was $2000, with better deinterlacer (DVDO). However, there's nothing about it on the Princeton website.

Hope this helps,
Charles Hansen
Ayre Acoustics, Inc.
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Old 03-21-2002, 01:29 PM
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Princeton has promised a replacement for the af3.0hd since November but it is still not here. AS3.0HDW is the new model I think. I believe it will have a NTSC tuner and a better line doubler, same tube however. Check the news releases on the Princeiton web site- Sept '01 I believe.

As for the $1699 price, I think that was by dealers clearing out there before the new set. Digital Connection for one sold out several months ago.

What I am doing for direct view is the Sampo 34WHD5. It is a 34" set, has speakers, NTSC tuner, VGA connection, component inputs (one P, other I) but no liner doubler. It to is being replaced by a new model- 34WHD6. This model has somewhat better ergonomics, internal line doubler, and a Panasonic Tube vs. a Toshiba. As it is being replace, several dealers are selling them cheap. Direct Connection at $2000 including shipping; Buy.com at $1726 plus $95 shipping and Ubid (where I am getting mine- $1369 reserve price + $265 shipping).

Check out comments on the forums for the 34WHD5. While people curse the ergonomics, they generally rave about the picture. Often compared to the af3.0hd.

- Phil
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Old 03-21-2002, 01:45 PM
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You still can't beat the Princeton in direct-view picture quality in absolute terms. It only looks its best when driven at 45kHz (720p) or maybe 768p scan rate, so factor the cost of an appropriate outboard scaler into the money part. The picture tube itself is dated but the deflection circuitry and video amplifiers are superb; so is color due to SMPTE phosphors. You will see the best and the worst in every signal you present it.

I couldn't live with the tiny 30" screen size and wanted a flat screen; decided to give up some PQ for a flat 34" set and haven't looked back. To me, the Princeton is really a poor man's broadcast monitor and is a great reference monitor for determining the truth. But not a home theater display; 2.35 movies are dismally small on it, etc.

Dennis Rooks
HD Northwest
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Old 03-21-2002, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Den
You still can't beat the Princeton in direct-view picture quality in absolute terms. It only looks its best when driven at 45kHz (720p) or maybe 768p scan rate, so factor the cost of an appropriate outboard scaler into the money part. The picture tube itself is dated but the deflection circuitry and video amplifiers are superb; so is color due to SMPTE phosphors. You will see the best and the worst in every signal you present it.

I couldn't live with the tiny 30" screen size and wanted a flat screen; decided to give up some PQ for a flat 34" set and haven't looked back. To me, the Princeton is really a poor man's broadcast monitor and is a great reference monitor for determining the truth. But not a home theater display; 2.35 movies are dismally small on it, etc.
Hello -

I would absolutely agree with everything said except for the 720p part. I (briefly) saw a Joe Kane do a comparison between 480p and 720p, and I would say that the difference was *very* subtle. I read on another thread that the maximum vertical resolution on a well set-up Princeton was really only about 600 lines. This is consistent with my experiences. With 480p, you can *barely* see the scan lines if you get closer than about 2' from the set. What is much more distracting are the vertical phosphor stripes. These are painfully visible (giving a "grainy" appearance) until you get at least 5' - 6' away. At that point, the picture is tending towards "dismally small". I can certainly understand switching to a 34" set.

Best regards,
Charles Hansen
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