Princeton Graphics' new FTX monitors? - Page 3 - AVS Forum
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post #61 of 65 Old 07-16-2002, 11:28 PM
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Dear Animephile & others:

I have enjoyed this thread quite a bit for a number of reasons. One is for the frank talk about CRT resolution issues (more on that in a moment), the other is because I own a calibrated PRinceton set, but have issues with the direction of the company (more on that also very soon).

One topic which has not been muched discussed here (or anywhere at least as it concerns directviews; though CRT projector folk have talked about it; but it is different for a direct set) is beam spot size. To excert my own post on this from over a year ago:
If a set (suppose this applies to all CRT based RPTV and FPTVs too) is truly 1080i capable with fine enough phosphors to resolve it--and is not overlapping the beam at 1080i--then aren't we seeing gaps between the lines (small I know) when watching 480p? (Even more so if the set is 720p capable). Of course that is why folks use quadruple scalers with the big 9" CRT projectors. I mean, these sets do not change beam spot size based on horizontal scan rate or, in the case of sets doing the squeeze, based on scanned area.

So how does one know what a tube and its beam and electronics are really optimized for? Obviously a lot of RPTVs upconvert everything to 1080i so that is a good clue that they are optimized for that (with varying results of course). But I have yet to see this issue talked about in earnest regarding direct views (even Joe Kane's and Greg Rogers tech articles are light on this topic, in part because there have not been any sets for consumer use where this could be an issue). It seems to me that herein lay the REAL difference between a 720p 16:9 and a 720p 4:3.

Now about my Princeton and my feelings toward the company (which I will try to keep short even though I have decades of experience with Bill Wang's firm--going back to their first clone of an IBM CGA color monitor which put them on the map). You should all know that they are NOT a manufacturer of ANYTHING (though they did specify and do some design work on many models--still do on their computer units). EVERYTHING is outsourced, and in the last two years they have almost completely put the HDTV division out to pasture (all divison staff, save the Natl. Sales Mngr. who works from his home in St. Louis, have been let go of left, including the one engineer that actually did design work on the HD sets--namely Scott Anderson--now at Viewsonic), and there is very little keeping them from dropping out of the high-scan direct view game altogether. They completely blew the brand equity they had built up with the AF3.0HD--right at the point when they failed to bring out the September '01 announced updated version (AS3.0HDW with Silicon Image 503 chipset, .63mm microfilter tube, and planned $2299 price) or the even hotter 32" 4:3 with FLAT .65mm Toshiba microfilter tube, 720p, and $2899 SRP.
Of course these were not the only models they announced and failed to ship (those number at least 9), but add in that they never updated the website (only obsolete models were there until just a couple of months ago, and the dead Ai3.6HD still pops up) and it is easy to see that their upper management was/is just choking the division.
Really sad, because the Joe Kane inspired stuff and the repuatation (with the enthusiasts--mainly the people that read AVS Forum, TPV, and WSR) they could have leveraged into the follow-on products, is now all lost.
There, I finally got that off of my chest.

As for the set I own. It is the Ai3.6HD which I bought direct at an industry accommodation price (I am in the biz). It is the same as the AS3.6HD, but with the defunct Ch.1 box (whose hard drive has a Linux variant loaded and there is a Pentium with Award BIOS--Anderson told me there is a way to load Windows onto it, but as a Mac user I could give a sh*t). Last year I became friends with John Ganon, the ex-technical editor of SGHT. Before he moved back to the midwest, he lived upstairs from Jow Kane, and I took my Princeton set straight from the warehouse to his place for calibration (where it took two months for him to get to it--but we had some fun evenings). Anyhow, the piece is the closest (and largest) cousin to the reference AF3.0HD (which John had in his bedroom), and after the calibration I took the back off and set the focus to be even sharper. That is easy to do--maybe a little dangerous if you are not careful--and every TV and computer monitor I have ever owned has benefited from this simple procedure.
In the end, I must say that this is a fabulous piece. Dish HD looks amazing, and for DVD I am still not running a prog scan player as the built-in Sil Image 503 chipset does a wonderful job--better than the Toshiba 6200 that I once borrowed to compare. I still want to try a current Sony or Sage/Farouda DCDI prog player, but what I really wish for is a 720 DVD player (sorry, not convinced that the Cinematrix is slean enough).
Lest you think I am nuts, please keep in mind that I sit in the dark late at night (after the kids are asleep) and watch movies from just 42 inches away.

BTW, the geometry on my set is near perfect (tons of controls) and I have it set for ZERO overscan. With the computer, it does not look very good past 832x624 (a Mac res). And the set is not much fun for my family during the day (no light control in our big room) as Ganon calibrated the grey scale tracking to be just right--but he did it with the levels set for only about 23fL!! Great at night, but Harry Potter during the day is a joke )my poor kids).

Well, it is late. I hope someone enjoyed my ramblings here. I would suggest that those of you considering a Princeton unit opt for one from the AS series (the AS3.2HD, if is is really shipping, is a winner) as the AR3.xFTX from the original Arcadia series just are not in the same league in terms of the electronics (bandwidth, scaler, calibration, memories, inputs, aspect ration control). No place to see the darn things, and the company is not getting better, but buy the service manual and an extra remote and you are set. When I shopped last year (I had surveyed and did in store demos of the whole market from late 2000 to mid-2001) I compared all the best 34" 16:9s including the Sampo, Philips, Pana Tau, Sony, Loewe. There were a couple that I almost bought, but in the end, despite the big box size and lack of flat tube, I am much happier with this Princeton (Ai3.6HD) set. And between having kids videos and the fact that most DVD supplementals are 4:3, I feel that a no-compromise dual mode 4:3 gives me the best of both worlds.

Cheers,
AJC
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post #62 of 65 Old 07-17-2002, 12:58 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm going to reply to this in multiple replies.

Quote:
Originally posted by Superdad
I have enjoyed this thread quite a bit for a number of reasons. One is for the frank talk about CRT resolution issues
See, I don't believe there's much out there that can really do a horizontal resolution of 1920. And don't forget that a LCD, DLP, or plasma needs many times that number of pixels, to get a linear, alias-free reconstruction of a 960 sine wave, on a scanline. The same is true of CRT shadow mask dots, so even most computer monitors aren't quite up to the task.

Anyhow, I think it's a bit ironic that we're well into this HDTV revolution, and finally starting to see TVs become mainstream that can come close to unlocking the full potential of NTSC resolution! ^_^


Quote:
One topic which has not been muched discussed here (or anywhere at least as it concerns directviews; though CRT projector folk have talked about it; but it is different for a direct set) is beam spot size.
I don't know if that's necessarilly a good idea, since I don't know what the bandwidth of the flicker filter is, in most NTSC equipment. If you narrow the spot size, the scanlines become thinner, and you may get more scanline artifacts (i.e. aliasing). Also, having a beam smaller than your dot pitch doesn't do you much good, since the over-all PSF is the convolution of the spot shape & the dot shape.

I wish I had some insider knowledge about these things, but I'm sure it varies from brand to brand.

Quote:
If a set (suppose this applies to all CRT based RPTV and FPTVs too) is truly 1080i capable with fine enough phosphors to resolve it--and is not overlapping the beam at 1080i
See, I think that's a pretty bold assumption. If you're talking about 1080p vs. 480p, then it might be a real problem. But, I don't believe that there's not a substantial amount of overlap, between the scanlines of successive fields, on a 1080i display.

Quote:
Of course that is why folks use quadruple scalers with the big 9" CRT projectors.
I dunno - I just thought they did it 'cause they were nuts, or had too much money to spend. Again, even if your beam is overlapping, when you double, you'll still get benefits from a quadrupler. This is because it can provide a more linear reconstruction of vertical frequencies. Plus, rescaning those phosphors will result in higher light output (ever notice how switching into anamorphic squeeze mode gives you higher light output?).

Quote:
I mean, these sets do not change beam spot size based on horizontal scan rate or, in the case of sets doing the squeeze, based on scanned area.
Yeah, they probably don't, but they certainly could. There was some old Tektronix vector terminal (4xxx series) where you could dynamically change beam focus! That must have been very cool, for 3D wireframe drawings, since it could actually add the illusion of thickness to the wires.

Quote:
So how does one know what a tube and its beam and electronics are really optimized for?
I'd look at vertical frequency-response test patterns. If you can tweak the beam shape, while the thing is on, get someone to tell you when they see the least aliasing, at your most frequently-used resolution.

Quote:
But I have yet to see this issue talked about in earnest regarding direct views (even Joe Kane's and Greg Rogers tech articles are light on this topic, in part because there have not been any sets for consumer use where this could be an issue).
Yeah, I have a number of pet issues that the HT press never seems to really discuss. One hypothesis might be ignorance, on the part of the reviewers. Another might be that they don't want to get too technical w/ the readers, or suddenly inform them that the Earth is round, so the issues are usually avoided.


Quote:
Well, it is late.
Oh, indeed!! Well, back to work...


Thanks for the reply. I may write more, later.
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post #63 of 65 Old 07-17-2002, 09:00 AM
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Thanks Superdad for your info. I'm waiting for the next shipment of the AS3.6HD ( due ?) for a system I've designed for a client. I've got serious concerns about the state of PG based on my dealings so far with them. Your review stokes the fire of excitement I have about this product but confirms my fears. What happens if they scrape the CRT dept and I need a repair for my client? I don't know what other TV to recommend that is close to the performance of this set but also has a more reliable support structure. PG's displays blow away the other players at every trade show I've seen them in. Don't understand their corporate stance on these units.

I've got to come clean with my client and let them know that I've got them on the bleeding edge (I try to stay away from this cliff) with this recommendation. Yes it's the best but........................

Thanks for your ramblings and to animephile for this informative thread.
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post #64 of 65 Old 07-17-2002, 10:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by michaelrosato
Thanks Superdad for your info. I'm waiting for the next shipment of the AS3.6HD ( due ?) for a system I've designed for a client.
Isn't this just a 38" Monivision monitor, w/ a decent line doubler & video section? If so, why not get the Monivision branded unit, and pair it with an outboard line doubler (such as an iScan Pro)? The only problem with this is potentially switching between 4:3 and 16:9 (see my earlier posts, for details and a potential solution). Also, you'd have to use something like a VCR or PVR, if you need a tuner.

Again, the dot pitch isn't ideal. But that seems to be a fact of life, with large, direct-view displays.


With my iScan Pro, going into the front VGA input, I'm frequently surprised by what a great picture I get. Hopefully, my new chassis (to correct the streaking problem), and a new DVD player will have an even more substantial impact.
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post #65 of 65 Old 07-18-2002, 05:41 PM
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Superdad-

I'm almost afraid to ask, but how would I go about adjusting the focus on my Princeton Ar3.2t? I've calibrated this thing as much as I can without taking it apart. If this is a moderate improvement in PQ with a little risk, I'd be willing to try.. :)


Thanks

Eddie Duff
Eddied1@mac.com
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