General Projection Questions (Mostly about gaming) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 01-23-2009, 09:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys/gals! I've been a passive user of these forums for years. I just bought my first house which has a living room that might be perfect for a large HD projection system. I'll get into the details in a later post, but just had a few questions to start about projection systems. I know these details will vary from system to system, but in general across the technology I figure they should be similar.

I've always been a CRT guy, even though that era has passed. My current TV is the last HD Widescreen tube made by Sony. I've never been able to stand LCDs due to the blurring that happens. My sister's bravia, my brothers "2ms gaming" LCD, they all have significant blurring to my eyes. (My test is to fire up an old sidescrolling 2D game, like Yoshis Island with its thick edges. Move left to right and watch any LCD just become a messy blur.) I also hate the native resolution that often makes anything else look like crap.

Primarily I will be doing gaming and movies/tv. Actually I will probably build a new computer to hook up to it too. So my questions about projection technology are:

1. Is the refresh rate good? Is there any blurring with fast movement and sharp edges like with LCDs?

2. Is there any input lag / signal delay? By this I mean with some LCDs there is a noticeable lag between inputs from a game/computer and the display itself. Whether it's a panel issue or a signal processing issue I don't know. Do projection systems have any delay?

3. Is there a native resolution? Or do they handle various resolutions well? I know displays with native resolutions have to upscale older content - causing significantly more of the lag expressed above.

4. How are fine details, like subtitles or computer text, displayed at large screen sizes (120" or more)? Does anyone have any experience outputting a computer display to an HD projector? Does it work well? Are things readable?

The above points, especially the first three, relate to gaming and would be the real deal breakers with me. The rest of the questions are ones that probably very a lot from projector to projector:

5. How are the viewing angles? I know with the old rear projection systems viewing angles were abysmal. How are they with todays projection systems?

6. Is fan noise still an issue? I know when HD projectors first came out some had very loud fans that were an issue. Has this improved?

7. Ambient light. How dark does the room need to be to get a decent display? The room in question has a large window opposite the wall that will be the projection surface, and two smaller windows on the side. I plan to tint the windows, and have very heavy curtains. I should be able to control the light very well. But what if I want the room lit a little more in the day, or with guests. Is the display still decent?

8. Life of bulbs / Replacement costs. This probably varies the most per projector of all the questions. Is there any general info about the life of a bulb and the cost to replace? I know LCDs supposedly get 30,000-40,000 hours of life. And of course can't be replaced with doing the whole unit. What kind of life do HD bulbs have? I am sure it depends on brightness, etc. But if I am using a full 1080p image at very nice brightness/contrast, what do you guys/gals usually get?

9. A last minute thought - is burn in an issue with projectors?

There is a wealth of information on these forums, and I am still reading a lot. Some of the threads are a year old with 50+ pages! I thought I'd make a new post to appeal to the enthusiasts/experts on the board directly. Later on I'll do a follow-up about specific units/screens I am considering, but I have to read the existing topics some more first! If you have suggestions for a good gaming projector (if they exist) or screens, I guess you can shoot with them now.

Thank you very much for any help answering these questions as they will help me make up my mind if I am going to dive into this thing!

- Cody
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post #2 of 7 Old 01-23-2009, 11:20 AM
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Lots to cover here. I'll try to give relatively brief answers. Hope they make sense!

1. Occasionally. It varies from projector to projector and source to source. How sensitive you are to it is also a factor.

2. There is a certain amount of display lag with virtually every type of projector available today. As with the above answer it varies from projector to projector, and generally speaking the amount is anywhere from one to several frames of lag. PJ's with pixelworks processors are generally regarded as the ones with the least amount of display lag. Turning off unnecessary image processing usually helps to minimize it.

3. Every projector has a native resolution and scales content accordingly. For gaming the answer is usually to have your gaming system set to the pj's native res.

4. Your mileage will vary with pc's. There are a lot of factors that affect this, from panel misconvergence to the quality of the optics in your projector. I use a pc with my projector and it's plenty good enough for me, but text is certainly less sharp than on my lcd monitor. Of course, we're also talking the difference between 19" and 92".

5. Viewing angle is going to be affected most by the gain of your screen. Higher gain will make the image brighter in the prime seating position but limit off axis viewing somewhat. Lower gain screens are pretty good for dispersed seating arrangements.

6. Some still have loud fans. Usually more of an issue in DLP PJ's than LCD PJ's, but there are exceptions to the rule. This can also be affected by what lamp mode you run in and your altitude.

7. Don't even remotely expect 30,000 hours from a lamp in today's mainstream projectors (I'm ignoring the newer LED tech just starting to enter the market). Most lamps are rated for 2000 - 4000 hours depending on lamp mode though many pop significantly earlier. I've seen lamps go in as little as 10 hours (obviously faulty) and I've seen one still going after approx 5000 hours. The bulb will also dim over it's lifespan, the most of which usually occurs within the first couple hundred hours.

8. Not in the way you probably are thinking of burn in as with phosphor based displays i.e. crt and plasma. You can have burnt polarizers on LCD pj's, etc.

Hope this helps a bit, and good luck!
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post #3 of 7 Old 01-25-2009, 05:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for replying Nillaz! You answered most of my questions, thanks. I know a projector is going to be killer for Movies/TV. Just trying to figure out if it will be good for gaming.

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Originally Posted by Nillaz View Post

1. Occasionally. It varies from projector to projector and source to source. How sensitive you are to it is also a factor.

I am very sensitive to the blurring involved with motion on LCDs/Plasmas. Does the fact that a projector is LCD based mean it will suffer the same (TERRIBLE) blurring as LCD flat panel?

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Originally Posted by Nillaz View Post

2. There is a certain amount of display lag with virtually every type of projector available today. As with the above answer it varies from projector to projector, and generally speaking the amount is anywhere from one to several frames of lag. PJ's with pixelworks processors are generally regarded as the ones with the least amount of display lag. Turning off unnecessary image processing usually helps to minimize it.

I am also sensitive to this as well. My friends and I play at a high-level in 2D fighting games...even one frame of lag is noticeable and affects game play in these situations. One frame would equal 17ms of lag (at 60fps) or up to 33ms of lag (at 30fps).

Is this theory correct (hdtvlag.googlepages.com/theory), that there is a minimum of one frame of lag with all digital displays?

I definitely need to keep it as close to one frame of lag as possible. Anyone have recommendations for projectors with pixelworks processors or low lag?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nillaz View Post

3. Every projector has a native resolution and scales content accordingly. For gaming the answer is usually to have your gaming system set to the pj's native res.

Sure, thats the answer for my PS3/360. But the Wii only outputs at 480p. The PS2/Xbox usually at 480i. Thats why I hate native resolutions. These signals will require upscaling which will increase the above mentioned input lag that much more!

I'm kind of rushing this post. I have more research to do, but if it helps in my question about recommendations, I am currently looking at doing a 120" screen. The wall that will be projected on is 164" wide. The ceiling is 91" high. The room is 238.5" long.

Again I appreciate any more discussion/recommendations of projectors with low blurring/input lag for gaming as I do more research.
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post #4 of 7 Old 01-25-2009, 06:58 PM
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Here is a thread from the Hi-End PJ forum that is devoted to input lag:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1068844

Regarding burn in, I had a Panasonic LCD PJ that had a "burned" polarizer after 3000 hrs. Based on that, I would stay away from LCDs if you plan on using your PJ a lot, for long gaming sessions, with lots of static content (e.g. HUD).
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post #5 of 7 Old 01-26-2009, 01:10 PM
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No problem, always happy to help out a fellow gamer as best I can. Definitely check out the thread tqn posted, it should be required reading for anyone looking to move into front projection for gaming. Peteer's tests aren't perfect as he's using a laptop monitor instead of a CRT display, but you should get an idea of a projectors relative capabilities.

I'm honestly not the best person to speak to regarding motion blur. Personally I find it to be more prevalent on flat panels than projectors for some reason and therefore never game on my XBR, but there are probably many people here who would disagree with me. For gaming I've recently moved from a dlp projector to lcd and I have to say that in my case the experience is equally satisfying.

I've never seen that link before but generally speaking it captures the gist of the display lag problem. The issue will be exacerbated by projectors that do frame interpolation. Since you play 2d fighting games you'll probably be most affected by display lag. I don't play many 2D fighters but I play a lot of FPS's and at first this affected me in a very minor way. After a few hours I subconsciously adjusted to it.

I keep a dedicated projector for gaming. Previously I used an Optoma HD70 and am now using a Sanyo Z60, and have mucked around with a bunch of other projectors. I believe the Optoma used a proprietary processor and never had an issue. The Sanyo is using Pixelworks and no issues. I'd tell you to give the Sanyo a shot but I don't think it would work very well for you at 120". There are probably better candidates out there.

I only had a Wii here to mess around with for a few days so I'm no expert on performance. I don't remember having any major problems (other than finding a convenient place to put the sensor bar. Grrrrr!), but then again I was only playing Wii sports. Same goes for the PS2 (those days were essentially over for me before I really got into front projection). The original xbox wasn't too bad with Halo 2 though I did have to compensate somewhat.
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post #6 of 7 Old 01-26-2009, 04:44 PM
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480i/p games on a 100"+ screen will look horrible. Too many jaggies and the texture will look really bad. Even with 360/PS3 I would not go beyond 120" screen size.
I have gamed on LCD, DLP and SXRD, did not notice too much difference between various display lag between different technology. You have to take into account that you'll be 10-14' away from the screen, even if there is display lag it'll probably not very noticeable.
If you are into 2D games then input lag may be a factor in your purchasing decision.
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post #7 of 7 Old 01-27-2009, 01:34 PM
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Lag will depend on what input you use with the projector (or TV for that matter). If I feed my Epson EX70 a composite signal from the xbox360, the lag is terrible - unplayable in my opinion. Now feed the EX70 the HDMI from the 360, and the lag is gone. Also setting the device feeding the projector to the native resolution will reduce the processing of the signal, reducing lag.

Have a few elite gamer friends that will only play the xbox360 with a wired remote - wireless controllers do have a slight lag over the wired ones. I can not tell the difference, but a few friends sure can. After reading a few posts a while ago about projector lag, I decided NOT to mention this to friends, to see if they would notice lag. Well, it's been almost 2 months, and not one person has even mentioned projector lag or even motion blur using the HDMI input.

How elite are a few of my gamer friends? Well, playing Gears 2 with two xbox360 networked together viewing on 2 seperate screens, the Dynex 32" was hooked up via composite (yuck), and it had a 1.5 second lag between joystick movement vs. screen. I was playing on the projector and still got my a55 kicked by these guys!!!

Still watching TV......
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