Best DLP black levels? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 03-24-2012, 02:06 AM - Thread Starter
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In this day and age, not caring about 3D, which DLP projector has the best blacks (for a reasonable price, this is the <$3k forum)? I love DLP's, but wish they had better blacks sometimes. Has to be 1080p and natively play 24fps content. It doesn't necessarily have to be under 3k, but ideally it is. I have seen used Runcos for around or just under 3k with some hours on the bulb, for example.

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post #2 of 33 Old 03-24-2012, 02:42 AM
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As you've noticed; you get what you pay for. Luckily for you I've recently been in the exact situation you're in; looking for a single chip DLP with good black level performance. If you want the best blacks you'll probably want to look into projectors with the .95" DLP DMDs. Usually DLPs with the .65" DMD won't have as good black level preformance as the .95" ones. The .95" DMDs usually give you a noticeably sharper picture as well. If I were you I'd look into finding a used Planar PD8150 or PD8130. Either of these should be able to be purchased used under $3k. Other .95" DMD DLPs worth mentioning that you could get used are the Marantz VP-15S1, Sim2 Domino D80, Sim2 Domino D80E, Sim2 Domino D60, BenQ W10000, BenQ W20000, and the BenQ W5000 are all nice contenders used in your price range.

That's not to say that .65" DLPs can't have decent blacks. In the cheaper .65" market the new Mitsubishi HC7800D is respectable or the BenQ W7000 but neither are as good as the Planar's. For some reason it seems that in the under $3000 new market you exclusively see .65" DLP DMDs which is a shame.

Obviously going used versus new is a big decision but you won't get anything that can compete with JVC/SXRD blacks unless you get something more expensive or used in your price range. The PD8150 has on par blacks as the new JVC DLA-RS45. I own the PD8150 and have compared it to the JVC RS45. Overall I prefer the look of DLP over LCoS and the black level of the Planar combined with the DLP look and feel is just amazing.
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post #3 of 33 Old 03-24-2012, 02:47 AM
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You should go to projectorreviews.com. Art reviews all projectors. I can lead you toward a few of his reviews. Acer 9500, had really good blacks for its price range, about $1500, Benq W6000 can also be bought for under $1500. The Benq W7000 is the W6000 with 3D and its around $2500. Mitsubishi HC7800D is under $3k and should have the best blacks. The Optoma 8300 is the last one I can think of. So if you go through his reviews of these, you can probably come to the conclusion of which one is the best
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post #4 of 33 Old 03-24-2012, 06:22 AM
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The Optoma 8600 is known to have good blacks for a DLP. Checkout the Vivitek H5080 or H5082 . Both are clones of the Optoma 8600. The H5082 should have slightly better contrast.

I'm a big fan of the Runco's. But I've not seen a DLP that can come within a country mile of JVC's contrast/black levels. That being said, the higher end Runcos and Optomas are VERY good. In all but the darkest scenes they can go toe to toe with my RS45.
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post #5 of 33 Old 03-24-2012, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joesyah View Post

The Optoma 8600 is known to have good blacks for a DLP. Checkout the Vivitek H5080 or H5082 . Both are clones of the Optoma 8600. The H5082 should have slightly better contrast.

I'm a big fan of the Runco's. But I've not seen a DLP that can come within a country mile of JVC's contrast/black levels. That being said, the higher end Runcos and Optomas are VERY good. In all but the darkest scenes they can go toe to toe with my RS45.

The Planar PD8150 and the Runco LS-5 are the same projector. I agree, fantastic blacks with an amazingly invisible dynamic iris. You should see if you can find either used for a decent price. It's your best option for great black level performance.
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post #6 of 33 Old 03-24-2012, 03:54 PM - Thread Starter
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How does the blacks of the Planar/Runco compare with mainstream but high-end DLP's like the BenQ, Optoma, and Sharp offering? Is it dramatic and noticeable or would I have a tough time noticing the difference? Im coming from an old NEC business PJ so pretty much anything will be an improvement. My only issue with runcos is the lack of brightness in their brightest modes for ambient light sports and such. I was considering the BenQ mostly since they are ridiculously bright but I don't want to be disappointed by black level performance.

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post #7 of 33 Old 03-24-2012, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frosteh View Post

How does the blacks of the Planar/Runco compare with mainstream but high-end DLP's like the BenQ, Optoma, and Sharp offering? Is it dramatic and noticeable or would I have a tough time noticing the difference? Im coming from an old NEC business PJ so pretty much anything will be an improvement. My only issue with runcos is the lack of brightness in their brightest modes for ambient light sports and such. I was considering the BenQ mostly since they are ridiculously bright but I don't want to be disappointed by black level performance.

Why not the Epson 5010? Seems like it would suit your purpose. Plus it has some of the best black/contrast around.

The BenQ can't compare. The Optoma and Sharp are better at black levels and comparable to Runco/Planar. I wish they would drop the DC3 in the Benq.

What sets the Runco/Planar apart is the color management and Iris action. The Iris is much smoother and precise on the higher end DLPs.
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post #8 of 33 Old 03-24-2012, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Joesyah View Post

Why not the Epson 5010? Seems like it would suit your purpose. Plus it had some of the best black/contrast around.

I was considering it but I love the look of DLP's and the Epson is too low in best mode brightness. I need at least 750 but 800 to 900 is preferable.

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post #9 of 33 Old 03-24-2012, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frosteh View Post

How does the blacks of the Planar/Runco compare with mainstream but high-end DLP's like the BenQ, Optoma, and Sharp offering? Is it dramatic and noticeable or would I have a tough time noticing the difference? Im coming from an old NEC business PJ so pretty much anything will be an improvement. My only issue with runcos is the lack of brightness in their brightest modes for ambient light sports and such. I was considering the BenQ mostly since they are ridiculously bright but I don't want to be disappointed by black level performance.

Before I owned the Planar I had an Epson 6500UB. I would say the Planar has a very slight edge over the Epson. The Epsons are the best at blacks in the under $3000 market. With that said it makes sense to conclude the Planar has an advantage over the BenQ, Optoma, and Sharp. If you check out Art's review of the LS-5 (newly named PD8150) he says the Planar's blacks are on par with the Sony 90ES.

It all depends on how much you're willing to sacrifice and ultimately how good of a black level you'll be fine to live with. It's going to be very easy to find the ones you mentioned in the text I quoted because of how many more people purchase them and the fact that many of them can be bought new from etailers while it'll be a bit harder to find an LS-5/PD8150. However there was an LS-5 for sale on videogon that I saw last week. This is a GREAT deal:

http://cgi.videogon.com/cgi-bin/cl.p...(current-model)

Just make sure it's lens/zoom will fit your room as the LS-5 has a bit of a longer throw than most projectors.
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post #10 of 33 Old 03-24-2012, 06:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Seegs108 View Post

Before I owned the Planar I had an Epson 6500UB. I would say the Planar has a very slight edge over the Epson. The Epsons are the best at blacks in the under $3000 market. With that said it makes sense to conclude the Planar has an advantage over the BenQ, Optoma, and Sharp. If you check out Art's review of the LS-5 (newly named PD8150) he says the Planar's blacks are on par with the Sony 90ES.

It all depends on how much you're willing to sacrifice and ultimately how good of a black level you'll be fine to live with. It's going to be very easy to find the ones you mentioned in the text I quoted because of how many more people purchase them and the fact that many of them can be bought new from etailers while it'll be a bit harder to find an LS-5/PD8150. However there was an LS-5 for sale on videogon that I saw last week. This is a GREAT deal:

http://cgi.videogon.com/cgi-bin/cl.p...(current-model)

Just make sure it's lens/zoom will fit your room as the LS-5 has a bit of a longer throw than most projectors.

It fits just fine, but it's going to be a tad dark on my screen when I go to 2.4:1. It's a DIY grey screen with .9 gain, so I could always just repaint it to be white and increase the gain a bit. I'm not quite ready to shell out $3k, but I will be at the end of summer and hopefully the street price of the LS-5 will go down a bit by then as well. I'd love to see the LS-5 and one of the other great >$3k DLP projectors side-by-side. Alas, that won't happen.

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post #11 of 33 Old 03-24-2012, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frosteh View Post

I was considering it but I love the look of DLP's and the Epson is too low in best mode brightness. I need at least 750 but 800 to 900 is preferable.

Maybe you should check out the 5010 before calling judgment. You're going to need a light cannon with such a dull screen color. I'm sure you can get the Epson easily in that neighborhood of lumens, close enough to best mode not to care. That grey screen is going to goof colors up a bit anyway. You need a bright punchy slightly oversaturated image to even out the dullness. With the Epson you don't need a grey screen anyway.

In the end, you'll find out 700 to 800 lumens is much too bright to enjoy. Your eyes will be worn out from too bright of an image.
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post #12 of 33 Old 03-24-2012, 09:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frosteh View Post

It fits just fine, but it's going to be a tad dark on my screen when I go to 2.4:1. It's a DIY grey screen with .9 gain, so I could always just repaint it to be white and increase the gain a bit. I'm not quite ready to shell out $3k, but I will be at the end of summer and hopefully the street price of the LS-5 will go down a bit by then as well. I'd love to see the LS-5 and one of the other great >$3k DLP projectors side-by-side. Alas, that won't happen.

The unfortunate thing about Runco projectors is that they are almost always found through local dealers. That's good if you want to be able to see one in person but as far price competition goes it doesn't always work out in the buyers favor. I'm sure there will be others listed throughout the year. The thing with the Runco LS-5 is that it has extremely accurate color out of the box, meaning you won't have to calibrate it at all if you don't want to, and it's dynamic iris is first rate. What size screen do you have?
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post #13 of 33 Old 03-24-2012, 09:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joesyah View Post

Maybe you should check out the 5010 before calling judgment. You're going to need a light cannon with such a dull screen color. I'm sure you can get the Epson easily in that neighborhood of lumens, close enough to best mode not to care. That grey screen is going to goof colors up a bit anyway. You need a bright punchy slightly oversaturated image to even out the dullness. With the Epson you don't need a grey screen anyway.

In the end, you'll find out 700 to 800 lumens is much too bright to enjoy. Your eyes will be worn out from too bright of an image.

I'll check it out, but used RS-45's are the same price as 5010's, and if I'm going the non DLP route I'd much rather have the RS-45, which puts out about 900 lumens calibrated. The extra lumens are only necessary for when I'm watching sports and won't have the lights out at all. I figure having a ton of lumens would be awesome with a grey screen and lighting.

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post #14 of 33 Old 03-24-2012, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Frosteh View Post

I'll check it out, but used RS-45's are the same price as 5010's, and if I'm going the non DLP route I'd much rather have the RS-45, which puts out about 900 lumens calibrated. The extra lumens are only necessary for when I'm watching sports and won't have the lights out at all. I figure having a ton of lumens would be awesome with a grey screen and lighting.

You do realize a quick calibration on the Epson is around 1600 lumens, per projectorreviews.com? Best mode isn't that important with lights on or for sports viewing. Plus the RS45 only puts out those kinds of lumens with a new lamp. It doesn't stay that way long.

I have a Benq w1000 here with 1300 hours on the lamp. It is MUCH brighter than my RS45 with 300 hours on the lamp. The Benq started out with nearly 2200 lumens new. You're going to get more hours out of the Epson lamp, if it isn't faulty. The Epson is capable of 2000 lumens from the get go.
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post #15 of 33 Old 03-25-2012, 01:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Joesyah View Post

You do realize a quick calibration on the Epson is around 1600 lumens, per projectorreviews.com? Best mode isn't that important with lights on or for sports viewing. Plus the RS45 only puts out those kinds of lumens with a new lamp. It doesn't stay that way long.

I have a Benq w1000 here with 1300 hours on the lamp. It is MUCH brighter than my RS45 with 300 hours on the lamp. The Benq started out with nearly 2200 lumens new. You're going to get more hours out of the Epson lamp, if it isn't faulty. The Epson is capable of 2000 lumens from the get go.

Hmmmm. I'll go back and have a look at the Epson at Magnolia A/V. It was in the same room as the RS-45 so they should be able to swtich between the two pretty easily...

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post #16 of 33 Old 03-25-2012, 01:08 PM
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If you're looking in terms of 2d, the JVC throws a much better picture imo. Although the Epson has good blacks, it doesn't have the image depth that the JVC puts on the screen. Also, being able to achieve this without an auto iris is the icing on the cake. Of the 3 technologies, LCD is far inferior to LCOS and DLP in terms of a film-like image (of course this is just my opinion). In terms of DLP, I have owned an Infocus 8602 and Optoma hd8600, and I believe (if you could find) both of these would make you more than happy. They're great, bright, DLPs.

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post #17 of 33 Old 03-25-2012, 07:14 PM - Thread Starter
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If you're looking in terms of 2d, the JVC throws a much better picture imo. Although the Epson has good blacks, it doesn't have the image depth that the JVC puts on the screen. Also, being able to achieve this without an auto iris is the icing on the cake. Of the 3 technologies, LCD is far inferior to LCOS and DLP in terms of a film-like image (of course this is just my opinion). In terms of DLP, I have owned an Infocus 8602 and Optoma hd8600, and I believe (if you could find) both of these would make you more than happy. They're great, bright, DLPs.

How do these compare to the BenQ W6000? If you could rank them 1, 2, 3, how would they stack up to each other? I'm mostly interested in blacks, but there's a point at which I prefer other things and don't see the necessity for ridiculous blacks as long as the overall picture is better. Shadow detail is often more important than blacks, anyway.

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post #18 of 33 Old 03-26-2012, 03:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frosteh View Post

How do these compare to the BenQ W6000? If you could rank them 1, 2, 3, how would they stack up to each other? I'm mostly interested in blacks, but there's a point at which I prefer other things and don't see the necessity for ridiculous blacks as long as the overall picture is better. Shadow detail is often more important than blacks, anyway.

The BenQ will come in third. That is one of the W6000's biggest downfalls. It is not known for good black level performance.
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post #19 of 33 Old 03-26-2012, 07:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frosteh View Post

How do these compare to the BenQ W6000? If you could rank them 1, 2, 3, how would they stack up to each other? I'm mostly interested in blacks, but there's a point at which I prefer other things and don't see the necessity for ridiculous blacks as long as the overall picture is better. Shadow detail is often more important than blacks, anyway.

I own a W6000 and an Epson 5010.

The 5010 black levels are much, much better. I consider the W6000 black levels to be mediocre at best.

I use the W6000 for general TV viewing such as sports. It's great for that but not so great for watching movies.

I don't care about film-like - I'm not even sure what it means or why it is important for a projector to create an image that looks like film.

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post #20 of 33 Old 03-26-2012, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by karlsch View Post

I own a W6000 and an Epson 5010.

The 5010 black levels are much, much better. I consider the W6000 black levels to be mediocre at best.

I use the W6000 for general TV viewing such as sports. It's great for that but not so great for watching movies.

I don't care about film-like - I'm not even sure what it means or why it is important for a projector to create an image that looks like film.

Film-like in a projector review tends to mean a softer picture usually associated with 3 chip projectors like the JVCs. For some reason people assume it's a good term and I don't understand why?
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post #21 of 33 Old 03-26-2012, 04:39 PM
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the Benq has a lot of digital noise which bothered me way too much to keep. I love the look of DLP, but I wouldn't purchase the w6000 even if it was under a grand.

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post #22 of 33 Old 03-26-2012, 06:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jbn008 View Post

the Benq has a lot of digital noise which bothered me way too much to keep. I love the look of DLP, but I wouldn't purchase the w6000 even if it was under a grand.

Dang. Alright well I guess I'll just wait and jump on the JVC bandwagon as it seems those are as close as it gets to DLP and they have great blacks.

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post #23 of 33 Old 03-26-2012, 07:26 PM
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As you've noticed; you get what you pay for.
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post #24 of 33 Old 03-27-2012, 05:20 AM
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As you've noticed; you get what you pay for.

What an insightful and helpful post.
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post #25 of 33 Old 03-27-2012, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Frosteh View Post

I watch movies 70%, game 20% and watch tv 10%. I really want those deep blacks since I love my Star Wars and sci-fi/space movies

you mentioned in the other thread movies and deep blacks were a priority. None of the current DLP's in the RS45 price range are going to compete in a light controlled room.

I use the first 10 minutes of Underworld Evolution as a benchmark when testing the various projectors in the shoot-out thread. I'll give credit to the Epson 5010 though, it's much better than I was expecting for an LCD projector in regard to black levels.

The W7000 and W6000 (I have both) aren't going to come within a mile of the JVC with my dark sci-fi movies. If your just watching regular movies or TV, they look nice.
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post #26 of 33 Old 03-27-2012, 08:25 AM - Thread Starter
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you mentioned in the other thread movies and deep blacks were a priority. None of the current DLP's in the RS45 price range are going to compete in a light controlled room.

I use the first 10 minutes of Underworld Evolution as a benchmark when testing the various projectors in the shoot-out thread. I'll give credit to the Epson 5010 though, it's much better than I was expecting for an LCD projector in regard to black levels.

The W7000 and W6000 (I have both) aren't going to come within a mile of the JVC with my dark sci-fi movies. If your just watching regular movies or TV, they look nice.

Given the price advantages of the 5010 (cheaper bulbs, last longer, light cannon, better 3D, etc.) and that it has really good blacks, just not JVC, which would you recommend? How does the 5010 do on those sci-fi/space movies compared to the JVC? Is there really THAT big of a difference to an untrained eye like mine?

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post #27 of 33 Old 03-27-2012, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Frosteh View Post

Given the price advantages of the 5010 (cheaper bulbs, last longer, light cannon, better 3D, etc.) and that it has really good blacks, just not JVC, which would you recommend? How does the 5010 do on those sci-fi/space movies compared to the JVC? Is there really THAT big of a difference to an untrained eye like mine?

of all the projectors I tested recently, the 5010 was the second closest to the JVC. There are even a few JVC owners that swapped over to the 5010/6010 mainly for the excellent 3D and very good black levels.

if 3D and ambient light modes are a consideration, I would recommend the 5010 over the RS45. The 5010 has the same lumen output @ D65 as most of the current models in my shoot-out, ~900 lumens. It can crank to nearly 2000 lumens in 3D mode (non-color corrected) and around 1400 with a D65 calibration in 3D, the highest output right now in the price range.

The 5010 is a nice all around projectors with black levels that are much better than the W6000 and W7000. It's passes my 'Underworld' test - meaning I'd watch this movie no problem on the 5010 without thinking something needs to be done about the black levels.
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post #28 of 33 Old 03-27-2012, 04:01 PM
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I too fail to understand why anyone would want a film like image.

Theoretically 35mm film has superior resolution to anything. But in reality a DLP movie theater image looks much much better than a comparable film projected image. This is easy for anyone to see. There's a modern fancy multiplex nearby that has the three requisites: a film theater, a DLP theater and staff who don't seem to care if you sneek from one to the other. I have done this twice now. There really isn't any question. The DLP image can be immediately seen to be better. I felt like making a speech to the film viewing audience to alert them that a much better picture was available in the theater down the hall.

Also when I on ocassion go to a movie theater I notice that the black levels are not very impressive compared to what I experience at home in my own modest HT. I sneeked into a showing of the latest Underworld movie. The black scenes were only dark gray - much lighter than the black border around the screen. Film is a transmissive medium. I can think of no reason why anyone should expect it to produce great blacks.

I think all the current limitations of Home Theater forward projectors could easily remedied with existing technology. We don't need any breakthroughs, but the Home Theater market just isn't big enough to make it reasonable to invest in all the engineering and tooling. Everybody on earth seems to have a iPhone but almost no one I know has a projector.

At one time I thought that everyone would get a projector and movie theaters would disapear. I was half right. Theaters are closing but people seem to be watching flat screens not projectors.
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post #29 of 33 Old 03-28-2012, 09:56 AM
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There are still a few hard-core DLP fans that talk about a sharper image, but to me some LCOS projectors have reached the point to where you cannot even see the difference from normal seating in sharpness between the sharpest DLP's and a JVC. My JVC is as sharp and in many cases sharper than all DLP's I have owned and seen except for the Benqs and probably a few Runcos, but again I cannot see the difference in movie viewing at all. Pretty much the JVC and DLP's I have seen look the same in certain scenes (in 90% of bright scenes anyhow except when watching fast motion). The JVC does have a tad more noise than some but it is not usually an issue (Epson LCD also suffers from it).

So for 2D black levels I would abandon the DLP idea and get a JVC or Epson, as sharpness is not really an issue anymore, maybe slightly more on the Epson than the JVC on average. The Epson appears to have more variance in sharpness and convergence from a unit-to-unit basis, as even dealers have noted the same. JVC's can also have bad convergence, but it is rarer and usually indicates a defect and need for an exchange. The Epson does have the better 3d image though if that is your deciding factor.

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Originally Posted by PLB View Post

I too fail to understand why anyone would want a film like image.

Theoretically 35mm film has superior resolution to anything. But in reality a DLP movie theater image looks much much better than a comparable film projected image. This is easy for anyone to see.

Most things are not done with film anymore anyhow, the industry has moved to all digital cameras and almost everything new is shot in digital, except for a few things.

I see your point, but most of us don't use the word film-like to describe it looking like a sloppy 35mm with noise and grain, none of us want a grainy image. For me anyhow, when I say film-like, I am actually describing an "enhanced film look" that retains the advantages of film but not the disadvantages (Take the movie Tree of Life as a good example), or take any reference level movie which has very little noise or grain but still maintains a film-look. The movie "tree of life" was shot on 35mm without any of the negative effects usually associated with film, but it is one of the last one shot this way. The movie "Super 8" would be an example of the dirty film-look in some of it's parts (and I don't really care for that). So I think many of us use the word film-like to describe an LCOS or a DLP project in that sense, it's a matter of realism or the window effect (feels like looking through a window) rather than a grainy-look.


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post #30 of 33 Old 03-29-2012, 09:28 AM
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I admire coderguy and am grateful for his efforts at rational and objective measurement, BUT, here he defines film-like as being a property not seen in actual films. Maybe it's time for a new term.

Perhaps reality-like.

It seems to me that image quality is best conceived as a three dimension (or greater) property space. One dimension is resolution, another is contrast, another is black level, another is frame rate, etc. All imaging technologies will be better or worse on these criteria in a unique pattern.

Resolution I think is no longer relevant. 1080 is good enough for human beings. Coderguy is telling us that sharpness too is no longer relevant. That's good to know. Epson started making their inorganic LCD panels a couple years ago with many promises. Apparently those promises have been fulfilled.

Actually the reason I still prefer DLP is because some reviewers have said that DLP which generally has superior ANSI contrast is better for daylight movie scenes while LCoS is better for night time scenes. If that's true, then for me day trumps night. All TV reality shows, all sports, all TV news, and all nature shows are brightly lit. Many great movies like Lawrence of Arabia are also daylight movies. Although noir films like The Third Man are quite dark. If you can't have both light and dark - I'll take light.
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