AE200 First Impressions! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 106 Old 10-11-2002, 06:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, folks, I got my AE200 today from Price Japan and have been switching cables back and forth for about two hours now to get an idea of the things this baby is capable of. Note that this is my first projector, and I'm upgrading from a 19" Hitachi television that had only composite input and is older than me (I'm 19). A lot of this may just be boyish exaggerations. :D

First off, the machine comes set in Japanese, but changing it to English (or German, French, Spanish, Italian or Chinese) is a matter of going to the second from the bottom menu option. From there, I went to options, and set PC Priority (VGA In) to WIDE. This gave the image that Li On was talking about many months ago on the AE100.

I popped in Star Wars Episode 1 (yes, I know about the edge enhancement, but had only seen it on my 19" Hitachi and my 17" computer monitor). WOW, what a great image! I had expected very little considering I was projecting on my gross colored wall in order to determine what size screen to get.

This picture was amazing! I have it the image size set at 92 inches wide and had it at the sharpest focus, and even sitting only 135 inches away (1.5x), screen door is not an issue for me (and I stress this). I can see screen door, but it is not distracting in the slightest. Slight defocusing basically eliminated it, but I prefer the sharper image. I have no comparisons with other projectors. The only other projectors I've seen were some DLP models a few months back, and I immediately dismissed them due to headaches after watching for a while.

I took some ordinary printer paper (no idea on the gain :)) and tacked it up on the wall to get an idea of what it would be like with a screen. Colors were far better, and screen door remained the same. I went all the way back to about 200 inches away (I'm in an apartment and don't have much room), and it pretty much disappeared. Sounds pretty typical for an LCD. I'm sure the AE300 will be better in this regard.

Ok, more about the image. My Nintaus N9769 has a VGA output and the AE200 detected Wide 480 perfectly. Setting PC Mode Priority to Wide gave me a very nice image. I tossed in a 4x3 DVD and set PC Mode Priority back to Normal, and I got a very nice image, with black bars on the side.

The only complaint I have is that "Zoom" mode is not available in VGA mode. This will pose a problem for non-anamorphic DVDs, and I'll address it later.

I then tested composite and S-video connections (I don't have enough RCA lying around for component, but I hooked up the one composite and my findings were the same except the quality sucked for obvious reasons :)) by putting on my Playstation and my laserdisc player.

As expected, on composite input, laserdisc was far worse than DVD. I don't have a very good player, and I can tell that I won't be as excited about LDs in the future. :(

Apart from that, the image was about as good as it can get, plus the addition of Zoom mode lets me use the full LCD panel on letterbox laserdisc titles.

I then tested s-video connections with my Playstation (yeah, I know :D). Since Playstation is so old, the graphics were clunky at such large sizes, but playing Wipeout 3 on such a giant screen was soooo much fun. The image was considerably more stable than the composite image, which resulted in a nicer image overall.

I then hooked up my Dreamcast with its VGA output to the AE200. As expected, this was a far greater gaming experience. It also was a lot easier to see inherent flaws of the projector due to the digital nature of the image. I'm happy to report that the image is still very pleasing. This is very much a good gaming projector. Dead or Alive 2 and Jet Grind Radio were both very vibrant and full of life.

I didn't test my Gamecube because I don't have the component video cable yet. I will once I get it.

Anyway, overall, I'm very pleased with my purchase. There are no dead pixels, delivery was very quick, and the product is very high quality. I admit I had a lot of doubts about the projector even after I ordered it. I am VERY happy I did, though.

One thing that does concern me is how to deal with letterboxed DVD titles. Since the VGA input cannot do zoom, the only hope is to have a scaler or an HTPC do the work. Those doing the transcoding from component progressive are out of luck. I haven't tested the component progressive input, but if it is better than the AE100, it may be an option to hook up your player both ways, one for 16x9 and 4x3 DVDs, and component with zoom for letterbox DVDs. A hassle, but it is a workable situation.

I'll be testing HTPC output next, but gotta post this message first. :)

Any questions? I'll be your guinea pig! I'm having so much fun! :D

-Mike Lindberg-
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post #2 of 106 Old 10-11-2002, 06:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Also, I expect to be even more impressed when I actually get a screen. My cream colored walls are painted with enamel paint, so hotspotting is very evident and very annoying. The single sheet of printer paper I put up helps immensely (albeit in only that area :)).

-Mike Lindberg-
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post #3 of 106 Old 10-11-2002, 07:20 PM
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Try a DIY home made light grey screen, much better than a standard white matt screen, although some people disagree.
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post #4 of 106 Old 10-11-2002, 07:37 PM
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Mike - Congrats! Time to put on that smokers coat, don the ascott and that cigarette holder deal, and prepare yourself for the true coed magnet you're about to become. My guess is before long you'll have more company than you know what to do with on movie nights.

Kinda like when you were a kid and had a swimming pool and the neighbor kids would knock on your door wearing bathing suits and a mask and ask what you feel like doing today... ;)
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post #5 of 106 Old 10-11-2002, 07:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by jrwood
Try a DIY home made light grey screen, much better than a standard white matt screen, although some people disagree.
That's what I'd like to do, but I only have a budget of about $150 for a screen. I'm definitely looking at getting a 52x92 inch screen, and if I go the Parkland Plastics route, I'd have to special order that size, and I've heard there are problems with getting it flat like that.

I don't have a car, but my parents are coming out this week and I hope to abuse my pitiful poor college student image to get to some dealers. :)

-Mike Lindberg-
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post #6 of 106 Old 10-11-2002, 07:57 PM
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You could always use a white bedsheet in the meantime.
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post #7 of 106 Old 10-11-2002, 08:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by EricT43
You could always use a white bedsheet in the meantime.
Only have green. :(

-Mike Lindberg-
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post #8 of 106 Old 10-11-2002, 08:31 PM
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Good, I'm glad you fired it up and gave us a peak. $150 for a screen, you might check with cousins video he's got a AVS discount. If I remember right I was able to get a 92" by 69" in video spectra 1.5 gain for about $160 delivered.

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post #9 of 106 Old 10-11-2002, 08:47 PM
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I hope you post some picture about AE-200's image.
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post #10 of 106 Old 10-11-2002, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mike Lindberg
Only have green. :(
Funny thing is when I was your age I seem to remember most of my sheets about the same hue as a Greyhawk :D but with a little less gain of course :p
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post #11 of 106 Old 10-11-2002, 09:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by EricT43
You could always use a white bedsheet in the meantime.
I picked up a white sheet at a K-Mart sale for $12, but it was pretty thin. I could have paid a bit more for better ones but I knew it was temporary, I really didn't use it much except for random experimentation. Some of the better ones were in kits that bundled pillow cases and the elastic sheets, neither of which I needed for this.

The problem is that it is tough enough finding solid colored sheets - ones without print designs, plain white (or light gray) sheets doubly so.

I don't think it is a viable option here, but I bought a $13 can of eggshell white paint and painted one wall face. It works pretty darn well for the price. I don't know if housing would allow this sort of thing. In my room, some people get confused and wonder if the color difference between a off-white side walls and the white wall was an illusion or real.

Someday I might invest in a real screen, but that's unrealistic right now.
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post #12 of 106 Old 10-11-2002, 09:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mike Lindberg
That's what I'd like to do, but I only have a budget of about $150 for a screen. I'm definitely looking at getting a 52x92 inch screen, and if I go the Parkland Plastics route, I'd have to special order that size, and I've heard there are problems with getting it flat like that.

I don't have a car, but my parents are coming out this week and I hope to abuse my pitiful poor college student image to get to some dealers. :)
If you have room for a fixed screen then MDF works great along with Dulux Icestorm 6 matt finish. Took less than a day to make with 2 or 3 coats of paint. Foam roller costs about £5 if that, £10 for the paint, £10 for a 8' by 4' foot screen. Its heavy for the 12mm depth but once its installed is fine, or go for the 6mm depth if you are hooking it up on a wall. Better still find a spare wall you can paint a light grey paint on to :). I found that a home made DIY grey screen 1) makes the contrast better on lcd projectors 2) makes blacks look very good - comparable to cinema imo 3) Gives the picture more punch 4) gets rid of the 'fog' effect that so many people complain about with lcd projectors 5) looks good on a wall in 16:9 shape :p 6) reduces screendoor by a fair margin compared to a matt white screen and doesnt need to cost much to get good results.
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post #13 of 106 Old 10-11-2002, 09:44 PM
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Thanks for the feedback Mike.

JeffDM,

Quote:
I picked up a white sheet at a K-Mart sale for $12, but it was pretty thin. I could have paid a bit more for better ones but I knew it was temporary, I really didn't use it much except for random experimentation. Some of the better ones were in kits that bundled pillow cases and the elastic sheets, neither of which I needed for this.
You are a true home theater nut to shop bed linens for the ultimate temporary home theatre screen. I aspire to be as frugal and skilled as your example. A true Mc gyver!
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post #14 of 106 Old 10-11-2002, 10:03 PM - Thread Starter
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I've had six hours with the projector, and I have a few other thoughts.

I can't get my Mac to recognize 848x480, and without any kind of program like PowerStrip, I'm stuck. Sorry I can't give any HTPC results.

Anyway, PAL discs. When played through the Nintaus' VGA port, the projector inputs the signal as SVGA. The resulting image is not nearly as nice as Wide480, and I'm hoping that when I can try component it will work then.

Also, it seems to have stopped letting me choose PC Priority Normal for 4x3 discs. I'm looking into it.

I also took some screenshots. Keep in mind that I'm using my icky colored wall and my digital camcorder as a still camera (limiting me to 720x480 resolution). The results aren't pretty, but I know you all would be clamming for them. Anyway, here:

Drunken Master 2: http://homepage.mac.com/mlindber/.Pictures/001.jpg

North by Northwest: http://homepage.mac.com/mlindber/.Pictures/002.jpg

My Sassy Girl: http://homepage.mac.com/mlindber/.Pictures/003.jpg

Koyaanisqatsi: http://homepage.mac.com/mlindber/.Pictures/004.jpg

Again, I apologize for the poor quality. This is not anywhere near representative of the image I'm getting. Also, these may go down at any time, so tell me if they do.

-Mike Lindberg-
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post #15 of 106 Old 10-11-2002, 11:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Figured out the issue with PC Priority Normal. I had hit "Aspect" on the remote and changed it to 16x9. Things work now.

Also, the manual for the AE200 is a dual manual for the AE300 as well. There's a chart of resolutions available and the picture quality available from each respective mode. There were a few interesting things for the AE300. WIDE480 and VGA480 are no longer AA quality. They are now A quality. AA quality on the AE300 is reserved for PAL/PAL-N/SECAM, 625i, HDTV60, and HDTV50. These are relative to the projector, and are not in comparison to each other.

Looks like the AE300 is really geared towards HDTV. Good news about PAL, though. That is the only part of the AE200 I'd improve. Still haven't tried through component, though.

-Mike Lindberg-
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post #16 of 106 Old 10-11-2002, 11:49 PM - Thread Starter
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I unlocked the mystery of PAL! Using the progressive component output, I got the 625p mode (which isn't even listed in the manual!), which give PAL discs a very clean and nice look, especially compared to the SVGA mode I used earlier. I'm so glad I found this mode.

I've been getting a lot more PAL discs lately (have an order from Hong Kong Legends on the way) and was very disappointed in the SVGA mode I discovered at first.

I also tried NTSC in progressive component. While not as nice as VGA, it was still a very passable image. I'd still use VGA for NTSC, but progressive component works best for PAL.

I was not able to try interlaced component with any amount of success. I may need to get another DVD player to test it with as the outputs on my player for interlaced component are not working.

-Mike Lindberg-
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post #17 of 106 Old 10-12-2002, 01:33 AM
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If you are looking for a cheapo screen... then I'd highly recommend the goo systems paint. For <$100 you will get a much better picture than ordinary paint. I am regretting spending 6 months watching movies off of a white painted wall. The grey goo paint is much better.

- JP in TOronto
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post #18 of 106 Old 10-12-2002, 03:11 AM
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post #19 of 106 Old 10-12-2002, 03:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bjorn_E
Have you tried Switchres http://www.madrau.com/switchres/SRXb5.sit.hqx ?
Yeah, I did, but it didn't detect the resolution, but I think I entered it in wrong, and will try again in the morning. Edit: I really wish it would just let me enter in the statistics of a resolution I want and then go for it without having to run through trial and error.

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post #20 of 106 Old 10-12-2002, 06:57 AM
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hey mike....
its nice to see that like me you are used to watch asian movies :)
im gonna buy a projector in 2 month. maybe the ptae200 or the ptae300...
the only thing i would like to know is :

do the ptae200 have a zoom mode where you can zoom a 4/3 LETTERBOX (non anamorphic) dvd to have it on the full lcd panel, and after that you can put the image a little up to make the bottom black barre appear so you still can read subtitles on the bottom black barre ???

excuse my bad english :) its difficult to explain...
maybe, just imagine that you have a chinese dvd that is 4/3 letterbox no anamorphic, and that the subtitles are burned in the picture right in the bottom black barre.... what can you do..... to use you full lcd panel, still see the subtitles, and dont cut part of the movie image... ?

i dont have really a lot of dvd where the subtitles are really in the bottom black barre, most of the time they are in the image so thats ok, some time there is parts of the subtitles a little in the bottom black barres (one line).

but its cool that more and more dvd from hk are anamorphics, and when they are not, we can look to HK LEGEND or HK VIDEO (france) if they have these title.

on that point korean dvd are really great, they are most of the time anamorphic.
"my sassy girl" have a perfect image. same for "volcano high".
what version of "drunken master 2" do you have on the pictures ? is it anamorphic ?

thanks for your help :)
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post #21 of 106 Old 10-12-2002, 08:23 AM
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Thats totally understandable. I don't think AE200 allows that. I beleve it squeezes the image horizontally, but I don't think the AE200 allows you to zoom in. Too bad. That would be handy. I guess using a prog DVD player (one which has a zoom feature) with transcoder would allow this. I totally understand about the subtitles. Think about this, if you are able to squeeze and zoom in on your LD or VHS widescreen titles, what about the subtitles in a movie like Star Wars? The subtitles for Greedo or Jabba etc? Maybe someone else can comment on how to do this. I actually think that you'd have to use an HTPC.
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post #22 of 106 Old 10-12-2002, 08:34 AM
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Great to hear you're enjoying the AE200 Mike. I'll be getting one next month so this is fascinating reading.

After i get the PJ I'm thinking of buying a Nintaus. How intrusive is the VGA-shift to you? I must admit that I couldn't see it on the pics you posted.

Oh, I have to ask this: Could you possibly post a shot from one of the Star Wars LDs? One of the things I'm really looking forward to when I get mine is to see how the Trilogy looks on the PJ.

-Jens
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post #23 of 106 Old 10-12-2002, 08:52 AM
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Thats a good idea :) Bring on the Star Wars LD's :cool:
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post #24 of 106 Old 10-12-2002, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by chromatic
do the ptae200 have a zoom mode where you can zoom a 4/3 LETTERBOX (non anamorphic) dvd to have it on the full lcd panel, and after that you can put the image a little up to make the bottom black barre appear so you still can read subtitles on the bottom black barre ???
Ok, I think I understand what you are saying. Since I'm hooking up the projector mainly through VGA, I run into problems with non-anamorphic material. The projector does not zoom (note, NOT the manual zoom, one on the pj for use of full LCD panel) in this mode. HOWEVER, it does zoom in component mode. While the image is not as nice in component mode, it is very acceptable (and is the only way to get a good image in PAL mode). When you use component mode with non-anamorphic letterbox title, hit the Aspect button until you get to Zoom. Then the projector zooms in to 1.78:1 aspect ratio in the center of the picture.

I tried watching Fong Sai Yuk (HK DVD) like this, and it was very watchable (other than the low quality picture). You do need the subtitles in the frame, though. For DVDs where subtitle is not in the frame, there is no way to move the subtitles up and thus you will need to find an anamorphic copy or one that has subtitles in frame, or watch it in 4x3 mode. You can shift the image up a tad if it is 2.35:1 aspect ratio and the subs don't trail down too far, but for 1.85:1 aspect ratio films, you are stuck.

Also, I was kind of cheating in saying I was watching Drunken Master 2. I was actually watching Legend of Drunken Master, the cut and dubbed version. I have the Thakral uncut DVD, but the Miramax one has so much better video quality and is anamorphic. Maybe one day I'll fulfill my dream of taking the audio and reedited subtitles from the Thakral and putting it over the Miramax picture. :)

-Mike Lindberg-
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post #25 of 106 Old 10-12-2002, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by Yenzu
Oh, I have to ask this: Could you possibly post a shot from one of the Star Wars LDs? One of the things I'm really looking forward to when I get mine is to see how the Trilogy looks on the PJ.
Oh, so you assume the only reason to get an LD player is for Star Wars? :D

I'll set that up next, but I don't even have close to total light control here and have light seeping all over the place during the day (I told you not to trust my opinion :)). Will get some shots up tonight. I'll make sure to get some with subtitles from Greedo NOT shooting first. ;)

Also, VGA shift is annoying if you look at it, but it is personally so small I don't even notice it. Ironically, I noticed it more when I had my Nintaus hooked up to my 17" computer monitor. It seemed bigger and more intrusive there. A far bigger problem is the MPEG glitching, so get that DVD-ROM replaced right away if you get a Nintaus. PAL progressive was a must for me, so I'm glad I got this player, despite all the flaws.

-Mike Lindberg-
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post #26 of 106 Old 10-12-2002, 12:58 PM
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What LD player will you use?
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post #27 of 106 Old 10-12-2002, 01:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by cpc
What LD player will you use?
Heheh, there's the question. :)

I only have a Panasonic AG-LD20 to play it off of, with only composite ouput and no external comb filter. It'll be interesting, but won't be very pretty. I'll try to get a shot from a pretty good LD (Star Wars) and a great LD (Mission: Impossible) so you can see the range of the image I'm getting. I may throw in an anime disc so you can see how vibrant colors come through, which they probably won't due to all the factors and what-ifs I've managed to set up :rolleyes:. Let's see, mediocre LD player, hooked up composite to a projector's internal doubler, projected onto a cream colored wall, image taken by a crappy digital camera. Should be fun! :)

If I could afford an LD-S9, I'd buy one in a heartbeat.

-Mike Lindberg-
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post #28 of 106 Old 10-12-2002, 03:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Forgot to mention about fan noise. It is VERY quiet. I have the projector right over my head and I can't hear it over the movies.

-Mike Lindberg-
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post #29 of 106 Old 10-12-2002, 04:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mike Lindberg
Forgot to mention about fan noise. It is VERY quiet. I have the projector right over my head and I can't hear it over the movies.
OOh, and pics of how you mounted it please :-).

Have you heard the fan of the AE100? If so would you rate the AE200 at the same level or lower?

And no, I don't think Star Wars is the only reason to get an LD player. The Trilogy is just one of the items in my collection that I look forward to seeing projected more than anything else. Both because it's... well, Star Wars and secondly because the SE's have the best LD picture I have ever seen. Lion King ought to look cool too though.

-Jens
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post #30 of 106 Old 10-12-2002, 04:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, got some shots here. I took some of the Star Wars LD (edit: yes, that is the VHS version sitting on my table, but I used the LD version of the non-special edition), along with the subtitles. You can move the image up within the projector so you can watch movies with subtitles in the black bar (2.35:1 aspect ratio only, 1.85 is out of luck for moving image, edit: at least if you don't want any image cut off). Anyway, this is a good reason why you shouldn't pay attention to my screenshots. These shots look almost the same as my DVD shots, and it is MOST DEFINITELY not even close to DVD quality in person.

Star Wars 1: http://homepage.mac.com/mlindber/.Pictures/005.jpg

Star Wars 2: http://homepage.mac.com/mlindber/.Pictures/006.jpg

Here's some shots of my setup. Excuse the mess and the hackiness. I'm still trying to figure out what I'm going to do. Yes, that is a Warcraft 3 box sitting under the projector :)

Setup 1: http://homepage.mac.com/mlindber/.Pictures/007.jpg

Setup 2: http://homepage.mac.com/mlindber/.Pictures/008.jpg

-Mike Lindberg-
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