Originally Posted by AV_Integrated
ProjectionDesign is the manufacturer for the DP model, and their price is closer to $25K or so depending on the lens you are looking to use with it.
The issue as I see it at this time is that there isn't actually a 2.35 DLP chip in use. They are modding the 2560x1600 chip for 2.35 (2.37) use right now. I saw the F35 today and it looks really good and can handle a very large screen in a good theater no problem, but it is not a 3D projector and would require some external work to deliver 3D on screen.
I'm thinking, while UHD is starting to take off, at some point we will see Epson deliver a 2.35 LCD chip set and then TI will respond in kind with DLP... Five years... That's my guess right now.
I have seen the projectiondesign 21:9 projector in the flesh at their demo suite in Manhattan (along with many of their other high end models). They really are very nice gear. Forget the specs that manufacturers use to sell their technology, those numbers mean nothing without the context of how they were measured.
The projectiondesign models I saw were in a different league to almost any home theater projector I have ever seen and I have seen more than most. This isn't surprising, they should be better considering the price. The amount you save on an anamorphic lens is nothing in comparison to what the native 21:9 projectors cost. The one I saw was north of $35k rack rate. Now I'm sure negotiating discounts is possible but they are never going to be cheap.
I saw them in dark and bright conditions. In the dark, the colors were perfect, the black levels were fantastic and there was no distortion in the image like you often get with anamorphic lenses. There was also multiple image adjustments possible to tweak it depending on the application and preferences. In the light, they retained good black levels considering the conditions. I came away with projector envy. I wanted to come away thinking that it was just overpriced hype. It is overpriced but it is far from just a home theater projector with a wider image.
The contrast ratios quoted have gotten so far from reality that there is little point using them as any sort of guide. Read the reviews. Doubling the contrast ratio is no guarantee of double the contrast. The average digital theater projector only has 1000:1 to 2000:1 contrast ratios yet, they put out a better looking image than home theater projectors with a claimed 50,000:1+. The contrast ratio measures the difference between the brightest and darkest image the device can put out. One big variance is how bright it is to start with. Getting 10,000 times darker than 700 lumens is different to getting 10,000 times darker than 5000 lumens.
The projectiondesign gear is far brighter than any of the Sony home theater models. The contrast ratio is a claimed 7000:1 which is better than most other devices of comparable brightness, including the $70,000 + digital theater and post production models. It is far less than the ht devices claim but you wouldn't know by watching one. brighter images can give the appearance of better contrast. A dull image with great blacks can appear to have poor contrast.
Perhaps the 2 most important points are that manufacturers measure contrast in pitch black ideal conditions. The effect of the tiniest amount of light, such as the red power light on your Blu Ray player, is surprisingly large and quickly sends those impressive numbers crashing back down to earth. There is also a debate over how much difference the human eye can really see between 10,000:1 contrast and 20,000:1 contrast for example. It is possible that the manufacturers have us chasing "performance" we can't really see. That is great for them, it makes us buy more devices we don't need and can't complain about the lack of incremental performance that we could never measure. 4 years ago, devices with 2000:1 from companies like Runco got rave reviews for image quality including black levels. This year, cheaper projectors with a claimed 50,000 get accused of having mediocre black levels. Did our standards rise that much?
Back to the 21:9 projectors. They are available now from projectiondesign and Digital Projecion. They are both the same inside. Both expensive. Both mainly sold as expensive installation projectors. Both look amazing.
I have seen the Sony 4k projector and that looks great too. If you have a dark theater, you would be very happy with it. I personally can't make out a huge difference in resolution from a normal seating position. I can tell if I go close to the screen. They use a lot of frame smoothing to make the image appear sharper but it doesn't look very different to high end 1080p tv's or projectors that also have frame smoothing or "game show mode" as they affectionately call it in reviews.
The Sony does support an anamorphic lens as well as having the option to just zoom in. For pure 2.40:1 quality, the native projectiondesign set-up looks better and is far more convenient. If you have the money for a decent lens and a professional installation, I'm sure you would be happy with either. If you want ambient light performance without losing all of your contrast, the digitalprojection 21:9 model wipes the floor with most home theater models but costs a lot more too. At least the Sony projector is actually 4k as used in theaters and not 300 lines narrower like the ultra HD tv's that claim to adhere to the 4k standard. If Sony ever plan on making their 4k theater content available for home use, having the same resolution as the theater devices will help. Every other 4k device will have to scale unless they recut the content in which case the 4k projector will have to scale. A guy from Sony told me you might be able to download some 4k movies soon for $30 each and it will take 2 hours to download each movie. I don't know if that is true or not.
In 2 years, you are more likely to find an affordable used Sony 4k projector than a used 21:9 digitalprojection given how few are in circulation. I was surprised they were already on sale when I asked, as I had heard nothing about them apart from the annual announcement at trade shows, every year. Apparently, they have been on sale for a while but mainly through the pro division (who I engage with) and mainly for digital signage applications as an alternative to using 2 devices and their edge blending box for wide displays. .
The zoom option on the Sony is not really different from zooming on any projector. The claims about upscaling to give you higher resolution is misleading. They take the same 1920 x800 blu ray that everyone else uses and stretch it over a larger number of dots. They then use software to fill in the gaps with fake pixels. They do a nice job of it but they can't create new information that isn't there to begin with. Many people think one to one mapping is the best way. The 21:9 device also have to stretch 1920 x 800 content over 2560 x 1080. There is no solution right now that gives full screen 21:9 without stretching the image. It is just a case of doing it with software or glass.
Btw, on the exact ratios, I thought that 2.35:1 isn't used anymore, it was an old standard that just became the jargon for any extra wide movie. Most of the wide movies I have are 2.40:1 which seems fairly common. If the screen was 2.37:1 instead of 2.40:1 and you adjusted the image to make it fit anyway, I doubt the difference would be enough to notice any major distortion. I though that 2560 x 1080 came out to 2.37:1 but I'm not 100%.
Also, it doesn't matter that the chip was originally 1600 lines instead of 1080. Their devices are meant to he configurable. I would personally prefer not to have unused lines projected so configuring it for 1080 lines is perfect. The signage industry has used cut down panels for extra wide displays for years. Maybe it is just efficient to use existing technology with some tailoring than adding additional custom development costs for an already expensive niche product. I'm not sure what you think is lost in the process.
I wish a mainstream manufacturer would bring out a native 21:9 device. It makes so much sense for projectors which have been available in multiple aspect ratios for years. Home theater projectors are often bought by movie fans who watch a large percentage of wide content. It is a shame they always seem to be priced as exotic items and then referred to as justification for a view that there is no market for it. Just because someone who was going to spend $3000 on a device didn't buy the $30k one, doesn't mean no demand. It just means that a wider image is not worth the price of a used porche in additional cost.