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post #1 of 659 Old 04-03-2018, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
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DLP contrast worse than 5 years ago?

I've been keeping my eye on the new 4k DLPs coming out and have noticed really abysmal native contrast ratios (<2000:1) and people on this forum calling a 2000:1 native (on/off) contrast "good" for a DLP projector. Since I had a Mitsubishi five years ago that had (apparently) much better native contrast (Mitsubishi DLPs were variously measured around that time between 3500:1 and 14000:1), I'm curious: What gives?

The way I figure it, there are only three options:

  • The way they are being tested changed;
  • Somehow the pixel shifting (4k) destroys contrast;
  • The panels perform worse than 5 year old TI DMD3s;
  • or (my guess) with auto iris/dimming becoming ubiquitous, the manufacturers have less incentive to care about native contrast.

Since I am just finishing up the brickwork for my home theater addition, I'm looking to upgrade to 4k. If anyone can explain why contrast has (seemingly) gotten worse in the DLP sphere, I would greatly appreciate it.

Before someone points out the obvious: Yes, LCoS is king of contrast and blacks, no need to point it out, but for my needs the size and weight put those behemoths out of the running.
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post #2 of 659 Old 04-03-2018, 01:01 PM
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The new chips have worse contrast performance. It is a flaw of the design. They decided to forgo working on the thing that was their worst attribute (native contrast) and instead try to work on the "buzz" instead and improve resolution.
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post #3 of 659 Old 04-03-2018, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Kris Deering View Post
The new chips have worse contrast performance. It is a flaw of the design. They decided to forgo working on the thing that was their worst attribute (native contrast) and instead try to work on the "buzz" instead and improve resolution.
Yep and it looks like it is working, because I see a lot of people buying in. So that does not give the manufacturer's much incentive to push for improvement in the most needed area.
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post #4 of 659 Old 04-03-2018, 02:13 PM
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That's because they're buying into the "4K" branding at the expense of all else. We see that argument in other projector sales as well...cough. It also doesn't hurt that that cost of ownership on DLP is so low and for a lot of content it still looks fine.

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post #5 of 659 Old 04-03-2018, 02:52 PM
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10 years ago I went with a DLP projector, a Marantz VP-15s, & loved it. During those 10 years LCOS / DILA models greatly improved their projector black levels while DLPs remained stagnant & only added 3D models. I'm sure they made a ton of cash & maybe that's all that mattered to them.

This time I couldn't buy into any of the 4k DLP models (even though their prices were trying to lure me in) & went with a Sony VPL-VW385ES. So far, so good!

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post #6 of 659 Old 04-03-2018, 06:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks all for the info. I thought I was going crazy. May have to stick with 1080 for a while yet... hopefully some company improves or maybe someone will come up with an LCoS system that doesn't weigh half as much as my daughter (unlikely, but I can dream).
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post #7 of 659 Old 04-03-2018, 08:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antialiased View Post
Thanks all for the info. I thought I was going crazy. May have to stick with 1080 for a while yet... hopefully some company improves or maybe someone will come up with an LCoS system that doesn't weigh half as much as my daughter (unlikely, but I can dream).
Small tiny projectors usually do not have much light output and those that do are usually very noisy.
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post #8 of 659 Old 04-03-2018, 10:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DERG View Post
10 years ago I went with a DLP projector, a Marantz VP-15s, & loved it. During those 10 years LCOS / DILA models greatly improved their projector black levels while DLPs remained stagnant & only added 3D models. I'm sure they made a ton of cash & maybe that's all that mattered to them.

This time I couldn't buy into any of the 4k DLP models (even though their prices were trying to lure me in) & went with a Sony VPL-VW385ES. So far, so good!
Same happened to me. My first option was to upgrade to DLP but when I saw the lack of improvement since I bought my last one, I knew that path would not get me upgrade I wanted.
I ended up with my first LCD since my very first projector ( Sony w400q) a JVC RS520 and it blew me away!
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post #9 of 659 Old 04-04-2018, 06:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luis Gabriel Gerena View Post
Same happened to me. My first option was to upgrade to DLP but when I saw the lack of improvement since I bought my last one, I knew that path would not get me upgrade I wanted.
I ended up with my first LCD since my very first projector ( Sony w400q) a JVC RS520 and it blew me away!
One reason I went with DLP the first time was it's clean picture, no panel alignment issues. I have to admit I had doubts about panel alignment with any non-DLP today but that isn't the case.

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post #10 of 659 Old 04-04-2018, 08:54 AM
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I have a Benq W700 I bought a couple of years ago to replace my Optoma HD-7100, which was about 5 years old (I think) at the time. A few weeks ago the Benq started losing pixels all over the place, and I don't have the coin to replace it, so I fired up the old Optoma. It is amazing to me how much better the contrast is on the old Optoma compared to the Benq. (It's not as bright, though, which is why I replaced it in the first place)

I actually think it's the lumen wars that have ruined contrast more so than the resolution wars. Gotta get those 3000 lumens!
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post #11 of 659 Old 04-06-2018, 10:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antialiased View Post
I've been keeping my eye on the new 4k DLPs coming out and have noticed really abysmal native contrast ratios (<2000:1) and people on this forum calling a 2000:1 native (on/off) contrast "good" for a DLP projector. Since I had a Mitsubishi five years ago that had (apparently) much better native contrast (Mitsubishi DLPs were variously measured around that time between 3500:1 and 14000:1), I'm curious: What gives?
No Mits DLP had a native contrast near 14000:1, around 3000:1, yes.

Had a Mits HC3800 DLP (those measured around 3000:1 native) and a year ago upgraded to a used JVC RS57 (X700). I was nervous about sharpness/convergence and bright scene pop. Was of course expecting slaying blacks/contrast.

Apparent sharpness was about the same from seating position. Up close the JVC had way better focus uniformity across the screen. The Mits had a way worst lens and spotty focus (could only sharp focus about 40% of the screen area). But the Mits had no convergence issues of course. The end result was about the same apparent sharpness, which was good.

Bright scene pop > Slight edge to the Mits. But this was before I auto calibrated the JVC. My JVC had about 600 hrs on it and they are known to develop gamma droop as the panels age. It's corrected by the autocal. I think the bright scene pop improved a little since the autocal, but I don't have the Mits anymore to compare (sold it to a friend). Regardless, it was very close when I compared.

Blacks> No question, the differences are insane. I had to cover LED's on gear, etc. as they now shined bright when the JVC would black out on a blank screen. No more grayish blacks unless the movie has it.

Shadow detail > Here the Mits was better. But the trade off was gray shadows, gray blacks. JVC's aren't known to have the best shadow details FWIR. This is an area I would like to see an improvement on. There are some tricks to get better shadows out of my JVC, but to get to the Mits shadows I have raise the black levels = grays start to come out. In the end, I have to live with a little less shadow detail for excellent blacks.

Loudness > JVC is way quieter than the Mits. Mits was quiet, JVC takes to the next lower-level.

Overall I'm very happy with my upgrade I can't go back to DLP contrast levels.
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post #12 of 659 Old 04-06-2018, 10:21 AM
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And yes, the size and weight difference between the Mits DLP and the JVC was HUGE!

I'm in a small room, with a small screen (84"), but I just dealt with it. The JVC is still way smaller than the old skool CRT projectors!
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post #13 of 659 Old 04-07-2018, 07:41 PM
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I don't see a big difference in the size between the Optoma faux k and a JVC.

The weight difference is pretty big though with 16lbs for the Optoma and 35lbs for the JVC.

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post #14 of 659 Old 04-07-2018, 09:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Garrett View Post
Yep and it looks like it is working, because I see a lot of people buying in. So that does not give the manufacturer's much incentive to push for improvement in the most needed area.
I hope the cheap DLP market doesn't grow to the point where some manufacturers like JVC decide it's not worth it to keep investing in D-ILA. Hopefully this is not the same story where cheap low contrast LCD killed off plasma.
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post #15 of 659 Old 04-08-2018, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by antialiased View Post
I've been keeping my eye on the new 4k DLPs coming out and have noticed really abysmal native contrast ratios (<2000:1) and people on this forum calling a 2000:1 native (on/off) contrast "good" for a DLP projector. Since I had a Mitsubishi five years ago that had (apparently) much better native contrast (Mitsubishi DLPs were variously measured around that time between 3500:1 and 14000:1), I'm curious: What gives?

The way I figure it, there are only three options:

  • The way they are being tested changed;
  • Somehow the pixel shifting (4k) destroys contrast;
  • The panels perform worse than 5 year old TI DMD3s;
  • or (my guess) with auto iris/dimming becoming ubiquitous, the manufacturers have less incentive to care about native contrast.

Since I am just finishing up the brickwork for my home theater addition, I'm looking to upgrade to 4k. If anyone can explain why contrast has (seemingly) gotten worse in the DLP sphere, I would greatly appreciate it.

Before someone points out the obvious: Yes, LCoS is king of contrast and blacks, no need to point it out, but for my needs the size and weight put those behemoths out of the running.
I think your last point is more on target.

While many people on this forum are very excited about native contrast, the sales figures do not support that this is a significant concern of the mainstream buying public either in projectors or TVs. Lower native contrast display technologies continue to be the sales leaders - by a wide margin - in both sectors. If a good dynamic contrast system can convince the buyer of pretty good blacks even if not the best, then the need for higher native contrast is deemed not as necessary.

One way we know that this is a large contributor is that there are ways to increase native contrast such as optimizing the lightpath for contrast, including a manual iris or smaller fixed aperture, etc, can greatly increase contrast. But not a single mainstream 4K DLP unit has done this so far, mainly because the dynamic contrast has been satisfactory for most - as evidenced by sales.

The other aspect is HDR, where you'd want maximum brightness in most cases. Using a fixed aperture or even manual iris to increase contrast will work against your max brightness and impact for HDR, even though it may increase your SDR performance (you aren't going to be manually fiddling with an iris in the middle of a movie).

Finally, TI was forced into this position of developing DMDs with a bit less contrast as as they could not sit idly by and watch the 4K market pass them by. They have been very successful with their ultra sharp 4K UHD DMDs which - while not native 4k are perceptually on par with native 4K projectors in real world video content - and many products upon which these based went on to become top sellers as 1080p projectors become less desirable; thus, clearly this was the correct business move. And, as a result to make this business move TI were forced to increase the density of their DMD, which in turn appears to reduce contrast; the 1.38" DMD which doesn't have reduced density requires very large and expensive optics.

So at this point it is basically up to the projector designers to come up with designs that both increase contrast without reducing potential for max brightness for HDR when called for - dynamic contrast systems are a great way to do this.

It is also worth keeping in mind, while DLP is not the leader in home theater native contrast, it is the leader in solid state lightsource technology, which is becoming a "must have" for people looking to ditch legacy lamp projectors more and more. DLP is the only place you can get 4K UHD Laser/LED under $25000, and in fact you can get 4K UHD Laser for around $3500-$4000 now with DLP. As Philips tweaks HLD LED for the 0.47" DMDs, that number will likely fall to $2500-$3000 in the near future for a 4K UHD LED projector. Or alternatively, you could spend $25,000 for the 4K UHD Sony Laser

Last edited by Ruined; 04-08-2018 at 10:48 AM.
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post #16 of 659 Old 04-08-2018, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Ruined View Post
I think your last point is more on target.

While many people on this forum are very excited about native contrast, the sales figures do not support that this is a significant concern of the mainstream buying public either in projectors or TVs. Lower native contrast display technologies continue to be the sales leaders - by a wide margin - in both sectors. If a good dynamic contrast system can convince the buyer of pretty good blacks even if not the best, then the need for higher native contrast is deemed not as necessary.

One way we know that this is a large contributor is that there are ways to increase native contrast such as optimizing the lightpath for contrast, including a manual iris or smaller fixed aperture, etc, can greatly increase contrast. But not a single mainstream 4K DLP unit has done this so far, mainly because the dynamic contrast has been satisfactory for most - as evidenced by sales.

The other aspect is HDR, where you'd want maximum brightness in most cases. Using a fixed aperture or even manual iris to increase contrast will work against your max brightness and impact for HDR, even though it may increase your SDR performance (you aren't going to be manually fiddling with an iris in the middle of a movie).

Finally, TI was forced into this position of developing DMDs with a bit less contrast as as they could not sit idly by and watch the 4K market pass them by. They have been very successful with their ultra sharp 4K UHD DMDs which - while not native 4k are perceptually on par with native 4K projectors in real world video content - and many products upon which these based went on to become top sellers as 1080p projectors become less desirable; thus, clearly this was the correct business move. And, as a result to make this business move TI were forced to increase the density of their DMD, which in turn appears to reduce contrast; the 1.38" DMD which doesn't have reduced density requires very large and expensive optics.

So at this point it is basically up to the projector designers to come up with designs that both increase contrast without reducing potential for max brightness for HDR when called for - dynamic contrast systems are a great way to do this.

It is also worth keeping in mind, while DLP is not the leader in home theater native contrast, it is the leader in solid state lightsource technology, which is becoming a "must have" for people looking to ditch legacy lamp projectors more and more. DLP is the only place you can get 4K UHD Laser/LED under $25000, and in fact you can get 4K UHD Laser for around $3500-$4000 now with DLP. As Philips tweaks HLD LED for the 0.47" DMDs, that number will likely fall to $2500-$3000 in the near future for a 4K UHD LED projector. Or alternatively, you could spend $25,000 for the 4K UHD Sony Laser
Can you show me the figures, that support your claim? I am talking about HT projectors, used in dedicated rooms, not counting the cheap $1,000 DLP projectors that people are throwing in family rooms and bedrooms for gaming/movies. Because most of the time, those rooms are not even close to being optimized for performance. I agree that you do not need super high native contrast, though it would be prefered, but if you can get in excess of 8,000:1 native paired with laser with good dynamic dimming and a decent lens, then you have something special. Basically you would have an RS4500.

The 4K pixel shifting DLP's have the resolution,but their lack of contrast really shows up when compared to a good HT projector when placed in an optimized room.
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post #17 of 659 Old 04-08-2018, 11:26 PM
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The native contrast of DLP designs seemed to have hit a ceiling a long time ago...like 5-10 years ago? Since then there hasn't been any revolutions....heck, not even any evolutions. 3000-4000:1 native contrast seems to be the upper limit for DLP and that was reached many many years ago. Now we have a lot of light cannon DLP's with 1000:1 native contrast---not my cup of tea.

Since there seems to be no new contrast breakthrough for DLP, manufactures had no real choice but to push/market the 4k and solid state light source angle. That's really the only direction they could have gone to keep that tech alive.

I was a DLP fan for almost 15 years...starting with the Optoma H30 480p projector. But had to jump ship to JVC a year ago as there was no DLP that could excel in the HT environment of movie watching. I don't game nor watch much sports, though i can see the appeal of a DLP for those uses explicitly.

If a new innovation comes along that brings DLP's to LCOS displays native contrasts, they would slay! Perfect convergence with a good lens, etc. Yeah, some might still have issues with RBE, but I never had any real issues with it.

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post #18 of 659 Old 04-08-2018, 11:56 PM
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DLP is dead in the high-end for now, the only reason it still lives is because of the sub-$2000 market.
As far as the $2000+ DLP market, it's only because there will always be left-over fans and hold-outs for as long as possible.

And honestly, Sony could have killed that market off with the Sony hw45es if they wanted to, but Sony was protecting their installer and high-end base.
Hence, Sony nerfs their lower-end units to a point.

Another reason the $1500 - $3000 DLP market is alive is because of the way Sony and JVC market their projectors.

You wouldn't believe how many people in the sub-$3k forums think that JVC's start at around $4500+ and the others believe that the JVC sharpness looks like
the last Epson LCD they tried (which it doesn't).

The simple reason is people believe this DLP sharpness advantage is huge, but it is really only an issue if you get a JVC with a convergence issue or other problem.
It was still an issue with Sony for a very long time too, so that hurt the reputation of LCOS. Epson didn't help either when they released many many LCD's with issues.

So that drove people to DLP, the pricing, potential sharpness issues, potential motion resolution issues, better 3D.
The past few years, most of these issues with LCOS are rarer and rarer kind of putting a death stamp on DLP.

But as with anything, some people will remain loyal to a particular tech even if it is for reasons most others would not favor.

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If you want deep inky black levels are ridiculously good black levels, you go with JVC. There's almost no reason not to buy JVC if your projector budget is between $4000-$10,000 (and ≈ $30,000 for D-ILA Z1 flagship, but this competes with Sony's VW1100es/875es/5000es)

We need good DLP options for the sub $3000 market
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post #20 of 659 Old 04-09-2018, 12:16 AM
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This DLP projector combines high contrast, excellent 4k sharpness and relatively low cost:

https://www.projection-homecinema.fr...-dlp-4k-laser/

This is the wave of the future.
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post #21 of 659 Old 04-09-2018, 12:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coderguy View Post
DLP is dead in the high-end for now, the only reason it still lives is because of the sub-$2000 market.
As far as the $2000+ DLP market, it's only because there will always be left-over fans and hold-outs for as long as possible.

So that drove people to DLP, the pricing, potential sharpness issues, potential motion resolution issues, better 3D.
The past few years, most of these issues with LCOS are rarer and rarer kind of putting a death stamp on DLP.

But as with anything, some people will remain loyal to a particular tech even if it is for reasons most others would not favor.
Your comments fail when you have JVC selling DLP's in the home theater 3k market. JVC has sold DLP's before,yet, they were for the business market. JVC's new DLP entry is testament that DLP still has legs. The market for JVC's were mid price 4-8K and higher price 35k and then their simulation market. JVC was missing the sub 3k market. That JVC chose to go with DLP instead of Lcos speaks volumes that they could not compete at the new price level without cannibalizing their Lcos markets. So the under 3k market is where TI excels at, at the expense of JVC until now. I seriously doubt that JVC would enter into a dying market as you state DLP is. TI's DLP is the volume leader in projector sales overall. In the sub 3k market DLP rules and that is why JVC went DLP instead of Lcos at this pricepoint.
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post #22 of 659 Old 04-09-2018, 12:25 AM
 
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Originally Posted by DunMunro View Post
This DLP projector combines high contrast, excellent 4k sharpness and relatively low cost:

https://www.projection-homecinema.fr...-dlp-4k-laser/

This is the wave of the future.
It shows a brilliant, sharp image with very good contrast to boot. I was impressed when I saw a demo of this projector.
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post #23 of 659 Old 04-09-2018, 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by DavidHir View Post
I hope the cheap DLP market doesn't grow to the point where some manufacturers like JVC decide it's not worth it to keep investing in D-ILA. Hopefully this is not the same story where cheap low contrast LCD killed off plasma.
JVC has a DLP projector, it has to do catch-up in the DLP sector
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post #24 of 659 Old 04-09-2018, 07:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Garrett View Post
Can you show me the figures, that support your claim? I am talking about HT projectors, used in dedicated rooms, not counting the cheap $1,000 DLP projectors that people are throwing in family rooms and bedrooms for gaming/movies. Because most of the time, those rooms are not even close to being optimized for performance. I agree that you do not need super high native contrast, though it would be prefered, but if you can get in excess of 8,000:1 native paired with laser with good dynamic dimming and a decent lens, then you have something special. Basically you would have an RS4500.

The 4K pixel shifting DLP's have the resolution,but their lack of contrast really shows up when compared to a good HT projector when placed in an optimized room.
I have asked Ruined in the past where he gets his numbers. IIRC it was from one of the sites like projector people who say which model is selling the best. Not the most accurate of data.

The last time I saw pj sales figures I believe Epson was outselling everyone by a big margin. I don't recall those figures being broken down by category though.

The simple fact is that lower cost pjs are going to sell more than the better albeit more expensive pjs. For most of the people buying these DLPs, the performance is good enough in their living room or game room or the guy that puts multi colored leds behind the screen.

On the subject of why the manufacturers haven't tried to increase contrast by optimizing the OEM designs is pretty easy. It costs money and that would increase the cost of pj potentially losing sales in a market that is highly price sensitive.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DunMunro View Post
This DLP projector combines high contrast, excellent 4k sharpness and relatively low cost:

https://www.projection-homecinema.fr...-dlp-4k-laser/

This is the wave of the future.
Ummm ok. Have you seen this pj? Are you saying this based on this review?

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post #25 of 659 Old 04-09-2018, 07:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DunMunro View Post
This DLP projector combines high contrast, excellent 4k sharpness and relatively low cost:

https://www.projection-homecinema.fr...-dlp-4k-laser/

This is the wave of the future.
I don't know anybody that would call 1,100:1 native a high contrast design.
https://www.projectorreviews.com/opt...-levelcontrast
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Originally Posted by Ericglo View Post



Ummm ok. Have you seen this pj? Are you saying this based on this review?

Yes on that review and others, such as this one:


and my own comparisons of 3LCD PJs and DLP. Laser light engines are going to revolutionize PJs and as production volume grows, laser DLP costs will decline.
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Last edited by DunMunro; 04-09-2018 at 07:56 AM.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DunMunro View Post
Yes on that review and others, such as this one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHC9JWMFccQ

and my own comparisons of 3LCD PJs and DLP. Laser light engines are going to revolutionize PJs and as production volume grows, laser DLP costs will decline.
Laser is a great technology and really looking forward to when we can actually get RGB laser, but any review that says the UHZ65 has good contrast is BS. And yes, I have seen the projector. Has good sharpness and okay, not great light output, but contrast is really lacking. Put it in a good room and compare to a high contrast projector and you see a huge difference. Everybody looks at the max brightness spec of 3,000, but calibrated it is around 1,250 lumens at short throw. Also brightness uniformity is pretty bad. Measure it at the cornes and that number drops to around 800 lumens. https://www.projectorreviews.com/opt...age-brightness

Added
The best LCD projectors do not have very high native contrast, so I could see the UHZ65 looking okay, when compared to LCD.
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post #28 of 659 Old 04-09-2018, 08:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Garrett View Post
I don't know anybody that would call 1,100:1 native a high contrast design.
https://www.projectorreviews.com/opt...-levelcontrast

To be fair:

https://i2.wp.com/www.projection-hom...pg?w=706&ssl=1

the French review measured much higher levels. It is mentioned in the Projectorreviews.com review that they were using an earlier firmware which may account for their lower measurements.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DunMunro View Post
To be fair:

https://i2.wp.com/www.projection-hom...pg?w=706&ssl=1

the French review measured much higher levels. It is mentioned in the Projectorreviews.com review that they were using an earlier firmware which may account for their lower measurements.
A firmware update is not going to change native contrast. It can improve dynamic contrast. Keep in mind, a higher number with dynamic contrast does not necessarily mean better. The higher the multiplier is, the easier it is to notice the iris /dynamic system working. The goal of an iris or dynamic dimming system is not to be noticed.
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post #30 of 659 Old 04-09-2018, 09:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DunMunro View Post
Yes on that review and others, such as this one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0zNJnW0xdQ&t=7s

and my own comparisons of 3LCD PJs and DLP. Laser light engines are going to revolutionize PJs and as production volume grows, laser DLP costs will decline.
And the other one. Lovers of this pj always point to these two reviews. I had never heard of these guys until this review. As for the French review, others on this site have questioned his methodology in the past. I will leave it at that.


I saw this pj in less than ideal conditions. It was ok, but nothing great. I saw better versions of this technology in DP models and was still left unimpressed. As someone who has seen these pjs, I always find it humorous when those that haven't claim how great they are.

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