The unofficial Optoma H7x FAQ - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 288 Old 07-17-2005, 01:51 PM - Thread Starter
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With the rapid decline in the price of the H77 and the introduction of the H78 in the US, the proliferation of new threads on the H7x has gotten out of control! As an aid to fellow H7x owners, I will try to summarize most of the major issues here, if we can keep the number of new threads under control. New/Potential owners: check here first before starting a new thread!

-1) Are you going to explain everything here so I don't have to read the user manual?
No. In fact, I would encourage you to read the manual. While it has a few errors, this is the appropriate place to start. Since the H77/8/9 manuals are identical, I will provide only one link to them here: http://www.optomahometheater.com/doc...ser_manual.pdf

0) What are the differences between the H76, H77, H78 and H79?
Briefly:
  • The H76 used the HD2 chip (DarkChip1) and a six segment color wheel
  • The H77 uses the HD2+ (DarkChip2) with an 8 segment wheel; 2 year warranty is standard.
  • The H78 in the US is the same as the H77, but with the HD2+ with DarkChip3.
  • The H78 in Europe was originally the H77 with firmware and minor hardware modifications to mitigate panning and banding artifacts. As of June 2005, Both H78 models should both contain the DC3 chips.
  • The H79 has a three year warranty, and probably uses some upgraded components (my guess is revision changes, but nothing of too much significance) versus the H77.
  • The substantive differences between the H78 and the H79 are open for debate.
  • When describing the H77 that contains the upgraded mirror timings, the proposal is to use a "+" to indicate this (i.e., H77+)

SET-UP
1) Does the H7x have an offset?
No. The lens centerline of the H76/77/78/79 all have to be placed within the boundaries of the screen, on a line with the center of the screen. This gives you approximately three inches of leeway above or below the screen to mount the projector if your dimensions are that tight due to how the chassis is laid out. The key is knowing where the center of the lens is, and making sure that it is within the vertical screen boundaries at all times.

2) Is there any other way around this?
If you are using a fixed screen, you can angle the bottom of the screen out a bit, and have a complementary angle downwards on the projector. From your seating position, you are unlikely to notice keystoning if the angles are small (1 - 2 degrees). You can also twist the projector slightly if you are off of the center line of the screen, but that will be slightly more noticeable (at least it is for me).

3) What is the throw ratio for the H7x?
They are medium-long throw projectors, with a throw ratio of between 1.6 - 2.1. The throw calculator is here: http://www.optomahometheater.com/con...ator_index.htm

4) How loud are the H7x projectors?
They are among the quietest projectors currently on the market. While I, personally, do not find the 23dB spec to be believable, I would believe 27 - 28. I measured my H77 at 29dB, but that was only on the side the fan was on, not on the same direction as my seating.

5) How bright are the H7x projectors?
Expect the H77 to provide between 400 - 450 lumens when new, after calibration.
Expect the H79 to provide between 500 - 600 lumens when new, after calibration.
The H77 upgrade will be a bit brighter than the H77.
The H78DC3 will be in between the H77 and the H79. In fact, the speculation is that lamp variability is the major determinant as to which specific unit is sold as which model. That speculation can be read here: https://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=555964

5) Why the ranges in the above measurements? The specs say XXX!
The lamps that power projectors are pretty specialized products, and there is a lot of variability in their manufacture. Some have indicated that this variability can be as high as +/- 25% of spec.

6) How do I know how much light I need?
A quick rule of thumb for reference is that movie theaters should be around 12foot-Lamberts of light, "TV brightness" is defined by the SMPTE as 35 foot-Lamberts (thanks Kevin!), and Plasma TVs are much higher (50+) still. Yes, there is a significant amount of variation between individual instance of each of these. These values are provided more for reference for how to plan against ambient light, than as strict rules. For a high amount of ambient light, aim for higher foot-Lamberts (in my space, I aim for a ftL value in the mid-20s, when the bulb is at the end of its life and is only putting out half as much light as when new).

7) How do I calculate foot-Lamberts (ftL)?
Easy! Take your post-calibration illumination and divide by you screen area in feet. Then, multiply by your screen's gain. For example:
500 lumens / 25 square feet * 1.0 Gain = 20 ftL

For reference, a 25 square foot screen is 80" wide by 45" tall, and is considered a small screen. Thus, for larger screen sizes, a higher gain screen is necessary to combat ambient light as the bulb ages. As a rule of thumb, expect the bulb to lose 25% of its light output in the first 10% of its life.


BASIC OPERATION
1) What does picture mode do? (e.g., cinema, normal, vivid)
Picture mode are the three memories for settings for the projector. Most setting changes apply to the active input and memory combination. If you want to have different settings for different environments or different source combinations (e.g., dedicated SD DVI settings vs. HD over DVI), this is where to do it.

2) What gamma should I use?
Optoma has broken the gamma options into three sets of five curves. You change which set you are using via the user menu (IMAGE->Image Mode). According to Greg Rogers' measurements, Using gamma 1 and Image Mode "TV" provides the curve that most closely matches established recommendations.

3) Every time I select an input, the system hunts through all inputs. How can I make it lock to a specific input?
Turn on the Source Lock (SYSTEM Menu -> Source Lock)

4) Is there some way to disable the blue power LED electronically?
Only if Optoma decides to do it. Most users use opaque tape.

5) How do I set the Contrast, Brightness, and other color controls?
Ah, grasshopper, you cannot avoid the purchase of Digital Video Essentials or AVIA Guide to Home Theater. Check there. You will probably want to use color temperature 2, though, and TV Gamma 1.

6) At least can you give me some settings which I can just plug into my machine to use?
For that, you will need to read the various threads.

7) Alright, so what are the various threads?
The definitive H77 thread: https://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=428729
The definitive thread for the H77 upgrade: https://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=519152
The definitive H78 thread*: https://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=555043
The definitive H79 thread: https://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=507075

Other recent threads:
H77 upgrade in the US: https://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=551934
H77 Upgrade vs the DC3 models: https://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=556955

* Note: With the possibility of the H78 in Europe also incorporating the DC3 chip, the US vs. European distinction does not seem to need to be maintained

8) Speaking of Upgrades, what exactly is the upgrade for the H77?
From our European friends who have gotten this done, it seems to be a mix of minor hardware upgrades, mostly in the power supply, and new timings for the mirror controllers. The speculation is that the mirror controllers could not handle the 8 segment wheel effectively for fast motion, so that is what causes the banding, contouring and clay face artifacts. See the linked threads for more information.

9) What aspect ratio should I use?
For 1:1 pixel mapping, use "native". For a slight overscan, esp. with analog sources, use "16:9". Use others as appropriate, depending upon your taste.

10) Is there a way to "steer" the image on the panel for 2.35:1 movies? Does this work with DVI?
(from scottyb): Here' how it works:
Set up analog using component or other. Using "electronc Vertical Shift" move 2:35 picture to desired level. You then need to add about 8 numbers in the same direction to vertical shift from where the picture looks right on analog (e.g., if you steer the image upwards, then add eight clicks of additional adjustment upwards if you are going to use DVI). Go back to DVI signal and, voila, the picture stays where you put it. The only caveat with this is, it doesn't work in "native mode", only "16:9 mode".

11) The picture on my screen over DVI looks too bright/dim?
Unlike other manufacturers, Optoma does not have the typical "PC/Video" toggle for DVI video levels. Instead, when you first select the DVI input, it is set to video levels (e.g., black is at RGB(16,16,16) and white is at RGB(235,235,235)). If you hit re-sync, the projector will shift to PC levels (e.g., black and white at 0 and 255, respectively). Make sure you understand which is apropriate for your use.

12) I think I need to really screw-up my projector. Can you tell me how to get in the service menu?
Sure! Personally, I think that using a hammer yields a more aesthetically pleasing result, but if you want to muck around... On the projector itself, hit the Resync, Source and Enter buttons all at the same time.

13) What can I do in the service menu?
Lots of things, but mostly things that may mess-up your picture. If you have your projector calibrated (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!), then your calibrator will want to have this code.

Please let me know any necessary edits, additions, deletions or corrections.

Bill
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post #2 of 288 Old 07-17-2005, 01:52 PM - Thread Starter
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The other major issue that people seem to have is compaison shopping. Many threads rehash the same questions once the last time a question was asked drops off the front page or two. However, sometimes multiple variations are on Page 1 at the same time (you BenQ/Toshiba shoppers know who you are!).

Here are some threads that compare various members of the family to various competitors...

0) H77 vs. H78 vs. H79: https://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=556955

H79
  1. vs. InFocus 7210: https://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=550751
  2. vs. Marantz VP-12S4: https://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=557841
  3. vs. Dwin TransVision 3+ (TV3): https://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=553557

H77 & H77+
  1. vs. H78: https://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=556955
  2. vs. Mitsubishi HC2000: https://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=541832
  3. vs. BenQ 7700/Toshiba MT700: https://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=543848
  4. vs. HS51/IF4805/AE700/Z3/TX100/IF7205: https://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=461423
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post #3 of 288 Old 07-17-2005, 02:11 PM
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Ursa

the SMPTE standard for TV monitor brightness is 35ftL. I simply use 36ftL since it is 3x the standard 12ftL for movie theaters. Plasmas are much much brighter than both - generally another 3x TV at least in their torch modes.
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post #4 of 288 Old 07-17-2005, 02:12 PM
 
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Bill,

You are a STAR!!!!!

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post #5 of 288 Old 07-17-2005, 02:22 PM
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Thanks for posting this Bill. Very very handy!
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post #6 of 288 Old 07-17-2005, 02:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krasmuzik
Ursa

the SMPTE standard for TV monitor brightness is 35ftL. I simply use 36ftL since it is 3x the standard 12ftL for movie theaters. Plasmas are much much brighter than both - generally another 3x TV at least in their torch modes.
Kevin - Got it! Thanks for the correction.
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post #7 of 288 Old 07-17-2005, 05:02 PM
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Not a biggee............

but in #10 the white and black numbers are reversed :-)

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post #8 of 288 Old 07-17-2005, 08:47 PM - Thread Starter
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post #9 of 288 Old 08-13-2005, 07:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ursa
10) The picture on my screen over DVI looks too bright/dim?
Unlike other manufacturers, Optoma does not have the typical "PC/Video" toggle for DVI video levels. Instead, when you first select the DVI input, it is set to video levels (e.g., black is at RGB(16,16,16) and white is at RGB(235,235,235)). If you hit re-sync, the projector will shift to PC levels (e.g., black and white at 0 and 255, respectively). Make sure you understand which is apropriate for your use.

Please let me know any necessary edits, additions, deletions or corrections.

Bill

So if I turn on my dvd player and my H78, then it will sync at videolevels automatically?
And if I use my HTPC to play HD-movies, then I need to hit resync to shift to PC levels ?
And what happends in both cases if I hit the DVI button on the remote?


Another question:
Is 'native' better than '16x9' if you want the sharpest image?
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post #10 of 288 Old 08-13-2005, 08:55 AM - Thread Starter
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If your DVD player puts out DVI levels, then you are good to go there. Depending upon which program you use on your HTPC, you may not need to do anything. Both TheaterTek and Zoom Player support Video levels using VMR, so however the video is encoded is what will be output. If you are using Overlay, then the answer is ambiguous depending upon what driver level you are using (later driver releases should also use video levels for Overlay).

I use native unless the overscan is just too annoying. In this case, I will switch to 16:9 mode.

Later,
Bill
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post #11 of 288 Old 08-13-2005, 09:52 AM
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Ok, clear. Thnx

But what happens if you press re-sync by accident? Will you go to pc-levels?
And if so, how do you return to videolevel in this case?
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post #12 of 288 Old 08-13-2005, 10:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Hit re-sync again. If you look at the information the projector displays while it is searching for a signal, you should be able to figure it out (e.g., PC vs Video, IIRC).
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post #13 of 288 Old 08-13-2005, 02:06 PM
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Some questions regarding my new H78...

1) During the power down sequence, the blue power led flashes for about 2 minutes (normal), but then it goes out and the orange temp led flashes for a few moments before the unit shuts down completely. Checking the manual, it calls this a "Thermal Pre-cooling error". Is this normal or something to be concerned about?

2) Is turning the "lens shift" dial on the top of the unit the same thing as adjusting the "vertical shift" in the Display menu?
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post #14 of 288 Old 08-13-2005, 10:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Rich,
To your questions:
1) My H77 does not do that, so a call in to service seems appropriate.

2) They are different. The vertical shift in the menu controls the placement of the image vis-a-vis the overscan correction, IIRC (it's a feature I do not use). The lens shift is entirely opto-mechanical, so there is nothing in the menu that can affect it (i.e., the shift is not motorized).

Later,
Bill
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post #15 of 288 Old 08-14-2005, 04:32 AM
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Great stuff, Bill! And an interesting, entertaining read! I guess I'll be adding a hammer to my video toolbox soon...:D

Quote:
1) What does picture mode do? (e.g., cinema, normal, vivid)
Picture mode are the three memories for settings for the projector. Most setting changes apply to the active input and memory combination. If you want to have different settings for different environments or different source combinations (e.g., dedicated SD DVI settings vs. HD over DVI), this is where to do it.
I didn't know this! I had assumed that these three presets reverted back to factory settings when I switched to another preset. Are there three memory settings per input and per resolution, just three per input regardless of resolution, or three total that are global?

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post #16 of 288 Old 08-14-2005, 09:21 AM - Thread Starter
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As far as can tell, they are per memory per input settings. The only settings that are global are in the service menu. See Cliff Plavin's (ghibliss) account of calibrating the H79 for more info on this.
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post #17 of 288 Old 08-14-2005, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
(e.g., dedicated SD DVI settings vs. HD over DVI)
Do you need different settings for HD and SD??
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post #18 of 288 Old 08-14-2005, 12:07 PM - Thread Starter
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The H77/8/9 do not do very well being fed via SD - the color decoder seems to use an incorrect white point (9300K from what KRASMUZIK could determine). Thus, you are better off feeding the unit its native resolution, or at least 1080i. However, if you are going to feed it SD resolution material, then you will definitely want to calibrate those inputs as well.

Later,
Bill
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post #19 of 288 Old 08-14-2005, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starred
Do you need different settings for HD and SD??
Someone asked me a similar question. He thought upscaled DVD thru DVI at 720p would match HDTV. Each signal needs it's own basic tune up and grayscale tuning.

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post #20 of 288 Old 08-14-2005, 03:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Tom - Agreed. However, if you have a properly upscaling DVD player plus other components coming in via the DVI port, then you have to take a "best of breed" approach and pick one to use as the baseline. Of course, you could always calibrate using the Accupel, but then that's like cheating... ;)

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post #21 of 288 Old 08-14-2005, 06:41 PM
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How close can I expect to comfortably view an H79 with a 110" Studiotek screen without seeing screen door artifact, etc.? I need to determine where to mount my back row riser so that the front seats aren't too close. I'm afraid to go below a 110" screen because it may be too bright. The projector central calculator suggests I need at least a 120" screen, but that's too big for my 19' room. :eek:

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post #22 of 288 Old 08-14-2005, 07:12 PM
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General rule of thumb is 1.5 - 2.0 times screen width.

ProjectorCentral's throw distance calculator is a bit optimistic relative to a given projector's lumens. I haven't done the math, but I bet they're using mfg max lumens, not calibrated lumens you would realize in a HT setting.

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post #23 of 288 Old 08-14-2005, 08:35 PM
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Thanks Randy.

I'm familiar with the general rule 1 1/2 to 2 x screen width. I was wondering if anyone who had direct experience with this projector with the new DC3 chip could comment on whether one could view closer than 1 1/2 times screen width as screen door effect is supposedly minimized? Anyone???

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post #24 of 288 Old 08-14-2005, 09:04 PM - Thread Starter
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I sit about 1.6x, and the screen door does not bother me at that distance - and no, I have no eyesight issues, either (20/15 on a good day, 20/20 on a bad one - depending upon how late I've been working). That being said, I am consciously trying avoid nitpicking on this particular issue.
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post #25 of 288 Old 08-15-2005, 12:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarman
Someone asked me a similar question. He thought upscaled DVD thru DVI at 720p would match HDTV. Each signal needs it's own basic tune up and grayscale tuning.
I meant something differently. In my opinion upscaling a dvd to 720p is still SD, and playing .TS streams is HD. :)
So in my initial question I was referring to these two.

To repeat my question again: do you need to calibrate for upscaled DVD (720p) via DVI AND for .TS via DVI (HTPC) separately?
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post #26 of 288 Old 08-15-2005, 07:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starred
I meant something differently. In my opinion upscaling a dvd to 720p is still SD, and playing .TS streams is HD. :)
So in my initial question I was referring to these two.

To repeat my question again: do you need to calibrate for upscaled DVD (720p) via DVI AND for .TS via DVI (HTPC) separately?

My understanding... If the different sources were outputting the same levels (contrast, brightness, color, etc..) you could calibrate one source and copy the settings to each or calibtate in the service menu (effects all sources). If using the Advanced Adjustments this will maintain settings for each detected source. However, it is unlikely that your different components (DVD, HDTV, PC) will all output the same levels so you really should calibrate each source. Now on the other hand a PJs weakness in factory calibration is going to be bias to all sources so as I understand it the best way to calibrate would be to calibrate one of the sources using the service menu to level the pjs general calibration then for each input you may only need to slightly tweak the settings for the individual components (DVD, HDTV STB, PC, etc..)
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post #27 of 288 Old 08-15-2005, 08:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starred
I meant something differently. In my opinion upscaling a dvd to 720p is still SD, and playing .TS streams is HD. :)
So in my initial question I was referring to these two.

To repeat my question again: do you need to calibrate for upscaled DVD (720p) via DVI AND for .TS via DVI (HTPC) separately?

The answer is yes. DVD and HD use different definitions for color space. That is, a (235, 0, 0) signal from DVD is supposed to show up on the screen as a different color than a (235, 0, 0) signal from a .TS file. So even if you're using the same source component (HTPC) the source formats require different calibrations. The Yamaha DPX-1200 is the one projector I'm aware of which has presets which allow the user to tell the PJ weither the source is using SD or HD color space.

<<Edited for clarity>>

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post #28 of 288 Old 08-15-2005, 08:10 AM
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ok - now confused on aspect ratio. When I show anamorphic DVDs (via DVI) on the H78, I thought I HAD to use the 16:9 aspect ratio setting to get the benefits of anamoprhic widescreen. Am I reading this right, that if I have my Oppo set to Widescreen (not Widescreen squeeze) and the H78 set to Native that I will get the benefits of anamorphic fims - and even a potentially slightly better picture - if I use native settings?
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post #29 of 288 Old 08-15-2005, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkirby
ok - now confused on aspect ratio. When I show anamorphic DVDs (via DVI) on the H78, I thought I HAD to use the 16:9 aspect ratio setting to get the benefits of anamoprhic widescreen. Am I reading this right, that if I have my Oppo set to Widescreen (not Widescreen squeeze) and the H78 set to Native that I will get the benefits of anamorphic fims - and even a potentially slightly better picture - if I use native settings?
Oppo should be set to Widescreen.. I think I use widescreen/Sqz so 4:3 material is displayed properly as 4:3 but widescreen is still widescreen.

The Optoma can be either 16:9 or native. Native should provide the best picture if source is upscaled 720P over HDMI/DVI.
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post #30 of 288 Old 08-15-2005, 09:24 AM
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We use native to pick up crystal clear 1.1 pixel matching. 16.9 scales the image with oversan. 16.9 is usefull for TV with garbage at the borders.

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