Will DLP ever get decent black levels? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 83 Old 01-22-2020, 07:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Will DLP ever get decent black levels?

As someone who isn't affected by the rainbow effect I have over difference occasions had demos with different DLP projectors and whilst in almost every other way they throw a really decent image their black levels have always stopped me short or buying one. So my question is with the technology being around for so long whether this failing will ever be addressed to the level that it could compete with Epson/Sony/JVC.

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post #2 of 83 Old 01-22-2020, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Luminated67 View Post
As someone who isn't affected by the rainbow effect I have over difference occasions had demos with different DLP projectors and whilst in almost every other way they throw a really decent image their black levels have always stopped me short or buying one. So my question is with the technology being around for so long whether this failing will ever be addressed to the level that it could compete with Epson/Sony/JVC.
It’s ironic that you posted this, because I’ve actually been wondering that myself(now on my third DLP device in ~12 years). On paper, at least, it seems DLP should be able to do true black(no light) since the mirror/pixel could be/should be completely “off” sending light away instead of out. I’d actually be reasonably satisfied if just the letterbox bars were completely black/off.
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post #3 of 83 Old 01-22-2020, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Luminated67 View Post
As someone who isn't affected by the rainbow effect I have over difference occasions had demos with different DLP projectors and whilst in almost every other way they throw a really decent image their black levels have always stopped me short or buying one. So my question is with the technology being around for so long whether this failing will ever be addressed to the level that it could compete with Epson/Sony/JVC.
I do believe it's the substrate (the material that houses the mirror array) that's the cause of this. I mentioned in a previous thread about that. TI should look into coating the substrate in Vantablack. There would be no need to use a iris in a lens to help with the black levels as the chips get smaller.

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I’ve actually been wondering that myself... I’d actually be reasonably satisfied if just the letterbox bars were completely black/off.
What's even weirder, I also was thinking about that last night. To be fair it comes across my mind quite often. Until TI starts coating the DLP substrate in Vantablack, the best solution in the meantime would be to use an adjustable aperture mask that would sit above the DLP chip.
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post #4 of 83 Old 01-22-2020, 10:20 AM
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I do believe it's the substrate (the material that houses the mirror array) that's the cause of this. I mentioned in a previous thread about that. TI should look into coating the substrate in Vantablack. There would be no need to use a iris in a lens to help with the black levels as the chips get smaller.







What's even weirder, I also was thinking about that last night. To be fair it comes across my mind quite often. Until TI starts coating the DLP substrate in Vantablack, the best solution in the meantime would be to use an adjustable aperture mask that would sit above the DLP chip.


How many tens of thousands of dollars do you have to spend on a projector?

Also: isn’t vantablack toxic? Or at least extremely dangerous if inhaled?

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post #5 of 83 Old 01-22-2020, 11:08 AM
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The micromirrors are never truly "off" but are merely tilted, so they continuously reflect light at a fairly shallow angle which contributes to overall light scatter. When tilted the edges of the micromirrors also contribute to light scatter. Simply coating the substrate with a better light absorbing material to reduce reflections produced when the tilted micromirrors allow more light to reach and reflect off the substrate wouldn't completely resolve the light scatter issue. It's a complex issue for which there are no simple solutions.
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post #6 of 83 Old 01-22-2020, 11:20 AM
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I sort of disagree with the premise that DLP contrast/blacks are poor. I have an HT3550 and that projector is more than competitive with models in it’s price range (I’m counting the Epson 4010 and Optoma UHD60 in that group). Obviously, as you go up in price and Epson’s UB models become available as well as Sonys and JVCs enter the fray— DLP struggles to compete. But how many DLPs are there in those price ranges? The BenQ HT5550 and Optoma UHD65 are both the most expensive consumer lamp based projectors from their respective brands and both of those focus almost solely on the installer market (can’t buy either of those on amazon). Meanwhile, the most notable high end DLP is probably the 9K BenQ HT9060– and that projector isn’t even really competing with similar priced Sony/JVCs it’s really offering a more affordable alternative to 30K solid state Sony/JVCs.
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post #7 of 83 Old 01-22-2020, 11:57 AM
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I find that even though the RGB LED DLP projectors I'm using are only hitting 10-15k dynamic on/off(and only with ~500 lumens), the low level detail is so intensely perfect that it's possible I would trade it for 100-200k dynamic on/off. Say for instance that last Game of Thrones battle with all the low apl fast motion, liquid crystal and oled just can't render it like these dlp projectors due to overshooting/pixel response. So even though a JVC will have a deeper black level, actual accuracy and detail aren't as good. please dont hit me.
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post #8 of 83 Old 01-22-2020, 12:00 PM
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I find that even though the RGB LED DLP projectors I'm using are only hitting 10-15k dynamic on/off(and only with ~500 lumens), the low level detail is so intensely perfect that it's possible I would trade it for 100-200k dynamic on/off. Say for instance that last Game of Thrones battle with all the low apl fast motion, liquid crystal and oled just can't render it like these dlp projectors due to overshooting/pixel response. So even though a JVC will have a deeper black level, actual accuracy and detail aren't as good. please dont hit me.
You've got balls I'll give you that!


To each his own IMO.
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post #9 of 83 Old 01-22-2020, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
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I sort of disagree with the premise that DLP contrast/blacks are poor. I have an HT3550 and that projector is more than competitive with models in it’s price range (I’m counting the Epson 4010 and Optoma UHD60 in that group). Obviously, as you go up in price and Epson’s UB models become available as well as Sonys and JVCs enter the fray— DLP struggles to compete. But how many DLPs are there in those price ranges? The BenQ HT5550 and Optoma UHD65 are both the most expensive consumer lamp based projectors from their respective brands and both of those focus almost solely on the installer market (can’t buy either of those on amazon). Meanwhile, the most notable high end DLP is probably the 9K BenQ HT9060– and that projector isn’t even really competing with similar priced Sony/JVCs it’s really offering a more affordable alternative to 30K solid state Sony/JVCs.
I understand what you are saying, in their price bracket the and against the more cost effective Epson’s their black levels are more similar but there seems to be a limit to what’s achievable, you mentioned the HT9060 which hasn’t really any better blacks than a HT5550.

I bet if the HT9060 had similar blacks to the likes of the N5 a lot more people would be jumping for it over the others.
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post #10 of 83 Old 01-22-2020, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Luminated67 View Post
As someone who isn't affected by the rainbow effect I have over difference occasions had demos with different DLP projectors and whilst in almost every other way they throw a really decent image their black levels have always stopped me short or buying one. So my question is with the technology being around for so long whether this failing will ever be addressed to the level that it could compete with Epson/Sony/JVC.
hi, this topic was discussed here and on the TI forums for many years, it's likely going to require a major change to a 2 chip design and a lot more lumens to compensate for this type of system.

http://e2e.ti.com/support/dlp/f/94/t/332242

details on how the $$$ Christie Eclipse does it:

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/86-ul...l#post56999250

I run a dual projector setup in a full velvet pit (JVC + several different DLP's) - The image from the DLP's is generally excellent but they stand out in lower APL scenes (not in a good way..) where the JVC is substantially better in this area. Even my .95 DC4 DLP doesn't have a chance against the JVC in create a convincing black floor in these types of scenes.

I keep hoping one of the manufacturers will figure this out at a reasonable price.
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post #11 of 83 Old 01-22-2020, 01:34 PM
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Ignorant query. APL?
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post #12 of 83 Old 01-22-2020, 01:52 PM
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Ignorant query. APL?
Average Picture/Display Level
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post #13 of 83 Old 01-22-2020, 02:21 PM
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Even my .95 DC4 DLP doesn't have a chance against the JVC in create a convincing black floor in these types of scenes.
Agreed, the Morgan Freeman scene in Oblivion is a great example, large amounts of on screen black in a very low APL scene with limited motion. A JVC or OLED will render a much more impactful image.

Comparing uhp/wheel dlp to rgb dlp though, the differences in color depth and low level detail are staggering. I'm not aware of any other consumer dlp machines or any consumer video display for that matter that have the level of video rendering performance(black level and light output aside) of the Chi Lin models(sim2 mico, truvue vango, etc.). Maybe if the HT9060 used a 0.95 1600p chip instead of the XPR.

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I keep hoping one of the manufacturers will figure this out at a reasonable price.
With the light output of RGB laser it's certainly more feasible to offset the light loss.
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post #14 of 83 Old 01-22-2020, 02:40 PM
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Any discussion on this topic needs to include how we perceive black and how perception affects our vision. Low APL is always going to be a problem with any projector unless ambient light pollution is totally controlled in the viewing room and it is compounded more by low level leakage when making black. Many people buying these projectors watch the vast majority of our content with high to moderate APL and with some brightness in the image we perceive very dark blacks in the majority of our content.

I have a Dark Chip 3 DLP and a bright projector and a moderate screen size such that I’m plenty bright still even though my screen is a .5 gain simple neutral gray. Other screens ALR dark gray/black also have similar positive effects on the perception of blacks. I might add my room is not a black pit but is very good in terms of light control.

For me DLP with these workaround measures both look inky black and will even photograph as inky black. I know if I go up to the screen with a light meter it will tell me otherwise and if I get a super low APL in a movie I will have to muddle thru it just like every movie I have ever seen low APL in at a commercial theater. I’m not ready nor is my room for CRT like brightness levels just to get the benefits of some absolute black levels. I would rather have the brightness and thus the perceived blacks.

I think this is the way most people enjoy DLPs and the reason there is not much of an outcry about the blacks. I view them as machines for people without perfect rooms watching bright stuff like sports and if they pair them with the right screen they get an image that looks like a big flat screen.
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post #15 of 83 Old 01-22-2020, 02:59 PM
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I understand what you are saying, in their price bracket the and against the more cost effective Epson’s their black levels are more similar but there seems to be a limit to what’s achievable, you mentioned the HT9060 which hasn’t really any better blacks than a HT5550.



I bet if the HT9060 had similar blacks to the likes of the N5 a lot more people would be jumping for it over the others.


You’re right, DLP does sort of ‘max’ out at a certain point and short of commercial solutions (the IMAX custom 4K digital projectors used in their best theaters are based on DLP) there does seem to be a limit on what they can achieve.

The HT9060 has better contrast than the HT5550. I’m not sure how it measures but it has visibly better contrast. It doesn’t have LCOS contrast, not even close— but it can also display 100% of DCI-P3 with no cost to lumen output and has a solid state light engine that won’t dim (requiring recalibration) and won’t ever need to be replaced.

It’s all about priorities. I wish DLP was capable of higher contrast. I also wish 3LCD was capable of true 4K and LCOS was capable of being more affordable. The good news is we’re spoiled for choice. The bad news is you can’t have everything.
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solid state light engine that won’t dim (requiring recalibration) and won’t ever need to be replaced.
The different cycle times of the individual leds usually leads to green being operated more, and blue the least, so after a few thousand hours a one point white balance calibration is necessary ;]
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post #17 of 83 Old 01-22-2020, 07:56 PM
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Ignorant query. APL?
And if you're interested in just how much low APL occupies in movies:
http://projectiondream.com/en/movie-...-measurements/

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I think this is the way most people enjoy DLPs and the reason there is not much of an outcry about the blacks. I view them as machines for people without perfect rooms watching bright stuff like sports and if they pair them with the right screen they get an image that looks like a big flat screen.
A lot of people that buy these budget machines don't know better or don't care.

In a discussion about if ALR screens raise black levels, and how good the blacks on an ALR screen in a room with white walls vs a velvet pit and a white screen, @ALRLIFE claimed:

I have a basement with black walls and a loft with white walls. I also had a Epson 6050 and JVC RS540. The 540's blacks on my alr screen with white walls in the loft was every bit as good as the plain boring white screen in the basement with black walls.

I believe people theorize on a bunch of diffent scenarios here without having any first hand experience with seeing various equipment in person. And a high end alr screen such as my Parallax and EPV Darkstar alr screens show ISF certified beautiful image quality with no discernible visual artifacts.



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I sort of disagree with the premise that DLP contrast/blacks are poor. I have an HT3550 and that projector is more than competitive with models in it’s price range (I’m counting the Epson 4010 and Optoma UHD60 in that group). Obviously, as you go up in price and Epson’s UB models become available as well as Sonys and JVCs enter the fray— DLP struggles to compete. But how many DLPs are there in those price ranges? The BenQ HT5550 and Optoma UHD65 are both the most expensive consumer lamp based projectors from their respective brands and both of those focus almost solely on the installer market (can’t buy either of those on amazon). Meanwhile, the most notable high end DLP is probably the 9K BenQ HT9060– and that projector isn’t even really competing with similar priced Sony/JVCs it’s really offering a more affordable alternative to 30K solid state Sony/JVCs.
The W2700/HT3550 was measured at 3300:1 in Bright mode, and 2700:1 calibrated. With iris on. Not bad for a DLP projector. The HT5550 is around 4000:1 I believe.
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post #18 of 83 Old 01-22-2020, 08:33 PM
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Although the technical specs of The Dolby Vision commercial projectors are proprietary and unpublished it is assumed they use 6 4K DMD's, 2 for each color, with 3 high intensity water cooled laser light sources mounted in a separate cabinet. Black level is on par with LCOS tech but still only achieve about 250nits peek and cost north of $500k. So it is doable but I doubt it will ever reach the consumer level.

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post #19 of 83 Old 01-22-2020, 09:08 PM
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Native is 600 to 1000, that is bad for a dlp projector, it doesnt actually get much worse than that. And a 10x mechanical iris could easily result in visible pumping and clipping of bright areas in dark scenes. Sacrificing an already low 2-3k native for a resolution increase via shifting just to market as "4k" and sacrificing modulation/motion performance on top of that. It's not necessarily that black levels/contrast are poor, it's just comparatively inferior. You can still have a great picture... All XPR dlp projectors had 0 appeal to me because of it though, and I sought out older dlp projectors that had better contrast. Sim2 mico (º﹃º )

For dlp, either:
Stick to older rgb led dlp projectors and resign yourself to a smaller screen, or
Keep dlp in a white room or high ambient light setting where the contrast doesnt matter anyway.

Fingers crossed for 2chip dlp rgb laser under 20k in the next 10 years. It really is an incredible imaging system(rgb solid state dlp) unlike any other technology available.

What will come first? 2chip dlp or rapid modulation lcd? I'd guess the former unless I missed something.

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with 3 high intensity water cooled laser light sources mounted in a separate cabinet. Black level is on par with LCOS tech but still only achieve about 250nits peek and cost north of $500k. So it is doable but I doubt it will ever reach the consumer level.
Don't they use phase change cooling? I don't think water can dissipate the heat from those laser arrays. Max output is something like 35k lumens, depending on the screen can achieve way past 250nits. Isn't the Eclipse consumer level, just at the top of the expensive ladder? Black level/contrast is drastically superior to LCOS(20m:1 native, 80k:1 at 1%apl, vs jvcs 200k:1 dynamic and 20k:1 at 1%), and bested only by oled, and oled cant compare in any other area of video rendering.
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post #20 of 83 Old 01-22-2020, 09:58 PM
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Native is 600 to 1000, that is bad for a dlp projector, it doesnt actually get much worse than that. And a 10x mechanical iris could easily result in visible pumping and clipping of bright areas in dark scenes. Sacrificing an already low 2-3k native for a resolution increase via shifting just to market as "4k" and sacrificing modulation/motion performance on top of that. It's not necessarily that black levels/contrast are poor, it's just comparatively inferior. You can still have a great picture... All XPR dlp projectors had 0 appeal to me because of it though, and I sought out older dlp projectors that had better contrast.
Couldn't disagree more!!

I just changed to a ViewSonic X10-4K. Street price is around $1k only! Thanks to it's fixed focal lens. When the focus is completely dialed in (it's a pain to get a perfect focus with it's motorized focus), I get razor sharp pixel resolution from edges to edges, corners to corners! Any 3 chips LCD, LCOS, SXRD or maybe even 3-chip DLP, can never achieves such extreme sharpness! All the Windows's small text in 4K is sharply defined and crystal clear. Up close at the screen, I can actually see XPR acting ripple! After seeing so many 4K projectors, finally I can actually read those Windows small text with no effort!

Last night I watched some 4K eye catching demo clips, like those scenery, food, time-lapse clips etc. Seriously, it looks exactly like a HUGH flat panel!!!

OK, yes, absolute black level is poor! But in overall viewing, maybe those super low level scene counts only around 5 to 10%. Most of the time, it's magnificent!

Happy viewing!

Thanks!
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post #21 of 83 Old 01-22-2020, 10:27 PM
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Couldn't disagree more!!
I... didn't say anything about sharpness? I'm fairly planted in the DLP camp and sharpness is one of the reasons. Trust me when I say this mico40 is sharp. The high quality lens and low chromatic abberation, high ansi contrast(less haloing), improved color depth, mtf of the dlp modulation, and just the fact that a mirror is used instead of a translucent layer makes for incredibly dimensional and resolved video rendering. The only thing lacking aside from light output is the native-1% contrast, and even 1% isn't so far behind(dynamic 20k:1 in the jvcs vs dynamic 8k:1), by 2% they're pretty similar.

But when you're starting with 350:1 native contrast(foot in mouth about the 600-1000:1 ;], 1-2% apl is 300:1, 3-4% is 250; 5-7% is 200:1. It's just low contrast there's no way around it... And I'd be concerned that the low ansi and chromatic abberation from the lens impacts perceived sharpness as well.

But the fact that's rgb led dlp with no color wheel means color depth should be good, color contrast, and low level detail rendering are improved as well(compared to uhp/wheel projectors), which improves overall perceived contrast. The LED projectors have the added benefit of very good uniformity compared to bulb projectors as well, showing 20-30% improved uniformity with budget lenses. Probably nicer looking than alot of VA panels even.
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post #22 of 83 Old 01-22-2020, 10:43 PM
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A lot of people that buy these budget machines don't know better or don't care.
I actually do know better and do care. I just know what I’m getting and how it best applies to what I need. That and I understand the bargain these budget machines offer. Most humans instantaneous CR ability is something like 500:1 and what we are really talking about trying to make greater CR out of low APL and the only way CR can be made is by making the low end lower as there isn’t much of a high end to start with. People with these projectors normally don’t have rooms good enough to do it even if they had the best technology out there.

I see it all the time here someone buying a stellar projector for mega-bucks and sticking it in a normal living room and feeling good thinking he has a 500,000:1 machine.
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post #23 of 83 Old 01-22-2020, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by bdht View Post
I... didn't say anything about sharpness?
Sorry, I should quote this " it's just comparatively inferior. You can still have a great picture... All XPR dlp projectors had 0 appeal to me because of it though"!

IMO XPR DLP (especially the 0.47" version with H/V pixel shift) is the only choice for a real 4K resolution picture (together with a good lens). My pixel sharp 4K picture in 106" is unbelievable! 4K on a 3-clip projector is just a mess!

Yes, XPR DLP has poor black level. But overall, it's still the current best choice IMO! If in the future, the black level can match LCOS/SXRD, then all other projection technology will go out of business! That's why we can't have it all!

Thanks!
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post #24 of 83 Old 01-22-2020, 11:46 PM
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I actually do know better and do care. I just know what I’m getting and how it best applies to what I need. That and I understand the bargain these budget machines offer. Most humans instantaneous CR ability is something like 500:1 and what we are really talking about trying to make greater CR out of low APL and the only way CR can be made is by making the low end lower as there isn’t much of a high end to start with. People with these projectors normally don’t have rooms good enough to do it even if they had the best technology out there.

I see it all the time here someone buying a stellar projector for mega-bucks and sticking it in a normal living room and feeling good thinking he has a 500,000:1 machine.
Are you saying a JVC type projector with great blacks is not as good in a white room with an high end alr vs. a black pit?
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post #25 of 83 Old 01-23-2020, 12:10 AM
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Are you saying a JVC type projector with great blacks is not as good in a white room with an high end alr vs. a black pit?
My rooms is 11.5' x 14.5'. lots of black furniture dark colored walls popcorn white ceiling, and it took a darker lower gain alr and a couple feet of black fabric on the ceiling to get to the "optimized room" contrast level, i.e. a black level similar to the masking and contrast similar to at the lens. I cant see how a white room could do that, unless its very large.
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post #26 of 83 Old 01-23-2020, 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by bdht View Post
My rooms is 11.5' x 14.5'. lots of black furniture dark colored walls popcorn white ceiling, and it took a darker lower gain alr and a couple feet of black fabric on the ceiling to get to the "optimized room" contrast level, i.e. a black level similar to the masking and contrast similar to at the lens. I cant see how a white room could do that, unless its very large.
I don't know if you saw ALRLIFE's claim in the post above, copied from the other thread, in which he claims this is possible. Don't have a JVC or a high end alr screen to test with.
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post #27 of 83 Old 01-23-2020, 12:45 AM
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I don't know if you saw ALRLIFE's claim in the post above, copied from the other thread, in which he claims this is possible. Don't have a JVC or a high end alr screen to test with.
The parallax etc would reject all the ceiling/floor light close to the screen, but isn't going to be as effective for the rest of the cross reflections in the room. With a large room I suppose it could be possible to get closer to optimized.
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post #28 of 83 Old 01-23-2020, 06:01 AM - Thread Starter
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It’s hard to believe that the likes of Optoma, BenQ etc who all solely using DLP technology aren’t interested in the enthusiast who takes their home theatre hobby to the extreme and devotes a room fully kitted out into a true bat cave?

Epson EH-TW9400 - QualGear Fixed Frame 100” - Sony x700 BRP & Panasonic 420 BRP - Sony 1080 AVR - IPL Acoustics M1TLs & IPL Acoustics AVC Pro Centre, Four KEF surrounds & 2 Sub boxes (10” Sub + 10” Passive Radiator)
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post #29 of 83 Old 01-23-2020, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by noob00224 View Post
Are you saying a JVC type projector with great blacks is not as good in a white room with an high end alr vs. a black pit?
I agree with @bdht reply to you.

Screens can help and depending on the room can help a lot in some cases but nothing is going to beat killing every bit of light that reflects off the screen except what enters your eyes and fall on the optic nerve. And of course having no other source of light enter or be made within the room.

That’s not very practical to do though so we make compromises some with the screen some with the projector and some with our budgets. The concept of a light cannon has been around as long as I have been into the hobby maybe 20 years and also the idea of a highly honed light miser of a projector like the old CRT that produced 1,000,000:1 way back when. Over the years both technologies have improved and all kind of gadgets like iris control have also helped business projectors have turned into crossover projectors for the most part. Screens have come a long way to help on the one end. The two things that haven’t changed much is our eyes and perception and how a Lambertian screen surface works.

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post #30 of 83 Old 01-23-2020, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Luminated67 View Post
It’s hard to believe that the likes of Optoma, BenQ etc who all solely using DLP technology aren’t interested in the enthusiast who takes their home theatre hobby to the extreme and devotes a room fully kitted out into a true bat cave?
All these electronics companies are interested mainly in making money and selling product to the most people they can find to buy them and market economy along with some level of expected quality is what drives the market.

I just watched the movie Ford vs Ferrari and it points out the difference to how different companies view the bottom line vs quality. It doesn’t mean they can’t do better it means they are sighting in on two different targets and each is hitting the bull’s eye.

DLP was doing pretty good IMO until the 4k push came along and TI was forced to catch up or fall behind. IMO they will continue to catch up as long as the niche market that are home projectors doesn’t get any smaller and that is a function of consumer perception. Right now there is a huge focus on TV displays that don’t require hardly anything special in the room design that are getting bigger and bigger in screen size. Combine that with a generation that is more sold on smart phones than anything else and see FP totally different than most of us here do.

Who knows.
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