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Discussion Starter #1
I am planning on buying a projector in the next month or so, and being new to the world of projectors, would appreciate some advice.


I’m looking to spend in the range of $6-8K US, and am looking for something that would work well with my current set up. Here are some considerations/questions:


1. Distance from projector to screen: 11.5 ft.

2. Viewing distance approx. 10 ft.

3. I’d like, if possible, to use an 8 ft. screen

4. Projector would be used primarily for DVD

5. Current DVD player is Sony S7000 (their first player, not progressive)

6. Would using a DVDO iScan be recommended?

7. My speakers would be behind the screen, which would drop down from the ceiling

8. Room has some ambient light


As I mentioned, I’m new to the world of projectors, but from what I’ve read, it sounds like it’s possible to get a very good picture with the right set up. Any advice or information would be greatly appreciated.



Tom
 

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Welcome Tom! I've spent the last month researching my first projector purchase. This forum is THE best source for help and information. Here's what I'm considering:


The Sharp XV-Z9000U DLP projector. This is the first (and currently only) projector with a 16:9 1280x720 DMD chip. Plenty bright (800 lumens), lots of contrast (1100:1), and looks great! Search for "Sharp 9000" and you'll find a TON of information on the forum about it. Price: $7,000 to $8,000. Ceiling mount AN-CM250: $250.


I was originally going to buy a cheap ($300) Da-Lite Model B or Draper Luma pulldown screen, but I don't think they'll stay flat. So I've decided to go with a tab-tensioned pulldown. That will run $1,700+ depending on the screen material. I've not spent a great deal of time watching the Sharp 9000 on Stewart's Grayhawk screen material, but everyone says it looks fantastic. Also, the Grayhawk was designed with ambient light in mind. Once I decided to go tab-tensioned pulldown, the difference in price between another screen surface and the Grayhawk is minimal. Search the forum for "Grayhawk" or "screen 9000".


People on the forum have been cautioning others about using a perforated screen with a digital projector (LCD, DLP, D-ILA). If the pixels line up too well with the perforations, distracting things can result. Also, perforated screens are expensive. I'd rethink this point if I were you.


With the Sharp 9000 or other projector with a decent internal scaler, the iScan is unnecessary. You should replace your DVD player with a progressive scan model and connect it directly to the projector. (Panasonic RP56 can be had for $220.) Non-progressive sources like laserdisc or satellite won't look very good on a screen that big no matter what you do. You could run those sources through the iScan, but I doubt the picture would be much improved.


You'll also need cables. I recommend avcables.com or your local dealer. I need 35 feet of composite, s-video, and component. Both sources sell all of that for $160 -- cheaper than making it yourself even!


My original target price for projector, ceiling mount, screen, cables, and progressive DVD player was $8,000. If I can get it all for $9,000 I'll be happy and have a great home theater.


Lastly, check out my Screen Dimension Calculator. It may save you from having to do some math the hard way.
 

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Hi Tom!


I'll second most of what Augie had to say. I'm also in the process of building a projector-based system, and I've placed an order for the Sharp 9000.


Regarding perforated screens: a perforated roll-down screen will eat up half of your projector budget, I'm afraid, or perhaps more. They're SUPER expensive. I'm passing on this option and will instead place my mains to the side of the screen (actually, they're in the right spot already) and the center immediately below the 16x9 screen. My screen is fixed to the wall, by the way. This is significantly cheaper if you have the appropriate spot.


As for the DVDO. I have one of these, and when the Sharp arrives I'm going to give it a whirl to see whether it looks good. I'll be posting my results.


However, my strong leaning is towards purchasing a Faroudja Native Rate scaler. These are significantly more expensive (~$3000), but have one distinct advantage: they take your 480i input source and scale it directly to 720p, which is the Sharp's native resolution.


If you go with the Sharp's internal scaler, then with a progressive DVD you'll be doing a line-doubling pass (480i to 480p) followed by a scaling pass (480p to 720p). The same would be true with using the DVDO for TV content, or with your Sony 7000, except you'd be adding an extra D/A-A/D cycle as well.


Now, don't get me wrong. I've seen the Sharp displaying 480p content from a very good progressive player, and it was FANTASTIC. However, I've heard from several sources that the same can't really be said of television content run through a doubler like the DVDO. Meanwhile, the Faroudja is supposed to do a spectacular job on television and satellite content as well as DVD. I've seen the output from the Faroudja's bigger brother (the 3000) displaying satellite content, and it was indeed incredibly good.


If you plan to watch movies on your projector, but TV and such on a smaller "regular" TV, then I think you would probably be happy with a good progressive DVD player and the Sharp's scaler. By the way, there are several very good progressive DVD players that cost less than the DVDO. There's a very nice Denon with the DVDO chip built in; not sure of the price but I think it's ~$800. There are also a couple of players out or coming soon with Faroudja chips in them.


I will be using the Sharp for TV as well, so I need a solution that looks good for both. Thus my thinking about the Faroudja NR.


I'll second one other thing Augie had to say: do a search here for Sharp 9000, and you'll find tons of great information. You may also want to read up on the NEC LT150 -- a projector designed for presentations that many people are using very successfully in home theater, and which is almost a third of the price of the Sharp (street). I opted out of this one because it was noisy enough to want a hush box, and didn't do true HDTV resolution (I have HDTV receivers as well). However, it's quite good for DVD, and might be a nice solution for you and save you some money for other components.


Good luck, and enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Augie and Mike,


Thanks very much for your replies. It looks like what I’m trying to do might not work. I have a 55 in. rptv which I was planning to continue to use for TV, and my mains are to the sides of it, with the center speaker sitting on top. I was hoping to drop a screen down in front of the TV for movies via a front projector, which would mean the speakers would end up behind the screen. How bad is doing this, without a perforated screen?


Also, it sounds like you’re saying the DVDO combined with the Sony S7000 and the Sharp 9000 would not be as good as replacing the Sony (which I paid 1k for in ’97 – it’s a nice machine) with a progressive DVD player, and no DVDO, is that right? It sounds like you’re saying the Sony alone with the Sharp would not look very good? Mike – how would the Sony work with the Farouda, is this a viable option?


Augie, based on your screen dimension calculator, I wouldn’t be able to fill an 8’ screen with the Sharp 9000, at a distance of around 12 feet. Is this right? Any way around this?


Again, thanks very much for your input and advice.


Tom
 

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Hi Tom,


I was considering doing exactly the same thing -- dropping a screen for movies and using the RPTV for TV. Sadly, the price of a perf'd screen killed that idea. I've visited a friend who did what you proposed: putting the center behind the screen (with the mains off to the side, still). It didn't sound too bad, but he had the mains exposed. I think with all speakers behind the screen you would not get good results.


As for what the 7000 would look like with the Sharp -- I don't know for sure. I think the Sharp is supposed to do pretty good 3:2 pulldown, so the results might not be bad. In fact, I remember somebody at the Sharp rollout event I went to asking for the player to be switched over to interlaced mode, and it looked okay. We didn't do enough A/B testing to really get a good idea whether the results were much better with the progressive input.


The deal with an internal doubler (in a progressive DVD player) is that the video data comes in digital form from the disc to the doubler chip, is doubled, and is then converted to analog. If you use an external doubler, you will have to re-digitize the signal to double it.


That being said, I read an article (I think in The Perfect Vision) that said that a good DVD player with an external DVDO looked better than most progressive scan DVD players -- except the ones with the DVDO chip built in.


I think what it comes down to is this: if you want to double only DVD material, then consider getting the Denon, which costs about the same as the DVDO itself. If you think you might want to use it for other sources, then keep the 7000 and use an external DVDO.


Now, the Faroudja. I believe that the Faroudja folks recommend running the interlaced output of a DVD player to their processor, rather than using a progressive player. I don't remember whether the 7000 has component outputs. If it does, then using it with the Faroudja should yield quite good results. If not, I'm not sure. I've not had the chance to do the experiments myself, so I'm basing all this off of what I've read here.


I strongly recommend that you try very hard to see all these combinations for yourself. If I believed everything I had read here, I might be hesitating about buying the 9000. Having seen it in person, I know that the issues people have raised don't bother me, and it's a projector I'll enjoy very much. You should be able to find a shop that carries the 9000, the Faroudja and the DVDO. Bring your 7000 with you, and make arrangements to spend a couple of hours trying the permutations.


Enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Mike,


Thanks for your help. The Sony does have component out, so that with the Faroudja might be an option. Is the Faroudja something I could use for other sources as well?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by TomT
I was hoping to drop a screen down in front of the TV for movies via a front projector, which would mean the speakers would end up behind the screen. How bad is doing this, without a perforated screen?
I've never tried it, but I bet it sounds terrible. Is it possible to put your center speaker on a short stand in front of your RPTV?

Quote:
Originally posted by TomT
Also, it sounds like you’re saying the DVDO combined with the Sony S7000 and the Sharp 9000 would not be as good as replacing the Sony (which I paid 1k for in ’97 – it’s a nice machine) with a progressive DVD player, and no DVDO, is that right? It sounds like you’re saying the Sony alone with the Sharp would not look very good? Mike – how would the Sony work with the Farouda, is this a viable option?
Progressive scanning is best done before a digital-to-analog conversion. That means doing it in the DVD player. Therefore, feeding your Sony to a DVDO will not look as good as just using a progressive scan player. The NRS is really good at video processing, so maybe feeding your Sony to a NRS would look good, but why not buy a progressive scan DVD player for a couple of hundred dollars instead of the NRS for $3,000? Your Sony was top-of-the-line 4 years ago, but prices have gone down and quality has gone up. You don't need to spend $1,000 for a progressive scan player for great picture quality.


The Sony alone to the Sharp? You can try it, but I've seen non-progressive and progressive signals sent to the Sharp and the progressive signals look much better to my eye.


I would guess the best picture would be obtained by running a progressive scan DVD player into a Faroudja NRS and then to the projector. But I wouldn't spend $3,000 on the NRS to do what the Sharp can already do -- scale from 480p to 720p. The NRS probably does a better job, but not $3,000 worth in my opinion.

Quote:
Originally posted by TomT
Augie, based on your screen dimension calculator, I wouldn’t be able to fill an 8’ screen with the Sharp 9000, at a distance of around 12 feet. Is this right? Any way around this?
Right. For the Sharp to be 11'6" away, the screen has to be 76" wide or smaller. The Marantz VP-12S1 has a shorter throw distance though. It would be able to project a larger image from 11'6" away. It should be available in November but will cost more than the Sharp -- probably $2,000 more.

Quote:
Originally posted by JustMike
There are also a couple of players out or coming soon with Faroudja chips in them.
The $220 Panasonic RP56 has a Faroudja/Sage chip in it to do the 480i to 480p conversion. Players with the chip will have a "DCDi" logo on them. The RP56 doesn't have the logo, but it has the chip. Check out the "DVD and LD Hardware" forum.
 

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Tom,

You are in the same situation that I am. Because of my room size and arrangement, I also decided to do FP with a pull-down screen in front of my Toshiba 50" widescreen RPTV. Like you, my center is positioned on top of the television with the mains on the left & right. A pull-down would cover the center but leave the mains exposed. Perf screen was way too much money for my one-income family! Dropping the center to the floor during FP viewing is not an option due to 7 & 4 year old boys and playful 100 pound German Shepard. As in most things there is always compromise. I've decided to ceiling mount the center channel speaker above my screen. Using cheap PCV pipe and tracking to hide the wires, it should be a good solution to my problem. Now I just need my NEC LT150 & Da-Lite screen, which is in shipping, to give it a shot. I'll post some pics when it's done.


Pete
 

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Mike:

Most of the comments above seem to be both valid and useful! I would add that I have a Sony 7000 (also from years ago), and find the I-Scan Pro very useful, for both a large DVD collection and a large laserdisc collection. I disagree with the comment above questioning how well laserdiscs will show up - with a Sony10HT projector (on a 92" diagonal screen) the laserdiscs do not appear as sharp or as noise free as any DVDs, but they are far superior in appearance with the I-Scan Pro in comparison to being shown with a Barcovision 700 (sans line doubler). The comment above about the suitability of the new Denon with the built in I-Scan is valid, but so far, your Sony 7000 is one of the very few DVD players on the market which does not exhibit the chroma upsampling error (which may or may not be a real issue, depending upon how picky you are about streaks in saturated reds and a few other colors).:)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Sonyuser
with a Sony10HT projector (on a 92" diagonal screen) the laserdiscs do not appear as sharp or as noise free as any DVDs, but they are far superior in appearance with the I-Scan Pro in comparison to being shown with a Barcovision 700 (sans line doubler).
But the Sony10HT and Sharp 9000 have built-in video scalers, so LDs should look better than with your Barcovision even without the DVDO. Especially with the Sharp's very good scaler with 3:2 pulldown... or does 3:2 pulldown only work for DVDs?


I guess we'll have to wait for Mike's with/without DVDO test. Anyone else done this test with a Sharp 9000?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Quote:
Originally posted by Petey
Tom,

You are in the same situation that I am. Because of my room size and arrangement, I also decided to do FP with a pull-down screen in front of my Toshiba 50" widescreen RPTV. Like you, my center is positioned on top of the television with the mains on the left & right.


Pete
Pete,


Just out of curiosity, did you try leaving the center speaker where it was, and if so, how bad did it sound?


Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Quote:
Originally posted by Augie
Right. For the Sharp to be 11'6" away, the screen has to be 76" wide or smaller.
Augie,


I am wondering if with a high ceiling, I can increase the distance to the screen by mounting the projector higher up. This would increase the angle to the screen as well, with the projector aimed down towards the screen, instead of more or less straight at it. Is this an option, or would it be too steep of an angle?


Tom
 

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Sorry Tom, as I stated in my post I'm still waiting for the projector & screen to show up so can't give you an idea on how bad the sound is muffled. But I'll definitely try it before ceiling mounting.


Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Quote:
Originally posted by Petey
Sorry Tom, as I stated in my post I'm still waiting for the projector & screen to show up so can't give you an idea on how bad the sound is muffled. But I'll definitely try it before ceiling mounting.


Pete
Pete:

Please let me know how that goes, feel free to email me. When are you expecting your projector and screen to arrive?


Also, how high will the speaker end up being, above your TV? Will this be an adjustable set up, or will you keep it mounted higher than the TV?


Thanks
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by TomT
I am wondering if with a high ceiling, I can increase the distance to the screen by mounting the projector higher up. This would increase the angle to the screen as well, with the projector aimed down towards the screen, instead of more or less straight at it. Is this an option, or would it be too steep of an angle?
Without using the Sharp's digital keystone adjustment, the center of the lens can't be higher than the top of the screen. Using keystone adjustment, the projector can be higher. How much higher I don't know. Digital keystone adjustment should only be used for small adjustments though. Using too much will adversely effect picture quality.
 

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Another option is to use an LT150/ISCO II anamorphic lens, Dalite screen, and Faroudja scaler. This is the combination that I have and it produces a stunning picture. Altogether cost about 7k.


Since the LT150 is a short throw projector and the ISCO reduces it even further, I sit 10.5' away from a 92" screen, the projector is about 10' away from the screen.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Quote:
Originally posted by Wireless
Another option is to use an LT150/ISCO II anamorphic lens, Dalite screen, and Faroudja scaler. This is the combination that I have and it produces a stunning picture. Altogether cost about 7k.


Since the LT150 is a short throw projector and the ISCO reduces it even further, I sit 10.5' away from a 92" screen, the projector is about 10' away from the screen.
John:

Could I use this set up with my non-progressive Sony S7000, or would it be better to have a progressive scan DVD player?


Would 96" screen work as well, at these distances?


What do you primarily view on your set up?


Thanks,


Tom
 

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I'm using a Pioneer Elite DV-09 interlaced DVD player into the Faroudja, so your Sony will be fine. Either way you are going to have some scaling done, either 480p and the projector does the scaling to XGA, or 480i and the Faroudja does the scaling. I personally would prefer the Faroudja to scale. To fill a 96" wide screen you will have to move the projector back, or your screen forward, a few inches. Not sure how much though.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Augie
People on the forum have been cautioning others about using a perforated screen with a digital projector (LCD, DLP, D-ILA). If the pixels line up too well with the perforations, distracting things can result.
Several weekends ago, I went to see a Sharp 9000 on a 16:9 9 ft. wide 1.2 gain perforated screen. Looked good to me. Today I brought my wife with me. Not 5 minutes into the screening (pun intended) she asked, "What are those ripples?"


"What ripples?" I asked.


"The arcs in the middle of the screen," she answered. "In white areas of the picture, there are these arcs."


She pointed them out to me. We pointed them out to the salesmen. No one had noticed them before, but now we couldn't take our eyes off of them.


After some experimentation (putting up white sheets of paper and pressing on the screen), we concluded that they were a result of the perforations interacting with the pixels. They looked like the ripples left by a rock being dropped in water.


We're going to go see the 9000 on a non-perforated Grayhawk next weekend.
 
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