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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is my rather late report from CEDIA. I imagine most of the information in here has been repeated by someone else. But I have not read any of the other reports from CEDIA yet so as not to bias my opinions.


Pictures can be found at the following URL: http://albums.photopoint.com/j/AlbumIndex?u=1633995&a=13761351. All the photos are of pieces of equipment I saw at the show.


I'll start with my conclusions and then go into details.


Conclusions:


o All the projectors I saw looked darn good with the exception of the Sony 11HT. I'm starting to wonder if I could tell the difference given a blind taste test with the same signal being fed. This is *very* good news for the consumer.


o I believe the game is becoming less about general projector capabilities and more about the scalers used in processing the signal albeit external or internal.


o Most surprising might be the fact I didn't see anything that blew away the LT150/HTPC combo I'm using right now. Those of you who have followed my writings might know that I tend not to be bias to what I own. If I saw something better, not only would I state it, I'd buy it.


o Yes, I'm still tempted by the higher resolution DLPs, if not only to be able to have more screen space on my HTPC to work and have DScaler up at the same time. Of course there's no question the higher resolution projectors are sharper. It's just the degree in improvement is starting to level off in my opinion. Maybe when/if there's a jump to 1600x900, it will be more significant than the jump to 1280x720. Still, the desire to own the state of the art is tempting.


On to the details:


o The best demo at the show goes to TAW. In a dark room, the TAW folks were showing the beginning of Lost of Space scaled to 1080P to their HD800 8" CRT. The picture looked amazing and there were no motion artifacts I could see. I met Dave Harper at the TAW booth, a real nice guy who spent some time answering my questions even though I think he brought out a cross when he realized I was another AVS guy. Dave said that the signal was digital all the way until it became analog from the Rock+ to the projector. I asked how an 8" CRT could resolve 1080P. He didn't know. But it didn't matter, the demo was very effective and I would have no qualms about purchasing a ROCK+ now.


o At Immersive/Vigatec/ISCO, I met Tom Strade. Tom was showing off a calibrated G15 using DVI through the Vigatec. In front of the G15 was an ISCO II. It was a very impressive combination. Tom was able to switch back and forth between DVI and non-DVI (component I think). Surprisingly, the two pictures looked really close. A little more color detail with DVI. But overall, DVI didn't make the initial impression I might have expected.


o Faroudja was showing off the NR by playing a Gladiator loop on a two plasmas about 36" diag. On one display was an ugly looked artifact ridden picture and on the other was the beautiful artifact free version played through the NR. I thought it was a good demo in that it made its point.


o Sony showed off the 11HT which looked washed out and poorly calibrated. Colors were vibrant like most LCDs. Whites looked good, but I thought shadow detail was poor. Screen door was present and annoying. It is at this point that I should mention, I have not seen a single LCD I have liked. So I doubt you'll ever hear me recommend an LCD unless it was for a second projector for live sports only. One interesting note from the Sony rep was that the 10HT is staying in the Sony lineup. I found this very odd. But he hinted to the price of the 10HT coming down slightly further and the 11HT being added at a steady higher pricepoint.


o The Sharp 9000 might be funny looking, but it produced a darn good picture. The demo consisted of both Gladiator on DVD and a 1080i demo track. The internal scaler was being used for scaling and has a fancy marketing name I don't remember. My feeling is that the Gladiator DVD could have been helped by an external scaler, but it still looked pretty good. HD looked great as usual. I did see some jaggies on the piano in the opening sequence, but it was perfect from there. The Sharp rep doing the demo claimed 1100:1 contrast. Blacks were real good in my opinion. Projector "noise" was spec'ed at 32db.


o Vutec was showing off their black screen and it was a very neat concept. Check out my pics for a shot of the screen with material being shown on it and it being completely blank. The salesman claimed that the black screen is able to reject all ambient light. But here's the rub. There's a very visible seam 21" down the middle. The salesman claimed this is why they're not targetting it to the home theater market. Yeah, no kidding. When asked how and when they were going to resolve this, the salesman made it sound like it was an insurmountable problem. So I don't expect any usable black screens anytime soon. Maybe Don Stewart will come up with an option for us. You listening Don? Other news from Vutec was that they were showing their gray screen next to a grayhawk. Both screen were unlabelled and they were taking votes as to what screen looked the best. I chose the Vutec screen. It definitely did look sharper.


o Stewart is now a panamorph distributor? This is excellent news for Shawn Kelly as Stewart is a marketing machine. (Sidenote: Almost every booth was sporting a Stewart screen.) Of course, this is also a double edged sword for Mr. Kelly because Stewart is also known for their customer service and there's no way they'll put up with the shoddy communication and inability to meet delivery commitments. Feel free to kick me, believe it or not I actually forgot to ask Don about his commitment to the panamorph and if he had any concerns about Shawn Kelly's ability to deliver. And of course the real question I wanted to ask him was WHERE'S MINE?


o JVC had no DILAs at the show. But they were showing off their HM-DH30000 HD Video recorder which apparently is ready except the tapes aren't available. When they are available they are supposedly going to go for about $150 each which means that JVC is going to have a lot of DH30000 sitting on store shelves. The DH30000 can digitize 720P, 1080i and 480i, but does not scale up signals. It does use an MPEG2 encoder to get the data onto tape. In their highest quality mode they can encode 4 hours at 28.2Mb/s, in standard quality, they encode is 8 hours at 14.1Mb/s, and in LS3 lowest quality mode they encode 24 hours at 4.7Mb/s on a single tape. What all this means to me is we need PVRs with two large drives and to accept HD input and that's really where JVC should be focussing their attention instead.


o Kenwood was showing off their two new Sovereign DVD players. Both have 2 faroudja chips. One is used for deinterlacing using the famous faroudja algorithm and the other they referred to as a "video enhancer". The pricepoints are $1200 list for the 5(?) changer and $1500 list for the 400 changer. The demo consisted of showing a waving american flag with both the chips engaged and not engaged. Look at the jaggies then look at no jaggies. Then we watched concert footage. The projector used for the demo was a Seleco Millenium Tube based projector. One other note, the new Kenwood Receiver has both two component inputs and HD passthrough.


o I finally got a look at the new Pronto Pro. And wow, it's in color and there are 2 more buttons along the bottom. The coolest thing about the Pronto Pro is its RF feature which is available at an extra cost. The RF feature includes an RF receiver that has IR connectors that will control all your IR equipment. This is a feature that would be very welcome in my home theater where my equipment is at the back of the room and often out of direct sight. The price to allow me to use a remote while laying on my couch? $1150. Ouch!


o Lexicon had the new MC12 which looked really silver. Eleven thousand bucks and not even available in black. The salesman said they were trying to make a statement. I asked if the statement was it could look ugly in respect to everything else in my cabinet. I was teasing him of course since my whole entertainment center currently looked like the attack of the cable creatures. The MC12 has one expansion port which means maybe Lexicon will actually have an upgrade this time for their "upgradable" preamp. Lexicon is offering a trade-up for existing MC-1 owners and even though I'm not sure I need it, but only question is: Alan, what kind of deal can you get us on the MC-12?


o KeyDigital was showing off the Leeza. The demo was pretty weak so I can't give any feedback on how it scales. I can tell you that there is a big "Software produced by TAW" written on the box. The salesman said that the Leeza can scale 480i to 1080p. It currently can not scale 1080i down and the salesman said it would be available "next year", but was not sure if it would be a software or a hardware upgrade.


o I got my first chance to take a look at a Sony G90. The picture looked great. It just felt right looking at it. I didn't get that digital feeling I get whenever I look at a digital image. They showed a Dave Taylor concert in 480P and it was silky smooth and I couldn't find a single artifact. On the downside, I was a bit surprised by the blacks. They definitely were not what I expected. They weren't close to blending into the black masking as one AVS member had once characterized it. As a final note, when the demo was done they switched to a football game, and surprise!...480i looked horrible as usual.


o At DWIN, they were showing off the Transvision II which will be DLP at 1280x720. The transvision comes with their own external scaler and will be priced around $12150 which btw is out of line imo considering it's not even shipping now (supposedly available 1st quarter next year). They were showing vertical limit and it looked good though I thought it looked blotchey in dark scenes. I see no reason to wait for the DWIN when the Sharp is already shipping.


o PLUS was showing their cute little pianos spec'ed at 848x600 resolution and 700:1 on/off contrast. I thought the piano looked great and also slightly less sharp than the DWIN I had viewed just moments before.


o The Hitachi CPSX5500W was being shown in the Cinelight booth under horrendous lighting conditions. So I really couldn't get a good feel for contrast and artifacts. But colors looked darn good and so did fill. I still think this has a chance to be a DILA killer because of pricepoint, but it sure would be nice if they'd show it under decent conditions once. The demo being shown was Armageddon which was apparently a distributed signal to all the booths in the area. So maybe I'm lucky that the lighting was so horrible.


o I pleased to announce that Runco is still the most overpriced game and town. And boy do that flaunt it. Their booth was right in front and their demo theater was gorgeous having been designed by Accoustic Innovations and including 17 super comfortable Deco Chairs. What else would you expect from one heck of a marketing machine that tries to make end users believe they're the only game in town? Margins all around for everybody! The line to the Runco demo was always packed. But I stood in line anyway to take a look. They showed a nice looking CRT and a screen door ridden LCD.


o My last stop was Odyssey, a transducer company that shakes you around. Doesn't sound unique, but they have a neat business concept. They have built a special processor called the DBOX and have sound artists that deliver about 10 treatments of movies a month. The idea is they tailor the shaking to the movie being watched. The demo was a scene from Super Speedway. And it was pretty neat when the car went over some bumps, I could feel them too. Unfortunately, the punch line came when I asked the price. The price to participate is $17,500 for the receiver and then $500 per year subscription for about 100 movie treatments per year. It will be interesting to find if they have a sustaining audience at that pricepoint.


That's my report from CEDIA. If you have questions, bring em on, and I'll do my best to answer them.


--Les


[This message has been edited by arrow (edited 09-16-2001).]
 

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Great write up and some very nice pictures you have in that album. Just remove the . from the end of the URL as the page won't load with it there. I headed straight for the pictures of the Sharp 9000 http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif I am asking this of everyone that sees this unit but could you gauge the fan noise? Did you notice it? Good to see from your photo that the Sharp is also multi-voltage incase I take the step of importing one.


Thanks again for the great report.


Spero D.


[This message has been edited by Spizz (edited 09-16-2001).]
 

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Thanks, Les, your review was well worth waiting for. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


Did you get to see how the Kenwood 400 disk changer worked? If one doesn't use their very expensive interface box, how easy is it to get the movie titles in?


Dan
 

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"At Immersive/Vigatec/ISCO, I met Tom Strade. Tom was showing off a calibrated G15 using DVI through the Vigatec. In front of the G15 was an ISCO II. It was a very impressive combination. Tom was able to switch back and forth between DVI and non-DVI (component I think). Surprisingly, the two pictures looked really close. A little more color detail with DVI. But overall, DVI didn't make the initial impression I might have expected."


Thanks Les. It was nice meeting you at the show. Hopefully I lived up to your Don Knotts hype! http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


Anyway, just a point of clarification. We were showing the Vigatec using SDI, not DVI. Moreover, I never thought of it at the time we were A/B comparing the s-video to the SDI at the show, but I believe that the s-video on the $8,000 PMDT DVD payer may have been performing better than your usual DVD player. Assuredly, it would have been more stark a difference if we had used the s-video out of the Denon or DVDMAX.


Take care -




------------------

Tom Strade

Immersive, Inc.
www.immersiveinc.com
 

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Les, great report as usual!


I am very interested in a couple of your comments. You, at least, put your critical eye to the "blacks" produced by the G90 and found them lacking. Makes me wonder if DVD transfers (or the original recording) has a way to go to catch up to what CRT can really do with "black", assuming CRT can produce the "black" everyone here says it can. It also lends credence to an earlier report concerning the new Sharp and its "blacks" when compared to a Runco CRT.


What about HDTV and the requirement in the near future concerning builtin decorders? Anybody discussing this issue? Doesn't it render all present projectors obsolete, with respect to HDTV? Sure makes me hesitate when condsidering a new projector, especially for the price.


What is the Hitachi all about? You mentioned it a few months ago, but I am unfamiliar with the technology and any advantages or disadvantges with respect to DLP or LCD.


You stated that the new DLPs appeared sharper. My hope was that the Panamorph would take us there. Here's hoping the present Panamorph issues with off axis projectors can be resolved.


At present I am having problems getting into your photo site - what else is new! I'll try again in awhile.


Thanks for your incisive review and comments.


Cheers,


Grant

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Spizz, thanks for the note about the URL. I do that everytime. I thought the Sharp was whisper quiet. I couldn't hear it at all and it was mounted right above me.


Dan, the Kenwood has an interface box?!?! The man never mentioned anything like that and it looked to accept DVDs similar to the way my Sony changer does. But honestly, I never tried it.


Sorry Viking, I do not have any details regarding the Hitachi throw distance. In fact, from memory I'm afraid to estimate what I even saw because I don't want to mislead you and I truly don't remember even the screen size on which the hitachi was being projected.


Grant, strangley enough, no one seemed really up to the task of talking about the future of HD encryption. I asked the technician at the JVC HD Recorder demo about it and he looked at me like I was insane. The Hitachi is LCOS based. I don't know a lot about the technology other than its fill ratio is comparable with DILA. Hitachi was the only LCOS based projector I saw at CEDIA. I think higher resolution is always going to give us a sharper picture. Of course, I can't speak for the panamorph because they weren't showing it at the show, but I have a really nice flier.


Bob, what's patently absurd is just realizing 5.1 is a worthwhile technology in home theater http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/rolleyes.gif


Seriously, though, I got to see the following CRTs: Seleco, Sony, TAW and Runco. They were all set up in dark rooms so ambient light was not an issue. And I'm sorry to say, the black levels did not meet the expectations that have been set on this forum. This could very well be controlled by the source material. The best blacks were in Lost in Space in the TAW demo, but frankly, I felt the blacks on the digital projectors I had seen were pretty close.


Now, it might be theoretically possible to lower the black level on CRTs so that blacks disappear into the masking while rendering the rest of the picture unviewable. To that I say Whooooppeeeee! It's possible to light my hair on fire to light the room instead of turning the lamp on, but I wouldn't do it. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/eek.gif


What I did like about all the CRTs is what I felt was a "silky smooth" picture. It's hard to explain, but it was probably due to no scan lines.


--Les
 

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Les, thanks for the reply.


Finally, someone besides a CRT owner, is taking a critical look at "black" levels with respect to digital vs. CRT. I wondered why my RPTV couldn't produce absolute black and now I know its not alone!


Cheers,


Grant
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by arrow:


Bob, what's patently absurd is just realizing 5.1 is a worthwhile technology in home theater http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/rolleyes.gif
Yes, but in all fairness to Bob, it takes a long while to find a good $200 solution for 5.1 sound. Bob probably has the best $200 dolby digital system on the planet.
 

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arrow,


Did you get to see the Toshiba MT-7, if so how would you rate it against the Sony 11HT and the Sanyo PLV-60? Both the Sony seems to have artifact problems to me and the Sanyo looks very grainy. The MT-7 looked clearer in picture even if the contrast was not as good?
 

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One small clarification...


JVC was showing a Dila (in the theater in their booth.) It was a new 150ht, which quite frankly, looked awful. I spoke to the product manager, and he agreed that there were some problems. But, this was just a prototype, as the unit won't be shipping for some time, he assured me.


The G15's around CEDIA looked great, especially Tom Strade's at Immersive. After seeing tht G15's, I couldn't wait to see the 150ht...but man, did it suck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Mark,


I didn't take a look at the MT7 at CEDIA. I saw it at infocomm and Toshiba had it being fed a *composite* signal. Surprise! It looked terrible. Makes you wonder why they bring the thing at all.


--Les
 

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Les,


I too think it a little odd that the blacks on the G90 were not as expected.


Either: A. Your expectations were too high http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif or B. The G90 may not have been set up to it's max potential.


Was the G90 paired with the Faroudja 5000?


I've seen two years in a row now the G90/Faroudja combo at CES and it was hands down the absolute best video image I've ever seen and it took best of show for picture quality in many, many folks' opinion.


The blacks were deep black, not at all grey.


One scene they showed in The Nutty Professor was where Murphy first discovered his thinness and was walking through the dark lab. Etched into my mind is how real and true the blacks looked. One of my main reasons for going to CES was to see if the blacks on my G11 would be intolerable compared to the best of the best.


Did you happen to ask about the set up after you noticed the disappointing black levels?


Chris
 

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I can assure you that the black level on Sony's G90 at CEDIA was properly set during calibration. I can think of two explanations for why it might not have been when you saw it; either someone made adjustments, or they accidentally selected the wrong projector memory for the 4x3 material (James Brown concert), which is what I suspect is the case. I had set up a special memory on the projector for the press conference introducing Sony's new "Superbit" DVD's - they asked that both brightness and contrast be increased so that the audience would be able to see the differences more easily. It's entirely possible that this is what you saw.


Another thought is that you were looking at an image from the Sony DVP9000ES dvd player, and not the HD transfers. That player does not properly support a set point of 7.5 IRE and was set to "Black On", which is 0 ire.


I believe the "Football Game" would have been 1080i from a DirectTV HD feed, not 480i.


Did you not see the D5 "Lawrence" transfer? It was amazing.


Wm
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Drex, I did not see the EzPro 755.


The James Taylor DVD was the only one they showed me. Maybe they were tired on Sunday! They said that the G90 was being fed a progressive signal directly from the DVD player. I did not ask which DVD player it was.


Keep in mind James Taylor looked great! In fact I think the G90 gave him hair. But the black levels were not to the expectation set on this forum (blending into the masking), nor were they like that with any of the other projectors I saw at CEDIA. So my current thought is A. my expectations were set too high.


The football game was definitely 480i on the G90 on Sunday.


--Les
 

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I'm sorry, but I don't believe you were watching 480i. For one thing, I did not set up a 480i memory on that projector. If it was a 4x3 aspect ratio picure from the Sony HD100, that would have been scaled by the receiver to 540p.


The G90 is capable of perfect black level. I can only assume that someone selected the wrong memory on the projector, or turned the brightness up.


Wm
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It's very possible it was a 480i scaled signal. Although, that's not what the salesman said.


Regardless, it looked terrible.


--Les
 

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Great report Arrow!


Thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts.


------------------

Every man is my superior, in that I may learn from him.
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