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Discussion Starter #1
Overview


Well, as Alan said we had a lot of fun yesterday and the shootout certainly was interesting. Unfortunately, we found that 5 hours was not nearly enough to do some of the quantitative evaluations that I intended to do. We were lucky to get a look at each projector and scaler/HTPC within that time span. In the perfect world we would have the time to have each projector professionally calibrated and spend a full week with each one. The intent of this shootout was not to crown a king, but to see in very general terms how much progress has been made with DLPs and assess the viability of each of these for HT enthusiast new and old.


The good news to me was that, overall, XGA DLP has come a long way. I saw no dancing whites in any of the projectors and only one suffered from minor banding (HT250), which Seleco is working on a fix as we speak. Blacks were good on them all and I took very quick light meter samples of the checkerboard pattern and found that they were all very close on the blacks...something like 1.5 lux. I know this isn’t terribly scientific but I tossed the meter up there just to get a quick idea and flesh out any glaring differences. Frankly, there were none. Even D-ILA measured at 1.6 lux, so they were all pretty close IMO.

Background


First some details. We were using an 8’ wide 16:9 grayhawk throwing from roughly 10 foot in a pretty black room. Alan has black shades at his house, but there was some very faint ambient light leaking through the edges. The source for both interlaced & progressive DVD was an EAD Theatervision P being fed directly or through either the Vigatec GVC1280 or DWIN Transcanner2. We also had a Radeon driven HTPC using ATI 7.0 and tried the Extron 7SC for good measure. I brought a DVDO Pro, but we never got around to looking at it (the performance was very close to the EAD Progressive output so there wasn’t really a need). HDTV was fed from a Dish 6000 using YPrPb.


Most of the testing we used the following titles:


1. Color Rendition: Bringing It On – Chapter 1

2. Gray Scale: Avia – Gray Ramps Vertical 10 IRE Pattern

3. Black Level: Avia – Gray Ramps Vertical 10 IRE Pattern; Color Bar Pattern

4. Color Gradient (banding/contouring): (a) U571 – Face-to-Face With the Nazi Destroyer and Escape from the Destroyer; (b) Microsoft WHQL DVD Annex – 60fps Video Test Clip

5. Whites (dancing whites): Bone Collector – Chapter 2 Nightmare

6. HDTV – Dishnetwork Demo Loop

Pros & Cons


Having said all of that, here is a summary of the pros and cons of each projector we looked at yesterday in order of our collective rankings.

D-ILA – this was my G11 that was just calibrated by Cliff Plavin.


Pros – Smooth, no pixels. Good reds, fantastic gray scale, decent blacks, and plenty of contrast and punch. To me it was hands down the best picture, but then again I’m biased! http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif


Cons – Same ole' stuff. Noise, noise, and noise. The calibration makes a huge difference, so I can’t really pick on blacks or picture quality anymore. Also, the internal scaler stinks, but then we already knew that.

Seleco HT200


Pros – Great picture with very good reds and blacks. No banding. No dancing whites. Nice gray scale.


Cons – well it is only SVGA, so of course pixels are evident. The big one though is the HDTV support…this needs to be fixed ASAP.

DWIN Transvision


Pros - Great picture with very good blacks. No banding. No dancing whites. Good gray scale. Smoothest looking of the DLPs…pixels were literally undetectable.


Cons – Reds looked orange to me…I’m talking pumpkin orange here folks. Also, I’ll discuss in more detail later, but the Genesis de-interlacing on the Transcanner performed as bad as all Genesis chips do. Why DWIN didn’t pick the Si503 is just beyond belief to me, but it has been and will remain the primary reason I won’t buy this projector. But if 3:2 pulldown is all you need, have at it. The Transvision is a complete package.

Sony 10HT


Pros – great colors, easy to use, very quite. Blacks were OK for an LCD.


Cons – Gray scale needed work, but we didn’t have time to tweak it via the service menu. The projector had the LCD-bluish hue as well and I could see pixels from the 10-foot distance. Finally, blacks were the worst of the bunch but perhaps could be tweaked. I forgot to measure the blacks with the light meter…sorry!

Seleco HT250


Pros - Great picture with very good reds and blacks. No dancing whites. Nice gray scale.


Cons – Minor, but noticeable, banding problem. No HDTV support at all from the Dish 6000!!! Occasional tearing and color wheel rainbowing make this projector most in need of new firmware ASAP. Seleco is working on all of these issues though and the projector should be a winner once they have it fixed.

Conclusion


If you are looking for an XGA DLP king right now I’d say the DWIN was a Prince bucking for a promotion. It had the most potential, although I can’t stop complaining about the Genesis chip in the Transcanner and the inseparable-bundled approach they are taking with the projector and Transcanner.


The HT250 should be and could also be King once they get the software straightened out. It had fantastic reds and permits you to use whatever scaler you want. In fact, the EAD Progressive feed directly into the HT250 was an exceptionally nice picture IMO.


If you don’t watch much HDTV and throw onto a smaller sized screen, I think you’d be very happy with the HT200. And the Sony 10HT offers a lot in one package for the money. The native 16:9 panel was too cool and tossing an ISCO II in front of it for true 2:35 movies was awesome.


And if we must, the heavyweight champion for the day was the D-ILA projector. HDTV through the GVC1280 (scaling HDTV to 1024P) and through the ISCO II is simply breathtaking. Honest to god I can’t believe how good the Vigatec handles HDTV…it is worth the price of admission just for this feature alone!


One last plug, I banged on the ISCO I several months ago and feel I must go on record regarding the ISCO II. Folks this anamorphic lens is just sensational and between the Panamorph and this we now have two really good anamorphic lens, depending upon your throw requirements. In fact, having used the ISCO II for about a week now I’m can tell already that I may not be able to use the Panamorph in my room as my throw is too far and I’m not getting the width I need. Because the ISCO stretches versus compresses, it works perfect for my installation.


OK, I have my flak jacket on and ready. Fire way with the questions! http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


Tom



[This message has been edited by tommyboy2 (edited 03-26-2001).]
 

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Tom,


Thanks for the throrough review. The time you spent on this is really appreciated!


Could you elaborate on the 250 vs. 200. There are a number of reports surfacing about poor blacks on the 250 vs. the 200. I have never seen this...and I attributed it to a poorly set up unit. Did you notice much of a difference between the 250 vs. 200?


Also, how much of a difference in performance was there between the internal 250 or 200 scaler and the Vigatec?


Seleco is offering a Faroudja NRS scaler bundled with the 250 and 200...I am curious to see the improvement of an external scaler.


One last thing...did you try the "dumping sugar test" on any of the other projectors?


Thanks again!
 

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Thanks very much for the review. I am awaiting delivery (Fed EX today) of my HT250. I will be starting off with Toshiba SD-6200 direct to HT250. How do you estimate this would compare to the setup you mentioned of EAD progressive scan fed directly to HT250 in your reveiw. What would the picture jump be to add a vigatec or TAW Rock into system? Thanks again for all the help. By the way, I don't mind that my $13,000 investment just finished last in your survey. I am confident that Seleco will provide a firmware upgrade shortly that will fix these problems. Untill then, I plan to enjoy loads of DVDs and PLaystation 2 widescreen games on it. Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
No sugar test...but I think Alan got some pizza sauce on the remote for my D-ILA and it still works like a champ! http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


I still cannot see any difference in the blacks between the HT250 vs. HT200. Regarding the internal scalers, I like the HT200s scaler better although I'm certain they are probably the same and it just looks better because it has less work to do.


The Vigatec is very promising and HDTV scaling is truly remarkable. You won't get this through Faroudja unless you buy their 5000, and even then you only get 1080P. It certainly appears to be doing a better job scaling then either of the internal scalers, but then again it should IMO! Nonetheless, I don't know the pricing on the Faroudja bundle but the DCDi processing feeding the HT250 makes this a potentially nice proposition.


Tom
 

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Regarding the Pumpkin Orange reds of the DWIN...really? Is this a calibration issue or is it really that bad compared with Seleco? What does DWIN say about this...orange reds seems like a big deal to me. I didn't know DLP's needed calibration like the DILA's, or do you mean tweaking its menu. Can this be overcome? Also, are the upgrades Seleco plans to fix problems all software based, or are further hardware tweaks necessary, and if so, when will they be out? I was planning to get a G15, but after reading Alan's rave DWIN review, and noting fact that I am not a tweaker...just want to plug in and have projector work...I am thinking of getting the DWIN and building a dustbox. Thanks
 

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Please keep n mind Toms comments regarding the transcanners use of the genesis chip is ment toward video material. It is fine when watching dvd sourced from film 24fps.



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

Thanks Very Much!


Alan Gouger

AV Science
www.avscience.com
 

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Discussion Starter #7
smitty...good call. I mistakenly have been referring to the scaler the DWIN comes with as the Transcanner2. I thought they were about the same and I'm certain they both use the Genesis chip. Nonetheless, if they are different I apologize. As Alan said the Genesis chip shouldn't matter if you primarily view film using 3:2 pulldown. It was video or bad edit material it had trouble with.


Frank, I'll be doing more testing tonight as I honestly can't stop thinking about how good the image looked at 1024P through the Vigatec. I'll be sure to post any good or bad things I may come across as I view more HDTV content.


jesse, the reds on the unit were quite redish-orange and I am not sure if calibration will help or not. Tom took the DWIN home to try and get better results...he is a DWIN advocate since he owns the HD700 currently. Tom also pointed out yesterday that perhaps the redish-orange reds are as much about perception as black levels are to some people. In other words, it may not be that noticeable when viewed as your primary FPTV. Back to back with 4 other projectors that all had better reds really highlighted the problem.


Tom


[This message has been edited by tommyboy2 (edited 03-26-2001).]
 

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Tom, I'm not sure I fully understand the problem with the Genesis chip. I thought it was a problem on all material that would be sent through the unit that had the chip in it, whether it be a DVD player, scaler or whaterver. When you say it's a problem only on video material and not film, aren't most DVD's from film? Is the problem seen and talked about with respect to Toy Story II because that is video? Would a DVD that is video material mostly be animated material? Is the Geneis chip a problem for HDTV material?
 

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The issue with the Genesis chip is that its fairly slow to react to disturbances in the 3:2 pulldown sequence, and doesnt handle them in the best fashion, quality wise. Also, its video-deinterlacing algorithms are unexceptional.


But for film-sourced DVDs where not of this is an issue, it really shines. In fact, this is much less of an issue then you might think. For example, HTPC's are *terrible* at anything but a clean 3:2 pulldown sequence, and yet they are very popular on this forum.


Andy K.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
smitty, as Andy has said this may not be an issue for most people as most members are apparently only watching 24fps film. I watch a lot of hockey, football, and video-based kids material too. Hockey is a torture test for these scalers as the blue line and sticks all present a tough challenge. The Genesis generally does very poorly on this typ eof material as well as poorly flagged movies.


Tom
 

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So Tom, what is the source material when you're watching hockey or football and the Geneis chip is a problem. I assume it's not HDTV. Is it NTSC material, or satellite? I watch a lot of football and hockey as well (having grown up back East, including some time in Rochester) so I'd like to know when this will present a problem. Also, what chip does the Seleco use?
 

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Tom - I have a Tosh SD6200 feeding a JVC G11 @ 480p, and I am satisfied with the picture. I am trying to decide what to buy to allow me to view std cable tv on the G11, as well as possibly improving the DVD output and off air HDTV when I get it. Choices I see are:


1. Iscan pro

2. HTPC

3. Quadscan

4. GVC1280 (what does this cost?)


I am trying to determine what is the best picture for the money. I am trying to avoid paying a large amount more for a small incremental improvement. (DVD's are mostly what I watch) Any inputs here woul dbe appreciated.
 

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Tommyboy,


Thanks again for the help. My HT250 arrived this afternoon!! Let me preface all my following comments by stating that I am a hobbyist, and although I have seen many digital projectors at CEDIA and CES, I a mby no means an authority. My Greyhawk doesn't get installed until Thursday, so I am currently using an eggshell wall as my screen. The picture is far better than I had hoped on the wall. I have one question though, and could use some help. I have hooked up a Tosh SD-6200 directly to the HT250 using Component Video. The Tosh remote has a Colorsteam selector button that toggles between interlaced and progressive. The interlaced setting looks very nice, but when I switch to progressive I get essentially two 4:3 frames side by side horizontally. Essentially a double image. Any ideas on what i have done wrong??? Any one have thoughts??
 

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Essentially a double image. Any ideas on what i have done wrong??? Any one have thoughts?? .........


Your HT250 still thinks it is looking at an interlaced picture. You need to fiddle with the HT250 settings to see a 480p. My SD6200 produces a noticable improvement when I switch to progressive from interlaced.


NAD
 

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Tom,


Have you posted a review of your G11 calibration yet? If not, are you going to? Thanks.


Chris
 

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One thing that needs to be covered is that except for the DILA all the other units had not been calibrated. As far as I am aware all the other projectors offer cuts and gains for RGB and gamma correction.

As Alan has said all but the DILA was calibrated and those that where not (all the others) can be improved on.


Another note is that in actual fact the green and blue color gamut of the DILA are also outside the HDTV/SMPTE color triangles. The red is also slewed to orange-red.

Comparing color gamuts by eye is a little hard due to our different perception and is best left to a Spectroradometer.(sp)

Perception can be hard if all the entries are skewd in different directions.



DavidW
 

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This might get confusing, as I was the OTHER Tom at the shootout. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


My views of the outcome run the same as Tom's.


As I have a CRT at home, maybe that makes me more of a CRT lover! However, I have a DWIN HDP500 at home, not a 700.


It turns out that I am fairly affected by the 'rainbow' problem that DLPs have. The basic good news for me is that I have to work on moving by eyes to see it usually.


With the HT200 and the DWIN I didn't see the rainbow (even when I tried hard), I did see it on the HT250, but I hope that Seleco can make it better with the updates they are planning.


I was very impressed with the DWIN, so Alan let me take it home so I could try to get the reds looking more red.


I have found out one interesting thing about the rainbow already, and that is I am more affected by it on a larger screen. At home I am projecting a larger image, so my eyes move around more. I could just make out a little rainbow with an extreme black/white image (one of the space shuttle images in the the DISH HD demo loop). A very impressive performance overall.


I now know what the D'ILA folks have been raving about too. That had the best image, great color and freedom from artifacts. Even being used to CRT, I think I could easily live with the calibrated D'ILA unit.


-Tom (2)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
smitty, I watch hockey over satellite (NTSC) via s-video into the Vigatec or using dTV and a TV Tuner card in my HTPC.


evillager, make sure you are using the YPrPb-32Hz setting and not the 15Hz setting. It should be the button right under the cursor (I think...I don't have it in front of me anymore). You may have the same problem we had with HDTV though using the Dish 6000...as in it didn't work at all. I've been able to get the DTC100 via RGB-YPrPb transcoder to sync up HDTV with the HT250. Hmmmmm....now that I think of it I bet it has to do with tri-level versus bi-level sync. The DTC100 through the transcoder is sending bi-level sync. The Toshiba and Dish 6000 are probably sending tri-level sync....Seleco, if you are listening I think this may be something to focus one for the HDTV problems! (nothing like on-line problem solving) http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


nad, you need to get as close to native res on the D-ILA as possible. 480P won't cut it no matter how good of a scaler you use. If you are PC literate check out HTPC using a Radeon (here at AVS or at Digital Connection). You can get awesome DVD playback with pretty darn good TV Input using the dTV open-source de-interlacing software. The next step up may be a TAW Rock and you could probably get Mark R. to give you a demo since he lives around San Jose. The Vigatec is looking very very good and will be the higher-end of your choices ranging in price from roughly $4,500 to $6,500 depending upon the options you choose. Call Alan Gouger for prcingin on all the above as he is a dealer for them all.


DavidW, you are right about the calibrations. I've tried, as did Alan, to caveat the hell out my post but I guess no matter what I say some folks will take it too literally. The shootout was subjective. We did start each viewing off looking at gray ramps and eyeballing it via service menus to get it as close as we could. But we did not even bother with color strips, nor did we have the training or instrumentation to calibrate each unit. Having said all of that, I personally don't think that banding, nor HDTV compatibility has much if anything to do with calibrations.
 

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Tom(2), I will be very interested in seeing if you have any success with tweaking the reds on the Dwin, as I am sure others will be. May I suggest starting another post when you've completed your analysis, as these threads seem to get longer and longer, and more off topic, as days go by. That way, it will be easier to find as potential new buyers do research on the Dwin. Thanks in advance for your thoughts and info.
 
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