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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys! I need your opinions.


I have built a HTPC mainly for DVD playback and PC gaming (I have a 34 inch direct view for that). I use DScaler and the XCard for DVD playback.


Now I have been bitten by the bug, I want to enter the front projection arena. I thought that I was sold on the digital arena (DLP or LCD, with no particular model in mind).


I use a SGI 1600SW monitor as my primary computer interface and I am used to 1600x1024. Of course I thought I would buy a digital projector WITH AT LEAST THE SAME RESOLUTION. After picking myself off the floor I started looking at more main stream digital projectors. The price is huge, and the resolution sucks.


I stumbled onto this forum. Looking at some of the specs (resolution and contrast ratio and all), it seems like CRT projectors have the upper hand in almost all the numbers.


This is my question. I want to use my computer to drive whatever projector I get. I do not want any other hardware (external to the computer) in the signal path. Can I do all the line doubling and such from an HTPC and not have anything else?


Is it a VGA cable friendly (depending on model)?

Do the super nice resolutions (greater than 1600 by 1200) really translate well on the screen? I mean a resolution on 1600x1200 for gaming looks gorgeous (if you have enough HP), but would it look as nice on the big screen (70-90 inches)?

Is the response time of CRT projectors good enough for fast paced game?


I understand that burn in is a factor, but how much of one? I would be gaming, some times for a couple of hours. Then the next day watch a movie, or surf the internet. I would not leave it on for a day with the same image for a day (or even a couple of hours). With the 10K lamp hours, is that really a concern. By the time I would need to change the bulbs I will be teleporting to work.


Does burn in set in quick or over a long time with the same static image?


Anyone have an recommendations on a small footprint projector with an awesome resolution? If size versus resolution is the issue then I want resolution.


Thanks so much.


Liver
 

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All CRTs are VGA cable friendly, you might just need a breakout cable that has an HD15 connector on one side and 5 BNC connectors on the other. These are very easily obtained for $20 to $200 (depending on build quality).


No CRT today can resolve 1200 lines of video. The best 9" CRT sets, when very well setup can do 1080 lines without breaking a sweat, but these sets would cost you at least $6k on the used market (if not more!), plus time with a very skilled installer who knows the machine well to get 1080 lines.


A graphics grade CRT is really just a big monitor. You can generally drive these at 75+ frames/second (75Hz progessive scan), with 960 lines of video without difficulty. But getting 960p to be as sharp as it can be will take some work on setup.


Someone will correct you, so i might as well, a CRT projector uses a tube, not a lamp. :) Tubes have about 10k hours, assuming they aren't overdriven or burned by static images. Most video games use pretty static images (think bar where your score is usually), so video games tend to burn CRT projectors before other sources, e.g. DVD movies. If you balance your usage, you might get 6000 or more hours out of a good set of tubes, all depends. One guy here ruined a set of tubes in just 8 hours with a static Windows desktop image that he left up by accident.


Small footprint with awesome resolution might be tough. Barcos would definately be out. Keep in mind any CRT that would get close to your resolution "requirement" will be going for $2-$6k used, weigh in over 160+ lbs and be at least a few feet square in size....


BTW, most here use their CRT for HD and DVD viewing, with a direct view set for their gaming....
 

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"I use DScaler and the XCard for DVD playback."


Are you serious? You are passing interlaced dvd through and upscaling it that way? I can't imagine this option would be anywhere near as good as playing them in your computers DVD player and upscaling in the digital domain entirely. How good/bad does it look your way?


AS to which type of pj to get... I have answered that three times today in other threads and enough is enough. Just browse a little the answer is out there Neo.


Troy
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Spearce, thanks for the informative post. You have made my decision easier.


pc Cinema: I assume you have not been keeping up with developments in Dscaler and the Xcard for DVD playback. If you are interested there are posts you could search for in the HTPC forum.


In short, all digital, looks great.


I guess with that last line I have answered my question too. Thanks for helping me make the leap.


Liver
 

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Well I must admit I hardly ever go to the htpc forum, but I'm fully aware of the xcard/dscaler option for de-interlacing sdtv. It still sounds far less than ideal. The dvd has progressive info you aren't even getting, and it's analog analog analog until the xcard digitizes what is left of the original signal.


Someone speak up here... Is it just me?
 

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No, not just you, I'd have to agree that on principal the DVD player will do a better deinterlace then an analog capture card and DScaler ever could.


However, many, many, many, very many DVDs are flagged wrong in the MPEG data stream, so deinterlacing players have to resort back to the same algorithms that DScaler uses half of the time. But they still have the advantage that there's less D/A A/D conversions occuring.


Gimme a digital MPEG stream into a high quality software player with TheaterTek anyway is what I say.... if XCard today is better than TheaterTek, TheaterTek will be hands down better in another 2 months for lots of reasons and then some. :)
 

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Whoa.


The XCard+PDI+DScaler solution is all digital.


Basically (to summarize for those that don't have the time): DVD MPEG is handed to the XCard, a hardware based MPEG-2 decompressor/player. A ribbon cable connects the XCard and a PDI "capture card"; the signal is a digital copy of the video frame being sent over, no analog here. DScaler pulls the frame from the PDI "capture card" and believes it received it over SDI as 480i. It then does all its magic.


Its basically an SDI DVD player in one box, for about $200 in parts.


Complicated software setup. DScaler controls the display, deinterlacing, etc. while the XCard player is used to navigate, pause, fast foward, etc.


Given my limited time, I'm sticking with TheaterTek for the time being. I just don't have that many hours to get that all tweaked out and programmed into my Pronto.
 
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