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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let me preface this with a disclaimer: Maybe it was broken. I sure hope so.


I drove 2-1/2 hours to Sacramento from the Bay Area on Saturday to check out the JVC D'Ahlia at the nearest dealership. The store is called "Filco Discount Center", and is anything but a high-end home theater shop. They do have some nice equipment, but the displays are ill-conceived -- placing the screens too high to view while seated and in a position that places lots of reflected light from the overheads onto the screens.


All that aside, though, the D'Ahlia was set up showing a DirecTV feed of HDNet, directly between two Panasonic CRT-based HDTV RPTV units (a 40-something inch model and a 50-something inch model).


Immediately upon walking up to the D'Ahlia I could see that the color reproduction was poor. Awful, really. HDNet was showing some exterior shots of what looked like maybe Great Britain -- castles in the middle of big green fields and forest. The skies -- rendered a blue-gray on the Panasonics with puffy white clouds with dark underbellies -- were rendered teal on the D'Ahlia, and the clouds were indistinct smears that barely showed up.


The grass and trees, rendered in deep green on the Panasonic, were absurdly green-yellow on the D'Ahlia.


Flesh tones, natural-looking on one Panasonic and reddish on the other, were more reddish on the D'Ahlia.


"Okay," I thought to myself, "it needs some adjustment. No big surprise."


I tried to make some basic adjustments while watching normal programming, and I was truly surprised at how poor the color controls are. There's "tint" and "color". The former lets you adjust standard red/green tint. Color lets you adjust sturation. I swear I don't remember seeing "hue", but I may simply be forgetting.


I was able to get some cloud detail into the D'Ahlia by turning the brightness all the way down, but this caused a significant problem. I was then able to see the clouds better (still nowhere near as good as the Panasonic), but the blue sky disintegrated into a flashing, pixellated mess of false contouring. My best guess is that the D-ILA panel electronics don't have sufficient dynamic range to produce a proper gray scale when the brightness is turned all the way down.


"Okay, this is no good," I thought. "I'll bust out the test patterns". I brought Toy Story with me, which comes equipped with the THX OptiMode patterns. I don't have Video Essentials on DVD yet (on order), so this was the best I had available. It was enough.


My first shock was the 100 IRE Brightness/contrast pattern (the bright white rectangle in the middle of the screen). It was non-rectangular! The sides were all bowed inwards slightly!


Moving on to the pluge, I was able to adjust the brightness control to yield decent-looking results on that test pattern.


Next up was the SMPTE color bars. I had forotten my blue filter, but I doubt it would have done any good. The green was (as before) a freakish color, the Cyan was greenish, and the Magenta was purplish. I was able to get a marginally better result, but not really close to what I know it should look like. The most bizarre effect was achieved by trying to turn down the Color control to make the colors look a little less like a circus. The first notch down improved the green bar considerably. "Hooray!" I thought. I tried a second click. The green became BLOTCHY! Parts of it looked rather desaturated, while other parts were still greenish. A couple of more clicks down left the colors totally desaturated. I went back to the one-click position.


Next, the white crosshatch. Again, the geometry was NOT right. The vertical bars curved over like hooks towards the top of the screen. Also, the white vertical bars "bled" into the grayscale and color bar patterns, so that it looked as if they passed right through both patterns.


The monitor check showed relatively good geometry of the center circle, but the rectangular borders were off-center and bowed slightly.


I did look at some DVD content, but the JVC progressive-scan player kept locking up, so I was never able to get an extended audition. What I saw didn't look very good.


By this time, I was really rather disgusted. Due to some great fortune, the JVC regional rep was at the store working on other matters, and I chatted with him briefly after he helped set up the progressive DVD player. He did say that JVC will send a technician to your house to calibrate the set under warranty if it doesn't look right. My suggestion to him would be to get a technician to Filco as rapidly as possible.


So, in summary, this $10,000 set looked substantially worse than the $2000 Panasonic CRT sitting next to it. I would be interested to try another audition on a different set, to see if this one was either broken or horribly maladjusted. The problem is finding one. I already spent almost five hours round trip in the car going to Sacramento. My next-best bet is evidently Los Angeles (involving a plane trip). JVC's lack of commitment to marketing this set appears to be near-total, so that doesn't inspire me with great desire to pursue this set further. The Los Angeles shop is also some sort of discount place, so I may find a set just as bad off as the one in Sacramento.


Interestingly, the night before, I visited LaserLand Home Theater in San Jose to check out the new Sharp DLP front projector (the XV-Z9000U). This beast was PHENOMENAL. I returned Sunday, the bad taste from the D'Ahlia still in my mouth, and auditioned the Sharp for 2 hours with a number of DVDs and some content from HDNet. On a 106" 16:9 high-gain screen, it was like being in a whole other world. All the same source material was available to me that was on the D'Ahlia in Sacramento, and all looked as it should. Very dark scenes did lose a bit of detail, but were still watchable. I even ran all the THX test patterns and found the geometry perfect and the color rendition accurate (I remembered my blue filter, too). The kicker: same price as the D'Ahlia (minus the screen, obviously, and it doesn't have the DVI/HDCP connector or a tuner). The only issue I found with the Sharp was a very mild rainbow effect from the color wheel on black and white material.


Check out my longer review of the Sharp here if you're interested.


I'll follow up if I get another look at the D'Ahlia.


[edit: Let me just add a postscript. Tim at Filco couldn't have been nicer and more helpful. They really went out of their way to help me look at the set (crawling around behind to put in a progressive player and such). While I can't currently recommend the set, the folks at Filco shouldn't be tarred with that brush.]

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Mike Kobb

(Formerly "ReplayMike", but no longer affiliated with the company; these opinions are mine alone.)



[This message has been edited by JustMike (edited 10-02-2001).]
 

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Frankly, I think you should give up on this set. It's kind of a long-running joke by now anyway.


First of all, it looked great at CES -- in 2000!


By 2001, the "improved" D'Ahlia had a worse picture, cost more money, and was the lone announced product on the market that supported an evil copy protection scheme.


The set, I guess, has shipped only 20 months after first appearing at CES. No one here is even interested in it anymore, save you, Mike. That should tell you a lot. Not that there's anything wrong with you, just that the largest collection of videophiles on the net simply doesn't care about JVC's fabulous piece of overpriced junk.


The Mitsu DLP is a nice set if you want a closed box (when calibrated properly). Otherwise, move down to 50 and get plasma or move up to projection.


D'Ahlia must be JVC-speak for delayed and disappointing.


Mark
 

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"Hue" and "tint" are the same thing.


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HiDefDave
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, I would have to disagree with mostly all of what Mark said above.


The D'Ahlia looked like crap at CES 2000. It had terrible scaling artifacts and weird black "speckles" in the element. It looked substantially better in 2001. (I was there for both shows.) In fact, it looked GREAT at CES 2001, which is why I got so very interested in buying one.


Furthermore the Mits DLP doesn't look all that great to my eye. The black levels are not very good, and it's radically overpriced at $15k.


I *think* the D'Ahlia did ship in Japan after appearing at CES 2000. I suspect JVC may have pulled it for this market precisely because they saw the coming need for an encrypted connection, and didn't want to follow other CE manufacturers' lead by screwing their customers with a set that will be forced to watch down-res content.


So. My biggest grip with JVC and the D'Ahlia right now is that they seem to be unwilling or unable to do two things:


1) Ship a properly calibrated set. I mean, the one I saw was HORRIBLE. If you've read Gary Merson's review, the one he was given to review wasn't very good either (although it must have been better than what I saw). If you can't even deliver a well-set-up set at your own facility to a reviewer for a prominent magazine, well...


2) Get the set out to dealers. It's preposterous to have to drive 2-1/2 hours to see a television when you already live in a major metropolitan area. It's even worse to think that your only other option to see perhaps a better-calibrated set is to FLY to the other end of the state.


So, while I absolutely believe dpath when he says that his set looks great, I have no way to see for myself.


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Mike Kobb

(Formerly "ReplayMike", but no longer affiliated with the company; these opinions are mine alone.)
 

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As one of the few members of this forum that will admit to owning a D'Ahlia, I need to submit a counter opinion. My D'Ahlia has an exceptional picture with no geometry or objectionable color problems. I can only surmise that the one in Sacramento was defective or needed serious calibration. As I've stated previously, the advantages of the D'Ahlia are near-perfect geometry, excellent brightness, wide viewing angle and high resolution. In addition, it has a digital input for future connectivity. (Let's not rehash the evil DVI/HDCP argument again). Please see a properly set-up D'Ahlia before condemning it.
 

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Well, Mike, let's keep on disagreeing:


* I was at both CES shows and I disagree. I was blown away in 2000, and bored by it in 2001. Maybe it was better in 2001, but RELATIVELY SPEAKING it did nothing special for me the 2nd time around. Perhaps the world long since caught up.


* "I suspect JVC may have pulled it for this market precisely because they saw the coming need for an encrypted connection." This has to be wrong. Firstly, Mitsubishi already understood how to solve this problem 2 years ago: module replacement if needed. Secondly, Sony continues to produce brand-new, encryption-incapable products for many thousands of dollars (see Grand Wega).


* JVC is incapable of getting a properly calibrated set to dealers? Well, maybe it's nearly impossible to calibrate. Who knows?


* JVC is incapable of getting sets to dealers? See, I disagree. No one wants this set. If people wanted it, Anderson's, Good Guys, Fry's, etc. in Silicon Valley would have them. They all sell plasma. They all sell the 40" Wega. Good Guys and Andersons sell the DLP sets. I agree the Mitsu DLP is overpriced, but the guys at Anderson's set it up right and it looks real good. I wouldn't buy one given that I could buy a 50" plasma and a 42" plasma for $15K... Or a 42" plasma and a kick-ass projector... Or a Kia Sportage... But whatever.


The D'Ahlia is going to prove to be a "never was" product in the U.S. RPTVs are going away, slowly but surely, in favor of flat screens. Large format is going to be served by front projectors.


There may be a second-generation D-ILA set that does well, but I think it's clear this technology -- and its cousins -- have huge problems. Nearly 2 years to ship the D'Ahlia. An interminable delay on the Samsung fLCD. A continued wait on the RCA LCOS. Etc. etc.


Recommendation? Move on... Get a traditional RPTV from Mitsu, Panny, Toshiba, Sony or Pioneer. All make nice sets. Or buy a 50" plasma from Panasonic or Pioneer or maybe even Fujitsu.


Mark

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well Mark, it looks to me like you have some sort of axe to grind with the D'Ahlia. That's fine. I can live with that. I stand by my previous comments.


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Mike Kobb

(Formerly "ReplayMike", but no longer affiliated with the company; these opinions are mine alone.)
 

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Mike, you were truly in luck when Jim at JVC was in the store. When I visited the store, all I had were three salesmen taking turns selling me a set without knowing the answers to my few educated questions.


I did think color saturation and composition were odd on the D'Ahlia compared to the Panasonics. But the biggest draw back was the price, when conventional big screen HD sets are approaching $2500 level this days.


Mark, I don't think RPTVs will fade away though. We all know the limitation of front projector for average setting, but plasma will not catch on unless they can produce 60"+ size. A 42" screen is ill-equipped for an HT HDTV setup unless your viewing distance is VERY short.


A flat panel will be a perfect fashion statement for most part but not for folks who are trying to save for HDTV sets to replace their 36" tubes sitting in their HT cabinets 20 feet from the couch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I think RPTV will fade away when you can get a flat panel of the same size for the same price, AND it has the same picture quality (or better), AND they don't have burn-in issues. The plasmas have gotten MUCH better in the last four years (the new Marantz is very nice) but they still have grayscale issues and I understand that they're still more susceptible to burn-in. Plus they're still about a factor of five too expensive.


I think people in general seem to agree that D-ILA can produce a very good picture (look at all the folks with G15 projectors) with no moving parts, no convergence issues and no burn-in possible. So, an RPTV based on this mechanism would seem to be quite a strong player -- at least as good as DLP. It's a shame that this particular set doesn't seem to be fully baked, but I don't think you can broad-brush the technology.


I suspect that the animosity towards the D'Ahlia is likely due to two factors. First, the delayed introduction and doubling of the original price would alienate people. Second, people for whom 5C or HDCP is anathema would have a resentment towards any set implementing such a technology. (Frankly, I think the latter group is going to have a lot of resentment in the coming year...)


Ah, well. I think my strategy will actually be pretty close to what Mark suggested. I'll probably go buy a nice Mits or Sony 55" or 65" RPTV and wait another generation or two for a digital projector. My tubes will probably get burned in because I'll be watching a lot of 4:3 content, but there ya have it. In the interim, maybe I'll be able to get my room set up to have better light control and be suitable for a DLP or D-ILA front projector.


I know digital (DLP, D-ILA or something else) is what I want, but we're still a little to early on the curve and I want widescreen NOW! http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


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Mike Kobb

(Formerly "ReplayMike", but no longer affiliated with the company; these opinions are mine alone.)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by rogo:
Secondly, Sony continues to produce brand-new, encryption-incapable products for many thousands of dollars (see Grand Wega).
But then, Sony's also producing three encryption-capable TVs this year, and has been making chipsets to support the 5C protocol since the spec was completed three years ago (as has Matsushita and NEC and one or two others). Adding 5C copy-protection to a set requires the addition of a good bit of hardware and computational power, lowering profit margins if the sets are offered for comparable prices to those without it. Copy-protection is of immediate interest only to people interested in watching HD prerecorded theatrical releases on D-VHS tape, which will almost certainly require copy-protected equipment to view in full HD resolution. Maybe these are reasons that Sony continues to produce non-copy-protected monitors, even if they believe, as a the owner of one of several of the largest motion picture labels, that copy-protection is necessary, which they've publically and repeatedly stated that they do.


I read a statement by a Zenith official reading something like "Copy-protection is necessary and inevitable, but please don't hesitate to buy our non-copy-protected HD equipment available now". CE manufacturer speak with fork tongue.


-- Mike Scott

 

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Quote:
Ah, well. I think my strategy will actually be pretty close to what Mark suggested. I'll probably go buy a nice Mits or Sony 55" or 65" RPTV and wait another generation or two for a digital projector.
About a year and a half ago I was really hot on the D'Ahlia because the technology sounded soooo good. But then I gave up when the introduction was delayed and bought a Pioneer Elite 610Pro instead.


Man, am I glad I didn’t wait!!


But I still believe the D'Ahlia will eventually make a fantastic and cheap product. After all, it is just a light bulb reflecting off a piece of semi-processed sand.

Quote:
Ah, well. I think my strategy will actually be pretty close to what Mark suggested. I'll probably go buy a nice Mits or Sony 55" or 65" RPTV and wait another generation or two for a digital projector. My tubes will probably get burned in because I'll be watching a lot of 4:3 content…
I think you owe it to yourself to take a look at the Elite.


As for burn in, if you use one of the stretch or zoom modes for all but critical 4:3 programming, there will not be a problem. Besides, more and more programming is 16:9 anyway.



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STOP DVI/HDCP; Boycott JVC


[This message has been edited by Larry Hutchinson (edited 10-04-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm planning to have a look at the Elite tomorrow! How does the pricing on these typically compare to the Platinum Mitsubishi sets?


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Mike Kobb

(Formerly "ReplayMike", but no longer affiliated with the company; these opinions are mine alone.)
 

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<<Well Mark, it looks to me like you have some sort of axe to grind with the D'Ahlia. >>


<<Ah, well. I think my strategy will actually be pretty close to what Mark suggested. I'll probably go buy a nice Mits or Sony 55" or 65" RPTV and wait another generation or two for a digital projector. >>


Axe to grind? I was actually trying to save you money and heartache. Apparently, we are actually pretty much on the same page here.


FWIW, I don't need size, so I just bought the Panny plasma from Dell for $4500, a 2.5x premium over, say, the new Toshiba of the same size (not a 5x premium).


Enjoy your new conventional RPTV. The new models are great. In 2-3 years, the already fab front projectors are almost certainly gonna be fabulous. In addition, by then the plasmas will have fallen by 50%, the DLP RPTVs will be sub-$3000 and, perhaps, some new technology will also allow for large panels.


As for D-ILA in a box, I dunno. The RCA apparently has all sorts of problems as had the JVC. I know D-ILA projectors are fabulous, but they are loud and hot... Maybe that's part of the challenge in these RPTVs?


Mark

 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yeah, I think I'm down to two choices:


Buy a Mitsubishi 65981 (65", built-in HD ATSC tuner and FireWire) and be happy for a couple of years while I wait for the FP selection to mature a bit. Cost: ~$4000 + tax.


Buy a Sharp XV-Z9000U front projector, deal with the light control issues in my room, and cross my fingers on the subject of copy protection. Cost: ~$8000-9000, depending upon how much light control I sink into the project.


The Sharp's picture would be.... 40 INCHES larger on the 16:9 diagonal. Sigh. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


Anyway, I appreciate the input, and I'm sorry if I was snippy. I got a bit riled by the "nobody here is interested in it, except you" comment. Obviously, from traffic in other D'Ahlia threads, there is continued interest from people other than myself.


FWIW, I spoke with a person knowledgeable about D-ILA technology today, and he was pretty confident that the D'Ahlia could be adjusted to look MUCH better than the way I saw it. I don't doub it. But, I want to see one adjusted that way before I plunk down the money, and that seems to be virtually impossible.


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Mike Kobb

(Formerly "ReplayMike", but no longer affiliated with the company; these opinions are mine alone.)
 

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I've seen that Mitsubishi and it is a great looking set. I am personally probably done with RPTV, unless one of these new technologies does offer a breakthrough.


My new dream system is plasma, drop-down screen, drop-down projector. Plasma for day-to-day, big screen when needed.


In my current setup, the plasma is all I need (room too small for projector).


Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
A friend at work was telling me about another flat screen technology that's probably a year or two off still. "Inorganic LED" or something like that. Thin, bright and cheap if you believe the press. Of course, the same was supposed to be true of plasma... I like the idea of a thin display and a projector for movies.


I'm actually thinking about a future possibility -- a roll-down perf screen that will come down in front of my RPTV. That would allow me to use the same center speaker -- on top of my RPTV -- with the screen down for use of the projector. Ah, dreaming. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif


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Mike Kobb

(Formerly "ReplayMike", but no longer affiliated with the company; these opinions are mine alone.)
 

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Quote:
A friend at work was telling me about another flat screen technology that's probably a year or two off still. "Inorganic LED" or something like that.
Organic -- not inorganic. OLEDs have come a long long way in the past few years and are actually used in some products such as cell phones and car stereos. Just a few years back the lifetime of OLEDs was measured in minutes and I would never have believed they could be made stable enough for products.


I am now a believer and can imagine that in 5 or 10 years we may have 100" OLED TV screens.



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STOP DVI/HDCP; Boycott JVC
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for the correction, Larry! Apparently, the company in question has a desktop-sized display prototype now, and expects to have a 50" wall-sized unit in another year or two. I'll post an update when I find the name of the company.


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Mike Kobb

(Formerly "ReplayMike", but no longer affiliated with the company; these opinions are mine alone.)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by JustMike:
Buy a Mitsubishi 65981 (65", built-in HD ATSC tuner and FireWire) and be happy for a couple of years while I wait for the FP selection to mature a bit. Cost: ~$4000 + tax
Do you mean Mitsubishi's WT-65869, which Gary Merson claimed was supposed to ship in September (in the September/October issue of "The Perfect Vision")? I haven't been able to find anyone showing this or listing it for sale on the net. Where have you seen it? (Somewhere up in the South Bay, I'd guess. I moved from there back at the end of July and miss Computer Literacy Bookstores and the convenient plethora of Fry's Electronics--there's only one here. Of course, a very pretty beach is less than 10 minutes from where I live now, which is some consolation http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif ).


-- Mike Scott
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yes, that's the one! Sorry, bad memory. I went to Anderson's in Redwood City, and while they didn't have one in, they expected them in this month and were willing to take an advanced order.


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Mike Kobb

(Formerly "ReplayMike", but no longer affiliated with the company; these opinions are mine alone.)
 
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