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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would like to thank Mark Ichiyama for referring me to this forum.



Ok, I am 18, and looking for a complete DLP projector system for $1500 or less, for a rec room in my apartment. I have read a few brief guides on the internet, but am still not sure which brands have the edge over each other.


Specs I am looking for: XGA non compressed, 1000 ANSI lumens or better (the room is a basement...so 1000 should work well?), and both 4:3 and 16:9 modes. All the necessary hookups like VGA, RGB component, S-VHS, etc. The one thing I'm not sure of...is what is the minimum value contrast ratio I should look for? 1000:1? Long bulb half-life highly preferred.


Thanks in advance for all your help!
 

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you want to look at the sanyo plv-z1 (matinee d1 is a rebadged sanyo with a longer warrantee) or pannasonic 300u. They are lcd not dlp though.


If you want DLP the Infocus X1 is your best choice right now but its svga not xga. Picture is still quite good. Some say better than most.


Read the reviews at projectorcentral.com
 

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You won't find a new XGA DLP pj under 2K. What XGA you'll find will be low contrast LCD, only suitible for powerpoint. It is better to go for lower res (1/4HD Sanyo z1 or VGA X1/Dell/Gateway/Epson) with better contrast, and thus better video rendition. The lower res is noted when you try computer text conversion, and is not as noticible on video- even HD content, however low contrast (400:1 or less) makes for flat video.


As for lumens, the reported lumen often don't hold that much weight. The 1100 lumen X1 actually puts out less light in film mode that the 700 lumen z1. With some lt control 600+ lumens is fine. Higher lumens are usually targetted at presenters and not HT (with some exceptions). Higher end machines even have irises that decrease lumens in favor of higher contrast.


Projectorcentral.com has great reviews, definately look there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Much appreciation for your prompt replies.


That website has some excellent content, thanks for pointing me in that direction! :)


Objectively it would seem the X1 edges out the Z1 in terms of technical specifications (lumens and contrast ratio), however, objective user reviews seem to prefer the Z1 over the X1.


I am leaning towards the Sanyo.


My main concern at this point is the reproduction of standard NTSC TV broadcasts. Will it look ok?


About screens...


I have plenty of space to maximize the diagonal viewing area of either unit (up to 200" or even more if necessary). Are there any very large, relatively inexpensive screens that are popular among you HT enthusiasts? Is there a specific "gain" value I shoul be looking for on the screens on eBay?


Thanks again!
 

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If you want "black" to look black you may want to paint a DIY screen. Light gray should do the trick. Blacks is the biggest problem for digital projectors, but it can be taken care of, at least for the X1 anyway. Not sure about the Z1. That's LCD, which I've heard on a few occassions have worse black levels than DLPs. Not sure if the Z1 is one of them or not.


One thing about lumens you probably do not need more than 1000. 500-1000 is fine. I believe the X1 is around 500-600 lumens when in film mode (plenty bright on my 9 foot screen). Also, your eyes will not percieve 1000 lumens as being twice as bright as 500 lumens. There will be a little difference, but it won't even come close to looking twice as bright.


If you are planning to use this for home theater you probably don't need more than 1000 (500-1000 should be plenty)? It doesn't matter how many lumens you have if you have lights shining directly on the screen it will be washed out. Also, with lights on "blacks" (percieved blacks) look much worse (although much better with a light grey screen). If you plan on doing any ambient light viewing a gray screen will make it MUCH more watchable. The blacks will actually come close to looking black with some ambient light (if it's not shining directly at or on the screen from a close distance), but with a white screen blacks will look EXTREMELY washed out.


PS: The X1 ROCKS (and it's $999.00 or less with a 5 year warranty! Bulb life is upto 4,000 hours and contrast ratio is listed at 2000:1, but I hear it's actually like 1200:1, which isn't too bad)!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
MTyson,


There will be very little if any ambient light. For the gray screen...would simply covering the wall with an even textured gray material from Rag Shop work?


Did you or any of your friends experience a rainbow effect with the X1? How does it look with standard non-digital TV? Thanks.
 

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awol - see overclkr's screen shots of the Dell 3200mp. It matches the specs you are looking for as well as your price point. I'm using it for HT and so far it rocks.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by tkx1
You won't find a new XGA DLP pj under 2K. What XGA you'll find will be low contrast LCD, only suitible for powerpoint. It is better to go for lower res (1/4HD Sanyo z1 or VGA X1/Dell/Gateway/Epson) with better contrast, and thus better video rendition. The lower res is noted when you try computer text conversion, and is not as noticible on video- even HD content, however low contrast (400:1 or less) makes for flat video.
The M20X has finally dipped below $2K (street). It is a XGA 3X wheel DLP with the 12 degree DDR DMD. Early models had a problem with bulb start but evidently some firmware change has fixed that. It has orangy reds and typically the thought is that the LT240 is a better machine despite only a 2X wheel.


The LT240 was over $2K the last time I checked but you might be able to find a closeout now that the LT240K replacement is widely available. The K models are brighter.


Personally, I'm pretty happy with my M20X. While the LT240 is quieter the M20X is brighter and has a faster wheel for fewer rainbows. As an aside, the 75u is an XGA LCD with MLA. It was almost good enough in the screendoor/FPN department for me to get (but not quite). While lower CR it does have better colors than the typical DLP. I wouldn't say that it is "only" suitable for powerpoint although the M20X outperformed it on HD.


I'm looking forward to seeing the HS20...with higher res and MLA, SDE might finally be a non-issue for me.


Nigel
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by awol
MTyson,


There will be very little if any ambient light. For the gray screen...would simply covering the wall with an even textured gray material from Rag Shop work?
If you really are going with a 200" screen, depending on your seating distance, you will see the limitations of the SVGA panel. Typically, those happiest with the X1 project on far smaller screens (say 6 ft screens and smaller). IMHO you will need a lot of lumens to get any sort of decent performance on a 200" gray screen. Far more than the X1 can produce.


The commonly recommended economy gray screen is the DaLite High Contrast Cinema Vision or the Da-Mat High Contrast. The Stewart Firehawk/Grayhawk screens are the typically recommended high end screens.


The HCCV and Firehawk have a bit of gain (1.1 and 1.3 if I remember correctly) which will be helpful with a larger screen. The DaLite High Power is another good screen if you intend on table mounting. Some folks like it even with a ceiling mount. I wouldn't recommend the DaMat HC or Grayhawk with the X1.


Nigel
 

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"My main concern at this point is the reproduction of standard NTSC TV broadcasts. Will it look ok?"

-The X1, with its Farouda DCDi, has a better processor of 480i signals than the Z1. Although the X1 picture will look better for SD TV(ie cable) than the Z1, neither will look great. The X1 shows a bigger 4:3 picture than 16:9, which sort of highlights the flaws of a low res signal, but this can be displayed as a smaller 480X320 "native" display. The Z1 shows a larger 16:9 picture (its native format) and letterboxes on the sides for 4:3 material.


About rainbow concerns and the X1:

The X1 is a great value/great picture quality, but rainbows can really bother some with everyday use. Tons has been written on this, but suffice to say you should try one out before purchasing (B.B. or infocus allows trials/returns.) There is no predicting whether you will be bothered by the rainbows (almost everyone can see them when pointed out, but only some find them annoying.)


If you are not bothered by rainbows then go for it, it seems to be a much bigger issue with everyday use, and rarely bothers friends when they come over. See this poll: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...=rainbows+poll

93 of 97 people said rainbows did't bother guests. I'm sure this poll wasn't perfect, but lots of people love to show off their X1, and hear little or nothing about the rainbows.


As per screens: Grey is often used for LCD when light contol is good to darken blacks. The X1 and other DLP PJ's have less of a problem with black levels. Many DLP users go to higher gain (Hi Power, VideoSpecra, Silverstar($$)) to get more visual impact. Lots written in the screen forum (search DLP and screen or X1 and screen, also see the recent screen comparison posts.) Get your projector first and see what you want to improve- brightness or black level.


Also- the optima H30 comes out soon, which is a lower res (800X600 or 480) DLP with a faster 4X 6 seg color wheel at about the price of an X1 (thus greatly reducing rainbow issues). Likely XGA DLP will stay nearly 2-3 higher than X1 prices for the forseeable future.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by tkx1


As per screens: Grey is often used for LCD when light contol is good to darken blacks. The X1 and other DLP PJ's have less of a problem with black levels. Many DLP users go to higher gain (Hi Power, VideoSpecra, Silverstar($$)) to get more visual impact.
I would guess that for the DLP users more folks have gray screens (HCCV, FireHawk, GrayHawk, HC-DM) than high gain screens (High Power, SilverStar).


Gray screens traditionally have the perception of better ambient light rejection (over white) so is often used in situations with a little more ambient light...as long as the projector is producing enough lumens to get you to a decent ft/l level. The Firehawk seems mentioned the most in this area.


The High Power, with the narrow cone seems to do okay with off axis ambient. Lots of folks would like to see a gray High Power screen offered.


Nigel
 

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nigel_ht:

You are of right, lots of DLP users go for grey because it boosts blacks. I should not have over-generalized...

However, since the X1 is entry level, many go for DIY solutions as opposed to higher priced grey screens, and I haven't seen that many X1 users push DIY grey sceens (ie misty evening) as LCD users. Lotys of X1 users are happy with white boards like Parkland and do-able(search screen forum) and blackout cloth (off white or white.)


As for lower priced screens there are not many well priced grey options (a high gain grey would be great, and I hear silverstar is great). HCMW is greyish but has recieved poor feedback. Definately get screen samples and check out the screen comparison thread.


re:ambient light rejection and grey screens- this has been debated at length by many more knowledgeable than me. It seems to boil down to what you consider "rejection." A grey sceen has better black levels but lower white and color levels, so to some the overal effect is less contrast. High power screens objectively do worse with black, but often boost colors and whites to the point that black levels appear good because of the contrast. Also, the limitted cone of hi-power also minimizes the effects of off axis ambient light. I wish this was more straightforward, but for screens, like pj selection its good to see what pleases your own eyes.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by tkx1


re:ambient light rejection and grey screens- this has been debated at length by many more knowledgeable than me. It seems to boil down to what you consider "rejection." A grey sceen has better black levels but lower white and color levels, so to some the overal effect is less contrast. High power screens objectively do worse with black, but often boost colors and whites to the point that black levels appear good because of the contrast. Also, the limitted cone of hi-power also minimizes the effects of off axis ambient light. I wish this was more straightforward, but for screens, like pj selection its good to see what pleases your own eyes.
Heh, I don't know either. :) I have seen the Firehawk do better with ambient light than my own white screen that has more gain and if I remember correctly roughly the same viewing angle which is pretty decent for the FireHawk. Then again the Pearlescent that I own is a fraction of the cost.


Every few months I decide I want to upgrade to a High Power and but end up buying a few hundred dollars worth of DVDs instead (mostly seasons of various series I enjoy...at $70-$100 a pop its real easy to equal the price of the HP).


Nigel
 
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