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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently have a Sim2 HT-300+ demo in my home theatre, only until tomorrow morning (it's being installed at a customer on Friday). I'd like some tips on how to best evaluate it, possible source material to use and things to watch for, etc.


The dealer also set up a Sim2 SVD 800 HD 7" CRT projector, but had problems getting it calibrated, so it's out of commission until Friday morning, when they plan to get it up and running after removing the 300+. So I can do temporally removed A/B, but unfortuately they'll be at leat a day apart. I also hope to get a TV3 to demo, but given backlogs it might be a few weeks or more.


At CES I liked the Dwin TV3 and the Yamaha DPX-1000 the best, I thought that the 300+ wasn't as bright and didn't have the punch.


In my theatre, I have a 150" 4:3 sceen, using as a 137" 16:9 for the 300+ demo, it's a Stewart white screen, not sure model, I think 1.3 gain or so. I have excellent light control (dedicated room, one rear side window with shutters and blinds), plus dimmable lights and sconces I can play with to see the impact of ambient lighting.


I played with a few disks yesterday, then watched One Hour Photo with my girlfriend. Even with some ambient light (enough to be able to see the buttons on the remote, ensure I wasn't going to knock over the wine glass, etc.), the picture seemed bright enough for an enjoyable experience. I could see screen dooring back to about 1.3 screen width, particularly in white scenes (which there were a lot of in One Hour Photo), which was a little disappointing as I like to sit close, but it looks like we'll probably set up the first row of seating at about 1.4 or 1.5.


The one thing that disappointed me, and maybe this is the case in all HD2 projectors (I'd love some feedback here), is the black level / contrast, particularly in dark scenes. I guess I understand the reasons - with a dark scene, most of the lamp output goes to the light trap, which is

I assume I won't see these issues with the CRT, but I'm strongly leaning towards digital from an ease/futureproof/sourcing perspective. I plan to use as source (in priority order) 1) DVD (currently a Sony 7700), 2) DBS (Sony DirectTivo), 3) XBox 4) (but likely moving up over time) HDTV (satellite + over air) 5) PC (including both PC display, and Windows Media Center).


BTW, the Dwin dealer trying to find the TV3 mentioned that the TV3 will be upgradable to the HD3 chip, if true that would be a big plus, but I hadn't heard that before.
 

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Skypalace,

last Saturday I held a demo with the Colorfacts CF-6000 bundle (a spectroradiometer from Milori we use at www.htprojectors.com for our measures) at a SIM2 2-day demo held here in Rome.


They had a SD800 Millennium 7" CRT (basically, same machine as the standard 800) and an HT300+ in direct comparison.


The only thing affecting performances was that the CRT had a 244 cm. base, while the DLP was set to 200.


This lead a lot of attendances to prefer the digital projector (brighter image and good resolution).

Obviously, such a condition can be misleading.


Besides that, since I've been using the SIM2 HT200, HT300 and HT300+ continuously since year 2000, I can suggest you is starting with a test disc to perform an initial gray scale subjective calibration.

I don't think you have other measuring instruments, so this is the very first step to go.


What you say about black level can be greatly improved by a correct brightness and contrast setup, that vary a lot from system to system.


I can assure you that the HD2 is still not perfect, but it's a great step in the right direction regarding black performance. And light control is definitely not an issue for the HT300+, the Marantz, the NEC HT1000, the Dwin, and other pjs I had the chance to see.


What is true is that you have digital noise at low levels, but you can't judge a DLP with same parameters you are using with a CRT: in this case you MUST get close to the screen to see what is scanning line situation, with a digital pj you MUST step back because the perception is completely different.


I can advice you that HD settings are largely different from the one you can use via the DVI, VGA or component inputs. I strongly suggest you to connect the HT300+ via the DVI input and use the setting 5, Pixel to pixel, from an HTPC outputting a native 1280 x 720 resolution. This is the way to look at a digital pj.


Regarding software, I encourage you to take a look at the reviews you find on www.htprojectors.com, where I generally describe what to look and why...


Good luck and have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Wow, things change in a hurry! Got a call from a local Dwin dealer than the Dwin factory rep was in town, and they could set up the TV3 and demo it, but he (and the TV3) would be gone in a couple hours. Rushed home, we got the TV3 set up and a q&d calibration with Avia, and was able to do a direct A/B against the 300+.


Source was a Sony DVP-7700 DVD player, 480i. Given the tight timeframe, tests were done with Avia and Austin Powers: Goldmember, scene 1 (opening sequence for overall, Britney for black/contrast, dance numbers for punch/color).


Brightness: Both were very close in brightness with similar brightness/contrast/color settings - I'd seen the Sim2 as dim at CES, but the Dwin was not perceivably brighter. Both were very sufficient on a 150" (acting as a 137" 16:9) screen in a light-controlled room, even with some ambient light turned on. Advantage: Tie


Contrast & Black Level: Observationally, both were very close. The top & bottom masks (2.35 film from 16:9 projector) were definitely darker on the Dwin than on the Sim2, but it took a fair bit of A/B (sliding DVD covers in front of alternate lenses) to see visible differences in a relatively dark screen. Sim2 was a little more washed out because of slightly higher stray light. Went through a second calibration to ensure brightness and contrast were as close as possible, same results. Advantage: Dwin (slightly).


Color: With a quick color calibration with Avia and a blue filter, the Sim2 was a fair bit redder (or was the Dwin greener, hard to tell). Showing color bars, both showed very noticible bleed between red and magenta. Both had noticible bleed between red and blue, though there was more on the Sim2. Advantage: Dwin


Scaler: Didn't play with this much, both were reasonable (saw no noticable artifacts/flaws in the limited watching I did), but I sure like what I read and hear about Dwin's custom scalar more than the DCDi in the Sim2. Advantage: Dwin, based on hearsay.


Rainbows: I saw none on either. I've never seen them though (though never saw anything with a 2x wheel), so maybe I'm just not susceptible. Advantage: Tie


Screen door / Fill ratio: Seemed identical on both, screen door visible from about 1.3x. Advantage: Tie


Flexibility: Love the 2-piece unit and additional input flexibility of the Dwin. Advantage: Dwin


Sound: The Dwin was quieter, and the noise I did hear (fan noise) was less annoying than the more high-pitched color wheel whine of the Sim2. Neither were at all noticable while watching with sound turned on, both were deks-mounted within 4' of my head. Advantage: Dwin, but probably not a significant issue with either.


Installation: The Sim2 requires that the projector be within the display height, and doesn't have the level of flexibility of the Dwin's (manual) optical keystone. I'd be able to mount the Dwin directly to my ceiling with the standard mount, would need to drop down the Sim2 at least a foot. Then of course, single cable versus multiple: Advantage: Dwin


Price: Dwin retail is 20+% less than the Sim2 retail. Haven't looked much at street prices (yet), but seems to be a clear Dwin advantage.


Overall Image Quality: Very close (as you might expect from two HD2 units), but from the above, Dwin by a bit.


Overall conclusion:

I'd be happy with either one of these units in the room. Both were very watchable, bright, punchy projectors. Given all the above though, it seems to be a pretty easy choice between the two. Definitely Dwin TV3.


I'll see what happens when the 800 (hopefully) comes online tomorrow morning. Unfortunately the 300+ will be gone so I won't be able to do direct A/B.


I did hear one potentially disturbing thing from the Dwin rep: he claimed that with the HDCP-compliant DVI input, that DVI input MUST be HDCP in order to work. I asked him if he was positive, and not just that HDCP was supported, but that non-HDCP DVI would also work. His understanding was that DVI input must be HDCP. Can anyone confirm/deny? This could be a significant issue, would effectively block using an HTPC with DVI input.


Andrea above (thanks for the info, just read it after composing most of this) says the way to watch a digital projector is direct pixel from an HTPC via DVI, I don't have a video card at home with DVI out, but has anyone done this with the TV3?


Oh, one more thing. Above, the dealer mentioned HD2->HD3 upgrade on the TV3. The Dwin rep did not confirm this. He said that HD1 to HD2 required significant changes to the light engine, and he does not believe this would be required for HD3. My reading of his comments was that he thought (but wasn't sure) that it could be technically possible, but that he had no idea whether or not the factory was planning to support such an upgrade. Fair enough.
 

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I have my TV3 hooked up using a Bravo D1 at 720p and also an HTPC at 720p. Both produce an excellent picture, but I do give the edge to the HTPC. With the D1 I can put in a DVD and watch the movie...which is something that I could not do with the HTPC. with the HTPC I can tweak the picture to it's fullest.


Either way, I have not had any issues feeding the DWIN 480i, 480p, 720p or 1080i.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Great, thanks for the info Cary, that solves my last concern about the Dwin. I assume these were all over DVI.
 

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Wow--I like my Dwin, but I didn't expect it to sweep every category ;)
 

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Skypalace,


Yes that was using the DVI...the only reason to get the D1.:D
 

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I would get it because of the big V on the front. ;)
 

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The 300+ is not confined to being within the screen height.

I have installed them above doorways without using any digital correction.

Check out the Stars & Stripes on V.E. The DCDI does a fantastic job.

The interface for the Sim2 allows you to have one cable feeding the unit.

Those user adjustable aspect ratios are real handy for making a 1.85 movie fit a 16:9 screen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks, I wasn't doing the setup/tweaking on the Sim2, the dealer was doing it, my comments were based on what they told me. Glad to hear it's more flexible in installation than I'd thought.
 
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