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Hello,

I returned today from INFOCOMM and being from the Home Theater segment of the market, the show was a real letdown in comparison to CEDIA, but that said, there were a couple of very interesting video products of note.

First, the QXGA in my opinion is BETTER than film. Folks, think of the cleanest image you have ever seen and double it. Stretch that out onto a 20' screen and you have literally a window into whatever you are watching. This is as close to reality as it gets. If you've ever seen a $100k 3 chip DLP image, the Q demolishes it on every level. Sorry to go on, but it was a breathtaker...

The other two product intros from JVC were also very solid. Though the 150HT was playing 'only' DVD, it was very filmlike with very nice contrast. The M2000 also looked phenomenal. I was also impressed by the computer images displayed by the new baby D-ILA, though it was on the outside of the booth and had a bit of ambient light to deal with. Nobody could tell me what the final contrast ratio ended up being.

Sanyo had a nice show as well, the PLV-60 showcased excellent black level, but in my opinion (LASIK corrected 20/15+ vision) the pixelization is a drawback. The MLA-enhanced XP-45 (3500 ANSI lumens, DVI in, same case and specs as XP21) looked better in my opinion on a much larger screen located directly above the -60. The XP45 is set to retail for $12,995, just slightly above the XP21 which I was told it will replace by fall.

NEC had a monster booth and was introducing its 61 inch plasma. What a beauty... Perhaps only bettered by the high-contrast Panasonic 50" plasma, NEC is really a step above either Sony or Fujitsu on the image quality. I was NOT impressed by any of the NEC projectors, except for perhaps the 3-chip DLP unit they were showing with a $17,000 ISCO anamorphic lens. Note: the image was noticeably bowed on the top and the bottom of the image and did not fill the entire screen. The other problem was NEC demo'd the same footage of some parade which JVC was showing on their QXGA projector. If you thought you couldn't tell the difference between one $120k projector to a $225k projector, think again.

The InFocus LP530 looked the best of all the entry level projectors shown, with excellent color and good pixel fill factor, far less for some reason than many of the other XGA DLP's shown by just about every manufacturer.

I don't have time to go into everything, but there were a few noticeable disappointments.

1. The SXGA LCOS projector from Hitachi. Looked like dogcrap on a 60" screen in some nook in the booth. Almost an afterthought.

2. To every manufacturer who shows a projector on an unevenly or incompletely filled screen, shame on you. We could never get away with that on an installation but you would be amazed at how many were set up improperly.

3. TI's presentation: Showcases the Wi-Fi wireless system not out yet, demos a powerpoint presentation, then an excel spreadsheet, then shows everyone not only can you see the spreadsheet, but you can type stuff in and you can also see that on the screen, then goes back to the PPT presentation! Enough already.

4. The lack of ANY FProj with the 1280x960 16:9 DLP chip. Why can we buy $15k rear projections but not a $12k FP?

5. Higher resolution projectors: the PLV-60 did NOT look better than the XGA XP-45 and some company was showing a 1920x1536 projector of unknown type that looked like junk compared to any XGA projector. Also, Sanyo was showing doublestacked 7700 lumen UXGA (1600x1200) LCD projectors that looked as if they could double as a tanning bed for the entire show, entirely too much contrast and blooming for a horrible image quality.

6. Toshiba's widescreen projector: It was next to the Sanyo and was utterly blown off the map on the simple measure of color temp accuracy. The flesh tones were way out of control and the black level was terrible. No wonder so few companies chose to participate in the projector shoot-out.

7. SONY: Wow, a company of complete mediocrity. They were not showing anything new. Guess what they were using in the home theater showcase? The G90. Wow, nobody has ever seen that model before. Also, no wonder Sony's plasma displays are so cheap, they are completely outperformed by every NEC and Panasonic model. Where's the 50"? No 61" either? Explained they were not in the shootout because everything is so good, people make misinformed decisions about image quality. I would agree if this were a double blind comparison of $25k speakers, but most folks can tell the good from the bad or mediocre almost immediately and be able to explain why. Not a bad move, though, because Sony would have lost in every price and resolution measure in the shootout. I was very disappointed because I usually am impressed by Sony display products.

That was more than my 2 cents, but I hope I covered some products not otherwise noted.

Regards,

Steve

Synergy MultiMedia, LLC
 

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Steve,


Great report. Thanks.


I'm not surprised by Sony's effort, or rather, lack of it. You should have seen how they butchered their G90 demo in their own booth at Stereophile in NYC a few weeks ago (not the first time they've done that). They actually used it show us the difference between 480i and 480P in a room with most of the lights on.


Why bother? Neither looked good because of all the scan lines and ambient light. I mean, who cares how 480P looks on a G90 -- it's a total waste of a state-of-the-art projector and valuable exposure time to the general public! If I were Joe Six Pack, and not someone into this hobby, or even an uneducated audiophile, I'd have come away from that demo saying, "If that's a top notch $37,000 projector, then large screen video in the home still has a ways to go...I'll stick with the high end audio, thank you very much."
 

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Augustine B.,


If DVDs are all you want to watch, you need to seriously consider the 16:9 chip (switchable to 4:3) Seleco HT200DM with a Stewart GrayHawk screen and a progressive DVD player. No digital projector straight out of the box does DVDs better right now.
 

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I agree that the JVC QXGA demo was stunning. The demo source was entirely live action HD, though. The next thing to see is actual HD telecine material that was performed with the QXGA projector as the visual reference, which I was told should be on the books at ShowEast this fall.


Also, anyone out there correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the largest plasma display on demo was Samsung with their 63-inch.


Perry


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Movie Sound Editor,

Widescreen Review
www.widescreenreview.com
 

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Steve,


I agree with you on all counts! Seems we walked away with similar impressions:
  • HDTV on D-ILA only gets better and better as you increase the resolution...all the way to the point where the projector is actually UP-scaling HDTV (QXGA). That was incredible.


    In fact, I believe that you are technically right about the film comparison. One of the JVC guys said that the contrast and resolution were greater than film, but there was no gate jutter or degradation to take away from the image. Anyway, I agree. Amazing...


    ...and to think that they should be less than $100K in under a year.
  • The SXGA LCOS projector from Hitachi. Looked like dogcrap. Yep. Why even issue a press release if you are not going to set it up and show it off?
  • The lack of ANY FProj with the 1280x960 16:9 DLP chip. I don't think that TI was focussing on their technology advantages as well as they should have. Some of us really get into see the latest/greatest and knowing how things work. Why no new color wheel? Why no 848x400 16:9 chips? Why no 1280x960 chips?
  • SONY: Wow, a company of complete mediocrity. They were not showing anything new. Definitely a big let-down from Sony. As a side-note, the 10HT looks worse and worse as these new projectors come on the scene and make it look increasingly dated. The only new thing I saw was the announcement for IP addressable projectors coming from Sony. Yawn.


[This message has been edited by milori (edited 06-16-2001).]
 

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Perry,


I think JVC might actually have shown some telecined film at one point. They had a trailer for Texas Rangers showing every once in a while, but the transfer was pretty ******. Dust and scratches all around.


Regards,


Kam Fung
 

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Re Hitachi looks like dogcrap.


Sorry guys I can't agree with you there. I do agree that their demo was pathetic but the picture, I thought, was impressive. Nevermind the fact it has numerous inputs, including DVI, and was much quiter than the JVC units.


Did either of you play around with the unit at all? What day did you see it? I saw it on Friday afternoon. i wonder if Hitachi made any adjustments since you saw it.


Difference of opinion. That's what makes the world go round.
 

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The Hitachi was the only non-JVC projector I saw that didn't have some screen door. The conditions under which it was viewable were not light controlled very well and the scalar needed some help. Iw would have benefitted from a Greyhawk.


Given the price and the fact that this was a prototype, its worth watching.


RCA will be using LCOS in a 61" RPTV available in the fall.


Sanyo will be OEMing LCOS chips from someone (Hitachi?) and have a LCOS projector in the future. They only had a breadboarded demo at their booth. (The guts were in the base).



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Ken Elliott


[This message has been edited by kelliot (edited 06-17-2001).]
 

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SteveHiFi:


You said: "The InFocus LP530 looked the best of all the entry level projectors shown, with excellent color and good pixel fill factor, far less for some reason than many of the other XGA DLP's shown by just about every manufacturer."


I am confused by this statement. Is "good pixel fill factor" better when there is more, or when there is less. Also, how does one tell what the pixel fill factor is? Could this be a function of the clear section in the wheel?


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cai
 

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Steve,


Your quite opinionated.


I liked the QXGA very much but it did have good competition from Panasonic and from DLP E-Cinema (black chip) products that weren't on display at the show.


The dark images on the NEC 61" plasma had plenty of dither-like posterization problems. Thumper and I were not impressed when the problem presented itself which wasn't often due to the very bright material they were using on it at their booth.


As far as the Hitachi was concerned, I wonder if Ken saw a different one than us? The one I saw was in the nook and it looked pretty bad. Better than dogcrap more like the saturation control was maxed out or something. It was in very good light controlled area however.


I have never heard of 1280 * 960 DLP chip. Do you know something we don't? It is hard to blame a manufacturer for not makeing a projector with a chip that doesn't exist.


I was very happy to see the G90 on display. It is a reference point of stunning image quality. L of A was the best old film presentation that I have seen. The demo was well worth the time.


You can keep the change.


-Mr. Wigggles


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With regard to the HItachi, I didn't think the light control was great.


The scalar needed work.


I am biased to appreciate no screen door.


I'd liked it better than virtually all of the the DLPs.


Also, I noticed some pixellization on the big Panasonic being demoed. Maybe it was MPEG, but it was largely on peripheral vision. Is peripheral vision more sensitive to detail?


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Ken Elliott


[This message has been edited by kelliot (edited 06-19-2001).]
 

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Ken,


Which big Panasonic? The one in the blacked out theatre? Your eyes must have been playing tricks on you, or the scaler/source had problems, because I couldn't see the pixels when I walked right up to the screen. The ISCO anamorphic and micro-perforations quite effectively masked the appearance of pixels. I wouldn't discount the scaler or the source, but I didn't notice any pixelization and they made quite a big deal out of the scaler. <shrug>


Peripheral vision is not more sensitive to detail, the central ~3 degrees of your visual field (the fovea) has the highest visual acuity. Your peripheral vision has better light sensitivity and motion detection. (thank you 49.372 Perception) I did notice some odd double-imaging in the full-screen pans during the Notting Hill clip, I speculate that they might have been doing some fancy inter-frame interpolation on 24 fps film-source material and the results were not so hot. Of course I could be out-to-lunch on this... http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/biggrin.gif


Regards,


Kam Fung
 
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