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I had the opportunity to demo an Infocus LP530 and Sony HD100 this weekend and was for the most part very impressed. First, I want to thank the folks at RGB Presentation Services in Atlanta, GA for the demo opportunity. They are both professional and very knowledgeable.

Background - I wouldn't say I am a videophile or even much of an expert compared to most on this board, but I am a bit of a perfectionist. Think of this as a review from an educated newbie.


My primary purpose for getting the projector this weekend was to watch the Georgia-Florida game in HDTV on CBS. I also used the opportunity to check out DVD playback and directv feeds.


The viewing was done in a light controlled room on a 6 foot wide Da-lite flat-white screen (tri-pod mounted - sorry, did not get the model number). Most of the football viewing was done with several lights on at the back of the room. All DVD viewing was done in darkness. I sat between 8 and 12 feet from screen.

LP 530 - Surprisingly small unit; 2000 lumens listed (1600 on low power mode); xga dlp chip; optional a/v port installed giving you component, s-video & composite in addition to standard vga and dvi; manual focus and zoom.


Very bright image. Easily watchable with very good contrast even in a moderately lit room (no sunlight, and keep light from shining directly on screen).


Very good 480i scalar. I watched the HD broadcast of A Bug's Life on ABC last night with both a 480i feed (via component) and a 1080i feed (via VGA). While the 1080i feed was noticeably better, there were very few artifacts via 480i. I also fed a lot of DSS sports through it (primarily pro football). Did a decent job of scaling, though the feed was very soft to begin. I thought it was very watchable, though a more critical viewer may disagree.


Very good with 480i DVDs. Watched the Matrix and Rounders via a middle of the road interlace Panasonic DVD player. Beautiful, big image with almost zero artifacts/jaggies. Decent black levels, though some shots lacked "punch." Very good color rendition and accuracy, though I am used to a more saturated look on a very nice Video essentials calibrated tube TV. Note that a the LP530 does NOT accept 480p material.


Fantastic HDTV (with one caveat) - The Tonight Show and the Georgia-Florida game looked better than any HDTV display I have seen in the stores. Simply fantastic. One caveat though is significant motion artifacts. ANY significant motion would seem to cause the interlacing to break down. It seemed as if every odd line would shift, and then the even line would have to go catch up. Particularly noticeable when a large area of relatively even color moved quickly (e.g. a red football helmet). This may have been related to the Sony, not the LP530 as the artifact would not appear in 480i sent via component - only when sent via vga.


Poor manual/web site. The infocus materials are really not aimed at a sophisticated user, and address very little home theater issues.


No screen door or rainbows. Did not notice either all weekend, though this was my first time with a DLP unit.


Little fan noise. Some noise on full power, though not too bad. Almost zero noise on low power.

Sony HD100


I was not as impressed with this unit. I may be unfairly attributing some of the problems I had over all to it, so weigh this review accordingly. It decodes DSS as well as off the air and outputs either 480i or 1080i via component or vga.


Sony has tried to make this a unit the lowest common denominator can use. Most set-up is automated, but they this automation gets in the way, especially with off-air broadcasts. For example, there is no way to add a station manually - you must do an automated search. Also, there is no signal meter. you either get a picture or it says "searching for signal." Both these combine to make it very frustrating to initially set up stations and position your antenna for best reception. At least with old analog sets, you could see how your antenna adjustment affected the picture. With the Sony, there is no feedback.


I could not get 1080i sync with the LP530 via component, no matter how I tried. I either got nothing, or got digital interference (kind of like a picture hashed into thousands of squares and randomly slid sideways). I tried three different component cables, two of which were very high quality.


The VGA connection worked flawlessly, except for the interlacing issue described above. I don't know who to blame for it.


HD-DSS looked fantastic.


Overall, the Sony unit gave a good picture, but I cannot recommend it for anyone who wants to pull HDTV off the air.

Conclusion I hated to give back the Infocus unit this morning, but the Sony is not for me. I did not get a chance to try it with a HTPC, and did not have time to calibrate. Both should improve an already very good performance. It will definitely be a contender when I do a permanent solution next spring.


Grady

Atlanta, Georgia
 

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It's nice to hear someone looking at the same set-up I'm shooting for: I have an HD-100 and am interested in adding the 530 for movie viewing (but not necessarily HD). It seems as though the 530 really has a good scalar as I want to feed via S-Video (to accomodate LD viewing also).

A side note: I have had good success watching HD OTA w/my HD-100. Antenna type/placement is critical, and you have to go into a different sub-menu to get an actual signal strength number.
 

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Where were you when I was pulling my hair out this weekend? :rolleyes: That piece of info does change my opinion of the Sony. If the sync problem and interlacing artifacts turn out not to be endimic to the unit, then I WOULD recommend the sony as a well thought out receiver. Everything else about it works well.
 

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Need help - with my Sat hd100 - th epicture is much worse using this tuner than the tuner in my 57xbr2. CBS, ABC look pretty bad - a lot of digital nois in face structures and such. I get the signals pretty strong - do antenna adjustments do anything to improve this?
 
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