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Helping someone put together a front projector setup for his basement, and the person watches mainly standard TV, dish, VCR, etc... On a scale of 1-10, how would these sources look on a ~100" screen, using one of the lower priced projectors (X1, Z1, VT460, etc...).


Also - which of the lower priced projectors would you recommend for the above mentioned sources?

TIA
 

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This question keeps coming up and the answer is always the same -- no projector, regardless of price or technology (CRT, LCD, DLP, etc.), can make a poor source look good. The bigger you make a bad picture, the worse it looks. Once you have seen how good DVDs and HDTV can look on a big screen using even the least expensive popular PJs, you will find standard cable, overly-compressed satellite, and especially VHS virtually unwatchable. It makes much more sense to use a smaller (32 or 36") non-HD ready direct view CRT for weak sources and use a FP for DVD, HDTV, and digital cable.
 

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I found that with my X1, the resolution of the PJ is good enough that standard satellite TV looks pretty bad. And I'm only watching it in a 4x3 box on a 16x9 screen.. I really had to max out the sharpness settings on both the PJ and satellite reciever to get an acceptable image out of it. Before I did that, the image was WAY too soft for the size of image that is being projected. Once I maxxed the settings out, the image is very watchable and not quite so disturbingly soft.


BTW, I'm projecting onto a ~7'x4' wide screen for 16x9, so my 4x3 image inside that is 4' tall.
 

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I disagree that all standard-def TV on the satellite looks bad on a projector. Yes, it's not as crisp as DVD's, but depending on the channel/source, it can be pretty decent. MI-5 on the A&E channel looks pretty good blown up to 100" diagonal, and certain football games look quite acceptable (especially ESPN Sunday night).


I have an X1, and it has the acclaimed Faroudja DCDi deinterlacer, so other projectors will probably not do as good a job on standard-def TV, but as always YMMV.


BTW, the "sharpness" setting on your TV/projector exists solely to introduce noise to the signal. If you crank it up, you're just adding video distortion, so I don't know why you think that looks good. To each his own, I guess.
 

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The reason he probably thinks it looks good is because the digital signal is far too soft to blow up. It's lacking in detail and he's trying to create the perception of detail in the image. I personally think that regular TV doesn't look good blown up, not when using the internal scaler or doing scaling via my HTPC. The image is lacking fine detail and any compression artifacts are blown up large enough to be irritating. Standards and perceptions differ, but I wouldn't want to spend money on a projector simply to blow up a mediocre or, in some cases, horrible signal to a size that magnifies the deficiencies.
 
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