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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok...I am starting to look into purchasing a projector and screen.


1. What specs should I be looking for?


2. What are the differences between the DLP, D-ILA and LCD projectors? Which are considered the best or what are each ones strong and weak points?


3. Would I want a progressive DVD player or a HTPC? I currently own the JVC723 progressive scan. Would I only notice a difference on a larger screen or could I see a difference on my current 55" HDready TV?


4. If HTPC, what would I need to hook it up to a TV or projector?


5. What are some good projectors for the price? Let's say in the $3000-$5000 range and then $5000-$10000 range.


6. Are there any good internet sites that sell projectors, screens, HTPC equipment?


7. Do certain HTPC equipment or DVD players add to edge enhancement, over saturation, and/or chroma problems?


Please feel free to answer any or all of the above questions?
 

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MaxC,


Use the drop down button on the top of the forum screen titled "Forum Sponsors". A call to AV Science is a great place to start.


The search function of the forum is also usefull.
 

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1. What specs should I be looking for?

www.projectorcentral.com has more specs and articles on FP than you need. I chose LT150 as it meets HT needs well.


2. What are the differences between the DLP, D-ILA and LCD projectors? Which are considered the best or what are each ones strong and weak points?


DLP uses mirrors and single DMD panel from TI with spinning color wheel to show colors. LCD uses R, G, and B panels to create image and color. DILA is like LCD with 3 panels but higher resolution SXGA and higher contrast than LCD. DLP gives best contrast but less vibrant colors (LT150 is better than most cheaper DLP's, newer DLP's are better). LCD gives best colors and sharpness but less contrast (again newer LCD is pretty good up to 400:1 contrast). DILA is best of both worlds but expensive. DILA and LCD (rarely DLP) can suffer from dead pixels (bright or dark spots on image--usually hard to see unless up close). DLP can suffer rainbows (light streaking on high contrast, high motion scenes) in 10% of people. XGA is minimum for HDTV, SVGA is minimum for DVD, SXGA is best but pricey. Which resolution depends on screen size, sitting distance, and source materials. Brightness is also important as it allows watching in some light and gives more punch especially with a larger image.


3. Would I want a progressive DVD player or a HTPC? I currently own the JVC723 progressive scan. Would I only notice a difference on a larger screen or could I see a difference on my current 55" HDready TV?


HTPC is best but I would try your progressive player first before buying HTPC. If image is pleasant enough then stick with prog. player. HTPC requires more maintenance and less user friendly for wife, children, etc.


4. If HTPC, what would I need to hook it up to a TV or projector?


Needs DVD player, sound card with SPDIF out, and good graphics card (Geforce or Radeon--Radeon is better but can be more work to keep stable due to bad drivers).


5. What are some good projectors for the price? Let's say in the $3000-$5000 range and then $5000-$10000 range.


sub2K=LT85, Sony VPLCX1, 2K=LT150, 3K=Piano, 4K=LP530, 5K=VWH10T, MT7, PLV-60, 6K=Sanyo light cannons (2000 lumens+), WH11T, 7K or more=newer DLPs like Sharp 9000, DILAs


6. Are there any good internet sites that sell projectors, screens, HTPC equipment?


AVS (our host) is competitive and reliable. Projector people is good too. Medical video systems is another. DELL has 20% special every quarter end and can be very competitive with pricing. CDW is too and ships internationally.


7. Do certain HTPC equipment or DVD players add to edge enhancement, over saturation, and/or chroma problems?


HTPC should be pretty pure unless your source is bad. DVD players can have chroma bugs but nicer ones like RP56, RP91 should be fine. Don't add too much sharpness and image should be pretty clean. A lot vary on source material.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Huey,


Thank you for answering all my questions! I just have a few follow up questions to clarify a few things.


1. Why is HTPC better?


2. Here is my PC setup what do I need to add or update?


I have a Pentium III 733mhz w/ 128mb SDRAM

Hercules Game TheaterXP sound card

GeForce GTS 2 32mb video card

Cambridge soundworks 2500

16x DVD ROM

Power DVD v.3.0


3. My video card only has an s-video out. Do they make some that have component out? If not, I do not see how a HTPC can be better than a progressive DVD player.


4. Do you mind my asking why you went with the LT150 over others that you were looking at?


5. How important is the screen? I have been hearing that GreyHawk is the way to go.
 

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All projectors use RGB (VGA) inputs which is actually a much better conection than Component as it gives both horizontal and vertical sync information as well as three color and chroma. The reason HTPCs are so much better than DVD players is that the computer acts as a scaler as well as a player.


Your current computer sounds like it will work fine as a HTPC. The only improvements I would suggest are quieter fans and HDs and downloading dscaler (it's free sorry I don't know the link for it but run a search on the HTPC group and you'll find it).


Grayhawk does seem to be the way to go with LCD, DLP and DILA projectors. Pick up a copy of this months "The Perfect Vision" there is a great article (actually a couple of them) on projectors, screens and setting up a Front projection HT. There is also a pic in the articale comparing Grayhawk to the standard 1.3 gain white screen.


Kirk
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
kirknelson ,



First, what do you mean by scaler? Does this mean the computer can switch from widescreen to fullscreen?


I am still confused about how I am supposed to hook up my computer to a RGB (VGA) input. Am I missing a video card attachement or something for my computer?


Also, I just read about this product. It converts RGB to component and back again. It specifically talks about DVD players and projectors. Would this not be important if I went with a HTPC?


RGB to component


I am learning so much! :D
 

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MaxC,

Quote:
First, what do you mean by scaler? Does this mean the computer can switch from widescreen to fullscreen?
This means that the computer can interpolate the 480p native DVD resolution to it's desktop resolution of 800x600, 1024x768, 1360x768, etc. etc. To get the best image on a digital display, your source should output the native resolution to avoid scaling artifacts.

Quote:
I am still confused about how I am supposed to hook up my computer to a RGB (VGA) input. Am I missing a video card attachement or something for my computer?
You don't have to do anything. The computer outputs VGA 15-pin, and most projectors accept the same. CRT projectors often used RGBHV BNC connectors in which case you would use an VGA 15-pin to BNC breakout cables.

Quote:
Also, I just read about this product. It converts RGB to component and back again. It specifically talks about DVD players and projectors. Would this not be important if I went with a HTPC?
This product will be useless, or at the least redundant if you're going to use an HTPC.


Kei Clark

Digital Connection
 

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MaxC


In simple terms, a scaler takes the signal being outputted from the dvd/vcr/stb/etc and converts that signal to the projector's native resolution.


For example, if you were using an NEC LT150 projector and your dvd player, the 640x480 signal generated by the dvd player would need to be converted to 1024x768.


Projectors have a scaler built into them, but the quality is usually poor (motion artefacts, banding, etc). There are also external scalers available that do a very good job of scaling, but they tend to be pricey.


With a HTPC, you set the resolution of your video card to match your projector and end up with almost flawless scaling.


You connect your computer to the projector using the video cards vga port (ie, the one you would use to connect to the monitor).


Todd
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks all!....one more question...for now.:p


I noticed that a lot of people using a HTPC have a software or hardware called Powerstrip. Is this the dscaler that kirknelson mentioned? If so where can I download it from, if not what is it and what is dscaler?
 

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Max,


No - Powerstrip is not dScalar.


Powerstrip is the program that is used to program the video card to output the native

resolution that Todd was talking about.


Using Todd's example, if you have an NEC LT150 and want to feed it the native 1024 X 768 resolution,

then you use the Powerstrip program to reprogram the video card to output 1024 X 768.


You can get Powerstrip from the author at:

http://www.entechtaiwan.com/



Greg
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks,


So, what is Dscaler used for?
 

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Max,


dScaler is a piece of software that takes an interlaced analog signal and deinterlaces it

into the progressive signal used by computers and projectors and then scales it to a desired resolution.


See:

http://www.dScaler.org/FAQ.htm


Greg
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
In resoponse to kirknelson who wrote,

Quote:
All projectors use RGB (VGA) inputs which is actually a much better conection than Component as it gives both horizontal and vertical sync information as well as three color and chroma.
I have only seen VGA cables for computers and they are fairly short. Do they make long VGA male to male cables for HTPC to projector, and are they expensive relative to having a component connection to a projector that accepcts component video? How much of a difference will you see between the two connections.


The reason I ask, is that I found out about transcoders that switch VGA to component, and I was considering getting it for my TV now. However, I was wondering when I get a projector, which connection would be best. I also saw a transcoder that had both so that I could hook up a TV (components) and projector (VGA) but it was double the cost.



Also, anyone...


How much resolution do you loose with a projector (passing through air) vs watching a progressive DVD picture on an RPTV?
 

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Don't worry about cable cost. It can be expensive but does not have to be. I bought a 15 foot VGA cable from www.pccables.com for $13. You can also buy 25, 50, 100 footers too. Longer than 100 foot can be had but probably will need amplifiers to minimize signal degradation. My cable works beautifully without ghosting (double imaging) or artifacts. Others bought more expensive cables at www.bettercables.com but I'm not sure if it's necessary. Other cable sites include www.a2zcables.com . For Svideo sources like digital cable, SVHS VCR, or satellite boxes, 50 footer like silver series Belkin cable can be had for $27 shipped from www.cdw.com . I would avoid composite sources as it's pretty bad on projectors (especially LT150).


I chose LT150 due to cost effectiveness ($2300 for XGA DLP). I suffer no rainbow (light streaking with certain scenes) artifacts and the 800:1 contrast is great for dark scenes and make image more 3D. I had a VPL-CX1 XGA LCD but it was only 200:1 contrast. Let me tell you the 800:1 contrast really make a HUGE difference in image quality. Colors are about the same for both units but the contrast is what make the LT150 so special. You'd have to pay big bucks to get that kind of contrast with other units (unless you buy a clone of LT150). I also like NEC warranty: 2 year 36 hour turn around warranty with loaner or replacement and 6 mo. warranty on bulb. The bulb cost used to be an issue but now they even drop that price down to $325 or so for 1000 hour of use. I personally plan to push mine to 1500 hrs as the LT150z is rated at 1500 for economode (3V mode instead of 5V that the LT150z usually used)--3V mode is what the LT150 uses with identical bulbs.


There is little loss of image quality going through clean air. I guess if you smoke or have very poor air quality it could degrade image. The more important issue is to get a nicer screen. Some advocate Grayhawk or high contrast screen while others swears by high-power or high-gain screens. I personally favors the high-power version as it gives more brightness with slight loss in contrast. Since most of the movies use bright scenes this will give your image more punch than a gray screen. If you have a very bright projector (over 1000 lumens), gray screen may do well as it allows deeper blacks and more contrast. Since the LT150 is only 800 lumens, it probably will do better with Hipower. I currently only use blackout material, homemade white screen and image is wonderful (96" wide, 107" diagonal) at 13 feet from screen in a dark room. Once I move, I'll probably get the hipower screen from Dalite for around $300.
 
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