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Discussion Starter #1
Before anyone jumps all over me saying this is an unfair comparison, I think the interest generated in the LT150 over the last few weeks warrants a comparison of this little puppy to one of the big boys. Much praise has been showered on this projector, and many buyers are getting into FP's for the first time. Rather than compare it to similarly priced projectors, I thought it would be beneficial to see how it stacks up against a much more expensive digital projector.


So without further ado.


The LT150 had the standard modifications made to it, such as turning off the white segment, setting Gamma to Natural 1, and calibrating brightness and contrast with AVIA. I didn't find any benefit in tweaking any of the other somewhat limited options from the menus. One important factor I discovered is that you really must drive this projector at native resolution (1024x768). Any scaling, or adjustments to a 16:9 resolution (1024x576) produced a much inferior desktop. I also discovered that adjusting the keystoning also has a negative impact. This is seen on the desktop by vertical bands of out of focus text. No amount of pixel adjustment from the LT menus could fix this (for me).


The G11 is pretty much out of the box, calibrated for black level with Dilard and a few other Dilard wizards. No professional calibration.


The screen is a custom made home-brew about 144x54 inches. I like to adopt the constant height variable width approach, which unfortunately does not work with the fixed 4:3 aspect ratio of the LT150. The fabric is pretty much matte off-white, and wouldn't be described as high-gain.


The HTPC is fitted with a Radeon DDR and I used the Cinemaster engine for the decoder.


So here we go:


To avoid the keystone adjustment, I had to drop the projector height to just about a foot off the ground to get a centered image that filled most of my screen width. I would guess the projected width was around 100 inches or so. The projector was about half way between the screen and the DILA.


LT150:

I watched a complete movie on the LT150 last night after basic calibration and was very impressed with the image. However, for a side by side test, I went back to Gladiator and Fifth Element as my reference DVD's.

Gladiator looked better than it did when I quickly viewed it yesterday, probably because of the keystoning. If I hadn't seen anything else, I would think this was a superb projector...


However, having a critical eye, I looked for specific defects in the picture. I chose the scene in Gladiator towards the end where the Emperor stabs Maximus in the back just before their fight. I watched this through to Maximus' death. The entry of the Emperor into the corridor where he meets the hanging Maximus has a good contrast variance and the bright armour he's wearing has very defined edges. On the LT, I thought the armour looked a little lacking in detail and didn't appear very filmlike. When they move into the arena, there's a great long shot to test the resolution. Again I felt the LT was struggling a bit and saw slight halos around small objects. Rainbows were obvious to me if I moved my eyes from side to side quickly. However, I had to jerk my head like an idiot to look for them, and under normal viewing I didn't notice any, nor was I affacted by them.


I then moved on to Fifth Element. I like the intro scene in the cave with the columns and Chapter 9 and 10 where LeeLoo is created. Everything looked pretty good although not outstanding until the ledge scene. Here I felt the detail I'm used to seeing in the buildings was missing and the overall appearance was that I was viewing a lower resolution image than I've been used to. In both Gladiator and Fifth Element I felt that the color, while good, was just not quite there. I can best describe it as comparison of GeForce to Radeon.


So I fired up the G11.

Starting with Gladiator, the difference was night and day. Immediately the image had significantly better saturation and a very definite film-like quality to it. It was more three dimensional and seemed like I was watching HD not DVD. The digital vibes I'd felt every now and then with the LT150 were completely gone. The Emperors white armour was better defined and smoother, but with more detail. The long shot of the arena revealed much more detail and gone were the slight halos around small objects. Interestingly, I felt the black levels were very similar between the two projectors. This is bearing in mind I've run Dilard's black wizard.


Moving on to Fifth Element, the difference was the same. More film-like, more detail, better saturation and just plain better. Not by a small amount, but by a significant amount. The ledge scene was packed with detail. I could make out all the buildings very clearly, and the pans kept the detail, it didn't become a blur.


I don't want this to sound like a slam-dunk for the DILA. It's better yes, but look at the price differential.

As I said at the beginning, if I hadn't seen anything better, then I'd think the LT150 was a fantastic projector. And at it's price point it is. Heck it cost less than half my 65in HDTV. Anyone getting into FP's for the first time should be very satisfied with this little puppy. I just wanted to show you what the extra bucks get you if you go up the chain.


Chivs
 

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Great comparison, Chivs, and very timely!


I'm glad that you started this thread, as it gives me a place to add my $0.02. I just got an e-mail that an LT150 is on the way, and I only have one theater room, so there will be an LT150<-->G11 shootout over here soon as well.


I realize that they are not in the same price category, but it's a fun comparison anyway.
 

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While I love this little LT 150 the difference between it and even a G1000 with a bit poorer contrast ratio was like this...


LT-150 GREAT TV pic!


G1000 OK this is a FILM EXPERIENCE...and no @#%&@($ multiplex either. I haven't had a chance to try it vs my G15 but I suspect the isues with brightness and contrast will be gone.


Thats on either HD or DVD! I tried them both on the same screen switching inputs within 7 seconds.


Larry




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G15 D-ILA

Lexicon MC1 7.1 system

Radeon Based HTPC

NHT, velodyne & bag end speaker systems
 

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Could you guys try the LT150 with a high gain screen and let us know what you think when you compare it? I'd be curious to hear how that would affect the image compared to DILA.


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/frode
 

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Good point, Frode. I was going to point the LT150 at the Grayhawk, but it might not have the light output for it. I do have a 1.3 gain white screen as well (96"x54") that I will try it on, but no "high gain" screen.
 

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Sorry for harping on this.. it's just that Greyhawks and low gain screens have been reported in this forum to really kill the LT150 picture compared to what it can really perform. That TV-look may only be a screen-change away from film-look. Or am I grasping at straws here? http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


Personally I'm looking forward to finally picking up my Da-lite High Power tomorrow from my local dealer (got lucky and got a one-time-only 45% off) - and really getting a GS setup http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif . Sorry - had to gloat over that one ^_^


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/frode
 

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Quote:
Sorry for harping on this.. it's just that Greyhawks and low gain screens have been reported in this forum to really kill the LT150 picture compared to what it can really perform.
When I received my LT150 the other day I had my Dalite HP hanging so first tried it with that. I had to get on the road shortly after that. I threw the projector, a portable DVD player and a 70" wide matte portable tripod screen in my van. Last night we set that up at a friend's place and watched a movie. I'm now really at a loss to understand why so many think a 2.8 gain screen is preferable for use with this projector. For me not just black level but the image in general was improved when using the matte screen.


Bob


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~ The Sultan of Cheap ~




[This message has been edited by RobertWood (edited 08-09-2001).]
 

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Bob...my theory is most people are use to watching movies on very bright tube TVs, while you are use to watching movies on CRT projectors in a darkened room. Most define a good image asa bright image, which is why more and more we will see projectors with 3000 lumens out. Most CRT owners will be reaching for their sunglasses...
 

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That probably would explain it, Jonmx.


I think it's unfortunate though, if many are trying to do front projection without trying to remove the ambient light from their rooms. That might be okay for displaying a spreadsheet in a board room. But it's not the best way to do home theater.


Bob


------------------

~ The Sultan of Cheap ~




[This message has been edited by RobertWood (edited 08-09-2001).]
 

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I spent some more time with the LT150 on my Stewart 1.3 gain screen tonight. If I were going to use this as my only projector, I would definitely get a grayhawk. I can't understand the concept of going to an even HIGHER gain screen for this device. The black levels on my 1.3 gain screen are already pretty wretched compared to my CRT projector. I would be interested to know if the grayhawk would would provide at least halfway decent black levels with this projector.
 

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Jim,


It's not easy to make the transition from CRT black to digital black. But I learned with my other DLP's that it's a lot easier if you get the halo and bars off your screen. In a darkened room that glow contrasts so badly with the blackness surrounding the screen that it's just too distracting. Once it's eliminated the image becomes much more watchable.


Bob


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~ The Sultan of Cheap ~


[This message has been edited by RobertWood (edited 08-09-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yahoo,

I haven't had the opportunity to compare the baby steps between the LT 150 and the G11/15 but I think it's worth taking into account that until the Dell deal, people were paying quite a bit more for the LT150.


The G11 is no longer manufactured, but is very close to a G15, which has a higher light output. New G11's if you can find them are around 7k+, compared to a new G15 at around 9k.


Considering the price difference, I still think the LT150 offers a terrific bang for the buck. But that's where the benefit ends. If you really want a great cinema experience, you have to pay more. Sometimes a lot more. I actually think the justification in spending more on a projector is easier than say spending it on audio components (my other passion). Audio can become extremely subjective, go tubes, no go solid state. Go HDCD, no go with a better CD player. You guys are nuts, get vinyl. And just try demoing them all in your environment.


As I said, sometimes ignorance is bliss. Had I not seen a DILA, then the LT would blow away my HTDV for half the price, (except the bulb price). Trouble is, I have.


My biggest gripes about the LT150. No zoom, 4:3 stuck aspect ratio, dubious film-like quality, and limited calibration features.


My biggest praise about the LT150. How can such a crappy looking laptop sized, lightweight box produce such a good picture for such a low price?


Chivs
 

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Jonmx is right. Until I got the bright projector, (after an initial honeymoon due to the great detail of the LP350) I always had a nagging feeling that the picture just wasn't bright enough, and that detail were lost in the shadows. With the 2500 lumens of the 38t, that feeling went bye-bye.

You won't nevah go back! Heck, I even complain about most theaters being too dim and losing shadow detail. I spend a surprising amount of time every day anticipating my movie experience for the evening. I never did that before!


------------------

Joe

My current idea of the best value:

Boxlight 38t

Panasonic RP91

RCA DTC-100

Da-Lite 100" 4:3 1.3gain

Studio Experience SE616's

and some other stuff.
 

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Then maybe I shouldn't look anymore!


My first passion in this genre was audio. Once I upgraded my RECEIVER (imagine that) and heard great improvements, I wondered what else was out there for me.


Well, $12K later I have decided to put the brakes on and enjoy what I have built. While I am sure that the $30,000 Lamm Monoblocks sound much better than my $3,000 Monarchy Monoblocks, I have to say I am happy where I am. The Lamms probably sound much better than what I have but frankly I would rather not know.


What I do know is that I have improved my sound by a huge margin and that any further improvements will involve a huge margin on money. No thanks.


I take my new found video hobby the same way. While I can appreciate the reviews and input about a variety of up and coming products, I am so thrilled with the improvements I found by running the LT thru a HTPC, I am not inclined to move (yet).


What I found in audio was that the most enjoyment I got was from the small subtle improvements I gained over time. Doing things all at once ruins the most important part; the anticipation, the arrival, the set-up, the tweaking, the refinement, the enjoyment, the comaparison, the satisfaction.


I am in no hurry to replace the best visual image I have seen to date (barring a 3 chip DLP set up that was $65K). I know better is out there but why spoil it?


The pictures, colors, contrast, and depth have all been far better than I would have expected for a unit this small and at this price. I wandered through a Tweeters today with the other AV Geeks to look at all the RPTV's and thought "too bad these people don't know how high a price they pay for a picture that could be so much better for so much less".


Maybe the D-ILA comaprison is the same. All I know is that I have, what I consider to be, a great product at a great price point, that will hold me over for 2-3 years until even better technology is once again available at an awesome price. Until then, I plan on being very happy. Ignorance is bliss don't ya' know.
 

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Well I guess I should post my first impressions on my recently received 'Dell' LT150.


I received it last Tuesday, but sadly I haven't had the time to play with it as much as I want. I must state first, that I have no screen, so I'm projecting against a beige wall in my room.


Since I have no theater setup yet, I don't have a good place to put the projector, a good long cable for freedom of movement among other things. This said, I ended up projecting against the back wall, with a picture that's probably 10 feet wide.


Some comments on this thread are absolutely true. This is my first front projection experienced, and I am in awe! I have my LT150 running from an HTPC with an All in Wonder Radeon.


My first try happened as soon as I received it, with a bit of ambient light coming in from the one window in the room. It was about 7:30pm, so there was still considerable sunlight coming in. I loved it! I knew it didn't look too bright, but heck, I'm projecting against a matte wall, and there's plenty of light in the room. So I went back to work.


Later that night, I came back and practiced finally with no light, other than the light coming from the projector. I was amazed! The Windows desktop looks as sharp as can be, although you can notice the screen door effect if you're standing 4 feet from the wall or so, but heck, I'm projecting a huge image. Taking it out of focus helped with that btw, but since I won't be watching that close, I left it focused.


I must say that after two nights, I'm in love with this little thing (I was surprised by it's size, even though I expected a small projecter, it ended up being smaller!). I played Gladiator, Toy Story 2, Starship Troopers, and Jurassic Park. Not the whole movie, but enough to get dark and bright scenes rolling in and see. I'm never turning back. With a little tweaking, a nice screen, and maybe a different paint in the room (walls are too bright) it might be an awesome Home Theater soon.


As soon as I have some time, I'll move out of that room, and make it a dedicated home theater, driven by an LT150.


I think I've only seen two other projectors, LP350 and Kodak's projector (OEM by Infocus), and this is as good or better, and it's enough for me. For $1700, or $2700 I wouldn't take anything else. I was thinking about getting a 65" Widescreen RPTV for Christmas, but not anymore. This will be my favorite a/v experience.


JoseQ


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http://www.speedhost.com
a href= http://www.emuviews.com
 

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Chivs,


Thanks for clarifying the pricing difference on G11 vs. LT150. I did understand you correctly in your initial post, but while we're at the discussion of price, let me just say that my spending limit for any single piece of a/v equipment is $2,500 with an average media cost of less than $30. (Hey, maybe we should talk about spending limits in a separate thread here!) This is, to me, a reasonable amount for "high-quality," not "near-perfection," a/v equipment.


The LT150 now borderlines that amount. When I purchased back months ago it was over $4,000 and I would NEVER have considered buying it if it wasn't for the fact it has "business uses." At $1700 I would have jumped on it but since I already own one I would rather hold off until a version with zoom, less rainbow-prone, less noise, brighter unit comes along in the next 12-24 months -- by then I can justify it again at $4500 for business and home at the same time. So, if it makes any sense to you, I would not have considered picking up a brand new G11/G15 for home use even at $2,750 today. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


Quite frankly I think FP is going to be the way of the future for most HT application. The maintenance, size, weight, flexible screen-size, portability factors are all there to usher them into homes of almost any size. Brightness seems to be the main hangover at this point for most and that looks like a battle that is almost over as well.



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- Balance Between

- Quality & Price!

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Editor of the AVS Skyworth FAQ and Official Panasonic RP91 Firmware Upgrade Request from OWNERS pages.


[This message has been edited by Yahoo (edited 08-10-2001).]


[This message has been edited by Yahoo (edited 08-10-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter #19
People have added some very valid comments to this thread.


What I find the most satisfying is that this projector has introduced many more people into the world of home theater. Everyone has their own budgets and I can't imagine a projector close to this price point with an equal image.


However, this hobby is highly addictive, and once you go down the path, you're constantly looking for ways to make the whole experience better. Over on the HTPC forum, machines are constantly upgraded with better software, better graphics cards etc. To be satisfied with what you have is important, but to keep looking for ways to make it better is part of the fun.


Chivs
 

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Chivs,


Thanks for the comparative review. I am one of the many DILA owners that also bought a LT150. I received mine two days ago. I haven’t done a side by side comparison against my G11. I have however, watched a number of HD programs as well as DVDs on the LT150. Here is my review of the LT150. I apologize if some content has been discussed before.


Industrial Design and Ergonomics:

I was initially turned off by the marketing photo of this projector. The perfect radius on all 4 sides appears very odd for my notion of a projector. My response is totally the opposite when I open the box. Unlike the photo that make it look thin, it is very attractive and cuddy. The rounded edges make it very comfortable to carry with one hand. The proportions is much more attractive than the photo I seen. Even thought I knew that it is small, I still were very much taken by how small it is when first open the package. The construction quality of both the projector and all the accessories including the carrying case are excellent – typical of top notch CE products made in Japan.


All the buttons and controls are very logically laid out. Although everything is diminutive, I found little compromise. All the placements are very well thought out. The dual IR sensor is a good example. I do like the miniature remote control and I found it very adequate. The front foot height and the rear foot leveling adjustment are very simple and effective. There is no protrusion of any fragile part so it make packing the little gem for travel very easy. Even the lens is recessed from the body shell. The added bonus I soon found is the USB input which allow one to use a mouse to traverse the menus. It comes with a VGA and power cable, both are of generous length.


I can see two fans from the outside. It appears one operates full time while the second kicks in if required by the temp management system. Both fans run during the cool down phase of shut off. For such small fans that move so many BTUs, I am amazed as how quiet the projector is. It has very little hint of the high pitch sound of most fan this small. Since the fans blow sideways I suspect the reported high fan noise with inverted mount is due to other factors. One reason I can think of is in an inverted mount configuration, the noise reflected off the hard surface of the ceiling and reach our ears should be more audible than in a floor mount configuration which typically is in front of the viewer. In most ceiling mount configuration with it throw ratio, very likely the projector is often directly above the viewer.


Turning it On:

Immediately, I connect it to a Sony Z505LS slim line notebook and feed it with 1024x768 resolution. The image is very sharp, but not as sharp as the notebook screen. Although a single chip DLP theoretically should have zero convergence error, I can see slight pixel misregistration with a minute jittering. This is possible due to the ever slight warpage of the color wheel. The image of DVD movie look every bit as good as the Infocus LP350 that I used a number of times, both have a gray cast. Immediately I search for the menu to turn off the white segment. Bingo! The LT150 transformed into a totally different league! The gray cast is gone, and the red is as good as red gets one a non-xenon lamp. The video image well surpasses the LP350 from my memory. Time for more critical viewing.


Critical Viewing:

I connect it to a RCA DTC100 HD STB. It sync to 1080i immediately, without the annoying long delay as with the LP350. Wow! Without putting the G11 side by side, my impression is the LT150 look every bit as stunning with HD source as the G11 in nearly all aspects except pure resolution and color accuracy. I am taken by how good HDTV look on this XGA projector, even at a distance of 1.3 screen width. I found that for HDTV, the Neutral 1 Gamma setting is best. At this distance, the pixel structure (jaggedness) is slightly noticeable with the LT150’s XGA resolution, but hardly with the G11’s SXGA. The screen door effect is hardly perceptible at this distance, although the fill ratio is much lower than the DILA’s. This becomes very apparent if one were to walk up to the screen. Still, the DLP is much better than any LCDs I’d seen. The color in my subjective assessment, without the benefit of comparing it again the G11 side by side, is very accurate. Only the red has a slight hint of gray.


In a total light controlled environment, projected onto a 9-10’ wide screen is still very acceptable. I will second that NEC’s 800 lumen spec is very conservative. I watched an assortment of HD programs, including HBO movies, an old CSI episode with razor sharp video before it suffered from the graining-look artistic license treatment found in the later episodes, and PBS. I noticed no scaling artifact. There is no a tint of ghost from the VGA analog signal quality often plague most displays including my G11. I am amazed again with this little projector that can. With the good theatre sound level, the fan noise is hardly noticeable.


I connect it to my HTPC with a Radeon graphics card play a number of DVDs using ATI player. I set the VGA output to 1024x768 at 60 Hz. Again no detectable ghost on text or graphics – a very good beginning. I watch selected scenes of Snow Falling on Cedar and The Fifth Element. I am very impressed with the skin tone and white produced on this projector with NSH lamp. It simply smokes the Infocus LP350 as a HT projector.


I detect no scaling artifact. The video is very fluid and the motion silky smooth with the excellent Radeon engine. I watched The Gift and Unbreakable in entirety on it.


Conclusion:

I found sporting with the short throw ratio, the lack of a zoom lens is an excellent trade off considering the diminutive size and top notch performance in all the other department. In my book, this is definitely the HT projector under $4000. It beats the LP350 hands down. I will however, consider the Sony 10HT for the SXGA resolution for HD source if I don’t already have a DILA. With as performance even at it current street price level of around $2.5k, this is an incredible bargain.


The LT150 is a breath of fresh air in the many me-too and over-hyped marketing (specmanship) driven designs in the projector market. At only 3.3 lb and excellent ergonomics, it is equally an excellent data projector for the road warriors who prefer to travel light. It is a pleasure to use on a day to day basis. Unfortunately, I will likely never take advantage of the PC-Card function because I refuse to take on another flash storage format in addition to my current Smart-Media and Sony’s Memory Stick.


I am still amazed with the performance level from a tiny 3.3lb cuddy thing. The LT150 is a gem.


How Many Projectors Does One Need?

I procrastinated on the Dell deal, but I am glad I decided at the last moment. I plan to use it in the bedroom by mounting it inverted through the wall in the staircase leading to the basement HT. The fan noise will be a total non-issue. I will also take in my business trips and to show DVD movie to the crew with a notebook using a set of good PC speaker systems like the Microsoft System 80 USB speakers. This will replace the 46†RPTV.


Other Observation:

The projector developed a about 60Hz flash one time I turned it on, similar to that of the unstable arc I have experience with my G11 after over a week of disuse in the basement (slightly higher humidity). I turn it on and off a number of times and it went away. I hope I don't have an intermittent defect. I then decide to reseat the lamp module. The lamp module only has two electrical contacts, so the speculation that other OEM lamps may not work due to ID resistor is very unlikely. The contacts carry very high voltage so implementing ID resistor is very hard. Hope this will help finding a cheaper replacement.



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- Vince
 
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