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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I finally overcame my fear of commitment and ordered a Hitachi 5500. It arrived yesterday. Being a long-time owner of a Sony 400Q, the first thing I noticed about it was how small it is. The next thing I noticed was how BRIGHT it is. Amazingly bright, but it doesn't overpower the picture. I currently have an 87" wide 16:9 Stewart Videomatte (I think) at 1.8 gain. The projector is almost too bright for that. My intention is to go with a 120" wide Firehawk. I've already ordered a Panamorph.


Some comments:


It's not that easy to see the pixels even with your face to the screen. That's great, since I want to sit 15' from a 10' wide screen.


Displaying some test screens with Video Essentials shows some red and green fringing, but this requires nose-to-screen examination. The panel alignment seems to be excellent.


Dead pixels. When I turn on a "black" screen and examine it up close, I can see a group of blue pixels that appear to be slightly stuck on. They are in the top center 1/3 of the screen. There are a few faint green pixels in the bottom third. None can be seen beyond a few feet, and I have to re-look to find them again.


Blue or purple blacks. There are none. For the people who are following serial numbers, mine is G2B000580.


Black blacks. There are none. This is the one problem I've found. With a black "blanked" screen or a blanked PC display, the screen is a rather bright gray. In brighter scenes, this is no problem. In low-light scenes, blacks appear washed out. My guess is that they may have stepped up the lower gamma settings to overcome the blue or purple push. The projector is a little to new for me to work with the service settings. I will get in there eventually to see if I can tone that down.


Colors are very impressive. I had to bump up the red for the computer in, and blue and red for component in. I'll eventually calibrate it with my Colorfacts, if they ever come up with a 5500 profile.


I've noticed that there is a band of very low reddish light around the outline of the panels. It's about an inch wide at my settings and seems to be some sort of a "light leak"? It's much darker than the gray black of the panels themselves. It doesn't appear to be a problem. I just wonder what it is.


All in all, I'm very satisfied with this projector. That's with just 3 hours use. I've just got to find a way to darken the gray blacks. As I discover more things, I'll post them for anyone who's interested.


Chuck Davis
 

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get us some screen shots if you can, unaltered of course

Seeing more variety in movies is a must, tired of seeing

all the usual shrek, gladiator, toy story you know the drill..
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by ChuckD
I finally overcame my fear of commitment and ordered a Hitachi 5500. It arrived yesterday. Being a long-time owner of a Sony 400Q, the first thing I noticed about it was how small it is. The next thing I noticed was how BRIGHT it is. Amazingly bright, but it doesn't overpower the picture. I currently have an 87" wide 16:9 Stewart Videomatte (I think) at 1.8 gain. The projector is almost too bright for that. My intention is to go with a 120" wide Firehawk. I've already ordered a Panamorph.
That's some big screen! How big is your room, and based on the Hitachi's throw-distance characteristics how far from this screen will the projector need to be placed? Also, I do not doubt this unit is 'bright', but using a 1.8 gain screen surely helps in this matter. Whar are the room dimensions of your HT? Also, did you calculate the drop in picture due to the panamorph?

Quote:
Some comments:

It's not that easy to see the pixels even with your face to the screen. That's great, since I want to sit 15' from a 10' wide screen.


Displaying some test screens with Video Essentials shows some red and green fringing, but this requires nose-to-screen examination. The panel alignment seems to be excellent.
I guess we can all expect to do calibration of some sort from all projectors.

Quote:
Dead pixels. When I turn on a "black" screen and examine it up close, I can see a group of blue pixels that appear to be slightly stuck on. They are in the top center 1/3 of the screen. There are a few faint green pixels in the bottom third. None can be seen beyond a few feet, and I have to re-look to find them again.
What if you project a white or yellow field, can you see them more clearly? When you discovered them, how long had the projector been on? Will your dealer be hanlding this issue with a potential replacement?

Quote:
Blue or purple blacks. There are none. For the people who are following serial numbers, mine is G2B000580.

Black blacks. There are none. This is the one problem I've found. With a black "blanked" screen or a blanked PC display, the screen is a rather bright gray. In brighter scenes, this is no problem. In low-light scenes, blacks appear washed out. My guess is that they may have stepped up the lower gamma settings to overcome the blue or purple push. The projector is a little to new for me to work with the service settings. I will get in there eventually to see if I can tone that down.
Maybe this projector, like many needs to be gray-scale calibrated, ND filtering enabled, and a well-balanced-gain screen mated!?!

Quote:
Colors are very impressive. I had to bump up the red for the computer in, and blue and red for component in. I'll eventually calibrate it with my Colorfacts, if they ever come up with a 5500 profile.


I've noticed that there is a band of very low reddish light around the outline of the panels. It's about an inch wide at my settings and seems to be some sort of a "light leak"? It's much darker than the gray black of the panels themselves. It doesn't appear to be a problem. I just wonder what it is.
Any chance we could get you to do some screen captures before you start messing with the menus and calibration endeavors? I would make for some nice stare & compare experimentation.

Quote:
All in all, I'm very satisfied with this projector. That's with just 3 hours use. I've just got to find a way to darken the gray blacks. As I discover more things, I'll post them for anyone who's interested.

Chuck Davis
Try either a ND filter or lower-gain screen, or let's find some other 5500 owners and see what they have to suggest as I am sure they have already addressed this issue.


Keep us informed!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
mer8 and WanMan - I have to apologize for being one of the few people without a digital camera. Even worse, I don't have a copy of Shrek or Toy Story! I'm not sure what a screenshot would show with my current screen. I'm experimenting by zooming out to the dimensions of my new imaginary screen to get an idea of brightness at that size.


WanMan wrote "That's some big screen! How big is your room, and based on the Hitachi's throw-distance characteristics how far from this screen will the projector need to be placed? Also, I do not doubt this unit is 'bright', but using a 1.8 gain screen surely helps in this matter. Whar are the room dimensions of your HT? Also, did you calculate the drop in picture due to the panamorph?"


My HT is also my family room which is 16x24. The screen is on one of the 16' walls with the projector behind the other. My throw distance is a little under 25' which will give an 108" and wider image. The drop of the Panamorph is something I plan on experimenting with when I get it. Worse case, I may have to make another hole in the wall to project through. The walls that the projector and screen are on are 12' high in the center. Since I am getting a new screen, I have some flexibility as to how high or low to place it, also.


WanMan wrote more "What if you project a white or yellow field, can you see them more clearly? When you discovered them, how long had the projector been on? Will your dealer be handling this issue with a potential replacement? "


I'll double check with the white field, although, as I said, I have to search for the blue and green spots. They could even be bits of dust. I'll have to try defocusing while watching with binoculars to see how they react. They are impossible to see beyond a couple of feet. I got the projector from Projector People. I can return it, as long as it has less than four hours on it. I don't think that I could do better. I'm sure that what I see is well within the tolerances of LCOS manufacturers.


And finally "Try either a ND filter or lower-gain screen, or let's find some other 5500 owners and see what they have to suggest as I am sure they have already addressed this issue."


I'm leaning towards the Firehawk. I do have a patch of Dalite HC material somewhere. I am hoping to hear some comments from the other 5500 owners, especially about the gray blacks.


Chuck
 

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Chuck,

It's always a surprise (and a bit frightening) to see how much light is actually coming out of these LCD projectors when they're supposed to be projecting a blank 'black' screen. The only thing I can think of that would improve this situation is the Firehawk or similar which, if I've understood the process correctly, is low gain for the darker parts of the picture and higher gain for the brighter parts.


As regards a Neutral Density filter, I can't see the point of this if you intend using a Panamorph. The Panamorph effectively restores the 1500 ANSI lumen brightness to the 16:9 format. The ND would take it away.
 

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Hi Chuck,


Have you considered bias lighting? For me, I have a 400q as well. When there is just enough bias lighting to raise the reference level of black, the blacks I percieve are solid black. Something to try anyways...


congratulations,

toon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
MThomas - "Have you hooked up your new Hitachi 5500 to an HTPC yet?"


Yes I have, although I haven't watched enough DVDs to critique it yet. It accepts all of the resolutions I've tried with no problem. I am having 1080i problems with the RBB inputs from my Dish 6000 and AccessDTV card which I posted in another thread.


Chuck
 

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Hi Chuck,


I am a fellow long time 400Q owner who just upgraded. I didn't buy the Hitachi but I demoed it in my house and I also have a Videomatte200 with a 1.8 gain that is 87" wide.


You might want to think about a Grayhawk for this PJ. Part of the problem you have now with the blacks is that there is so much screen gain and your just not going to get anywhere near black. When I demoed this unit I had enough ND to cut the light down by a factor of 2 and I used the whisper mode also. At that point the picture was still brighter than the 400Q and just about right for HT. If you nix the ND then that translates to a screen gain of 0.9 which is pretty much exactly what the Grayhawk is. I know that you want to go to a larger size so that comes into play, but the Firehawk is 1.35, so be careful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
John - thanks for the input. I agree, the 87" 1.8 screen with the 5500 is way too bright. Right now I'm experimenting by overscanning my 87" to 118" and running in whisper mode. This gives the same amount of light per square foot on the surface of my old screen as I would see on the new screen. The new one will have a surface area about twice the size of the old. Under these conditions, the picture on the old screen looks great which seems to indicate that the Firehawk would be good. I still have to experiment with the Panamorph I have coming to see what effect it has. Thanks for your warning.


Chuck
 

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Chuck, I just installed the 5500 and we use a 78" Firehawk. We compared lots of screen materials and found the Firehawk to give the best constrast and black levels, and whiter whites than the Greyhawk (but not as white as the Stewart 130) . I don't appear to have any deads or sparklies, and while blacks and greyscale are not perfect, they are not so bad as to spoil an otherwise great picture (as noted, you cannot see pixelation and colors are so vivid). Our blacks are not purple or blue either. The picture IS bright, but not fatiguing. We run whisper mode. With a Firehawk, at 78" someone can actually read next to you while you watch!


I've looked at the service menu but only done user-level adjustments at this point.


It would seem to me that there should be some parameters in the service menu that can be tweaked to get an even better picture that would be common (within tolerance) to all units using similar screens. When someone finds what these are, please let the rest of us know.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by toddalin
The picture IS bright, but not fatiguing. We run whisper mode. With a Firehawk, at 78" someone can actually read next to you while you watch!
78" is about the width that I'm planning. What worries me (besides purple blacks of course) are my yellow walls. This is my livingroom, so painting the room black or very dark is out of the question. Will the projector light up my yellow room like broad daylight? Or will it still have some cinema atmosphere?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
DP wrote "Welcome to the Hitachi Club. This is a great projector for the price. "


Thanks for the welcome. "For the price" reminds me of the old first-date compliment "You don't sweat much for a fat girl!" :) I'll say that, after watching an HD movie last night, this is a great projector - period.


Viking2000 wrote "Will the projector light up my yellow room like broad daylight?"


As I wrote in my original post - "I currently have an 87" wide 16:9 Stewart Videomatte (I think) at 1.8 gain. The projector is almost too bright for that." The advantage of having too bright of a projector though, is that you can always tone it down with a screen fabric or a filter. There's no way to add more lumens.


TuneyToons wrote "Have you considered bias lighting? For me, I have a 400q as well. When there is just enough bias lighting to raise the reference level of black, the blacks I perceive are solid black. Something to try anyways... "


That's quite a name. I'll give some bias lighting a consideration and maybe a test. I've read about it before in these forums, and I even remember the old Sylvania "halo light" TVs.
 

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Viking. my walls are off-white and certainly don't "light up." The only thing that lights up is the screen. We run ours with the porch lights and street lights glaring on the screen (no drapes or blinds) with no problem. For serious viewing, we turn off the porch lights. Last night we watched Dinotopia at 7 p.m. and all of our walls to the east and north are covered with windows. While the room was certainly light, we watched with no problem. (Of course it gets better when the sun sets.)
 

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Folks,


Couple of questions.


1. If you are displaying in 16:9 mode, is there light spill on the

top & bottom (like DLP halo) that needs to be masked?

2. How are the blacks compared to my current PJ, the HD13/PLV60

if any of you have seen that PJ.


Thanks,


Aceman
 

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Aceman

1. I see a dark grey border w/ a purple tint when viewing 16:9, but not noticable since the picture is so bright. You can "fix" this by using a panamorph lens or masking if it bothers you.

2. The blacks are dark grey w/ slight blue or purple tint. You can use a grey screen and it might improve the blacks. I have a 1.1 gain Dalite Cinemavision High contrast, will install this week.

Vas
 

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From our viewing distance (12-13 feet), I see no appreciable light-spill or banding in 16:9 that would cause me to install a masking system. (I too had considered this before installing the projector.) My suggestion would be to persue this masking once you have the projector up and running to your satisfaction it it appears as a problem to you. Can't comment of the PLV-60 as I have never seen one in action.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by ChuckD
John - thanks for the input. I agree, the 87" 1.8 screen with the 5500 is way too bright. Right now I'm experimenting by overscanning my 87" to 118" and running in whisper mode. This gives the same amount of light per square foot on the surface of my old screen as I would see on the new screen. The new one will have a surface area about twice the size of the old. Under these conditions, the picture on the old screen looks great which seems to indicate that the Firehawk would be good. I still have to experiment with the Panamorph I have coming to see what effect it has. Thanks for your warning.


Chuck
Chuck,

That is a very good idea. Sounds like you've got things under control.


John
 

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I don't want to sound as though I know more than I do and if I'm wrong on this point I apologise in advance, but the main purpose of the Panamorph with the SX5500W would be to use the full 1500 ANSI lumen brightness, which usually only applies to the 4:3 format, with the 16:9 format. The Panamorph will effectively increase the brightness of a 16:9 image from approx 1100 lumens to 1500 lumens (setting aside other issues such as light intensity which varies with the size of the projected image). There may be other advantages of the Panamorph with other projectors. SVGA projectors will also benefit from increased resolution with an anamorphic PAL source. All 4:3 projectors with a screen door problem will also benefit from use of a Panamorph. But the SX5500W doesn't have a screen door problem and has more than enough resolution for all sources except 1920 x 1080i HD. I don't see how the Panamorph could help there because 1920 x 1080i or 1080p is not anamorphic. Nor is 1280 x 720p which can in any case be accommodated within the native resolution of the SX5500.


So that brings us back to the increased lumens factor, which as far as I can see is the only benefit of the Panamorph with the SX5500. Now if this is true, what is the point of considering ND filters, low gain grey screens or even whisper mode which also cuts down brightness? Admittedly, whisper mode also cuts down fan noise but the savings in bulb replacement costs are never likely to exceed or even match the cost of a Panamorph.
 
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