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Discussion Starter #1
I couldn't take it any longer. While my home construction is on hold, I have a projector and all the other gear (save screen) necessary for assembling my HT. So, I hacked together a system last night and took some pictures.


My first problem was that I only have an older non-progressive Pioneer 626 player around. This gives me sound, but the least desirable picture quality (according to the experiences of others).


Hooking up my laptop for video gives the best quality, but laptop sound. What to do? I took pictures of both and you can see what a difference the sources make.
http://briefcase.yahoo.com/hkstirman


Look in the 'HT Project' folder.


I was curious about the grey v. high power debate on screens, so I thought the drywall grey might give me some indication as to potential picture quality. The only conclusion I could draw is that it makes the image abominable, regardless of source. The same image on a white painted wall was much better. I don't know if its the color, texture, or what - I won't be drawing any conclusions.


Another interesting test was length of cables: they didn't make a difference. I have the Lexicon and amp in the closet, and the projector out in the room. I have a 40' coax cable for video and a 5' coax cable for digital. First I had the shorter cable connecting the digital and the longer cable running out to the projector. The image was so bad that I tried switching them: I moved the dvd player out into the room, and ran the digital audio over the 40' cable. What happenend? No real noticable difference. The sound didn't get any worse, and the picture didn't get any better. Oh well, at least this way I don't have to schlep into the closet to change discs.


The pictures are from 'Out of Sight' and 'Austin Powers II'. I chose a dark scene and a light scene from each. Interestingly, I didn't notice as much of a difference last night while switching as I do looking at the pictures.


The laptop is a new Toshiba. The video card is lousy, but its what I have around.


White segment was turned off and gamma was set to Natural 1.


The image size is around 7.5' wide in the pictures.


I was surprised just how much light bounced around in the room. I have total ambient light control (basement), but the light color of the walls and floor made it quite bright in the room during a movie. I don't want a dark colored room, but after the experience last night, may have to.


Making the image larger (8.5') and smaller (5') didn't help - they still looked bad.


What did I learn? I'm not sure anything. I now know that 1) it's not easy to take digital pictures that look all that great, 2) the screen must make a HUGE difference, 3) the only time I see rainbows is when I glance at the lens then look away, 4) I love the big image, and wonder if 8' will be big enough in an 11' X 15' room (I assume that over time you want a smaller image once you get over the excitement of the sheer size), and 5) this is all really fun.


Ideas from others as to why the image was so poor are very welcome.


Please know that this is not my idea of a good set up. I designed the room for a DILA, with a window for the projector to be in the next room. I ran the BetterCables ultra 5 BNC cable and ultra VGA cables through the walls back to the other room, so will have to use something else with the LT150 (throw distance too great). I will be building an HTPC when the house is nearly complete (no sense in doing it now), and the room will be finished with a manual masking system on the screen wall.


I guess the main conclusion is when you hack something together, often times you get something that looks hacked.


Kelly
 

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Hey Kelly,

I would be doing the same thing you have done http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/biggrin.gif . It will be interesting to see if the video cable length will make a difference when you are all set up. It must not make a obvious difference however.


You can see a difference from interlaced to progressive and it will be bigger difference when you have a quality screen.


Thanks for the pictures.




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Todd

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-scan-lines-annoy-me-

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Hey Kelly, thanks for the pics. Your HT looks like it's going to

be amazing.

I'm also in the process of setting up my HT with the LT 150.

I've purchased a Crystalimage vid processor (I wanted something easier than a PC) and a Da-lite 60x80 high power screen, per Grant's suggestion.

Because of the deinterlacing chip in the CI processor, I can run an interlaced DVD player, (it won't accept a pscan signal.) and DSS.

Using an interlaced dvd with the scaler in the 150, seems to leave much to be desired for PQ. You might want to check out the new line of Tosh pscan players. They can be had for under $300, and supposedly do 540p.

I am quite impressed with the picture on a white wall, but when the screen and CI are set up, I'm expecting a religious experience!

An 8' screen in your size room seems more than adequate, and as you've noticed, the PQ you're experiencing is probably due to the non pscan dvd player when using the 150's scaler.

I sit 12' from the screen, and the picture is plenty big!!!

I've read some info on G-force, Raedon cards, and Powerstrip in the HTPC forum. You could probably adapt one of these to your laptop for an incredable picture from this little puppy.

Good luck with your HT. I look forward to more pics when it's finished.

Cheers, VB
 

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Discussion Starter #4
As much as I'd like to switch the video card in my laptop, I don't think that's possible. Apparently there's a Dell Inspiron 8000 w/ a GeForce video card that's quite good.


Besides, this is just a temporary fix.


I'm off to try an S Video cable to see if that helps at all. Based on my experiences last night, I think the current wall represents a (very) signifigant bottleneck.


Maybe this week I'll order the screen or pait the wall white.


Kelly
 

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Kelly,

thanks for taking the time to take and post the photos.

while i don't see a huge difference, most of the progressive shots do look a little sharper. the austin powers ones especially , and the space shot in particular.

i never really thought my interlaced signal was all that blurry or soft...but we'll see what happens.

it's probably not a good idea to expect a dramatic difference when i finally get a progressive player hooked up, that way i'll save myself from being too dissapointed.

looks like your yellows are skewing a little to green also.


were these the exact same frames, or just close to the same?

have you calibrated at all with Avia or VE?
 

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I just wanted to make a comment about your home theater construction as something I saw concerned me (I'm a construction consultant so I cant help it). I noticed that it looks like some of your foundation walls are rubble (rock walls). And it appears that you will be furring off these walls with drywall. If there is any moisture through these walls you could have some serious problems with moisture damaging your sheetrock, mildew, etc. Often these walls were not waterproofed on the outside before they were backfilled. You will want to make sure that this room is well dehumidified and you should seal the inside of these walls as well. Also, make sure the ground slopes away from these walls and that there are no gutters terminating near them. Just trying to help.


Good Luck

Brian


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Zed's dead baby, Zed's dead.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well, I hooked up my Pioneer 626 via S-Video (hey, it only too me a day to find the darned thing, buried in a closet) last night, and the improvement was very substantial. While motion still suffers from very signifigant distortion and noise, still shots, especially of faces come tolerably well now. I was able to watch all of 'Out of Sight' last night, and even forgot where I was for a few moments.


For those unfamiliar with this film, I can't vouch for the transfer, but the use of colors in differnt locals is very compelling (and consistent!). Miami looks and feels like Miami, Florida like Florida (hey, there's a bid difference as RW will attest!), Detroit like Detroit, etc. I wish Jennifer Lopez would focus more on her acting than her videos and music - she's quite good here.


So, as for the internal scaler on the LT150, do yourself a favor and at least use the S-Video connection. My only concern was that color saturation was too intense, but that may be due in part to the gray drywall.


ckolchak - no calibrations yet.


Brian - thanks for pointing this out. The granite rubble walls have been in place since 1830 when the home was built. Two of the four walls of the new basement are new poured concrete, with water treatment on the outside and on the inside. The other two walls are original rubble, and one faces the old basement, while the other faces the basement of my neighbor, so neither faces soil or a water source.


Chisling through that rubble wall was no laughing matter! I'm fortunate that the original builder didn't cut corners on any of the masonry in the house. They certainly don't build them like the used to.


Kelly
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yesterday I took an old can of white paint and made myself a screen. The bare drywall was looking so bad that I just had to give it a try.


With the S-Video and painted screen, I can now at least watch a movie all the way through without wanting to forget the whole project. No, it doesn't look perfect, but it looks pretty good.


I did some experimenting with the white screen and the grey drywall. As you might expecet, scenes with more color do look better with the white paint, while dark scenes look better with the grey drywall.


I wonder if the Greyhawk magically accomplishes the two - or, if the Highpower magically accomplishes the two.


Better blacks AND better whites! Is such a thing possible?


I feel like a detergent commercial. . . .


It will be great to see what some of the big guns think of the comparison. I just don't have the reference points that others have to make a good assessment, nor the proper screens in house.


Kelly
 
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