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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,


I have recently received the Sharp XV-Z91E (equivalent of the DT-200 without DVI:mad: ) paired with a Da-Lite Insta-theater Deluxe 80" portable screen and this his my review of what is my very first front projector personal experience.


I received the screen first (Da-lite Insta-theater 80") and it's a fantastic piece of equipment. It can be lifted and lowered down a the height you desire in one simple movement. No need for sticks or anything else. It's fast and easy. Furthermore, there is a handle directly on the metallic case that makes it easy to transport and it is very light to carry.


Then I received the projector. Once removed from the box, I tried to place it just on my left side since it is supposed to have a 2D correction that should allow that kind of placements, but I could not get a perfect rectangle. In other words this is a commercial joke and it is worth less. As a consequence I had to position it straight in front of the portable screen and I had to sit off-centre (I hate this position). I switched it on, adjusted the zoom and focus. Easy to set-up.


What I can say is that at 2x the screen width I can see the screendoor but only on very bright whites like white subtitles for example. I don't use the defocus because I don't like the slightly blur image it creates.


Then I connect it to my Tosh interlaced DVD player via YUV and play Star Wars Ep.2 (AOTC) in PAL. The Sharp recognizes the signal as 580i and a beautiful, colourful, crisp picture is displayed.


I am watching in daylight and the image is so bright, the colours so vivid and the contrast so high that I think I am watching a gigantic direct TV set without the horizontal scanlines. I think the Da-lite is a great screen for whoever wants to watch during daylight. However, I noticed in white parts of the image a kind of strange texture which happened to be due to the light reflection by tiny micro beads and I think they make also the screendoor more visible. That's the only drawback of this screen. The rest is great.


Now back to the projector. Everything is great except one thing that really gets to my nerves whatever I watched whether interlaced YUV or Svhs, LD or DVD, Pal or NTSC, it's the crap deinterlacer in that machine. I see jaggies everywhere and it's worse on NTSC programs due to what I think is the lack of reverse 3:2 pulldown. At night, it gets worse, the black borders are not completely black but dark gray and I see lots of grain on the picture which is worse with long cables (5m) than with 1m cables and the deinterlacing artifacts gets to my nerves. The picture remains as punchy as during daytime but I see too many artifacts to really enjoy what I'm seeing.

To finish me off, the fact that I have to watch the screen from an off-centre position forces me to turn my head rapidly to see the whole picture and inevitably I can see very rarely and very quickly tiny little rainbows.


I must say that my first unit displayed a black blocked mirror on the lower left end of the screen. It wasn't bothering me at all while watching movies, but by principle I asked for a replacement unit that was delivered to me the next day and so far so good. I must say it's extremely rare to have a dead pixel on this unit. I must be the second person in the world to have got this problem and Sharp (uk) have taken their responsabilities and allowed the shop to give me a replacement unit.


So my first impressions after 14 hours on the 2nd unit and 10 hours on the first one (it's going fast!) are a mixed bag of amazement for the contrast, the coulours, the brightness, the overall punch of the image and discontent because of the slight pixellation, small rainbows (these two are minor niggles I can easily live with), but above all this awful deinterlacer that forces me to invest in an external deinterlacer for the LDs and a new Prog. Scan DVD player, which makes the overall price identical if not higher than that of a HT1000 + matt wallscreen.


I did not take the HT1000 I dreamt of because of the possibility of rainbows and because I did not know if it was worth the extra grants in my case. Now I think it's worth it and I will try to sell the Z91E and the screen(if I succeed?!) and buy a HT1000 which is the only machine that is still "affordable" for me and will integrate my setup without problem and give the best of each source as well as a gray screen or at least a matt white screen (byebye daylight watching but good morning pure whites).


Overall it's a very good unit that needs to be fed with excellent sources to deliver all the goods. Unfortunately, I wanted a machine that would integrate my present set-up and not force me to remodel my entire set-up to fit its needs. I could not see this machine before (only expensive LCD machines are displayed in my region) and I did not expect such a great performance which in turns requires great sources. I do not want to get rid of my LD collection or my present machines and buying an external deinterlacer will increase the price to the level of the HT1000.


In other words, this machine deserves a better owner who will be able to give it the clean progressive sources it deserves and this owner is not me.


So if someone on this forum lives in the UK or Europe and would like to buy this unit from me, I will be happy to negociate a fair price for the kit (Z91 + portable screen + 10m broadcast quality YUV and Svhs cables).


Thank you for reading and I hope you learnt something from my experience.


Take care.


Bye!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I have been really harsh with the Z91 due to the fact that it is so perfect that it shows all the defects of all the sources used with it and seeing all my favourite DVD and LD being so crap looking when used without excellent prior deinterlacing and without absolutely perfect cables has really shocked me.


Now that the initial shock's past, I realize that this unit needs an excellent DVD player (I am thinking of the Denon 2800 MKII) and an iscan ultra for all other sources (LD, TV, video games etc ...).


Once I get more money, I'll provide them to this projector and it should then absolutely shine.
 

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I enjoyed reading the review, but was a bit surprised to hear that Z90's deinterlacer is THAT bad... :( Probably it is a PAL-specific glitch, no?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by DrJo
Now that the initial shock's past, I realize that this unit needs an excellent DVD player (I am thinking of the Denon 2800 MKII) and an iscan ultra for all other sources (LD, TV, video games etc ...).
I don't know what all these things cost, but you might be better off putting the money into a different projector. For instance, the HT1000 costs more money, but a $200 Bravo D1 makes DVDs look much better than even TheaterTek (to my eyes) and way better than I've seen from my RP82. I'm not sure about PAL with the D1 or the upcoming Samsung DVI DVD player, but I think these players change the landscape a little bit. Now I'm considering how projectors work with these players, since the all digital path can be such an advantage with projectors that implement the DVI-D input well (my Sharp M20x didn't). Many of us saw a big jump in image quality when we went to the D1.


--Darin
 

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Thanks for the review! I like the fact that you included your observations when using it with a variety of sources and under varying conditions. Reviews like this are most helpful when deciding what to buy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I can't tell if the Z91's deinterlacer is better or worse than other budget projector, but what I can tell, now that I have spent more than 24 hours with it, is that when it comes to Pal DVDs, the image is quite good but still some jagged edges remain. For TV programs (Pal) via the tuner of my VCR connected via composite, it is remarkably stunning, but when it comes to NTSC DVDs requiring reverse 3:2 pulldown, the results are disappointing and it is at it's worse when playing letterboxed NTSC DVDs.


The same goes for LDs as well.


However, the contrast and brightness as well as the clarity of the picture are great.


In other words, this projector NEEDS a progressive source. Therefore, I am hesitating between a new DVD player with Sil504 (Denon 2900 for example) or an Iscan Ultra that would allow me to operate the magic of the Sil504 on all sources.


My question is: will the Iscan Ultra help me get rid of all the jaggies I see especially on NTSC letterboxed programs?


As for the HT1000, I thought of selling the Z91 to take the NEC, but I see more and more often rainbows on the Z91, especially on Pal programs but also on NTSC (may be a problem with the engine of the colourwheel? Or me?) and I don't want to take the risk to increase the frequency of this phenomenon by swithching to the NEC. That would really become unbearable. I have also noticed that I see them very often using the interlaced YUV output of my Toshiba DVD player, less when using the S-video on the same player and only very few when using the S-video on my Pioneer DVL-919E (no component on the european model). I think the punchier the image gets and the more artifacts I see, the more often I can see rainbows. Being tired as well seems to worsen the phenomenon.


Finally, the Z91 as well as the european version of the Z90 don't have DVI input but only a VGA D-sub 15 input, which rules out the all-digital feed option unfortunately.


Now knowing that I am sensitive to the rainbows, if I were to upgrade, I would go either for a TW100H or better a CRT projector with a great deinterlacer/line doubler/quadrupler. But, that's for the far away future.
 

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I demoed a Sharp DT-200 (short throw version of the Z90). Rainbows were infrequent, when projected on a 65" 16:9 Firehawk screen. However, I saw rainbows aplenty on an HT1000. So, like you said, it is probably wise to not go for an HT1000 yet. I hope there will be a 5x version of the HT1000 one day. Maybe that will help with my slight eyestrain too...I didn't notice any on the DT-200 after 1 hour of use. But that may have been a fluke too.
 

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Quote:
I can't tell if the Z91's deinterlacer is better or worse than other budget projector, but what I can tell, now that I have spent more than 24 hours with it, is that when it comes to Pal DVDs, the image is quite good but still some jagged edges remain. For TV programs (Pal) via the tuner of my VCR connected via composite, it is remarkably stunning, but when it comes to NTSC DVDs requiring reverse 3:2 pulldown, the results are disappointing and it is at it's worse when playing letterboxed NTSC DVDs.
This is certainly surprising and troubling. So, the situation seems the opposite of the reported PAL-specific problems on Sony's onboard deinterlacers.


Granted, I watched the Z90 in Tokyo only with a progressive DVD player and a 1080i HDTV feed (the latter was still excellent).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
From my own experience and that of the people on the french forum www.homecinema-fr.com it seems that the XV-Z90E/Z91E need excellent feeds to give their best, which is logical, so 1080i, 720p, 576p and 480p will give the best images.


It's not goddam awful with s-video or interlaced YUV, it is simply by no means cinema-like but more like big-TV-like with lots of jagged edges but without the dreaded scanlines of a big TV. Apart from that it is highly watchable. I just expected something smoother and I think, unless you have some Sil503/504 or DCDi in the machine or a great progressive DVD player connected to it, it will be very difficult to get this desired film-like quality.


Talking of progressive scan, thanks a lot, dum_71, I have checked your reference on the "Vision" and I am seduced , it is basically an iScan Ultra without the chroma bug filter but with adaptive scaling capabilities.


I am more than interested and I have found it in the UK at £1,099 (inc. VAT and delivery), which is more expensive than in the US (What a surprise!).


Do you think it is a better deal than the iScan Ultra at £598? One thing for sure, it's like a HTPC without the pain of dealing with windows, and much more flexibility in everyday-use.


Can anyone that used any of these 2 machines on 800*600 displays give me their opinions and advice?


Thanks in advance!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I am answering to myself!


One thing that attracts me to the Lumagen "Vision" is that it is also possible to choose your vertical frequency so that I could display 800*600 at 75Hz.


Can anyone having the Z90 or DT-200 (Z91) tell me if they have tried this with their machines?


Is there tearing at this frequency?


Is the colourwheel turning at 5*75 = 375Hz or still at 300 Hz?


If it is running at 375Hz without tearing, then bye-bye to the last few rainbows forever!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Me again!


I have read more threads related to the causes of jagged edges in a fixed pixel display. It seems that poor to average scaling can generate these artifacts even if the deinterlacing is good. And as the worse jagged edges are noticed when scaling non-anamorphic material (less than 350 active lines) to the 600 lines of the display, I think that average scaling may be the cause rather than poor deinterlacing. In that case, a HTPC or the lumagen Vision might be a better solution than the iScan Ultra alone.


Can anyone confirm this hypothesis?


Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yes Sushi, I had already read this excellent article when I started my hunt for a videoprojector many months ago.


Today, I have put my good old Tosh interlaced SDTV 100Hz TV back to its original place at the centre of my home cinema set-up and all the jaggies I can see on the Z91E are present on the TV. The only difference between the 2 is the size of the screen and the absence of scanlines for the Z91E.


I also prefer the colours and the contrast on my TV but that's not a fair comparison to make. Both units display a very stable, flicker-free and pleasant picture.


Basically, the problem comes from the fact that I am using interlaced DVD and LD players as a source and also the fact that some DVDs (especially the letterboxed ones) are very poorly encoded and very compressed (usually DVD-5 instead of DVD-9 for the recent anamorphic releases).


All these factors add up to each other to give an image that contains most of the defects related to interlaced signals (minus the scanline and flickering problems).


In short, the solution is simple: get rid of all LDs, poorly encoded DVDs and buy a Denon DVD player with Sil504 inside for the well-encoded DVDs.


That's should reduce my DVD/LD collection by a good half :D .


In short, the Z91E is a very good videoprojector whose internal deinterlacer is not powerful enough to clean up all the mess of interlaced signals. This does not mean it's a bad projector, not at all; it's simply not giving an image as that you would get on your yamaha for example. It needs the help of an external scaler/deinterlacer (Sil504 or DCDi) or a progressive DVD player (which is the best solution) to do it's magic.


Even with all these jaggies on poor materials (only few jagged lines remain on very good DVDs; these DVDs are also stunning on my 28" widescreen TV), the motion on the Z91E is as fluid and smooth as seen on my TV. I just wish all the lines were smoothed out on all video materials, but for that I think that only a Sil504 or a DCDi chip could help. I don't think any other deinterlacer could do the trick.


Another problem I am experiencing is that today, before switching back to the TV, I was quite tired and I tried to watch the NTSC DVD of X-men (not the 1.5 version) during daylight at a distance of more than 2x the width of the screen and I could see quite a lot of rainbows; too many to my taste.


I don't think the colourwheel has a problem, if not the color decoding would be all messed up, which was not the case.


I think I am hypersensitive to this phenomenon, which does not surprise me much since I cannot bear a TV at 50 or 60Hz due to intense flickering. The same goes for flashes during photo shoots; I hate them. they stay imprinted on my retina for quite a long time. That's just me and I think anyone normal would have no problem with the Z91E. I am definitely part of the less than 1% affected by rainbows on DLP machines no matter what speed of colourwheel is used :( . My bad!


I am also wondering if the screen fabric (wide power) used in the Da-Lite Insta-theater does not reflect or scatter light in such a way that it could favour the decomposition of the images into their primary components when they reach my retina:confused: .


Or maybe I'm just trying to convince myself that DLP machines are still for me:p .


I am seriously considering selling the Z91E and get an Epson TW100 or Yamaha similar to yours.


In other words, now that I have more experience in the projector field, I think that for me a home-cinema projector that does not possess a DCDi or Sil504 chip to handle non-progressive sources such as LDs is not worth my consideration anymore.


I must say that cheap progressive scan DVD players are very recent to the european market and TVs able to handle prog. scan signals are very rare and HDTV is not even available, which explains why all my sources are still interlaced.


In that respect, the Z91E is way better than any RPTV available in Europe even the Sony ones with the famous DRC-MF. However, I would not qualify the picture as "Cinema-like", but more as "perfect-huge-TV-like" because of the remaining jaggies.


With the birth of HD-DVD and the future availability of HDTV in Europe (due for 2004!), I am very reluctant in investing more money in a forth DVD player that will be outdated in the next six months. That's why I require a projector that can do it all and that is future-proof and the Z91E does not fit completely the bill in that respect.


To finish I will say that, from what I know now, I think the Z91E (as well as the Z90E) possesses the CIVIC (I or II) video system also found in the MX20 but not the 3:2 pulldown softwares found in the Z9000 and Z10000 and it is now notoriously known that the MX20 needs an external deinterlacer to reach the level of performance of let's say an HT1000, the same also goes for the NEC LT240/260 and these two as well as the MX20 would be a nightmare for me because of their slower colourwheels.
 
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