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Discussion Starter #1
After reading Grant Smith's review of the LT150 I called my NEC rep and had them send me a demo. Well it arrived last night and I gave it a spin.

Testing was with a Geforce equipped HTPC and a DIY 54x96 gray screen.The first thing I viewed on it was Antz because it was movie time at my house and that is what my daughter wanted to watch. I thought the image looked very good the colors were accurate enough but I could have used a little more brightness. I am sure a screen with a little more gain would take care of this. Next I watched Jurassic Park. I like this disc because it is 16x9 so it fills my whole screen and it has dark scenes as well as bright vibrant scenes. The first thing in the movie right after the Columbia spinning planet logo is the title sequence. It consists of orange and yellow letters floating in a black background. This is where I was a little disappointed. I thought with a 800:1 contrast ratio and an overall output of 800 lumens that the black level would be outstanding. Well it wasn't. It was however very good but i would have to say that if it was better than the VT540 then it would have to be very marginal. I don't know, maybe my expectations are just to high for these digital projectors. I then put in Star Trek First Contact. This has become my projector torture test. It is a very dark movie with many scenes of darkness with bright lights which is a rainbow waiting to happen, plus it is 2.35:1 which cuts brightness down. Well I have to say that this projector did not fair very well with this movie. It needed more brightness better and deeper blacks. Again I have to wonder if a different screen would help. It would seem to me that a 2.5 screen such as the one grant is using would help the brightness but it would also raise the black level. I guess it's a trade off. Rainbows where evident on the ST movie but not near as bad as the LP340. On the other movies I watched I hardly ever saw any rainbows.

Now let me say some good things. Nec electronics are great. I fired up all my games and this baby didn't even flinch. It even did great with Mame games and all their whacky rezs. It also synched to my 1024x576 rez without a problem.

Overall I would have to sum it up like this


Size: It so small you can't believe that it could even work


Noise: It is a little louder than the VT540 or LP340 but not unbearable


Convenience: the lack of a zoom lens puts this thing in the middle of my room instead of at the end. A little inconvenient but really not that big of a deal.


Colors: better than the lp340, as good or better than the VT540, almost as good as the LT155 which where the best I have seen from a digital projector.


Black level: better than the LP340, as good or slightly better than the VT540 and LT155


Rainbow: much better than the LP340, the VT540 and LT155 of course had none


Conclusion: I think think this is a very good projector. I wish I could see the LT155 again now that I have a grey screen. It might edge it out with it's extra brightness and incredible color. I will try to get another screen and do some more testing. So for now lets just say the jury is still out.

 

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I found the black levels VERY good on this projector. Not sure why you are seeing such grey blacks. Have you tried playing with the settings a bit more?


As for rainbows, I am curious as to how bad you think they are. I am trying to do whatever I can to minimize them. Now that you say that it is a big improvement over the LP340, I can only imagine what they look like on the infocus. Do you feel that the rainbows are tolerable? Sometimes they are very annoying for me, while sometimes I don't see them at all.


There are tons of settings that I have yet to experiment with. I believe that this projector can look even better with a little bit of tweaking.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Halycon, How do you have yours set? This is mine


Contrast 50

brightness 45

gamma natural 1

white segment off


Geforce overlay controls


Brightness 130

contrast 93


If yours is different let me know I would love to be able to improve the black level. Just to clarify the contrast is great it is the black level that could be better.

Regarding rainbows I occasionally see them with the LT150 and could live with it. The lp340 was much worse could not live with it.
 

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Maybe your brightness on the Geforce is too high?


I have about 45 on brightness, but quite a bit higher on the contast (probably 60-70). I don't use the gamma control and leave it off. I also adjusted colors settings slightly on the Radeon. Maybe that may be the difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The settings on the Geforce have been confirmed with a scope by Cliff Watson and are considered the correct settings. That being said I did try lowering it and it did not help.

Are you saying your gamma is set to normal? It has to be Normal, Natural 1, or Natural 2.

I will try a little higher on the contrast which should in turn allow me to lower the brightness.
 

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The LT100 has Normal, Natural1 and Natural2 gamma setting as well. The consensus on that projector has been that Normal looks better than either of the Natural settings. NEC may have used similar tables in the LT150, so you might give Normal a try.
 

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How manageable is the halo on the LT150? Grant said his special installation, with all the black curtains and such, soaked it all up, but I'm wondering if it really needs all that, or would a basic black masking of 3" or so around the screen take care of it?


Thanks for the review!

Paul
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Mark, I will give Normal a try tonight when it gets dark.


Paul, the halo is very manageable if you are using a 4x3 screen. Then depending on the size of your screen 3 or 4 inches would probably work. If you are using a 16x9 screen then you have to get a little more creative.
 

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Thanks for the review. I am glad that others are now looking at the LT150 as a viable alternative to some of the other more established projectors.


SofaCinema - are you using a grey screen? I thought from your review that you might be and if so this might explain a difference in black level results. I have seen gray screens and if they do anything they simply kill the punch of a projector with 800 ansi lumens. I think that the da-lite hi-power retro-reflective (2.8 gain) screen mated with this projector extremely well. What I have reported, and others who have seen this set up, was with the da-lite screen. The LT155 that I reviewed in the shootout, with the same HTPC and screen, although good, simply wasn't in the same league, although it too uses the VORTEX technology! As I mentioned in my original review I thought that the screen might be neutralizing the higher light advantage of the other projectors.


The projector you tested is simply not the projector I tested. If you reread my review you will note that I was specific about the LT150 being used with the HTPC and da-lite hi-power screen to obtain "stellar" results. Using a grey screen adds a variable that potentially changes things, maybe dramatically! Warren is using a 1.0 gain white screen and has reported very good black levels. Gray screens may improve the black level of LCDs, but in my opinion they deter from the overall picture quality of DLPs, especially ones with lower light output.


The blacks I am getting are the best I have seen from a digital projector so far. This projector has tremendous punch! I will be doing a shootout with the LT85, VT540, Marantz VP-8000 and LP340 in a week or two and will use the LT150 as a reference. I will report what I find.


I now have the optional cable to hook up my progressive scan DVD player and will report the results.


Cheers,


Grant Smyth


Remember, seeing is believing.


 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well another night of viewing. My daughter's choice was Toy Story 2 and mine was The Blues Brothers. For viewing tonight I turned my screen around and used the white side. I also switched to gamma normal, turned the contrast up a bit, and lowered the brightness appropriately.

As you can imagine TS2 looked incredible. it always makes a projector look good but not this good. I saw details that I have never seen before. Colors were out of this world. It was really eye candy.

I love the blues brothers. I have seen it probably 30 timed and it still makes me laugh. The transfer on this dvd is out standing and ever bit of detail came through with the LT150. I just enjoyed the movie and forgot I was supposed to be evaluating a projector. The only thing I did notice was crawlies. In the scenes were they are riding around with the speaker on their car announcing the concert. It was pretty bad, and yes my white segment is not checked. This was bad but when you consider that all but 20 seconds of the movie looked perfect, its hard to really complain. I never once saw a rainbow, and I never once thought about black levels. The white screen is definitely better with this projector.


Ok I am now in love. I want this projector, however I want to see the LT85 first as it is more in my price range. This thing beats the LP340 all over the place and is better than the VT540 which I really liked. I haven't ran it via svideo or component yet I will try to do so this weekend. If it performs half as well as I think it will I will have to chime in with Grant and say........This is the one.
 

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SofaCinema - Thanks for using a white screen and confirming my results! Everyone who has seen this setup, in my home theatre, has either wanted it (can't afford it - this is an expensive hobby you know!) or has purchased it, myself included, and I already own another projector!


I tried the Natural 2 gamma setting with the Gladiator DVD and was delighted with the shadow detail and overall picture. Don't be afraid to experiment with the different settings for different movies!


As for the LT150 - Res ipsa loquitur!


Cheers,


Grant Smyth


Remember, seeing is believing!
 

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SofaCinema,


It's very interesting that you like the blacks better with the white screen, but you made several other adjustments as well. Would it be to much trouble to turn the screen around again with the current adjustments to see how it looks?


Thanks


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

Noah
 

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SofaCinema,


Thanks for the review. I'm definitely leaning to the LT150 now.


I can't wait to hear about your additional tests via svideo/480i and component source material. I want to get a projector that looks decent off of regular Svideo (not using an HTPC or a external scaler).


For now, I'll be using it off a DSS via svideo and a non-progressive DVD player, so 480i performance is somewhat important to me. I will eventually upgrade to either a HTPC or progressive dvd or both, but thats probably 6-12 months away.


Also, how does the brightness compare to the LP340?


-Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Dave, no it is not as bright as the lp340, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. I found the lp340 to bright. When watching Erin Brockavich I thought I was going to need sunglasses during the bright outdoor desert scenes. The LT150 is just right to me it looks very film like, not video like. I did watch DSS via dTV and it was very good.
 

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That does seem a bit strange to me since I thought the whole purpose of grey screens were to increase contrast (especially by improving black levels).


Grant, any input on the other settings? What are the brightness, contrast levels you set? Also, what about RGB brightness settings?
 

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Oh yah..

Try playing quake on this sucker.. simply amaaaaaaaaaaazing..........


but it is amazing on most projectors anyway, but for this, the colors are awesome. will be even better as soon as i get my new cheapo home theatre system.


BTW, I think you mentioned that you had quite a nice stereo system Grant. Do you have any pictures? if not, an equipment list would be nice http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif
 

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What is the bulb life on the LT150 and what is its replacement cost?


Thx,

John



[This message has been edited by Endymion (edited 03-11-2001).]
 

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Grant, Halcyon, SofaCin....


So, how do you think the LT150 would do watching a saturday football game with some (indirect) sunlight?


Thats really the only concern I have with the 150 over the LP350. The Infocus I was borrowing still was brighter during the day than any rear projection I've seen. But, I think it is TOO bright for darkened theater use. The bright whites wash out the contrast. The Infocus actually looked better with the lights on.


Thanks again!


-Dave

 
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