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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well after reading all the posts here I decided to swing by Duocom on my lunch hour yesterday.


Duocom graciously accepted my request to demo these 2 units.


Realizing that the circumstances were not ideal and I didn't have the resources to do any simple calibrations here are my impressions:


- off the top I was very impressed with the images these 2 units were displaying through svideo from a DVD player


- couldn't get over how small they were, especially the LT150!


- the 540 definitely displayed a brighter and more vibrant picture


I found the fact that the 540 was more impressive odd given the posts I have read here about the 150.


A demo at my home will allow for a more controlled environment and I can do some remedial calibration.


I must say I was very excited about the pictures being displayed though and this has allayed my concerns about whether to go with a HDTV RPTV in the 56" range or with a projector.


No doubt about it now! Projector all the way baby!!


This site has proven very helpful - thanks guys!


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These two projectors were both on my "short list" before I selected the VT540. The 540 offered twice the bulb life (2000 hours versus 1000) while the bulb cost is about $400 for both. The 540 also has a limited manual zoom lens with about 20% range, good for tweeking image size onto a particular size screen at a particular throw distance (good if you cannot do a permanent ceiling mount). Finally, the 540 color saturation was remakable and the screendoor the least objectionable of any LCD I've seen, although in all fairness the 150 had better blacks and better overall contrast. In the end, I just preferred the 540 picture.


Both of these units would be a fine choice - if I was planning portable use for presentations, I would have selected the 150 without a second thought, it was almost as good to my eyes, and had the PC card reader feature.


Gary
 

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Lou:


Try to see a demo with progressive scan. There were many things about the 540 (which I had in my home for three weeks) that I liked, but there is no way that the 540 with S-video can compare to the 150 with progressive, in any aspect of visual performance except brightness (and the 150 is MORE than bright enough, with any kind of light control). But I wish my NEC component-to-VGA cable had not taken so long to arrive--I had to send the 540 back before the connector reached me. If the 540 with progressive had looked even close to the 150, I would have kept it (not to mention 3000 bulb-hours in eco-mode, which is all the brightness you need). The 540 has lots of "tweakability," color is fine, and the shadow detail is very good for a projector with 400:1 contrast. But, with S-video, lack of sharpness, that "video look" (exaggerated edge-enhancement, for example), and screen door were deal-breakers.


Just my two yen's worth. :)


Mike


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Vivamus, atque amemus! (Let us live, and let us love!)


[This message has been edited by catullus (edited 07-17-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the reply Gary!


My preference would be to set the projector on a coffee table and move it back and forth to get the appropriate picture size. I would then fine tune with the manual focus.


Any issues with dead pixels with the 540? This is not something that one would have to worry about with 150 as it is a DLP correct?


I also have a Panasonic RP91 DVD player. Will using the zoom on an anamorphic DVD allow full use of all of a projector's pixels in 16:9 mode? Or does the resulting picture loose it's clarity?




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[This message has been edited by Lou Sytsma (edited 07-17-2001).]
 

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Lou, I believe you would need about 33% zoom to project both the 16:9 and 4:3 images with the same height (I think thats what you are asking). The VT540 has 20% zoom range, not enough for this, best to consider it just for tweeking, unless you have a really deep coffee table to move it on. Try the VT540 projector calculator at http://www.projectorcentral.com/ , I have found it to be pretty darn close to reality.


My plans are to use the VT540 with my present 90" diagonal 4:3 screen, using the default "constant width" mode with letterbox bars for widescreen sources. Since I watch quite a few old B&W movies in 4:3 AR, this works for me. I want a larger/wider screen, but I need a new room for that - I'm already using the biggest one in my present home, and the problem is not enough throw distance. Ideally, I think either the ISCO II or the Panmorph lenses would be the best way to do this, which lens depending upon the throw distance in the new dedicated HT room.


On the matter of dead pixels, my projector has one which is cyan color all the time at about 50% brightness - you can see it on either a black background or a bright white screen, but you have to be much closer than my viewing position (about 1.5 screen widths). I have learned from reading this forum that others have worse problems with some units - but NEC seems fairly agreeable about swapping units if you are not happy with yours. There is of course no guaranty that you won't get any dead pixels on a replacement - some end up with more. If I could see this from my chair I might care, but I can't and don't, even when wearing my glasses. I have seen only one other VT540, the dealer demo unit, and it had no dead pixels. I have heard that stuck pixels are much rarer on DLPs.


Gary

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
MIke - my home demo is set up for tomorrow.


Unfortunately I won't have a VGA/RGB breakaway cable in time.


Initially I will be using the projector for movies only so the bulb issue is not a deal breaker for me. I figure by the time I get to that point there will be a better projector that I will want to trade up to.


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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sorry Gary - my statement about zooming was NOT clear.


My Panny RP91 has a zoom ie scale function. Will this just scale to the projector 16:9 ratio or will the DVD player's zoom function send a 4:3 image to the projector? This would allow all the pixels of the projector to be used to display the 16:9 image or not?


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[This message has been edited by Lou Sytsma (edited 07-17-2001).]
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Lou Sytsma:
MIke - my home demo is set up for tomorrow.


Unfortunately I won't have a VGA/RGB breakaway cable in time.


You can get a VGA->5BNC cable at Best Buy for $50. Get 3 RCA->BNC adapters at radio shack ($4 apiece). You owe it to yourself to see component on this projector if you can.


rick (happy vt540 owner).
 

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I did a shootout between the NEC LT155 (next step up from the 540), LT150, Proxima DX3 and Infocus LP350 about five months ago. All projectors were hooked into my HTPC and also s-video through my Toshiba DVD player. My reaction to seeing all these projectors in a controlled envirnonment is exactly the same as Mike's. Read "Gentleman Start your light engines" 1 and 2 for my impressions. I have seen some of these projectors again in my HT and this has only strengthened my original opinion.


Cheers,


Grant
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi Grant.


I have read all your LT150 related posts - though the first review you did does not show up using the search function.


Your posts along with others here is steering me towards the LT150. I am doing a demo tomorrow night of the LT150, the VT540K and the LT156.


Based on that I will be making my decision. Thanks for all your great posts here.


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Lou,


I also went to Duocom Toronto last night where they did a demo of the LT150 and VT540K. They had a Compaq notebook w/DVD-ROM hooked up and also an old Toshiba DVD player connected to s-video. I agreed with most of what you said in your comparison, here are some of my observations:


- s-video looks horrible on both units (lots of jaggies and crawlies, almost unwatchable)

- The 540 is VERY bright. In comparison the LT150 gives the impression that its lamp is dying....

- The 540 has VERY vibrant colors, in fact too vibrant for me and seem kinda unnatural. When viewing "Vertical Limit", the flesh tone seems to be too red, the white in snow scenes tends to be too much on the blue side. While watching the same scenes on the LT150, the colors seem more natural and in turn give a more "film like" effect. I didn't spend time tweaking the VT540 for better colors, so there might be some settings there that will improve things.

- The VT540 is definitely quieter than the LT150

- Contrast level is surprisingly good on the VT540 (but not as good as the LT150)

- On the LT150, I occasionally see the rainbow effect when watching Vertical Limit, but for some reasons, I don't see any in Toy Story 2

- Viewing the VT540 from a distance of around 12 ft, screen door is not very apparent



For me, I will probably pick the LT150 because of its more accurate colors and better contrast ratio. Btw what price quotes did they give you for the two units?


-John


[This message has been edited by jchiu (edited 07-18-2001).]
 

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I've had both a VT440 and an LT85, (the SVGA versions of the above projectors). I thought the LT85 had a noticeable better picture, mainly due to the much better blacks.


Steve


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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hey John.


I had a demo of both units at home today. I was not able to get the VGA/RGB cable for the demo.


The picture from both units each had their strengths.


The 540 had more vibrant colours typical of LCD projectors. The 150 had better contrast ratio and black level.


None of the projectors handled Lawrence of Arabia that well.

The sky scenes were full of crawlies for both units.


I still haven't made up my mind between these 2.


I will email the details I was given on the projectors.


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[This message has been edited by Lou Sytsma (edited 07-18-2001).]
 

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Lou,


Since you did not have a VGA/RGB cable for the demo, did you have the unit hooked up to a HTPC or a DVD player via s-video? I will not be surprised if you see a lot of crawlies from both units if you are only using the s-video connection, but I didn't notice any when using the VGA connection.


And yes, please email me the price quotes they gave you on both units.


Thanks,

John
 
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