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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My Experience so far:

I've had a projector setup for nearly a decade now, I was never really into it I just like the big picture experience it offered. My first projector was an old Barco 500 that I won in a bet (long story).


I moved into a place where I couldn't fit that behemoth so I ended up buying a Boxlight "Raven" shortly after it was released, it seemed comparable to the Infocus X2 and I snagged it for about $200 less then the X2. While the Raven's image is much clearer/sharper I've been disappointed with the contrast and color compared to my old CRT ever since I purchased it (about 2 years ago now).


I'm in a little better financial situation now and I'd really like to get something I'll enjoy beyond just a big picture.

My general usage:

The primary use is for gaming, I have an Xbox 360 and a Wii, and I often play older consoles as well such as PS2, Xbox, Dreamcast, and Saturn (yes, I have a Saturn).


I watch a lot of DVD movies as well, but I have a good upscaling DVD player. I might also consider purchasing an HD-DVD or BluRay player within the next year as well but this is not as important to me as the gaming aspect as the PJ will be used for gaming 4 days out of the week and movies maybe once every other week.

What I'm looking for:

I'm definitely looking for something 720p native or better but obviously good 480i interlacing is very important as well considering many of the older consoles only support that mode. RGB support would be nice too (for things like the Saturn) but it's not vital to the decision.


Ideally I'd like to spend about $2500 but there is some leeway with that.


The thing that bothers me the most about my current projector is it's horrid black levels, worse contrast ratio and overall dim picture. In gaming I often have to crank up the brightness to see what I'm doing in darker games, which often ruins the ambiance. Adjusting for more accurate black and the image is just dim. (right now the screen is about a 96" diagonal in widescreen mode and the projector is ceiling mounted 14' away). even worse is max zoom at that distance the picture doesn't even fill the screen leaving a few inches on either side before the black masking.

Current unit's I'm considering:

I've been keeping my eye on some of the more popular 720p units for a while now such as the HD1000U and the HD72


however after reading though the recent "Highly Rated Home Theater Projectors" rundown on projector central I've changed my focus to some more newly released projectors.

After glancing over the spec sheets and reading a number of reviews I really like the following:

Sanyo PLV-Z5 (LCD)

Sharp XV-Z3000 (DLP)

Mitsubishi HC3000U (DLP)

My lingering questions:

Basically all of the aforementioned projectors look like solid units but I have a few concerns that I haven't been able to find answers to.


I realize that in general DLPs have better black levels and contrast ratios then the LCDs however the PLV-Z5 is rated at nearly double the contrast ratio of the XV-Z3000 and the HC3000U. As for black levels I really couldn't find how how the Sanyo performed, am I to expect it performs worse then the others just because it's an LCD? And if so would better black levels or better overall contrast ratio work better towards the type of generally dark games I like to play?


Most importantly how do these units stack up in terms of latency? particularly when scaling 480i or 480p video (usually over component or VGA)? This is one element that I haven't been able to find any info on.


Another thing that bothered me was that both DLP units require very close mounting positions, I'd need to re-mount and re-wire my current setup to meet their needs (which is doable but not all that appealing) though I'm mostly concerned with the mounting height and keystoning in this regard, my ceilings are fairly low but I fear I'd have to go with a pole setup which I'd really rather not have to do.


Lastly is cost concerns. The PLV-Z5 is quite a bit cheaper then the XV-Z3000 and the HC3000U at about 1600 as opposed to about 3000. However if I put this off for another 2 or 3 months and save another $1000 I could afford one of the new 1080p LCDs like the Mitsubishi HC5000BL or the Panasonic PT-AE1000U. Would it be worth doing that? being LCDs would they still not perform as well in terms of black levels as the DLPS even though they're essentially a class ahead?


I live in the central-northern part of NH so it's difficult for me to find real world demonstrations of projectors to help make my decisions. I rushed into my last projector purchase and regretted it so I'm just trying to make sure I make the right choice this time. and hopefully this next projector will last me at least until 1080p LED DLPs reach
 

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I've been playing my 360 on the HD1000U for about 2 weeks now. Love it. No lag, sharp and GIANT image. Tons of fun. I thought it would be hard to play on the larger screen and would take some getting used to, but honestly, I feel it's easier. Sniping and such has never been so easy. I would bet if you are prone to motion sickness you'd have issues with such an immersive screen, but that isn't an issue for me, and is definitely a positive in my mind. I'm also using a DW laminate DIY screen that looks amazing.
 

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If you're unhappy with the black levels now I wouldn't consider anything but a DLP. I've got an Optoma HD72 with a SNES,NES, Xbox, PS2, Wii hooked up - I've moved

the Saturn/Dreamcast/PS1 to the computer room.


As far as deinterlacing, I had an X1 before this. My HD72 has Faroudja (admittedly weird, it must have been left over Europe electronics or something), so I haven't had a Faroudja-less display to play my 480i games on.


BTW: all HDTVs lag when deinterlacing 480i. It's a matter of how much. I've been happy with the performance of Faroudja DCDi wrt lag. I have a 27" SD CRT for daylight viewing and that was the only way I was able to notice the lag between the CRT and the projectors on 480i stuff (both the X1 and the HD72). I was unable to detect lag on stuff at 480p and greater.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the replies


I realize the HD1000U is a solid projector but If I've got the budget for something 2-3 times the price wouldn't there theoretically be something that much better? Particularly considering the age of the HD1000U at this point? (remember this is my 3rd projector, I'm looking for something that will knock my socks off compared to a 2 year old DLP).


and more importantly are the new 1080p LCDs really that much worse then run-of-the mill 720p DLPs?


@GreenMonkey

I realize all HDTVs have lag, I'd be a fool to not expect some, but what I'm looking for is basically 2 things

1. is it so bad that gaming is not possible and

2. are there any resource with hard numbers in mili-seconds so I know exactly how these projectors stack up to each other? I mean if I'm thinking about 2 different projectors and cant make up my mind but one has less lag then the other, it becomes the clear choice.


I play a LOT of games and I'm quite competitive, so for me there is are large gap between a verbal endorsement of acceptable lag and an actual measured value.
 

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One: no modern digital FP will have a black level or contrast ratio equal to your CRT PJ, most likely....they're still playing catchup. Having said that, digital PJ's should be brighter than your CRT.


Two: Keep in mind that DLP contrast ratios are in the 2200:1 area in native, non-trickery mode...while LCD's are in the 1200:1 to 1600:1 area in native, non-trickery mode, last time I checked...they weren't using the new LCD panels anywhere that have a better overall contrast ratio natively.


Assuming you aren't going to run the PJ with "image" modes turned on that will darken or lighten a scene "on the fly" to try to achieve a better contrast ratio. (this will cause fan noise to fluctuate in many models as well as sometimes provide anoticible...and perhaps distracting...change in the brightness of the image you're looking at).


With gaming this could be a problem as scene brightness can change dramatically and erratically.....unlike a film where those transitions are governed......depends on the game and how adept your PJ is, and how succeptable you are to the effect.


In terms of absolute black level, DLP's are still better at this than LCD's with image-enhancement modes turned off....how much better is debatable. I prefer DLP because they dont require frequent filter changes or blowing of dust off exposed LCD panels, but for some people thats not a big deal and they prefer the LCD image quality.


If you want better overall black levels, consider a projector with a dual iris system or darkchip 3, closer to the $2g side of you budget and up. The mits 3000u comes to mind (tho I believe that is Darkchip 2), and the upcoming Optoma HD73 come to mind.


I game on a 720p Optoma HD70, and find the picture very pleasing..no hint of rainbows in any game I've tried so far, and no issues with contrast ratio on the FPS Resistance:Fall of Man. I haven't tried a Splinter Cell game on it but I imagine it will look acceptable...but it wont look as dark and black as a RPTV or CRT set.


As for lag on 480i games, if you can stomach 480i on a giant screen, then good luck to you. I dont believe anyone keeps stats on lag times in m/s and if you found them on the net, I'd be highly suspect of their accuracy. If you are looking for perfect timing for old fighting games, for example, stick with an interlaced analog display.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the insights



It really cleared up a lot of the confusion I had over what I'm really getting behind all of the Iris/contrast ratio trickery.


RBE doesn't really bother me, I can see them on occasion, depending on the content, and I can purposefully dart my eyes across the screen and see them that way but in general it's pretty rare that I see them and when I do it doesn't bother me all that much.


After reading your post and reading a few more reviews from different sources I'm highly considering the Mitsubishi HC3000U as it seems to offer the best balance between brightness and black levels/contrast ratio.


The Mitsubishi HC3100 and the Optoma HD73 look like other solid choices as well, though the 3100 isn't available in the US yet and the HD73 still seems too new to have a good selection of reviews or insights into if it has any long term problems.


As for 480i stuff I don't have much of a problem with 480i games so long as they're de-interlaced well, it seems a necessary evil though considering I've discovered a number of Wii games still only run in 480i mode, as does most of the PS2's library.


I've heard the best scaler for 480i content is the Faroudja and I know a lot of the Infocus brand projectors carry them but what about these Mitsu's and Optomas?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedsymphony /forum/post/0


RBE doesn't really bother me, I can see them on occasion, depending on the content, and I can purposefully dart my eyes across the screen and see them that way but in general it's pretty rare that I see them and when I do it doesn't bother me all that much.

Same here...

Quote:
After reading your post and reading a few more reviews from different sources I'm highly considering the Mitsubishi HC3000U as it seems to offer the best balance between brightness and black levels/contrast ratio.

Couple of things, I believe the 3000u is now discontinued. Not a big deal, but may be tougher to find. I saw them in the sub $2k range awhile back but if they are not available anymore, another option may be the Optoma HD73....dual iris (I believe), Darkchip 3 (better blacks even without a dual iris)....but I believe it is JUSt starting to ship, so reviews are still out. You have options.....thats for sure.

Also, dont discount the LCD side of things...you may find they play to your needs, remember most videogames are bright, even the dark ones


Quote:
The Mitsubishi HC3100 and the Optoma HD73 look like other solid choices as well, though the 3100 isn't available in the US yet and the HD73 still seems too new to have a good selection of reviews or insights into if it has any long term problems.

Exactly, see above.

Quote:
As for 480i stuff I don't have much of a problem with 480i games so long as they're de-interlaced well, it seems a necessary evil though considering I've discovered a number of Wii games still only run in 480i mode, as does most of the PS2's library.

Right, so the deinterlacer in the projector will be of concern to you. Example, you would likely eliminate the Sanyo projectors from your list as I believe their deinterlacers are not up to snuff (tho that could be the V4 and not the newer V5).

Quote:
I've heard the best scaler for 480i content is the Faroudja and I know a lot of the Infocus brand projectors carry them but what about these Mitsu's and Optomas?

Honestly I never paid much attention as I dont run interlaced sources with my PJ.....but most reviews should touch on this. Also, usually when deinterlacers are tested they are done with flagged content on disc...film and video...(I believe, someone will correct me if I'm wrong about that one)...that performance may not always translate to the way interlaced video signals come into a PJ from a game machine, just something to consider.


Check projectorcentral.com and projectorreviews.com for info on how the scalers perform. Oh yeah,a nd of course check the user review threads here for info, and feel free to post...who knows whos running SNES to their 120" Screen
 

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I very much enjoy this thread. I am in the market for a PJ...and frankly I'm leaning toward the Panasonic AX100. A primary reason for the purchase is game-playing--specifically using the Nintendo Wii platform. I read where a couple of posters here use the Wii...my screen will be about 120" diagonal. I am concerned about the sensor used by the Wii on such a large screen. Any comments from the posters here?
 

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Check the Wii threads in the gaming section, several people have noted some problems with the Wii on front projectors, most notably that the range of the Wii sensor is only about 10-13 feet or so...and at 120" thats pretty close....you're going to be close to the screen unless you re-position that sensor bar someplace closer to you (maybe on the ceiling tilted down......


Also something about the remote not going to the edges of the screen on large 100"+ screen widths....or something....better read up so you know what the caveats are.


I run the wii on my 65" RP set......honestly, I would not want to see this system on anything approaching 120".
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by josephandrews222 /forum/post/0


I very much enjoy this thread. I am in the market for a PJ...and frankly I'm leaning toward the Panasonic AX100. A primary reason for the purchase is game-playing--specifically using the Nintendo Wii platform. I read where a couple of posters here use the Wii...my screen will be about 120" diagonal. I am concerned about the sensor used by the Wii on such a large screen. Any comments from the posters here?

I've actually already got my wii up and running on my current PJ...


My screen is a Dalite pull down and I mounted the sensor bar to the top of recoil case on a slight downward facing angle.


My seating is a good 14-15' away from the screen. and while it doesn't work as good as it did on my old 25" CRT (where I had it hooked up before I got some component cables) it is definitely still playable.


The sensor only effects pointing, so games like Wii sports don't even use the sensor bar unless you're in the menus. With that said tracking is definitely better in the center of the screen and it gets a little rough at the edges and the bottom (since the sensor is on the top. My screen is an 84x84" so the top of the image is quite a few inches below where the sensor is mounted, I imagine if I was able to mount the sensor closer to the the top of the actual image it would be much better.


Games like Red Steel and Zelda give me ZERO problems and the tracking is rock solid as long as you're sitting directly in line with the sensor, sitting off to the sides you'll start to have some problems. The only areas where I've had problems is the Wii dashboard and the menu's to Wii sports. I think this is due to the fact that the sensor bar is used to detect the tilt of the hand icon, and it causes it to wobble back and forth. It's still navigatable and doesn't effect gameplay. The code to smooth out the signal is obviously much better in RS and LoZ:TP. I haven't played any other games yet.


If you go into calibration mode you'll see on your screen what the Wii remote is seeing when it looks at the sensor bar.


Basically the Wii remote needs a clear view of the sensor bar at all times. I believe the bigger problem is how high or low the sensor bar is when using a PJ... not necessarily the power of the sensor bar or the distance.


I've debated making an IR LED array that would mount near my PJ and reflect directly off of the screen, giving it a much more natural location but It hasn't really given much much problems during actual game play so I haven't bothered looking much further into it.
 

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My screen is 115" or so widescreen. I'm sitting about 11-12 feet away. It's definitely at the maximum range for the Wiimote. When I step back to about 15 feet the cursor shakes quite a bit.


From what I've heard you can make a DIY sensor bar, with more/bigger/stronger IRs, and thus sit farther away.


Faroudja seems to do a very good job with QUALITY deinterlacing games (only the occasional deinterlacing hiccup), but I'm not sure how FAST it actually is.


There's some good tests of Computer LCD monitor lag times on the internet, but not much for projectors.


To be honest the only game I ever noticed the lag was one move in Tekken Tag Tourney that takes very quick timing, hitting a button RIGHT when the opponent blocks - the window is much smaller than the window for a counter, I think it's only like 2 frames of animation (Lee's kick/throw thingie). Still, I could barely do it before.
 

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I very much enjoy reading the detailed responses posted by Twisted and Green. Thanks. I am not the Wii player in our house...my twelve year old daughter is. I am fascinated by exactly how the sensor works...and what exactly the Wiimote does, as well. Twisted's comment that the Wiisports games do not involve pointing makes sense...our daughter can get strikes in the bowling game with her back turned to the TV and bowling in the opposite direction.


I am interested in the Panasonic AX-100 because of the SmoothScreen utilized by this model enables viewers to sit (or, in the case of the Wii), stand closer to the screen without seeing individual pixels.


Which reminds me of another point. Presumably, since some of the Wiisports games are best played while standing up...I guess ceiling-mounted projectors are best, eh?


But my main questions involve the sensor. I don't understand how the sensor (what is it, a foot wide or so?) can accurately model any pointing that a given game requires...for a 100"-wide screen. Can anyone help me with this?


The Wii platform is wonderful...the Rayman Rabbits game looks really really neat. The Wiisports games look terrific...I don't think I'll ever get into the Zelda but our daughter is...and enjoying the heck out of it. The Wii, and the Rayman games, really seem to be blending cartoons on TV...and the interactivity of a computer. Nice work Nintendo.


Speaking of Nintendo, I have emailed them and asked a related question...is there a maximum screen width beyond which Nintendo does not recommend using with a Wii?


Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by josephandrews222 /forum/post/0


I very much enjoy reading the detailed responses ...

But my main questions involve the sensor. I don't understand how the sensor (what is it, a foot wide or so?) can accurately model any pointing that a given game requires...for a 100"-wide screen. Can anyone help me with this?

The point function on the Wii isn't actually relative to the screen it's relative to the sensor. So on a smaller 25" TV or so it might look like the remote is pointing exactly where the pointer is displayed on the screen. However on a big screen you'll notice the pointer will hit the edge of the screen LONG before remote is actually pointing there. In other words the location of the pointer on the screen does not line up with where the remote is actually pointing.


Standing a fixed distance from the screen movement of the remote Xdegrees will correspond to moving X% of the way across the screen, rather then Xinches.


If you think of it geometrically the closer you are to the sensor the more movement it takes to move the pointer so at 5' from the sensor it might require you only move the remote 30degrees to reach the screens edge... where as at 15' it might only take you 15 degrees of movement to reach the screens edge.


So standing further back makes the remote more sensitive, like turning the speed up on your mouse.


As for how far the range is before it looses signal completely, you can adjust it in the settings, on the default settings I had trouble around 12' but tweaking it a bit I can use it at 15' without problem.


"sensor bar" is kind of a misnomer because it doesn't sense anything, it's just 2 clusters of IR LEDs, the sensors are in the remote itself. This makes it easy to build your own (battery operated and wireless if you're so inclined). Spacing it out wider will help map the actual direction of the remote to the direction it's pointing. More powerful LEDs will boost how far away you can stand without loosing signal, but neither of these things will fix the poor tracking, which really stems from the sensor bar being mounted either too high or too low. edge tracking would actually get worse if the bar was widened because both sides need to be in view of the remote and making it wider would mean you'd loose one side of the senor bar at a smaller angle.


Having played around with location quite a bit The idea location for the sensor bar is probably about 7' from where you're playing and with the hight of the bar somewhere between the top of your head and your waist while standing. This makes it very difficult for projectors unless you have some kind of pedestal that sits out in front of you in the middle of the floor.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by josephandrews222 /forum/post/0


I very much enjoy reading the detailed responses posted by Twisted and Green. Thanks. I am not the Wii player in our house...my twelve year old daughter is. I am fascinated by exactly how the sensor works...and what exactly the Wiimote does, as well. Twisted's comment that the Wiisports games do not involve pointing makes sense...our daughter can get strikes in the bowling game with her back turned to the TV and bowling in the opposite direction.

Although sometimes it's being used as kind of a lightgun substitute, it's not really a lightgun. Think of the Wiimote as kind of like a mouse - a 3D mouse - with the extra accelerometers thrown in. It doesn't matter how big the screen is any more than it matters how big your monitor is on your PC.


If we ever get some REAL lightgun style games (like with the gun attachment we've seen pics of), it might feel a bit weird. The Rayman lightgun style game plays pretty good, though.


Our sensor bar is on top of a bookcase where I have the center channel at. Our 1-yr old keeps grabbing it though, so I have to move it from time to time.


I'm planning on finally building a new screen for projector this year as I've been shooting on the white wall for a couple of years now since we moved. Now that I have settled in with the new pj we got in November, I was thinking of building a blackout cloth screen with a sensor bar inbedded in the bottom of it as part of the trim.
 
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