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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,


I have a few initial questions as I delve into the world of digital projectors - i am thinking of buying one based on their size and convenience.


The first question regards quality. I am basically a home theater newbie, and I know that when i walk into a electronics store and see HDTV or a DVD playing on one of the new plasma displays I am totally blown away - I mean, I am literally stunned by the quality of the picture I see. On the other hand, I have been to many very very good movie theaters to see movies in current release, and although i guess the picture is good, it doesn't seem like anything special to me in terms of clarity and crispness - really it is nothing like what I am seeing on these new plasma displays.


So, my question is, where does a DLP projector (a good one - maybe $2500 range) showing HDTV/DVD fall in this range of quality I have described ? Will it simply look like the screen looks when I go to the movies (which is good, but again, it doesn't stun me like these new HDTV plasmas do) or is the quality somewhere between the two examples I provided ?


A few other misc. questions:


Q1: If HDTV is 1920x1080, why do a lot of the projectors listed in the "hot list" posted in this forum have very low resolutions - like 800x600, 1024x768, 858x480, etc. ? Are there any 1920x1080 projectors in existence ? Is it misguided of me to be trying to buy a UXGA or SXGA projector in an attempt to get the highest resolution possible ?


Q2: Should I be paying special attention to find a projector with a native HDTV resolution ? What if I don't get one ?


Q3: A big problem with LCD displays when using them for video games or

showing a movie with fast action (especially panning) is that the LCD screen can't keep up with the fast motion and it blurs ... does a DLP projector have the same problems with resonse time ?


Q4: I was looking at the Dell 3200MP when they say "Native XGA Resolution with auto sync to UXGA (1600 x 1200)" ? Does it have 1600x1200, or just XGA ?


Q5: Can someone describe the tradeoffs that seem to exist between brightness and contrast ratio ? When i started, I was looking to buy the brightest projector i could find ( I would like to watch TV in a room with the windows open) but in the hot list, I see things like this:


NEC HT1000 (All specs in Economy mode)

DLP, 1024x768

800 Lumens, Up to 3000:1

2000 Hours, 29dB

RGBRGB 4x color wheel, DVI

Throw Ratio: 1.5-1.91

Zoom Ratio: Unknown

Est. Street Price: $4200


NEC LT240

DLP, 1024x768

1600 Lumens, 1300:1

1500 Hours, 32dB

10ft throw,

2x RGBW Color Wheel

Throw Ratio: 1.5 - 1.9:1

Zoom Ratio: Unknown

Est. Street Price: $2950


This ^^^ confuses me - 800 Lumens seems _very low_, but the contrast ratio is 3000:1, and this is a very expensive projector ... but then the LT240 is a much cheaper projetor with double the Lumens, but it only has 1300:1 contrast ratio.


What am i missing there ?



Thank you very very much.
 

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I'll take a quick stab at your questions to try and help out.


Your initial question about HDTV/DVD on a projector vs. the plasma and a movie theater:


I can say quite assuredly and enthusiastically that HDTV on a $2500 projector is absolutely stunning. You will not regret getting a pj over a plasma in this regard. The only thing the plasma would allow you to do better is watch in a well lighted room. I've seen HDTV on the $2500 M20X and HS10 as well as the now $1900 AE300/L300U. Blows me away every time.


I think that DVD quality on a pj can equal the local theater and in some instances (depending on the quality of the theater) beat it. This will vary greatly depending on the quality of DVD transfer. So somewhere in between your two examples is correct.


While plasma's may have a brightness and contrast advantage a high power screen with a pj will rival a plasma with the contrast being the only deficient factor. In my opinion though, the "cinema" feel that a good front 100" + diagonal projection set up gives for watching movies far outweighs any disadvantages that come with it, which I feel are few anyway.


As for your other questions:


Q1 &Q2: The industry just isn't quite up to full HDTV yet. The new Sony SXRD will be the first to my knowledge that is a full 1920X1080. I think that's out this fall or early next year and will be expensive. But don't let that bother you. HD on an regular XGA pj is great and the1280X720 and 1366X768 WXGA machines are even better. I have the L300U which is 960X540 and even that is great for HDTV. The higher the resolution the better. Consensus here at your price range is with lots of HD go Sony HS10; mainly DVD go L300U (same as AE300).


Q3: I don't think the LCD motion blur is a big deal. I think that DLP's are better in this regard but then you have other problems such as dithering and rainbows. Not sure if the dithering is similar to LCD motion blur. Somebody else please chime in on that one.


Q4: 1024X768 native display (pixel count/structure). A 1600X1200 input would be scaled down to 1024X768. This is exactly what happens to a 1920X1080 HD signal on a lower resolution pj.


Q5: Contrast ratio is simply the ratio between the brightest whites and the darkest blacks. A higher overall lumen pj will most likely result in a higher or brighter black level. This can produce "apparent" improved contrast but the true contrast ratio is what's important. Of the two pj you mention the HT1000 will by far have the better image with the deepest blacks. It will not be as bright as the LT240 and therefore needs to be watched in a dark room. Any ambient light would effect the black level and reduce the contrast ratio of the image. The LT240 would be better suited for your situation of watching in the day. Even though the blacks would not be as deep as the HT1000 the extra lumens would allow the image to be watched with ambient light. Since the whites would be brighter this would cause the brighter blacks to not look as washed out.


I'm sure somebody could explain that better but that's the general idea. Screen choice can play a big part in how your image can look with ambient light. The two best screens for this would be the Stewart Firehawk which is very expensive and the Da-lite high power which is spendy but reasonable. You can read more about that in the screens forum.


A good pj/screen combo can yield incredible results that IMO will walk all over a plasma. Best advice: read this forum religiously for a few months and you'll know exactly what to do.


Brent
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks a lot! Here is one final question regarding using a projector ...


Let's say I buy a SxGA projector (1280x1024) - can I display any resolution I want below that resolution through it ? for instance, what if i send 1007x983 to it ? Will it display that, or will it attempt to expand/compress the actual output so that it displays my odd resolution at 1280x1024 ?


If the answer is that I can display anything i want, what does it do with the unused pixels ? Does it display black on those pixels, or does it not light them up at all ? (that is, what does it show for the black bars on the top/bottom or left/right sides) ?


thanks!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by jbrooks
Thanks a lot! Here is one final question regarding using a projector ...


Let's say I buy a SxGA projector (1280x1024) - can I display any resolution I want below that resolution through it ? for instance, what if i send 1007x983 to it ? Will it display that, or will it attempt to expand/compress the actual output so that it displays my odd resolution at 1280x1024 ?


If the answer is that I can display anything i want, what does it do with the unused pixels ? Does it display black on those pixels, or does it not light them up at all ? (that is, what does it show for the black bars on the top/bottom or left/right sides) ?


thanks!
As long as the signal you are sending the projector is within its horizontal and vertical sync range it should be able to display it. You should stick with resolutions that are of a standard aspect ratio though (4:3 and 16:9). If you send a signal that is not equal to the native resolution of the projector it will scale it to fit. In your example, the 1007 x 983, if accepted, would be scaled to 1280 x 1024; with the ultimate picture quality determined by the quality of the signal and the quality of the scaler in the projector. '
 
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