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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just to begin with I am really only interested in those that (have) own(ed) both a CRT and the LT150 using a HTPC. Here is my dilemma, tomorrow I will be receiving my LT150 via fedex (YEAH!!) but after reading this board the following factors have me concerned:


1. Rainbow


Yeah ok that was meant to be sarcastic, but I know that I cannot live with it. Here is my previous experience with the rainbow effect, viewing a Davis SVGA clone driven by a HTPC I never saw the effect. Demoed a Runco SVGA DLP unit and noticed it quite frequently. I have the option to use either a matte white or a high power screen with room lighting completely controlled. Viewing distance is about 15' from a 100' 4:3 screen.


Now on to the CRT, locally I have found quite a sweet deal on a Runco projector with 200 hours (its a NEC 6PG+). It includes the box, manuals, all the remotes, and ceiling bracket. Additionally a 100" 16:9 Stewart 1.3 motorized screen would be included in the deal for a total of $2500 + tax.


Here are my factors:

Ease of use: we will be moving soon so if I went with a CRT I would have to temporarily mount it on a table and being that the CRT would be a fixed distance I would have to move it every time I went to use it. I will also have to do this with the LT150 but its a heck of a lot different with a 3.3lb projector. This factor goes away once we move. The other thing that is cool about the LT150 is the idea of showing outside movies at night using a laptop with a DVD player.

Longevity: We figured that on average we watch about 2 movies a week, if a HDTV solution comes around that does not require a dish this number would go up quite a bit. So while the bulb does cost about .50/hr its really not a big deal, especially considering power buys and the tendency for manufacturers to come out with longer life bulbs. CRT's of course can run into the 10k hour range and by that time I would be moving on to something else.

Maintenance: Also in this category are warranty considerations. With the LT150 I get a 3 year warranty, which is a heck of a lot easier to ship. With the Runco CRT I get a 30 day parts/labor warranty. Also with CRTs come convergence and with my limited experience with RP TV's I really hate that.

True 16:9: With the Runco I would be running 1280x720 with a 16:9 screen, hence little to no black bars. With the LT150 it is of course a 4:3 projector so I will be using a 4:3 screen. I know people have come up with masking systems but I don't see that working for me right now. I will most likely be getting a HiPix evetually and am not entirely sure if it would work using 1280x720. Plus, correct me if I am wrong but having to run the LT150 at 1024x768 while watching a 1.85:1 movie will result in less resolution than the same movie at 1280x720.

Noise: With the LT150 so close to our viewing area I imagine that this will be a factor, nothing a hush box wouldn't fix but still... The Runco was pretty quiet.


If I decided to go with the CRT I would have to sell the LT150 on ebay, after expenses I would probably make about $300. Quite frankly I am tired of messing around with all of this garbage and I just want to get back to watching movies. I have to admit that I am leaning towards just keeping the LT150. But for me I will not be happy unless this picture is at least on par with a RP 16:9 HDTV. This includes contrast, black level, true color reproduction and finally an absence of rainbows. The majority would agree that CRT's are the benchmark in video quality right now, yes they are heavy and need more attention but if the LT150 is not at least 90-95% of a good CRT then I will gladly accept the additional fuss.


Thanks for any advice. BTW Please feel free to email me directly to avoid flame wars.


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System info: LT150 soon hopefully!, Dalite 57X77 Matte & HP, P3 700, ATI Radeon 64mb VIVO, ATI 7.1 player, WinDVD 2.6.4, WinME


[This message has been edited by DRS (edited 08-02-2001).]
 

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David,


Personally I think the only meaningful way to know how the two designs compare in performance is to see them with your own eyes. Nothing really can take the place of that.

Sometimes the choice has to be made based on the opinions of others when demos are elusive. But not in your case so crack that box open and have a look.


Bob


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

~ The Sultan of Cheap ~


[This message has been edited by RobertWood (edited 08-02-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ok thanks for the advice guys, like I said I was pretty much leaning towards trying it out, I think I just needed a little nudge. I'll post my impressions here FWIW.
 

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I have a CRT projector in my own home, and have never really spent any time with digital projectors for video use. I borrowed our company's 1024x768 LCD projector for an evening, but it wasn't a pleasant experience to say the least http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


I bought the LT150 more or less for the learning experience. I'll be setting it up temporarily in my own HT next week, on the same screen I use with my CRT. Most likely the LT150 will be going to a friend of mine.


I'm very curious to see how the two compare. If I get up the gumption I'll try to write up a "compare and contrast" type summary of the two when seen side by side.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Just a short impression because it has all been pretty much said one way or the other. I am totally flabergasted that this little machine can produce this picture. I have no regrets as to not getting the CRT, now back to the movies!!
 

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DRS: Just wondering how the rainbow situation is wearing on you.

Some movies i've scanned thru have been absolutely excruciating, while others have been rainbow-free for blessedly long stretches.

i'm hoping this is something i can get acclimated to eventually, because other than that, this thing puts out some really impressive images.
 

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DRS,


Flabergasted? How about telling us about your setup!

And yes, what about rainbows? You're using a HTPC - what video card? What movies have you watched?


No regrets about not getting the CRT?


You said you have a choice of two screens - which one are you using?


Cheers,


Grant

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I watched "two" movies last night, family man and a culmination of a whole bunch of others including Gladiator, Toy Story 2, The Perfect Storm, Titan A.E., The Fifth Element, and some others. This was on a Radeon based HTPC at 60hz refresh with a Dalite matte white screen.


Ok about the rainbow, here are my impressions based on my semiuseful psychology degree. If you look for the rainbow effect you will see it. If I want to see it, I can at any time with any movie. HOWEVER, once I forget about looking for it I NEVER see it except for those scenes that are dark with moving white (i.e. snow at night, candles in the dark, etc). I was discussing this phenomenon with my wife last night and hypothesized that there seem to be primarilly (i.e. not unequivocally) two types of people on this forum, those that, while watching movies are just looking for what is wrong with the picture and those that enjoy the movies and the theater they have created. (Of course this is once everything has been properly setup and cailbrated)


FWIW I watched just a bit of Snatch through S-video on my stand-alone DVD player. I was actually impressed with the scaling when using the DVD player in 16:9 mode and setting the players aspect ratio control to cinema, BUT, and this is a big but as in my aunt Tina's, my observations about rainbows using the HTPC are not the same (markedly worse).


Tonight I am having a few people over that are complete novices when it comes to all this. I am not going to tell them anything about the rainbow effect and want to see if they can spot it. They have seen a few movies on my LCD projector previously so it will be interesting to note their comparitive observations.


I also plan to try out the HP screen tonight before they arrive. I would be surprised if I stick with this screen. Coming from an LCD projector I love every bit of contrast and black level I can get. Additionally, one of my viewing areas is at a >25 degrees viewing angle and the PQ suffers from being off axis. Also, and keep in mind this is just my opinion but I think the HP material simply adds too much to the picture, but hey those were my observations with the LCD projector so perhaps I will be surprised.


Concerning setup, I was very surprised at just how almost spot on this was right out of the box. Using AVIA I found contrast and brightness to be almost perfect at default. The hue and saturation pattern using the blue filter was pretty much dead on also. Keep in mind that I am using the ATI DVD player with the MikeM's/DC's reg patch located here . BTW, I modified the patch to only include the essentials, as some were having problems using the default DC one. Also, I found the Natural 2 setting in comprison to the Natural 1 setting washed out the colors a bit in comparison while watching regular film. I can see why others would prefer the natural 2 setting while viewing film, especially in darker scenses but the loss in color saturation is noticeable.


The only negatives thus far are the lack of zoom and the noise. When we move the lack of zoom will not be a problem because I will ceiling mount it. The noise, however, is something that I need to address immediately.


As far as having no regrets as to not buying the CRT, who knows this may change in a couple of years but for now this is just so much more convenient in comparison. And the PQ is amazing, especially when comparing sharpness and uniformity of the picture. I admit that the picture from a properly configured CRT (identical setup) would most likely win out in the overall PQ department but the tradeoffs, for me at this time, is simply not worth it.



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System info: LT150, Dalite 57X77 Matte & HP, P3 700, ATI Radeon 64mb VIVO, ATI 7.1 player, WinDVD 2.6.4, WinME


[This message has been edited by DRS (edited 08-04-2001).]
 

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Quote:
"BUT, and this is a big but" "my observations about rainbows using the HTPC are not the same (markedly worse)."
Please clarify, DRS.

Am I understanding correctly that "markedly worse" is with the DVD player (and not the HTPC)?


Bob


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~ The Sultan of Cheap ~
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
While using the S-video out of the DVD player it was "rainbow fest". It was as if I was watching one of those dark scenes with moving white objects constantly during any scene.


As an edit, let me just state that the obervation I made above (i.e. using a HTPC) about noticing rainbows simply does not apply when watching through S-video.



[This message has been edited by DRS (edited 08-05-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Just wanted to post my impressions of some tinkering I did last night. First off I compared the Dalite HP to matte white. Let me again state that I am a stickler when it comes to contrast and black levels coming from a 100:1 CR LCD projector. Here are my observations FWIW & YMMV:


1. Increased rainbow frequency, for me rainbows increased using the HP material.

2. Unless you are directly on vertical axis with the projector (i.e. head level) and within 25 degrees of center you will loose image fidelity using the HP material.

3. Loss of black level, this is as simple as comparing the black bars before and after switching materials.

4. Adds too much to the picture, for me at least it was like switching to gamma 2 with the matte white material. I think the lowering of color saturation is due to the lowering of black level.

5. Bottom line, if you have a light controlled room stay away from the high gain materials for best overall picture. Yes the picture was brighter but this is not always a good thing in my opinion. Switching from the matte to HP material reminded me of going from film to video.


The other thing I did last night was download powerstrip and tried out a plethora of different refresh rates. In regards to rainbow it seems that the closer you can get your video card to the LT150's fixed 60hz the better off you will be. Anything other than 60 on my setup was not good. BTW the fixed frequency color wheel was first verified by Frode in this thread.


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System info: LT150, Dalite 57X77 Matte & HP, P3 700, ATI Radeon 64mb VIVO, ATI 7.1 player, WinDVD 2.6.4, WinME


[This message has been edited by DRS (edited 08-05-2001).]
 

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Fun to read.


Thanks for the info


Jeff


[This message has been edited by thebland (edited 08-05-2001).]
 

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Thanks, DRS for the tips. I'm going to try an experiement when my LT150 arrives this week.

I use a High Power with my table mounted CRT projector. I'm going to ceiling mount the 150 and see what that will look like with the HP. Since I'll be out of the vertical viewing cone I'm wondering if this will have the effect of transforming the HP into an ordinary matte screen which does not exacerbate the problems you have experienced.


Bob


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~ The Sultan of Cheap ~
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by RobertWood:
Since I'll be out of the vertical viewing cone I'm wondering if this will have the effect of transforming the HP into an ordinary matte screen which does not exacerbate the problems you have experienced.
That's exactly what's supposed to happen, Bob, and that's what I've seen with mine. I'm not sure what DRS means when he says you "lose image fidelity" when you move off axis. You lose some brightness, but I haven't noticed any other difference. -- Herb


 

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DRS:

when you were switching back and forth w/ the hi-power, did you change any picture or gamma settings to acommodate the change in screen? it would seem like you could take the brightness down quite a bit, and also the contrast and possible play with gamma and white balances to get an image that close but something you still can't get with just a matte screen.

i guess i'll order more sample than just the hi-power. i definately don't want to provoke any more rainbows than i'm already (intermitently) seeing.

the blackout fabric i have, might end up being the best compromise solution for me, taking into account negative picture aspects vs cost.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Here is one example of what I mean, last night I had the image of a flower projected on the screen, while I was near the floor focusing the projector there was some subtle detail that I noticed, however, when I stood up I could no longer see it.


Quote:
Originally posted by hsitz:
That's exactly what's supposed to happen, Bob, and that's what I've seen with mine. I'm not sure what DRS means when he says you "lose image fidelity" when you move off axis. You lose some brightness, but I haven't noticed any other difference. -- Herb

 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
As far as changing the settings when I changed screens I did knock down the brightness a bit after I made the comparisons but my feelings are this; When I have to make those sort of adjustments it goes back to the screen adding too much to the picture and that is not what I am after. IMO once you add the limitations of viewing angle it does not make a whole lot of sense to use this material. I have always viewed HP screens as a way to make up for low lumen projectors, IMO this is simply not needed with this projector when room lighting is controlled and screen size is reasonable.


One note on doing screen comparisons, please be aware of the "brighter is better" trap or the contrast effect. When the HP material is used in comparison simultaneosly with other materials it always "appears" to be better because in comparison it stands out screaming "pick me, pick me!" It just reminds me of showroom floors, brighter displays sell more than dimmer ones and louder speakers will appear to "sound" better.


Once again YMMV and all that jazz....

Quote:
Originally posted by ckolchak:
DRS:

when you were switching back and forth w/ the hi-power, did you change any picture or gamma settings to acommodate the change in screen? it would seem like you could take the brightness down quite a bit, and also the contrast and possible play with gamma and white balances to get an image that close but something you still can't get with just a matte screen.

i guess i'll order more sample than just the hi-power. i definately don't want to provoke any more rainbows than i'm already (intermitently) seeing.

the blackout fabric i have, might end up being the best compromise solution for me, taking into account negative picture aspects vs cost.
 

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DRS,


You're learning something fairly quickly that it took me much longer to learn. IMO (as well as many others) a matte screen is generally always preferable to a screen material which adds gain. Over the years I've experimented with different high gain screens only because I've used 7" CRT projectors which sometimes don't provide satisfactory light output (usually because of high mileage tubes). Regardless of which screen material, invariably my first impression is "oh look how nice and bright it is". But over time I gradually start to notice all the things these screens do to the image. While the Dalite High Power has proven to be

less problematic than other high gain screens I've tried, I still would prefer to avoid using it. And frankly I don't really see a need for it when you have as much light output as is provided by any late model digital fp.


Bob



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

~ The Sultan of Cheap ~




[This message has been edited by RobertWood (edited 08-06-2001).]
 

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DRS,


Thats funny, I was in Columbus Saturday visiting friends and I had my LT150 along with me....


My buddy there has a Zenith Pro900x CRT (which lists for like $12K, probably $7K street). We spent the afternoon comparing them back and forth. I also upgraded from a CRT, a Zenith Pro881x.


He basically agreed that the LT150 was a bit better than his CRT. Of course the Zenith (which is a rebadged Runco) is a pain to converge and requires it about every 6 months. The LT150 was much sharper, had roughly equal contrast, and the colors were very close. The NEC was a bit noisier, but was also about 10% the size and 3% of the weight of his CRT :).


Suffice it to say he is no longer a CRT guy. Not a big enough difference for him to upgrade, but I know his next projector will be a DLP.


He also has a good friend with a Sony 10HT, and his exact comment was "blows the f#$%@ing Sony out of the water".


-Dave
 
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