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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After much research, these are the three projectors I've come down to.


The BenQ comes with a free bulb at the Projector People (if they have it in stock).


I've seen lots of information about the Panasonic L300U and it seems to be quite popular.

What about the BenQ and Optima? I haven't seen much information on these. Are they good?


Are the rainbows on the BenQ and Optima (DLP) going to be less than on the $1k Infocus X1? It seems that the BenQ and Optima would be better because they're a $1000 more expensive.


Also, what about contrast vs. resolution?


The Two DLP's mentioned, both have 600:1 contrast ratio and 1024x768.


The Panasonic (LCD) has an 800:1 contrast ratio but a resolution of 960x540.


I will be projecting an image of about 65-80". I'm not sure what will look best in my apartment.

I will be watching DVD's on my progressive scan DVD player, movies on my VCR and definately PC video games from my HTPC.


Please leave some comments if you can. I am a noob to this, and I'm amazed i'm finally down to three projectors to choose from.


Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Some other information that will affect my decision...


On the Panasonic L300U, it has the DVI input for my computer, the three analogue type RGB plugs for my Progressive Scan DVD player and S-video for my VCR. Everything fits up perfectly and not adapters needed.


On the Optima, it has the DVI for my PC, S-video for my VCR but for the three RGB plugs (Y Pb Pr) on my DVD player, I'll need an adapter. I'll either need to convert the three RGB plugs into a VGA type plug, or put the VGA plug on my HTPC and get an adapter for the RGB plugs into DVI.

Will I loose image quality by using either one of those adapters?


On the BenQ, I'll only need to use the adapter I have on my HTPC to convert from the PC's DVI to the PJ's VGA.

Will I loose image quality by not using DVI?


If I didn't explain that well, please let me know. I automatically think the DLP is better, but I'm not sure because of the popularity of the L300u.


Please leave your comments and suggestions!


Thanks again!
 

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I haven't seen the Optoma or Benq projectors, so take this with a grain of salt.


- The DLPs are designed for data, not theater. They probably don't have good deinterlacers, but neither does the L300. Color fidelity isn't as important on a data projector, so watch for that. The L300 has a good scaler. The DLPs may or may not...

- The DLPs have a clear segment on the color wheel, which you should turn off for theater use. This means you lose 40-50% of the brightness and contrast in theater mode (depending on the size of the clear segment). You may be able to black out the clear segment to bring contrast up, but you still lose light output.

- The DLPs have 2x color wheels. The X1 also has a 2x color wheel, so rainbows should be equally bad. Rainbows are generally worse when the projector has higher light output, so the X1 may actually show fewer rainbows. You have to see them yourself to know if this will affect you. The L300 is an LCD projector, so rainbows won't be an issue.

- The DLPs have only slightly better resolution than the L300 when viewing DVDs. They have an edge in 4:3 mode, which may help with PC gaming.

- In econo-mode the L300's lamp is supposed to last 5000 hours. This could be significant if you use your projector a lot.


I can't comment on image quality vs. connector input because I don't know enough about the Optoma or Benq. Usually DVI (digital) is better than VGA, and VGA is better than component. But a lot depends on the projector. There may not be much difference.
 

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msieweke's advice is generally correct. However, there is one major mistake. When the clear (white) segment is cut, the contrast goes UP. In general, the less light a projector puts out, the easier it is to get good contrast.


If you looking $1K above the X1 in price, have you considered the NEC 240 (2002) or the NEC 240K (2003). They're rated near 2000 lumens and 2000:1 contrast. If rainbows aren't an issue for you, these machines should be considered over the Benq and Optima.


600:1 is not very good contrast by current projector standards. Since you are using this primarily for video and games, I would recommend the 300 over the other two. Plus, even if you don't see rainbows, some of your guests might.


The connectors don't cause any conversion loss. If you do need a connector, they will run about $50 ea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies...


So it seems, that over and over again, I keep coming back to the L300u. I guess this is going to be the projector for me.
 

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Gregg is wrong (sorry). When the clear segment is turned off, the max light output is reduced 40-50%. But the black level is NOT. So the resulting contrast is also reduced.


contrast = max output / min output = white level / black level = C


With the clear segment turned off...


contrast = (60% * white level) / (black level) = 60% * C


The only way to keep the contrast up when shutting off the clear segment is to black out the clear segment. This is not possible on many projectors because they use the clear segment for color wheel synchronization. But it may be possible to block 75% of the clear segment, as some people have tried with the X1.
 

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For $2K you can get an HS10 these days with nice no-pay for 12 months financing. I'm not sure from where, but others on the board have mentioned it.
 

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you said you'll use it in your living room - can you control ambient light in your room - if not PT300L is not for you - you need a higher lumen projector like NEC LT240K or LT260K or the one similar to what I sell in HTMarketPlace here at AVS - Plus U2-1200 - just look it up in the top menu and you may find several pj for sale(not only my) in HTMarketPlace.


Anyway let us know details of the environment in which you future buy will operate.


Good Luck
 

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When you read the review of the X1, it seems logical to assume that contrast goes up when the clear (white) segment is turned off.


Quote from an X1 review:

Contrast and color saturation are two of the X1's strongest assets. In film mode, color is natural and well-balanced, with no obvious errors. Videophiles will prefer this mode of operation to obtain a balanced image. In presentation mode, you gain some visible brightness of the image. But you sacrifice color accuracy, and you lose a lot of detail in blocked up highlights. Initially presentation mode gives the impression of having more sparkle, but it is ultimately not as satisfying as a video experience.

==================


In film mode on the X1, the white segment is turned off. As stated, this is the preferred viewing mode. One of the primary reasons for this preference is the contrasting details are visible. (And, I have observed this personally). When shadow details are more visible, it seems logical to assume that contrast is better (higher).


I have also read that it's much easier to produce better contrast on lower lumen projectors (e.g.,

With this prior information, it is counterintuitive that cutting the white segment on a color wheel compromises contrast. On the surface, it seems logical to assume that more light availability would allow for larger differences in black levels vs. white levels, but when contrast (shadow details) become more discernible at lower light levels -- as with the X1 -- it seems impossible to ignore the conclusion that contrast improves when the clear segment is shut off.


Please explain if/why this is incorrect.


gp


P.S. Also, this point was apparently made to caution the potential buyer of a DLP --which includes the option to turn off the white segment -- that actually turning it off compromises the image. I certainly agree that brightness is compromised, but doesn't it do so with an apparent gain in contrast -- and "viewability"?
 

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In presentation mode the clear segment raises the brightness of white areas of the picture. This doesn't reduce the contrast; rather it washes out bright scenes, thus reducing discernible detail. When you turn off the clear segment, bright scenes are no longer washed out and you see more detail.


This is not the same as improving the absolute contrast. Absolute contrast has nothing to do with details; it's just the ratio of white to black. You could have a display where everything below IRE50 was black and everything above IRE50 was white, and it would have tremendous contrast. But detail would be non-existent.


Projector designers put in the clear segment to raise lumen output. Turning off the clear segment doesn't compromise the image, but it does make it impossible to achieve the quoted contrast ratio and brightness specs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yes, this will all be in my living room. I will be having some curtains made with the black out cloth, so it should keep the ambient light down.


My biggest problem is trying to find where to mount the projector. The celing fan is right where I would need to celing mount it and if I put it behind the fan, the fan will be in the way and if I put it in front, the screen size will be much smaller than I want.

So, I probably will just have it sitting on the coffee table for now.


Thanks for the replies!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by msieweke


- The DLPs have 2x color wheels. The X1 also has a 2x color wheel, so rainbows should be equally bad. Rainbows are generally worse when the projector has higher light output, so the X1 may actually show fewer rainbows. You have to see them yourself to know if this will affect you. The L300 is an LCD projector, so rainbows won't be an issue.
Actually I own a Sharp Notevision M20 S DLP projector and it has a 3x color wheel and no rainbows have been seen on mine yet. Bulb life is rated at 2000 hrs

1300 lumens and

1000:1 contrast ratio

native resolution 800x600 (1400x1050 max res )

Straight Optical System

sRGB

CV-IC System II circuitry allows for pattern matching and motion detecting I/P conversion with video noise reduction and new dynamic gamma. (this feature works great if you are hooking up to HTPC and the gamma is great too, 5 different gamma modes)

HDTV compatible, 480i/480p/720p/1080i

DVI-I (29 pin) digital, computer (RGB), and component

S-Video (4 Pin DIN), Composite





I am at 879 hrs so far and no problems yet. It also has 2 16:9 modes, one of them utilizing a tool called smart stretch.
 
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