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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello,

I am looking into updating my current setup and wanted to solicit this forum for assistance. Here is my current setup:

Equipment
  • Panasonic AX-100U (yes - still rocking 720p)
  • Panamorph UH380 with M380 motorized sled
  • Denon 4520CI (all source material input here and output to DVDO)
  • DVDO Edge

Sources
  • Xfinity for TV
  • Popcorn Hour A-500 for .ISO files of BD and UHD from my collection. This is my primary source as 70% of time is for movies and 30% for TV (Football or "big" shows like GOT or Homeland)
  • Sony BD Player (older model maybe an S350 or S550)
  • Roku Streaming Stick for Disney+

Screen
DIY screen and DIY automatic masking system. The AT screen material was purchased from Sandman well before he started up the now defunct SMX Cinema Solutions so it was from his early run of material.

Measurements
  • Screen height is roughly 51 or 52" and full width is 120"
  • Screen to 1st row of seating (eyes) is roughly 12'6"
  • Screen to projector lens (AX100) is 20' 7"
  • Screen to second row eyes is likely 19' to 20' as the projector is basically above the second row of seats
  • Room is a dedicated theater in the basement with complete light control, flat black ceiling, and black velvet or GOM on the entire screen wall

So, I have started up looking at projector options and it has been a lot of information to catch-up on. Here is what I have to date:
  • It is clear that the UH380 lens will not work with a 4K projector. I'd prefer not to buy a new lens so I think I am required to stick with 1080p and the UH380 or use the projectors zoom to keep a CIH setup
  • I most likely plan to update the Denon 4520CI to the X8500 to go Atmos
  • I will also update with a UHD BD player so that I have a source for the native discs in my library

The projectors that I have been looking at are the Epson 6050UB and the JVC NX5/NX7. I don't have a real budget yet but all three of those are certainly within means. My goal in updating the projector was to move from 720p to 4K but I'd consider a move to 1080p if necessary. I've been very happy with the 720p and have really wondered if I needed to update but I keep thinking, 4K must be so much better. :) I also want to remove the DVDO Edge from the video sources as I only use this for the vertical stretch and to remove the HDCP issue I have with the Denon AVR and AX100U projector.

I realize the Epson is a faux 4k but I am not sure if that will work with the UH380 or the faux 4k matters with my seating distance from the screen. Is there anything else I should consider when making a decision. Which approach would you recommend for a projector any of above or others (Sony?) and +/- lens?

Thanks!

T.Wells
 

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Many people would want to view your screen size now with a front row distance of around 8’ not 12’ that seating distance is more inline with 4k trends and of course seating distance is purely subjective to individual tastes. Most people would even more so find your second row very under-immersive by 4k standards/norms.

If you are doing this major of a redesign and jumping from 720p over 1080p to 4k HDR and do the amount of streaming of non movie content (you mentioned football and GOT etc.) I would take my time and investigate what is going on now with IMAX movies like Dunkirk, Aquaman, The Aeronauts etc. Those are movies but things like the NFL and GOT IMHO can be tossed into the super immersive IMAX like category also.

IMO if you maintain your screen size seating distance 4k resolution wont be much of an improvement over 1080p. HDR is another thing and is accomplished to a large degree in projection with tone mapping rather than brightness. This plays a big roll in projector selection as if you don’t use your lens you will be lower on lumens with zooming scope and if you opt for a larger screen you will also lower brightness. Most agree HDR needs some increased brightness over SDR even in perfect dark settings.

There are a very few of us that have held back from 4k HDR for some of these reasons. Me basically because I’m cheap and a late adopter in my old age. 4K HDR projection is maturing but IMO it is still a ways off from being mature. No one can tell you when to make the move just like they don’t know the level of immersion you will like. Take your time and plan carefully as it sounds like once you make a change you stick with it a few years. :)
 

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If you are doing this major of a redesign and jumping from 720p over 1080p to 4k HDR and do the amount of streaming of non movie content (you mentioned football and GOT etc.) I would take my time and investigate what is going on now with IMAX movies like Dunkirk, Aquaman, The Aeronauts etc. Those are movies but things like the NFL and GOT IMHO can be tossed into the super immersive IMAX like category also.
The o/p is already doing CIH with his current projector and knows how it works, including what happens with these variable ratio movies. CIH works exactly the same in 720p as it does in 4k.
 

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The projectors that I have been looking at are the Epson 6050UB and the JVC NX5/NX7. I don't have a real budget yet but all three of those are certainly within means. My goal in updating the projector was to move from 720p to 4K but I'd consider a move to 1080p if necessary. I've been very happy with the 720p and have really wondered if I needed to update but I keep thinking, 4K must be so much better. :) I also want to remove the DVDO Edge from the video sources as I only use this for the vertical stretch and to remove the HDCP issue I have with the Denon AVR and AX100U projector.
If they're within your means, the JVC NX5 or NX7 are much better projectors than the Epson. They have significantly better contrast and picture quality even in Standard Dynamic Range 1080p, and there's no comparison at all with 4k HDR.

I would go for one of those JVC projectors. You do not need your old UH380 lens or DVDO Edge, so go ahead and sell those. The Zoom Method for CIH will give you excellent results on these models. For the minuscule number of movies with variable aspect ratio issues, the projectors have a blanking feature that will mask off the extra picture and convert it to letterbox bars (which, contrary to what Bud will argue, is perfectly fine to do with those movies).
 
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Another vote for the RS2000. " I most likely plan to update the Denon 4520CI to the X8500 to go Atmos " - the X8500H is a great receiver - I love mine. It will be a good upgrade from the 4520 ( had one of those too ).
 

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The o/p is already doing CIH with his current projector and knows how it works, including what happens with these variable ratio movies. CIH works exactly the same in 720p as it does in 4k.
If it did he would be keeping his A-lens in place.

Well his PT-AX100U is circa 2006 and in terms of media quality and availability it is more like a century of changes. Yes he is doing CIH with an A-lens that he agrees won’t cut it with 4k.

So 1. and I think you will agree zooming isn’t a bad option in the 4k world of 2020. That will be a departure from the CIH he knows.

He may well be in love with his screen size/AR and seating distance and if he is that’s fine with me. I just pointed out with 4k he has the opportunity for greater immersion by moving his seating or going with a larger screen. If he opts for a larger screen then that opens up what he may want to do as presentation. He mentioned and I quote “Football or (BIG) shows like GOT or Homeland”. Again a lot has changed in what is football or TV between 2006 and now. It is up to him if he feels he is getting cheated a little on GOT right now.

If he strictly looks at movies 100% it is true there is only one or two IMAX type releases per year and that is his choice how he watches them. If he wants to include football, baseball, basketball, hockey, auto racing, golf or a hundred other sports into something that might be frame breaking of 2.35 that is for him to figure out. They are not motion pictures and IMO can be played more immersive with a good outcome.

To the OP @T.Wells I did not intend to push you in any direction and if you took it that way please accept my apology. I had only hoped to point out alternatives for your consideration as it is clear you are doing a total redo of your theater. Not many people jump over 1080p in one jump. I bought a truck in 2000 and at the time I realized I jumped over the 1990s. I still have the truck 300k miles on it and going strong so I understand sticking with what works for you.
 

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Well his PT-AX100U is circa 2006 and in terms of media quality and availability it is more like a century of changes. Yes he is doing CIH with an A-lens that he agrees won’t cut it with 4k.
He already watches all of that media on his current CIH screen. Nowhere does he say that he's been in a coma for the last 14 years. :rolleyes:

He may well be in love with his screen size/AR and seating distance and if he is that’s fine with me. I just pointed out with 4k he has the opportunity for greater immersion by moving his seating or going with a larger screen. If he opts for a larger screen then that opens up what he may want to do as presentation. He mentioned and I quote “Football or (BIG) shows like GOT or Homeland”. Again a lot has changed in what is football or TV between 2006 and now. It is up to him if he feels he is getting cheated a little on GOT right now.

If he strictly looks at movies 100% it is true there is only one or two IMAX type releases per year and that is his choice how he watches them. If he wants to include football, baseball, basketball, hockey, auto racing, golf or a hundred other sports into something that might be frame breaking of 2.35 that is for him to figure out. They are not motion pictures and IMO can be played more immersive with a good outcome.
No one asked about any of this. Once again, you are using any excuse you can find to interject into a Constant Image Height thread to tell everybody not to do Constant Image Height. Because that's all you ever do in this forum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the input and advice. The responses have given me a lot to think about.
@bud16415 I like the idea of getting more immersed in the image and moving my seats forward some is a possibility. With my room consutruction, moving them more than a foot or two isn't really feasible on a regular basis. You then had me thinking about a larger CIH screen but then I realized that my room width won't allow for a much bigger screen without removal of the front columns which also happens to hide a metal support beam. I am primarily concerned with watching BD and UHD material and traditional TV (e.g. football) is more of a nice to have. So, sometimes, I like to be to watch the game (or show) in my theater on a screen which is larger than my 60" Samsung 4k screen in the family room or 50" in the bedroom. Thanks again for the for the input and feedback
@Josh Z - Thanks for the support and recognition that I am well aware of the impact of content with variable aspect ratios. I've managed to log a meager 1350 hours on the AX100U/UH380 so I do have some experience in managing these scenarios. I appreciate the comments regarding the zoom approach for CIH as this was a concern I had since I am moving away from the existing lens setup. Obviously back in 2006/2007, a zoom setup came with more limitations as projectors didn't have the overall output of the models listed today which is why I went with A-lens and keep as many AX100U lumens as possible when in scope.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
As an update - I am narrowing the selection to the NX5/RS1000 and the Epson 6050UB. I'll need to update the 4520 to the 8500h to carry HDR to the PJ (without splitting at the source) so I might as well update and go ATMOS. However, I do cringe at cutting holes in my double drywall, green glue, RSIC clip room/ceiling.

I figure a jump from 720p to 4K (or faux4K) along with an upgraded sound from 11.2 to a 9.2.4 setup would be a very nice improvement in my theater overall.

-T.Wells
 

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Obviously back in 2006/2007, a zoom setup came with more limitations as projectors didn't have the overall output of the models listed today which is why I went with A-lens and keep as many AX100U lumens as possible when in scope.
My default advice is to start with the Zoom Method. If you feel that you need a little extra light on the screen, you can invest in a Panamorph Paladin lens later. But they are pricey.

As an update - I am narrowing the selection to the NX5/RS1000 and the Epson 6050UB.
As mentioned, there's really no contest between these two in terms of performance. The only reason to consider the Epson is for budgetary concerns. The Epson is a perfectly good budget projector, but if you can afford the JVC, you'll be a lot happier with it in the long run.

I'll need to update the 4520 to the 8500h to carry HDR to the PJ (without splitting at the source) so I might as well update and go ATMOS. However, I do cringe at cutting holes in my double drywall, green glue, RSIC clip room/ceiling.

I figure a jump from 720p to 4K (or faux4K) along with an upgraded sound from 11.2 to a 9.2.4 setup would be a very nice improvement in my theater overall.
I'll save you a couple thousand dollars right here and recommend you take a step down from the Denon X8500H to the X6500H. The only meaningful advantage the X8500H has is the ability to process 13 channels vs. 11. However, speaking as an X8500H owner with a ridiculous number of speakers in my room, I can tell you that almost no content takes advantage of all those channels. Nearly everything tops out at 7.1.4.

Save the price difference between these two receivers and apply it to the JVC projector.

Also, even though the X8500H is Denon's current flagship, it's almost three years old and is likely to be refreshed with a new model before the end of the year.
 

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Just for the sake of argument if the OP was to keep his A-lens and buy a 1080p projector he would get a boast in brightness and still have a full 1080 vertical lines of resolution. If he goes to 4k and zooms he will lose brightness and also lose lines of resolution to the black bars.

At his screen size / seating distance will he be far enough into the benefits area of 4k resolution to see the difference? Considering his scope resolution won’t really be 4k. I suppose there is also something to factor in also if the projector is faux 4k as well.

Would any of the 1080p projectors that do HDR work for him?

I ask mainly because he is locked into a screen size and a seating distance that isn’t all that immersive.
:)
 

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Just for the sake of argument if the OP was to keep his A-lens and buy a 1080p projector he would get a boast in brightness and still have a full 1080 vertical lines of resolution. If he goes to 4k and zooms he will lose brightness and also lose lines of resolution to the black bars.
Almost any 4k projector available today is very likely to have more light output than the old 720p model he's currently using.
 

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Almost any 4k projector available today is very likely to have more light output than the old 720p model he's currently using.
I agree but that wasn’t my question. He feels his A-lens would be ok with 1080p resolution so he has a lens bought and paid for. If he zooms scope 4k he gets one resolution with light loss to the black bar areas. If he were to do a 1080p HDR with the lens he will get the full 1080 resolution and likely increased brightness for the HDR.

With his screen size seating distance both locked in as it seems he wont likely notice any bump between the diminished 4k and the full 1080.

My question was what did others think about that and is there a viable 1080p HDR out there as he seems to think he is missing out by not having HDR and playing 4k media. The 4k part I doubt he will see much difference between it and 1080p seeing as how he has no issues now with 720p.

Just wondering if there is a chance for some savings for him for a couple years with that upgrade and maybe wait for 4k laser to mature and or drop in price.
 

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He feels his A-lens would be ok with 1080p resolution so he has a lens bought and paid for.
If he sells the lens, he can put that money toward a better projector that doesn't need a lens.

If he zooms scope 4k he gets one resolution with light loss to the black bar areas. If he were to do a 1080p HDR with the lens he will get the full 1080 resolution and likely increased brightness for the HDR.
Are there 1080p HDR projectors? Not good ones, certainly. The best projectors for HDR currently are the JVC 4k models. Their Dynamic Tone Mapping feature is leagues ahead of any other projector's HDR performance, unless you invest in an external processor such as Lumagen Radiance Pro or MadVR Envy, both of which cost as much as the projector does.

Whether he "needs" the 4k resolution or not, if he wants good HDR, he should get a 4k JVC.

He already has his eye on the JVC NX5. That's what he should aim for, IMO. Selling the lens will help offset the price difference between that and the Epson he's also looking at, which is nowhere near as good a projector.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
My question was what did others think about that and is there a viable 1080p HDR out there as he seems to think he is missing out by not having HDR and playing 4k media. The 4k part I doubt he will see much difference between it and 1080p seeing as how he has no issues now with 720p.

Just wondering if there is a chance for some savings for him for a couple years with that upgrade and maybe wait for 4k laser to mature and or drop in price.
Thanks Bud. I was thinking along these lines too. A 1080P HDR might be a good stop-gap to cover me for a few years while the next wave of PJs mature and drop in price. In looking around, I don't see many option in the new market and think I might be looking at a used PJ if I would head in this direction.

If he sells the lens, he can put that money toward a better projector that doesn't need a lens.
A good thought but I don't think the M380 and UH380 will yield very much in a sale. I see a UH480 for sale now in the classified section that hasn't moved and the price is dropped to less than $700. Maybe I'd get $400 for the combo?

Are there 1080p HDR projectors? Not good ones, certainly. The best projectors for HDR currently are the JVC 4k models. Their Dynamic Tone Mapping feature is leagues ahead of any other projector's HDR performance, unless you invest in an external processor such as Lumagen Radiance Pro or MadVR Envy, both of which cost as much as the projector does.

Whether he "needs" the 4k resolution or not, if he wants good HDR, he should get a 4k JVC.

He already has his eye on the JVC NX5. That's what he should aim for, IMO.
Thanks. I don't see many options in the 1080P HDR market but my knowledge of this landscape is very limited as I basically ignored the PJ market for several years.

My default advice is to start with the Zoom Method. If you feel that you need a little extra light on the screen, you can invest in a Panamorph Paladin lens later. But they are pricey.
Pricey for sure. I'm sure the lens quality has increased which was required to address the additional resolution but man, the prices have really increased since I purchased the 380 with the initial discount for the pre-orders.


As mentioned, there's really no contest between these two in terms of performance. The only reason to consider the Epson is for budgetary concerns. The Epson is a perfectly good budget projector, but if you can afford the JVC, you'll be a lot happier with it in the long run.
Thanks. I can certainly afford the JVC, just making sure I can justify the expense based on the overall increase in my own perceived performance benefit or using the Epson as a substitute for the 1080p HDR route and upgrading again in 3 or 4 years. I lean toward buying the JVC and trying to settle in for another 5-7 years (if possible).

I'll save you a couple thousand dollars right here and recommend you take a step down from the Denon X8500H to the X6500H. The only meaningful advantage the X8500H has is the ability to process 13 channels vs. 11. However, speaking as an X8500H owner with a ridiculous number of speakers in my room, I can tell you that almost no content takes advantage of all those channels. Nearly everything tops out at 7.1.4.

Save the price difference between these two receivers and apply it to the JVC projector.

Also, even though the X8500H is Denon's current flagship, it's almost three years old and is likely to be refreshed with a new model before the end of the year.
Thanks. I am currently running 11.2 (plus Butt Kickers in all 8 chairs) and haven't really felt the impact of the front wides or front high speakers in the DTS:X setting. I thought this may be because not many titles use the format and hence the desire to add ATMOS. I was looking at the benefit of removing the Emotiva XPA-5 from my rack (used to power the 2 additonal channels with the 4520) with the 13 channel solution on the X8500 but I guess if I go 11-straight from the X6500H, I could still remove it (any chance to use the Emotiva to power the existing FW speakers to mirror FL and FR for a larger sound stage?)

My current timing and the pending release of a new flagship does make me pause. I wonder if I should wait on everything and upgrade later this year with a new AVR and PJ as there isn't anything that needs to be replaced right now (other than my internal motivation to upgrade).

Thanks again for all the great feedback, advise, and input. I really enjoy the creative, solution-oriented thinking!
 

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Thanks. I can certainly afford the JVC, just making sure I can justify the expense based on the overall increase in my own perceived performance benefit or using the Epson as a substitute for the 1080p HDR route and upgrading again in 3 or 4 years. I lean toward buying the JVC and trying to settle in for another 5-7 years (if possible).
HDR is very complicated and difficult to implement in projectors. If not tone-mapped properly to the capabilities of the projector, the image can wind up looking worse than SDR. JVC is the only projector brand to feature dynamic tone mapping, which analyzes the video signal frame-by-frame and adjusts it for the best tone mapping (similar to what Dolby Vision does on a flat panel). No other projector does this. Unless you invest in a Lumagen Radiance Pro or MadVR Envy external video processor (which will cost more than the projector), JVC's HDR quality is way ahead of anyone else's.

I am currently running 11.2 (plus Butt Kickers in all 8 chairs) and haven't really felt the impact of the front wides or front high speakers in the DTS:X setting. I thought this may be because not many titles use the format and hence the desire to add ATMOS.
Looking at the specs for it, the Denon 4520 does not have either Atmos or DTS:X. In order to process 11 channels with Front Wides and Front Heights, you must be using the DTS Neo:X upmixer.

Both Neo:X and its successor DTS Neural:X top out at 11 channels. You can do either 7.1.4 or 9.1.2, but not 9.1.4, even on the Denon X8500.

The same 11-channel limit applies to native DTS:X soundtracks, with the added complication that Front Wide channels won't work at all if Surround Backs are also used. This effectively limits DTS:X to either 7.1.4 (no Front Wides) or 5.1.4 +Wides (no Surround Backs). Strangely, the Neural:X upmixer doesn't have this problem, just native DTS:X.

The Dolby Surround Upmixer doesn't support Front Wides at all. On the X8500, you can go to 7.1.6 with DSU, but Front Wides will never get used. Additionally, you should note that DSU really only has two effective channels of height information. All the height speakers on the left side of the room carry the same mono info, and all the height speakers on the right do the same, no matter how many speakers you install.

Dolby Atmos soundtracks can theoretically use the full 9.1.4 or 7.1.6 speaker layouts. However, they must be authored and mixed to place sound objects in the Front Wide or Top Middle locations, and most Atmos soundtracks make minimal to no use of either. Disney (which covers all of Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and Disney Animation) authors its Atmos soundtracks in fixed 7.1.4 or even just 7.1.2 layouts.

The whole situation is very frustrating.

DTS:X Pro is supposed to finally free the DTS formats from their 11-channel limit, but there's no guarantee that the X8500 will be upgraded to that.

I was looking at the benefit of removing the Emotiva XPA-5 from my rack (used to power the 2 additonal channels with the 4520) with the 13 channel solution on the X8500 but I guess if I go 11-straight from the X6500H, I could still remove it (any chance to use the Emotiva to power the existing FW speakers to mirror FL and FR for a larger sound stage?)
You want to clone the FL and FR into extra speakers? You could do this, but I'm not sure that it would really be beneficial.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Looking at the specs for it, the Denon 4520 does not have either Atmos or DTS:X. In order to process 11 channels with Front Wides and Front Heights, you must be using the DTS Neo:X upmixer.

Both Neo:X and its successor DTS Neural:X top out at 11 channels. You can do either 7.1.4 or 9.1.2, but not 9.1.4, even on the Denon X8500.
Sorry for the sloppy post and mixing up my audio formats.

Yes, to get the FW and/or FH active on the 4520, I am upmixing with DTS Neo:X or Audussey DSX. Unfortunately, my current FH speakers are located behind the screen and do not offer much in-terms of separation from the traditional FL, FR or C channels.

What you share is making a pretty compelling case to go with the x6500.

Thanks
 

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What you share is making a pretty compelling case to go with the x6500.
If you want to dive down a pretty deep rabbit hole, it's possible to use additional A/V receivers in tandem with your main AVR to derive extra channels. I currently have a 9.1.8 speaker layout that requires four receivers working together to drive all those channels.

Here's a lengthy thread on the subject, or Google "Dolby Atmos Beyond 7.1.4".
 

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HDR is very complicated and difficult to implement in projectors. If not tone-mapped properly to the capabilities of the projector, the image can wind up looking worse than SDR. JVC is the only projector brand to feature dynamic tone mapping, which analyzes the video signal frame-by-frame and adjusts it for the best tone mapping (similar to what Dolby Vision does on a flat panel). No other projector does this. Unless you invest in a Lumagen Radiance Pro or MadVR Envy external video processor (which will cost more than the projector), JVC's HDR quality is way ahead of anyone else's.
So are we saying all the folks that are going crazy in the
 
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