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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There is a lot of talk about "Plug-and-Play" projectors in the digital projector forum, and I wanted to start a discussion about this topic.


All projectors are technically "Plug-and-Play", meaning you can take them out of the box and begin using them immediately. I don't believe that there would be a big market for a projector that wasn't ready to use immediately.


However, many (all?) projectors can be enhanced to provide an even better experience than the factory default one. Some projectors can provide a substantially enhanced picture with some after-market tweaking.


Widely touted as THE plug-and-play projector for quite some time, the Sony 10HT 16:9 LCD is now known to be able to be substantially improved with the addition of lens filters, updated color settings and mathematically calculated color gains. It is no less of a "plug and play" projector...it is simply able to provide a better picture than the factory default one for users who wish to undertake the operation.


The NEC LT150 is another (quote) "plug-and-play" projector, but it appears that this projector can be calibrated for better home theater performance as many others can. It provides a very good picture out-of-the-box, but it can also be improved with many end-user settings (white section off, etc.) as well as a full colorimetric calibration (in the works). It will be every bit as "plug and play" for those users who are not interested in such improvement.


The D-ILA projectors have been known for quite some time to be able to be enhanced greatly with after-market settings. Many users do not have the desire to change the original settings, but many others do.


I think that we need to be careful with the use of the phrase "plug-and-play projector". All projectors are ready to use with their factory defaults, but I believe that many of them can be improved with various techniques that the user community often discovers. What may be considered a "plug and play" projector when it first debuts can often be enhanced to perform even better...in essence, 'upgrading' the projector.


Therefore, I think that it is generally incorrect to say that one projector is "plug-and-play" and another is not.


Feel free to rip this point of view apart, if you think that this is incorrect. In summary...I feel that there is no such thing as a modern projector that can't be enhanced to perform better in a home theater environment.
 

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Quote:
Widely touted as THE plug-and-play projector for quite some time, the Sony 10HT 16:9 LCD is now known to be able to be substantially improved with the addition of lens filters, updated color settings and mathematically calculated color gains. It is no less of a "plug and play" projector...it is simply able to provide a better picture than the factory default one for users who wish to undertake the operation.
the 10HT looks pretty darned good out of the box even without those tweaks.

total time from unboxing to projecting a great picture was under a hour.

(i actually looked at the manual to figure out the difference between the standby

and power buttons).


on the other hand, the proxima projector that i was using with my laptop

was definitely NOT plug and play. the darned laptop recognized it was there,

but wouldn't send a signal to it. arghhhh....



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Excellent topic!


While I agree that all projectors can be plugged in and work, that is not what I think of as "plug and play" in the projector world. To me, plug and play means you can plug in the projector, configure any USER obtainable settings (service menus et al) and get a picture that you could live with for a long time. No external anything needed. No extra money to pay. If it is a USER calibration or change, that is still plug and play.


For me, the prime example is internal de-interlacers and scalers. In MY opinion http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif , projectors that have an unwatchable picture would not be plug and play. To me, the NEC LT150 that I own cannot be connected via the composite or S-Video input and yield a picture I could watch for a long time. The comb (deinterlace) artifacts are too extreme for me. A progressive source can be connected via the component connection and yield a watchable picture. The scaler is not the worst I've seen. This projector is SOMEWHAT plug and play. Can add-ons and do-dads help? Heck yes! Do I have an external scaler with a lot of input connections? Heck yes!


Likewise, I understand (correct me if I'm wrong) that the de-interlacer and/or scaler of D-ILA projectors is either pretty pathetic or the resolution of the device exacerbates small artifacts into large problems. Not plug and play on all inputs, by my definition.


Maybe we could try to define what the term "plug and play" means in the projector world as opposed to the computer world?


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Huck
 

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milori,


Thanks for the excellent set of distinctions.


I think what some people are looking for with the phrase "plug and play" is the idea that no adjustments will be necessary to achieve optimal performance out of the box.


For example, my son-in-law just bought an LT150 based on my recommendation. I suggested the settings to apply that I had been told were improvements. He made them and was satisfied.


This is probably also a matter of degree in many cases. I suspect that the LT150 is a bit closer to this sense of "plug and play" (optimal HT performance without adjustment) than the D-ILA machines or the 10HT.


I have never minded making adjustments, indeed consider it one of my rights! But for HT to make further inroads into the consumer marketplace, more thought will need to be given to this issue.



Thanks again!

 

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Great topic Milori - I agree 100% that all projectors will benefit from proper set-up and calibration.


I define "Plug and Play" to mean you can have a one box solution. Once you buy the projector, set it up and perform a proper calibration, you then have an excellent picture. You do not need an outboard scaler, HPTC, Panamorph lens.....


I agree that the Sony 10HT comes close to a one box soultion, but it would never work for me because of the screen door effect and limited black level.


Reed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for some insight, guys. I see that part of what is happening is simply a difference of opinion on just exactly what "play and play" means.


Does "plug and play" mean a "one box solution" (no scaler / HTPC / progressive scan DVD player required)? Does it mean no after-market tweaks are available or desirable (optical lenses, hush-boxes, etc.)? Does it mean that the unit contains no accessible service menu and is therefore untweakable ("locked down" at the factory)? Does it necessarily mean that the projector is "optimal" with those locked down settings? Or just untouchable?


And what if it became touchable?


The reason I mention it is that I've heard the LT150 called a "plug and play" projector many times. While I don't disagree with the term as used with this projector, I personally have RS232 cables and colorimeters hanging all over mine at the moment and intend to learn it's language to see if it can be calibrated for better colorimetry.


If successful, will the LT150 lose it's "plug and play" label? I would think not, since it still can be plug-and-play, even if there are things that are possible to be done to it after-market. Isn't everything really "plug and play", then?


It is interesting just to hear what this phrase means. I do agree that the phrase "plug and play" from the computer world may have a slightly different meaning than it does in the A/V space.
 

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Milori,


It would be my hope that projector manufacturers could learn from the computer world. There, people used to have to do all manner of adjustment to make things work. Now, you buy the machine, it has a modem/sound card/CDDVD/etc., and it just works.


I would think that if you are able to find a set of adjustments for the LT150, for example, that improves its color telemetry, then this could be built in by the manufacturer, with a single "HT mode/Presentation mode" toggle or something.


To me, that would make the LT150 more plug and play than it is!


I hope you are able to succeed to finding such a set of adjustments. I would like to hear about them.

 

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Quote:
Originally posted by milori:


All projectors are technically "Plug-and-Play", meaning you can take them out of the box and begin using them immediately. I don't believe that there would be a big market for a projector that wasn't ready to use immediately.


OK, I'll have to strongly disagree with this. I helped a buddy set up a CRT projector some time back, and that thing was hardly "plug-and-play". It took aquite a bit of work to mount it, and converge it, etc, before we could get a half-decent picture at all.


I will agree that almost all of the Digital projectors are plug and play, but some will produce a much better picture out of the box, with no tweaks, or add-ons, than others.


Most of the DLP and some LCDs I have seen produce a better overall picture, color-wise, straight out of the box than a DILA will.


A tweaked G-15 or G-20 JVC DILA, wiht a good external scaler, is still hard to beat though.


-- Cain



[This message has been edited by Cain (edited 09-17-2001).]
 

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Mark:


My Boxlight 38T is very simple to set up and use, definitely "plug and play".


HOWEVER. . .


Since the internal scaler and de-interlacer sucks I had to add a Quadscan Elite and the combination is definitely NOT

plug and play.


Still, it's a whole lot easier to work with than what you guys go thru with your D-ILA/HTPC combos. Truthfully, one of those setups is just a bit too much for this pushing-sixty fellow.


Wouldn't it be nice to get a projector with a Faroudja scaler built in? You don't need a de-interlacer as there are plenty of darn good DVD player with good ones now.


Plug and play to me means when I take the projector, hook up the sources direct, do a well understood, reasonably direct setup and WATCH MOVIES!


Dan
 

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I too would define a plug n play projector as one which only needs a decent (i.e. progressive scan DVD player) input to give a good picture - no de-interlacer, or scaler required. Interestingly, I think the manufacturers are coming round to this idea as the LP530 has a Faroudja chip in it, and the EzPro755 has a newer version of the chip ( Sil504 ) that powers the iscan Pro....


Build it, and they (or at least I) will buy http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


Chris


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I think you will not only see a difference of opinion of what "plug and play" means but also what constitutes a watchable picture. When I first saw an ISF calibrated 100" diag picture in my house, the WOW! factor overwhelmed most of it's shortcomings. Many new FP owners are going through the same "big picture love-in" right now so you may hear glowing reviews of picture quality the first couple of months and then the warts might start to be noticed. An opinion of whether a projector is plug and play may change at that time.


PQ education is a double edged sword. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


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Huck
 

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Quote:


"The reason I mention it is that I've heard the LT150 called a "plug and play" projector many times. "


Yet another interpretation of the term ... in many instances where the term 'Plug and Play' was used, specifically in reference to the LT150, it wasn't necessarily in the context of describing simple 'ease of use'. It was in the context of how we use the term in today's personal computer technology (ie- it is a reference to a PC HW/OS standard which was intended to obviate the need for specific device drivers).


Remember, the LT150 was primarily intended as a 'data' projector. And just as with PC monitors which can be 'Plug and Play' compatible, so is the LT150.
 

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Methinks Mark is feverishly working his magic on the LT150, the way he has with the D-ILA projectors http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


I think he's concerned about trying to avoid accidentally "branding" this (or any other) projector as NOT being PlugNPlay, simply by the virtue that is capable of being tweaked.


I'm one of those (minority) D-ILA G11 owners who is still using it out-of-the-box, and sometimes feel as though it gets a bad rap just because there are so many ways to tweak it.


I think that any piece of equipment that has provisions for user-update of firmware, configurations, or control, should be considered a plus, not a negative.



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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
BINGO, JHILL!


Well said! I don't think that a projector is any less valuable if it becomes tweakable at some point. Everyone will still be able to choose, and it certainly does not diminish what you're seeing when a tweaker tool (or service...like Thumper's DLP Mods) exists.


I have watched the D-ILA projectors go from "amazing out of the box" to "calibration recommended" to "calibration required" to "too difficult for mere mortals to use" http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/biggrin.gif (seriously...see other threads running currently for these type of comments!).


I am now watching the same thing happen with the previously "plug and play" Sony 10HT...the user community is "suddenly" finding that it is becoming too complicated for regular use..."Suddenly"? When did tweaking the projector become required?


If new Ford trucks started to have an option to purchase the vehicle's service technician manual, parts list and a compatible socket wrench, would that option make those trucks more or less valuable, or not affect the value of the vehicle at all?


I can understand answers of "value would not change" or "more valuable", but don't understand how just having the option would make the truck "less valuable".


To continue the analogy, what if the truck could handle a heavier load by tightening a bolt using that wrench. Does the answer change?


Maybe not the best analogy, but I think that it gets the idea across.
 

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Actually, the automotive analogy can be made even better. I haven't actually followed this for many years, but I distinctly remember "upgrade" chips that were available for BMW, Corvette, and other performance cars that had a computer "brain".


Essentially, these were EPROM kits that housed lookup tables for various calculations of RPM, Throttle position, Vacuum, air temp, etc. Although I think the advent of embedded microcontrollers has put a lid on that market http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/frown.gif



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By definition, Plug and Play means that the display device is using either ID bits or VESA's DDC standard to auto-configure a computer.


Plug and play refers to the ability of a display device to identify to a connected computer what it is. And in some cases for the computer to tailor its resolution or Refresh rate to the optimal settings for that device.


If you plug a laptop into a projector and you have to fiddle with settings, then it is not PnP... If you plug it in and it works... then it is PnP. THere are additional things in the VGA connector that are designed for communication. If these are used, then it is a Plug and Play projector. The ability of a user to Fiddle with additional settings is not a part of it. this is merely a bonus. with the advent of a completely digital DVI machine, the intention is to REMOVE ALL additional controls. THere will simply be a brightness control (maybe a shift depending on the manufacturer.) and that is it.


You have to remember what a machine is designed for, the LT 150 is a great example of a machine that is designed for Business use. THey sold thousands for business use. the HT application is just not a factor, so the machine is not designed to be "fixed" as nobody is aware that it was "broken". Now on another note, if the Illustrious Mr. Milori is able to rectify the colourimetry issues, that is a bonus. But the machine was never designed for those things.


Modern Projectors (with the exception of the really big 100K machines) are designed for the business application with a 6-8 month life span. after that it is time to move on to the next one. The HT world is just a bonus for them to sell a few extra machines. Yes there are a few notable exceptions where manufacturers have made a machine for HT, but that is small (read very very small) percentage of the overall marketplace. Occaisionally there is a machine that just happens to have all the extra features that you want, Mitsubishi had one a few years ago that allowed very easy adjustment of all RGB values throughout the Gamma curve.


But back to the original point, Plug and Play refers to the ability of a diplay device to identify itself to the computer, and the computer to recognize it and adjust settings appropriately.
 

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One more try at the automobile analogy. You can buy a Honda Civic which is certainly plug and play in the general sense and never add anything to it or you can frequent shops that will offer you all kinds of performance enhancements to boost HP, improve cornering or whatever. The latter is my preferred approach. Milori - when can I expect to have my LT150 calibrated and what benefits should I expect? What is Thumper offering and has anyone seen the results?
 

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I certainly find this an interesting topic. I am one of the chief tweaker's of the 10HT and am responsible for the SMART and CC filter tweaks now fairly common among 10HT users.


Tweaking of the 10HT has been going on almost from the very beginning, with many users entering the service mode and boosting the gain settings, using their eyeballs to determine color balance.


One reason for this is that the 10HT is very easy to tweak. One can run the gains for the various colors over a wide range of values and gamma tracking stays quite accurate. Most likely this is because of SONY's use of a 3D gamma matrix that allows the factory to set things up fairly well, and the advanced tweaker to correct lumps and bumps in gamma tracking when they are found. Fortunately most people never need to touch the 3D gamma matrix, but just mess with gains and perhaps, the bias settings for the black level adjsutments.


SMART simply allows this process to be less subjective than eyeballs, and therefore in many ways simpler. At least you know when you are done.


There was some concern about the complicated nature of using SMART on the SONY related forum right after it was announced 6 months ago. Today, perhaps because of the Dummies manual, it doesn't seem to be much of an issue that I am aware of. I can assure everyone that those that were the most worried survived the process and lived to tell the tale. And their picture is better as well.


The only place I have seen some discussion that could be interpreted in terms of


"I am now watching the same thing happen with the previously "plug and play" Sony 10HT...the user community is "suddenly" finding that it is becoming too complicated for regular use..."Suddenly"? When did tweaking the projector become required?"


is not on a 10HT related forum, but on a Sanyo-based forum. Maybe I have missed a thread somewhere.


I am working on SMART for the Sanyo, and I can say, at this point, that the Sanyo is not as easy to tweak as a 10HT, but it is also a fine projector with or without tweaking.


In any case, I certainly agree that once tweaked a 10HT, or likely any other projector, is just as easy to use, as it was out of the box. I travel a lot, and believe me, if the "TV" does not reliably turn on and off with one button, I am in big trouble. Ease-of-use is another overused expression, but in my life, it is essential. No booting up computers to watch TV in my household,


I do find it very strange that it is possible, let alone easy, to significantly improve a high-tech product such as a video projector. Sure it would be nice if the 10HT, or 11HT for that matter, had its light source color balanced, and was tuned up at the factory to achieve it best possible performance. For whatever reason, that is not the case. The factory calibrations are accurate, but conservative. Fortunately, the current state of affairs does leave us tweakers something to do. Tweaking is not required, but it can be addictive. And if you really don't want to tweak, hire someone that does. In most cases you won't be sorry.


Steve



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Steve Smallcombe
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for posting, Steve! It sounds like you are doing some interesting things with SMART. Good luck with the Sanyo port.


Just don't make these projectors too difficult to use (tongue planted firmly in cheek).
 

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I'll do my best http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif .


Thanks,


Steve


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Steve Smallcombe


[This message has been edited by Steve Smallcombe (edited 09-18-2001).]


[This message has been edited by Steve Smallcombe (edited 09-18-2001).]
 
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