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Discussion Starter #1
After my shootout from last week I received some emails asking why I hadn't included the Infocus LP350. I phoned Bill Dalgleish of Duocom Kingston to ask if I could borrow one for demo purposes. He suggested that I do a shootout between the Infocus LP350 and the NEC150. Who am I to argue? Bill has now lent me four different projectors for two successive weekends! I met him for the first time when I RETURNED the first three projectors! What more can I say?


Anyway, I am nearly through with my shootout and I have had a couple of really big surprises. Don't jump to any conclusions here, but MY WORLD HAS BEEN SHAKEN!


More to come later in the day after I have a couple of videophiles confirm my findings (one already has!) .....


Cheers,


Grant Smyth
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I have just completed me shootout between the NEC LT150 and the Infocus LP350. Another forum member drove the 2 1/2 hours from Toronto to be in on this and another friend came over (he was involved in my shootout from last week) to confirm what I was seeing.


Testing was done with both a Pioneer 525 DVD player (s-video) and an AVS HTPC. A Da-lite highgain 2.8 screen was used (8 feet wide).


Let's start with the Infocus LP350. We stated with s-video from my DVD player and I put my torture tests for motion artifacts on. The LP350 did what no other projector I have seen do - it played these scenes without a hiccup. This projector simply has the best onboard processing I have seen, and I've seen alot! The LP350's processing is better than that of the Runco, Sony and Marantz and the three projectors I tested last weekend. If you're looking for a projector and don't want to spend extra money on a progressive scan DVD player then this might be the ticket. In widescreen enhanced mode the picture was quite good, but with a little more grain than I would have liked. I lowered the sharpness a little and this improved things somewhat. I also adjusted the contrast and brightness to add some dynamics. When hooked into the HTPC the picture seemed even more harsh, and the "crawlies" became an issue. The clarity and definition improved, but the big improvement came with the "rainbow". My two guests complained (one of them had never noticed the "rainbow" before prior to viewing this projector and he's seen lots of DLPs) about this projector when hooked into s-video, but said the rainbow problem was ameliorated by 90% when the HTPC was hooked in! I am totally oblivious to the rainbow, but not to picture quality. There was one malfunctioning pixel with the LP350 and it drove me nuts!


It is with some trepidation that I write the following review on the LT150. One of my guests was with me for some of the viewing last weekend and he came back for this one to corroborate what I was seeing. Another quest came down from Toronto just to confirm that I hadn't "lost it". I toned down my review of the LT150 last weekend because I needed some time to reflect on what I had seen. During the week I told myself that I had been exaggarating what I had seen, so on Friday evening I set the LT150 up again. I was stunned! The picture from this 3.3 pound presentation projector was the best I had ever seen, period! This picture for me, and I must qualify this, was better than I have seen from a CRT and I have seen a few (bigger, brighter with gorgeous blacks). The blacks are black and the contrast ratio probably is 800:1! I have never seen anything from another DLP that approaches the contrast exhibited by the LT150. The picture has a snap and depth that is astounding. This is the mighty mouse of projectors - Jack the Giant Killer! We watched Sharespeare In Love, Gladiator and Lost in Space. I have never seen Lost in Space look this good. The colours literally popped off the screen, the blacks were incredible. I am gushing here. Suffice it to say I am running out of superlatives and this projector deserves a review from someone better at it than me. My two guests, who have seen alot of DLPs lately were very excited and confirmed my reaction.


Rainbow? With the HTPC hooked in - not an issue as confirmed by my guests (I am not sensitive to the rainbow artifact).


If you are in the market for a new projector you would absolutely be remiss if you did not audition this projector in your own home theatre. I can't tell you whether or not the Da-lite screen enhanced the overall picture more than some other screen would, but I can tell you that the picture through s-video is very good and when hooked into the HTPC, it is stellar. The other projectors had the benefit of the Da-lite screen and HTPC too, and they, regardless of price, couldn't come close.


Any member who would like to see this projector in action can email me and if you're close to Kingston, Ontario you are welcome to see for yourself. I should have one of my own in a week. The fact that there is no zoom and the lamp lasts only 1000 hours simply isn't an issue once you've seen the picture this projector produces.


Just my opinion - check it out for yourself!


Cheers,


Grant Smyth


 

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Grant,

Thanks for taking the time to share your findings with all of us.Your first post scared me. I thought you were going to go with the LP350 but after your reveiw it seems that you concure with my findings. That is the lp340/350 suffers from rainbow problems and not an outstanding black level. I have been curios about the NEC LT85/150. They have been out for some time and have very good specs, but have not gotten much attention here. Hopefully your reveiw will help change this.

Who was the other forum member? Are we going to here a reveiw from him?
 

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I have the NEC LT150, and am considering trading it in for the VT540 based on the lamp life and rainbow.


I am starting to see the rainbow, and although it doesn't bother me THAT much, I still notice it once in a while. The zoom is not too much of a problem since I plan on ceiling mounting it anyway.


I can attest that this projector is absolutely perfect except for the fact that it has the rainbow. I have not seen the LP350 however, so I would not be able to give a comparison. It has some slight light leakage, but not very much.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hayclon - it is imperative that you see this projector with a good HTPC. The picture quality takes a major step up (like the other projectors) however, this projector really, really comes into its own. My guests didn't see the LT150 with s-video so I don't know if rainbow wuld have been a problem. They were very clear that the LT150 with the HTPC was not a problem (rainbow).


I needed a week to reflect on what I'd seen last weekend and then to compare again. This projector is the best kept secret in home theatre!


Cheers,


Grant Smyth
 

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-This is my first post.


I have been looking for a projector to get into front projection for several years but only seriously for several months now.


Last week I was at the Miami boat show. I met a company called Sound Experience South. They are located in Stewart Florida. They told me that had just received the dwin transvision and would be setting it up right after the boat show. There telephone number is - 561-219-4460.


Onto my review:


I travelled from Toronto to Grant's house to participate in the shootout.


Prior to the shootout, I had seen the seleco Ht200 on more than one occassion and borrowed a proxima DX3 for a weekend. In addition, I have looked that the Sony 10,the Marantz 8000 and the Runco low end dlp model.


what follows are strictly my impressions. They are not the foundation of an opinion that one should rely upon in making a decision to purchase a particular projector.


When I first looked at the Sony (first time) I was VERY dissappointed in the picture. It had no life. I felt very dissappointed in what could be achieved for 10k. Another dealer told me that I should see the Sony at their place as it was properly set up. I looked at it a second time. The picture was Very good but nowhere near good enough to cause 10K to jump out of my wallet. That dealer next showed me the Runco 101. It was far better. However, for 15K, it still left me looking for more.


My next stop was at a dealer that sold the HT200. My impression was that the Seleco was somewhat better than the Runco even in spite of using the internal scaler running off a Progressive scan DVD player. I looked at the HT200 at yet another dealer. We watched an entire movie. Under Siege. The picture was good and bright. It sort of met the bill. I wanted to see what it would look like when fed a decent signal through an HTPC or equiv.


Later I looked at the Marantz 8000. It lacked the life of the Seleco. Thus the search was still on.


My comments to this point could be summarized as Marantz exhibited the highest rainbow of the three machines. The seleco still had rainbows, yet very infrequent. Perhaps 1 or 2 small rainbows per 45 minutes. Even then the rainbows were not obvious. The rainbows on the Marantz were very frequent, every several minutes and much much more obvious.


My next adventure was the Proxima. I do not have a screen at home and played with different bed sheet materials and a grey wall. My first screen was a grey sheet. The picture was pretty good. I had to give this sheet away and changed to a slightly brown tone sheet. All life in the picture was lost. I tried a grey wall with no better results. Lastly, I tried a white flanel sheet. The picture came back to life. However, the makeshift screen had too much texture. The proxima was bright had pretty good. There was too much rainbow. Crawlies did not appear to be a problem. The proxima does not offer much control over the picture. My monster cable S Video feed had difficulty staying in the port. Sometimes I lost the video signal.

I hooked up my Playstation2 through the composite video port. Nothing to get exited about.


Then I discovered Nec. I knew that Grant was exited and decided it was worth the drive to compare the Infocus 350 to the LT150. Grant has a much better viewing room as mine is not set up yet.


First we watched the Infocus. I did not tell Grant that I hoped that life got better than this especially after the drive. I saw rainbows more frequent than once per minute. It was very easy to trigger rainbows by slightly turning my head or look at different parts of the picture. The picture was solid. The colours were OK. Nothing to get exited about. The problem was it lacked something. There was no life to it. When the infocus was hooked up to the htpc. Nearly all of the rainbows dissappeared. I always thought that rainbows had to do with colour wheels etc. I never thought they were related to scalers and processors.


Next we swictched to the Nec 150. It put a smile on my face. Thats how I measure my satisfaction with it. Its colours were great. Blacks and contrasts excellent. I took a picture with my digital camera. It shows somewhat the contrast. If it is easy to post here, I could try. There were three blacks near each other and all showed up well. I saw as little rainbow as I did with the seleco. The opening scene of Lost in space was outstanding. Way better than I remember it on the Sony or the Runco. This machine is exiting enough to remove money from the wallet.


I thing it would be neat if someone could do a blind test comparing this projector to the Seleco, Dwin etc. once these are out. It would be fun to see if with the same hardware and screens, people could tell which projector cost 1/3 - 1/2 of the others.



I really figured that I would not be happy until I bought one of the new machines coming out. I see no reason why I will spend the extra bucks. In fact, the savings will pay for many bulbs, an HTPC and a screen.


I too expect to be ordering one soon.


Warren
 

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Just curious....


On paper both NEC's LT150 and Philips' UGO X-Lite look like identical machines - who actually manufactures this unit?


I also noticed that Sharp's Notevision M10X (PG-M10X) is also VERY similar in specs to both the LT150 and UGO.


If all three are basically, if not definitely, the same unit then who designed and built them, and if I find myself in the market for one - would it matter which one I got?


I for one didn't think I was going to go the FPHT route, as I am not the least bit interested in having a "movie only" room which a CRT based system would arguably enforce, and I absolutely could not tolerate the LCD screen door effect. Also, when I looked at Digital Projectors, like DLP and D-ILA a couple years ago I was impressed, but not so much as to pick them over a large CRT RPTV. Apparently things have changed?


What I really liked about Digital Projection were as follows:


1) Tremendous clarity


2) D-ILA did a magnificent job projecting Data images


3) Brightness allowed for a smaller gain screen and thus more flexible environment with ambient lighting.


4) Ease of use and maintenance (Convergence - I think not!, Burn-in - HaHaHa CRT owners)



What I did not like, and why I have been putting my FPHT on hold these last two years were:


1) Black levels where still gray, and those that did a better job with the blacks did it by sacrificing detail.


2) Very noticeable "jitter" when projecting an image of a landscape with the camera panning across the horizon. It gave me a headache watching it.


3) VERY loud fan noise due to the excessive temperatures of the lamps.


4) Neither offered, or planned to offer native 16x9 chips any time in the near future.


Fortunately I stumbled across this forum recently, and have been playing "catch up" on the current status of HT by reading through many of the messages and links to other sites regarding various hot topics.


(like HTPC - I was clueless about this new development in HT systems - and still have a long way to go I'm afraid)


What I seem to be hearing is that DLP and especially D-ILA devices have come a VERY long way from just a couple years ago.


So I am putting the brakes on my plans on buying a HD-RPTV system and for the next few weeks am going to try and get up to speed with all thing digital.


What concerns me about you review of the LT150 is that you used such a very high gain screen. It was my understanding that the whole point of a high lumen Digital Projector was so that you would not have to relay on a high gain screen. I certainly am not interested in a screen with a gain any more than 1.3 as it would once again create the need for a VERY dark room. While that is great for watching film, it is not great for watching HD Football broadcasts, or other uses that might be better suited with more ambient lighting.


In fact, if I go Digital I am probably only going to be interested in the new low gain GrayHawk screens recently developed by Stewart Screens. At least then the blacks will be improved and hopefully it will be more flexible with lighting issues than a standard 1.3 gain screen.


Anyway, at this point I seem to be tossed between DLP and D-ILA. I did talk with Paul over at TI's DLP department, and he told me that they will be releasing their new native 16x9 DLP chip for FPs some time in the Fall and that Sharp will be the first to offer a FP with the new chip.


I haven't heard anything about a possible 16x9 D-ILA chip, but I suspect it too is probably close to being issued.


What to do, what to do? ARGH! If I don't wait for a 16x9 chip, then I suppose I shouldn't consider any SVGA digital projector? XGA or better would seem like the only way to go as one would loose a considerable amount of vertical resolution projecting an anamorphic widescreen image with a 4:3 device? Or am I missing something all together?


Frankly I am surprised to hear of so many 4:3 SVGA projectors supposedly being used in some rather high-end HT systems.


OK, so many darn questions keep popping up the longer I type, so I better put an end to this message.


Loved the review, but only wish the screen you tested the LT150 on had had a gain of 1.3 or even less - *sigh*


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WARNING: If I expressed an opinion that you might disagree with, please remember it is ONLY an opinion and "your mileage may vary".


[This message has been edited by AustinTexas (edited 02-25-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi AustinTexas,


To start, let me first say that the NEC LT150 is an XGA projector. It is my understanding that NEC uses a Plus light engine and that everything else is from NEC including the VORTEX technology. If you go to www.Projectorcentral.com you will see a blurb about the new lightweight Infocus model. Click on this and you find a comparison with the NEC LT150. Althought the LT150 is not reviewed some of its history is discussed. The goal of VORTEX technology is to bring a more CRT look to DLP. In my opinion NEC has succeeded!


The Dalite Hi-gain screen has been discussed on this forum many times. It is an exceptional screen and looks great with just about any DLP or LCD projector - I've used it for my shootouts with projectors ranging from 700 lumens to 1300. No hot spots etc. The NEC's light output is conservatively rated - it compared very well indeed to the Infocus LP350's actual or stated light output of 1300. I think the NEC will look great on a 1.3 gain screen as well. I have no intention of buying a gray screen - this projector does not require it!


As far as an HTPC is concerned - it is the most frugal way to obtain the best picture possible, bar none. You actually have to see the improvement that a good HTPC renders to appreciate it. I have an AVS HTPC and it is superb. Phone AVS and ask your questions. I am sure they will be happy to help.


I hope this has helped.


Cheers,


Grant Smyth
 

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Wow, this thread just suddenly got really long http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


Finally some stuff on the NEC LT150!!!


Anyway, yes, I am using an excellent HTPC with the LT150, but I do not know how that is supposed to minimize the rainbow. Isn't the rainbow caused by the projector and not the feed?


The HTPC I am using is a Pentium III 600, and I am using an ATI All-in-Wonder Radeon. I play DVDs with the ATI DVD player, which seems to play flawlessly. I am also projecting on a Da-Lite Hi-Power 80"x60" screen. Is there anything I can do to reduce the rainbow? I don't know what better feed I could feed the projector http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif
 

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AustinTexas,

The reason so many people use SVGA projectors for home theatre is that XGA is not necessary to have a great picture. SVGA DLPs will work great and many attest that they have lower pixel visibility than most XGA LCD projectors. It is also a great way to cut down significantly on costs.


I posed a question in an earlier thread about why people don't all use high gain screens. I still don't understand why everybody wouldn't use a high gain screen like the da-lite hi power. It certainly does not reduce picture quality. As for ambient light, I believe it actually helps in this field since it rejects ambient lighting with its retroflective technology.


I think the clear answer to DLP vs DILA is obviously DILA. The real question there is which one you can afford. As for 16:9 DLP chips, I would actually prefer a 4:3 since I plan on using the projector for plenty of computer use as my computer monitor.


Grant, what did you think of the sound level of the projector? I find it pretty quiet. Much quieter than the LT84 I had before, but still fairly audible.
 

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Halcyon - try running your projector with s-video and look for rainbow and then switch back to HTPC and look for it. Is there any difference?


I am leaving for Kingston right now to return the projectors in this shootout and to order a NEC LT150. I this the "One"? Yes.


After seeing everyones reaction to the LT150 yesterday, I will giving every guest to my home theatre a pillow to place on their knees to protect their body parts when their jaws drop!


Cheers,


Grant Smyth


Seeing is believing!
 

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Ok, so whats the difference between the LT150 and LT155? Which would be better since they are about the same price ($4400)?


From what I can tell, the LT155 is brighter, has longer bulb life (and cheaper bulbs), but is 2 lbs heavier.


I just borrowed an LP350 this weekend and my initial impressions are:


- Great Svideo, especially from a non-progressive DVD.

- VERY bright. Way too bright for my Dalite Spectra 1.5 gain. I used the white wall instead.

- The rainbows effect are very hard for me to see, I have to violently shake my head to see them.....thus far no movie has warranted me shaking my head like this, only football games :)

- I had a pre-wk45 model, which had major light spillage around the 4:3 boundary. Do ANY LCD/DLP projos ~$4K have blanking? My CRT does and it rocks.

- Good blacks. Almost as good as my old CRT.

- Noise and light leaks from behind, but I was sitting in front of the projo and it didn't bother me.

- Did not try HTPC as I don't have one. PC and Playstation looked good though.


While I found the LP350 to be entirely satisfactory for me, I'm probably leaning toward the LT155 although I haven't seen it yet. Mainly because it has component, 480p ability, and hopefully less light leakage.


So, should I be considering the LT150 instead?


-Dave

 

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LT155 is LCD ... not DLP. As for as I remember.


One major problem with LT150 is that it has no zoom. Which makes it a non-starter for me. Also it does not have digital (DVI) input.


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I dug around and found out that the LT150 and LT155 are really different animals. Despite being DLP vs. LCD, the LT150 has 800:1 contrast vs. 400:1, but the LT155 is brighter.


Both seem to have similar inputs, internal processing/scaling, and compatible formats.


I really like the specs of the LT150, but 800 lumens is a little less than I'd like.


Can anyone tell me if either the LT150 or LT155 have any light leakage around the picture border?


-Dave
 

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Being an Infocus LP350 owner, I just want to say pthpthpthpthpthpth.


Actually, I'd love to be able to view the NEC LT150. No zoom though? How silly.


As far as rainbow artifacts go on the infocus, I don't see em. I just don't. I've been avoiding the posts that describe how to see em because not seeing them is a good thing. I don't want to know how to force myself to see rainbows.


In the demos and viewing events I've had, not one person has mentioned anything that leads me to believe they saw rainbows. I even have gone back to some of them and asked about wierd picture artifacts or anything they saw that might have been out of the ordinary or distracting. Other than the video dropouts during the superbowl (darn HDTV), there have been no other negative comments.


Great review, btw.


--Les
 

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Dave-E, (and any other HT Enthusiasts from Austin, Texas)


Check out http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/002323.html and pass it on!


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WARNING: If I expressed an opinion that you might disagree with, please remember it is ONLY an opinion and "your mileage may vary".
 

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Grant, where are you ordering your LT150 from and how much are you getting it for?


I have been looking for a ceiling mount for it and think I may buy the Peerless Industries mount. Do you happen to know any manufacturers of the ceiling mounts? NEC does not make them for this projector.


About the zoom, I found that extremely annoying at first. However, I don't think it is too much of a problem as mine would be permanently installed just as most people's home theatre. Zoom only allows a slightly larger room for installation and on small projectors, the ratio is usually less than 1.2 to 1. Of course I am rationalizing here, but it is not that big of a deal.


Is DVI input much better than RGB input? I have a DVI input LCD monitor which looks great, but I don't think the improved technology is that much of an improvement, as the difference is not quite visible.
 

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Dave,

I have not seen the NEC projectors, but according to the info at www.projectorcentral.com, the LT150 is a DLP machine and the LT155

is an LCD machine. Both have NEC's Vortex image enhancement.


I am an LP350 owner and just thought that I would mention that I

don't see the lack of component input as a disadvantage, since the

vidoe processor in the LP350 seems as good as any that I have seen

in a progressive DVD player. Doubling just gets done in the projector

rather than in the DVD player.


The DVI interface of the LP350 is an advantage for me, as I intend

to use it for PC based HDTV reception as soon as broadcast HDTV is

available in my area.


The LP350 also wins in the zoom capability department which allows

more flexability in mounting location. Its greater brightness, at

least on paper, should make it more tolerant of higher ambient light

levels. As for image quality, I think everyone has to decide using

their own eyes.


I think it is great that we are starting to have more options in the

sub-$5K digital projector arena.


Jerry
 

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These will be my last comments with respect to the LT150, I hope.


Just about everyone on this site (DLP, LCD & D-ILA) has been looking for the perfect projector. There is no such beast!


I've read the comments about no zoom, 800 annusi lumens, 1,000 hour lamp life etc. Im my humble opinion the LT150 is the best affordable, single chip DLP on planet Earth, period! It is sitting right under our noses and everyone has missed it because of its perceived limitations. Once you have seen it set up the way I described in my review, you too will do what Warren, myself and everyone else who saw it has done, try to figure out a way to afford it or just outright buy it. I am a little paranoid since I felt that my post might state a buying frenzy and I wouldn't get one! I figured that if members on this forum were buying Panamorph lenses without ever seeing one, or buying it without even owning a projector for goodness sakes, then I might be in trouble here with the LT150. Luckily, this doesn't seem to be the case. I will do what it takes to make this projector work in my home theatre - if that means building a home around it, so be it! With something this good you simply make it work in your environment. I have been looking for this kind of picture for the last 12 years and I have no plans to of missing out on this projector.


If you don't see this with a good HTPC (like the AVS one) and with a good screen (like the Da-lite Highpower) then you have missed out on one of life's little (big) pleasures. Don't complain later when word really gets out and these things are snapped up and none are available.


Cheers,


Grant Smyth


Seeing is believing!
 
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