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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Boy do I suddenly feel "cool" like all the rest of you luckies who got to go play at Cedia... http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


Thanks to Lito who emailed me to let me know that a Sharp 9000 was parked in my own backyard here in Washington DC!


Where did I see these two projectors in action for 2 hours of solo-DVD swapping time?:


ProVideo

2428 Wisconsin Ave, NW

Washington DC 20007

202-333-9200

[email protected]


Lito had emailed me privately to alert me to that this retailer had a Sharp 9000 on display. So I called the store to verify and arrived there yesterday after work with about 20 DVDs in hand (or actually a large bag).


Met with the manager Paulo Teixeria who was very nice (and knowlegeable) and took me down to the basement room where they have the projector. Here I was all flustered just to see a real 9000 and then...there in front of it on a table a foot shorter than its own...was the Sony 11 HT...pointing at the same screen!!!


(deep breath to calm down...)


Paulo powered up the 9000, handed me the projector and DVD player remote, and let me at it. A frenzy of DVD swapping ensued:


Gladiator. Dark City. Pee Wee's Big Adventure. Neverending Story. Frequency. Annie (a really shockingly high-resolution/filmlike transfer on a big screen). X-Men. And some so-so non-anamorphic titles to see what they'd look like big: Black Stallion, Room with a View. And the 4x3 Hobbit.


Also a bit of "live" native 480I with the James Taylor DVD.


There were many other DVD titles I played that I can't remember right now.


The first 1.5 hours was just the Sharp. Then Paulo turned on the Sony (I hadn't realized they could be played simultaneously) and the compaisons began.


Screen: a 4x3 (to be replaced soon with a 16x9) Draper with a gain of approximately 1.2. The image was about 80 inches wide and I was sitting a distance of about 10 or 12 feet away.


DVD player: A sony (can't remember the model, but not ES) that was outputting 480I via component, being switched by the pioneer receiver, running through a component splitter to send video to the two projectors. So yes, the projectors were getting 480I component input. A progressive-scan DVD player is in the future.

Disclaimer


Neither projector were ISF calibrated nor had ProVideo made any attempt to calibrate them other than how the came out of the box. I was shocked how good they BOTH looked (especially the Sony) considering this. I was given full control of the remotes for each projector so I played around with setting a tad but I would hardly infer that I had optimized the image in the 10 minutes of fooling around with the image adjustment menus.


Also, the video source of 480I, being sent through the receiver's video switching circuitry and then through a splitter to each projector can not be considered ideal. Again I was shocked how good the image looked considering this.

Overall impression


I'd take either projector home. The Sharp was amazing, and had slightly deeper blacks than the Sony, but the Sony put out a brighter image that looked "crisper" than the Sharp and in some ways was more satisfying as a result. I was quite surprised how good the Sony looked in comparison especially considering how negative the reports were from CEDIA. It wasn't a night-and-day difference. More a matter of degrees. The Sony had a SLIGHTLY more visible screen-door effect, but I didn't feel the Sharp was screen-door free either. I'll talk more about that when I describe each separately. The Sharp seemed to have a more lush color pallette than the Sony...reds seemed more true on the Sharp (which actually had INCREDIBLE red reprodution. I've never seen Reds like that on any digital projector).


Also, on the James Taylor 480I-native DVD, the Sharp showed combing on motion like in the hands movements on the guitar strumming. The Sony seemed more adept in handling motion on the 480I video.

Sharp 9000


First off the 3-2 pulldown on both projectors worked admirably. I didn't see any motion or combing artifacts with film-based source material (except sometimes on DVD menus with motion, which probably confused the projector into thinking they were still watching film when the menus were in fact video-orgin). The Sharp seemed to comb on the 480I James Taylor DVD which I found a tad distracting. I didn't have time to fiddle with the menu to see if there was some "auto" film-mode detect feature or something that might be adjusted to provide a better picture with native 480I as I popped the James Taylor in right before the store closed. Any of you with experience with the built in deinterlacer please share more.


Blacks were good but not great. As I mentioned earlier, I was surprised at how close the Sony came in overall image quality including black-level. I've heard so many talk about how great the blacks are on the Sharp I have to think that some adjustments could have been made to render better blacks.


Interestingly, because we were using a 4x3 screen, it was easy to see the absolute black-level the screen could produce above and below the 16x9 projected area and compare that to the letterboxing of 2.35:1 films inside the 16x9 frame...which was the blackest the projector could output. There was a clear difference from the black of the dead-screen area compared to the black of the letterboxing. Of course, I've also seen 4x3 DLP projectors that show the same difference with the absolute black they do in their anamorphic shrink vs the black in the letterboxing bars coming out of the DVD player...so who knows. I wish DVD players would start passing blacker-than-black levels since obviously in these cases the Digital projector can, in fact, produce a deeper black than the DVD player is rendering (there was a thread about that...)


Reminding everyone that I was watching 480I component in, I felt that the scaler in the Sharp was good but not great. The image was a bit on the soft side (lacking the cripsness of the Sony 11 HT, which was odd), but still very detailed and natural/film-like. It exhibited the same thing I saw on the 10HT a while back and this 11HT that I call "macro blocking" I think this is what most people mistankingly refer to as "screen door" which is when the scaler tends to lump several pixels together at a time in a large square rather than dithering or scaling to the finest gradation possible. So from a distance you get a "blocky" or "screen door" effect that isn't really being caused by the actual pixel density of the DLP chip itself. Naturally it disappears the minute you put on an HDTV or other signal that makes better use of the available resolution without relying on the scaler to do the dithering. (this is infact what I meant earlier when I said I didn't think the Sharp was free of "screen door" artifacts...I was actually referring to macro-blocking. Sorry for the purists who got led astry...)


This macro blocking was most obvious with credits and text which for some reason must have been more challenging than regular video. The credits during the opening of the never-ending story were painfully "blocky" looking, as were the credits and text of almost everything else I watched. I'm sure with a better scaler or maybe even 480P input this might be abated.


Colors...WOW...the image produces some of the most amazing greens, blues, and reds i've seen. Pee Wee Herman's big adventure really showed me just how saturated and rich these colors could look when the DVD material had it on the disc. Gorgeous cherry-apple reds...as true as you can imagine. Flesh tones were excellent too. I felt that the color and black level were a big plus over the sony (which I wouldn't have thought less of had I not had the Sharp to compare).


Big PLUS...You can easily cycle through the various aspect ratios by a simple button on the remote. What a luxury! The fact that the Sony makes you go into a menu, press a couple of arrow keys, select another option...then pick your aspect ratio out of an archane list of cryptic terms only a HT buff would understand is a major plus for the Sharp right there. Any HT nut's significant other would not have a problem punching the button until faces looked the right shape and black bars had gone away on this projector. I still get the willys when I come in and see my other half watching a 4x3 lbxed movie in 4x3 side-bar mode cuz it's to complicated to figure out the menu system on my ProScan TV...so I really REALLY welcome this simple "punch the button till it looks right" approach (a small label comes up with each press which indicates the aspect ratio being viewed...so there's no doubt).


The Sharp's ability to handle non-anamorphic 4x3 lbxed material was admirable as well. Looked as good as the Sony's scaler in this regard which I've always held in high esteem.


Darnit. Now that I think about it I wished I had played around with the sharpness control of the Sharp! Oh well...next time http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif

Sony 11 HT


Not bad. Less screen door than the 10HT and better blacks. A very crip image to my eyes with DVD...at least in comparison to the sharp. Significantly brighter than the Sharp which would be important for someone with alot of ambient light issues. A very crisp image to my eyes with good DVD input and a good de-interlacer that switched well between film and video material.


I won't say to much more here becaues the Sony had been described/compared throughout the rest of the review. But I'll say this...While the Sharp would probably be my preference (I'd have to calibrate each projector and really spend some time to decide), I'm shocked by how much head-scratching there was over the lack of dramtic difference. Those of you who loved the 10HT might be happy to see what's been done with the 11. I wish there had been a Sany 60 in the room...now THAT would have been the ultimate!


But my word for you all is that the Sony was VERY watchable and had live-able blacks if you're not nutso about black-level. The Sharp did a better job with discs like Dark City and the opening scenes in Gladiator...but overall the Sony would be a well-received gift if someone decided to drop off an 11 HT in my living room http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif Those of you who have heard bad things about the 11HT from CEDIA might want to wait to see it for yourself before you decide. My impressions of the 11HT were much better than what I read from CEDIA.

Conclusions


I was impressed with both projetors. I think I was a little more impressed with the Sony than I had expected and a little less impressed with the Sharp (which I had expected to have really deep blacks which it did not). Over all I think I preferred the Sharp but it was not a closed-case night-and-day difference. There were some pros to the Sony (like the brigher image) that might be more pleasing to some people. My guess is that if the Sharp had been calibrated properly it would have come out father ahead in my impressions and in black level. Also, I'd love to see these two projectors with proper DVD input like progressive-scan as well as an out-board scaler. But for those of us on a budget...it's nice to know what your image would look like if you bought a Sharp/Sony and took it home and hooked it up to your DVD player while you saved for the rest of your system.


Please post your thoughts!


dave http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

 

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Hi David


Thanks for a unique review of these two projecters. I for one have been waiting for someone to make just this comparison. One question. Were you watching the Sony in the cinema black mode? You mentioned the bright and snappy picture and it made me wonder aout this setting.


Many thanks


Paul Hayward
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I switched through several picture settings on the Sony to find the one that looked the best. When I selected "custom 1" from the menu the picture got noticably brighter. This was probably not the Cinema mode although I didn't hear the fan-noise change. Even in the dimmer mode (which was much closer to the Sharp in brightness) it's blacks still weren't quite as deep as the Sharp, but they were a bit better.


I liked the snap and impact of the brigher image...but if that would increase bulb wear or mess up the blacks too much for a particular viewer I could understand someone opting for the Cinema mode. I don't remember seeing the cinema mode in the menu...but i'm sure it was there somewhere.


I will say this, that if the dimmer setting that I changed from when I hit the "custom 1" selection (which brightened the image) was in fact the cinema setting brighness level, and someone is planning on using that lower-brightness setting, then it makes these two projectors look even MORE alike.


BTW, I failed to mention there were a few brief minutes of HDTV at the beginning of the demo. The image was incredible...no motion or scaling artifacts even though the feed was 1080I (on both projectors).


-dave



[This message has been edited by DaViD Boulet (edited 09-21-2001).]
 

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I have the 10HT and it sounds like the custom 1 setting of the 11HT does what the 10HT does at that setting which is produce a brighter, somewhat cooler picture. It keeps the low temp red setting and boosts the green and blue (probably making the red not look as good). I don't know to much about the sharp but if the 11HT can be tweaked with the remote control in the service menu like the 10HT, then it should dramatically increase the picture. Assuming they have not done so from the factory, it is possible to boost the output even more by increasing the red, blue, and green gains. This would make the picture even brighter and more colorful (improve the red) than what you saw. If it's like the 10HT you could put a color correction filter in front of the lense that would yield darker blacks and greater contrast. To my eyes the color correction filter also reduces the screen door appearance.


We will not know if any of this is the case until someone enters the service menu to check out the gain and bias settings.


I was just reading over your second post and wanted to address the cinema mode. The different custom settings do not switch the cinema mode off and on. That is a seperate setting in another menu altogether. My guess would be that you were watching with the normal light output but without being there it could have been in the cinema black mode. It just depends on how it was set up. From the factory, I think its with cinema black off. In cinema mode the fan noise is reduced as well. Either way the different custom settings can make the appearance of the picture look brighter or dimmer because the panel gains (red, blue and green) are either increased or decreased to achieve a desired effect. The custom setting one also boost the bias levels which tend to make blacks look not as good. Remember I'm basing these comments on the 10HT, the 11HT is probably going to be the same but it could be different. The independent controls over these color panels is what makes the 10HT tweak so dramatically because you can only do so much with color and hue settings.


[This message has been edited by TC (edited 09-21-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
TC,


sounds like you're right on. This is exactly what seemed to be happening when I switched the different color temperature settings (the menu I think where the Custom 1 thing was).


I actually thought the custom 1, in addition to being brighter, produced a more naturally colored picture...but as I said nothing was really calibrated on the projector.


Can't wait to hear what happens when someone gets the 11HT in their home and calibrates it to the max and posts the results here!


dave http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif
 

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Thanks for the report. I think at CEDIA, Sharp just outclassed Sony on the quality of setup and presentation. I am sure they are fairly close in quality. The Sharp look great also because the light was totally controlled and they had a great sound system in a sound condition room with a specailly made HDTV film to show it off. The 800 lumens is the real weakness of the Sharp. Then again, the CRT guys get their sunglasses out at 800 lumens.
 

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David, you lucky dog! I hope these guys really set both projectors up right and then invite you back.


Thanks, this was really a good read. Once again, it shows that brighter is better. Believe me, these are not your father's LCDs they are selling now.


Jonmx:


If the CRT guys use sunglasses to watch 1200 lumens should we be using welder's goggles to watch our Sanyos? http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/biggrin.gif


You know, you're just inviting a flame from the Titanic Projector Forum with that crack, don't you?


ROTFLMAO


Dan
 

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You guys crack me up, how the hell do you expect a pj to be able to produce black with 2000+ lumens blasting out? Don't you think that if it was such a great idea Sharp would have made the projector brighter?


Jeff
 

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Jeff:


As I understand it, the limit on brighness of DLP projectors is because of the 9 degree limit on rotation of the mirrors. The next generation is supposed to have 12 degree rotation which I recall reading will allow for brighter DLPs while maintaining contrast.


What, you don't think we watch our Sanyos with welder goggles on?? http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/biggrin.gif


Dan
 

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Thanks for the review. It's good to hear a different point of view. I was beginning to believe that the 11ht was a lost cause, at least that's what I got from the reports back from cedia.


Jon
 

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I must ask the obligatory "rainbow" question about the Sharp... How does it compare to the run of the mill DLP with a standard speed 3-segment color wheel?
 

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David,


Good review. I had actually given up on the 11HT from all the CEDIA reports ! I have already gone out and bought the Sanyo PLV-60..... Please tell me...the Sanyo is still better ...right ??? !!! ( I have seen the two and think so anyway, better depth of picture from the Sanyo IMHO)


Cheers from Downunder..
 

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The most likely reason why most people thought that the 9000 looked much better than the 11HT at CEDIA was because the 11HT was shown on a Studiotek 130 (1.3 gain) and the 9000 was on a Greyhawk (~0.92 gain). On the same screen the difference is apparently not as much as people observed at CEDIA. Certainly makes a good case for the Greyhawk. When I asked the Sony guys why they didn't have a Greyhawk, they said they wanted to show off the improved contrast of the 11hT without the benefit of the Greyhawk...


Regards,


Kam Fung
 

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Quote:
When I asked the Sony guys why they didn't have a Greyhawk, they said they wanted to show off the improved contrast of the 11hT without the benefit of the Greyhawk...
That seems like a good excuse if they had a 10HT next to the 11HT on the same source and the same screen type and size.

But I bet that was not the case.


I have never been impressed with LCD including the 10HT on the Grayhawk (although a Grayhawk is essential from what I have seen). I am more than a little surprised that David thought the 11HT was even close to a Dlp. But as I well know everyone see's things in a different light.


Its that old saying again go see them first and judge for yourself.


Good review though David.


DavidW
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Jim Ferguson:
I must ask the obligatory "rainbow" question about the Sharp... How does it compare to the run of the mill DLP with a standard speed 3-segment color wheel?
Having seen the new Sharp, the new Yamaha, and a number of other DLP's, I'd say that the Sharp is significantly better when it comes to the rainbow. Definitely the least of any of the systems I've seen. Some people have reported not seeing any rainbow at all with it. I envy them!


Unfortunately, I'm in the top 5 or 10 percent when it comes to sensitivity to this artifact. I find it tremendously distracting, because it isn't something like screendoor which you can learn to ignore... it's something that isn't there at all most of the time, then pops up randomly to break the illusion of reality you'd been going along with.


Personally, I see rainbows on the 9000 about once or twice a minute for typical material, and much more frequently in some scenes.


On the other hand, if you've found the rainbow effect with other DLP's to be a minor issue, the 9000 may well reduce it to the point where you're no longer concerned. The image looked great to me in every other way.
 

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Hi Darren,


The reason I'm interested is that I pretty much see rainbows on the LT150 all the time, even when just using it for regular PC use. During movies I see them pretty frequently depending on the content. Personally if I could put a number to it, I would say that if I saw the rainbows say half as bad as on the LT150 it would probably be getting acceptable.
 

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DavidW,


I have seen some high contrast LCD's that looked very nice, 600-700:1 (measured) is possible in the real world with LCD. Screen door is still a problem even with MLA, but contrast is not necessarily an issue anymore. A good example of what LCD can do would be some of the mid-level Panasonic LCD's, their MLA equipped projectors have excellent contrast.


Regards.


Kam Fung
 

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Thanks for this great review.

In the end, two very well-performing projectors, but did nobody consider the difference in prices?


The Sharp will be solded with about 40 % more than the Sony, ..here in Germany. Sharp about 20000 DM, Sony for about 12000 DM, in USD 10000 USD to 60000USD. (USD http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/biggrin.gif M -> 2:1 for easier calculation)


What about prices in the US? - Not as different as in Germany?

With this great difference performancecomparison of the two projectors appears in a different light....


Greets.

Conny


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

May the smiling f:)rce be with you
 
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