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I have read numerous posts on this forum over the last week or so about digital projectors and their less than ideal onboard processors. Since I always use a HTPC I thought I should revisit the onboard processor that each of my two projectors have.

None of the onboard processing of any digital projector I have seen (that's 12), with the exception of the LP350, handle artifacts very well. When compared to the HTPC the Marantz is respectable - in other words watchable. My NEC LT150 is another story. I used an s-video feed with it last night and was surprised at how poor the picture was. In fact the picture looked almost out of focus (yes I was wearing my glasses). The colours looked accurate but lacked saturation and the picture looked rather dead. I noticed lots of artifacts, much more than with the Marantz. In my original shootout with the LT150 I used the words "quite good" to describe the picture from an s-video feed. I think the word "mediocre" is more accurate. The LT150 is the best example I know of to demonstrate the need to bypass a projector's internal processing. When hooked up to a good progressive scan DVD player or HTPC the picture goes from mediocre to phenomenal - night and day - you have to see the difference to appreciate it! This is not the same projector!

If I had demoed the LT150 with an s-video feed I would have thought that the crazy guy on the AVS forum really was nuts - I would have walked right on by without a second glance.

The point I am trying to make is that there doesn't seem to be a true plug and play digital projector out there - at least not with the video quality I've become accustomed to - the one exception may be the expensive Dwin Transvision (I am waiting for Dave's definitive review). There are complaints about both Selecos, the new Sanyos and so on. If you think you're getting a top notch picture with your projector's onboard processing then you haven't seen what excellent processing can do - basically give you a new projector! You may be better off not seeing. Ignorance is bliss - right! It is definitely cheaper.

All the projectors that I have had an opportunity to try in my HT have benefited from a HTPC or progressive scan DVD player (if it accepted 480p). However, if the projector shows problems like crawlies, then in my opinion, what you'll see more clearly are crawlies. The HTPC (or a very good progressive scan DVD player and perhaps a good scaler) is not a panacea - it cannot magically rectify a projector's deficiencies. It can only allow a projector to reach whatever potential it inherently has!


Grant Smyth
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