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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,


Well now that my LT150 has shipped from Dell (ordered 7/20 12:00 PM CST via ground) I'm hoping someone in this forum can help me with a dilemma I'm facing. I've been lurking in this forum for the past couple of months and first decided to ditch my RPTV plans for FP and then narrowed down my choices for FP to the NEC LT150 and VT540. When the Dell deal popped up I jumped on it without thinking and now I'm not so sure about my decision.


I've read all the VT540 and LT150 comparison threads but I still can't decide on whether or not I should sell my incoming LT150 and just pay the difference to get the VT540. From what I understand, the LT150 will give me a superior image than the VT540 on movies but I plan to be doing a lot of gaming on it with my HTPC and I can't get past the expensive/short life bulbs which the VT540 has a significant advantage over the LT150. So I thought I'd ask some clarifying questions and I hope some of you who have seen both can answer them:


1) LT150 contrast vs VT540 colors? Does one really have a significant advantage over the other in either area? Or is the effect more subtle? Can VT540 with a grey screen approach LT150 blacks?

2) Do the things that make DLP/LCD objectionable (screendoor, rainbows, etc) apply for HTPC gaming or are these things somehow less of a factor in that type of application.

3) Is the VT540 really significantly brighter than the LT150? Is it the difference between being able to use it during the day with some ambient light or are neither bright enough for that anyway?

4) LT150 and high-gain screen: Look great with movies but has anyone tried it with HTPC gaming? I'm concerned here because I remember someone here posting a screenshot of the Windows desktop with that combo that didn't look that great.

5) Bulb life - Is NEC at econo 700 lumens as bright as the LT150 at 800 lumens? If it is, then 3 times the bulb life is hard to overlook.

6) Either projector more HTPC gaming friendly than the other?

7) What can the VT540 be had for these days? LT150 prices are dropping light like a rock but VT540 prices seem stable. The difference between what I could get for the LT150 and what I would have to pay for the VT540 would also be a factor.

8) Subjectively speaking, is the image quality of the LT150 close to the VT540 or is it a no contest type of situation in the LT150's favor?

9) Any other projector I should be considering?

10) Am I being too nitpicky? =)


I plan to be using the projector for 40% DVDs, 40% gaming, and 20% other. Any thoughts? Comments? Suggestions? Thanks. This forum is terrific BTW.


Jantz


[This message has been edited by Amagus (edited 07-31-2001).]
 

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Since your biggest concern seems to be the bulb life expectancy and the cost associated, ask yourself these questions:


1. How many hours do I expect to be using my projector a day?


2. Am I willing to pay 500 * (use_per_day*365)/1000 per year?


Example for 2: If you will be using the LT150 an average of 4 hours per day. Then it will cost you about $730 a year to maintain an LT150.


***On the other hand, help might be on its way....


I'm kicking myself for not asking at Infocomm whether the same bulb is used in the LT150z. The LT150z looks exactly the same as the LT150, but part of me wonders whether NEC will be using a bulb with a longer life in the LT150z and whether that bulb will be usable in the LT150.


I can't believe that we are the only people complaining about the low bulb life and high cost. This has to be hurting NEC in the business projector market.


--Les
 

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I would not fret too much... worst case a vt540 owner may be willing to swap you straight up (I own a vt540 and I would give it serious consideration).


I game on my 540 a lot and it is an amazing experience. The biggest problem has been getting the sound to compete with the picture, given the fairly lousy PC sound cards (I have a GameTheater XP).


The bottom line with any of these electronics is in 2 years you will want something better. You got a great deal.. enjoy the projector.. burn a bulb or two.. .sell it to someone for a reasonable price... and get the latest and greatest all over again. The one given with electronics is they will get better and cheaper...


med.
 

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I don't really understand the need to sit farther back with the LT-150. If its screendoor is much less pronounced than the VT540, wouldn't you be able to sit closer?


And do you really sit 16' back from your 8' screen? I'm putting in a 92" wide screen in my HT, but my main viewing position will only be about 10' back, with another row of seats at 13', and a small eating bar behind that at about 16'. What is the image of the LT-150 like when you're only 10 or 11 feet back from the screen?
 

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Just a note...screen door has NOTHING, that is, absolutely NOTHING to do with the connection. If you think your screen door gets better or worse depending on your source, then you are NOT seeing screen door, but some other artifact of your source material.


The Screen door on digital projectors is FIXED. It cannot change for better or worse.




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David Mendicino
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by catullus:
I have had both the VT540 and the LT150 in my home. Here are my observations...


5. The zoom/no-zoom issue all depends on your room. With my 8-foot ceilings, to throw an 8-ft wide picture, my 150 was only about a foot off the floor and in the way of my easy chair. A coffee table was too tall in my environment. I had to shove furniture around, then try not to trip over the projector. The 540 is much more installation friendly. You can compare the angles of throw as well as throw distance on the NEC website.

I'm seriously considering the 150 (especially since the Dell deal for 20% off ends tomorrow). I was assuming that I'd be hanging it from the cieling. I don't understand "throw" etc. I can hang it from the cieling and adjust the picture angles to compensate, correct?


Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Quote:
The bottom line with any of these electronics is in 2 years you will want something better.
This is the curse of this hobby I guess...I can definitely see myself buying something new in 2 years so maybe I should just factor in 2 years worth of bulbs, in which case it's not as bad as I thought (4+ year range is where it starts to hurt I suppose) considering the deal I got. This is good advice. Who knows, maybe my 16:9 WXGA, 2000+ lumen, 1000:1 contrast, no rainbow, low noise, new-HDTV ready, under $5K DLP will be ready by then =).

Quote:
The biggest problem has been getting the sound to compete with the picture, given the fairly lousy PC sound cards (I have a GameTheater XP).
I have a GameTheater XP too and am none too happy with it. I'm just waiting for Nvidia to come out with their Dolby Digital encoding-capable chipset right now. This should be the killer solution for HTPC gaming.


Factoring out bulb life, I think I'll just test drive the LT150 when I get it and see if it's low brightness is going to bother me (night shouldn't make a difference but I'd like to use it with some ambient light sometimes during the day). If it doesn't, I have a feeling I'd just be equally as happy with the LT150 as with the VT540. Otherwise, I might start looking for some swap opportunities (of course, I'll actually try to see a VT540 in person first).


Thanks for all the input. I'll definitely be mulling over this all week.


Jantz

 

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Quote:
Originally posted by David Mendicino:

screen door has NOTHING, that is, absolutely NOTHING to do with the connection.
I disagree. I have an 8'x4' screen area into which I place that various aspect ratios to their maximum height or width (whichever is greater). For 16:9, that's 7.1' wide. I sit 10'-11' back. I have never see the screendoor on this projector when viewing a high definition signal - never. I have seen it when viewing standard definition material, but only when there is a large area of similar color (e.g., the outfield of a baseball stadium shot from up high). IMO, the VT540 is the best LCD in terms of screendoor invisibility.


On a somewhat related note, the Panamorph will likely finish off screendoor visibility for me. I saw it reduce the intensity of the screendoor of an older LCD 200%-300% (see the Panamorph Party threads for details). I'm not kidding either. I was really amazed. It was still visible with your face up close, but it went from black bars to very light and (seemingly) thinner gray bars.



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The button is labeled "Play", not "Pay". STOP the MPAA!

Our Silent Angels

Please visit The Manny Page!


[This message has been edited by Man E (edited 08-01-2001).]
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by David Mendicino:
Just a note...screen door has NOTHING, that is, absolutely NOTHING to do with the connection.
I respectfully disagree as well. I know what David is saying and I have heard it before on this board (pixel gap is pixel gap and it won't change regardless of source). However, depending on the scaler the screendoor effect associated with the resulting image CAN OR CANNOT PRONOUNCE THE SCREENDOOR EFFECT.


For instance, if I take straight s-video into my VT540 I can make out many of the pixels. It looks like I am looking through a screendoor in many scenes and thus the name. However, when I use my htpc I can see no pixelization (no screendoor effect) whatsoever. So pixels are seen with one source and not on the other. Has pixel gap changed?...no. Do I see a screendoor on one source and not another?...yes.


By claiming that screendoor effect is in a fixed state then by that definition any digital projector will exhibit screendoor effect. They all have pixel gaps with fill just some are less than others.


[This message has been edited by JP (edited 08-01-2001).]
 

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I now recind all my comments made above.

I figure now that we are dealing with a subjective issue.


Technically, the screen door can never change. That is, the acutall pixel structure. BUT how one may percieve it can. I cannot counter what anyone states about what they see. Yet I would still appreciate a technical reason for such a phenomenon.


Therefore, I concede my argument, and hope to get a better understanding.


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David Mendicino
 

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Screen Door <> Source Pixelization.


( "<>" meaning "does not equal")
 

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David,


I don't have a difinitive explanation for you. This is just what I have noticed (and frankly I thought it was really strange at first - strange in a good way). You are correct that the width and intensity of the LCD grid lines are constant regardless of the source. When sources of higher resolution are present, I guess that my/our minds are fooled into concentrating on the picture detail rather than the grid. The extra detail can also slightly change the intensity or "sameness" that an interpolated area would otherwise have. The point at which one crosses over to this "higher unconciousness" depends on the individual, the resolution of the source and projector, size of the image, and distance from it.


Cheers!



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Our Silent Angels

Please visit The Manny Page!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by David Mendicino:
This is correct, and it could be no other way. DILA has such a high fill factor that one cannot notice it. DLP has a slightly lowerfill factor, and LCD even more so. There are quantitative differences in the apparent screen door of these technologies.
I think I understand how you and MILORI see this now. You guys are saying all digital projectors exhibit screendoor effect. You just can't see it on some. What I consider screendoor effect is whether you can see it or not. So whereas you and MILORI would say DILA exhibits screendoor effect because indeed it does have a pixel gap. I would say it does not yield a screendoor effect simply because I can't see any screendoor.


Does that make sense?


If I have time I will try to take some pictures of what I am talking about. It is fairly easy to see stairstepping on a VT540 with the regular s-video input. With a htpc it is non-existent.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by JP:


It is fairly easy to see stairstepping on a VT540 with the regular s-video input. With a htpc it is non-existent.


This is an aliasing issue, not a screen door issue!

Obviously your HTPC is a very good scaler...so you won't see them...




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David Mendicino
 

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To clear this up a bit...


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Source pixelization, 'Jaggies', 'Stair-Stepping', etc. are artifacts from the source material or processing of same. Antialiasing, smoothing, bicubic averaging, bilinear resampling, etc. are some possible solutions for that problem.

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All of that is happening in the source. It is independent of any 'Screen door' that is in the display device. It sure will affect how good the picture appears, but it's not the same as 'Screen Door'.


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'Screen Door' is the informal name for Fill Factor, which is the amount of usable area in each pixel, expressed as a percentage.


If a pixel on a large screen takes up 1 mm, and .9 mm actually contains material from the source (whether it has 'jaggies' or not is irrelevant) then that device has a 90% fill factor...which is very good!


DLP usually has from 80%-90% fill factor and D-ILA has about 93%, but LCD projectors vary...a lot. Some are as low as 40% fill factor, but those wouldn't get discussed in this forum very much http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/biggrin.gif .


IMO, the Sanyo units have really fantastic colors for LCD projectors, and I like them a lot, but I believe that their fill factor must be rather low.


[This message has been edited by milori (edited 08-01-2001).]
 

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Well, than, I would like a technical explanation of how this could possibly be.


What you consider screen door MAY be DVD compression artifacts.


Do me a favour....get an HDTV signal, and a DVD signal, and and a VHS signal, and pause the image where there is a solid colour of reasonably large size.


Now, you are going to tell me that the screen door is different in each case?


I guess the two posters above me are dealing with the interaction of there source material with the pixel structure. MPEG2 is made up of very many little blocks, on top of the screen door. HDTV, obviously, is of much greater quality and these compression artifacts are not as noticable. Hence, you claim a decressed screen door.


All this tells me is that the screen door effect is actually less than you think it is when watching DVD.


"By claiming that screendoor effect is in a fixed state then by that definition any digital projector will exhibit screendoor effect. They all have pixel gaps with fill just some are less than others. " This is correct, and it could be no other way. DILA has such a high fill factor that one cannot notice it. DLP has a slightly lowerfill factor, and LCD even more so. There are quantitative differences in the apparent screen door of these technologies.



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David Mendicino


[This message has been edited by David Mendicino (edited 08-01-2001).]


[This message has been edited by David Mendicino (edited 08-01-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Well, I took the LT150 for a spin last night and even on my off-white wall, it looked fantastic quality-wise. But for all my worrying about bulb life and brightness (this thing really does hate ambient light, BTW), the thing that really bit me were the rainbows.


I popped in Dark City, which someone mentioned was a rainbow prone movie and I just HAD to see what everyone was talking about. Sure enough, within seconds into the movie I saw my first rainbow, then came the steady stream of rainbows throughout the movie. I was actually shocked at how easily I could see them. In fact, I was seeing rainbows even with my mouse cursor on the black background. To be fair, none of the other movies I popped in (Superman, X-Men, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Desperado, Titanic) were as bad, but every movie exhibited some rainbows. In the other movies I could tolerate it but in the quantity I saw in Dark City I'm not so sure.


Also, I tried the trick of darting my eyes back and forth quickly on the screen and found that created rainbows from nearly any image I was looking at. Is that normal, or does that just mean I'm especially sensitive to rainbows?


I willing to try anything at this point so that I can at least tolerate movies with high contrast. I'm already using an HTPC/GeForce MX/PowerDVD combo and tried every refresh rate but it didn't seem to help. Maybe a higher quality VGA cable (I'm using the one that came with the projector), a good screen, or some tweak with Powerstrip would help? I don't know.


I was thinking about this last night, and I wonder if the fact that I wear eyeglasses hurts (maybe it's affecting the light to my eyeballs?). I tried watching a movie without them but of course I couldn't see anything =). I had been thinking about getting Lasik for the past year (life without glasses would be great) and now I'm wondering if that can somehow miraculously desensitize me to rainbows since that gets rid of the glasses and also correct my severe astigmatism. I know, I'm grasping at straws here, but I can't get over the fact that some people don't see these.


Well, if I can't learn to live with them (I'll run some more tests tonight), I guess I'll be shopping for my original choice of the VT540 (anyone wanna trade? =) again and put the LT150 on the selling block. It's a shame too because the image coming from this projector is astounding.


Jantz




[This message has been edited by Amagus (edited 08-04-2001).]
 

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