I can only answer one question as the two I had I sold (due to bad tubes). The noise appeared to be about 50% of what my 1252q puts out - I think it's running with less fans (or they were in much much better shape).
1) Depends on your taste. 720p maybe too soft for your eyes, and you will need tight focusing. I am not certain about the max hertz it will accept. Because i do have a 4:3 screen, I run at 1280x960 at 50Hz (Pal). Yet again you might find the picture too soft. 1024x768 is OK but can be improved, maybe you should try 1152x864. Nevertheless, I really don't know which exactly is the sweet spot for this pj.
2) Yes it puts out 800 lumens. However, in order to get them out of the 5.5" max raster, it overdrives the tubes.This can be exhibit by the early wear that D50s with default settings of 80 contrast and 50 brightness show. It will be better not to use the pj in this way.
3) It seems really quiet for me. I can see no difference with a friend's Marquee 8500. However, I don't have great experience watching other pjs in action for a long time and in a quiet environment.
Overall, i think that this machine is one of the best 7" available.
For HD: you can resolve 480P, and 1080i (although not completely) 720P is pushing this PJ, the picture becomes soft since the scan-lines are actually overlapping- it's watchable, but soft. If you set DVD playback to 480P or 540P, and your HD box to output 1080i and 480P only- you'll be very happy with the results. I wouldn't try to push this pj to 72Hz refresh unlless you were at 480P.
As far as the brightness is concerned, the 12XX guns actually had slightly larger raster area than the guns in the 50, it can be quite bright, but the guns go quick because of that. I personally wouldn't run this PJ on a screen bigger than 87" wide- I realize that is much smaller than most here would- but you'll get alot more punch from the picture, and be able to keep Contrast near 50 and brightness near the mid 30s.
It really isn't a very loud PJ at all- nowhere near the 12XX series volume.
If you put the time in on this chassis (really get the beam-spot small, optimize the mechanical convergence, get the Bias/Gain set properly, etc.)
It takes about 6-8 hours being real tedious about the details to get this thing really dialed. I've calibrated quite a few of these, and really like the 50, it's kind of like one of those "old friend" chassis.
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