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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've pretty much decided on the Hitachi but am not sure about what screen to buy.


Originally I was going to get a Sanyo PLV-60HT with a Stewart Greyhawk motorized screen as that seemed like a very popular combo.


What are people's feelings about screens for the Hitachi? I've seen the Firehawk mentioned a few times...


My viewing area will be semi-light controlled with a 17' projector throw. I'll probably be watching quite a bit of Satellite programming with the lights on (so my wife can do "other things" - it has always been a negotiation about dimming the lights for viewing purposes, but I digress...)


I'm also wondering about upgrading my DVD player (first generation Toshiba, interlaced video only). It seemed like a great pair for the Sanyo was the Panasonic RP56.


Any favorite combos from current 5500 owners?


Thanks!


Kevin
 

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If you can't completely control the light (and even if you can), I can't recommend the Firehawk strongly enough. When I purchased my 5500, everyone (including my dealer and the STEWART people) warned me against using the Firehawk in favor of the Greyhawk. But I knew that we would not have a light controlled room (the whole of the east and 2/3 of the south facing walls are windows with NO coverings), and I wanted to use "Quiet Shout" (Whisper?) mode. I was continually warned of hot spots. But it's just my wife and I and we sit within the ends of the screen (each of us slightly off center to one side or the other). Additionally, my screen is 4:3, 78" diagnol, with a width of only 62.5" so hot-spotting is not a concern for us. I was also told that the picture would be TOO bright and fatiguing, but this is definitely NOT the case, even in "Shout" mode. We sit about 12.5' from the screen.


When we A/B'd the Firehawk and Greyhawk, the whites are slightly whiter on the Firehawk than Greyhawk (but much whiter on the Studiotek 130 at the expense of contrast). The Firehawk also shows better contrast because it produces brighter brights and darker darks, a definite plus with the 5500. TO MY EYE, the Firehawk (and probably Greyhawk) do impart a slight color of their own to the picture, but can be removed (lessened) using the service menu.


As noted, I was severly warned against using this screen with the 5500 on all fronts, and mine was only the second Firehawk ever sold by my dealer (so they said and this is in the Orange County, CA area). Now it seems that everyone wants a Firehawk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The hot-spotting may or may not be an issue. The windows are basically the entire wall behind the screen (North facing).


My wife and I primarily watch from the couch (~14' away) but occasionally she is working on the floor to the side (6-8' away at maybe 45 degrees from center).


I am planning on a 16x9 screen (using stretched mode for 4x3 material) and having the screen be at least 100" wide (larger the better but will need to test this out most likely first).


Currently we watch a 56" Widescreen Toshiba RP (interlaced input only, no component) and this seems to be minimally adequate.


We will most likely go with drapes across the windows, but for casual viewing it would be nice to leave them open if possible.
 

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I don't mean to alarm you, or anyone else, but TO MY EYE, the forced 16:9 "stretched" mode, does not look right and the image is obviously distorted in aspect. (But then so are so many other video display units of ALL types.) In my opinion (and that's all it is), this is not a strong point of the 5500. I would strongly recommend that if in fact you intend to watch in this mode for your primary viewing, you view it (preferrably for an extended period of time with different media) prior to ordering. If you want to see mine, I'm in Orange Co., So. Cal.


At the request of others, I will do post on my findings on hot spots in next few days, time alotting. However, based on my rather "small" screen (78" 4:3 diag measurement), my findings would only represent generalizations as to what could be expected with wider screens.


Oh, BTW:

I am extremely pleased with my new Pioneer DV-47 DVD/SACD/DVD-audio unit. The Pioneer has very good letterboxing capability (better than most) and this is important if you tell your DVD player that you have a 4:3 display. In-player letterboxing is the downfall of many otherwise quality units. While the MSRP is $1,200, 'net prices are close to $750.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Quote:
TO MY EYE, the forced 16:9 "stretched" mode, does not look right and the image is obviously distorted in aspect
I'm used to it as I view all my 4x3 content that way now on my Toshiba and it looks completely normal to me now. (Took a few weeks to get used to it, but I much prefer it now! :)


I don't know that I'll be getting down towards your area any time soon (I'm in the San Jose area), but I much appreciate the offer!


Thanks a bunch for your feedback/experiences.


Kevin
 

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Again, and can't stress this enough, every manufacture has a different method of stretching the picture and what you are now used to, may not be, what you'll see with another manufacturer's product.


Suggest that you find a 5500 in your area to view this stretch mode prior to purchace.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
OK, thanks for the advice, I'll try and get a preview of this projector...
 

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imlucid wrote "I am planning on a 16x9 screen (using stretched mode for 4x3 material) and having the screen be at least 100" wide (larger the better but will need to test this out most likely first)."


I use the 4:3 window inside the 16:9. Black bars on the right and left, but no distortion.


Chuck Davis
 

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Chuck, you are entirely correct. However, consider that you have reduced the resolution from 1,365x1,024 to 1,024x768 or about 44 percent.
 

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toddalin, no problem for me that the number of pixels goes down. The 4:3 I watch is NTSC video, which at best is 325x480 or so.


Chuck
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I think I can live with just watching 4x3 in the 16x9 screen (also for NTSC video). How easy is it to adjust the zoom of this projector to view interlaced input at 4x3 zoomed in and 16x9 progressive video zoomed out?


Can this be done on a per input basis? Can I preset different zoom levels?
 

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Kevin,


I have a Hitachi 5500 and a Firehawk. I live in Los Altos, so if you want a demo some time, PM me and we'll set something up.


Here's a re-post of something I posted two days ago that you may find of interest:


I am using the Hitachi 5500 with a 92" by 52" Firehawk (manual pull down) in a not so well light-controlled room. I had been using a Da-Lite matte white 1.1 gain screen for about two months until nearly two weeks ago.


The improvement with the Firehawk was not subtle. Watching during the day was not possible before. With the Firehawk, it is extremely watchable, though the picture can be slightly washed out during peak light hours on the side of the screen closest to the windows (only on one side of the room). During night viewing, the picture just jumps off the screen. Even with a few lights on in the room outside the main viewing angle does not affect the image very much. In fact, my wife turned on a halogen torch-light (medium level) in the corner of the room that is slightly behind the screen the other night and the I was amazed to see the image actually improved slightly, making the picture slightly more three-dimensional and improving the contrast noticeably; I will be looking into finding a 6500K bias light shortly to see if it can improve the picture even more. I now only watch with the torch-light turned on.


I checked the image when viewing from extreme angles (50° to 60° off center). It was only unwatchable during daylight viewing at those angles; night time viewing was more than satisfactory, in my opinion. Those with great light control should not have any issue with large viewing angles.


The only problems I am having with the Firehawk are


1) wrinkles on the edges of the screen near the tab-tensioners. I have left the screen down over night for at least 8 nights per Jason Turk's instructions, but the wrinkles do not seem to have diminished. I will follow up with Jason to see if there is anything else I can do.

2) the screen is somewhat difficult to retract completely into the case. This could be due to it being hung from chains (I have a vaulted ceiling and the screen must be offset from the wall about 3 feet to make room for the entertainment center). I can live with it sticking out 1-2 inches, so this isn't too big of a deal.


I really recommend using the Firehawk with the Hitachi. They are a very good match, especially for those of you with ambient light issues. I checked all around and AVS had the best prices, by the way.


I am currently using a Toshiba SD6200 DVD player in progressive mode. I am hoping to upgrade to either a HTPC or a better player. I too would be interested in DVD player recommendations.


Bruce
 

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imlucid wrote "How easy is it to adjust the zoom of this projector to view interlaced input at 4x3 zoomed in and 16x9 progressive video zoomed out?"


For S-video and composite video, there's an aspect ratio setting of 4:3 in 16:9. You can set your component and RGB to 16:9 and the other video inputs to 4:3 in 16:9 and not touch the zoom at all. It's manual, anyway.


Chuck
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Quote:
I have a Hitachi 5500 and a Firehawk. I live in Los Altos, so if you want a demo some time, PM me and we'll set something up.
Thanks Bruce, I'll definitely take you up on that and will PM you for details... I had read your post previously and it definitely sounded like we have similar viewing situations, so previewing your setup would be awesome!

Quote:
For S-video and composite video, there's an aspect ratio setting of 4:3 in 16:9. You can set your component and RGB to 16:9 and the other video inputs to 4:3 in 16:9 and not touch the zoom at all. It's manual, anyway.
Chuck, good to know. That's exactly what I wanted!


Kevin
 

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I disagree with above poster on the useage of 16/9 aspect ratio. I notice only a minor deviation from a true 16/9 picture when in this mode.AS far as screens, i like the high gain, 2.8, DA LITE.I know,it probably sounds absurd to use such a high gain screen with a 1500 ansi lumen(apprx 1200 when used in 16/9 mode)projector, however i have no problem with hot spotting,etc. You do have some light drop of at the sides, and when you stand up,,, so what,i dont watch movies standing up or sitting way of to the side(and any seated viewer, of to the side, is still going to be seeing a very bright,vivid picutre)I also have no problem with the blacks on this high of a gain screen.


I recently had my pioneer 37a, elite, dvd player, modified to have the latest CINEMATRIX, scaler installed(it gets installed inside the pioneer, and you have about 7 different output scalings, all the way up to 1080p, and you have complete aspect ratio control, access to these is via some dip switches, located in a removable module on the rear of the pioneer. The improvement was monumental. I have used some very good out board scalers with the HITACHI (KEY DIGITAL LEEZA, VIGATEC, DVDO ISCAN PRO, OMEGA 1),and of course some direct, progressive feeds from several different dvd players(the above mentioned pioneer 37, toshiba 9200, sony es9000,7700)and this combination (elite 37a with CINEAMTRIX SCALER, far exceeds anything i have seen so far.THE picture is much, and i mean much, cleaner, and grain free, with superbly saturated colors, and very clean facial features.THE detail and focus of this combination has to be seen to be believed.THE best dvd;s really are close to hi-def.The only down side is that the modified pioneer only outputs rgb, and there are some panning artifacts with the hitachi in its RGB input.(i know it is not coming from the pioneer/cinematrix, as i have seen this before with both the LEEZA, AND VIGATEC, feeding the RGB inputs of the HITACHI).IF any one wants to contact CINEMATRIX, they are located at 818 878 6920. Hopefully some of this will help you in your setting up your HITACHI.
 

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MRJAZZ,

An interesting post. I'm intrigued by your praise of the high gain screen. I'm inclined to go that way myself but need a roll down type because of wife considerations. I don't believe Da-Lite have the equivalent of a Luxus Communicator with tension tabs.


I've also noticed panning artifacts in RGB mode, especially with an 1440x1080i anamorphic HD source, but not with DVD from the DVDO iScan Pro. I generally find component mode produces better colour. Does the elite 37a have it's own range of colour controls that can adjust the RGB output when used with the Cinematrix scaler?
 

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Why would you want Da-lite to have the equivalent of the Lexus Communicator when Da-lite sell a tensioned electric screen that cost less than the Stewart pull-down?
 

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Bulldogger,

You're quite right. Da-lite do have tensioned electric screens at a lower price than the manual Luxus Communicator. But I get the impression from browsing the web that the High Power (2.8 gain) fabric is not used in their electric tensioned pull-downs. I'll have to look into this further.
 

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I have not had time to totally go thru the on board pioneer menu, but i do believe you still have full control over color,etc, which is important, as i too agree that the RGB INPUT of HITACHI 5500, has less saturated colors,(than the component input) and although you can still set the red/blue drive, would be nice to have a global color/chroma control,,,,i will look into this tonight. AS far as the da lite,high gain (2.8), it does come in an electric, roll down version, and because of the screens inherant weight, it doesnt need to be tab tensioned. THE only other screen that interests me is the STEWART, FIREHAWK, and i may order one, just to see how it performs with the HITACHI 5500.


PS, as far as the motion(panning) artifacts i mentioned in the above ,previous post, i find that by setting the CINEMATRIX TO 1600/1200, and setting the HITACHI to 4/3 with the pioneer set to 16/9 (wide,anamorphic), that the panning,motion artifacts are just about eliminated.I spent another few hours last night looking at it, and it sure produces one very clean looking picture, i believe that they (CINEMATRIX)are working on a dvi output, and that,i suspect,would look stunning on the HITACHI 5500.
 

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imlucid

I have a 5500 with a 133" 16:9 Dalite Cinemaision High Contrast, it has worked out pretty good so far.

As for my DVD player, I still have my 3 year old Sony non-progressive DVD player since no one has convinced me that a progressive DVD will yield a better picture with the 5500. I believe the 5500 does its own progressive conversion, so there is no need for one(anyone... correct me if I am wrong)

Vas
 
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