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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was at the Canuck Shootout on the 26th and got a fairly good look at what the "digitals" have to offer.


As such, I can firmly say that CRT is still the undisputed king of quality.


Black Level -


We hear a lot about this from the digital guys, things like "they've come so far", "black levels are quite good now", and so on.

Nay, they are not even vaguely close. I can calibrate my pj for a measely 7 IRE base and still whip any of them. When you calibrate for an even lower 0 IRE the margin is even wider. None of the digitals could do anything resembling "black", perhaps at best 7-10IRE at the bottom. Shadow detail was non-existent on all but the modified Infocus X1 "Goo .5" unit. But it wasn't the sort of shadow detail we get on CRT where you can see details on a black jacket in a dimly lit scene. Absolutly no contest here.


Color accuracy -


This probably surprised me the most. Nobody ever mentions this when discussing digitals and every unit at the shootout had what I would call poor color accuracy. They all had a yellow cast that tainted scenes that weren't even yellow to begin with. Scenes that were in fact yellow, looked a bit greenish and lacked the marvelous range of subtlety of a CRT.


When Ruby Rod first appears in the 5th Element, the hallway is a rather bold yellow color. On the digitals it was a narrow palette of yellow/yellow-green. When I got home and watched it on my CRT, there was a wide range of shades from vague yellow-orange to rich mustards. The sort of thing we just expect to see on our CRT's now.


On the digitals, the Shire scene in FOTR was too yellow. Rather than the rich green hues it was a candy'ish yellow-green. When the camera pans over the field of yellow flowers the digitals made it look slightly greenish, with too much saturation and no subtlety of shading. Just plain yuck IMO.


On those movies and several others we saw, fleshtones never stood out as "natural". When I watch my NEC CRT I am often amazed at how believable fleshtones look. It's not just about 1 type of fleshtone either, it's everything from Lee Loo's pale/pink skin, to Korben's pinkish/orange/tan skin, to Antonio Banderas's reddish/tobacco-like skin in Desperado.


Rainbows/pixels etc-


My first taste of rainbows. It was horrendous on the NEC LT-260 with it's 1X colorwheel, and still strongly present on the Infocus's 2X wheel. I certainly couldn't live with this.


Pixels/fillrate seemed more of a problem on the LCD's and the lower res DLP units like the Infocus X1. You could move back several feet and they disappeared again (mostly), but then the angle of view was too narrow. For those of us who like 30+ degrees, you'll be seeing pixels on many of these digitals. Unacceptable.


Setup ease/noise -


Well they own our ass on this one. Plop it down like a slide projector, tweak keystone vaguely, turn *1* focus ring and you're basically done. The "noisiest" unit was probably quieter than anything available in CRT and even that unit dropped to near silence in the "economy" mode that most would use on it. Not having to worry about convergence would be grand too :(


Brightness -


None of the screens were the massive 10'-12' wide screens we hear about. Several of them were "grey" screens, which apparently cuts brightness quite a bit. Maybe these digitals can do bigger/brighter but I didn't see it on most of them. I've seen several CRT's with 8' wide screens and they were plenty big and brightness was more than adequate. If you have a huge room and need to seat more than ~8-10 people I guess that's when you need one of these 10'+ screens to serve so many chairs.


Wrapup -


In the end, CRT is still way ahead of any digital unit. We all know the setup can be rough but the resulting image quality is untouchable. Based on what I saw, I think a new type of digital pj is needed to dethrone CRT.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I guess I should mention detail...


All of the digital units were very sharp. One odd thing I noticed however was that the slight film grain in the 5th Element was masked on about 4 of the 7 digital units. Strands of hair and such were well defined though. Perhaps a slight lead for the digitals here, although with an HDTV source both CRT/digitals look similarly incredible for detail.



An even better thread title would have been "The reports of CRT's death have been greatly exaggerated" :D
 

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Very nice of you to write that up Jesse. We all know it but it's good to have the data on occasion.


Ted
 

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tis sad tidings you bring:( :(


i was hoping digital projectors

would improve enough this year

to fill ebay with 2,000 dollar

nine inch projectors

but alas it`s not to be:(


the thing we have to remember

is that crt projectors are

very expensive high end

products yes i know

we buy 9 inch tubed projectors

all the time for under 5,000$$

but this cant last forever


digital projectors or low cost

low to mid end products

that will never catch up

do to the inherent

limitations of projectors

that use lamps :(



XANATOS

:D :cool: :D
 

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Thanks for the synopsis Jesse. I couldn't go but I've seen KBK's modded DLP, very good, but NO crt, seems like that is the norm.

I think the DLP's may have the edge on sharpness by a hair too, yet it seems to me to be flatish two dimensional sharpness, not the same kind you get from CRT where you swear you could look right into a pore on an actors face during a well filmed close up.
 

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Jesse,


Your impressions are spot-on with mine over the last couple of years. Color accuracy, pixels, rainbow, posterization and black level are all things I notice and dislike about the image from a digital - any digital. Maybe I just haven't seent the right one, but I've seen everything from $3-4,000 multi-use projectors on up to the Sonys and Runcos. Still, whenever I watch a digital, I find myself wondering how much better the original source looks than what I'm seeing.


You're right about the color, too - and that issue doesn't even seem to get much attention. The very same attribute that causes poor black level, also allows a certain amount of a complementary color when there shouldn't be - destroying saturation. But, I'm a graphic designer and photographer, and I'm extremely sensitive to hue and saturation.


I dream of the day that we'll have the image quality of our CRT's with the convenience factor of the digitals. Ooohhh, that will be a good day.


SC
 

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Sir


Excellent report, thanks for bringing your trained perception to those of us who don't get out to enough trade shows :D
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by ecrabb
Jesse,


I dream of the day that we'll have the image quality of our CRT's with the convenience factor of the digitals. Ooohhh, that will be a good day.


SC
Amen.


I'd give up my 150lb NEC XG and its complicated setup in a heartbeat if something out there matched its picture quality. Nothing does (yet). Every couple of months I visit our local HT dealers and see the newest digital stuff from Runco, etc. And every time I go home, somewhat dismayed that digital just ain't there yet.


I put about 1500/hrs per year on my NEC XG. At that rate, I figure I have about 5 years left before a retube is needed. Maybe in five years . . .


John C.
 

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Pretty good review Jesse..


I'll try and add a few more observations..


Rainbows


About a month ago a guy brought over an NEC LT240 and I had an absolutely awful experience - I could see em every few seconds on the 5th Element (SB) - after 20 minutes I had a headache and my eyes were really sore. However there were 4 of us in the room and I was the only one seeing them so assumed I was overly sensitive.


On Saturday, there were many people saying they were seeing them..it was worse on the NEC 260 and not too bad on the Infocus X1..perhaps I'm not as sensitive as I thought.There's no way I would want to subject any guests who may be as or more sensitive than me, so for me this would rule out inexpensive DLP's..



Calibration


It was not possible due to time to calibrate each projector, so this has to be factored into any evalution..I imagine adjustments could be made to improve colour accuracy..the counter to this is that we were using a good quality Sony DVD player fed into an HTPC/Holo 3D card. You can't knock the source that was used.


We used the same scenes from 5th Element..I couldn't help but wonder how good/bad the projectors would look using a more typical DVD transfer.


Brightness


We saw all extremes - from too dim to "wow - I should have brought in my sunglasses"..most however were far too dim..one of the projectors was dim because the owner mentioned there was 600 hours on the bulb..


Do the digital guys really get 1000 hours out of their bulbs? If it looked like that at 600 hours there's no way I could live with using a bulb for 1000 hours..


Compared to what I saw Saturday, my CRT looks very bright..


Image Depth


I have seen most of the HD2's and the SX-21..I have yet to see the 3D effect on any digital..


Don't know if they can ever offer this - even the 3 chip DLP's..


You really have to move up to the higher end digitals before they start to narrow the gap somewhat against CRT..


They still have quite a way to go.
 

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what were the digital pj's there at this shootout?
 

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Well, we know which one actually tried to portray depth of image, where the other ones fell flat.


What if i told you, that last night, literally last night, I had a major Epiphany,and figured out how to get infinite CR out of digital projection? How pleased would you be?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by KBK
Well, we know which one actually tried to portray depth of image, where the other ones fell flat.


What if i told you, that last night, literally last night, I had a major Epiphany,and figured out how to get infinite CR out of digital projection? How pleased would you be?
oh no..Ken will be so busy pumping out Goo projectors, he'll never get my CRT done..;)


Seriously, I'd be very excited knowing that in the forseeable future, I could get a rainbow free, 1080P digital that offers the warmth and image depth of a crt..
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by KBK
What if i told you, that last night, literally last night, I had a major Epiphany,and figured out how to get infinite CR out of digital projection? How pleased would you be?
That's easy, just turn it off ;)
 

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Ignorance is bliss. I have a friend with an LT-150 who was loving it, until I "politely" asked about the screen door effect. He had never seen it! Now it's driving him nuts! And after seeing my lowly Sony 1031Q he's thinking of selling his PJ.
 

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I had my Mom come down to visit and we took in a movie. I put my Super Bit Fifth Element on for her as she had never seen it before. I had to tell her to be quite and watch the movie because she just went on and on about how three dimensional the picture was :) I get a little tense when I have to do the occasional tweak but then I think.... better an incredible image after a little work than quikley setting up an un watchable picture.


Mike
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Jawhn
And after seeing my lowly Sony 1031Q he's thinking of selling his PJ.
We all know that "lowly" for a CRT projector is still pretty damn high. Your friend should be happy that he can upgrade and end up with more money in his pocket! :D
 

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Can I just add that you can't dump all fixed pixel pj's in the "poor colour" camp. The NEC's have nice colour filtering on their CRT's. Not all CRT PJ's do though......and just as some fixed pixel displays have wild colour primaries others have much better, more accurate ones as well.


I am a CRT believer but just wanted to make sure some folk reading that there are oranges and there are lemons! But I think over here we all know that :lol:


Gordon
 

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When I was in the purchase mode (last summer) I looked at several digital projectors, most in the 5-10K level. I just didn't like the color quality. A 3 chip DLP was quite good ($90K) but very much out of my reach.


The NEC XG I "settled for" is better than anything I've seen yet (except maybe the 3 chip). I plan on going digital some day, but probably not until I wear out the XG, which has 5 - 7 years left in it, and definitely not until they catch up.
 
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