So after work today I stopped in at the Definative Audio "Home Theater Experience 9" presentation here in Seattle, not expecting to see much... Was I ever in for a surprise!
I had come looking for the Madrigal DILA D1 projector to see how it differed from a stock JVC G15. I sought this projector out first. I was immediately dissapointed to find it was in same casing with the same loud fans (though the center was painted black). I had hoped they had spent time trying to quiet it down. I sought out Robert from Madrigal and asked for a rundown of what the difference was between their DILA and the original JVC equipment. He said the primary focus was much better contrast, a minimum of 525:1, and they also carefully callibrate gamma and other functions (Dilard-ized it as far as I could tell). Scaler and assembly are identical. SRP: $28,000. Pass.
Dissapointed, I decided to see what else was there. Low and behold, the next room I wondered into had the 16:9 SharpVision DLP projector! This thing was STUNNING. Previously I had auditioned the Dwin Transvision and found that I was unfortunately very prone to the "rainbow effect" -- colors bouncing everywhere driving me crazy. The first thing I noticed about the SharpVision was that I couldn't see any rainbows. Watched two DVDs (interelaced component one animated, one live action) and a HDTV feed all fed directly into to the projector on a greyhawk screen, and only once, very very briefly (during the HDTV feed of the ABC evening news) could I find a rainbow even while really looking for them. I asked how this could be. The sharp rep (didn't get his name) said the color wheel is RGBRGB with no clearsport and spins at 2.5x the normal rate. I asked the resolution and he claimed it was native at 1360x768. I had him pause the disc so I could listen to the fan noise, very quite, but not silent. He says the fan is currently rated at 33db and they hope to have it under 24db by the time they ship in August. The slightly odd casing (about 5 inches tall, and sort of wedge shaped) is designed to reduce noise. Other neat features: There is an optical offset (adjustable with a slider on the casing) that can move the image up or down a full screen hight distance with no keystoning. The maximum throw on a 100" diag screen is about 18', but he mentioned there is a company that can make custom lenses (and as he said "they handle all our projectors, and although they haven't seen this one yet, I expect they can handle it too). I didn't get the rated contrast for the unit, but it falls somewhere in the middle of the very good DILA display and the pretty good 11HT display. Definately good enough for my needs. At one point I sat less than two feet from the screen and could not easily identify specific pixels. MSRP: $10,000, shipping to dealers at the end of august. I was very impressed.
Next I passed by the sony display, asked "is that the 10HT or the 11HT." Answer: "11HT", so I immediately took a seat. After a boring presentaion about the merits of velodyne subwoofers, I got to see the 11HT in action. 2 DVDs: the Imax Andretti disc, and Vertical Limit opening sequence, plus an HDTV sequence. I'll hand it to these guys that they have fixed most of my complaints with LCD: Contrast was much improved, could not see the screen door, overall quite good. The scaler and the new 3:2 deinterlacer (which I'm guessing is the same as the one in the new 450 trinitrons) was not spectacular. There was a fair amount of artifacting and stairstepping, especially on the non anamorphic Imax disc. There was also kindof a "sparkle" throughout the Vertical Limit sequence that was distracting, but I guess could have been from the source material. The rep also said it now supports the full native resolution on the VGA port, a big complaint of the 10HT. It was a credible $8,000 projector and much better than its predecessor which I really didn't like, but the Sharp was well worth the extra $2k in comparison.
I didn't see any of the other things they had on display, but it was a great showing for what I did see.
Did anyone else make it to the event? I'll try and answer any questions, but there was no literature availble on either the 11HT or the SharpVision, so I may come up short.
[This message has been edited by jamesmil (edited 06-22-2001).]