1080p projector upgrade options in 2 years compared to now....

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Batdog, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. Batdog

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    Hi chaps

    Don't worry, this isn't another "What 1080p projector" thread, rather it is intended to provoke debate and opinions on the way the home projection market is going and where the various technologies will stand in a few years time.

    My present projector is a Panny AX100, which I love, and which really suits my current situation. It's situated in my lounge which has cream walls and a white ceiling, and I project directly onto the wall. Overall I'm happy with the performance, and feel that in general it outperforms the cinema, given the substandard presentation I seem to suffer in modern multiplexes.

    My viewing experience will shortly receive an upgrade when we move house and convert one of the rooms into a dedicated 'batcave' - I'm going to keep it nice and simply, and just paint all the walls and ceiling black plus a black carpet, and have a proper fixed screen installed. I'm expecting black levels, contrast, 3D-POP to be much improved, based on what I've read in other threads.

    In the longer term, probably a few years down the road, I'll probably want to upgrade to a 1080p model, and it is this that interests me, in terms of what technology will be an option for me at this time. In the few years that I've been into projectors, I've witnessed rapid improvements in LCD projectors (reduction in screen door / vertical banding / improved panel life, improved black levels) to the point where they are close in outright performance terms to DLP models. DLP's have improved themselves with faster colour wheels to help reduce rainbows, and JVC have added an interesting contender into the mix with their LCOS based HD1 / HD100 models.

    If I had my cinema room set up and was upgrading today, many DLP models would suddenly become a possibility as their fixed offsets etc would be less of an issue due to having a dedicated room / permanent install. I think the HD1 would still be slightly outside my budget. In truth, I would probably end up buying a PTAE-2000 for many of the reasons that I bought my AX100.

    In terms of the technologies involved, I'm interested in people's thoughts on how they may advance in the future?

    Starting with LCD first - how much further can LCD technology be pushed? The inorganic C2-Fine panels introduced on 1080p projectors have improved contrast, eliminated vertical banding, and improved panel life. The question for me would be, just how much further can this technology be pushed, can blacks on LCD's get any better, or are we already reaching the limits such that future updates are more likely to say have more brightness, better calibrated out of the box, cheaper etc, rather than big leaps in outright performance?

    Next to DLP - this is a technology that interests me greatly, but when I demoed a DV10 a few years back, I started to see rainbows after a few minutes and this put me off. Obviously this was an oldish 480p projector, and it would probably be less of a problem with a modern 6 or 7 speed colour wheel. I think at present though the fear of rainbows is still losing single chip DLP's a lot of potential customers. I suppose my question here would be is anything likely to change in regards of rainbows in the future? Obviously 3-chip designs would be the simple cure, but I'm aware of the current pricing for such projectors, and that it seems that Texas Instruments are conspiring to keep 3-chippers out of the domain of the mainstream consumer. Does anybody see this situation changing if LCD (and possibly LCOS) start to seriously erode the market for 1-chip DLP?

    Finally to LCOS. It seems that this technology produces the best outright black levels and the JVC models have received huge praise over the past few years. Is this level of performance going to fall to more affordable prices? (£2,700-ish for a HD-1 is still outside my budget, with a PTAE-2000 being about a grand cheaper). I understand that this is an evolvement of LCD technology, could it be that the likes of Panasonic will switch to LCOS designs in the future to improve the performance of the PTAE-3000/4000/5000 etc etc.

    Like I say, I'm not after any buying advice, just wondering what other pj owners expect to happen over the coming years. It's amazing the improvements in performance we've seen in the past 5 or so years and the way that the weaknesses of various technologies have been reduced, I suppose I find it hard to see where the next advances are going to come from? Are there any really obvious new technologies just around the corner that I've missed?

    Discuss!!:thumbsup:
     
  2. Zag

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    IMO we've almost reached the point with front projection, that the laws of diminishing returns is more influenced by the environment the projector is in as opposed to the projector technology itself.

    By that I mean unless you have a really optimised room the difference between a £500 PJ and £5000 PJ is going to be minimal, to only the most enthusiastic of viewers.

    As the technology improves further, for example a JVC HD200 with 50,000:1 native on-off contrast is that really going to look that much different to the JVC HD100, unless you have total light control in a black vevlet lined cave?

    Discuss further perhaps...
     
  3. adieboy

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    Probably overstating the case when you say 500 quid projector is equivalent to a 5 grand in non-optimised environment. I've recently upgraded from an Optoma Hd72 to the HD1. Same viewing environment, pale walls and ceiling but a hell of an improvement in performance, but I'd have to agree to a point. Say, I was to swap to the HD100, same environment, I wouldn't expect to see a real-world imrovement to justify the extra expenditure.

    3 chip DLPs would be great but I don't think they're going mainstream in the near future, if ever, anyway they even make my lumpen HD1 look small and boy , do they produce a lot of heat!!

    I think conventional LCD will always have it's limitations.. sub-standard blacks and contrast without the use of the bodge of the active iris.
     
  4. Avi

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    The current Sim2 C3X 1080 3 chip DLP is smaller and lighter than your HD1. :)

    At the OP a laser light souce would be a big step forward as this would eliminate the need for a colour wheel in mono chip DLP and run much cooler therefore less operational noise. It would also be more consistant and have a longer life compared to SHP/UHP/Xenon lamps.

    IIRC both JVC and Sony have recently pulled out of rear projection displays and this market was a very big driver in the SXRD/D-ILA technology development. It will be interesting to see what impact this has on front projection as it is a small market.

    I agree with the other posters that the viewing environment is a limiting factor for front projection. Casual viewers may not be interested in better or more accurate images or making changes to mutli purpose living space.

    The question is with such a small market how many of these developments will find there way into the budget end of ther market quickly ?

    AVI
     
  5. anibap

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    Very interesting topic. Thanks Stuart for starting the thread.

    I am not a purist and still learning from most senior members here. My expectations are as follows

    I would to see improvement in the following with all technologies

    1. A default setting close to standard D65 from all manufacturers as an option in the menu. i know that lamp aging and many other factors will impact as it runs. but it will be good have a setting to start with. Many people still don't understand calibration. it may be of help for many
    2. Improved shadow detail with natural contrast. A human eye is remarkable in resolving details in shadows in natural objects. Images from projectors are still far from perfection. In real life we never see black unless it is dark. The colour we perceive as black is relative wrt the lighter shades adjacent to it.
    To me shadow details is more important than many other parameters in FP if you really want to see natural images.

    3. Contrast - Not overdoing the ratios
    Well, it is the Holy Grail for FP. But, somehow I feel the more we push and crave for higher CR we may land up into a situation where Contrast may appear unreal.

    I mean you cannot have super contrast and natural looking image both at the same time. In real life things are never as constrasty as wee see in todays monitors, TVs and other smaller displays. They look great but appear artificial if you review closely.
    The newer X-black double lamp displays with 10000:1 or more CR in a 14-19 inch LCD screen is an absolute overkill.
    Same like looking at photos of a glossy fashion magazine. Looks great but made up to look like that and you will never see a real thing like that.
    At one point CR should only increase against the size of the display and should be configurable easily based on size of image

    Now someone may say, the director of a specific film wanted to show a high tone, contrasty picture purposefully. Well let that information be in the source and PJ will automatically set the tone from the source instead of over killing the contrast for any and every source.

    4. Cheaper and reliable lamps including alternate sources.
    5. No Rainbows/VB/panel issues. many like LCD many like DLP and there are some who like DLP but cannot buy one due to rainbows. So it is no a choice. It is a limitation. lets have it as a choice.

    6. Clean and artifact free image.

    It is often said that initially a calibrated image may not look as punchy and vibrant as the OOB ones and may look flat, but we urge people to use it and appreciate the natural image.

    I only hope the race for improved spec and numbers is not going to ruin the experience of real with a touch of being film-like (though relative from person to person).

    Lets continue.....
     
  6. parky43007

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    Interesting to see that you guys are focussing on performance aspects related to image quality.
    I personally would like to see improvements in aesthetics in parallel. Things such a projector size and noise output.
    I don't have a dedicated room for my home cinema experience , as I suspect most folks don't. Blending in with existing decor (and the wife's taste's) is a challenge.

    The Sim2 C3X 1080 3 chip DLP has taken a step in this direction and if lasers can reduce heat output and hence cooling needs even better.
     
  7. jacko5

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    To go off at a bit of a tangent for a moment, the biggest increase in performance I am looking for is in the quality of the source material.
    HD broadcasts vary quite a bit and even some Blu-Ray transfers are quite poor. Why can't the standards of the best BD discs be maintained for all transfers?
    Some BBC HD broadcasts are excellent, an example being Michael Palins New Europe series. I keep an excerpt permanently on my Sky HD box as a reference for quality. Sometimes when watching an indifferent quality broadcast HD film, I switch to the Micael Palin excerpt just to reassure myself that my PJ has not gone slightly out of focus, or deteriorated in some other way.
    A lot of the time my PJ is capable of producing far better images than the source material allows.
     
  8. NonPayingMember

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    The room comments are totally accurate, but to put some balance in the argument a £500 to a £5,000 projector will have plenty of differences outside of the contrast and black level stakes. Aside from the obvious also being brightness, and colour accuracy/range what have you there is also the lens to consider which for me is one of the second largest influencers after room, and the second most overlooked after room. A good lens can make a 480p image look sharp like a 1080p image (and the reverse is also very true, poor lens completely destroys resolution detail, colour detail, colour accuracy and so on). The other areas are relating to hardware such as the quality of video processing (see Sim2 Grand Cinema for a lesson in bloody good internal processing), the quality of and amount of inputs, the ability to have colour correction, gamma control what have you. I still agree that the room is a big limiting factor before you go high-end, but that's not to say you will be equally happy with a budget projector if you don't have ideal cinema conditions.
     
  9. Mad Monk

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    I hope that newer PJ's will offer much more lumens allowing us to have larger screens.

    I also hope that good quality screens become cheaper. The difference between a £50 ebay job and a Brand name screen are pretty big at the moment.

    Hopefully newer PJ's will have inbuilt anamorphic mechanisms to switch to 2.35:1 content at the press of a button without the need for a scope lens.

    I'd agree with Zag. There really isn't much difference between most of the budget PJ's up to £2.5k. After that price point some manufacturers use better quality optics and internal processing. The problem is that most people just want resolution and cheap so I don't expect quality to improve by much until a new technology kicks in (LED?). 1080p PJs will continue to drop in price and this will mean little development in FP as the market is so small compared to TV.

    I doubt 2 chippers come down in price as much as 1080p has due to the high manufacturing costs so I guess we're stuck with single chip DLP, Lcos and LCD for now.
     
  10. crimsoneagle

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    OMG

    not only do most the other threads threaten to make me spend all my money now, but these also leave me no hope at all of planning to save any for the future... :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

    very interesting thread tho....

    :smashin:
     
  11. Batdog

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    There have been some really interesting responses here.

    Like I say, I'm not in a hurry to upgrade at the mo' as I'm generally happy with my AX100, plus it seems that this overall level of performance isn't going to be improved on greatly in future 720p projectors.

    In contrast, in 1080p land, we're at an early stage of the development cycle with a rapidly expanding choice, worthwhile advances from one year to the next, and falling prices.

    If I was to upgrade today, it would probably be to a Panny AE2000. It seems that this is a considerable step up from the AE1000 in terms of black levels, sharpness & brightness (and obviously even more so from my AX100). The thing that puts me off is that some still have issues with the smoothscreen and the blacks, and in this respect the JVC HD1 and the Epsom TW2000 are both tantalisingly just out of reach, but both seemingly offering considerable improvements in all these key areas. Whilst I know I would be happy with the AE2000, I feel that the Epsom for instance would keep me happy for years & I couldn't see myself ever needing to upgrade again (yeah right!!). As happy as I've been with the smoothscreen on my AX100, one of the main reasons for going 1080p would be the increase in sharpness, and anything that compromises that I'd have to think long and hard about. I'm guessing that with something like a TW2000, screen door would be a non issue from all but the most extreme viewing distance.

    Perhaps in a couple of generations time I'll be able to get this level of performance for under £2k!!
     
  12. imjay

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    What will happen over the course of two or so years will probably what happens to ALL technology over time. The competitive market place will cause 1080p projectors to cost significantly less while having more features and functions and better reliability.

    We considered upgrades in both our Panasonic 900U and dvd player to BluRay HD. Our standard def dvds looked pretty good on our tv but 480p spread across a 10 foot diagonal projection screen wasn't so good HOWEVER once we caught on to the "magic" of up scaling/up converting dvd players via HDMI link we realized that we could be very content with our current 720p projector and setup and suffer the consequences of saving a lot of cash.

    We have a quite large collection of standard def DVDs - hundreds - and the difference between the old component connection and the new HDMI was amazing to our old eyeballs.

    My hope is that in two or three years the technology now being introduced in high end business and commercial cinema projection will be available in home cinema models which is - IMO - current holy grail of projection - 3D.

    The Barco company is now producing Stereo Projection that I pray will become available for home use or some other 3D
    configuration.

    Til something truly better and different comes along my bride and I have decided that we are more than content with our reliable Panasonic 720p, up scaling DVD player and 480p dvd and Over-the-Air HD TV here in the US of A.
    goodluck all
     
  13. Jackass

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    Of on another tangent,

    What about 4k 2k, This has been mentioned recently in articles about upcoming plasma technology but what about projection tech where it would be of more benefit with a bigger screen?

    Is there any indication of the source material being able to deliver this resolution or would it be scaled up?
     
  14. Avi

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    Limited source is available now but AFAIK it's only used in the commercial environment largely due to cost. IIRC it is provide on dedicated specalist server hardware and is expensive. My personal view is that this res will be of benefit with very large screens i.e. commercial threater or uber consumers with very large (near commercial) size screens. Current "consumer" end of 4096 PJ's start at around $100k and are very large (see photo) with 1000+ watt lamp/s that cost about the same as some 1080p PJ's. Given the current position with Blu-ray I don't think 4096 source will be a mainstream consumer option any time soon.

    AVI
     

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  15. Batdog

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    You should go over to AVSFORUM and have a read there. I was reading a thread discussing whether people were happy with Blu-Ray and lots of serious enthusiasts said no!! The main complaints being 'only' 2k resolution, and moreso the 8-bit colour and limited colour gamut. It was a seriously scary thread, one guy was claiming that the colour limitations were causing Blu-Ray transfers to be riddled with colour banding issues, another guy was claiming that he was currently building his new HT SPECIFICALLY to take advantage of 4k source material!!

    My own view is that a 'good' Blu-Ray is already all but transparent to the master, and I seriously doubt that even played back to back with the master, whether most people would be able to tell them apart, in a home environment. Screens in the home just aren't getting any bigger than the 90-150" screens that some enthusiasts can accommodate, and Blu-Ray is thus entirely appropriate for modern films and video. I think the true potential of Blu-Ray will be shown as modern displays make improvements in terms of contrast, black levels, colour accuracy and motion handling.
     
  16. Phill1978

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    there is a colour limitation in blueray as banding is apparent moreso than you would expect although this can be corrected with good encoding, dark blues in particular show up the issue.
     
  17. Avi

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    Yes Blu-ray shares 8 bit colour with DVD. Some video processors reduce colour contouring by dithering to 10 bit. If it's a really bad encode this can still be an issue but I find it a rare occurence on my current setup.

    AVI
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2008
  18. JohnWH

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    What many people think is colour banding is often compression artifacts, particularly MPEG2 which can have problems with subtle colour graduatinos. This said you can get "native" banding in 8bpc source material, but it can be pretty subtle.

    Afaik the blu-ray/h.264 does allow for support of deeper colour formats/wider gamut, so in theory the problem could be fixed without introduction of a new delivery format, although everyone would need new players...

    John.
     
  19. karkus30

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    I dont know if this is truly the place to ask, but the thread is slightly confusing to someone thinking of upgrading. So feel free to stick my post somewhere else if needed.

    I was a fairly eatly adopter of H/C and my Sanyo PLV30/Owl screen/Denon2900 have done stirling service. But the newer Bluray is peaking my interest (although my mate is running a PS3 onto an LCD screen and TBH Im not that impressed).

    The PLV30 is getting long in the tooth and I really would like far better contrast, but your comments on price Vs performance have intrigued me.

    Currently my HC room has black out blinds which control the light well, even in daylight. At night its pitch black. The room is decorated in a neutral grey, including walls, ceiling, woodwork and carpet. Cant tell you what the OWL screen is, just that its an electric one and of normal ration, not widescreen.

    The PJ is mounted on the ceiling and the room is 16ft long and the image size is ideal.

    I started thinking about upgrading, the infocus 81 seemed like the model to go for. Then the JVC HD1 caught my eye............and then I read "a £500 will perform as well as anything" :rolleyes: Help!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  20. NonPayingMember

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    In your light controlled environment your will for sure get the benefit of the higher contrast displays. I really disagree with a lot of the comments on this thread and I would go out and get a demo and see for yourself just how far along we are with todays technology. I would say for your budget the JVC would be a good option, the blacked out room will allow you to take the benefit of the massive contrast from an otherwise not *that* bright projector. Consider a decent screen too, I bet your Owl screen is curling in from the sides quite badly by now and possibly even suffering that rippling through the centre (upside horse-shoe shape almost). A tab-tensioned example will prevent this as it can be very distracting having slight shadowing in the image from curls in the screen material.
     
  21. karkus30

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    Is it actually necessary to spend as much on a PJ, where is the break even point where spending more only gives a marginal increase. I demoed a couple of PJs a few years after buying the Sanyo and really thought the difference was marginal...the Sanyo was about £1500 at the time and I compared it with PJs of the same price.......the SIM2 was a lot better though and a lot more expensive.

    I really dont need the ultimate budget buy, just something on the edge of ultimate. If I could get 95% of the JVC performance at 1K less I would be just as happy.

    Would I benefit from a new screen...........again, I dont need the ultimate, just better than I have.
     
  22. Batdog

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    In that case get a AE2000 or similar as that has 95% of the HD1 performance for a grand less.......or get an AX200 which has 95% of the AE2000 performance for another grand less. The cost of these incremental improvements are considerable, but worthwhile to enthusiasts. Most are bowled over by the performance of humble 720p models.
     
  23. kbfern

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    If you are coming from an older non hd pj like the PLV30 you will see a huge difference in current 720p machines let alone 1080p models.

    I like you have an older sanyo,the Z1 and having recently purchased a couple of hddvd players have decided to upgrade the pj to take advantage of the extra res of the hd discs.

    My problem is the Z1 has only seen just under 600hrs action in the last 6 yrs I have owned it and as it cost me £1200 originally I am loath to spend too much this time round.

    I had a demo of the Optoma HD70 this weekend from a fellow forumite and was really impressed with how much pj has moved along in the last few years.

    So much so that I am looking at either a new HD65 @ around £400 or a used Z5 for the same sort of budget.Either choice will see me with a huge leap in performance from what I have now.

    I don't think that waiting for the 1080p pj's to come down to less than the £500-£600 that I am willing to spend this time round is worth the wait for the price reduction to happen.
     
  24. karkus30

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    Thats whats in my head too. If Its a case of just lagging behind sufficiently to make a considerable improvement without spending a fortune it makes more sense. Like you, I dont think I have more than about 600 hours on my PLV. I do like quality, but you have to think we dont watch any more than a couple of films a month and the PLV30 has done quite nicely up to now.

    My main concern is black levels and some extra clarity. The PLV30 does not really do 'space' scenes which is an annoyance. You get the odd star and a woolly grey/black. I do want to see far more detail and inky blackness for those scenes, otherwise I would think I had wasted my money. If I newer £500 PJ could do that then I would be happy enough, or I would rather spend 3 times as much to get the improvement. Spending almost 3K on a PJ is on the edge of what I want to spend although its affordable.

    The other thing that I want is a reduction in fan noise........the PLV30 is really noisy during silent bits and very intrusive...........and I am not going to resort to enclosures as we use this room for a guest bedroom.
     

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