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4Hrs with The Rock (Long)

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Jenz, Apr 20, 2001.

  1. Jenz

    Jenz
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    All,

    I've spent late this afternoon and most of this evening configuring, using, toying and setting up my Rock <ooer>.

    First of all some background. I am a dedicated DVD enthusiast with a penchant for Action Movies and Martial Arts stuff. I have a collection nearing 1400 discs.

    Over the last year I have moved from a 40inch Widescreen RPTV (big for the UK) to a 46inch RPTV and then onwards to a BarcoVision 708Multimedia throwing a 96inch Image from a HTPC. The refresh rate limitations of the 708 meant that I was restricted to 800x600@72hz. Still it was a superb, clear, and highly detailed image.

    Last week I upgraded to a BarcoGraphics 808s, throwing a 120inch Image at 1024x768@72hz. The Graphics card was a modified Geforce 2 MX and software was PowerDVD 3.

    I used dTV 2.12 and a Pinnacle card to run other sources. The Pinnacle card has high levels of video noise on both S-Video and Composite.

    My system as far as I was concerned was superb. But had a low WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor). So much so that she approved the spend to buy The Rock (though she still thinks its £1000 :D)

    Today it arrived and I began to convert my 808s across to it.

    On the advice of the members here I decided to concentrate on the 1024x768@72hz resolution. I have a superb Barco Trained Engineer coming next Monday to do a full recalibration specifically with the Rock in the Delivery chain.

    Setup was a walk in the Park (Once I'd figured out I'd plugged the Component Cables in the wrong way around :rolleyes: ).

    First of all I went straight to the Menu (which is a "simple" joy to use) and 4:3 Input, 4:3 Output. Then I switched the Barco to its Anamorphic Memorybank.

    Then I did some minor repositioning of the Image on the screen using The Rock's Geometry Test Pattern.

    Next I reduced the Barco to its known Contrast and Brightness settings of 70 and 38 respectively.

    Using The Rocks inbuilt Test Patterns I corrected Focus, Geometry and Convergence to get a very sharp and clear image. No doubt the Engineer on Monday will further improve on this as he always does.

    Colour, Brightness and Contrast on The Rock Inputs all required changes to get them to levels I was happy with. My default Brightness was to low and was increased to 20. My default Contrast was too low and was increased to 145. My default Saturation U+V was too low and was increased to 150.

    First up were the NTSC Test discs:
    Toy Story 2 Opening Scene
    Fifth Element Leeloo reconstruction and dive, Diva song and gunfight
    Face/Off (non-Anamorphic)
    MI:2
    Dark City Opening Scene - a bitch for contrast, brightness and jaggies

    Not only did The Rock present them all with a clarity, resolution and sheer vibrancy that I have never seen before it did so with the minimum of fuss, insert disc and play. Wife almost fainted at this point :)

    Honestly they have never looked this good.

    Fine I thought, superb R1 playback let's see if these Americans know their Jap NTSC...

    Jap Review discs were:
    Armageddon DTS non-Anamorphic Asteroid landing scene
    Cutthroat Island DTS Anamorphic Final Battle

    Using exactly the same Brightness, Colour and Saturation changes again a highly detailed, crisp image that was more visually pleasing than before.

    OK what about R2 PAL?
    Test Discs:
    Predator 2 Anamorphic R4 - Fridge Fight (lots of blacks, blues and rapid changes to grey and bright whites)
    Sleepy Hollow R2 Anamorphic
    City Hunter R2 Anamorphic Red Sports Car scene

    All worked flawlessly and looked fantastic. Predator 2 is slightly soft but that’s the print. City Hunter I was checking for colour bleed or bloom there was none.

    At this point I had immediately decided to discontinue my use of the HTPC.

    I have read comments about The Rock producing vibrant colour and generating a 3D look far more than people were used to. I had read these comments with some scepticism. However...

    Watch Fifth Element R1. In the Leeloo construction scene there is a top down view that shows her in the machine and the top silver "bar" of the machine slides from right to left. With The Rock it feels as if it’s in the room rather than on the screen! The next shot shows it come out of the screen! When Leeloo fights during the Diva song she finishes by collecting the supposed "Elements" box. The box is in the foreground it sits out of the screen as she comes to collect it. Superb.

    But the best is when she dives from the Skyscraper. My good friend Gordon Fraser always calls that the measure of a system in that you should feel her fall through the screen, with The Rock she falls through the screen and out through my back wall!

    I watch a lot of VHS (Hell we can buy entire Buffy Boxed Sets here) and this is where there is another significant jump above the HTPC for me. My HTPC set up suffered from extensive video noise. I also had a jitter problem on some tapes that I never really solved. No such problems here. Practically zero noise on the Composite socket and I have what I consider a reasonable composite cable (around $30). VHS at 120inches through The Rock is satisfactory and watchable, no noise is my key benefit.

    Next up was Playstation 2 & Dreamcast via S-Video into a Yamaha A2 Amp which was then on passed to the S-Video of The Rock. Almost perfect, couldn't spot any video noise (I have good S-Video cables though not Great ones).

    Metal Gear Solid 2 Demo scaled to 1024x768@72hz was simply jawdropping and displayed none of the issues with the previous HTPC connection (noise, colour not quite right, slight jitter and some jaggies).

    Criticisms? Well the two I can think of that spring to mind are that my remote buttons arrived rubbed off (just the left/right/up/down keys) but I can live with that, and the lack of autoformat selection on the inputs. If I play a PAL DVD and then an NTSC DVD The Rock needs to have the Video Format button pressed.

    Verdict? Well compared to my HTPC this is no end of improvement, a fantastic picture that I know will be even better once my Projector is fine tuned against The Rock, excellent S-Video and perfectly adequate Composite, and its clear for me I made a very wise decision with this purchase.

    Next week I expect to get a new DVD Player (that I'm not allowed to tell you about yet) that I believe will far exceed the capability of my already decent Sony 725. That coupled with a properly calibrated Projector and the Rock is going to give me a major problem...

    I have so many DVDs that its going to take me an age to watch them all again :D

    Questions? Fire away.

    Regards Neil.

    [ 20-04-2001: Message edited by: Jenz ]
     
  2. Vixpy

    Vixpy
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    i'd be very interested to know how much does it really cost and the specs

    Thanx in advance
     
  3. Jenz

    Jenz
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    It costs $2999 and $140 Fedex. Add 4.5% Import Tax and 17.5% Vat and you get to around £2600 dependent on exchange rate.

    The Specs are here: http://www.tawinc.net/the_taw_rock.htm

    Note that this is pre-release price. It goes up on May 1st.

    Regards Neil.
     
  4. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    This is great news. Barco man will, no doubt, make it even better. For all the sad CRT pervs like me who can't afford a Rock or were too scared to buy one right out I'll be posting a little "how to " tip on Sunday that I tried at work yesterday.

    Jenz,

    I know this is unlikely but did you watch Bufyy last night on it and if so what was it like. I always feel that UK sourced Sky programmes can look pretty good on a big screen but that Buffy and Law and Order etc look a bit "wrong". Incidentally it was possibly the most moving Buffy ever!

    Great news anyway, pity about the buttons on remote. Are you going to get a Radeon update do you think or is this just so good you are happy just now?

    Gordon
     
  5. Jenz

    Jenz
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    I'll also certainly get the Radeon upgrade. In fact I have already ordered it. Because I bought a pre-May Rock I'll get a very good price. Note that the next upgrade isn't just a Radeon though.

    Regards Neil
     
  6. Boris Blank

    Boris Blank
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    Excellent post Jenz, liked the 808 install piccies as well - lets people see what an install is really like plus how well it can turn out!

    Bet you are looking forward to Monday, things can only get better (and then some!).

    Happy viewing!
    Paul
     

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