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AE-300. Disappointing results!

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Kramer, Nov 18, 2002.

  1. Kramer

    Kramer
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    Just been reading at avs that the AE-300 is providing disappointing results.

    While obviously not having seen it in action myself, I, from a practical point of view, always suspected this new "smoothscreen" technology would result in a softer picture.

    This "vertical motion artifact" may also be related.

    Maybe Panasonic slightly increased the resolution to counter this, unsucessfully apparently??? Some quotes taken from here:

    The AE300 picture when fed from an interlaced or progressive DVD player (IMO) is not that good. It is soft, gives a mosaic-like effect and the vertical movement artifact shows up quite a lot....... In conclusion, my feeling at this point is that the AE300 is only good when driving from an HTPC

    I have my doubts as to whether this will improve with a HTPC at native resolution.

    "Filling" the voids between pixels like this will obviously result in a far softer image IMO. No extra pic info is being used, just "expanding" the active pixels at each corner to fill the dark grid pattern.

    So the AE-300 may not be for everyone :eek: I personally like a sharp image, & having spent time/money getting the HTPC setup, couldn't go back to a "softer" image, no matter how "film like".

    Opinions of the AE-300 from first time PJ owners are worthless IMO (as are screenshots). Who won't be wowed on initially viewing of a 7" image?

    We're now starting to see opinions from seasoned AE-100 owners, & these carry far more weight. Maybe I'm wrong here, but I would certainly not be one for buying an AE-300 "sight unseen".

    Better to reduce screendoor by adding extra active pixels, such as Sony's 1366x768 panels. Screendoor should/will be far less evident & with higher res panels, stairstepping will also be greatly reduced.

    OK, the AE-300 is cheap(ish) if imported, but I suspect it's only for first time PJ users - AE-100/other PJ owners should look elsewhere.

    My 2p.
     
  2. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    yeah but I've also seen just as many reports saying how great the ae300 is. At least one of these was from a direct comparrison with the ae100 and others.

    I'm not prepared to take the plunge just yet as I want to see what the other newer machines will do but the ae300 has recieved some very positive traffic.
     
  3. Smurfin

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    Dunno bout you, but a 7" screen doesn't float my boat;)
     
  4. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    And you base this conclusion on reading one thread over at the avs forums:eek:

    btw, what r u upgrading to?
     
  5. Splinter

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    How many threads on that forum are you judging this by? I have seen countless threads with massive praise for the PJ and not from only first time buyers. One guy even sent his Epson TW100 back and replaced it with the ae300. The ae300 has been tested on a few occasions against the ae100 and blew it away. At the end of the day it's certainly an upgrade from the 100.

    Also the infamous motion artifact is only a minor problem as most people from what I've read hardly notice it - and some members the other forum are saying this artifact exists on all other LCD PJs. It's been blown out of proportion and unfortunately is making quite a few people forget about buying the ae300.

    Just think you may be jumping to conclusions a bit and after seeing your negative post in ae200/pricejapan thread maybe you're trying to find reasons not to buy?
     
  6. Kramer

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    An AE-300 :kisses:
     
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    I'm sitting about 10 feet away, and things don't look blurry to me - given a good transfer the AE-300 gives STUNING results. Given a crap transfer, things look crap - at 7 or 8 feet wide, you are definately susecptible to "garbage in, garbage out"

    I've already had a visit from a seasoned AE-100 owner (Sykes - he lent his AE-100 to John Dawson of Arcam to troubleshoot a problem) on this very forum, and he was very impressed. He brought some "tricky" discs around, and said they handled things much better than the AE-100.

    I've also had a Sony 11T owner around, and he went a bit green around the gills, as my proj. was 1/3 the price of his.

    Ultimately the AE-300 IS cheap and it WILL have compromises, but just as the AE-100 wowed a first generation of projector owners, I think the AE-300 will rightly do the same.
     
  8. Smurfin

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    LOL:D

    ahh no wonder you were trying to put off a prospective buyer for your PTAE-100 from getting a PTAE-300 from price japan;)
     
  9. xander

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    I'll jump in here, if I may, since some of these quotes may even come from my postings on avs. I had an AE100 and a TW100 previously and now purchased the AE300. After about 4 days playing with it my feelings are (copied from a post that I've made on avs earlier today - note that I'm based in New Zealand where we also use PAL):

    ******************
    I've had my AE300 for a few days and also find the picture too soft with a pronounced mosaic-like effect along edges and brighter objects. The vertical movement artifact is also a non-issue for me.

    So far:

    1. 625i via component - soft with artifacts
    2. 625i via s-video - soft with artifacts
    3. VGA 1024x768 from ProV (same as VB50?) - ok for TV feed but DVD causes vertical stripes every 30 pixels or so
    4. VGA 800x600 from ProV - probably worse than 3 above
    5. VGA 1024x768 from Compaq notebook + WindDVD - much better than any above
    6. VGA 800x600 from Compaq notebook + WinDVD - better than 5 above IMO.

    Now I also tried it via component feed from a BriteView (similar to ISCAN?) giving 525p but that wasn't really good either. Tried VGA input from BriteView on 800x600 and 1024x768 but it looked to digital - I'm still waiting for the final BriteView firmware update, so that might be the reason.

    At this point I think that an HTPC is the only way to go and will tonight pick up a DVD drive to use with a spare athlon PC I have with a GForec2MX card. Hopefull I can try Koslian's PowerStrip settings with this to get to native 960x540. The feed from my notebook was like day and night compared to the DVD player (Pioneer DV533K) - much better contrast and black level details.
    ************************

    I really like this projector, but I want to get a sharper picture with less of the mosaic effect. If I can get that, it will be a GREAT projector. I'm optimistic at this point.

    Xander
     
  10. Guest

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    Interesting you find the laptop so much better.

    I'm using a Philips 963SA - its predecessor, the 962SA is supposed to gives results almost indistinguishable from an HTPC - I wonder if this is why I am seeing such good results?
     
  11. Sykes

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    Thought I would add my penny's worth.

    First a big thanks to Puddleduck for dragging himself from his sick bed to give me a demo of his setup, an AE300 with the Philips 963 PAL prog DVD player. It was much appreciated. BTW my own set up is an AE100 with a Tosh 510 capable of NTSC prog but not PAL ps. I went to see his set up because I need a projector with a longer throw lens, apparently it will be an option with the AE300. I also wanted to know how much of an upgrade an AE300 would be.

    So my thoughts, first the plus points:

    Screendoor: this smoothscreen technology is quite amazing, it is very hard to make out individual pixels from even a foot away, lets be honest I can see individual pixels from a few feet away on an AE100. For me this is one of the main reasons why I am going to sell the AE100 ie. due to our room height we can't ceiling mount; there is not enough room to have the AE100 infront of the sofa, and when it is behind the sofa we have to sit approx 1.5x screen width away which is too close IMO for this projector. This is not to say screendoor is non existent on the Ae300, it is just alot less and 'different'.

    Fan noise: the Ae300 on low lamp mode seemed to be alot quiter than the AE100 on low lamp mode. For me this is a big plus as my projector, although placed behind me, is still 'too close for comfort' and audible. I also think there was also less light leakage from the back of the Ae300.

    Contrast: Hard to say but I think the Ae300 would be better but certainly not the great leap that I might have expected. Reason why I can't properly comment is that there was some ambient light coming in from street lights outside so not totally light controlled. My set up has better light control. Visual perception of black is such an odd thing anyway, blacks look black on my AE100 until you cast a shadow over the screen then you realize it is only a dark grey.

    Horizontal keystone: YES it does have a ‘sideshot’ (sorry Sony, please don’t sue me!) function, and it didn’t seem to significantly degrade pq. This could be useful in my set up.

    Now the, well not negative points, just notes:

    Colours: There is nothing much in it between the AE100 and 300 as far as I could tell. Both are very good.

    Picture quality: I took round 3 discs which I suppose I have been disappointed with on the AE100, Bridget Jones R2 (my other half’s favourite film), Big Blue R2, and Gosford Park R1. After leaving Puddleduck’s I watched the same scenes again at home on my set up. Although B Jones looked better on the AE300, it was only the same shift in pq that I had seen at Arcam when John Dawson changed from PAL interlaced feed to progressive on my AE100, which increased sharpness and reduced screendoor. Big Blue looked equally bad on both projectors with odd fuzzing and edge enhancement. There was no difference with Gosford Park, ie. It still a bit murky to say the least. One other film that I saw on the AE300 was the beginning of Lord of the Rings R2. At home I looked at my R1 copy, so in NTSC prog to compare to PAL prog. IMO there was little, if any difference, between the 2 projectors that is if I sat 2x screenwidth away. This surprised me as at the time at Puddleducks I thought the AE300 was better. In hindsight I think it may be because we were close to the screen without being distracted by screendoor, like my normal seating position. When sat 2X back on the AE100 it looked equally good. Maybe in a dark room the better contrast of the Ae300 would have the better pq , but can’t say for cert.

    So to summarize, the big plus points were the lack of screendoor and lower fan noise, but the AE300 is not the big upgrade that I thought it would be. For example close ups of faces look stunning on the AE300, but they also do on the AE100, whereas people in the distance look soft/out of focus on both systems – the thing is I don’t know is whether this is due to the low resolution of both of these projectors, or a Panasonic trait, or just that DVDs do not contain enough data to show distance objects to full effect (i.e. on small screen distant people look sharp but when blown up you realize the lack of real detail). The Ae300 is better but personally I don’t think it that big leap that some believe or hope it is.

    However, this been said I am going to sell my AE100 and probably get an AE300, but this is more of a testament to how good for the price the Ae100 actually is, than the greatness of the AE300. For my needs I would be quite happy with an Ae100 with a long throw lens and lower fan noise (and maybe horizontal keystone correction).

    Sykes
     
  12. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    Surely you need to see them running side by side for an accurate comparison?
     
  13. petrolhead

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    Curious xander as to why you changed from the TW100 to the AE300??
     
  14. xander

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    petrolhead,

    >>Curious xander as to why you changed from the TW100 to the AE300??

    The main reason was that Epson was unable/unwilling to provide me with a TW100 without dead pixels (this was after 3 exchanges). In the end they said it was within their tolerance. The TW100 also showed a lot of feathering/combing from my interlaced player (Epson agreed about this after I showed them) which I wasn't too happy about, but would have lived with.

    I actually ordered the Sony HS10 in the end, but since it was delayed I just couldn't wait anymore and purchased the AE300.

    Update:
    ----------
    I'm not going to bother with HTPC + AE300 until someone can figure out the correct PowerStrip settings (hopefully this will happen soon :)

    I initially used the component cables that are supplied with the AE300 and changed them for a new set of no-name-brand cables (much shorter - about 1m) and the picture improved a lot IMO. I watched a few more movies last night and I'm getting more and more impressed with the AE300. I might actually go and look for some expensive top-of-the-range component cables to see whether it makes another improvement. PAL DVDs look significantly better at 625i than NTSC DVDs at 525i.

    Xander
     
  15. Julia

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    I cannot but agree that the more movies I watch, the more I like AE300 too... It's like it's getting better and better... You have to see it to believe it.:)

    I find it awesome!

    I hope someone will come up with Powerstrip settings for 1:1 DVI pixel matching till I get my new HTPC set up:D

    Julia
     

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