Another AE100 -> ??? question....

Andy.T

Member
Hi guys,

I've had an AE100 for about 18 months now and have been very happy with it in that time. However, AV being the hobby it is I feel the urge to treat myself to an upgrade and am looking for a bit of advice.

I'm looking for a replacement projector that will look even better with my Arcam DV88+ via component than my AE100 does currently. I watch on a 92" diagonal screen viewed from about 12 foot (in hindsight my screen is a little large for this distance) and my Panny is currently ceiling mounted with a gyrolock with the Van Damme component cables relatively in accessible below the floor boards of the bedroom above.

The AE500 is very tempting at the moment as it's good value, will in theory look better, has the same throw range and even uses the same Gyrolock mount, however I've yet to see one running and this talk of Vertical Banding sounds like a step backwards. :confused:

So anyway here's all the questions....

a) What does Vertical banding look like/how noticeable/distracting is it on the AE500? Does anyone have any pictures showing VB?

b) What other projectors should I look at? I'm prepared to go over budget (maybe up to 2 - £3k) for something that's going to really impress, but I don't want to pay over the odds for negligible improvement.

c) Has anyone had/thought about having a shoot out with the latest batch of LCD/DLP projectors? Anyone here remember the one Mark Goldie had a couple of years ago? It was a great way for people in the market to compare stuff and choose what they would go for.

d) Failing that, does anyone know of any dealers near Sussex that can demo the latest projectors but who also sell them at the more competitive prices. (It doesn't seem right to demo something at a main dealer then go buy the one you like on-line).

e) Or am I looking at it all wrong? Should I look at changing my source? I've tried HCPC and it didn't really float my boat - too much like hard work. But should I look at replacing my DV88+ with an HDMI (or whatever the other one is :cool:) equiped player? Trouble is I like the CD quality of the DV88+.


Any help or pointers at all would be a great help, I'm dying to upgrade but can't see an obvious way to go. :rolleyes:
 

KraGorn

Novice Member
My thoughts, not necessarily exhaustive .. or possibly even accurate. ;)

Basic choice: LCD or DLP?

The LCD route seems to be the AE500 or Z2 ... as I read things the general consensus is that they're very similar, indeed since they use the same Epson-made panels that's not too surprising. These are a significant step up from the AE100 in terms of resolution, contrast, pretty much everything.

Vertical banding shows itself to some degree or other on all LCDs, it's brought out more by certain types of image, on my Z2 for instance a plain blue sky or grey expanse will show it more than most anything else .. indeed the machine's own menu can reveal it to some degree. It shows itself as vertical rows of pixels, 12 pixels apart IIRC, which are slightly darker than the others.

Like many of the artifacts produced by projectors, VB or FPN on LCDs or rainbows/mosquito artifacts on DLPS, some people find them more annoying than others.

The DLP route is a bit more difficult, certainly their contrast ratio is better and they give a different type of image .. the main problem as I see it is whether you're susceptible to rainbows. If you are then either you'll find them intolerable, as I did when I tried an NEC HT1000, or else you can live with them to 'buy' the improved PQ, as I am now doing with my Z200.

In the DLP line there's the Sharp Z91E at around £1600, or the Optoma H56 at about £2100, the Sharp being a 4:3 and somewhat older while the H56 is also 4:3 but higher resolution and newer. Beyond those is the Sharp Z200E (my new one) 16:9 1024x576 around £2600 or maybe the BenQ 1280x720 around £2850. These are the ones I've researched, there are some by InFocus which I know nothing of since none the the on-line stores I've dealt with stock that brand.

Comparing my Sanyo Z2 to the Sharp Z200E, the blacks are a bit better on the Z200 but the colours are considerably more life-like IMO and the image is cleaner, altogether a more impressive picture .. but the Z2 can be had for £1300 while the Z200 is £2600.

Turning to HCPC, there's no doubt that they produce an excellent image, far better in my experience than highly-regards progressive scan DVD players using component .. eg, the Sony 730/930, HK25 etc. My Pioneer 868's component output rivals the HCPC but the 868 is £700+. That said, I chose to ditch my HCPC because I found it inconvenient, choosing to accept a lower PQ (before I got the 868) for the concenience of a DVD player.
 

Andy.T

Member
Thanks for that KraGorn, lots to think about. I found some good stuff on VB in the FAQ (that'll teach me).

The Z200E doesn't appear to be on ProjectorCentral, do they call it something else? I wanted to look up throw ratios etc.
 

KraGorn

Novice Member
AFAIK the Z200 isn't out in the US yet, leastwise I've seen that comment on AVSForum, which may well explain its' absence.

The Z200's throw is 1.95 to 2.35 IIRC, I'm projecting a 92" 16:9 from about 15', the long throw was one of the reasons I chose the Sharp.
 

KraGorn

Novice Member
Just been over to ProjectorCentral .. they never review Sharps. Bear in mind it's not an un-biased reviewer, they never publish negative reviews since they're publishing them as a sale pitch mainly .. they say this themselves .. given the total lack of Sharps my suspicion is they don't sell them, hence don't review them, there's no way the Z10K for example wouldn't warrant a recommendation.
 

Andy.T

Member
I actually managed to get a demo of an AE500 today though it was quite brief, it was at a local Panasonic dealer. I've decided I don't feel guilty about it as there were two salesmen in the shop and I was the only customer in the shop the whole time so I didn't cost them anything. If they were selling for a bit less than £1650 I might even have considered going back to buy it from them. :rolleyes:

Anyway the demo was of Ice Age onto quite a small screen, the source was some weird floorstanding Panasonic DVD unit and was being fed by RGB Scart.

I didn't see any vertical banding even though I was stood right up close to the screen and the material was lots of uniform white (snow) or blue (sky) backgrounds so should've been leaping out at me I would've thought?

Some more questions....

a) Is vertical banding likely to be more apparent on Component than Scart? Stuff in the FAQ seems a bit vague on this? Some say in varies on input some say it varies depending on source and some saying it's different on every pj.

b) PQ was good but didn't seem a quantum leap from my AE100, anyone compared Scart vs. Component on the 500? Can I expect my Arcam DV88+ in Progressive to be significantly ahead of this Panasonic player via RGB Scart?

c) The Smoothscreen(R) ;) technology is kinda odd. As per the HCC review it definetly creates a smoother image/less chicken wire but it does lose edge detail. Can it be turned off or is it a pemanent feature?

Anyone got any comments on the above?
 

KraGorn

Novice Member
Be careful of demos that use animated movies, they're often high in 'wow' factor but the colours are artificial and don't give you a really good idea of how, say, the projector will handle dark scenes, skin tones etc.

VB is not IMX affected by the type of signal input, it's a flaw in the panel's construction/design brought out more clearly by some scenes or images. I've not seen VB very much on all-white areas, for example using Windows it's easy to create an all-white image, I tend to see them more with large dialog boxes which are mainly grey. If you didn't see them on the blue areas then maybe that 500 is not as bad as some, and not as bad as Z2s can be.

By SCART I presume you mean RGB, in which case from everything I've ever read RGB and Component are effectively the same. One area which does differ is that DVD players with progressive scan capability usually won't output that on RGB, only Component.

AFAIK 'SmoothScreen' is not selectable .. it was that more than anything which in the end made me ditch my AE300.
 

xxx

Banned
Hi Andy,

Sorry for jumping on this post, but I was wondering how serious are you about selling you AE100, as I'm after a second hand one, and how much would you be looking at for it?

Cheers
 

Ekko Star

Distinguished Member
Hi Andy,

I was in a very similar predicament to you last week !

I plumped for the AE500 as a step up from my AE100, though I was actually prepared to pay upto £2.5k for an upgrade.

I havent noticed any VB on 500 and I run it off component. I think it may vary machine to machine but I don't notice any. The difference to AE100 is definitely there. Smoothscreen you cant switch off and it does soften the image slightly, however the colours, contrast and resolution on offer, far outweigh this point. You certainly get one hell of a class image out of it.

I did check out the HS20 and Sharp Z91. Was impressed by the DLP and I didn't see rainbows but I had a serious headache coming on after 15 mins of demo. If not the rainbows the DLP's are also an unconcious strain on your eyesight, so beware !

However, after purchasing the 500 I have had the option of swapping it for a Sony VW12HT, which I have now since demo'd. Yes the machine was good and so was the HS20 in all honesty.

However are they worth the money over the 500 ?That probably depends on how much a hole that money is burning in your pocket. It's probably a simplistic view to take, but I just couldn't convince myself to pay the extra for the marginal difference in quality for technology that is so fast coming down in price. The AE500 sits very comfortably in its price bracket and is the best bang for buck LCD out there and I bet it's probably where all the sensible money will be going in the near future.

BTW You should be looking at paying nearer £1200ish for it.
 

Andy.T

Member
Thanks for all the replies guys, much appreciated. I feel pretty close to an AE500 purchase.

xxx - I'm not for sure if I'm selling yet but I think I may already have a potential buyer but if that falls through though I'll post in the Hardware Classifieds and let you know.

Ekko - Thanks for the encouragement, yeah I know about Discount TV's price (and others) that's probably where I'll get mine from (if I do). My point was it'd be easier to support local traders if they were even vaguely close to on-line prices hehe.
 

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