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Any retailers in South East with HS50s?

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by sbonell, Jun 8, 2005.

  1. sbonell

    sbonell
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    Want to buy an HS50 but would ideally like to demo and check before I buy. Shootandshow have all theirs back at Sony for upgrades at the moment.

    Seems like one thing after another in terms of availability on this PJ.

    Anyone know another dealer? I am in Surrey, but don't mind a drive if it'll get the job done.

    Thanks
    Stuart
     
  2. UrbanT

    UrbanT
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    Stuart, I'm only in Aldershot if you fancy a visit. :)
     
  3. sbonell

    sbonell
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    Well, I took UrbanT up on his very generous offer a couple of weeks ago just before going on holiday.

    Big, big thank-you Chris.

    I said I'd write a few words of what I thought. Well - here goes.

    To set the scene about my experience, I have had reasonable home cinema audio kit for a few years and would view myself as critical of picture quality generally, but I have not owned a projector before, so many of my comments are newbie. I have demoed various LCD projectors over the years and at my price range (<£2k) had not found one I was sufficiently happy with to buy (mainly because I believed they would get better/cheaper and had not quite reached the picture quality level I wanted). I have demoed a couple of Infocus DLPs as well (the 4805 and 5700) and will reference that below. But bear in mind I tried these several months ago so I'm relying on memory which is dangerous. The demo. was also on a much smaller screen than UrbanT's.

    It was when I saw the 4805 that I decided that projectors had reached a combination of quality and price point that made me want to buy. I thought it was fantastic when I auditioned it with some very dark scenes from Apocalypse Now! Unfortunately I suffered badly from rainbows and got a headache so I had to look to LCD.

    So that brings me to UrbanT's set up with the HS50.

    I won't say too much about sound and the rest of his home cinema because that isn't the focus but suffice to say that stepping into his cinema is quite an experience. Beautifully executed to the last detail. We didn't push the sound up much but compared to my relatively budget setup I noticed how effortlessly clear dialogue and surround was even at lower volume levels.

    Chris showed a selection of scenes to demonstrate various aspects of the projector's performance. The screenshots on UrbanT's site will jog your memory if you're not sure which bits I'm referring to.

    2 Fast 2 Furious

    This demonstrated some eye-popping colour (I seem to remember that this film has been filmed to give a deliberately colourful effect with lots of bright greens, oranges, pinks in evidence). The effect wasn't natural but I'm sure it's not meant to be! What this did demonstrate was that the HS50 handled bright colours cleanly whilst still rendering good whites and very black night skies.

    Return of the King
    Good for lots of things including fire against dark backdrops. Because I'm not that used to watching projectors, I was principally struck however by just how much more enjoyable the big battle scenes were. On my telly, there's just too much detail, but on the big screen it all makes sense and there's a real sense of depth. I was already forgetting about assessing picture qulaity at this stage and just loving watching the films!

    Attack of the Clones
    We watched the scene where Obiwan and Anakin chase the assasin through the city in speeders (apologies to Star Wars fans if my scene description is not up to scratch). As first Obiwan falls and then Anakin jumps the sense of depth created by the projector is amazing such that the fast speeders and heights have real impact. It was also noticeable how much detail was resolved - there's an unbelievable number of small vehicles in the background of the shots. This detail probably helps create the depth and believability of it all.

    We also watched the bit where Obiwan meets the Kamino prime minister (I think). This demonstrated how well the projector was able to resolve very subtle differences in colour (becuase there is a lot of very pale grey and white in the scene).

    What other comments do I have?:

    We watched all of this in a windowless room, so it's difficult to comment on brightness, but for my use which will be in a non-light controlled lounge, it will be more than fine for use in the evenings to watch movies. I couldn't comment on whether it's up to watching say sport during the day - I understand there are brighter projectors out there.

    The contrast levels are all they say. Perhaps if I watched one everyday I'd gradually start to become critical, but for my money, it was as black as you need and makes all the difference compared to other projectors I've seen. Note that I remember the Infocus 4805 being as good in this respect so if you don't suffer from rainbows, it's worth checking out.

    UrbanT has his projector set up to give a very colourful and very sharp picture. My personal preference would be for a slightly softer setup. I tend to be very sensitive to edge enhancement so with the sharpness turned up as in UrbanT's setup I could detect traces of this, but surprisingly little really and only noticeable when looking for it.

    My memory is that the DLP projectors I tried have a slight edge on smoothness of picture. I can't exactly explain what I mean by that, but all the LCD's I have seen have that very slightly digital look to the picture at times. The HS50 has this too, but it's much better than other LCDs I've seen. Some of this could be tweakable as well.

    I could also detect a little horizontal line structure in bright white scenes, but without comparing to another projector or display it's impossible to know whether these are from the source or the projector.

    I should stress that these are things I had to look for quite hard and in practice are not issues which affect how enjoyable the HS50 was to watch.

    Finally I'd comment on how quiet the projector is. I'd heard about this, but until we stood in UrbanT's very quiet cinema with no sound on, I hadn't appreciated just how quiet it would be. The projector was also right behind our heads and I don't think you'd ever hear it unless you have a penchant for unaccompanied silent movies perhaps.

    Given how hard it is to track down an HS50 for review, I'm very grateful to UrbanT as should Sony be, for I shall be purchasing an HS50 as soon as possible. I hope this review from a projector newbie is of some use to those of you trying to make up yor minds.


    Stuart
     
  4. Jack the lad

    Jack the lad
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    Good review mate Stuart :thumbsup:

    I couldnt have put it better myself. In fact Im that hammered im lucky I managed to read it :rolleyes: Damn this BBQ weather :rotfl:
     
  5. UrbanT

    UrbanT
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    Hi Stuart, an excellent review.

    Hopefully you had a great holiday? keep us informed how you get on when your PJ arrives :)

    Chris
     
  6. sbonell

    sbonell
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    Said I'd provide an update when I got this. I'm sure there's nothing much to add about the HS50 now (esepcially as it seems it's being replaced just as I manage to get hold of one - aaargh!)

    Anyway. Eventually got mine from discounttv. I tried to get one from another dealer locally (in the South). They had one left. I said I'd pop over and buy it but would want to check it out. Well, their "demo" room was full of stock so unavailable and they wanted me to pay £20 to do a pixel check.

    So I had to wait unti a trip took me up near discounttv. Got lots of good things to say about these guys. They have converted a room above the unlikely looking shop into a home cinema demo room. Could not have been more helpful (thanks Ben and Shane). They had both the Panny Ae700 and Sony on demo plus a few others (e.g. Themescene) so comparisons were very easy. Were also very straight about their views on the PJs (e.g. Shane said he preferred the DLPs to the HS50 if rainbows are not an issue - they still are for me). Pixel check not a problem either - done there and then. Don't rely on email comms with them though - can be a bit hit and miss.

    So I have it all set up now. Only in my lounge rather than a dedicated home cinema room. I'm running it from an elderly but decent non prog scan DVD player (Sony DVP-S7700) on component. Still have a bit more tweaking to do but generally very happy. I've wanted a PJ for years and years and now I'm just using every evening to re-watch my collection of movies. Picture not up to UrbanT's HCPC driven standard, but will do for now (at least I have another target project now!)

    I'm using a DRH screen after reading about them on this forum as well. No complaints really on product or service bar a slightly less than perfect case on the one I got. Fitting was tricky but I knew what to expect from this forum and their web-site before it arrived so not too bad.

    Thanks for everyone who's posted about any of this gear over the last few months - very useful stuff. And big thanks for UrbanT for stepping in with a demo where Sony dealers couldn't.

    Stuart

    p.s. anyone have any ideas on what might be causing a slight double edge around dark outlines on some movies? It's like what I used to see using a composite feed to my TV and also what you get when the Sharpness is turned up. I'm getting it on S-video and Component feeds to the PJ, but I think only on some movies (none present on Nemo or LOTR 3, but noticeable on Chocolat, Heat and many others - picture from same source looks fine on TV). I have Sharpness set to min. on HS50.
     
  7. UrbanT

    UrbanT
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    Hi Stuart, delighted you finally got things up and running :thumbsup:

    Could the double edge on dark lines you mention be Edge Enhancement? A description and some examples are here: http://www.videophile.info/Guide_EE/Page_01.htm

    The worst case I have personally seen is Star Wars, Phantom Menace, but have seen it on several other discs.
     
  8. sbonell

    sbonell
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    Yep - that'll be it. As described in that link, I've never noticed it on TV, but it's very obvious when using the PJ. I have some of those good and bad examples so will check it out. Oh well, at least I don't think it's my set up. Just watched some of The Last Samurai and that's fine.

    Cheers
    Stuart
     

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