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Contrast Ratio Question

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Rich1978, Oct 7, 2003.

  1. Rich1978

    Rich1978
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    This question may be oversimplifying the issue but....

    I'm thinking of upgrading my projector to one with a higher contrast ratio. I just watched the Matrix at the weekend (to recap before Reloaded arrives next week) and the dark scenes really started to bug me - I just couldn't see enough detail.

    Anyway my current projector has 350:1 contrast and is 1000 lumens. Possibly an obvious answer but would a change to a projector with a 800:1 contrast ratio and 800 lumens stop me wanting during those darker scenes in movies?

    Any thoughts or opinions would be helpful.

    Thanks
     
  2. Liam @ Prog AV

    Liam @ Prog AV
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    It would certeinly help and contrast is the factor that is bugging you. However, the number values associated to contrast can, at best, be used as a very rough guide. I would consider auditioning the projector you are considering (AE300?).

    Notable LCDs with good contrast performance are the Panasonic AE300, the Epsons and thje new Philips. However, in general DLP projectors are much better with contrast so depending on budget you may want to consider:

    Infocus x1 / Tosh MT100 < £1000
    Plus Piano £1400 (will need dark room)
    Sharp XV91 £1800
    Tosh MT500 £2600
    NEC HT1000 £3200 (my favourite :) )

    then onwards and upwards....
     
  3. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Sorry to disagree with Liam here but I don't actually think contrast is the issue at all. Contrast is just a measurement of the difference between full on and full off light output. You could get a really huge contrast figure with a mentally bright projector that would still be incapable of showing truelly dark blacks or detail in dark scenes. Which leads back to the following.

    Is what is bugging you how dark black is?
    or is it the ability to differentiate between gradients of brightness and detail in dark scenes? (ie is it lack of detail or lack of black level)

    These two are seperate issues.

    Adding a video processor may help with the detail but changing the projector to a more suitable one is likely to be the solution for both. Going to view them with your chosen problem software is going to be the solution I think rather than looking at specs.

    Gordon
     
  4. Rich1978

    Rich1978
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    Thanks Liam,

    Very helpful. I'll look into your suggestions - and it was the AE300 I was thinking of.

    I would like to get a DLP, but with my luck the rest of the people who come and visit my setup would probably see that rainbow effect.
     
  5. Rich1978

    Rich1978
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    Hello Gordon,

    The issue is with the "ability to differentiate between gradients of brightness and detail in dark scenes". I think.

    For example a scene of someone standing in the shadows wearing black - it's annoying not being able to see the persons outline and the different shades of the blacks. Films like the Matrix is a good example (oh yeah, and Pitch Black).

    It sounds like I'll have to see some demos.

    Thanks
     
  6. Liam @ Prog AV

    Liam @ Prog AV
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    Rich, Gordon, Liam(!)

    I think we're all saying the same thing in different words! A Philips Monroe is not gonna be helped much by a processor and AE300 budget doesn't buy a stong projector and a good processor too!!!

    Taking all things into consideration the AE300 is the best use of £1400 odd quid as far as I can tell unless you can get your room nice and dark on demand, in which case I reckon the Plus Piano will be a better choice...


    Good Luck with the demos Rich!
     
  7. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    Whilst good low level intensity differentiation is a mark of a good projector bear in mind that video images are often very clipped in the blacks anyway: relative to their original film masters.
     
  8. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Actually I think you'd be surprised how much better a cheap PJ can be when fed a decent signal. Look at all the folk raving about their HTPC's in to cheap LCD's.

    Rich, What PJ do you actually have?

    Gordon
     
  9. Peter Baker

    Peter Baker
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    Rich
    I would encourage you to look at DLP. I have moved from a panny 100 to an Infocus 5700, and the difference with dark scenes is enormous. Also the sheer solidity of the blacks is revelatory.
    NECHT1000 and Sim2 Domino offer even more CR at similar money, but I went for extra brightness and vibrancy.
    I could see Rainbow effects with most 2x wheels, but have no problems with the later 5x wheels seen in most current models.
    I sometimes think that rainbows are there if you are looking for them!
    Good luck with your search
    Peter
     
  10. Rich1978

    Rich1978
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    Hello Gordon,

    I have a Philips Monroe LCD at the moment. It's plenty bright with 1000 lumens (it's set up in a converted garage, so the lights are always off when watching a film), but I thought the 350:1 contrast ratio was letting it down. My DVD player is getting on now, maybe I should look into building a HTPC to replace it.
    There really are quite a lot of variables aren't there?
     
  11. MAW

    MAW
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    I'm with Gordon, I had an NEC VT440 with HCPC for a year, only really repaced it cos I could, everyone was blown away by the pic. Mind you, resolution came ito it too, 2.35:1 on a svga PJ wasn't really the best, 1366 x 768 looks better, and now I can project down the full length of my sitting room for the seriously big-screen effect. But it's still usually PC sourced, though I have a pal prog. DVD, only my youngest daughter uses that. (she's only7) In short, the biggest improvement I've made is in the source, it's immediately obvious, in all respects. I'm using a denon 2800, the HCPC is streets ahead.
     

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