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CRT Virgin seeks first time advice

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by meep, Apr 22, 2002.

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  1. meep

    meep
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    Hi all,

    First post so be gentle!

    I've spent a good deal of time browsing here and in the LCD forum and now have some questions relating to my own specific circumstances. I know variations on this have come up from time to time but it's always good to get advice on one's own particular situation.

    (I've already submitted some of this to a couple of vendors by e-mail so some of you might have seen it before.)

    Anyway.....


    I have recently renovated a house and allocated refurbished attic space for use as a home cinema.You can have a look at the space in it's current storage mode on my embrionic HT webpage .

    The room is 20' long with a small "stage" at the far end measuring an additional 2'. The idea here was to provide a recessed area for the screen. I can fit a maximum 94"x53" (108" diagonal) 16:9 format screen recessed in this space. A larger screen could be accommodated by coming forward somewhat. The floor to ceiling height at center is 8'.

    I have already purchased my audio equipment. A Panasonic 5.1 consumer system with separate DVD and DTS amp. The DVD has S-Video and RGB (via SCART) output capability. Not NTSC chipped and not prog scan. It is my intention to upgrade this system gradually over time by replacing speaker, amp and DVD components as budget allows.

    I also have a panasonic sky digibox with composite and RGB output via SCART. In addition, I have a variety of PCs and Mac, any of which may be used in the proposed home theatre for web browsing etc. There's also a PS2 in the mix.

    In the future, I may build & install a quality HTPC system. I would be very comfortable constructing such a machine from scratch, being au-fait with PC hardware & software.

    Now, I'm seeking a decent visual system to get my set-up off the ground and usable. I originally though LCD but on reading up here, am becoming more and more interested in something like the Ellie or a refurb crt.

    (I think) I need a projector which will;

    1. Provide the best picture quality on low budget
    2. Will accept input from my existing sources (DVD, Digibox, PS2) and future sources such as HTPC
    3. Will provide around 108" diagonal display image with potential to go larger in a room of outlined dimensions
    4. Most content is viewed in 16:9 but should handle 4:3 as well.

    I guess that's as much as I know and would be willing to take advice on the rest.

    Many of the projectors I've looked at online fall within budget (£1000-£3500) but what additional devices would I need to obtain best picture? Line Doubler? Scaler? Will these be compatible with all projectors or how do i tell?

    (My understanding is that they take various signals and output to the projectors' VGA input. is this right?)

    How do I connect (and switch between) these devices? Does a CRT require a memory set-up for each device?

    What about progressive scan? I don't currently view any NTSC material but don't want to rule that out in the future.

    Finally, you may have noted from my details that I am based in Ireland. Anyone know any good installers here?

    I know this is a lot, but if anyone had the time or patience to have a look at my situation and needs and could recomend the best combination of PJ, external devices etc. that would be most appreciated.

    I should add as a footnote that I would obviously be keen to get up and running as cheaply as possible. My current approach is to take it easy on the PJ and invest in the external equipment as necessary (scalers etc.). Then, in a year or two, providing I'm happy with results, I'd upgrade to a much better projector. With this in mind, would i be best go from something like the Sony VHT1271 refurb and get an 808 in the future? Will all externals be compatible?

    sorry if I'm not up on all the jargon. I'm sure that will come with time!

    Thanks for reading this far!!!!

    Peter Mee
     
  2. Roland @ B4

    Roland @ B4
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    Peter
    Wow what a post. and what a room.

    I would go down the following route.

    Ceiling is high enough for a big CRT but you need to check that it would strong enough to take the extra 50-100kg.

    HCPC is by far the best route to go for as a scaller for DVD if you are confident in that domain. The problem is more your other signals and how to route them. I have heard confilicting reports about quality with TV cards with inputs then using the PC as a scaller. but that would be worth a go.
    After that you would have to consider a simple line doubler like an Iscan with some sort of switching box to cope with your many sources.

    As this is your first projector you are wise to tread carefully. but your budget of £1000-£3000 should get you a reasonable projector as a starter.

    I have shipped a few projectors to Ireland recently for some reason so I asume that the market is ready for some one decent to set up over there.
     
  3. Chris Frost

    Chris Frost
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    Peter, welcome to the world of home cinema projection.

    Roland and Gordon are the two guys to talk to regarding refurbed projectors. Barco and Sony are the two brands to look at. There is an Ellie for sale (I think), but with respect to that brand the others are more refined products capable of superior results.

    Some form of signal processing like a low cost line doubler - iScan Pro - or a scaler is a must. Don't worry too much about progressive scan and PAL/NTSC, the doubler/scaler will take care of all that.

    As regards upgrading a projector - my view would be to save money in the long run and invest in a good used machine from the word go. A line doubler/scaler is much easier (and cheaper) to change than re-installing a projector. Good installation and convergence is about £500.

    Switching between sources depends on the video connections on your amp and the doubler/scaler. Don't worry too much about the plugs on the cables. It is fairly straight forward for us to advise you on the right connections once we know what kit you plan to buy.

    Regards
     
  4. Matinee

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    Hi Peter,

    I'm in a similar situation to you at the moment, as I'd like a CRT projector and have been doing similar research on these forums.

    As such, I'll give my thoughts below and someone can no doubt jump in if I'm wildly off base..

    >How do I connect (and switch between) these devices? Does a >CRT require a memory set-up for each device?
    CRT projectors remember the appropriate parameters for given resolutions and refresh rates, each one has to be converged and aligned seperately as far as I can see.

    I think it's important to take things one step at a time. The natural inclination is of course to splurge out on kit, but lack of money and common sense dictate that it's easier to be wary.

    I first thought about LCD and DLP, but checking those out left me unhappy with LCD and unable to cope with the rainbows produced with DLP. After looking at other member's websites I decided CRT was a serious possibility, and I composed some questions to Roland and others, much like yourself.

    My next step was to construct a projector sized model using cardboard (I'm in a new house; cardboard isnt a problem..) and staple it to the ceiling. The result of this was to advise me that the floor would be a better idea (ceiling is 7'6" and I think the projector would annoy. your mileage may vary). I've also checked out blackout material and screens.

    My next step is to see a proper CRT setup and be certain I definitely want one.

    Given that I'm likely to give it a thumbs up, my strategy is to buy a decent projector up front rather than buying something cheaper and upgrading piecemeal - the projector is usually the most expensive component, and whilst I suspect you'll always be able to get trade-ins I think it's wise to concentrate on the CRT to start. Be aware that projectors come in different sizes, and have varying noise levels.

    You're comfortable with PCs, and I imagine you already have one albeit too large/noisy/inconvenient/ugly to be used as an HTPC. My strategy will be to use my existing PC to perfect the software to be used with an HTPC - it'll be annoying whilst in use but will hopefully prevent me wasting money on unnecessary components.

    If you like the HTPC, you can go that route, otherwise you wont have spent the money upfront and can look at a dedicated scaler.

    Good luck!

    PK
     
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