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Differences between 'Home Theater' and 'Presentation' projectors?

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Mike UK, Jul 17, 2003.

  1. Mike UK

    Mike UK
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    Hi, I'm hoping someone could explain whether there is any difference between projectors designed for home theatre, and those designed for presentations?

    I understand that a dedicated 16:9 circuit is most often a standard inclusion in a home theatre designed model, but is this the only difference?

    Can you use any projector for home theatre viewing whether it was designed for it or not, and if so what are the most important details to check out on the specification sheet? i.e. should the emphasis be placed on resolution, contrast ratio, fan noise etc? Are the connections on the back of the projector going to be limited to PC style inputs if it's not designed for home theatre?

    Thanks in advance for any comments.

    Mike
     
  2. buns

    buns
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    You should be able to use most any machine, though an HT design will be optimised for our purpose. Often presentation machines will be designed to work with a certain degree of ambient light, thus they will tend to be brighter than would be necessary for HT and thus contrast may be worse (i think im right!). There may be bulb issues, many HT machines are designed with econo modes which both save the bulb and also give better blacks. Fan noise i guess is another one and to me important, living with quite a loud fan, i look forward to when i can dispense with it! Connections may as you say be limited so you should always check.

    If i were you i would go for a dedicated HT machine.

    Ad
     
  3. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    You'll also find that dedicated HT projectors will have some form of deinterlacing and scaling built in (Faroudja, Sage etc) so that video sources don't have jaggies etc. Data grade pjs won't have this.

    I had a Davis DLS8 which had an appaling built in scaler, but using it with htpc gave it a whole new image and made it look like a different machine.

    As for contrast, this can actualy reduce with projectors when going to video mode - in the case of the Infocus X1, it switches off the white segment of the colour wheel and reduces contrast down from 2000:1 to 1400:1.

    Contrast is the difference between full light output and no light output, and in the case of the X1, black level remains the same in both modes, but reducing light output reduces contrast.

    It's easier to increase light output with a lamp than it is to reduce black level by the same amount. :)

    Gary.
     
  4. Anders_UK

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    Also most hi-end projectors for simulation and big projection systems will have BNC connections with seperate H & V sync's, unlike HT PJ's that have the more common terminations like VGA and DVI, S-Vid etc..
     
  5. Mike UK

    Mike UK
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    Thanks very much for the responses - definitely more food for thought.

    Can somebody please tell me what sort of contrast rating is classed as 'good' for HT purposes? Or does it depend on a combination of factors?

    The one I'd settled on was this: Panasonic PT-L720U
    (http://www.projectorcentral.com/pro...fm?part_id=1735 - $2,600).

    It has the economy mode/low fan noise, high res, and is pretty bright (which will be good for me as I anticipate a reasonable amount of ambient light till it gets dark in an evening). The only thing that doesn't appear to match up is the contrast rating of 400:1.

    Should I be looking for something with a higher contrast - particularly if it's 2200 lumens? Will the brightness wash out the colour?

    Finally, which connectors should I be looking for on the back of a projector in order to plug in my cable box/dvd player etc (as I'm not sure which connectors I'll need - I'm not sure what a d-sub 15 looks like for example).

    Any responses greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

    Mike
     
  6. cyberheater

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    You should get a projector with a high as contrast as you can even if you sacrifice lumen output. 400:1 contrast ratio will make dark scenes in films merge to a wall of muddy greys with no details in the shadows.
    You want at least 800:1. Try the Panasonic AE300. It's reasonably bright and has a great contrast ration which = great picture.

    I just had a look at your link. If you do a search. There are a least a dozen that will give you similar output with contrast rations of 800:1 or better for the same kind of money.
     
  7. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Have you thought of DLP projection?

    They currently provide the best contrast available, and have a higher fill factor regarding pixels than LCD (less screendoor).

    The Infocus X1 has a resolution of 800 x 600 (svga) and a CR of 2000:1 and 1400:1 for video. It's around £1000.

    The NEC HT1000 (xga) has 3000:1 CR and is around £3000. It only has 1000 lumens max, and to achieve the 3000:1 CR you have to use eco mode and shut its iris down. It has Faroudja onboard scaling/deinterlacing similar to the X1 and gives a great picture.

    You must demo DLPs though, because of the way they render the image using a rotating colour wheel, some people see flashes of RGB which is commonly known as the rainbow effect. Some people also get headaches from watching them too.

    Fortunately the people who do suffer from this appear to be a minority, but it's still not worth taking a chance.

    There are other DLPs out there but they tend to be more expensive than the LCD equivalents, but some prefer the image they give. Idealy you should see both to get an idea of what you prefer.

    If you decide to get a data grade pj, you'll probably need an external scaler to remove the jaggies.

    A Dsub 15 is the same as your pc monitor output, and most projectors have them - very useful for presentations. Most external scalers use this as their input as it will be progressive and improve the quality of image input. Until DVI came along, it was the best way of getting a DVD input - via a computer with DVD player, Radeon graphics and 5.1 soundcard - a HTPC. Not as easy to use as a standalone player, but infinately more flexible.

    HTH

    Gary.
     
  8. Mike UK

    Mike UK
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    Thanks again for the advice - I'm now checking out DLP's with much higher contrast ratios. Hopefully I can buy from a place that'll let me exchange for an LCD if I see rainbows..

    Anyway, cheers again, I'm off to make a (more) informed decision!

    Mike
     
  9. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    As well as all that you find that HT designed devices may have different colouromitry and gamma curves. It's horse for courses and viewing is alwaysthe best solution. Have fun!
     

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