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DLP vs. LCD - both at home this week.

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Bristol Pete, Oct 30, 2003.

  1. Bristol Pete

    Bristol Pete
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    A few days ago, I posted information that my Panasonic PTAE300 had been repaired and returned. It is now back on the mount and firing on all cylinders. If the unit had not been under warranty, the repair would have cost us £125.00 + collection and delivery costs.

    Anyway, if you can recall, to placate our frustration at Panasonics misinformation, our dealer lent us the Sharp Z91E DLP projector. It has been an interesting few days comparing the two units and here are my findings.

    I am going by what my eyes tell me and I apologise if this is not ‘technical’ enough.

    OK. So, the Panny is a 16:9 LCD PJ with a quirky resolution of 960x540, with Panasonics patented smooth screen technology. The Sharp however, is a DMD based 800 x 600, 4:3 unit with a three segment, five speed colour wheel. It can output a 16:9 image.

    From what I have learnt, one would assume that due to the native wide screen panel and superior resolution of the Panny, it would win the PQ stakes hands down. Oh no, dig this -

    One has to say that the picture produced by the Sharp is simply awesome. For the first time since I dipped my toe into the world of FP, I actually witnessed a picture something like the one I see at my local multi-plex. By that I mean, smooth, filmic and generally more 3D than the LCD unit. I would point out that the picture on the Panasonic unit is no slouch either but the DLP machine definitely edges it. The morose ‘From Hell’ is a test for any PJ due to the subdued palette and dark corners splashed with claret. Both machines eek the fine detail out of the disk. I would say that the DLP unit has slightly more depth to the picture, which I can only assume is down to the higher contrast ratio 1200:1 which is higher than the Panasonics 800:1. Interestingly, the ansi-lumens of the sharp is 600 compared to the 800 of the Panny. I can recall What TV and Video suggesting that 600:1 is the perfect lumens for a video based projector. Overall these figure translate to a slightly more film like image via the DLP unit. In the basest of terms I can only describe it as this - when I view the Panny it looks like a very good projected image on my screen – but when I watch the Sharp it looks like a ‘film’ on the screen, if that makes sense!

    So there we have it, a scaled down 16:9 image that probably uses just 60% of the panel actually looks better. Work that one out on paper!

    OK. Onto the minus points. I have read reviews of DLP machines both in magazine and Internet form and from time to time, the reviewer talks about green dottiness (dot crawl) over the blacks. I now know what they mean by this. Sometimes, the blacks on this machine have a very odd and only occasional interference that sounds like this. This could be down to my set up, including my DVD deck, which is interlaced only, the leads I am using and even the DVD disk.

    The other occasional quirk that I have found with the DLP product is rainbow. I do see them from time to time, and again to be honest I think that this can even be down to the disk in the tray. The colourful Moulin Rouge exhibited hardly any rainbows when viewed, which was odd as I expected more. When I tested the genius Black Hawk Down, the rainbow count increased. I seemed to notice that the rainbows where actually emanating from the edges of the hand held machine guns or the shiny supplies that the US soldiers carried on heir webbing. Overall, the film looked sensational on the Sharp.

    I consider myself to be lucky to have had this machine in the house for almost a week as it has given me the chance to test DLP with my eyes, and to see how my wife’s eyes fair. Thankfully, she did not see one rainbow, and as I only saw them now and again I feel assured that any future projectors we purchase will be DLP. Bear in mind that this was a three-colour wheel and the new domino has a six-colour wheel if I remember correctly.

    The only real downside I have with the LCD unit is the very occasional bit of vertical banding. This is again odd. I don’t really get any when using the component fed DVD image but I notice them slightly more when playing the x-box which is connected via a 10 meter s-video lead. They don’t bother me however, and as before they seem fairly subjective to the software on screen.

    Overall, the build quality of the Sharp is far superior to the Panny and its organic curves compared to the almost cuboid, block-work Panny are easy on the eye. To me, the Sharp Z91E both looks and feels like a PJ with an RRP of £2400.00, where as the Panny looks a little ‘cheap’.

    I think I have covered the most important aspect – the picture. Aside from that all of the pre-requisite connections are available, although the Panny edges it with both a scart socket and DVI.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this. Personally, I have had some awful experiences of LCD projection this year but saying that I am more than happy with my ‘AE300 MK2’ which still leaves both my wife and I in awe every time we watch something. In fact we watched the Matrix Reloaded again tonight on the Panny and this movie certainly gets better and better. Overall, the thing to note is that paper spec says a lot, but ultimately, let your eyes do the talking and subsequent buying.

    Finally, if I had to buy one of these machines right here right now, I would simply go for the………?

    Don’t think I am going to let that one out of the bag do you?:devil:

    Cap:smashin:
     
  2. Messiah

    Messiah
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    Well done Cap. Both on getting your Panny back and writing a fantastic first hand view of LCD vs DLP. It's certainly true that as you move up the LCD ladder the DLP benefits (in pic quality) start to diminish somewhat, but of all the pjs I have owned and tried DLP still gives the most filmic and smooth image.

    DLP is still not for everyone though due to the rainbows (the dot crawl can be reduced/removed with gamma tweaks) but if you don't see them or aren't bothered by them then DLP is the way to go. IMO :)

    Happy viewing :D
     
  3. Bristol Pete

    Bristol Pete
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    a positive response from you as always:)

    I can only assume that your Sharp machine is FAN-BLOODY-TASTIC given its spec over the Z91.

    I hope to pop over the bridge one day and take you up on that offer of a nice cup of java. However, my concern is that I will come home with my tail between my legs as I seem to recall that you drive your PJ with a decent HTPC, allowing a higher resolution.

    Dont know if I could handle coming back to a vanilla DVD deck!:rotfl:

    Talk again,

    Cap:smashin:
     
  4. LV426

    LV426
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    The achilles' heel of all single chip DLPs is the raibows, as you mention. Unfortunately not everybody is equally sensitive to them, so some folks will see a wonderful image and wonder what all the fuss is about, whereas others will be disturbed, even nauseated, by the effect.

    There is another thread in this forum about a DLP owner who has only discovered the disturbing rainbow effect after purchase, although he claims to have observed it on demo - but didn't think it would be an issue. Now he is looking for a cure (for which, there isn't anything realistic). And I feel sorry for him.

    So, whilst I don't dispute anything you say, I would counsel anyone reading this and/or contemplating a DLP purchase, to be very sure that, in prolonged viewing in properly dark conditions, the rainbow isn't going to be an issue for anybody in their household. Bear in mind that not all DLPs are equal. Newer models have faster refreshes that will minimise the effect.
     
  5. docfeelgood

    docfeelgood
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    It's difficult.

    I would love a DLP PJ and was looking at the Sharp 91e as a possible purchase based on reviews and comments on the forum.

    However I can't find anywhere to demo it for a few minutes never mind long term viewing.

    I don't know of any dealers who would lend me a DLP PJ to demo. Therefore I can't be sure that the 'rainbows' effect won't bother me.

    For this reason I am looking to buy an LCD because it is a 'safer' option. I won't spend 2-3k on a projector only to feel sick when I watch it.

    It's a shame because I saw a Domino Sim2 in action briefly the other day and the picture was just fantastic.

    best regards

    Doc
     
  6. Messiah

    Messiah
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    Doc

    have you tried Nexnix or AV-Sales. Both great retailers who may well offer you a loan machine.
     
  7. Bristol Pete

    Bristol Pete
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    I wrote -

    'I consider myself to be lucky to have had this machine in the house for almost a week as it has given me the chance to test DLP with my eyes, and to see how my wife’s eyes fair. Thankfully, she did not see one rainbow, and as I only saw them now and again I feel assured that any future projectors we purchase will be DLP.'

    I do agree with you and in an ironic way, the breakdown of my LCD unit has allowed me to have a week long home demo of a DLP machine.

    As you say, an hour in the showroom is not enough really.

    Cap:smashin:
     
  8. Philly112

    Philly112
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    Hi

    Just to add that I too have a Sharp Z91E and although the 300 was a great image, the Sharp to me (and the wife) just looked more like watching a film and less like a big tv! I think that the 800 by 600 is a bit of a red herring, because as soon as you see the image it just looks better, end of story! Also, I bought mine mail order from nexnix for £1450 ex VAT (I don't usually do this - use a local company for demos and then by mail order, but the saving was just too great). This is a great price - they were supplying with a 'free' Sony screen for £1550 ex VAT, but will knock something off if you don't want this. They seemed massively knowledgeable (over the phone anyway), and it's worth pointing out that they no longer offer the £20 pixel check on the Panny 300 as they found most of the units delivered to them had dead pixels. Unit arrived day after ordering too.
    Haven't seen one rainbow, but have Black Hawk Down on order from play.com and will check it out!
     
  9. Mr_Belowski

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    Good to hear your experiences Cap'n B. I think I might hold off upgrading my Z1 for a while till the faster DLPs come down in price. Very informative - the subjective differences between DLP and LCD images are very interesting.

    Blackhawk Down. Hehe. I watched it on my Z1 with my Keg Eggs & Yamaha 630 pounding away. It was like being punched in the back of the head continuously for 2 hours. Bloody great home cinema film :)
     
  10. coffee break

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    just to back up Messiah. I went to nexnix the other week and spent 2 hours demoing different pj's - great customer service. Oh yeah, bought the Sharp for about £1400.
     
  11. Bristol Pete

    Bristol Pete
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    So that makes three or four happy Z91E owners here. Lucky buggers.

    Funny isnt it. You look at the paper spec of two or three PJs and think OK, I know which one I want, but then you see them running.

    I find it simply amazing that an 800 x 600 - 4:3 machine can blow the weeds off an LCD picture, depsite the higher res and 16:9 panel.

    One wonders if its simply DLP doing its thing?

    Cap:smashin:
     
  12. inzaman

    inzaman
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    Great review captain and echos some of my sentiments when i demo'd various dlps. The film like quality is very good and i could only imagine how great messiahs picture is. Although i didnt suffer from rainbows i did have a pain in and around one of my eyes as i was driving back from the demo which lasted a while, although my girlfriend was fine. This ruled out a dlp purchase for me which was a shame as i was set on a HT1000 as recommended by kramer and gary lightfoot. I am therefore going the lcd route for a couple of years until more improved dlp machines, i.e improved as in faster colour wheels etc, are on the market but will then definitely demo again.
     
  13. Paul Williams

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    Hi Captain Benefit

    The reasons you gave (smooth, filmic and generally more 3D than the LCD unit) are often quoted as the reason many settle for the Infocus X1 over similar priced LCD machines. Certainly across the pond it would appear to be, for many the start of along DLP relationship, which most LCD machines will not satisfy. For me the X1 works straight out of the box and I consider I get stunning result with the factory settings.

    Paul
     

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