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H57 vs H77 at the HiFi Show **QUICK REVIEW**

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Cool-hand, Nov 9, 2004.

  1. Cool-hand

    Cool-hand
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    Hi all,

    Last weekend I went on over to the HiFi News show at the Novatel hotel in London. My primary motives were to look at the Optoma range of projectors and hopefully do a direct comparison.

    Well I was in luck... as all three were there stacked neatly on top of each other. The H30, H57 and H77. Even better though, they were using a Denon 3910 dvd player as source (What I currently use) and a JVC 30'000 for high def duties and a Sony 7 series dvd player, can't remember exact model.

    I am/was recently awaiting an order for the Opotma H77 projector and getting quite excited too.
    When I walked into the small dark makeshift room the first pj showing was the H77 and I thought WOW that looks good, i think I made a good choice going for it sight unseen. The image was bright with deep blacks and bold strong colours, the output was from the JVC hidef Dvhs deck via component. I asked the demo assistant if he would switch sources which he had to get permission to do!

    I might add here that some members have commented on how big the H77 is. Well hell yes it is HUGE and not the kind of thing you would like to hang from your ceiling in your front living room. The H57 is a much smaller acceptable size i feel.

    We quickly unplugged the DVI connection from the H57 straight into the H77. I sat in the demo room for a good 45 minutes watching various material at 576p 720p and 1080i switching between them with ease from the 3910's RC. The best film at hand was 'Fast & Furious'. The contrast levels are indeed excellent but I found the picture did not grab me at all. I felt a little disapointed by the overall image.

    There was an obvious level of noise in light parts of the image such as blue/white skys and motorway scenes (concrete) in all the Denons modes, I couldn't shift it. Skin tones however were very natural and the overall image was very smooth. One thing is for real, this pj is deadly quite.. even with your ear to the thing its only just audible. Wonderful!! The H77 and H57 use a similar construction to that of a transmission line speaker. ((a long tunnel padded with foam to deaden fan noise) only on a speaker a claimed extra octave of bass is produced).

    Next we switched the DVI feed back to the H57 (not due out till next week). This was shockingly good and I mean really good. The black levels/contrast was easily on par with the H77 and again colours were bright and bold and the image smooth and sharp. Depth of field was also excellent with distance between close field objects and people as well as near/far depth.
    However.... and this is what amazes me, the noise I saw in the H77 had completely gone. The image was very clean and accurate. The fan noise again was extremely low, only very marginally more than the H77 (probably due to the smaller construction with less tunnel length) but more than a foot away and you couldn't tell it. Now I was told this model was a pre-production model, so how much more could we expect.
    Apparently the contrast level is still undecided at either 3500.1 or 4000.1. TBC. Why we can only guess?

    With regards to the rainbow effect, it was hard to say on the H77 with high def as I tend not to see any rainbow on CGI films (for some reason!) but it was evident with the 3910 connected via DVI. Only a little though but the H57 was absolutely no worse (but no better). Both were pretty clear of the problem but not completely.

    If you have an abundance of high def material or a good high def source then you would greatly benefit from the extra resolution on offer from the H77. If you can't handle the hard work required in running a good HTPC and sourcing the material and just want to watch bulk standard dvd's then I think with these projectors there is no benefit (remember this is my own personal opinion) in the H77 and much to be had and saved in the H57. The 57 is nearly half the price of the 77 and gives you plenty of the 77.

    Others may have seen things differently (and of course some will have) but i think I was the only one to get the source's switch about as this was not demo policy on the day and I bet that most there only got to see ICE AGE from the JVC 30'000 on the H77 which of course looked stunning.

    To conclude I can say that of all the sub 3k projectors i've seen (LCD and DLP), including a few slightly above that threshold the H57 is a little gem not to be overlooked. In this short evaluation I have given my honest personal opinion (as a modest AV fan like the majority of us) which some will nodoubt disagree with and are duely entitled to.

    I am very pleased I went along. Book a demo at a dealer near you. :thumbsup:

    CH
     
  2. Scotlandgadgets

    Scotlandgadgets
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    Thx i have been looking for a review for the H57 as this will be my first projector.

    I am setting it up in a dedicted room 4.5m by 5m. it will be completely darkened.

    I have just finished installing the surround sound a jamo and onkyo package.

    Any words of advice would be welcome.
    Did they tell you anything about the screens size = distance.

    I am a bit unsure about that. :clap:
     
  3. Cool-hand

    Cool-hand
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    Hi Scotty

    From 4.5 mtrs a throw between 109" to 129" diagonal
    From 4.0 mtrs a throw between 97" to 115" diagonal
    From 3.5 mtrs a throw between 85" to 101" diagonal

    So shelf mounting may restrict you a little but ceiling mounting would give you a much greater choice of screen size, and atleast you know its as quite as a church mouse :thumbsup:

    However if you need to be more precise the ThemeScene site has a distance calculator here

    CH
     
  4. Scotlandgadgets

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    :thumbsup: When i get it i was going to project it on to the wall for the first cople of weeks just till i decide what size of screen i want any advice on screen's.
     
  5. Cool-hand

    Cool-hand
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    Theres masses of discussion on screen and plenty of very good advice on this forum and in the 'sreens' forum. But if your room is going to be a dedicated HC room a fixed screen would be the best, ripple free and slightly cheaper.

    A gain between 1 and 1.2 would work well with a dlp pj, no grey screen with this pj as the contrast doesn't need any help here.

    CH
     
  6. teched whfsv

    teched whfsv
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    Which coincidentally was on at the same time as the What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision show at the same venue?

    :)
     
  7. Cool-hand

    Cool-hand
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    Ok Ok :blush: I've been doing the rounds on shows the last few years and seeing the same old faces... its starting to feel like a second home :suicide:

    Think I may chill with it for a while until I feel the UG (UpGrade) urge again :laugh:

    CH

    just in time for Bristol :(
     
  8. foghorn

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    Cool-hand,

    Good review,did you watch the H57 with high def material?

    Foghorn
     
  9. Cool-hand

    Cool-hand
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    Hi FogHorn

    No sorry i did not. By the time I got round to that the demo assistant said he needed to put the H30 on for another visitor. I called back an hour later and wasn't allowed to start moving the interconnects about again :thumbsdow , That was the 'demo policy' bit I stated!!!

    However I did used the Denon 3910 in standard 576p and 720p and the upscaled output was glorious... having said that the 576p was excellent too! Both were via the DVI-D output.

    CH
     
  10. Messiah

    Messiah
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    Nice review CH. As a H77 owner I must state that I have not seen any of this 'noise' you referred to in light scenes. However, maybe I just have not looked hard enough to see it. I've had a few pjs, including a Marantz S3, and have to say that apart from a small colour banding issue (which has supposedly now been fixed with the unit being returned to me today :) ) the H77 is every bit as good if not better than every other pj I have owned.

    Maybe the noise you were seeing was due to some other influence, or maybe not. One thing I would urge people to remember is that if you are looking to buy as a long term investment (I never do) then please remember that Sky will be launching HD channels in 2006. That's only around 15 months away. The extra resolution will be very welcomed then I bet :D

    If the H57 is as CH says then it must also be a cracking little unit. I doubt you'd go far wrong with either.
     
  11. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Has it arrived yet Neil?

    Have you had a look at it yet, and if so, is the banding still there?

    Gary.
     
  12. KraGorn

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    Neil, Ben just told me he has H77s in now so I'm assuming these are the delayed-and-fixed versions, and presume that yours has been modded in the same way?
     
  13. Messiah

    Messiah
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    Mine arrived back about lunch time today. Fantastic service from Optoma :smashin:

    I've had a quick look at a few scenes in Aliens, the New Line logo at the start of LOTR:TTT and also the really bad scene in 2F2F. With the first two it is 99% disappeared and the only slight bit I can see I'm sure I could/would on my S3 as well (DVD limitations). The scene in 2F2F still shows slight banding but nothing like it did before so they have definitely sorted it.

    However, I really need to watch a whole film to know for suire so gonna watch The Terminal tonight and see if it exhibits any horizontal panning banding.

    As to new stock, I would check with Optoma to ensure the new units have had the fix (colour sequencer software and firmware upgrade - no hardware change according to Optoma) applied. Mine now shows firmware version 'v.c14 26October2004 PAL' so this is definitely a new firmware version.
     
  14. KraGorn

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    Okay cheers, just sent Ben a PM.
     
  15. Messiah

    Messiah
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    Should also add that I have had it showing BBC1 on Sky for the last 45 minutes or so and I am sure the pic is way better than it was before it went away. The image quality is fantastic for a Sky channel being blown up to an 8ft image. Well pleased :D
     
  16. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Sounds good Neil - looking forward to your comments later. :)

    The banding was the main issue that concerned me with getting an H77. I think the background 'noise' I saw in some pics is down to the extra brightness the H77 has over my Hoya filtered HT1000, so is probably tweakable with a filter for my own personal taste in image brightness.

    Gary.
     
  17. Messiah

    Messiah
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    Also been trying to set up with Avia but no matter what I set the Contrast and Brightness levels at I cannot see the srolling bars on the test patterns. They are there if I switch HDMI/DVI off on the Denon 3910 but just do not show when using the HDMI connection. I'm sure before the upgrade I was able to set them perfectly so think a call to Optoma tomorrow may be required.
     
  18. Cool-hand

    Cool-hand
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    Hi M, could well be an external influence. Nothing can be certain, but it was a direct feed via a 1mtr DVI from the 3910 to the H77. But it was definitely there :(

    Looking in WH Smiths today one of the 'Home Cinema' mags also comments on the video noise... :( :(


    Spoke to various companies at the show and the whole feeling is that sky cant/wont be able to get this off the ground as quickly as they think they can. Because of apparently 'Far to many varients to consider/pass' :thumbsdow

    I agree with you about constantly upgrading :eek: thats why in 12, 18, 24 months time or whenever the Sky hidef service is here I'll be happy to upgrade again only getting the latest PJ technology. Which if it progresses like it has been doing, will be amazing and half the price :smashin:

    Who knows maybe even 3 chip dlp's may be in the sub 10k market!!!!

    CH
     
  19. Messiah

    Messiah
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    That may be true but HD-DVD will definitely be available by then as will other formats such as Blu-ray etc so I'll take the extra resolution any day of the week.

    Just finished watching The Terminal and pic was perfect the whole 2 hours. If video noise is there I certainly don't see it. Maybe if I stood a few feet from the screen looking for it I may have seen it but I was too busy just enjoying the experience.

    All I can say is, after having many pjs inc AE100, TW100, LPX500, MT8, Barco 701s, Sharp 10k, Marantz S3 and others on demo, this one gives me the biggest smile every time I watch it. Perfect picture, silent and best value.

    At last I feel I have reached a point where I (hopefully) won't be thinking about upgrading for a while. At least not until true HD source and displays become freely available. Anyone who does not consider an H77 needs their head examining :D
     
  20. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Well that's good news. :)

    What input did you use, and did you have the chance to try the things that you had problems with before? If they're fixed as well, then the new firmare/software is obviously doing the trick.

    At least now, people who are considering this pj won't have to worry about any of the issues that some people had, and know only fixed units are coming in. It's a bit remeniscent of the HT1000 and the tearing problems with PAL. That was a firmware fix too.

    Gary.
     
  21. Respectamonkeee

    Respectamonkeee
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    Sounds like the problems may be ironed out.....Ben give me a ring :hiya:

    My room is finished and all i need is the PJ to go in its little space and i'll be a happy bunny...oh and the mrs is due on Saturday so a double bonus :thumbsup:
     
  22. Cool-hand

    Cool-hand
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    I can't wait for Blu-ray or HD-DVD, which ever format wins in the end, their both be great for 'us' the viewers :thumbsup: Hope we dont have another SACD vs DVD-A war though, that would slow software titles release :(


    Does all sound rather good though :) :) :) Good to hear your enjoying your PJ, sounds like you've got it well setup!


    Didn't we hear you say this with the S3 :devil:
    Once you got the bug... You got the bug!!



    This thread I started is starting to sound a bit like an advert :confused:
    Gotta say to anyone who read my first post that Im not connected to Optoma in anyway whatsoever!!!! Honest :rolleyes:

    CH
     
  23. nortonl

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    I saw these at the show too and was impressed by all three machines. This is the first time I have seen DLP front projectors - I am familiar with CRT and LCD. Agree about the contrast/black levels on the 57 & 77 - both excellent. On the 30, there was quite obvious black crushing, but apart from that it looked very nice and for the money, who could complain ?

    The major difference I noticed between the three machines was how close you could get to the image before noticing pixel structure. Here, extra money/resolution gets you closer - maybe a foot or two between the 57 & 77. I would be happy sitting 1.3 x screen width from the 77, 2 x screen width for the 30 and somewhere in between for the 57.

    As for rainbows, I saw one minor flash of green on the 57 during some rapid movement, but I don't know if this is a rainbow flash or not. I didn't see anything else during about an hours viewing.

    I did see the 2 Fast 2 Furious DVD on all three machines and to me, the 57 looked less vibrant than the other 2, though this could be setup. It still looked wonderful and I would prefer it to my CRT if I was far enough away from the screen due to the rich colours & depth of field.
     
  24. Messiah

    Messiah
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    Quite possibly, but the S3 always needed a little more brightness (as I could not run in hi-bright mode) and a lot less noise. The H77 fulfills those requirements, and some :D

    (The H77 in std lamp mode is brighter than the S3 in High lamp mode)
     
  25. Cool-hand

    Cool-hand
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    Hi Norton

    I didn't look too closely at the H30, but thats what ive been using for a while because I just needed something, until I could decide. I didn't see any black crush until.... a few nights before I went to the show I received in the post the trilogy of LOTR (no special EE or anything) just bulk standard R2 edition from SENDIT.com

    Straight away I noticed, when the screen fades in and out of black between scenes, a horrible blocky black screen which, as the screen scene returned, restored itself. I couldn't tell whether it was the 3910 macroblocking or the PJ? But I didn't see it before on a Sony or Toshiba DVD deck so assumed it may have been the 3910. But its the first and only time Ive seen it. Could it be the software i wonder?

    So now you got me thinking it could be the PJ again :(
    Not too worried now anyhow as I've ordered something else, but I will check this disc again when the new pj arrives.

    Rgds

    CH
     
  26. clancol

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    looking to upgrade again, and he last few times i've done it Hi Def compatability has been one of the pre recs.
    However it's not here yet, and I think that by time it does come i'll be ready for yet another projecter.
    So its picture quality with what i have "now" and "cost" the matters to me the most.

    So
    H57, here i come.
     
  27. nortonl

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    Hi Coolhand

    What you describe doesn't sound like what I saw. What I saw was just black arriving too soon, so dark details get lost - a smooth transition into black, just a bit too soon.

    I have seen something similar to what you describe on my wife's Pioneer DV-360 when adjusting picture settings away from default (can't remember whether it was contrast, brightness or gamma), but previously smooth & detailed dark details became grey & blocky. This was viewing via RGB analogue input of a CRT projector, so could only have been the player.
     
  28. Messiah

    Messiah
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    Normally due to brightness being set a tad too high.
     
  29. nortonl

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    I'm sure you're right Messiah.

    P.S. The black issues I saw on the H30 could have been setup, i.e. brightness too low, but it seems unlikely given how well everything else was setup. Unless they didn't want it stealing the 57/77's thunder.
     
  30. Cool-hand

    Cool-hand
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    :laugh: For a grand the H30 really is very very impressive (I spent more than that on a weekend in London)!!

    Will reduce brightness a little tonight to see if that reduces the blockyness, but I don't think Ive tweaked it all. Out the box the 30 was very close to AVIA. Will let you know.

    I agree with you, bout using what you have now and that was my point in my original post. I would love HiDef now, with easy access to it all but if I set up a computer and my lady has to switch inputs or anything else she just will not use it!! It has to be 1, switch on 2, disc in 3, press play....... :eek:

    CH
     

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