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Has anybody seen the AE700 and HS20 side by side

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by xaser1066, Nov 6, 2004.

  1. xaser1066

    xaser1066
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    Hi, I know people have asked these sort of things before, but now the AE700 is out can anybody tell me how it compares to a HS20. I have only seen a HS20 in action (which looked very good to me) and would like to know if the AE700 is better or worse - simple as that. (I am not going to buy a HS20 because it is long throw). I would ask about the HS50 but no one over here has seem one yet - bit worried about the need for an upscaler to get the best picture from DVD etc. - mentioned on projector central. Cheers, Jason.
     
  2. jwm15

    jwm15
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    Funny you should ask -- I did today. Cutting to the chase, I didn't think there was a clear winner -- they have very different strengths and weaknesses.

    I spent a total of about an hour looking at the two machines at Discount Electrical in Colne (near Skipton). During the session I saw sections of Star Wars 2, Saving Private Ryan, Gladiator, Life is Beautiful, The Wizard of Oz (to check saturation issues) and Mr. Hulot's Holiday (B&W). The DVD player was a mid-range Denon (don't remember which) running via component.

    The HS20 was clearly sharper, had a very well defined picture and little visual noise. Colours were generally natural and well controlled with no evidence of any smear in Wizard of OZ (the Z2 I looked at awhile ago could not deal with ruby slippers at all -- a red halo around Dorothy's feet). However, watching dark sequences in Star Wars it was clear it did not have sufficient contrast to handle dark scenes -- low tones were crushed to black, eliminating any detail in dark regions. Screendoor effect was slightly evident but not at all objectionable.

    The AE700 has much better contrast and shadow detail (it renders black and white film beautifully). Colours were full, rich with saturation well controlled, and I would say slightly more natural (though I cannot vouch for how the machines were set-up). The downside is there was more visual noise, particularly in pans over gradient areas (sky, etc.) The much talked-about vertical banding was visible if you looked for it but I didn't find it an issue (it was subtle). There was virtually no screendoor at all, however, the picture was slightly softer than the HS 20 (likely due to Smooth Screen).

    I would love to say there was a clear winner but there wasn't. The Sony was sharper and better defined but sorely lacked contrast. The colours of the Panny were great and controlled but the image seemed noisey. To me, neither were as good as the H56a I saw a couple months ago. I have no problem with rainbows so I am opting to pay the extra £300-500 and get an H57 (since I will be watching DVDs with it I don't care as much about the extra resolution). The HS51 seems over-hyped (the Aussie review wasn't sparkling) and I won't take the chance for a paltry 1 year warranty. But this is just my opinion. As always, the best thing you can do is see them for yourself.

    -- J
     
  3. xaser1066

    xaser1066
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    Thanks for your excellent reply J. That was about the sort of answer i was expecting - which i guess is why alot of us on here are unable to decide what to spend our cash on. I went to the WhatHiFi show yesterday to specifically see the H57. It was on the top of my list. The contrast was very good, the colours were very bright and the image was very clear. I could not see any rainbows. Perfect!!!! But it is only 1024x576 and after seeing all the High Def stuff (sony saying blue ray DVD here in shops in 2006) I therefore may only get 18 months use before I need to upgrade - I just don't know to be honest. Cheers.
     
  4. jwm15

    jwm15
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    Glad I could help. I know what you mean about image quality vs. high def.

    My opinion is that, realistically, there won't be significant HD programming available (Blu-ray, Sky or otherwise) until at least 2007. Don't get me wrong, it will definately appear earlier, but it will take a while to have the variety or penetration that we are used to with DVDs and current programming, and, it will cost a comparative fortune at first. So, I am opting for a better standard res picture now, with a 3-4 year window until I upgrade to HD. By that time (2007-8) the projectors will be light-years ahead of where they are now in terms of price and performance.

    One other consideration for me is warranty. If you look at the Sony (1 year), Panny (1 year) and Sanyo (2 years), they represent a bit more of a risk than the DLPs (Optoma 3 years). If I plunked down around £2,000 for kit and it blew up after 15-18 months (as I have read has happened to others on this forum, albeit rarely), I would be a very unhappy bunny.

    Ignoring reliability, I guess at the end of the day I would rather have kit that has fewer features but does them very well than more features but uneven performance -- it's the old "Jack of all trades, master of none" thing.

    Best, J
     

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