Has projector tech improved significantly?

NiceBloke

Standard Member
Hi,

In 2010 I got my first and only projector, the Optoma HD20 - I was never really impressed with the picture as it looked ‘washed out’ and hence soon reverted back to TV (to the point the HD20 is still up and running 11 years on, with its original bulbs!).

I‘m not close to the AV scene - so I just wondered if modern projectors (such as twh9300) have dramatically improved in terms of picture brightness (all other things such as my screen being the same)?

Was planning to upgrade the projector but only if there is a step change in picture washout etc.?

Thank you in advance for any comments.
 

AndyC_772

Active Member
It's not really brightness that's the limiting factor with a projector, but darkness.

Bearing in mind that the screen is white, the darkest thing you can ever see on a projected image still looks like a white object in a dimly lit room. The key to an image that doesn't look 'washed out' is having those dark areas as dark as possible, relative to the bright areas of the image.

It's something I've become very conscious of since buying a new projector myself a couple of months ago. Completely dark images are very dark indeed, and bright ones are bright, but any scene that has a mix of the two suffers from light coming from the screen, bouncing off the walls and ceiling, and back onto the screen where it's not wanted. That's no fault of the projector - it's just an unfortunate limitation of using it in a multi-purpose lounge and not a dedicated cinema room with black walls and ceiling.

If you're looking to watch, say, sports or daytime TV, then a brighter projector might work well for you. For movies, though, I suspect you'd see better results from redecorating your room in darker colours.
 

kbfern

Distinguished Member
I had an HD20 a few years back and never felt it had a washed out image. It was quite punchy in fact, my room has good light control and has darkish walls and carpet so that helps.

What are your viewing conditions like?

After the HD20 I bought a used JVC X35 and that is a big step up regarding contrast levels and the blacks are much much better. I have had the X35 for at least 4yrs now and whilst upgrading to a newer JVC (X7500/7900) would be my next move that would cost me around £3k for a used one I am in no rush to spend that sort of money on a pj.

I have spent much more over the last year or so with a new 65" 4k OLED, new Denon X4500 avr and a new set of 5.4 atmos speakers for my lounge system
 

alebonau

Well-known Member
In 2010 I got my first and only projector, the Optoma HD20 - I was never really impressed with the picture as it looked ‘washed out’ and hence soon reverted back to TV (to the point the HD20 is still up and running 11 years on, with its original bulbs!).

if still with the original bulb ... chances are have lost a quite a lot of original output. so possible even a new bulb is going to bring a new lease of life :D

I have some respect of DLPS of old... I was dead keen on something like an in82 or benq 8720 untill I realised i was susceptible to rainbows....re washout... Andy above is quite correct, its possible that if there are aspects of light control washing out the image on the screen then with the newer projector that is likely going to still be an issue.

all that said contrast wise you will no doubt see an improvement with something like the epson 9300.

re newer projectors ... while I do think the epson would be a step forward picture wise, I have some hesitation to say DLPs of today will be better ..only in that for some reason contrast seems to have gone down the toilet with the newer "4k uhd" machines.

can only suggest head out ...if possible in these times... and check out a few potential contenders :)
 

Vila

Well-known Member
Hi,

In 2010 I got my first and only projector, the Optoma HD20 - I was never really impressed with the picture as it looked ‘washed out’

The black levels on DLP projectors has always been poor, LCD projectors from Epson or LCOS projectors from JVC / Sony would certainly offer a superior experience in that respect.

That said another big factor may have been your viewing conditions - if you were using the Optoma in an all white living room environment that that would also cause it to look significantly more washed out.

I 'proper' environment for a projector would still be classed as one with all light sources blocked out and dark colored walls / ceiling floor.

Still technology has advanced in this regard too and with use of ambient light rejecting screens like those from REACT many find a projector to be much more useable in an environment with light walls / ceiling when combined with a bright projector.
 

Luminated67

Distinguished Member
As said before the room conditions can and will be the biggest limiting factors to what a projector can truly do. You will be shocked just good modern projectors have become.

The biggest difference you will see (if) your room is a bat cave is black levels and brightness along with sharpness.
 
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z5461313

Well-known Member
Do the dlp projectors still have rainbow affect or has it gone with modern dlp projectors now?

Is it always recommended to get an ambient light reflecting projector screen now?
 

alebonau

Well-known Member
Do the dlp projectors still have rainbow affect or has it gone with modern dlp projectors now?
I am sorry to say, but it is very exacerbated....worse than ever ! its been explained to me that its due to the higher luminance output, plus these usually being single chip and hence needing wheel and being of the affordable variety the rainbows are still there and all the more obvious...

Is it always recommended to get an ambient light reflecting projector screen now?

they have their pros and cons... i am not using one in my non dedicated room. the ALR screens are quite expensive - the good ones, tend to have a very narrow viewing angle. often give up ability to do pure white and gain can also be an issue. if not going one... things like size of screen, position of screen - how far from ceiling and walls. non reflecting surfaces around the screen at minimum to black light sucking room is ideal. similarly no ambient light as minimum on the screen to complete back out is most preferable...

welcome to see some of the screen shots of mine in the candy thread to see a white screen in a non dedicated room can pull off...
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
Just to add to the room comments, this is a comparison I did with my JVC X7500, which is a pretty decent projector in terms of contrast and low black levels. I took the photos with my DSLR in manual mode with my room treatment set up and without to show how much the room affects the picture quality.

This is the menu from Lucy with my room pretty much as it would be for day to day TV use:
Lucy No Devore.jpg


Same scene, same camera settings, but with all my black Devore curtains, etc set up. Notice how the darker side has richer blacks in it, particularly the black/starfield section on the far left. The eyes have stronger colours in them and the lips slightly redder too, due to the reduced reflections back to the screen. FYI the projector is calibrated in this mode, so this is the correct saturation, so the above picture shows how it is lost in the colours.

Lucy Full Devore.jpg


This is a quite an extreme example and in both cases there is no ambient light because all my AV gear is outside of the room and fully blacked out windows/doors. If you see the picture below to show the room in TV and projector modes to give an idea of how much black needs to be introduced to the room to help with the picture quality. However, there are some quick wins: Black curtains or temporary covers 1 metre out from the screen will make the biggest difference. ALR screens can help, though they do have their own issues: I would always prefer a white screen in a treated room over an ALR screen in a white room personally, but this isn't always possible.

TV use mode:
Finish door closed.jpg


Set up to watch a film on the projector (daylight with curtains open to assist with the photo):
MLP view.jpg

From the side; curtains come out 3 metres on the sides, half that on the ceiling:

Devore side view.jpg
 

AndyC_772

Active Member
Nice comparison - though it does also go to show that you can still get a very decent cinema experience even without blacking the room out completely.

I put off getting a projector at all for a long time, on the basis that I don't have a spare room I can turn into a 'proper' theatre. That was a mistake; especially with commercial cinemas being closed I've been taking full advantage of my home setup, and just because the image on screen isn't the absolute best the projector is capable of, doesn't mean it's not awesome nonetheless.
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
Nice comparison - though it does also go to show that you can still get a very decent cinema experience even without blacking the room out completely.

I can't watch without setting up the Devore...it just looks too washed out to me. The curtains on the left side are arguably a bit less reflective than a magnolia wall would be, plus we have quite a dark brown rug, so the room isn't as bad as some I've seen in terms of reflectivity.

It just depends on your priorities: I can understand people just enjoying a big screen experience, even if the picture quality isn't as good as their TV...at least the picture is bigger and more immersive. I did it for years, though did keep upgrading my projector, expecting a big improvement and apart from fade to black, it wasn't forthcoming until I improved the room.

This is another scene with the room in 'light mode'. I couldn't find the scene easily once I'd set up the Devore, so I didn't take a 'dark room' photo: We were about to watch a film and I didn't want to test my wife's patience too much. :)

Lucy Bright scene TV mode.jpg


I don't think I'd sell many people on spending extra for an X7500 based on this photo.

Another scene compared:
Lucy TV mode.jpg


Lucy Projector mode.jpg


The darker the scene, then the less influence the room has, but you can still see some differences in saturation of certain colours if you flick between them. I find the differences seem more noticeable in person too.
 
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Luminated67

Distinguished Member
Improving contrast and black levels is only one part of treating the room, when you take it back beyond your seating area what it does is take away the distractions of reflected light bouncing onto the walls, ceiling and floor that all you see is the image in front of you. Something even a commercial theatre can’t achieve.

CC30FBEE-BDAD-4C16-A70D-3BD13F69D5AF.jpeg
DC19F4E1-D65D-48DF-AB74-B8C85DFB959A.jpeg
3F2BA19E-2C19-4BA0-B6D3-D49ADCB0BBB8.jpeg
 

alebonau

Well-known Member
Nice comparison - though it does also go to show that you can still get a very decent cinema experience even without blacking the room out completely.
id always say that the best can do with the room, will deliver the best result can achieve in the room :)

I put off getting a projector at all for a long time, on the basis that I don't have a spare room I can turn into a 'proper' theatre. That was a mistake; especially with commercial cinemas being closed I've been taking full advantage of my home setup, and just because the image on screen isn't the absolute best the projector is capable of, doesn't mean it's not awesome nonetheless.
that said, I totally agree... even in non dedicated room... with doing what can possibly do... you can create a pretty outstanding result... with me it helped i had a bunch of friends right into projectors...that had a whole bunch of suggestions... and i did all i can. even to point of putting in a door, full block out heavy curtains with pelmets, 100% block out blinds... a relatively smaller screen thats away from reflective surfaces and drops down low way from the ceiling... and we somehow ended up with a charcoal carpet :D

certainly if can pull off a dedicated room and go all out for a light sucking black hole of a threatre... the end result achieve will be all the better for it ...but for rest of us limited with what can pull off ... in non dedicated rooms ... theres still things can do to end up with something pretty decent :D
 

Vila

Well-known Member
Do the dlp projectors still have rainbow affect or has it gone with modern dlp projectors now?

The only type of DLP projectors that don't exhibit the rainbow effect are 3 chip DLP. Unfortunately I don't think any 3 chip consumer models have ever been made but they are the most common type of digital projectors used in commercial cinemas.

Is it always recommended to get an ambient light reflecting projector screen now?

The difference they can make in white, 'living rooms' can be substantial. If you search ALR Projector on YouTube you'll find lots of examples - some are specifically designed for ultrashort throw and some for normal projectors.
 

Luminated67

Distinguished Member
An ALR screen are bloody brilliant when used for the purpose they were designed but ultimately treating the room is a much better solution if possible.
 

kenshingintoki

Distinguished Member
I'd say projector's dont need to move forwards to better your current projector. I'd say projectors released the same year as your current projector would probably better it very comfortably... so upgrade if you can. Budget is always important.

9300 would be a comfortable upgrade in every way imaginable except 3D performance in regards to crosstalk & motion where DLP is king.

If you wanted to move further up the food chain, a JVC would be better.
 

kenshingintoki

Distinguished Member

NiceBloke

Standard Member
OP here. Thank you for all the responses, I have read each one with with interest. Some of the photos shown are epic! I guess you guys have actually answered my question, but it has led to another more personal one!

I was hoping projector tech + screens had moved forward sufficiently tech wise so that I could, for example, watch football on a projector with a great picture, without the room having to be dark (not keen on having curtains closed etc.). It seems that is probably not possible and I should keep day to day watching to my TV.

This then leads me to my own personal question, whether I want to invest in creating a dark environment...will need to think that one through.

What prompted my original question, was the following videos which suggested with the right projector and screen combo the picture was visible in many light environments.

See 2 mins 15 secs...(albeit some people are saying it is a scam?)

 

alebonau

Well-known Member
I was hoping projector tech + screens had moved forward sufficiently tech wise so that I could, for example, watch football on a projector with a great picture, without the room having to be dark (not keen on having curtains closed etc.). It seems that is probably not possible and I should keep day to day watching to my TV.
no it is possible...even with a non ALR ie white screen, as long as you dont have direct light on the screen... and accepting still of some compromise...

while our room is surrounded with windows, i have sufficient light block out with pelmets and heavy curtains and 100% block out blinds... that you cant see hand in front of your face !

but if watching cricket for instance I will quite often especially with friends over ... be watching with the rear doors to room open... this opens up to an open plan area - kitchen and dining with light filled staircase and be surprised how good can be... I'd never watch a movie this way but for sport its quite good enough...

see below some shots with the cricket this summer...

B2B4E184-5DEB-4CE3-B780-D8F6D529A33C_1_201_a.jpeg
C126BA26-C86D-449A-870F-899E2AEB9A67_1_201_a.jpeg
5D3FDD9D-AFD5-4667-AD54-45B69A32BF6F_1_201_a.jpeg


and it doesnt have to be with current projector... below is a 10 year old epson TW9000 (uses the same 1080p dark chip as 9300/9400) and shows how ambient light in the room, doesnt kill completely the image... I dont watch with the projector this way... just an illustration that how much can get away with ambient light in the room IF it is not directly on the screen... in this case two small lamps behind the screen line...

A60BCAA8-3AAD-4246-9191-62AF0E07003E.jpeg


This then leads me to my own personal question, whether I want to invest in creating a dark environment...will need to think that one through.
if you really want to enjoy the best from a projector at a minimum you want to eliminate ambient light... yes as a minimum. certainly if willing to accept some compromise even with a 10 year old projector there is some tolerance... but its only something id do with non critical viewing...id want to switch the lights off and close the curtains to block out ambient light to really enjoy...
 
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Zone

Moderator
Bottom line; darker the room the better
 

NiceBloke

Standard Member
no it is possible...even with a non ALR ie white screen, as long as you dont have direct light on the screen... and accepting still of some compromise...

while our room is surrounded with windows, i have sufficient light block out with pelmets and heavy curtains and 100% block out blinds... that you cant see hand in front of your face !

but if watching cricket for instance I will quite often especially with friends over ... be watching with the rear doors to room open... this opens up to an open plan area - kitchen and dining with light filled staircase and be surprised how good can be... I'd never watch a movie this way but for sport its quite good enough...

see below some shots with the cricket this summer...

View attachment 1460774View attachment 1460775View attachment 1460776

and it doesnt have to be with current projector... below is a 10 year old epson TW9000 (uses the same 1080p dark chip as 9300/9400) and shows how ambient light in the room, doesnt kill completely the image... I dont watch with the projector this way... just an illustration that how much can get away with ambient light in the room IF it is not directly on the screen... in this case two small lamps behind the screen line...

View attachment 1460777


if you really want to enjoy the best from a projector at a minimum you want to eliminate ambient light... yes as a minimum. certainly if willing to accept some compromise even with a 10 year old projector there is some tolerance... but its only something id do with non critical viewing...id want to switch the lights off and close the curtains to block out ambient light to really enjoy...

thanks - those cricket pictures look fantastic!

Are Laser projectors typically ‘brighter’ than bulb based ones?
 

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