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How good is DLP. REALLY?

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by TheSeer, Apr 15, 2002.

  1. TheSeer

    TheSeer
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    Hello All,

    A few weeks ago, I went into my local High-Endish Home Cinema emporium to buy some inter-connects. As the place wasn't very busy, I took the opportunity to talk to one of the staff about projectors vs plasmas. :devil:

    There were a couple of 50in Pioneer plasmas showing Shrek & Dinosaur from DVD. I thought the picture quality was very impressive (yes, I know about the fact that animations will always seem v good on Plasma).

    Next to one of the Plasmas, was a display model (empty shell) of the SIM HT200 DLP pj. So, I asked the salesman which, in his opinion, gave the best image - HT200 or Plasma. His reply was unequivocal - the Plasma. I was a little surprised at this, having read the rave reviews of the HT200. By chance, the HT200 was set-up in a room which was free, so I asked if I could sneak a look?

    So I was ushered into a room appx 15ft x 15ft with, I guess, a 5 or 6ft screen. The DVD playing was Phantom Menace. Frankly, I was very dis-appointed by the picture quality, it was not very bright and not very sharp. Looking at it, I doubted if the visual experience was worth £5 - 6k which such a set-up would cost. The plasmas were MUCH better than what I was seeing. And normal CRT TV would also have demolished the PJ.

    Now, I need to re-iterate, this was just a 5 minute peek. The session was not pre-booked and I don't know if the PJ had been properly set-up (although I assume so, as the shop was happy for me to look-in).

    My question is this. How good are DLP PJ's really? Are they as good as a normal TV in terms of sharpness, detail resolution, contrast etc (source equipment being equal, of course) ? Or, do they get hyped by the press ?

    I had been considering a DLP PJ in the longer term, but now I am not sure. Perhaps Plasma is a better long term solution?

    I would love to hear from DLP PJ owners.

    rgds

    TS
     
  2. Chris Frost

    Chris Frost
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    The Seer,
    I don't think it is possible (or fair) to make a true comparison between Plasma and a domestic projector. The two systems use different methods to produce their images, not to mention the size difference of the pictures, and this has an inherent effect on the result.

    With a plasma screen, you are looking directly at the glowing phosphor dots used to create the image. This will make a much brighter image than a projector that has to bounce its light off a reflective surface (the screen) before it reaches your eyes.

    Second is the size difference. A 50” Plasma has a screen area of just over 1000 square inches. A 6ft wide 16:9 projection screen has a screen area three times larger. The result is that you will see more defects in the larger image (softness, image grain etc) because the source is magnified. Reducing the projected image to the same size as the Plasma would narrow the performance gap considerably. But who wants a projected image just 3.5 feet wide?

    Projectors and Plasma screens serve different roles, if you want a relatively small image that is bright enough to watch in daylight conditions then Plasma would be a good choice. For a more cinematic experience, then I think a projector is the way to go.

    Regards
     
  3. The Canuck

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    From what i have read, the type of screen can have a great deal of affect in the image brightness. That room could have been set up for a CRT originally, and DLP uses a different type of screen, almost a silver grey color. Even glass bead types work really well with DLP units.

    Depending on the pitch type.

    :)
     
  4. Paul Hayward

    Paul Hayward
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    Hi TS,

    I have seen the HT200DM and I own the HT300. From memory the 200 was darn good and in many ways better than some Plasmas I've demo'ed. The 300 is much better than plasma in terms of clarity and shadow detail on a 1.3 gain screen if not quite so deep in the black department overall. Even so, some plasma's have clear solarising artifacts, crushed blacks and a soft fuzzy look. Personally, I prefer my HT300 which produces stunningly clear, colourful and 3D images. So, in answer to your qu, I think DLP, when set up correctly and even on a significantly larger screen, is potentially better than plasma in many areas. Also, I've no doubt that the HT200DM will improve significantly with the new Faroudja DVDi chipset on board.

    Best Wishes,

    Paul H
     
  5. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    It has to be said that the majority of projectors out there benefit greatly from a htpc.

    Even some of the expensive ones have poor internal scalers and are rarely ably to manage the clarity or image control a correctly equipped computer will give.

    Gary.
     

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