1. Join Now

    AVForums.com uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Living with a Benq 8700

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by rOAdeh, Jul 27, 2004.

  1. rOAdeh

    rOAdeh
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Messages:
    602
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Winchester
    Ratings:
    +5
    Thought i'd just post my thoughts on this little projector that i've now had for some time. However as a warning to you all this is likely just to descend into me rambling on lots..

    But anyway, i purchased the Benq about 6 weeks ago from Guy aka Gizlaroc on these very forums as his new home wasn't particularly accomodating to a projector and as much as he regretted this fact it just wasn't working out for him. It had a mere 28 hours on the clock and according to Guy himself the vast majority of this was for calibration purposes :) Anyway the deal was done and i had what was effectively a brand new projector for only 75% of retail price :thumbsup: (cheers mate!)

    The big box arrived in beautiful condition and i genuinely would have been happy with the packaging had it been brand new so top marks to Guy for that. What impressed me and im not sure if this is the case for every projector but it came with approx a 3m cable for every sort of input available which allowed me to hook up all my sources nice and easily. I played about with it on the living room wall but was really waiting for my new 203cm wide DRH slimline screen which was due several days after.

    Just for the record, our living room walls are currently a very pale cream colour so the projector was looking awesome even before the screen arrived but for the rest of this i shall only describe my results after that point :)

    I was planning to use an htpc as a source but due to the fact that we had boxes piled up everywhere having just moved house i was forced to use my old toshiba sd330 via component for a few weeks before i got the htpc properly set up. And well what can i say! the image was excellent, everything i'd wanted and i was having no real problems with rainbows, posterization or dithering (perhaps mainly as im not especially sensitive to them and i try not to let things like that distract me during a film anyway). SDE was non-existant and i literally had to walk right up to the screen to see it - something that was impossible with the z2 that i'd seen before.

    For an £80 source quite frankly i was stunned especially since i'd been told by one of my other mates who had purchased a z2 said he was finding the 330 disappointing with lots of banding etc. For the record i have also hooked up my freeview box, gamecube and ps2 via composite and they have all been excellent to view on such a large screen but given their low connection quality and the fact i've done no real testing at length with them i'll refrain from commenting about them. In fact aside from the odd sports event on tv i don't think i'll be connecting any of them up unless i want to show off to mates or something :p

    After a couple of weeks of the tosh i finally got round to running a basic htpc setup which consisted of for the time being at least of windvd 6 using powerstrip to do 1:1 pixel mapping via dvi. Entering windows was impressive enough, text was sharp and clear and i couldn't resist but load up farcry and play around on that and it really looked spectacular. ut2004 looks similarly good and if it werent the bulb life concerns i could easily sit there playing for hours..

    My main interest was seeing how the dvds compared to the tosh however and there was definitely an improvement. colours were sharper, more defined and a lot more detail was present. i'd made a dedicated stripped down build of xp specifically to run as an htpc which allowed quiet operation and quick booting times - this will hopefully be refined further in future months.

    The most recent advancement however has been the introduction of ffdshow - now theoretically my 2.8ghz p4 should be perfectly happy at resizing to 1440x960 and then sharperning using lancsoz 4 but it seemed to chug quite a lot on pans which particularly annoyed me so i've turned it down to 1280x720 which seems to work just about ok with the occasional dodgy pan. However in return the image really is stunning - i don't think i can express it any other way (think i've run out of superlatives anyway!), it's just left me wondering what could be possible if i could upscale further! Again hopefully with some overclocking and/or future upgrades i can develop that.

    The other advantage of a 720 pixel panel is the fact that i can watch 720p films at 1:1 and make no mistake this stuff is breathtaking. I had watched the same scenes on a z2 several months previously and whilst impressive i never felt engrossed. fortunately the arrival of the projector coincided with my 2mbit adsl connection finally being turned on which aided 720p samples to be taken.

    Having now watched several films i can say that i do see the occasional artifact - some scenes have been crippled with rainbows e.g. the 'interrogation' scenes in vanilla sky but certainly not to the point of nausea. I have also noticed some posterization from time to time but certainly again it is nothing that ruins my enjoyment of the film nor would i pay the several thousand pounds extra that i believe would be required to correct it.

    I know this is all very biased and such forth but there really are no disadvantages for me with this projector at the price i bought it - i consider the premium for a dlp over what i could have paid for an lcd worthwhile and am definitely looking forward to the upcoming h77 to see how it compares and hopefully allow more people to enter the world of 720p dlps :D Certainly at the moment i can't see myself upgrading until 1080p 3 chip dlps are around 5k or something... but then again i always say stuff like that and change my mind about 6 months later :rolleyes:

    On the subject of the Benq's weaknesses such as low brightness, cycling fan speeds and barrel distortion i may have just been lucky as i seem to have no problems with any of them having got nearly 100 hours of my own time clocked up. Granted the lamp bulb is likely to become dimmer in the future so i may have to post again then but on this model at least barrel distortion is at a minimum and the firmware i have (1.04 iirc) does not suffer from cycling fans.

    Anyway in summary, for those considering projectors like the hs20 etc then i urge you to at least have a look at dlps - you may get lucky and find someone selling one at an affordable price point. They are certainly not infallible but if you haven't yet worked it out from my thread then i'm particularly happy with my decision.

    If there's enough interest i may try and post some photos but i'm not a great believer in taking pictures of setups for the simple fact that imo there's no way to convey the size or depth of an image through a photo. Just need to ceiling mount it then.. oh and then upgrade my speakers and amp to accurately reflect the investment ive made on the visual side.... sigh!

    Any questions just feel free to ask!

    rOAdeh
     
  2. theritz

    theritz
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2002
    Messages:
    2,451
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Ireland
    Ratings:
    +27
    rOAdeh,

    Thanks for your impressions, a very balanced report - it's easy to see that you're unaffected by the "WoW" factor :smashin: Sounds like you got a good bargain and a great result.........

    I know it's slightly OT for here, but I'd like to hear a little more about the stripped-down installation of XP out of interest...... and don't be shy about pictures........ we all the usual caveats apply, but love to see them anyway !!!


    Sean G.
     
  3. rOAdeh

    rOAdeh
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Messages:
    602
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Winchester
    Ratings:
    +5
    jeez that post turned into something quite long didnt it :blush: cant believe you have the patience to read through it :)

    Sean - as you say it's slightly ot here but i tried to be clever and run two copies of xp, one is a standard install and where i try and put as many programs as possible and the other is for the htpc only, this has been optimized to remove as many unnecessary services, applications etc and to increase boot speeds.

    Firstly, i'd just like to say as a concept i believe it's perfectly plausible - i personally just have issues with having to reboot when im on the htpc build and find i need a program available on the other build.. in fact i'm starting to install unnecessary programs (e.g. photoshop) just as a convenience factor as they dont hinder the speed of the os loading.

    Anyway, i've taken a fair amount of inspiration from a thread on the htpc forum in avsforum from several months ago where a guy aimed to turn his htpc into a stb (im sorry i dont have the link to it anymore :( ) - he changed everything from boot screens to prevent the taskbar/mouse pointer loading and only had a very barebones installation. I'd have loved to try this too but it took him months to get it working as he wasnted so i'm left with a more complex build that i may try and simplify once i get round to using my ipaq with netremote as a universal control.

    As mentioned before i dual booted xp and did the following before seperating them into their different builds:

    1) install sp1
    2) install dx9
    3) run autopatcher xp (latest build)
    4) grab any more recent xp updates
    5) install drivers
    6) remove as many services as possible using blackvipers service guide

    i then cloned that install across and set up a dual boot menu to default to the htpc build with a timeout of 5 seconds meaning that when switched on the pc should default to the htpc unless i tell it not to (for ease of use by other members of the family).

    I then used a program called xp-lite which allows you to select up to around 100 'optional' components (including things like internet explorer as well as games and themes etc) and removed about 90% of them from the htpc. i replaced ie with firefox (this has caused problems however as detailed later).

    Finally i use speedfan set to startup at minimal speeds to quieten the pc as much as possible during htpc use and then set up zoomplayer / dvdregionfree / ffdshow. i also run things like spybot/av program/peerguardian which are probably unnecessary but i feel happier running them than not.

    This is all running remarkably stably atm aside from 2 problems that i havent yet been able to resolve. Firstly zoomplayer seems to crash on certain dvds - it just refuses to play the disc but works fine with other dvds (and it crashed halfway through the fellowship of the ring last night) but i have windvd 6 as a backup so that's not too bad for now.

    And on a more serious problem the removal of internet explorer has meant that i can no longer launch into hotmail from msn messenger nor can i log into windows update - im not sure how to rectify this as even going to the windowsupdate site i cannot force it to update. so i may be forced to reinstall that in order to ensure that i can receive the latest updates :(

    In the next couple of months as i said before im looking at the integration of meedio and also netremote so as to allow total control from my ipaq and to provide a much friendlier interface for my family to use!

    gah i've rambled on lots again - i apologise! ill attempt some pictures tonight if i remember.
     
  4. vexorg

    vexorg
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2002
    Messages:
    268
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Dublin.
    Ratings:
    +0
    rOAdeh

    Just happen to be trying out XPlite on an old laptop and came accross this when I was reading up on removing XP and getting the updates

    However I have not removed IE yet, was hoping to find someone who had removed it:)

    Hope the above helps....

    I did not remove msn messenger... not that it matters... it wont load... just gives some obscure windows error message....


    V.
     
  5. theritz

    theritz
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2002
    Messages:
    2,451
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Ireland
    Ratings:
    +27
    Thanks for that.............. I've used blackvipers guide but haven't tried xp-lite as yet..... I don't connect my hcpc to the internet as I only use it for dvd playing, WMV and occasional MP3s - tend to port any stuff from my desktop as needed.

    I've experienced the occasional glitch with zoomplayer and prefer the stability of Powerdvd; I prefer NVDVD for pic quality, can't quite put my finger on it but I feel it has more clarity, However I dislike not being able to disable the way the control panel comes on screen at the bottom when you use the mouse to change chapters, FF or whatever.

    Sean.
     
  6. rOAdeh

    rOAdeh
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Messages:
    602
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Winchester
    Ratings:
    +5
    sorry i aint replied to this sooner - was meaning to get the pics done last night but then got dragged into work at the last min (and i cant really refuse as the aforementioned object is the reason why im in so much debt atm!)

    doubt im going to hace much time to do any over the w/end either and then im away for a week so ill have to resurrect the thread when i get back :)

    vexorg thanks for that - i might be forced to manually update but i figure the easiest solution would just to be to reinstall ie. means i dont have to go through and manually find with updates i need (yes im very lazy!)

    Sean - in a way i was expecting to remove som e more 'core' components from windows, by no means is it bad - but i dont get the feeling that i could strip it down to the absolute essentials which is what i originally had intended. Maybe linux will be the way to go in that respect but then we have the whole problem with software incompatability, which is admittedly getting slowly better...

    Yes i do find ZP glitches irritating too, i've used both powerdvd and windvd extensively and have to say i dont really have a preference - i happen to have a licence for windvd so i use that :). If it werent for ffdshow i dont think id bother with zoomplayer at all... maybe the advent of theatretek 2 will change that.

    The other advantage of zoomplayer is that its well established in terms of its netremote/girder support bur again the whole automation thing needs some more exploration before i decide to settle on a solution.

    Cheers,

    rOAdeh
     
  7. rOAdeh

    rOAdeh
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Messages:
    602
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Winchester
    Ratings:
    +5
    Sorry to drag this old thread up but just wanted to say that typically right after i sell the projector that i've found a way to use windowsupdate without ie installed.

    Quite simply just go through windows explorer, type windowsupdate.microsoft.com into the address bar in my computer or something and it works fine :/ - dont know why i didnt think of it before but now means i dont need to try and work out what fixes i need etc :)

    still havent worked out how to get msn to access hotmail with firefox yet, am sure its possible though probably with some very basic reg hack...
     

Share This Page

Loading...